Let’s Talk About Something Else: 3 Conversations That Steal Black Women’s Joy

May 6, 2013  |  

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By Kara Stevens

It never fails. You and your girls decide to get together after work or over the weekend to catch-up. The conversation starts light and airy; the usual—shoes, annoying coworkers, and recaps on all of your favorite ratchet reality shows. But then it happens. The conversation that was doing a good job of lifting your spirits, nurturing your soul and keeping you positive, reveling in your “young, gifted, and black” abundance goes awry and stays there when one of you kills the mood by bringing up doom and gloomtype topics that, without question, suck all the joy out of being a black woman.

If you or anyone in your crew is looking to audition for a Waiting to Exhale sequel, keep the following conversations flowing:

Conversation #1: Ain’t No Good Black Men Left

This kind of talk gives black women the toxic message that, unlike any other race, we are exceptionally unlucky in love and that most of our men do not know how to sustain healthy, enduring, and loving relationships. This mental model of scarcity is bound to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. With this view, we enter into new relationships already stank, expecting them to fail and for our men to disappoint us. If you think most black men are either gay, triflin’, in jail, or with white women, believe me, all you are going to run into are black men that are gay, triflin’, on their way to jail, or exclusively into the swirl.

Instead of giving up on our black men, why not shift our way of thinking and use our sister-girl circles to brainstorm ways to find our good black men? When we meet up, we need to call each other out on this tired, defeatist way of viewing and seeing love. We have to ask each other those hard questions that, when answered, may reveal that each of us has some growing to do:

Where are you looking for these so-called “good black men”? Are you still going to the club? Have you joined professional associations, civic organizations, or cultural groups where more “good black men” may hangout? Have you asked your married friends to introduce you to someone nice?

What is your definition of “good”? When was the last time you revised your “good black man” checklist? Has your definition of Prince Charming changed since the days of Jodeci and Boys II Men? Is tall, dark, handsome, and wealthy still the only type of man that you want? Are you opening yourself to date outside of your height, weight, color, income, religion, age, and country of origin (i.e. black immigrants from South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Africa) requirements?

 How good are you at learning from the past? Are you blowing the failures of your past relationships with black men out of proportion and taking it out on some new poor, unsuspecting black man? Are you allowing the failures of your past relationships to control your life and make you bitter?

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  • QleanQlassy Atlanta

    Im suprised they allowed you to write this …it isnt anti male like the other writers

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  • Korey

    Uh… I’m finding that men are going for the darker of the spectrum.

  • thatonegirl

    Don’t forget about interracial dating and how black women can’t find a man. Those conversations can start a forest fire.

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  • Reese

    I don’t buy into the first two conversations. I know there are plenty good black men out here but some women have a warped understanding of what a good man is. And as for the dark skin argument as a dark skin woman my skin color has never bothered me. If you don’t like how I look you don’t have to talk to me: point, blank, period. And as for the fatherless thing I grew up with a dad so I really can’t speak on that. But I do know going up fatherless and/or motherless can cause deep psychological damage but you can either free yourself from it or fall victim to it.

    • Very well said Reese….I absolutely agree with you on all points.

  • Nope

    “Are you still going to the club? Have you joined professional associations, civic organizations, or cultural groups where more “good black men” may hangout?”

    Or the gym, but I know that’s a nonstarter.

  • Nope

    Nice article.

  • Sheena

    I actually would have to disagree about the growing up fatherless thing. There is a severe mental trauma that surrounds you when you grow up fatherless. Just as someone can be expected to be kinda messed up when they grow up with out a mom, whether they died of cancer or was a crackhead the absence of a parent does leave you at a mental and emotional disadvantage.

    • DeepThinker

      I agree with you. Feeling abandoned by a parent for whatever reason leaves deep emotional damage, but each individual deals with it differently and many have been able to address the stuation in a healthy way and not permit it influence (or continue) to impact poor decision making in their future, but it still a challenge in life.

      • Our past will always have an effect on us, but it’s up to us to decide to allow it to ruin our present/future or to get up and make our lives what we want. Ideally, having both parents is wonderful, but you can have a wonderful fulfilling life IF YOU CHOOSE to do so, without having 1 parent present. The nuclear family is a modern phenomenon, children need love, care, attention and it can come from mother, father, uncle, cousins….extended family.

