There is no hope for you. Kill yourself.
That is the latest media message to black women. If you are black, if you are female, if you are successful, your choices for a happily ever after lie somewhere between tabby and Abyssinian, because love just isn’t in the cards for you. My general rule has been when mainstream media purports to accurately address an issue directly relating to me as a woman of color, one would do well to search for the subliminal “grenade” that lurks beneath.
At first glance, it’s the season of the sister. Helena Andrews, author of the memoir Bitch is the New Black, has recently had the film rights purchased by Shonda Rhimes of “Grey’s Anatomy” fame. She leads the glamorous life, but she still needs a man’s touch. (If they use that tag, I want my money.) Ms. Andrews has the unique opportunity of being center stage. She’s young, single and upwardly mobile. She was recently spotlighted in a Washington Post profile, due to her rising star. With her girlfriends, she discusses a male acquaintance referred to as “Cornrows.” She dates him, but gives the distinct impression that he has no real future with her. And though it may well be due to the fact that he is somewhat unsuitable, she is quoted as saying the following about herself:
“I’m a mean woman. I don’t date nice people. That’s why I’ll be alone for the rest of my life. I will always have to settle.”
We also recently saw Linsey Davis’ provocative (and I’m being nice here) Nightline report related to the plight of successful black women who are doomed to a life of singleness. I’m hard pressed to find a single black woman that is not singing some form of the dating world blues. “FINALLY! Somebody is speaking up for us!!!” Funnyman turned advice giver, Steve Harvey,* made an appearance. It was all gloom and doom for these women, who by all outward accounts, men should be falling over.
*flash bang goes the grenade*
I wonder how many of us realize that we’re being played.
The media knows exactly how to pull your heart strings in any way they choose. ABC isn’t an upstart network. If they want an individual or cause to gain sympathy, they know who and what to show. The same goes for if they want an individual or cause to look like some bull corn. But alas, since the aim was sensationalism rather than solutions, or even sympathy, they found a new, more inventive way to project how black women are being set adrift and black men are either helpless, or nowhere to be found. And if the subtle absence of black men, save for Steve Harvey, didn’t clue you in, Nightline provided this not-so-subtle morsel:
“Let’s take 100 black men. By the time you eliminate those without a high school diploma (21 percent), the unemployed (17 percent) and those ages 25-34 who are incarcerated (8 percent), you have only half of black men, 54 percent, …whom many black women find acceptable.”
Well, what is your beef? 21 + 17 + 8 = 46. 100 – 46 = 54. So, yeah. 54%. Duh. Or at least, that’s what you are supposed to think. By this math, a 27 year old man who has not completed high school and is currently incarcerated has now been counted as two people. The same could be said for an individual who has not completed high school and is unemployed. This would be deemed shoddy work, even if there were not a direct correlation between education, unemployment and incarceration. Since there IS a direct correlation it’s positively unforgivable.
And what of the women they portrayed? They all came off sickeningly affected and disingenuous. Helena Andrews is characterized as notoriously unlikeable. If you’re keeping count, not only are black men ineligible and absent, but black women are so unlikeable, we obviously don’t deserve any better. The fix is in, and rather than call foul, we embrace these characterizations and tout them as gospel. Women are shaking their heads at the “truth” of these statements; men do the same at these unlikeable women believing trumped up stats. Then the blame game begins.
The main culprit is the mass number of men and women who do little more than drag their tattered baggage from jumpoff to jumpoff – because no one is doing relationships anymore – then shed a river of crocodile tears when things go south. You knew that person was no good for you then, but you just wanted to “see how things turned out,” usually after you’ve slept with them. I do not get this. For women, the “it’s only sex thing” is bogus. You can spend eleventy billion years trying to convince me that you can do it like the boys do, and I’ll call bullshit six ways to Sunday. The only way it “works” is when the woman ends the situation, usually by crawling under a new dude. When it goes the other way round, you can almost countdown to the “he ain’t shit” chorus. Period.
There’s a saying, “Rejection is God’s protection.” Unfortunately, for a lot of women (and I’ll be the first to say I have been here), when some troglodyte shows his true self, rather than accept it and move on, we push issues that should never be pushed out of a fear of being alone. A lot of us don’t want to accept the responsibility that we ignored common sense and plunged headlong into the worst of bad choices, for the sake of having a man in our lives. You get so wrapped up in being the queen bee; you convince yourself that this dude is actually someone you want in your life.
Don’t think fellas get a pass here. Your refusal to communicate is the stuff of legends. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to one of my homeboys who answered in the negative when I would ask, “Well, does she know this?” or “Did you tell her?” Even more frustrating is that the reasoning for not communicating is the grown up version of covering your eyes because you think it makes you invisible. No, it makes you a target; potentially the target of a raving lunatic. Then you feel justified in giving the Kanye shrug because, “bitches be crazy.” Except, it’s a crazy bitch that you may well have helped create.
The end result of these missteps is this cavalcade of tom foolery we see today. Both of us, men and women, are so selfishly driven to meet our own ends, we neglect to objectively consider if the person is fit for the ride. Stop wasting your time on people who haven’t proven themselves. Stop forcing situations that don’t fit. Stop playing musical beds – that goes for men AND women – it’s not a good look. Be honest about who you are and what you want. Live your damn life. I missed out on a whole bunch of good shit trying to find a “boo.” Life may not be perfect, but have fun smoothing out the rough edges. And stop letting the media tell you who you are and where your life is headed. You are the only one who can write your autobiography. Do you really want 75% of it to be about bad dates, bitterness and booty calls? I didn’t think so. GET IT TOGETHER!
*To his credit, Mr. Harvey was honest, direct and actually helpful. I never thought the day would come when Steve Harvey would be the only one NOT being “ignant.”