Hello Frugalistas, this is one of my articles that was recently featured in Madame Noire. I caused a little of controversy, (if you look at the comments) and got some ladies talking, which I think is a great. Check it out over there and “like” it if you do!
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 those gloom-and-doom topics, that without question, sucks 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 us, as 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 that 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 us 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, religious, 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?
Conversation #2 “Dark-skinned Sisters Gets No Love” Giving this idea more attention than it deserves plants the proverbial seed that dark-skinned black women are undesirable, unwanted, and destined to be rejected by all types of men all of their dating lives.
While it is true that colorism is a part of our African-American reality, it is not true that every rejection from a black man or any other man can be solely attributed to being dark-skinned. When the “dark-skinned sisters gets no love” conversation gets going, basic human factors like chemistry, personality, and timing are often excluded or overlooked when these are viable reasons for a relationship’s inability to flourish.
It is also not true that everyone in the black community has drunk the Kool-Aid of colorism. There are many dark-skinned black women comfortable in their skin and from a perspective of self-concept, do not view their skin color as a burden; they either do not think about it on a regular basis or view it solely as an asset. Their confidence allows them to attract men— black or otherwise— happy to be on #teamchocolatethunder and even more thrilled to spend all of their hard-earned money and time with them.
And for some more real talk: these “dark-skinned sisters don’t get no love” conversations can be straight-up offensive and boring to the dark-skinned women that are expected to sit there and commiserate with this complaint.
If anything, this conversation reveals more about the speaker than the topic. The dark-skinned sister championing this cause is struggling with some real self-worth issues. As her girls, we need to support her in finding the emotional and mental resources that will help her develop a positive, affirming self-image. It is also our responsibility to lovingly check her on her assumptions and preconceived notions about the relationship between color, beauty, and desirability.
Conversation #3 My Father Wasn’t There. That’s Why I’m A Hot Mess.
Having this as a headlining conversation makes it seem that black women that grew up without a father will automatically grow up to be lonely, promiscuous, and all over the place.
But this is far from the truth. In the same way that there are plenty of black women having grown up without fathers in healthy relationships, there are tons of black women with positive father-daughter relationships setting up house with deadbeat Tyrone types.
So, the real reason that your girl has spent successive weekends swinging from somebody’s chandelier and has decided to regale you with blow-by-blow details of the sordid escapades is because she chooses to live that life. Plain and simple. She is looking for a blanket excuse to justify the low expectations that she has for herself and explain away behavior definitely deserving of the side-eye. Because you grew up fatherless does not give you a pass on consistently making poor choices in men or giving up on love.
When we listen to these types of conversations, we have to remind our girls that they are grown, intelligent women capable of taking control of their happiness, assuming they want to. Instead of being victims to the past, they have the power to create a (disease-free) future of happiness and monogamy whether through soul-searching counseling, therapy, or relationship coaching.
Let’s be clear: there is nothing wrong with getting together and occasionally venting about our frustrations. It’s actually very healthy. But when we constantly use our sister-girl time to carp and complain, and directly correlate our problems in love with our black womanhood, we are actually blocking our blessing and ushering more negativity into our lives and our sisters’ lives. Our girls, when all is said and done, will listen because they are our friends. I am 100% confident, though, they would rather celebrate in our juiciness and personal successes.