        • Its easy to say get over it. But it becomes a pathology really. Oftentimes you make mistakes at an age where you aren’t mature enough to get over it. A 16 year old without a father and no custodial guidance (mother works long hours and isn’t physically or emotionally available) is way more likely to find herself a teen mother than a girl from a two parent home or even a divorced home in which each parent is actively in her life. Those are true facts. Sure you CAN overcome and many do but we cannot dismiss the argument all together because it does play a factor.

          • I do not think I was trying to say “get over it”. I was trying to say, “now that you know, what do you want to do about it’? I can only speak for myself, having grown up with a father, that I, too, was aware that I wanted to be better, so I got help by seeing a counselor. Fighting for my mental and emotional health led me to action. I think we need to point ourselves and sisters to resources that help them make better choices once they identify what their problem are.

            • Are you Kara or Dasibre? Anyways, a 16-21 year old doesn’t have the mental capacity to seek help or resources. That’s my point. Your argument really does boil down to get over it. Although you dress it up by saying “what are you going to do about it?” My only point of contention really is that oftentimes these little girls have no support system, no one pulling for them and protecting them from making a bad decisions. by the time she does get it she’s on her 2nd or 3rd baby daddy saying all black men are garbage, she doesn’t get respected or treated right because she’s too dark, and her daddy not giving a damn about her is why she never valued herself when it comes to men.

              I am glad you sought and received help. My parents are still married and I thank God everyday they were a consistent source of encouragement and guided and protected me. I wish every little brown girl had that support system. It would literally change the course of our collective community within a generation.

              • Ms. South

                Yes you should just get over it and try to be a better person in your life. Until I was 5, I was daddy’s little girl. When he and my mother divorced, she move to Fl with my other 3 siblings leaving me behind because he just had to have me (only to not have to pay child support). I lived with him in our old house watching him bring women in and out of my mother’s house, her bedroom for 3 months until I began cramping his style then he threw me on my grandparents, his parents. They took me in and took great care of me, I saw my father maybe once a week for about an hour. Ten years later after not hearing from my mother and other siblings, I found a box of teddy bears, toys, cards w/money all addressed to me. It was from my mother. Abiding by my father’s rules they did not allow me to keep the things that my mother sent me and if she called they would tell her not to call their house again and that they would call the police if she came to their house. I moved in with my father at the age of 15 and we began to get close again only to find out that one of his chicks (now wife) was pregnant. After his golden child was born, there was no more room for me. We got into this huge argument and he threw me into a wall, then told me to get out of his house as he threw my clothes and belongings out of the door. I called my grandmother on my mom’s side and she came to pick me up. My mom was dating this guy (now husband), and he could not stand me and my two younger siblings. I refused to go through that situation again so I called one of my aunts and asked her if I could come live with her until I could get on my feet, she picked me up one day after my graduation, helped me get a job, car and established a bank account. I didn’t stop there, I not only worked, I had two jobs, started a CD (savings), and started school. Though I never finished school (college that is), I’m police officer SGT. to be exact, I own rental properties in CA, SC and OH, and I’m hoping in 3yrs time, I will be starting another business to help the elderly. It’s all about your drive. You can let your past defeat you or allow it to make you stronger. Everyone has circumstances. I felt like I was abandoned by not one but both parents. I don’t hate either one of them. I’m doing well and is now 34 yrs of age.

                • Not everyone is created equal. What you did is extraordinary. A normal person thrown into such a dysfunctional situation tossed between two parents who really didn’t want to be bothered probably wouldn’t be where you are at in life. That’s the reality as evidence by the destruction and decay in our community. You know this to be true so why discredit what I say because you are the exception and not the rule? You could have EASILY been 15 and pregnant or 15 and working the street corner, because someone older and wiser and with more street smarts turned you out. This is what happens too often.

                • Diane Simpson

                  You already Know…YOU ARE A GIFT! Gracefully sharing your story that noone understands..until they can see/feel our painful experience, struggle to grow and Triumph!! You have demonstrated the Power of God and perseverance! The life choices you dedicated yourself to are.examples for us all. MS. South I give you a Standing Ovation! Thank you for inspiration.