Dr. Boyce Watkins; Essence Magazine – Black Women Bitter? Single? : ThyBlackMan

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Dr. Boyce Watkins; Essence Magazine – Black Women Bitter? Single?

September 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Misc., News, Opinion, Relationships, Sista Talk, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Essence Magazine’s Demetria Lucas (who I consider a friend after having her on my show once) recently hit on her oft-discussed topic of black women and relationships by questioning whether or not the stereotype of the single, bitter black woman is true.  Her words were a reflection of comments made by Ralph Richard Banks, a Stanford University Professor.  In a recent article for the NY Daily News, Banks said that “Stereotypes of Black women as angry or bitter are pervasive. They are also more accurate than many people would like to acknowledge.”

Of course Lucas takes issue with Banks words, even though she seemed to like him the week before.  Lucas had applauded Banks’ book, “Is Marriage for White People?,” stating that Professor Banks  “revealed he’d had an internal struggle  as a Black man writing about how so many Black men aren’t measuring up and are too often doing Black women dirty.”

But Lucas’ newfound love for Dr. Banks died once he stopped asking black men to do introspection and turned the mirror onto black women themselves.  That’s when Dr. Banks became just another author who was “under pressure to earn their royalties and that will make you do and say outrageous things to get attention.”  How quickly admiration can turn into disdain when someone stops saying what we would like to hear.

Though you can’t categorize an entire group of people, the truth is that the bitter black woman does indeed exist.  I once heard a therapist say, “My father was my first boyfriend, and when he broke my heart by abandoning me, I had a hard time trusting men ever again.”  In light of how many little girls are growing up without their daddies around, it’s inevitable that there are going to be millions of black women in dire need of a psychiatrist’s chair.  If my mother had abandoned me as a baby, it might be tough for any woman to gain the trust that my own mother (the ultimate woman, in my mind) had thrown into the garbage.

Whether their fathers were deliberately excluded from their lives or not (I’ve heard from a lot of men who were pushed out of their kids’ lives), the impact is the same nonetheless.   Additionally, there is a culture of hyper-masculinity among segments of the black male population, partially fueled by hip-hop music, that can lead us to treating women in ways that are everything but honorable (I still wonder why so many women are attracted to Lil Wayne, who rarely uses any favorable adjective to describe a woman).  So, in many cases, the bitter black woman can be the product of an insensitive black man, but the insensitive black man is often a product of dealing with bitter black women.  So, at the end of the day, they actually deserve one another – they exchange glances at the club, get sexually aroused, create a baby, get into a fight a few months later, and start a new relationship a few months later.  The dating-mating pattern is as predictable as anything you might see on the Discovery Channel.

We are all clear in understanding that there is something unique happening in the world of black love and relationships.  Couples are either not getting married at all, or staying married for 10 minutes, creating a chaotic cesspool of drama, dysfunction and severe baby-mama-itis.  What’s interesting to me is that nearly all of us play a role in the reasons that this chaos has come into existence, yet no one is willing to take responsibility.  The unhealthy state of black relationships has even added to the spread of venereal disease, since a single person likely has far more sex partners during a year than someone who is married.

Every love-seeker in the dating pool claiming that they can’t find the love of their life wants to believe that it’s always the other gender’s fault.  Some folks seem to enjoy sitting around and complaining about relationship drama, while spending almost no time wondering why they are always aiming their pole toward the contaminated fish.  Our friends tell us that there’s nothing wrong with us and that the rest of the world has become the problem.  But sorry, that’s just not good advice – a true friend can recognize your dating patterns and will tell you when you’re being stupid.

The truth?  If you’re not getting what you want out of life, there’s a good chance that you’re doing something wrong.  It’s not that the world has suddenly become horrible, that everyone is conspiring against your quest for perpetual happiness, or that you’ve somehow been the victim of a cultural tornado that is sweeping away all of your opportunities.  While the world can be a strange place sometimes, the reality is that most of us fail because we are not willing to make adjustments.

In all relationships, there are at least two minds, two lives, and two spirits trying to merge into one.  When that merger doesn’t happen in the right way, it can be heart breaking and debilitating.   Watching a chance at true love slip away is hurtful beyond words, and it also fills our hearts with regret, bitterness and rejection.  When a woman once ended my relationship for no good reason (other than being interested in another man), I temporarily felt that I’d been born on the wrong planet.  After all, I’d done everything right, so I couldn’t understand why this was happening to “poor little old me.”

But when you’re sitting alone and dealing with the person named Y-O-U, you ultimately have a choice.  You can either give up or you can keep trying.  You can remain stagnant or continue to grow.  You can moan, whine and wail over internal damage and give yourself an excuse to become a wretched human being, or you can elevate your spirit to find productive ways to seek out the love that God has intended for you.  There are millions of people around the world who have found the very thing you’ve deemed to be unobtainable, and in all likelihood it’s because they made a sacrifice that you were not wiling to make.

