Black Women, Can We Talk?

What is the difference between “desperation” and “reality?” This is a question I have been pondering since I went to a panel discussion last weekend on the HIV/AIDS epidemic among African Americans.

On this panel was controversial author JL King, or better known to the world as “the down low guy.” I guess he makes his living nowadays going around the country stressing the importance of being honest about one’s sexual behavior. Hey, looking at the most recent HIV rates among black women, somebody has to do this. Anyway, King is best known for his ground-breaking book, On the Down Low: A Journey into the Lives of 'Straight' Black Men Who Sleep with Men, which chronicles his undercover bisexual ways while he was still married to his wife.

The soaring HIV rate among black women who were infected by black men living on the “down low” is terrifying proof of how this problem has impacted the African-American community. While King was quick to point out that all gay and bisexual black men should not be vilified for the HIV epidemic and that BOTH partners are responsible for taking measures for having safe sex, he also said that many black women are just so “desperate” to get AND keep a black man, that sometimes they are willing to overlook obvious signs that their man is having ‘side deals’ at the risk of not only their health, but also their dignity. Though he admits that he was wrong to be carrying out a secret life and putting his wife at risk of an STD, why was his wife not seeing the obvious signs, or did she?

Today, it is said that there are not many romantic opportunities for African American women due to many factors. After eliminating black men who are openly gay, date interracially, broke or incarcerated, there are not many options for black women, and these women will take desperate measure to snatch up ANY available man because of pressure from family and friends to settle down.

I have to admit that I haven’t dated in a while…okay, a long while. Being a journalist, I am busy person with limited free time, but not so limited that I don’t have a social life. I am relatively okay looking, financially stable and very out-going, but not able to find the right man.

I like to think to myself sometimes “I am just waiting for Idris Elba to come to his senses and finally get around to proposing to me.” But sometimes you can only live in a fantasy world for so long.

But, believe me, I would not date a man who I suspected even slightly might be batting for the other team. I am not that “desperate.” Other women might be “desperate,” but this might be the “reality” of the dating world for most black women today.

It is a “reality” that a great deal of our men are in prison, gay, interracially inclined or otherwise not available to be a partner. While it is okay to have an ideal in mind when seeking out a mate, should we also consider opening up to other dating options?

1. Interracial dating
There is a theory that black women feel obligated to “racial solidarity,” due to America’s racial history. However, some say that if black men are going to dating interracially, why not black women.

2. Lesbianism
You have to be really “open-minded” to consider having a female partner, but like Samantha from Sex and the City once said “I’m a try-sexual – I will try anything at least once.”

3. “Dating Down”
The growing number of college-educated, professional black women has created an interesting construct of class within the black community. Many of these black women refuse to date a man who is not also college-educated and has a six-figure job.

Personally, lesbianism is out because I am not inclined that way at this time, although I am open-minded and very supportive of my LGBT friends and fans. I have done interracial dating and, like any other dating partner, there are pluses and minuses to this, but I personally prefer black men. Dating down is the most interesting to me. I am a college-educated professional and have no problems with dating someone who is less educated and has a lower paying job. All and all, at the end of the day I want to be with someone who is good to me.

I am really just saying all this to start a conversation on this timely subject.

Are black women desperate or realistic about the romance department?


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At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 1:45:00 PM, Anonymous Craig said...

I am tired of this discussion that a good black man is hard to find. I don’t think it is desperation or realism. The real problem is that some black women have too many high expectations (bling, money) that sometimes it just turns off black men. And some of y'all have bad attidtudes. And you wonder why we date white women.

At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 2:09:00 PM, Anonymous Cece, Newark said...

I think we have to remember that there are also brothas who are intimidated by dating black women who make more money than them. So sometimes it isn’t the black woman’s fault.

At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 2:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like to think to myself sometimes “I am just waiting for Idris Elba to come to his senses and … get a better agent who can get him into better movies.”

I loves me some Idrissa with his fine British, chocolately ass, but if he doesn’t get into some better acting roles right quick, I might have to dump his ass over the side. Even his female fan base has standards. Good lawd – Prom Night – come on now! Hello, is anyone home in Idris’ head?!?

At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 2:37:00 PM, Anonymous Shay Shay, South London said...

@ Cece, lol for making that point

I’m not desperate to get married. I’m 39 and still not married yet. If I don’t find the right love match, that’s fine with me for now. I am not interested in a gay relationship or dating interracially. Sometimes it’s a reality that there are going to be women who will remain single for the rest of there lives.

At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 2:39:00 PM, Anonymous Lion of Judah said...

Hmmm…maybe your “future husband” is on the DL too. How come you never see Idris with a woman in public? Even for a man with such a large “female fan base?” I understand celebrities wanting to have privacy, but something’s odd with him. He is so secretive or paranoid about even admitting if he is in a relationship.

At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 2:56:00 PM, Anonymous Marissa said...

I am glad we are having this discussion. There are too many African American women dying from AIDS. I have 2 good friends who have died from it in the last 3 years. Both of them had good-for nothing-boyfriends. One was on the DL and apparently sleeping with every guy that crossed his way. The other had two baby mamas and was still sleeping with them. Black people we have to wake up to this AIDS madness. People get AIDS from anyone – whether a DL man or a promiscuous straight man.

At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 2:58:00 PM, Anonymous Crystal in DC said...

Isn’t British synonymous with gay?

Anyhoo, do you guys remember reading the Wash Post article on a black woman looking for love, but can’t find the right man. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/07/AR2006100701070.html

At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 3:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can you be implying that my boo Idris is on the DL? I have friends who saw him in a nightclub (Dj Driss Stand Up!) last year in ATL talking to all the ladies. So, please put that gay theory back “in the closet.” Plus, he has a daughter.

At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 3:19:00 PM, Anonymous Andrea said...

I don’t believe in this desperate or realistic crap. If a black woman wants to find some love, she will find it. Some black women are happy dating any black man, or white man, or lesbian, or whatever so long as the person respects her. I don't believe in this thought process that there are no good black men, sometimes they are right in front of you, but you are not paying attention. Frankly, a black man with education and a good job isn't enough for me. If the man respects me, no matter what line of work he is in or college degree or not, that's what matters. Black women don't have to resort to DL men.

At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 3:19:00 PM, Anonymous Lion of Judah said...

JL King has a daughter too…my point exactly.

At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 3:49:00 PM, Anonymous Mariam W. in Charlotte, NC said...

I love my black brothers. Some of them are good, and some are not. I have been married to a wonderful black man for 7 years and have 3 kids together. He is not perfect and nor am I, but I love him and he is good to me. I am not ready to give up on my brothers. Love is not desperate, it’s real.

At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 10:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Black women giving birth to their own worst nightmares and in so many ways

Can't blame the white man for being a sodomite

Thank God for Hell


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