Invisible (Beautiful) Woman
For those readers who pay attention, they may notice the lengths I go to to avoid talking about relationships and dating through the prism of race. This is intentional not because I’m colorblind to the factors race plays in dating, but because I honestly believe when it comes to matters of the heart, the only two groups that really matter are males and females; that what truly separates people from falling in love is more about gender, less about skin color and ethnicity.
But every now and then, I can’t sidestep the race issue. Every now and then, I must go in and acknowledge race matters. Today is now and I hope you all pay attention to what I’m going to say a little bit closer than usual.
Last week I was interviewed for a news magazine show on CUNY, one of New York City’s local channels. The story was a response to a story Nightline did earlier this year on this large number of single (beautiful!) black women. During the interview, the question was posed to me (I’m paraphrasing here), “A lot of black men feel they were portrayed in a negative light when this story came out. Do you feel that way?”
Of course I answered the question as succinctly as television allows, but if given the room to say more, here’s what I would have said.
If we are going to accept the argument that men are to blame for the disproportionate number of single black women, then why can’t the blame be extended to all men, regardless of their skin color or racial makeup? The onus should not be on just black men, it should also be put on Asian men, White men, Hispanic men, Middle Eastern men. French men, Norwegian men, Italian men, South American men, Central American men, North American men, and Canadian men.
Basically any man who likes women and dates women should be held accountable for all these single (beautiful!) black women walking the Earth.
The saddest story the number of single black women tells me (whichever ones you want to believe) is how underrated and underappreciated the black female is by all men. Not to sound cliche, but black women are beautiful, yet the numbers show this is obviously still a secret to the majority of men out there.
I love black women and have been dating them all my life. The first girl I ever liked was black. The last girl I went out with was black. The woman I end up marrying will probably be black. Ditto goes for most of my friends. They too will probably end up marrying black women. And still, STILL, there will be black women out there unmarried and unwed because the fact is there are more black women walking this earth than black men. Yet me and my boys, the ones who do settle down and marry black women will be blamed for our unwed and single sisters as though polygamy is legal and accepted, and my boys and I are bad men for not taking advantage of it.
If people want to start helping black women get hitched, they need to move beyond the finger-pointing of black men and start extending it to all men. They also need to make an extra effort to make the beauty of the black woman an American standard. So much of black beauty is fetishized and marginalized, and it’s really unfair. It’s as though any man who likes a black woman has a taste for chocolate and that is so fucking wrong, even if it’s only an expression.
Look, to say I like black women, is to say I like women, period. There is not one group of women I don’t like. White women, Hispanic women, Asian women. Like I said, I like them all. But I love black women. That’s me. And what’s sad is I don’t know too many men out there who share my taste.
Of course, after the finger pointing at black men, a popular place to put the blame is squarely on the shoulders of the “victims” themselves, black women. The critics and media say, Well, you know, if black women were just more open-minded about the kind of men they dated, there wouldn’t be so many of them single.
I have a theory called the cell phone theory and it goes like this: Until we have it, we don’t know we need it. (As in, we never knew we needed cell phones until we got one.) The reason black women aren’t as open-minded to date outside of their race is because men outside of their race are not open-minded enough to date them.
Say whatever you want about gender roles and how evolved they are. The fact of the matter is, if a man takes the lead a woman will follow. So if more men, regardless of their race, take the initiative and start actually approaching black women, more black women will start dating outside of their race. I don’t get upset about the number of black men who date outside of their race. I get upset about the number of non-black men who don’t date outside of their race or when they do, they don’t date black women.
The truth is not ugly, the truth is invisible. The reason there are so many single (beautiful!) black women is because their beauty is utterly ignored by the world at large.
A couple of years ago, when I was at VIBE, we threw a huge party. Most of the women in attendance were two things: Beautiful and black. Not only was this my kind of party, it was the kind of party I was used to attending most of my life. The next day, one of my co-workers, a white male my age, came up to me and said, “Last night’s party was crazy. I never seen so many beautiful black women in one place.”
Sad it took him his whole life to see it, but what’s even sadder is he probably won’t ever see it again.