I read this and it pretty much seems to validate something I’ve been noticing and experiencing lately. You see, I’ve been conducting a little experiment. About 6 weeks ago, after a conversation I had with 3 wonderful ladies I like to call my sHeroes & Unicorns crew, I signed myself up for a few dating sites: eHarmony, Match, & Chemistry. I’ve been out of the dating game for a few years so I thought it might be interesting to take a “peek” to see what the dating pool was like these days. Call it somewhat of a last ditch effort before I abstained from dating & relationships altogether.
MAN have I gotten a RUDE awakening. Now, to be completely honest, I expected it to be rough. I’m a Christian woman with 2 kids and a full-time student.Those are huge hurdles to clear and I understand why. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was a fourth variable in this little experiment to weigh more than the others. The variable I had considered to be a molehill turned out to be mountain no one seemingly wants to climb.
The variable? My race. Being African-American. Black. A black woman.
Now, I’m a pretty diverse person. I’ve dated men from various backgrounds, races, and what have you, so it’s possible my idealism and naivete did me a disservice here. But then again, this isn’t the 1950’s or even the 1990’s for that matter-it’s 2011. The fact that my race would be an issue in the dating world just shocks me.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that men of other races aren’t open to dating outside of their race-the opposite is actually quite true from what I’ve seen and what I’ve experienced. But what my little experiment and this article have opened my eyes to is the fact that my being another race isn’t the issue-my being a part of a certain race in particular is. It appears as though men don’t want to date black women. At all. To take it even further, black men don’t even want to date black women. I know, you’re thinking to yourself, “yea right, stop exaggerating, how can you even make that assumption?!” My answer is that I can make it because of what I’ve come up against not just from dating sites that ask men to list their preferences when it comes to their “ideal” match’s race, but also from the experiences of other black women who have run into the same issue (for years) on the dating scene. (my sHeroes & Unicorns crew to be exact)
For the past 6 weeks, these dating sites have been flooding my inbox with “matches”. The problem? Roughly 95% of them don’t list black women on their “racial preference” list. I listed “no preference” on mine, but when I check out what race they “prefer” their ideal match to be? Here’s what I see:
About His Ideal Match: White/Caucasian, Asian, Hispanic/Latino or Spanish origin, Middle Eastern, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaska Native, Other
White. Asian. Hispanic/Latino. Middle Eastern. Indian. No matter what the man’s ethnic background is, what you see above is what he’s saying is his “ideal match” in terms of race. Even black men have the same listed on their profiles.
DUDE. What the H. E. Double Hockey Sticks is going on?! Wait, let me calm down. I don’t want to come across as angry or upset,because that might fuel the stereotype about black women and why we are not considered valuable, desirable, or “ideal.” Don’t want to be the “angry black woman”, but really?! In 2011, black women, not just women in general, have that bad of a stigma attached to us? Why? I’m sorry, maybe you can clue me in, because I don’t understand. Maybe I don’t understand because I don’t fit the stereotypes. I never have.
I’m a black woman. With kids. I expect that to be a lot to handle and expect that to keep men away. I get it-“baggage” isn’t “ideal”. But because I’m an American black woman, I’m disqualified because you think we all act like the women you see on “Basketball Wives” or other “reality” shows? I’m not a “baby mama drama” type-never have been. I’m passionate and yes I get angry, but who doesn’t? I like music of all kinds, hiking, going to different places and trying new things, I rock an Afro because I find it more liberating, and I consider myself to be a pretty eclectic, well-rounded woman. So why am I not dateable? What makes me less than “ideal”? My skin color? Stereotypes, misconceptions, and generalizations about my race and species as a whole? Really? So men assume that all black women are the same?
I’ve talked to my ex (who is Puerto Rican) about it, and he pretty much validated what men think about black women overall. He’s told me about plenty of conversations he’s had with men of different races who share the same perspective: black women are too difficult to be with. We are too much, too angry, too proud, too catty, too controlling, all about the money, not supportive, etc, etc. I’ve read numerous studies, articles, blogs & such about this issue and have found that it has been a hot one for a couple of years now.
Needless to say I’m pretty disheartened by this. It saddens & frustrates me. It saddens and frustrates other black women I know who don’t reinforce or fit the stereotypes that are out there and seem to dominate culture’s definition of who we are. It is so outlandish to me that it’s that big of an issue, and that out of every other race & ethnicity, we are deemed “unacceptable.” It angers me because I think black culture as a whole is feeding the wrong machine, and prioritizing the wrong things. Our culture is failing us-miserably. And it angers me that black women are letting this happen, that black women are complaining about black men dating “white women” and other races (I’m talking to you Jill Scott-be sure to click and read through some of the comments-appalling all around!) instead of stepping it up & putting our best foot forward, generating more positive images & perceptions instead of negativity.
As a black woman who dates a man regardless of color, what am I to make of this? As a black woman who watches those closest to me struggle with trying to move around the same obstacle, I wonder what this does to our identity & self-image?
What do you think? Have you encountered this in your experience? What do you think the problem is?