The myth of the undesirable Black woman will just not go away. Instead, it continues to rear its ugly head in the most unexpected places, like FYI’s hit docu-series “Married at First Sight.” The show is pulling their own version of a Psychology Today stunt.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the premise of the show, a man and a woman who have been matched by a panel of experts, marry each other “at first sight.” Meaning, they meet and marry their spouse on the same day. The couple move in and live as husband and wife for 90 days before they have to make the decision to either stay married or get a divorce.
The idea sounds wild but it’s not that much unlike arranged marriages. And the show is incredibly entertaining.
Still, after today, I’m giving the network and their experts the side eye.
In a video, where the experts discuss and decide which men to cast for the show, one of the experts said:
“Many of our African American men have no interest in marrying an African American woman. Many of our African American women want husbands who are of the same race. They are successful, they are ambitious, they are beautiful. We want to have the opportunity to match them.”
There was even a montage of three Black men who said they preferred not to be with someone of their own race and then three Black women who said they preferred to be matched with a Black man, as proof.
As many times as we’ve heard and seen this narrative, I should be numb to it. But still, watching it, I felt a sense of betrayal and then sadness for these brothas and their latent and blatant self hatred. And really, that’s exactly what it is. There is no other way to slice it.
But some of this is FYI’s fault. And relationship expert, Paul Carrick Brunson, took to his Facebook to cape for Black Love and scold the “Married At First Sight” folk in the process.
Brunson said that though he highly respects the expert in the video, he could not support what she said, especially when the greater implications of her words are hurtful and harmful to the community.
“This show, that has an incredible platform has done something incredibly disgusting…
This segment shows everything that’s wrong with television when it comes to these dating reality shows. This is like a travesty that this happened. And the reason why is because they did it simply to get people talking, to demoralize us and to be provocative. This is the reason why. And it’s very irresponsible to do this, why? Because it’s not factual. It’s not supported by any data.”
An expert for the show contacted Brunson explaining that the statement was referencing their applicant pool specifically and not a statement about the nature of dating trends in the general population.
But then Dr. Joseph Cilona came through and tried to insult Brunson. He wrote on his Facebook page:
It should be emphasized that these comments are in reference to African American men in our applicant pool. [A total of three men.] There were no generalizations made to other populations…or claims that our experience should be made to other populations. However, you might be interested to know that we observed this to be very clear and a specific trend, not only in our matchmaking attempts in Atlanta for season 3, but also in both season 1 and season 2 in the New York area. We consistently had an abundance of what we considered to be rather amazing African American women and little to no African American men to match with them. In addition, very frequently, African American men in our applicant pool across all three seasons expressed deal breakers around NOT wanting to be matched with African American women. Whatever this might or might not represent in terms of the greater population is certainly up for debate and interpretation. I encourage you Paul to rematch the clip that you referenced and listen more carefully.”
Dr. Cilona got a little trill.
But Brunson knows what he’s talking about. He said this trend that the “Married at First Sight” people are just now discovering is not new. The world is becoming increasingly more and more “interracial” as people are choosing to marry outside of their racial group. But, contrary to popular opinion, Black men marry outside of their race less than any other race.
“Black men, and this is according to Pew Research, marry outside of their race less than American Indian women, less than American Indian men, less than Latinos, less than Latinas, less than Asian women. African American men marry outside of their race, comparatively, at one of the lowest rates on the planet. On top of that, African American men, currently, today, right now, 88 percent of us are married to Black women. That’s the vast majority of us. So what the hell is up for debate? What’s up for interpretation? Nothing is.”
And then Brunson said something so poignant.
“We get enough of this everyday as Black people. We don’t need any more. We don’t need any more myths to be perpetuated. Because these myths that you are perpetuating, it begins to impact belief and that belief begins to impact hope. And guess what? You have no authority over our hope. You don’t get that.”
Brunson was sitting in front of a bookshelf, but he might as well been on a stage so he could drop his mic.
And if you doubted his comments and the desire Black men have to date and marry Black women, you need look no further than a comment left by a Black man, on Brunson’s Facebook page. This guy auditioned to be a part of “Married At First Sight” and expressed a desire to date/marry a Black woman for 90 days. Interestingly enough, the experts were unable to find a match for him.
Ain’t that something.
Brunson hit the nail on the head. I really don’t have to say anymore. But there is something incredibly wrong when the show couldn’t find Black men to cast in Atlanta, the Black Mecca. And, let’s be honest, there aren’t a lot of men watching “Married At First Sight.” Furthermore, in the grand scheme of things, I’d argue that there aren’t a lot of people in America, men and women of any race, who would agree to marry a complete stranger on their first meeting. And then stay married to that person for three months. It’s unorthodox to say the least.
But the takeaway from all of this is how the media’s messaging has been able to permeate, even to those who are considered among the educated elite. We all have our level of ignorance but I’m glad that Brunson was willing to step forward and assert our humanity, our desirability and our propensity to call out bullsh-t and speak the truth.
You can watch his entire video message below.