Over the past few months, black women and their relationships - or should I say, lack thereof - have been getting a lot of attention. The Washington Post has done a couple of features on it. Then ABC's Nightline did a show asking why there are so many single black women.
All of a sudden the mainstream media is taking a keen interest in our love lives. We are being told that there is a 'crisis' amongst black women, particularly educated professional women, who are apparently unable to find a 'decent' black man.
Last night, ABC continued once again, with the airing of "Why Can't a Successful Black Woman Find a Man?," a taped discussion featuring Hill Harper, Steve Harvey, The View's Sherri Shepherd and others.
There's no doubt that it's a topic that sparks heated debates and discussions amongst black women and men. It has for years. But is it really that bad? Or is the media - now that it has found a hot topic - exploiting this issue for all that it's worth? I'm an educated black woman and I personally have no problem with meeting eligible, educated, great black men. Whether or not I choose to date them is another thing, but they are out there.
I am somewhat perturbed by the slew of stories on this topic. They are negative, unhelpful and only serve to perpetuate negative ideas about black men and women which often become self-fullfiling. They basically say 'oh, poor black women. They try so hard yet can't find a decent man ... Boo hoo, black women are victims. Ooh, it's all the fault of those pathetic black men. You know, they have no education or are locked up in jail.' Sorry, but I do not subscribe to that view.
There are many reasons why black women are single. And it's not because of the black man. Not taking personal responsibility nor dealing with unexplored baggage from the past plays much more of a role than we all believe. We women are not all just saints who have to fight against bad men. Too many of us women believe that a higher degree and a good salary are enough to make us great mates. As I've written before, we women are not victims in dating and it's totally disempowering for us to buy into these types of shows and articles which profit from perpetuating the idea that we are.
As a single black woman I'm actually more interested in hearing from happily married black couples on how they met and what makes them tick. We have Michelle and Barack Obama, a beautiful happily married black couple in the White House. Why can't we focus on how we can emulate couples like that?
Listen to Dr Boyce Watkins and I talk this issue out and let us know what you think.