Thursday, February 21, 2019

He Say/She Say: Black Love In 2018.

July 2, 2018 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Relationships, Weekly Columns

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( I wish that I could have dismissed the ridiculous assertion as yet another occasion of “Uncle Remus” taking over the spirit of yet another black man. This “Uncle Remus” tale was outlandish as all of the other theories regarding why black women cannot find a “good black man”; however, this one was somehow different, maybe because it held some truth to it. One thing was sure, it was a familiar tale among the black men assembled on this occasion.

These black men just happened to come together as black men often do, for no apparent reason at all. Now, I do not want you to get the idea that those gathered had anything in common, in fact, many of them did not know each other. One thing was for sure, none of them had failed to be struck by one of cupid’s arrows; nothing could be further from the truth. Many of those gathered were happily married, others not so happily, while others were in some stage of a relationship; meaning engaged, still looking, or simply resigned to dating until one of cupid’s sharpened arrows unexpectedly descended from the sky. One thing was sure; everyone had something to say about this thing called “Black Love.”

I am confident that many may wonder why I term these particular matters of the heart as “Black Love” and not love; well, that matter is answerable. Anyone in Black America can tell you that blackness makes everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING more challenging. Yes, even in the realm of love as cupid’s arrows seemingly have a more difficult time piercing the skin of African-Americans; in those moments where the arrow does penetrate the surface, it apparently does not go deep enough as black folk often find themselves out of love at the same rate that they fell in love.

It is the difficulty surrounding “Black Love” that drove the following impromptu conversation between a random population of black men. By the time that I left, this collective of men whose ages ranged from their twenties through retirement age had espoused for hours on the perils of being an educated and gainfully employed black man seeking love in “the killing fields.” A place I would soon learn that even the purest conceptions and understandings of love died an excruciatingly painful death. From the opening of this conversation, it was evident that each of these black men believed that much of what was bantered about in public arenas regarding the lack of marriageable black men was foolhardy.

One ebony skinned thirty-something-year-old who worked as an engineer grew visibly angry at the insinuation that there are no educated, gainfully employed, black men interested in forming a monogamous union with a black woman. This brother passionately pled to no one in particular that

“What I want is the love that my parents and grandparents had. Now, I do know that it was built over years of giving and take, however, it seems that things are so toxic between black men and women that it is impossible to even to meet a person through a chance meeting. If you are not introduced to a woman through a mutual acquaintance, it is nearly impossible to make a connection.”

When reminded of the crazy times that we live in, the brother somewhat retreated from his issues regarding how difficult it was to meet a total stranger.

“I understand all that y’all are saying. And whether you realize it or not, it supports my point about making a connection. You do realize that if things are so bad between black men and black women in general that they view absolute strangers through a lens of skepticism and fear that there is little room for even an introduction. Now, I’m not ignorant to the fact that much of the concern that black women are exhibiting is flowing from failed relationships that either they or some woman in their close circle has experienced. However, the truth of the matter is that if their view of us is so damaged, there is no way that they will ever be able to see any of us and who we really are.”

In the moments that this brother paused after making his point, another brother in his mid-twenties filled the silence by articulating his voluminous frustrations with his dating experiences.

“I’ll tell Y’all; I’m constantly meeting sisters who lump me in the same pile as no good brothers who have never accomplished anything in their life. It is as if I’m an invisible man.” This young man released nervous laughter as he espoused, “I swear to you that sisters can be looking square in my face and still do not see me.”

“Man, please!!!!! You brothers just see the tip of the iceberg.” It was at this moment that a brother that I did not know who appeared to be well past his fifties entered into the conversation. “You wait until you get into your forties and realize that both black men and black women are on an endless merry-go-round of relationship disasters that makes their problems more and more difficult to deal with. I hear you young brothers placing the blame on black women for relationship failures; however, after you have a series of relationship failures, you will be just like them; hopelessly messed up and distrustful of everyone and everything good that comes into your life. I’ll tell you the truth; I used to be that way, always waiting for the other shoe to drop, until I found the secret of relationship success.”

We all stood there waiting on this somewhat comedic individual to finish his statement.

“Oh, Y’all want to know the secret of relationship success. Heck, the secret is just not to have a committed one; that way there isn’t no pressure nor expectations on either party. When I want some company, I have women that I can call and when they want the same, I make myself available. Anything other than that, especially if it includes a black woman, is destined for failure.”

As expected, this conversation continued for hours, an incredible feat when one considers that by the time I exited over half of the original participants had exited. Fortunately for the sake of the conversation continuing, they were replaced by others who offered similar commentary regarding the state of “Black Love” and why there were so few victors in this arena.

I’ll tell you that I exited the conversation with mixed feelings as I was one of the select few who was happily married, yet I would be less than truthful if I did not share that I understood the resounding frustrations that these “good brothers” shared. There were endless tales of how they had been passed over by women who preferred “bad boys” or betrayed by women who misrepresented not only who they were, but also what their intentions were.

Unfortunately for all parties involved, meaning both black men and black women, there are no guarantees when one is pursuing love. Although I did not doubt the truthfulness of the stories, situations, and never-ending frustrations of the black men assembled on this date, I have lived long enough and have had enough conversations with educated heartbroken black women to realize that there are innumerable stories and matching frustrations found within that populace.

Although I did not know the background of those assembled for this impromptu session regarding “Black Love” well enough to offer this commentary, however, I am confident in saying that a few of those griping about their frustrations with finding love have at some point in their lives played the villain role in the presence of an honest and well-intentioned woman.

Nevertheless, it is the arena of relationships that best displays the contentiousness that exists between black men and black women. This undeclared war has caused many black men to view the women in our midst as wild game to be hunted, captured, and released. Such dubious actions have further eroded the black women’s views of black men and made the securing of “Black Love” all the more difficult.

I’ll tell you, any serious pondering on the relationship issues involving black men and black women leaves one with a sense of hopelessness and frustration. It is difficult to argue against the mountain of evidence that black men and black women are at each other’s throat. Most upsetting is that there is no easy way out of this mess. Far too frequently, the emotionalism surrounding matters of the heart preclude combatants from realizing that many of the factors that have disrupted what should be a relatively smooth process do not have their origins within Black America. Nevertheless, black men and black women find themselves hateful, distrustful, and uncooperative at an unconscionable level. How do we conquer these hurdles standing between us and love? I have not a clue. All that I can say is that at least we have the future.

And hopefully, we can get this mess corrected in that space.

Staff Writer; Dr. James Thomas Jones III

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One may also connect with this brother via TwitterDrJamestJones.

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