The Mis-Entitlement of Black Men
the Miseducation of Black Women
By: Ryan D. Daniels
I’m going to preface everything I’m about to say by saying I love black men. If it weren’t for a black man I wouldn’t exist. HOWEVER, I believe in calling BS when I see it.
A few years ago one of my Facebook friends, Val, recommended that all of the black women on her friends’ list read a book called “Is Marriage for White People” by Ralph Richard Banks. The title piqued my interest and I copped a cheap used copy off of Amazon.
The book arrived during my Thanksgiving break and I had nothing else to do so I started reading the book and from a few pages in I was hooked and shook. I realized that the odds for highly educated upwardly mobile black women who want to marry an equally educated black man are bleak to say the least. The book confirmed some of the hunches I have had for years about dating as an educated black women who have only dealt with black men. And I have blogged about this in the past.
After I graduated college in 2014 I knew I wanted to get married within the next five to seven years. With that being said, I tightened up my dating criteria. In college, I was cool with dating Brandon from the Block who was a street pharmacist or Malcolm with the double major in Business and Political Science who was going to business school at Duke. In college, I was dating for fun; I didn’t want anything serious. I never had a shortage of dates.
However, when I tightened up my dating criteria I had to face a cold hard fact, men who are my “equal” are spoiled, entitled brats who routinely treat their female counterparts with an utter lack of regard, respect, and common consideration.
In “Is Marriage for White People?”, Banks discusses the attitudes of educated black men in terms of dating. In short, they know they are hot shit and are going to play the field until the wheels fall off. This was my hunch confirmed.
For decades now we have bombarded with negative images of black men being portrayed as ne’er-do-wells, criminals, high school dropouts, drug addicts, thugs, baby makers but not fathers, and the list of negative stereotypes go on and on.
However, this stereotype has had an unintended consequence for black women in terms of dating. Instead of black women being seen as the prize in a Black Woman-Black Man dating situation, the man is. Think of how a black man who is college educated with no kids, no record, and no negative proclivities is seen in the black community; he’s given endless amounts of praise and adulation. Who can blame someone for developing an ego when they are constantly being praised?
Conversely, when was the last time you’ve seen a black woman being praised for achieving the same level of success? For some reason, being a productive citizen of society is just expected in black women but is an exception to the rule for black men.
With that being said, let me come back to my point. As I scroll down my friends’ list so many of my beautiful, talented, charismatic, personable, God-fearing, friends are single. These are women who in my opinion should not be single. I know them well personally and know they have a lot to offer. But they’re still single. I wonder why...
Here are two real-life examples from my love life. During my first year of teaching, I taught in my hometown at my old high school and thus, I was around a lot of people I’d know for years. One of these guys, Rock* had a crush on me and begged to take me out. Finally, I caved even though Rock didn’t fit my dating criteria. He didn’t have a college degree and worked sporadically as a day laborer with no desire to do anything but that type of work for the rest of his life. Rock asked me where I wanted to go and it didn’t matter he was willing to take. I told him Ruth Chris and I’ll be damned if he didn’t take me and didn’t complain once about the price. He picked me up and brought me flowers and a nice card. I was appreciative and pleasantly surprised by his effort. But I fell back because he didn’t fit the type of man I wanted to marry. Call me classist. Call me elitist. Call me bougie, Understand that I don’t give a damn.
I believe in generational wealth building. A day laborer with no plans of started his own company has a very limited chance of building generational wealth through investments, real property purchases, or a college fund. One thing I refuse to engage in is struggle love. I can struggle by my damn self and I refuse to carry a household and not be able to create a stable future for my children; that’s selfish and careless.
Around the same time I met Rock, I met David*. David had “husband” criteria written all over him. His intelligence was mind-blowing. He was almost done with his masters, which would earn him a nice pay raise in his career path. David has concrete plans for the future and he was making his plans happen. He was fiscally responsible. He was so fiscally responsible that he took us to a cheap Italian spot for our first date and I could tell he was expecting me to be grateful for the nasty, watery ziti covered with cheap mozzarella cheese. I could tell he felt as if I should be grateful that such a “prize” was taking me out like being in my company wasn’t equally as valuable. However, against my better judgment, I became involved with David. I put up with cheap dates, mistreatment, and an utter lack of regard because he was “husband” material. He made it clear to me that I was one of his many options; he had his pick because he was the "prize". He was the type of man that every black girl is told by her momma that she is "supposed" to marry.
I wish I could say that my experience with David was a misnomer or a one-off but that is far from the case. Since David, I have only dated men who were on par with me and it has been the same story over and over and I know my experience is far from unique from the stories I’ve heard from so many educated black women. When we date our “equals” we are treated as if we expendable. Because of the level of praise given to educated black men and the pedestal upon which they have been placed they know that if we dub them and moved on five more women are willing to take our place.
It saddens me when I see so many beautiful and educated black women lose the gleam in their eyes and all hope of marrying someone on par with them; the settling begins. “I know Mike doesn’t have a college degree and he makes way less money than me but hey at least he wants to marry me.” “I know James isn’t really educated but he’s a hard worker at the plant.” And I can relate. The men who pursue me heavily are those who aren’t really educated who don’t have a lot to offer me. However, they appreciate my time and they go above and beyond to try to impress me. But at the end of the day, I’m not going to settle. Because I refuse to believe that I can’t meet a man who is on par with me who treats me well. And at this point, I don’t even care if he’s black.
I always had a dream of marrying a beautiful black man and having a beautiful black family. But after reading “Is Marriage for White People” I am slowly realizing that dream may be more of fool’s errands than I realized. Black women are very hesitant to date out. Black women are also the least married group of women in the United States.
No, I’m not saying the answer is a white man or an Asian man or a Latino man. However, black women need to realize what we are facing. My good sisters, it ain’t looking too good but hey sis, do you. I have never been highly opposed to black women dating out but I always preferred black men because of their shared understanding of how black people have to interact with the world. A lot of the things that are a part of the general black experience in this country cannot be conceptualized by Chad from Greenwich, Connecticut. However, more recently I have become more open to the idea that my mate may not be a Kappa, Que, or Alpha that went to an HBCU who I can have a meaningful debate about the best episode of “Martin” or who will get it when I make references to black popular culture.
Also, I am not degrading educated black men or black men in general. However, I know that many educated black men have entitlement issues. Y’all expect black women to jump through hoops for your time, your energy, and your appreciation because you think you’re the “prize”. Quite frankly, you are not the prize. Congratulations, on sidestepping so many of the pitfalls that so many of your brethren fell into but what you have down is not exceptional it is the expected. To be a productive member of society you are expected to do your part to contribute to society in a postive manner, you are expected to follow laws; you are expected to follow a moral code. You are merely meeting the general expectations of society and you have the audacity to want to be praised for doing so. Humble yourselves.
I have a running joke with a few friends. I always say that if they want to get married to an educated black man they have to wait until his hairline has started to recede. I’m half joking and I’m half being serious. To a man, a receding hairline is a signal that his best dating days are probably behind him and he needs to settle down. It’s a damn shame that this is what it takes for so many black men to want to settle down. However, prior to this many of them leave a wake of destruction in the rearview; women crying over them wondering why they weren’t enough; women who settled with sharing his with other women because he was a “prize; women who held out dating them for months hoping he’d get serious about her only to be disappointed.
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