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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.

Categories: c-section, dating, guys, race, women Tags:
  • UrbaneDame

    To your point, this recent NY Times article talks about white college girls who can’t get dates either:

    I’ve lived in Atlanta for the past four years, and dating isn’t always easy here. But I also don’t believe everything the media tells me. We can take these so called stats and embed them into our psyche, claiming defeat before we even step one foot out the door. However, like you, I choose to ignore outside sources feeding me so-called “news” about MY status, and instead engage in conversations with the subjects of these studies (aka my brothers and sisters) to address the real issues and change our way of thinking to begin healing. If we close our minds to negativity and open our hearts to love, one at a time we will find it. And don’t worry, as soon as we solve this they’ll find something else wrong with us, smh!

  • **inquiring mind**

    GIRL… you get a hand clap from me *applause*… oh and I’m in the A too- go figure.

  • **inquiring mind**

    Dearheart, I’m not disagreeing with you about the principles 10K-100K (hey you like it, I love it and I’m not being an @ss) but what I’m saying is “easier said then done”… in a business hell yeah- 10K hours of working hard to master something makes sense, but when we’re discussing relationships with other people I call BS… It’s just not that simple- not to mention we ARE generation “X” AKA “microwave ready”. I believe in love and endurance in relationships, but I can’t be the only willing to endure and sacrifice and change and put my PRIDE aside… and frankly I don’t know many men or women for that matter that are. I mean hell we’re also the “self-endulging” generation and if it don’t make us happy after so long… well we’re like f*ck it… it’s just who we are- ALL OF US!

  • UrbaneDame

    You may want to weary of taking things at face value. Check out this piece about what the OKCupid study really tells us –

  • c

    we always want to talk about the beautiful single black woman. let’s take it a step further.
    yes. black women in American culture under-appreciated.
    yes. the more educated the more complex we make the issue.
    no. we never address the systematic racial inequality faced by both black men and women.
    have we noticed that this country pushes the issue of race in our face without addressing the fact that the incarceration rate of our black men increase?
    so tell me. who really causes the black woman to be unappreciated?

  • keith reed

    “it’s just who we are- ALL OF US!”

    Wrong. #fail. Agree to disagree. If that’s who YOU are, then OK, but then that might speak to whatever challenges you may or may not have in relationships. (Note, don’t take that statement as it wasn’t intended; I don’t know how you are in relationships.)

    No generation or group of people is all the same, and even if they start off one way, the smart ones learn which like-habits they have to purge in order to move up the ladder, whether it’s in their careers or relationships. Learning to stop making the same mistakes as everyone else is key to being better than everyone else. If you wanna own everybody else’s ish, go for it!

    But if all you know is short-sighted men and women who can’t get over themselves, you might wanna change your circle of friends.

  • LK

    Jozen, I unequivicolly disagree with the entire tone of this post. Apparently, many readers were left feeling good about this perspective, maybe because you used the word “beautiful” repeatedly or perhaps because you are soliciting your fellow neighbors to consider Black women as an option. Thanks for the promo, but Black women do not need compliments covered in the dirt of untruth. I resent the overall validation that Black women are invisible globally. I think this whole perspective further displays how arrogant and left brain many Americans have become. 

    There is this permiating Americanized mythology that Black women are not revered or seen as an image of historic beauty globally. Beauty is a very personal thing. It is subjective. Beauty cannot be argued or proved it is not a science. To say that we are invisible is a deeper rubbish. Ivisible to whom? Men? Where? If we are responding to American culture, Black women are very recognizable and very public, I think the average American can name a Black female actor, singer, author, politician, athlete, before they can name one of any other ethnic race or culture. Black women are desired and valued. America overlooks the value of every ethnicity outside of White Anglo Saxon. But does this scope of thinking make American beauty the standard? America was not a global standard of taste the last time I checked. In fact, there is no global standard.

