Dear Dr. Buckingham,
I am writing because I am having a hard time making a decision about my love life. I am 34 year-old single Black female who has been on the dating scene too long for my comfort. I am from Idaho. Enough said…right! Good black men are very scarce here.
You better not give up on brothers. Don’t date outside our race, Keep it real.
I socialize with a small group of Black professionals and everybody is dating within the group. I do not want another woman’s left overs and I am starting to get frustrated. I recently had a conversation with a good friend and mentioned that I was thinking about dating Hispanic and White men. She quickly shut me down and stated: “You better not give up on brothers. Don’t date outside our race, Keep it real. ” I told her that I love my people, especially black men. But, I am tired of being single and keeping it real. I do not even know what that means anymore. Can you please help him me understand what keeping it real means? Also, please tell me if I should I date outside my race?
Thanks in advance,
Single and Keeping it Real
Dear Single and Keeping it Real,
This is a touchy topic because race issues are at an all-time high, but I am going to jump right in. Love for your people should not determine whom you love. As a race of people who have been oppressed, restricted and depersonalized, we cannot continue to place limitations on ourselves.
The word “Real” is associated with authenticity, genuineness, or factuality. Many Blacks use the phrase “Keep it REAL” to encourage each other to be genuine and authentic, not fake: having a false or misleading appearance.
As a member of the Black community, I was often told not to pretend to be something or someone I was not. I was told to be true to others, and myself but to always “keep it REAL.” I feel that this motto has contributed to low self-esteem and has caused many Blacks, especially Black women, to engage in demoralizing and self-inhibiting behavior.
Unfortunately, I have heard hundreds of Black women say they would engage in demoralizing behavior such as dating married black men instead of dating outside of our race. I am not knocking any woman or man for keeping it REAL, but I challenge you to think about the potential harsh consequences of keeping it REAL.
In my opinion, the “keep it REAL” motto has created emotional distress and confusion for many black women. I have personally witnessed some of you engaging in demoralizing or self-inhibiting behavior in an attempt to “keep it REAL.” For example: having sex with multiple guys because you cannot find “Mr. Right”; remaining in abusive/degrading relationships because you were trying to keep it REAL; and refusing to date outside your race because you were keeping it REAL. This unselfish commitment to be genuine to others, especially members of the Black community, can prove to be detrimental to your emotional health.
If keeping it real is keeping you single, then maybe you should reconsider.
As a community activist and proud black man, I am dedicated to building up the black family and community, but more importantly I am about building strong families who are dedicated to building God’s kingdom. I believe that all women are queens and deserve to be treated as such. If you cannot find love within your community, then find it where it finds you. So often we restrict our emotions and wonder why we can’t find love. As I have grown in my walk with God, I have realized that love does not come in colors. Love is an emotion that manifests based on the condition of one’s heart, not skin color. Given this, I recommend that you date whomever you feel connected to.
If you decide to date by using the “Keep it REAL” motto, make sure it benefits you in a healthy manner. If keeping it real is keeping you single, then maybe you should reconsider.
If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to [email protected]
Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.