As most married folks will tell you, true love is not a blissful and marvelous fairy tale – it is a series of stressful, challenging sacrifices being made one after the other, all for the sake of maintaining the thing that you’ve chosen to build together.  This goes triple when you have kids.  The realistic description of the “marital fairy tale” doesn’t go over so well in the generation of “ME.”  Relationships have become like pieces of bubble gum that are spit out and replaced as soon as the sugar runs out.

No matter what choice you make (I personally believe that it’s OK to walk away from marriage), you have to keep in mind that the choice is always yours.  Your decisions are the only factor that you can control in this confusing process called “life.”  Blaming the rest of the world, presuming that an entire gender has conspired against you or burying yourself in a shell of scorn is not going to help you find true love.   In fact, you’re likely to attract the thing that you have chosen to become.

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition. For more information, please visit http://BoyceWatkins.com.



11 Responses to “Dr. Boyce Watkins; Essence Magazine – Black Women Bitter? Single?”
  1. Patsy says:

    Black people deserve reparation and the real one would be free education until university (including the Ivy Leagues whatever the level). I spoke to people from the African-American community who were in the army. Some had to stop their studies because the army doesn’t pay PhDs. They explained to me that it is perceived as a luxury. African-Americans deserve to go as high as they wish and get all the tools they need to go forward in life.

  2. James says:


    I’ve never seen or met you yet, I was just making some fine points regarding your posts (not picking on you; please don’t take it personal). I too have been through the mill with white men (while in the military, in school, etc. etc.) and, I’m very angry about a lot of things that some black men will not stand up to and correct in the legal & political arena. I wouldn’t censor myself either however, I’ll bet you my paycheck that if I were to post/say some of the things a lot of white politicians have/continue to say about blacks, President Obama, Madame First Lady Obama, and his current policies/agenda; I’d propbably be arrested on the spot and tried for treason.
    I emphasize this point because I’m 14 months away from my B.S Psychology-Substance Abuse, and I’ve been given every lie/excuse and “so-called official” reason by Management and our Local AFGE 515 why it’ll take me a lot longer to transfer to Mental Health Service (as an Intern); here at the Miami VA where I work yet, whites can get in before they get their degrees in a certain field.

    Sure, having high connections in the job market and other arenas is a plus; I’m just totally sick to my stomach that it’s not what you know;(education & common sense) that qualifies you anymore. Now it’s who you know. However, I’ll just keep pushing toward my goals because if the “whites” can start out as an intern at $68K a year; then so can I.

    Again, thanks for your posts and I hope we can continue dialogue on this issue; I’m willing to go the distance if you are. Who knows, maybe we’ll end up at the White House trying to make a “change” for the betterment of not only our race, but for others as well.

    Nothing beats a failure but a try. . . . .




  3. James says:


    That is so real and very true; whether other blacks choose to keep blinders on, remain in denial, and/or continue to destroy the very fabric of the black community (blaming it all on the ‘white man”); I think a lot of people just tend to “settle for less” however, the “blacksploitation” dynamics started in Philadelphia when the Declaration of Independence was signed by these so-called “forefathers” at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. I’m sure you’ve read the DOI if not, please read the entire document and it’s not hard to figure out why the caption “We The People” is written in bold and is at the beginning of this document.

    I stress that point because the term “We The People” refers to this country being formed/created by white people and for white people. Our anscestors just did the manual labor. Thus, it doesn’t surprise me that all these (white politicians/GOP/Tea Party>>>the Klan in suits); continue to bash President Obama yet, these same white politicians refuse to accept a Black President; they’re still in denial about the fact that Bush was a C average student who just happened to get elected the 43rd President of the United States yet, they seem to use various mediums and dialogue to also deflect the fact that the Bush family owned slaves (black & white); look at current laws in Texas regarding the treatment of blacks & other people of color;(Specifically; laws on the books regarding the Judicial System in Texas and, how many loopholes white & jewish lawyers use to make more $$$$ and keep our brothers & sisters locked up longer; even if they’ve been proven innocent in court of whatever crimes they commited to get locked up in the first place). Some of the same stuff is happening here in Florida; not just here in Miami but, the whole State of Florida.

    Like yourself, I’ve been all over the world (Army/Combat Veteran) and, I’ve seen a lot of the same “blacksploitation” in Germany, Italy, Korea, Japan, and the Middle East.

    However, I’m so grateful to GOD that I experienced and learned from/about other cultures and races. Elaine has a great point that THE BLAME GAME NEEDS TO STOP!!! When I blame, I must FIRST look at the 3 other fingers pointing back at me so, responsibility starts & ends with SELF; not other people, places, things, circumstances, situations, and/or outside entities.

