Recipe for Disaster: Black Girl Attitude and Black Male Issues

May 1, 2011  |  


I love black folks. Ain’t nothing in the world like us.

That said, I’ll use my black make privilege to make an admittedly contentious statement: black women, as a whole, might be the touchiest, most petulant, most attitude-laden group of humans on terra firma. Whole media empires have been built on the hair-trigger temper of sistas, which is all good and well for somebody, but when the laugh track ends, it’s worth acknowledging that it’s quite problematic.


As an educator, I see too many of our young women behaving in an aberrant fashion toward authority; the boys who get in trouble play stupid while the girls acknowledge their behavior and issue some sort of challenge in turn. While I’m not huge on societal conformity, I wonder how many of them will function in a job, marriage or even in line at a grocery store as they carry that attitude to adulthood.

Perhaps more detrimental as it relates to the black family, your average, even-keeled, successful black man with options is often repulsed by that mentality and behavior. I wonder if this contributes to the glut of articles a couple years ago on the topic of black women being the demographic least likely to get married in the U.S.

Having been born and raised in Detroit, the only females I spent any significant time with – outside of my white stepmother and her family – were black, so I didn’t know anything outside of this for many years. It wasn’t until I got older and was able to compare and contrast that this dawned on me.

Whenever I mull over why sistas roll like this, I keep coming back to hostility as a defense mechanism in a world where their male counterparts have consistently failed them by being negligent or just plain absent as fathers and partners. And since the myriad problems with black men aren’t going anywhere anytime soon in a society that systematically hinders us, I think this will be the issue with our ladies for some time.

It’s worth noting that, contrary to popular belief, most of us don’t desire that boring, passive, compliant chick that we tend to associate with white women…but we do desire a balance, and most black men I know are interested in settling down with a black woman. We simply don’t want or need the aggression.

I don’t have a good answer, and the issue is much deeper than a column, so I welcome your feedback.

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