Visualize this reality show script:
Three Black men sipping coffee or tea at Coffee Makes You Black restaurant discussing why they can’t find the perfect—or near perfect—Black woman for long-term relationships; maybe even marriage.
A fourth brother, who has been married for over 20 years was so taken by the discussion that he left his nearby table and still hot chicken and waffles to interject with comments based on his “past” experiences and two-decade long marriage.
The three bachelors are prime material for marriage. Each is college educated, and career minded. One describes himself as Christian, another spiritual (meaning he belongs to the CME church—attending church on Christmas, Mother’s Day and Easter at his family’s request) and the third is African Muslim. Or is that Muslim from Africa?
Under questioning, none of the brothers used drugs (weed falling into the category that former President Bill Clinton placed oral sex in), smoked cigarettes, or drank excessively (the Muslim didn’t drink at all).
The West African is an entrepreneur, the youngest of the trio is a civil servant and the third works for one of Milwaukee’s largest corporations.
Two are over 30, and the youngest brother would only say he’s not far behind. In any event, all are in the prime of their lives, and have been in search of Ms. Right for most of their adult lives—which means they have sowed their oats—wheat, barley and hay.
(“Women throw themselves at you if you drive a nice car, have any kind of articulate game and aren’t showing your underwear,” one of the brothers explained.
(“Now I’m looking for a woman who doesn’t give it up in the first ten minutes, or wants me to be her next baby’s daddy.”)
Two of the brothers—God forgive—have seemingly set their sights “too” high: they want a sister who shares their value foundation, is educated, career minded, and…this is a big “juxtaposition”—doesn’t have children!
Actually, the quasi-Christian is starting to waiver on that latter requirement, given that the pool of eligible Ms. Rights is significantly reduced when that criterion is applied, he explained. He said he theorized that a sister without children is generally better educated, career oriented and doesn’t define herself solely as a mother.
But that sister is becoming increasingly harder to find.
In truth, today, it’s harder to find a woman without children than it is to find a virgin, a Black person who isn’t suspicious, if not afraid of police, or a Black owned corner grocery store.
(I’m not going to get into the childless sister discussion because I remember what happened when MCJ editor Thomas Mitchell had the “audacity” to reveal he was looking for a Christian woman without children. He was almost tarred and feathered. Obviously, we have gone so far to the left of our Christian and/or African cultural paradigm that to follow in our parent’s footsteps is considered blasphemous.
(When I was growing up, 80% of the Black households were nuclear families. Today, 70% of the Black households are headed by a woman; and most are trapped in poverty. And though there are a myriad of social ills that come out of that regressive paradigm, Black leaders, including ministers and Democratic Party politicians are afraid to discuss it, much less provide leadership.
(But that’s another column for another day. Back to the subject at hand.)
The three brothers have dated to varying degrees and each is interested in marriage, family and the American dream. (I’m frequently paraphrasing their comments, or taking other liberties for editorial purposes. Obviously, none wanted their names mentioned out of fear of retaliation…and missed opportunities):
Brother “A” lives the true bachelor’s dream; he dates twice a week, with different women, and makes no secret of his refusal to “commit” until he is overwhelmed by Ms. Right.
Brother “B” has been involved in three serious relationships in the last five years, but because of his work schedule and civic demands has not been able to take any of his past relationships to the next level. As he is getting older, he says he hovers around clubs for prospective “dates,” but peruses his church, professional networks and lecture halls for Ms. Right. He said one of his options was a White woman, but he shied away because his family frowned on that prospect.
He has wavered somewhat on his declaration of a few years ago that he will not date a woman with a child, although he remains leery of “baby daddy drama”.
He remains fast to his criteria that his future mate be an “educated, articulate Christian (Muslim, Buddhist or original Hebrew) who shares his value system.”
He wants a sister who has served time participating in a civil rights campaign, wears an end police killing t-shirt because she is an activist and not because it matches her outfit, and can tell you who her alderman, governor and the secretary of state is.
That’s easier said than done, and interestingly, many “sisters” get mad at the brother for even suggesting that he can be so “choosy”.
Brother “C” is an African who moved to America to attend graduate school and stayed because Milwaukee has a vibrant Nigerian community.
He remains confused by the mindset of Black American women, who he believes are strong, determined, self-confident and self-assured, yet dismissive of cultural values and God ordained mandates.
Far too many are promiscuous, unnecessarily bossy and demanding, and unwilling to assume traditional roles.
(Even I must admit the brother came across as being chauvinistic, but that’s true of most African brothers I know. He even admitted that polygamy is acceptable in his area and that his father had “several” wives and dozens of children.
(Gender roles are more defined in most African nations, with the nuclear family serving as the foundation.)
The moderator of the discussion, who said his wife has been married for 20 years while he has been married for 18, went through the trials and tribulations of dating until finding what he called “his life partner”. Marriage, he said, requires a lot of hard work, sacrifice and lip (and tongue) biting.
Black women are the most beautiful, engaging, and nurturing women on the planet, he offered. They have held up the Black nation against seemingly insurmountable odds, through slavery, Jim Crow and institutional racism.
They can be as feminine as any and yet as strong as they need to be. There is a reason why God created them first and all others came from their seed. But there’s also a reason why God gave Black men big lips—we have more butt to kiss.
African American women have been forced into roles God didn’t intend (or maybe She did).
Many have had to be tough as nails along with being smooth as silk. Because they have had to be the backbone, often the provider and the anchor, they have acquired a disposition that often seems hostile or overly aggressive.
And marriage, God’s first institution and the foundation of civilization has become obsolete since the interracial marriage of the welfare woman to Uncle Sam. Welfare forced the already discriminated against Black man out of the household and rewarded the sisters for having more and more children.
Patrick Moynihan predicted the consequences of that 50 years ago, but Black leaders rejected his revelations. Nor did we understand that, as the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan once observed, “welfare spelled backwards is farewell—to human dignity and self-respect”.
Couple that societal paradox with a sexual explosion, the weakening of our Africentric values and mores and our blind adherence to a political system that benefits from our status, and you have a new archetype in which only a few view marriage and the nuclear family concept as life goals.
Of course, that’s an over-simplifiction, as there are a number of other variables, but it was enough to engage the brothers in an enlightening conversation.
To further set the stage the moderator explained:
“My marriage has been a roller coaster ride; it has its ups and downs. I married a strong-willed Black professional woman, and we still fight over control.
“We’ve learned to compromise—sometimes. But it’s hard work because she’s constantly trying to define what a good Black man is. If she’s happy, I’m a good Black man. If she’s not, it’s always my fault, I don’t listen, we don’t communicate, or all men are emotionally immature and hard-headed.”
The moderator threw out a handful of questions while the four brothers were chatting, and then stood back and enjoyed their honesty and insight.
Question: Many sisters seem to believe the rumor that there’s a shortage of good Black men. Is it true, and what is a “good Black man?”
Hmmm, have I secured your interest? Well, unfortunately, we’ve run out of space, so I’ll have to continue this discussion next week.
Visualize this reality show script: