I apologize in advance for this lengthy entry, but there is much to say about this subject. This is Part I of a two-part series in which I address black relationships. Yes, these words are applicable to the masses of women -- regardless of race or nationality -- but again, I'm addressing my sistas (all sistas, even the groupies and golddiggers). However, my brothas, please don't think that you are off the hook. Part II will address the behavior of black men in the dating game. But for now, I'm focusing on my girls.
Black women are beautiful, intelligent, regal, and inspiring creatures. From the days that our ancestors were pickin' cotton in the cotton fields, we have held down our households by serving as the backbone of our families, and carrying ourselves with both dignity and grace. We take care of our business by pursuing our careers and raising our children at the same time (many times without the assistance of a man).
So why is it that so many of us sell ourselves short by "entertaining" men who do not have our best interests at heart? Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking "at" you all, I'm talking "with" you, because I have been there too. We've all been there. The question is: at what point do you start to value yourself, and realize that you deserve better?
I used to live in Washington D.C., a.k.a. "Chocolate City," where professional black people abound. Women who have never lived in D.C. always have the impression that because there are so many professional black men there, the dating options are endless. However, just the opposite is true. Sure D.C. has a much bigger selection of professional black men than most cities, but it also has a much much bigger selection of professional black women. I always give people this scenario: you start off with a pool of professional black men -- take away those who are married, those who are gay, and those who don't date sistas, and you are left with an even smaller pool of "available" professional black men. (Yes, emphasis on "available.") Contrast that with the plethora of available professional black women (which is evidenced by the huge numbers of sistas in college compared to brothas), and you're left with a large discrepancy in numbers. Because of this shortage in available professional black men, too many of us "settle" for men who are bad for us just to be able to say we have a man. Yet, that same man is out with LaToya, LaTonya, LaKeisha, and everybody else and their mama -- when he should be at home with his woman.
But tsk, tsk ladies. NEWSFLASH -- a man will only do what you allow him to do. Stop letting him treat you like you are disposable. You not only de-value yourself by doing that, but you make it hard on those of us who choose to be alone rather than deal with unnecessary drama from a man. Because you allow him to cheat on you, sleep with you and then go home to wifey, and generally disrespect you -- and then let him back in your heart and your bed, you diminish yourself and diminish the value of black women in general. Why would a man put up with a strong woman with values and standards, when he knows with you he can do as he pleases and still come home? STOP IT! Stop doing it to yourself, and stop doing it to the rest of us. I'm sick of hearing you complain about how your man doesn't treat you right, yet that fool is always up in your bed. Just stop it, he doesn't care about you, and you know it.
Black women, we need to take back our power and strength. We have to learn how to value ourselves again. We have to be able to recognize men who are bad for us, and leave them alone. We cannot continue to diminish our value by settling for men who constantly break our spirits and minds. We have to recognize when a man does not care about us, and choose to leave him alone. The longer we continue to accept lying, cheating, and disrespectful men in our beds, the longer we continue to de-value the honor and grace with which black women have guided their families throughout time.