Gender Conflict

Open Thread: Reader Questions Her Commitment to ‘Black Love’

Some people wonder why this blog continues to talk about black men in reference to black women dating interracially. It would seem at the surface, that since we have moved on, there should be no further discussion.
However, many black women don’t come to the decision of opening up their dating options just because of preference. They are slowly taking the blinders off and seeing something that they hoped with their heart of hearts they would never see. There’s a cognitive dissonance going on, and many black women come here because there is simply no other place for them to turn where they can feel safe and voice their hurt, frustration, and conflicting feelings.
We do that here. We let them talk. We let them empress. We let them mourn, and we give them the courage they need to move on. And THAT’S why we circle back to discussions about black men. I know this makes some people both in and out of the swirl community uncomfortable, so I suggest you move along. We’ve got a wonderful story about black women exercising and how good watermelons taste when they’re home grown. But on this thread, we WILL hash this out.
I’m leaving this an open thread to address this woman’s concerns and her enlightenment, because I know this community has so much knowledge, I can leave it to you. By now, all of you know my feelings about this.
Take a read at the letter below. I’ve underline and bolded portions of this letter because it is so typical of the average black woman’s experience that it can no longer be ignored.
Hi Christelyn,
I have been reading your site and I am hoping for some advice. I am sure that you’re busy so forgive me if this is too long.
I’ve always preferred Black men because of our history and culture and I am physically attracted to them. However, I also can look at a white man (and many other races of man) and find him handsome. Even though, I am attracted to all races of men, I always thought that Black men and Black women had a special bond because of  our culture and the way we’ve been treated globally. You would think we would be our own support system, but it doesn’t seem so any more.
When I got older, I began to notice that a cultural rift between black women and black men was developing. I noticed that as proud as I was of my culture and as tied to my roots and history as I was, so many young Black men, especially, just did not seem to care.
I had black male acquaintances, relatives and family friends who wouldn’t even date Black women or if they did date bw, it was never serious and they delayed marriage for years, so much so, that  black women weren’t marrying at all. But, I noticed when these same Black men were with non-bw, the question got popped usually much faster, like within a year max. My black woman cousin and my friend were both hurt this Christmas because they thought their long time boyfriends (who were black) would propose to them. One has been dating and loving the guy for four years and she was heart-broken that she didn’t get a ring this xmas. I worry that the guy may never propose to her because some black men think it’s okay to string bw along and they don’t take us seriously in terms of marriage.
I notice all these things, but I kept quiet about them because I didn’t want to judge all Black men based off of this. I still don’t. But, the turning point finally came when I went on YouTube, innocently researching for a college paper (ironically a paper about slavery in the US), and came across a YouTube video by a Black man who was  verbally abusing, berating and demeaning  ALL Black women. I was sickened by what I heard. I never in my life would have expected to hear some of the hurtful things being said about Black women… from a Black man. I later discovered that there were literally hundreds of videos like this about black women
(95% by bm) on youtube and I was crushed. My self-esteem was just wounded so much by this. Couple that with the actions of the black men I mentioned earlier and you can only imagine how that made me feel. Even the white guys who I went to school and college with(some of whom were very conservative and close-minded) did not stoop to the levels of these Black men on YouTube. I would expect racist behavior from a close-minded, conservative white male, but I always thought that Black men, of all people, would know how it feels to be mistreated based on skin color. 
So, for the first time, I wondered if maybe I was holding onto the past in terms of my expectations for marriage with a black man. I thought about my father and grandfathers, who were and are all wonderful black men and above all, beautiful human beings who cared for their families. I wanted to build a legacy like that with a Black man too. I was proud of my culture and still am, but when I see some of the things I am seeing, it makes me feel like I am living in the past with my hope for finding a Black husband and building a black culture. Most Black men may not be “marrying interracially” on paper, but most black men also aren’t marrying at all. I feel like some black men love to string black women along, but when they get with a non-bw, then they want to take her seriously and pop the question. It’s too much emotionally for me. I’ve never been a so-called “strong black woman,” I am vulnerable and was raised to cry when I’m hurt and ask when I need help.
I  find some white men to be handsome, I enjoy their lighter colored eyes, (although i still love brown) but because of our history and cultural differences, I have always been turned off by them in a romantic sense. It seems there is just a gulf between white men/black women when it comes to their understanding of the black experience and that is because their white privilege blinds them. However, after some of the hurtful words and experiences with Black men, honestly I feel like if i’m going to be mistreated like that from black men any way, i might as well just go with a non-black man. I also worry that if I continue going down this path with Black men, i may very well end up alone and never get the family life that I’ve always wanted and grew up with.
But, it is not fair to default to white men because of some negative experiences with Black men and because the black culture is deteriorating. I wouldn’t want to do that to any man, including a white man, but emotionally I cannot HELP, but crave that protection and validation from white men because  i am so emotionally wounded by the hurtful words and treatment by certain black men. I never felt this way before encountering the mistreatment that I did.
Intellectually, I tell myself that it is wrong to seek that validation and that I need to judge people as individuals, but emotionally, I want that validation. Part of me knows that if I am with a white man, then I am going to get a certain degree of protection and I would feel beautiful and valued because he chose me. But the logical part of my brain is telling me this is the wrong way to think and that I am cheating, not only the man who I become involved with, but myself by going into a relationship with that mentality.
I want to be with a man because I love him as a person, not because I think his skin color will bring me validation or protection. I despise that mentality, yet emotionally, i crave the protection and value from white men that, some black men, it seems, are  unwilling  or unable to offer.
It is ironic because I never felt comfortable around white men when I was younger, but now after hearing some of the hateful things from black men, I feel so unprotected, so despised and so unwanted that I don’t even care if a white man doesn’t understand the black experience any more, I just want to be safe and cared for.  ?Even if a white man doesn’t understand everything that I go through as a black person, at least he could give me the protection and care that i crave. i hate that i feel this way.
But at the same time, part of me is saddened because I know that institutional racism & white privilege are a large part of the reason that Black men haven’t been able to give Black women the support that we need  and I feel like I am abandoning them and going to the group of men who have benefitted the most from the very system that has destroyed us, as a people. While, I completely see and empathize with Black men because institutional racism is an issue,  I cannot fathom why some Black men would be so cruel to Black women and take their anger out on us. There is no excuse for that and it hurts terribly, but what can I do?
I also feel guilty because, if I become involved with a white man,  I don’t want to just default to him for that protection and validation, that is not fair to him. He is an individual too, he is a human being and  I want to connect with him as a human being, love him, care for him, support him and give him what he needs.
Of course, white men are far from perfect and yes, some can be ignorant about Black people,  but emotionally,  I cannot stop wanting that feeling of being protected and safe and I know a white man can more readily provide that, ironically, because of the very privilege that has historically disenfranchised black people as a collective.
Needless to say, I am very confused and don’t know what to do.
BTW: I’m so grateful for You Tube. It has single-handedly exemplified the utter CONTEMPT some black men have for black women in real time, and in living color.
Ladies and gents, take it away.
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