What Black Women Really Think about Black Men
By Mel Bancroft
Black men have long been characterized by certain statistics as the highest of all men incarcerated with fewer professional skills and lesser education in comparison to Black women. To make matters worse, stereotypical prejudice and racism continue to depict Black men as having an angry and hostile disposition, creating a rift between African American men and women. The question is: What do Black women really think about Black men and by what means do they arrive at their beliefs and perceptions?
When Nisha, a film production assistant, was asked to give her opinion, she first stated that she believes African American men and women are facing many challenges because fathers have been absent from the home. “I have had terrible experiences with every Black man I’ve ever been with. My father was always there for me and treated me special. I was somewhat of a daddy’s little girl when I was younger. My father was a great example and set a standard that was too high for other men to achieve with me because their fathers weren’t present. And I was called a ‘gold digger’ when I expected them to do things for me the way my father did. I find that all men have similar issues and challenges in relationships no matter what their race is, but the Black men I’ve dealt with were too cheap, inconsiderate, and emotionally immature—I have never felt valued with them.”
Just like any other race of people, African American men and women can be a dynamic, productive team when they are compatible and find love in each other. But the issues seem to begin when there’s a question of trust and dependability.
“Some of the issues that I’ve experienced with Black men are laziness, being untrustworthy, unreliable, not keeping their word on something they say they will do, and inconsistent in following through,” said Ayana, an IT Analyst. “I do not believe these are inherent characteristics because it is not applicable to all Black men. But I do think some of it is learned behavior. “However, the Black men that I’ve dated were reliable, understanding, and listened to my needs. They really cared about me, whether the relationship worked out or not. Our Black men can be caring and understanding, especially if we’re not combative and not trying to go up against them. When we can show our feminine, sensitive side, they are more able to consider our needs and feelings.”
Ayana continued explaining how her perceptions of Black men have developed. “When I was growing up, the women in my family did everything. The men in my environment demonstrated all kinds of unstable behavior like alcohol abuse, not keeping a job, and just plain laziness. My feeling was that this is not the way Black men are supposed to be. But I learned that I have to rely on myself based on what I saw growing up.”
African American men and women have to make a great deal of effort to overcome generational thorns that continue to prick at their relationships and drive them apart. Having the Black woman stand alone without a Black man’s leadership, protection, and care does nothing to improve relations between African American men and women. Black women, as independent as they may be, are weary of standing by themselves, longing for Black men to love them and lead them, and step up to their rightful place: to be kings, taking God-given control over all they endeavor.