Black Women's "Unreasonable" Dating Standards
In a post titled Stop Re-Writing The Obamas History To Justify Your Inadequacy, where I wrote about how the Obamas' presumed perfection is used by some Black men to justify Black women tolerating poor partners, as these men will compare themselves to Obama’s early days, claiming that Michelle accepted him with “nothing” (because being a law intern during Harvard law school enrollment, previous work experience as a passionate community organizer, having a Columbia degree, tall, physically attractive, great personality, humor, wit and being sensitive to women’s needs is “nothing”), I also wrote:
The idea that Black women have standards that are “too high” yet no other women do, when what many women of various races want has many areas that overlap, is a myth created to insult Black women. Some Black men applaud this. Here’s the real problem. When Black women are the “only” ones with standards that are too high, what Dateline, CNN, and any other unknowledgeable entity that seeks to quantify and measure Blackness are saying is that Black men are inferior. They can’t measure up. Black men need to heed this before applauding these various insults that the media perpetuates to marginalize Black women; they are in fact subtle jabs to Black men. Black men aught to be more stingy with their applause…
In a post titled Black Women Are Not Bitter I wrote:
Black women are not bitter just because we desire quality partners. Women’s standards and desires for men do not magically become “unreasonable” when a Black woman has them, then reasonable again if a non-Black woman has them. The only way this would be true is if the world is confirming that Black men are permanently inferior, thus anything Black women could want is not possible, thus making us “unreasonable.” Black men should reject this, versus applauding anytime the media suggests that we are “unreasonable.”
Black women are consistently faced with the sexist racism that already claims that we are not desirable partners because we don’t obey Black men enough (despite sadly millions of Black women actually being ride or die for patriarchy), are not attractive enough (thanks to Eurocentric beauty standards that creates a hierarchy where Black women with the least European features are deemed the least attractive and women of colour are spread out over this hierarchy based on how close they are to appearing White) or are the sole cause of being single (despite plenty of Black women choosing to be happily single, are a part of the LGBT community and are not interested in heterosexual Black men, are open to interracial relationships and are not seeking Black men “only,” or worse, are deemed as unreasonable drama queens who are hunting athletes, rappers and “thugs” only).
Despite the fact that NO conclusive evidence reveals that all Black women want rappers (other than a handful of fans, what Black woman [even if she likes rap music] legitimately wants to walk down the aisle with a rapper waiting at the end? Literally?), athletes (and while just like women of other races, many Black women think sports are cool and find some athletes attractive, they aren’t actively seeking professional athletes as partners), or “thugs” (which many Black men with college degrees will label any Black man who doesn’t have one, but is still considered attractive to Black women a “thug”; they do this out of jealousy because they assume that the social status climb should automatically make them more attractive than Black men with a lower social status), mainstream media, Black men and even some Black women who identify with patriarchy and seek to marginalize fellow Black women will continue to assert this hapless claim. Whites seem to believe the exact same things about Black women and dating.
The reason why the athlete/rapper/“thug” nonsense persists is because the culture around all three types of men is hypersexualized (a combination of racist stereotypes against Black men [the oversexualized “buck”] and these Black men performing patriarchal masculinity which includes a component of sexual hyperactivity) and to suggest that all Black women want one of the three is to reinforce the idea of Black women and hypersexualization. Because of a plethora of things from cultural norms to racist and classist blockades to other areas of employment in addition to the culture of celebrity worship, athletes and rappers are financially some of the most “successful” Black men in America. Black women as a group are deemed to crave these men as to reinforce the notion of Black women being “gold-diggers” who are inherently “immoral;” not typical American women (and men) who tend to have interest (even if not relational or sexual) in anyone deemed successful by society’s standards.
If I said that all White women want Wall Street bankers, politicians and biker gang members as husbands, people would laugh me out of the building. Yet similar hapless claims shaped by racism and classism are made against Black women daily. Worse, Black men have yet to realize that every time they applaud the media asserting that Black women have “unreasonable” standards, they are suggesting that they themselves are inferior and unable to be the kind of partners that women of other races seek and aren’t called unreasonable for seeking them.
It’s critical to paint Black women as being both undesirable and the CAUSE of said undesirability so that the racism used to shape conversations about our desires, our relationships and who we choose to love will remained unquestioned. And sadly, Black men are the least likely to challenge this racism. Many feel that they have too much to lose in the name of patriarchy if they challenge when this sexist racism is targeted specifically against Black women. The problem is it’s never just about us. Black men busy clapping and agreeing with the media, or worse, become a part of this media (i.e. the recent sexist over at Black Enterprise or Steve Harvey or Tyler Perry or Kevin Hart or Tyrese or Reverend Run or D.L. Hughley…I could go on for at least an hour) they don’t realize that every time they set fire to my identity as a Black woman, they too slowly die from smoke inhalation.