You all have to excuse me, but I have been having the most interesting conversations with people lately and I just have to relay these talks I’ve been having.
The scene: My (Jamila’s) daughter is sitting on my lap and she’s on my iPhone looking at pictures of Richard Daley and his new girlfriend, ER physician Dr. Adele Joy Cobbs. I speak to an older black lady, a member of my family, in the room with us and tell her the former mayor has a young, beautiful, successful black girlfriend.
My daughter, still seated on my lap and now coming to an understanding that the old white guy in the picture and the young black women seated next to him are together says, “That’s his girlfriend?! But he’s white, and she’s black!”
“Yeah, that’s his girlfriend. People of different colors can date each other. You’ve seen mixed couples before.”
“Yeah, like when we’re downtown and you see a black person holding hands with a white person. Those two people are in a relationship with each other. You can date whomever you want, color doesn’t matter.”
Now the older lady steps in to the conversation.
Older lady: “Jamila’s daughter (not my daughter’s name, but you get the point), people of different colors can date each other, but you should only want to be with a black man. You should feel like black men are the best men because they are black like you, and you should always feel like you come from the best.”
Now let me say this: I understand where this woman is coming from. She’s middle-aged and grew up in a different time and has different experiences than I do.
But the problem with what this lady said is that she was trying–unintentionally, of course–to set my daughter up for failure when she begins dating. I mean, goodness gracious, my daughter is only 8 and this woman was already trying to get her on the ‘you shouldn’t want nothin’ but a black man’-bandwagon.
Nevermind mind that most of the marriageable women in this lady’s family are not married, including most with children. Many of these women are raising children who have little to no contact with their black fathers; but to heck with those facts, this lady wants young black girls to know that the best they can ever hope for is a black man. She didn’t mention anything about kindness, caring, understanding, hard-working, etc. Nope, his blackness is the key characteristic.
This would be a good time to introduce the 20th Law of Power, courtesy of author Robert Greene, who wrote The 48 Laws of Power: Do not commit to anyone.
When black women commit to black men–not even a specific black men, but just black men in general–without requiring reciprocity, without requiring anything for that matter, just committing to the idea that the only man who can love her and treat her right is a black man, she is closing off her options. And closing off your options, especially when you close them off prematurely, decreases your power.
When you decrease your options you become dependent. When you become dependent you become desperate. And when you become desperate you lose your ability to be objective and to make good choices. Basically, you become a sitting duck for any foolishness headed your way, just like the many black women who settled for trifling black men when they could have had a “good” (define that word how you like) black man or non-black man.
Black women, particularly older black women, need to be shut down when they attempt to plant the seeds of desperation and dependency in the minds of younger black women and girls.