Freshly crocheted dreadlocks swung in unison, falling slightly below her shoulders, drawing my eyes to her slim waist and protruding lower half. Covered by a modest dress, she left more to be desired. She held a torn and tattered Bible in her right hand, indicating hours of studying and living with God’s word. Her walk embodied soul music, not the kind found on the radio but the kind found on city street corners, poetry lounges, and in Grandparents’ vinyl collections. Her joys and fears, anxieties and triumphs radiated from her skin just as much as the melanin. We are related–not by blood but by spirit–a match felt most at the heart. Her eyes captivate me, keeping my attention strictly on her mind as we discuss life, love, and our communities. “I wish these black men would step their game up. Too many of them act so immature and they’re always avoiding responsibility. Where are all the real men at? … (Sigh) I’m gonna end up marrying a white man.” As these words poured from her mouth, I heard the frustration in her voice and watched the despair on her face. It was as if she had been unwillingly subjected to a life behind bars. I ask her, “Do you think marrying a white man is helping the problem or hurting it?” She paused, and then replied, “It’s not my fault there are so few successful black men. I just want to be loved.”
This is where the problem lies with black men and women. There is a fundamental disconnect. It is all of our faults collectively that there aren’t that many “successful” black males and females. Though we have been systematically separated since slavery, we stay separated partly due to our own mentalities–which are born from the situation the original separation produced. The oppressor society benefits from us hating each other. It is by design. Divide and conquer. As long as we remain at odds with one another, how can we ever expect to rise together as an entire community? Black men and women need to stop thinking individually and more cohesive. We are a unit. We have always been a unit. We function best as a unit. Once we begin to think of ourselves as a team then we can look at how society has continually tried to split us up. We can redirect our anger away from one another and towards an unjust society. However, in doing so, we must not simply place the blame for our condition against the system. We have to take on responsibility and hold ourselves personally accountable for our actions as well as the actions of our counterparts and community.
Black women it is your fault there aren’t as many “successful” black men as you would like because when loving black men becomes difficult, you choose the easier route. You condemn us instead of accepting the calling to nurture us. It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a bunch of strong, loving black women IN that village to raise a black male. For you to negatively criticize and condemn black males, without much sympathy towards our collective struggle, you are only part of the problem. It is easier to shun than to love. The reason why you have to take responsibility is because no one else will! No other race cares about us the way you do! Us black men don’t even care enough to save ourselves! Love produces love and abandonment produces more abandonment. Please, save me from myself and Love me.
Black men it is our fault our women feel abandoned. It’s because we don’t take the time to gain the knowledge and realize that we try to play a game that isn’t made for us to win. As long as we keep playing by the oppressor’s rules, we will continue to fall into the same life traps (jail, drugs, unemployment, etc). It is up to us to demand change. We need to be part of a society where our presence is needed and from that we can provide for ourselves and our families. We have to realize that sellin’ drugs, pimpin’ hoes and blowin’ money fast are community breakers, not builders. We have to realize that us endorsing these issues only makes us look like clowns. Meanwhile, other communities leave us in the dust. We must realize that being smart is cool. And where I’m from (Cheaptown, USA) blowing money fast is NOT COOL. We too, are also guilty of thinking too individually. We think having the flyest clothes and most money equates to manhood. Meanwhile the Gucci CEO doesn’t give a damn about us and our little cousin can’t afford to go to college. Our women feel abandoned because of the countless “successful” black men they see in society married to white women. We see the white man as having power. So we strive to do anything we can do to be like him–even take his women. He will even encourage us to TRY to become like him but the fact is we will never become him. When we do so much jockeying in an attempt to be like him, we ultimately turn our backs and look down on our own.
Black men and women it is up to us to take our community back. It is a shame that 7 out of 10 black children grow up in single parent households. The cycle will continue unless we take individual and communal responsibility. No one else will save us. If we are all surrounded by positive and long-lasting relationships the chances of our own relationship being positive and long-lasting, skyrockets. So bruh, if it’s out of love, then marry that white girl (Yeah… I said it!). Love sees no color boundary. But if you are marrying her because you think it will give you status or you will be free from “attitude,” forget it. You’re still gonna hear her complaining about you not being emotional plus the cops, court system, and banks still think yo’ ass is black. So come on home, at least there will be some good food (with seasoning on it).
To all the black women in my life and to the ones I’ll meet in the future, thank you for saving me.
“I’ma do the best I can do, cuz I’m my best when I’m with you.” – Common – “Come Close To Me”