Have black men become obsolete?
This sounds like a silly question to ask until you consider that black men seem to be almost non-existent in the lives of black women in film, television and news media. But, is this true? How does this media perception play out in real life. Let’s take a deeper look.
How does the media play into this narrative? In my observations, we are rarely shown “black on black” images on television unless a crime is committed. Is black on black love portrayed as frequently as it is among our counterparts? I’d say no.
Is the absence of black men in the lives of black women on-screen art imitating life, life imitating art or the media using its power to influence our thoughts and perceptions in our daily lives?
If the old adage is true, “A picture is worth 1,000 words,” how many words and impressions is motion picture worth? The media does wield great influence on its captive audience, especially those who unwittingly mistake indoctrination for entertainment.
That which is viewed as “entertainment” is often processed with little-to-no filter. It’s labeled as “just entertainment” as though the word “just” somehow acts to defuse the damage that cleverly chosen words and images transform into easily-accepted ideologies. The viewer is subject to the impressions good, bad or neutral. For many, those impressions of black men as criminals, cheaters, deadbeat dads, womanizers become ingrained as fact.
Black Men Choosing Only Non-Black Women
This unsubstantiated myth often comes up in conversations about the availability of viable black men for black women. Let me be clear. This segment is to address the belief that black men date/marry non-black women in such high percentages that it greatly reduces the number of black men who are available for black women who want to date within their race. This is a response to that belief and not an argument against interracial dating.
It’s commonly viewed that when black men become rich, (and in the words of Kanye West), they leave your a$$ for a white girl (and ironically, Kanye married Kim nearly 10 years after releasing that song). But below is an excerpt from an article, in which researchers disprove that theory. Dr. Ivory A. Toldson (Howard University) and Bryant Marks (Morehouse College) address this claim with facts—and not emotions, opinions or limited subjective experiences.
By analyzing census data, Toldson and Marks found that 83 percent of married black men who earned at least $100,000 annually got hitched to black women. The same is the case for educated black men of all incomes. Eighty-five percent of black male college graduates married black women. Generally, 88 percent of married black men (no matter their income or educational background) have black wives. This means that interracial marriage should not be held responsible for the singleness of black women (To read the entire article, click here).
The black population in Hollywood and sports is miniscule compared to the total population of blacks in general. If you look to Hollywood for an accurate sample of black male/female relationships, you will only get a false read based upon the small percentage of blacks there compared to the whole.
The research above proves false the myth of black men overwhelmingly dating non-black women. But again, if these myths continue to be portrayed as truth in pop culture, will that perception eventually be affirmed?
It is desperately important to see healthy images of black men and black women in loving relationships alongside the other male/female relationships prominently represented on the big and small screen—as well as off screen in real life.
Imagine the typical box of crayons—each color has significance singularly while each shade adds another spectrum of beauty to the whole, much like our world. Yet, if one particular color is routinely left out from each pre-packaged set of crayons (while others are always notably present), might a child soon dismiss the significance of that crayon color?
Not seeing one’s self will affect an individual’s self image.
The absence of black men in loving, committed relationships with black women is the equivalent of a subliminal inference that black men are indeed inadequate. And if you think you’re inadequate, are you that much more likely to act like you’re inadequate?
Even non-blacks are influenced by the absence of the black male/female pairing as well. For better or worse, without evil intentions or ill-will, this is the nature of socialization.
The Good News
Black men are not obsolete. More importantly, good black men still exist—men who actually desire loving relationships that lead to marriage. Sadly, this is very hard for some ladies to fathom. Their prior experiences with dishonorable men have resulted in greatly lowered expectations for future relationships. They expect the worst from men because they have experienced the worst in men.
The commonality that may exist among men in past relationships speaks more to bad choices in men than an indication that all men are the same. That’s not an indictment of any woman who has made a poor choice (it happens to us all).
There is work to be done on both sides—between men and women. We must begin to live and operate from a place of abundance not scarcity wherein lies only fear, insecurity and beliefs that breed thoughts of the obsolescence of good black men. We do exist and without a date of expiration.
BMWK, do you agree? How can we show the world that good black men do exist?