    The truth is (and truth is my religion), all cultures revert to what they know. Most cultures gravitate towards their reflection. If we are looking at stats, Black women (globally) are marrying and mating outside of their ethnicity far more than Black men. Also, Black women are more likely to marry “up” or mate “up” when it comes to pedigree and scio-econic class. Black men (especially Black American men) are FAR more likely to mate “down” in pedigree and scio-econic class when it comes to dating outside of their ethnic group.

    I am not bothered by cross cultural dating, but I noticed that Black American men continually date “down” in pedigree when they do date across cultures. Why? There is some psychological mechanism going on and I am suggesting that it has nothing to do with “visibility.” The reality is, most White, Indian, Asian, Spanish women that are of higher social status would never seriously date or marry outside of their culture, thus you are only left with a particular pedigree of women, that would. Black men who are of a particular generational pedigree are more likely to seriously date/marry in their own ethnic group. 

    The tone in this post also leaves plenty of space for unclear definitions. When using the term “Black women” assume your are identifying a “cultural” definition and not a “melanin” definition. Black women come in all hues and with varying features, so if a man (of any color) truly wanted to date a woman with a particular look inside of our ethnic group, he surely could, we are the only cultural group that has women that look Asian/Indian/Spanish/White and still identify with the ethnic group of “Black.” Even still, you are stated most men just don’t “see” Black women at all. Since we can look like ALL groups, men in fact are not the physical attacwnt to Black, but the psychological culture of Blackness. I don’t know, the theory of (beautiful) Black women being invisible is getting weaker and weaker.  

    This post is Americanized left brain propaganda at its height. The view is not a global view, but more of a simplified myth based on opinion and a limited global understanding. Traveling may stimulate the barriers of a myth that many Americans play into through multi -media hype. Men/women/children have played into these falacies and subconciously adapted a false reality that is just an illusion.

    Be easy. 

  • Israel Twiddy

    What I’m curious to know is how come I notice lots of Asian ladies dating white guys these days, but I have never observed an Asian guy dating a white female. What is the reason for this?

  • Jen

    I just watched a short teen documentary, A Girl Like Me, and I thought of this post. I think it’s relevant because it features young black females and their perspectives on skin color, hair texture, etc.

    The teen filmmaker reconducts Dr. Kenneth Clark’s “doll test” (which was used in the Brown vs. Board of Education case) with young African American children with sobering results. It made me sad. We really need to get passed skin color and tone determining beauty.

    I’m a white female and my husband is Asian. We’ve been married for 15 years. It’s unusual but not unheard of.

    I enjoyed your well-thought-out comments.

  • karamel

    I had a similar experience, but the follow-up is that many of those men (black ones included) do not want to date a woman who is CULTURALLY black either. I woman who is used to working to support herself and doesn’t do the learned helplessness routine is out on her a$$ fairly quickly. I get a lot of men who would love to hang a poster of me on the wall above their bed (or in their bed), but not for a relationship. The minute I appear capable and emotionally independent and stable (and not overly impressed with whatever they THINK they have to offer-which is inevitably not themselves), they RUN. I even had one TELL me I wasn’t interested in a relationship because I didn’t let him buy me presents and show up at my job or re-arrange my schedule for him. We had just met. Another called me a tomboy because I didn’t accept a ride from him (also a new acquaintance). These men call me “hard” and manly for not playing the damsel in distress 24-7.
    Apparently that is the standard I’m up against.
    @ Jozen: What about that?

  • AlesiaMichelle

    wow… just check your stats my friend. If your data doesn’t add up your point is unvalid. Check your stats then rewrite your response, because sorry… The stats are wrong.

  • AC

    You claimed that this post is, “…the dirt of untruth,” but as you stated later on it is, “based on opinion,” and opinion isn’t always based on fact and it isn’t always black and white. You claim that black women aren’t invisible but based on your biased opinions,you have obviously taken what he said out of context. It was clear to me that he meant “invisible” in a romantic sense and not in the sense of popularity, talent, or wealth.