    I’m out for now.

    Enjoy your weekend and be safe.


  4. Patsy says:

    You can think whatever you want about me but when I am being called by a white female a call girl when she heard by other people that I have a law degree I have EVERY RIGHT to be angry!!! I have been through hell with white people especially women and I wouldn’t be surprised that several of them have dated black men and they feel that they have to be vengeful toward me and by the way my other beautiful smart sisters. So, as long as the society will remain unequal, I won’t stay silent about their behavior and censor myself.

  5. James says:


    To be to the point; sounds like you’re a bitter black woman. I think it all boils down to the “heart & spirit” of a person (regardles of race). I’ve read the book and I would encourage yourself and other balck women to write a book on the same subject yet, from a “sista’s” point of view. I’m not picking on you; I just disagree with some of your statements about black men. Not all black men are insensitive and cruel to black women (only the black men who have self-estem issues). I’ve been on that side of the fence and until GOD pulled me out of my own self-created internal hell; I was close to being in a casket.

    I’ve been with my current lady for 10 years and, she’s a beautiful black woman. I think if brotha’s just TOTALLY stop treating our black women like a piece of meat then, maybe, just maybe, they’ll learn the fine points of your “black beauty” Not trying to toot my own horn but, I learned these fine points from my grandmother, aunts, & sisters. As a black woman, you deserve to be the “princess”; not white women although, I’m not racist/prejudiced; I just prefer the black woman over any other race of woman (not because I’m a black man);I learn more from/about how to treat black women from black women.

    Again, a lot of black men do not, refuse to, or just plain get so self-centered that they can’t even fathom how important it is to do the following regarding ALL black women:

    *** Learning to listen with the “heart” and not hear with the “ears”.

    *** Learn to appreciate the black woman as an individual person, and not try to change, mold, control, and/or put himself above the woman (regardless of race).

    *** Learn to respect and value the black woman’s character, mind, attributes, and her overall self-worth; (I’m not talking about the black woman’s physical attributes; these just add to and enhance her “inner beauty”).

    The list is very long however, this is not hard to learn and apply to SELF because no matter how it’s shaped, dressed, and/or verbalized; the bottom line is making SELF happy first.

    I would go on but I’ll stop here.

    Thanks a million for teaching me some points in your post that are valid & valuable.

    Be sweet; stay black & beatiful, and maybe you can pass this on to somebody else.


  6. patsy says:

    A Message to Dell Gines:

    When the statistics say that the Black community owns 3% of the White wealth, that we have been exploited for centuries and still are being exploited by them worldwide, I am so sorry but it is way beyond my issue. It is a fact that those people are dominating us and the world. Tha facts and the statistics are there even if you decide to remain blind!!! Most of White people have no empathy toward us because if they did things would have changed a loooooong time ago. They are accomplices to what is going on by doing pretty much nothing. I travelled the world and I know what I saw. I went to the five continents. We are exploited everywhere!!!

  7. Dell Gines says:

    Patsy, my wife is white and we have been together since I was 19 (18 years now), and she bore me 5 wonderful children, homeschooled them all up to 7th grade, stuck by me when I was broke, works to bring extra income in the family so the budget balances, and takes meticulous care of herself physically. So outside of her color, which is your issue not mine, why wouldn’t I want to be married to her?

  8. Patsy says:

    I noticed that when a White man marries a Black woman, he always takes the cream. I can’t say the same thing for many black men. Any white women will do. I have a great example to give. A close black guy that I know since my childhood never dated a black woman. The only one he was attracted to was a very light skin with fair traits. She was very smart and was going to attend medical school. Now he has a child with an obese white woman. He would never take a black woman of this size! It seems that too many times the criteria has to be higher when it is about a sister. The mother of this guy told me that he never put the garbage outside the house when she was raising him. Guess what? He does it for his white woman!!! I strongly encourage people to read this book: http://www.amazon.com/Why-Black-Love-White-Women/dp/B001PO67M0/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315881005&sr=1-1 and I am glad that it is a black man who loves his sisters who wrote it. Because if we penned it, they would say again that we are bitter!

  9. Eleanie says:

    “So, in many cases, the bitter black woman can be the product of an insensitive black man, but the insensitive black man is often a product of dealing with bitter black women.”

    I just wonder when will the blame game stop.

  10. Patsy says:

    I can understand why some black women are bitter. There are black men who treat their sisters like trash but they treat white women like a princess. Some of them have a serious inferiority complex. White women don’t age well, I really don’t see what they find in them. When they are finished with them, many white women make black females pay on the job market. Why? Because Lily White who think that she’s so superior to us cannot believe that a black men mistreated her or dumped her! Most of other men from other ethnic groups appreciate their women and don’t look that much for interracial relationships.


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