*I’m proposing that black men and black women take a 12-month break from each other. Seriously, we need space. We need clarity. We need to recharge. Most important, we need to experience what life would be like without the other.
From a cultural standpoint, I don’t believe there is any other group of people with the life experiences that would make them ideal partners for us romantically.
For this reason, I’ve never been a proponent of interracial dating/marriage, especially if it’s motivated by the hatred of one group, or the glorification of another.
However, when it comes to the fundamentals of building and sustaining healthy, functional relationships, it appears that black couples experience certain challenges on levels that other racial groups do not.
I recently sat and asked myself,” where does this animosity come from?” Why do BM and BW seize opportunities to condemn and demean each other so viciously?
After some hard thinking I realized that it’s because we’re too much alike. The defense mechanisms we use to protect ourselves from the cruelties of racism and classicism in society are bleeding into the interactions and relationships that we have with one another.
When black men say, “I want a submissive woman,” it’s partially because they are exhausted from having to deal with the tyranny and dominance of their white superiors in the work force, the academic world, and society in general.
They want control in their own home, where they feel powerful.
On the other hand, when black women say, “I need a man who can handle me,” or “I’m independent, I don’t need a man at all,” it’s usually because their personal experiences often cause them to absorb so much trauma that loving someone properly, and showing him respect, becomes nearly impossible for them to do. These sentiments are rooted in pain, hurt and insecurity.
In addition to that, the majority of us realizes that for the rest of our lives we’ll have to create opportunity in a society where having black skin still qualifies as a disadvantage.
We’re competing for scraps. Leftovers. So instead of working to build with each other, we instinctively do what’s best for ourselves.
It’s selfishness fueled by the inherent pressures of social inequality, and the need for validation.
Ironically, in previous generations, these factors galvanized black families and communities.
They understood the importance of working together, and building together, to circumvent racism and disenfranchisement.
That was then.
Today, it seems, the mindset among BM and BW is to forsake all others in the interest of achieving individual success and satisfaction. This causes many of us to choose the wrong partners, to act a fool in our relationships, and to some extent, it even effects the way we mold and inculcate our children.
Not only do we have a “crabs in the barrel” mindset holding us back from achieving prosperity in our communities, it’s one of the main reasons why we struggle to keep our marriages and families together.
The connections aren’t genuine.
We’re either choosing “partners” who can provide status and financial security, or we’re allowing our insecurities and brokenness to dictate our choices, even if they’re detremental to us emotionally or psychologically. These aren’t ingredients to a lasting partnership.
I know It seems blasphemous for me to suggest that “black Love” doesn’t really exist.
I mean … if we look at statistics, they would lead you to believe that it’s alive and well.
We’re still getting married to each other at well over 70 percent.
We’re still birthing black children and doing our best to create stable, respectable black families.
The effort isn’t lacking.
In film, storytellers have regurgitated and recycled plotlines that focus on black love and relationships.
You may even hear music on occasion that highlights the beauty of love between two melanated people.
On the surface, it would seem like black men and black women still have a special connection.
But the truth is that in society today, there’s a profound absence of respect, honor, and understanding between both groups.
If these areas are lacking, then how is “black love” a real thing?
It’s more of an idea, or a slogan, upheld by fiction writers and R&B singers.
I’m not sure what the landscape was like in previous generations, because our grandparents and great parents knew better than to broadcast their personal business to the world.
Instead, they kept their skeletons hidden, they covered up the dysfunction in their marriages to keep their families and legacies in tact.
They faked the funk even if they secretly hated one another.
However, in the social media age we’re living in right now, the idea of anyone keeping anything “private” anymore is a joke.
Today, the vitriol and hostility surrounding BM and BW on social media is causing more damage to the black community than racism itself. We use these platforms to air our dirty laundry, and to insult and demean one another.
Black Twitter, for example, is a digital minefield of verbal savagery between both groups. The same goes for YouTube and Facebook – each of these spaces facilitate the degradation of black women and black men, often by each other.
This back and forth has lingered because, truthfully, BM and BW aren’t happy or fulfilled.
We’re experiencing an identity crisis – we still haven’t discovered our place in the world beyond protesting the police, dunking basketballs, dancing for crowds, and grilling barbecue.
That’s why we focus on the material – because we’re lacking self awareness and and a sense of purpose.
We’re angry and frustrated – not at each other necessarily, it’s because we feel trapped in our circumstances, and with no solutions, we have resorted to blaming and vilifying one another.
We occupy the same toxic environment, making us targets for each other.
It’s time we separate for a while, maybe indefinitely, to rediscover ourselves individually. Self-reflect. Grow.
Maybe after a little time passes, we will be ready to sit at that damn table everyone keeps talking about, and we can have mature conversations intended to get us back on the right track.
Southern California based Cory A. Haywood is a freelance writer and expert on Negro foolishness. Contact him via: firstname.lastname@example.org and/or visit his blog: www.enterthehat.com or send him a message on Twitter: @coryahaywood