    You claimed that this post was a, “simplified myth based propaganda,” and from that statement you must mean that it was very closed-minded and somewhat ignorant and yet you have said that no non-black female of a “higher status” would ever date a black man, even though I have known that to be untrue, and if you were educated a little more you would know that statement to be untrue as well. Especially if you were informed about the many secret affairs that were held between rich white women and black men, in America’s history. It is true that cultures gravitate towards one another, but the post wasn’t arguing this fact, just implying that culture isn’t everything and from the many interacial relationships between asian women and white men, hispanic women and white men, and black men and white women, that much is obvious. This post was only giving an opinion (which is what it is and he never stated it to be anything more than that) based explanation as to why other ethinicites can’t seem get past the cultural boundaries in when it comes to black women.

    In my general opinion you seemed to be so angry at this post that you have taken everything out of context so that it could fit your theory that Americans are closed-minded individuals that play into the, “multi-media hype,” as opposed to what it is.

  • cheryl

    I have to disagree with the sentiment here a bit. The reason there are so many single, black women is because they have a chronic problem with picking the right men. How is it any man’s fault that black women have a habit of choosing the player and not the romantic (to use your terms within the blog). I mean really tis is annoying on so many levels. I have a great male friend who, frankly, is the bomb as a man. And his ex left him, and I gurantee you will be one of these women talking about the low number of elible black men, in the future. Hell, she is already dating white men as if there are no good brothas out there, and she HAD a great one. So I see this as frankly chickens coming home to roost.

  • kourtney douthard

    This is soo true,im 17 and im a black girl and i hate when people constantly ask me what race am i or what im mixed with because i have a “caramel’ skin tone and my hair is down my back, i have to be mixed with something else?,why cant i just be a beautiful black girl with long hair?,its like people think since they see a beutiful black woman/girl with long hair she has to mixed with something else and this is one thing that i find soo irritating and ignorant of people,and time and time again i have to CONSTANTLY tell people (mostly other black girls/women) that i am black its like i dont even like to add the fact that i also have french and native american blood because i dont want to be seen as a beautiful black/native american/french girl i want to be captured as a beautiful black young woman,because thats what i am.

    And as for the whole “dating outside the race” thing im straight on that one =),iv’e dated latino boys,white boys (itallian),black boys,and mixed boys before,BUT one thing i have noticed is that all the boys of caucasion deccent only seemed to be focused on one thing,SEX,rather than getting to know me they want to get to know whats under my skirt so i try to avoid white guys because it hurts me when i happen to be really into a white guy i cant get to know him because either they are always making sexual comments or just douche bags and its like i cant even take a white guy seriously when it comes to dating or relationships…i have yet to be proved wrong 😉

    And another thing i have been noticing,why do i constantly hear guys talk about how white women look better than black women? that is the most ignorant peice of crap i have ever heard in my 17 years!! like you said black women vary in all different size shapes and colors and in my opinion i think we are the most interesting and uniqe women in the world and any man who does’nt take the time out to give us a chance is truly missing out!

  • LilyG

    J man,

    As a black woman who dates by character over color, neither you nor Chris Rock are qualified to make sweeping generalizations about an entire race of women. I am not overwhemingly attracted to BM nor am I repelled by them. Limited your responses to the BW YOU KNOW. Trust, I am open and happily dating all ages and all races.

    Good day to you sir.

  • Adonis

    Thanks for pointing this out 

  • Najeema

    Beautifully written, glad I stumbled up on it, particularly given Satoshi Kanazawa’s unfounded study this week (May 15 2010). Thank you for holding all men accountable for neglecting to marvel in the beauty and diversity of the black woman.

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  • arsepolitico

    You sound prejudiced. There’s nothing in reality other than stereotype that gives you any reason to think that they are worse than the rest of the population.
    I think you need to check your baggage.
    Or keep doing the women you described the favor of showing them who you are without solicitation. That’ll work, too, I guess.
    Nevermind. Carry on.