The young lady was cute and I could see from the other side of the room that she was checking me out. I was working the crowd at the business mixer and was already headed her way.
As I approached the table where she and her friends were sitting, she smiled and beckoned me over. Of course, I complied. She was assertive, not aggressive and I appreciated that.
We exchanged light conversation and then exchanged numbers. It was looking pretty good. She expressed a desire to get together at a later date.
Our conversation that night was encouraging. She talked about wanting to date an educated gentleman. I assured her I was one. I talked about wanting to date a nice, smart confident young lady and she assured me she was one.
I called her the next day and left a message. She called me back two days later, which wasn’t a problem when she explained that she was out of town.
Our second conversation started off well. She wanted to get to know me and began asking what I like. I asked the same of her and was feeling pretty good until she went there.
She began to express some negative sentiments about Black men.
I didn’t see it coming, but sadly, I was prepared. I stay ready because like all too many Black men, I frequently hear negativity about Black men from Black women.
The question is asked: “If you hear these things frequently, doesn’t that mean they ring of truth?” Well, the answer is the same as when White racists speak of Black men and women in the negative: “Just because something is popular does not mean that it is either true or good.”
McDonald’s is popular, but anyone who cares about their health realizes that it’s popularity doesn’t mean that it is good for the body.
Negativity is no different.
But I digress.
The lady wanted me to explain why “most” Black men prefer White women. Before I could explain how silly that question was, she wanted me to explain why “more” Black men are having secret sex with other men and spreading AIDS to Black women.
I knew we were done. And I knew how to end it before it started.
I began by introducing something that those conversations rarely feature: Truth.
Regarding the Black man’s alleged preference for White women, I informed her that in any television show, magazine or newspaper article, Black men are rarely quoted on their preference for dating White women over Black women. The White women we supposedly prefer are rarely quoted, and further, there are NEVER any studies, surveys or any other research presented.
The whole “down low” silliness suffers from the same failings.
Sadly, even after getting her to admit that there was no factual basis for her negative rhetoric about Black men, she still refused to let go. She insisted that since many of her friends held the same beliefs, that they must have validity.
I went straight to the chase. I asked her why she was interested in dating a Black man, since she obviously held very little hope for finding a good one. I sincerely wanted to know. I also needed to know what result she expected from telling a Black man how horrible Black men are.
Her answer? She wanted me to prove to her that good Black men exist. My response? Too much work for what will more than likely be without reward. I won’t prove to you that you are wrong if you are already convinced that you are right before I meet you, especially if I have to keep hearing how right you are.
The sad reality is that sisters who participate in the negativity campaign against Black men are in many cases, driving away the good brothers from their lives. How could you find a decent Black man, when you repel us by telling us up front how horrible we are?
This situation is a clear example of a relatively new movement that is ripping our already fragmented community apart. That movement is the proliferation of negative comments about Black men from Black women.
Too many Black women have a laundry list of complaints about the character (or lack thereof) of Black men. Some are based on narrow personal experiences, but most are based on nothing more than innuendo, rampant whispering from woman to woman and oh yes, those magazines.
There is no productive discussion in such a case. No amount of convincing conversation or demonstration of a Black man’s decency can diminish the negativity. It’s as if the negative Black women feel good thinking bad things about Black men.
The ironic part is that the chief complaint of Black men (myself included) about Black women is that we are dogged out so viciously by them. We are tired of hearing about how “many” or “most” of us are doing something, just because these women see or hear about some of us doing something.
It is ripping our community apart, because it makes open communication nearly impossible. The scenario with the young lady I mentioned earlier is a clear case in point. No matter what I could say to her, she refused to even become open to the idea that the things she says about Black men are negative, destructive and just plain wrong.
The question has to be asked: How many Black women want to date a Black man who talks incessantly about how whorish, greedy and bitchy Black women are? Do I need to provide the answer? Please give that some thought.
Black women, if you sincerely believe that Black men are choosing White women and other men over you, then you should stop attempting to date us. I can assure you that it won’t work, so save us both the trouble. Please, step away from the Black man.
But for my sisters who still have faith in us, leave the negativity campaign for the girl’s night out and approach us with hope, open dialogue with a positive, productive goal, concern for the future of Black relationships, and Black families. We have plenty to discuss outside of how horrible you may think we are and many of us are still hopeful about Black women.
It’s really that simple. Avoid starting a relationship with negativity.
That’s how to date a Black man.
Darryl James n is an award-winning author who is now a filmmaker. His first mini-movie, “Crack,” was released in March of 2006. He is currently filming a full length documentary. James’ latest book, “Bridging The Black Gender Gap,” is the basis of his lectures and seminars. Previous installments of this column can now be viewed at www.bridgecolumn.com. James can be reached at djames@theBlackgendergap.com.