Talking to my dad on Sunday night, I told him about a commentary that a reader of my blog had sent me from the Denver Post entitled “Wanted: eligible black men.” Dad, ever one to cut to the chase, had this response: “What else is new?”
Here are some snippets from the article.
Since I arrived in May 2003, I've heard women of all stripes complain about the lack of eligible professional men, but I wanted numbers to see if it was true.Those don’t really sound like insurmountable odds to me.
After analyzing census statistics, I found that Latinas, Asian women and white women have no reason to complain; there is a surplus of educated men in their ethnic group. Besides, Asians and Latinos are more likely than African-Americans to marry outside of their culture.
Only among African-Americans is the reverse statistic true: There are more educated professional black women than men.
Figures for 2003, the most recent data available, show there are 26,433 black women in the metro area who have "some college or more," compared with 23,389 black men.
And in the job market, where many people find their mate, black women outnumber black men by several thousand in white-collar jobs. There are about 4,600 more women than men in management positions, 2,000 more women in other professional positions.
To those who say black women aren't willing to give a brother who has potential a chance, Scott balks. She's dated a bus driver, a used-car salesman, even an ex-con.No problem with the first two, but an ex-con would have to jump through some serious hoops for me to show that he had reformed. (Sorry, Solomon, but sounds like you’ve jumped through those hoops and one good lady cut you some slack and hit the jackpot.) As I said before, I think that if black people—especially women looking for a date/mate—attached more stigma to those of their number who have broken the law, there’d be a lot fewer black men in prison.
"What he does isn't as important as who he is," she said. But she doesn't want a man who hasn't accomplished anything and keeps chasing a dream.Really? Hasn’t the man who has “accomplished something” been a dream-chaser at one time? And even if he has “accomplished something,” is it time to stop dreaming?
Other black women complain that in Denver, unlike other cities, there is [sic] a large number of black men who prefer white women, making the pool of eligible men even smaller. They wonder: Are these men picking white women because they consider them trophies? Is it a case of internalized racism? Or are they just open to dating and happened to wind up with a Caucasian?Everyone has their preferences, so if some black women prefer black men exclusively, it’s no one’s business.
Sherry Weston, 49, a diversity trainer who has a master's degree, says it shouldn't matter who you date as long as you know who you are.
She describes herself as someone who is rooted in African-American culture, but has had friends of all backgrounds throughout her life. That's why she has no problem dating outside of her race.
During the 31 years she has lived in Denver she has dated just a handful of black men. For the past three years she has dated a Chicano man, a relationship that's "the best thing that ever happened to me."
(As for me, I like men of all races, so finding the “perfect” black man hasn’t been my problem. But I’ll get to the personal later.)
She has clients who date married men on the sly, and others who essentially "buy" men by letting them live in their houses, just so they have some company.
In other words, they accepted "men" who were vultures and they were the carcasses.
She said some clients tell her they date white men but feel unsatisfied because they don't think they're connecting on a deeper level with someone who understands them.That has been my problem. No, not that *white* men don’t understand me; the problem has been that none of them—black, white or indifferent—do. But consider this: I am still learning to understand myself.
"A few of them have told me they are so tired of being alone that they're considering becoming gay," she said.Um, okay. This one I’m definitely not feeling (in infinite ways), but consider the lack of logic in this statement. Leaving Christian considerations aside, if a woman feels that she could have a sexual/romantic relationship with another woman, why is she complaining about the dearth of men in the first place?
Then there are the women who have fled Denver, hoping for better luck in chocolate cities such as Atlanta, Detroit, and Washington, D.C.Players can only play with the playable. I’d certainly like to know what was wrong with the non-players, however.
One of those women returned to Denver three weeks ago and complained that in her five years in Atlanta she dated seriously only three black men. The rest, she informed Richardson, were all "players."
It might seem odd for a woman who has been divorced for twelve years and who hasn’t dated in quite a while to semi-fisk this missive. Certainly, I understand where most of these anonymous ladies are coming from; to a point.
The reason, however, that I put a halt to the dating scene wasn’t because of lack of offers. It was because the relationships ended up being emotionally unsatisfying—for me and for the men involved.
I stopped to take stock, something I’m still doing. Did I find myself doing things against my better judgment to hold on to a guy? Why, yes. And you know what that stemmed from? Fear; fear of being alone for the duration of my life; fear of being pointed at and mocked as the old “spinster” lady who never had children; oh the list is endless.
It just so happens that when I talked to my dad, he was preparing a sermon on fear—he’s an associate pastor at my uncle’s—his younger brother’s—Methodist church. When he told me that, I was like “yes!” It was the emotion that pervaded this article, but I couldn’t quite put a name on it.
Dad was using the Twenty-third Psalm as his talking point: “The Lord is my shepherd…” Since a certain event a few years back, whenever someone mentions that Psalm, Flight 93’s Todd Beamer—who recited it with GTE operator Lisa Jefferson--immediately pops into my mind. Certainly that gentleman found himself in a predicament in which fear was in order. But he called on the squelcher of fears.
There are big fears—like that of the now-immortal Mr. Beamer’s--little ones and medium-sized ones. Fear is natural. However, it’s what one does in the face of any fear that matters. Do you give in to it or do you rise above it? In my opinion, operating controlled by any fear always leads to folly.
Personally, I felt the need to take an extended break from the dating thing to confront my own fears head on and to see if changes could be made in half of the equation in my relationships: me.
But I’ve battled with and mastered the fear that these ladies are likely still struggling with, so here’s my advice: live and follow your dreams, the ones that only you have control over. If you are a Christian, pray and ask for wisdom, guidance and peace. If you aren’t, find those three things in whatever way you can. Most of all, don’t settle for less than what you want. Don’t get mad at the men who are less than what you want, but don’t lower your standards.
You’ll be more unhappy than you *think* you are right now.
(Thanks to reader ErikZ)
AFTERTHOUGHT: Desperation is a most unattractive trait.