Yesterday I wrote a post about why I no longer panic or care about ‘The Dating Patterns of The Black American Man.’ Blame it on my babies or my businesses, blame it on growing the fuck up, this is just not an issue for me anymore. Some commenters, here and on Facebook, I think were expecting me to provide a solution. Like, ‘I don’t panic about who black men date, but here’s how we all walk away from this with a husband!’ And I need to clarify that that was not the point of the piece.
I’m not a sociologist or social scientist. I’ve heard that the marriage rate for black women evens out after a certain age (we get married later, and at that point our rates are similar to white women.) But again, I didn’t write the piece as ‘A Guide to Black Women Not Ending Up Alone.’
Black women are born and then indoctrinated into a set of negative beliefs, rejection of which can result in some serious cultural ostracization. These mostly take the form of ‘Black Girls don’t do X, Y, Z’ (go camping, acknowledge mental illness, reject religion, fall in love with girls, etc, etc). The entire natural hair movement is dedicated to dismantling one of the primary negative beliefs we’re indoctrinated into: Black girls can either have ‘good’ hair or ‘bad’ hair. And if they are unlucky enough to be born with ‘bad’ hair, they have to relax or hot comb the hell out of it.
The idea that ‘black girls have to seek and maintain black boys’ approval’ is another belief we’re indoctrinated into. And as we move from girlhood to womanhood, this becomes, ‘See I told you you had to seek and maintain black boys’ approval because now here comes Becky, and she’s taking all the good black men and 42% of us are single.’
In this way, statistics about black women are weaponized. They are used to encourage us to see ourselves in a very particular and limited way, before we even have a chance to explore our humanity. And, look, I understand that some of these beliefs are passed around out of concern or a desire to protect. But that intention doesn’t make it right.
It is ass backwards for black women to use statistics as a guide for a lived experience. How can we take up space and live out loud starting from a place of panic ? A razor focus on a negative set of statistics about our demographic will inevitably transmute to paranoia, self-restriction and fear.
So back to the point of the piece. It wasn’t to provide a solution. It was to say that I choose to no longer live in a constant state of panic about what black men are and are not doing. That I am taking my focus off of statistics and onto my lived experience. Call me unwoke, call me naive, I honestly don’t fucking care what you call me, but I’m not doing it anymore. Life is too short.