Friday, November 18, 2011


Over a month ago I caught an entry on the Surviving Dating blog that asked a very penetrating question—“Are MostBlack Men Sociopaths?”  The comments went back and forth, offering up their own personal testimony as confirmation for why their view is right, as if that is confirmation enough… “THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED TO ME!”  That seemed to be a rally point in the comment section for most of the women.  Of course, the men countered with “I AIN’T THAT WAY” in their comments and mainly gave examples of how black women seem to flock to the kind of men that possess the traits that were being condemned in the post.
Now I only half-follow the blog because I think of it the same way I think of Faux News.  Whatever story she has to share already has a definitive bias without any explanation as to why that is.  But the notion of ‘what is wrong with black men’ is one that in the black community that gains little traction when it comes to discussing the problems in the relationships between black men and women.
As a young boy trying to make sense of how relationships were supposed to work, the framework was essentially the same across the board.  Men had certain responsibilities and women had their responsibilities, and if both parties were able to fulfill their part of the bargain, then the relationship works out.  Thanks to being allowed to watch liberal amounts of ‘That Girl’ and Norman Lear comedies, along with watching the ebb and flow of boy-girlfriend relations in my observable vicinity, one of the first things that I remember telling myself is ‘don’t do what doesn’t work’.
Treating black women with respect has definitely been a problem since my generation.  Black men, it seems, have colluded among themselves to do all that they can to degrade and slander black women, treating them with all the disrespect that they can muster.  In fact, it has almost become an industry within the community, and has been exported to where the image of black women in society is as negative of any demographic you can come up think of.  All the while that black men participate in this exploitation by perpetuating the same anti-social behaviors that fit the clinical diagnosis of sociopathy, black women remain among the staunchest defenders of the black male-female relationship model, even at the expense of their own personal fulfillment.
In one of her replies, the hostess of the blog Deborrah Cooper uses a crap made-up statistic that 99 out of 100 brothers could be called ‘sociopathic’ and the one good brother who doesn’t fit the DSMV diagnosis of sociopath is with a white women (what about the ‘undercover brothers’?  She left them out… sheesh!).  But her larger point, which I take as a defense of the choices that black women make in men, that the dating pool is filled with sociopaths is credible.
To me, the issues that surround black men and their fail in relationships aren’t new and they add unnecessary complications all relationships between brothers and sisters.  When you begin to solve for external reasons such as racism and the attendant problems that stem from it, I think that it comes down to being able to fulfill ones ‘natural role’ and living up to those expectations.  Basic functions of responsible behavior in relationship seem to be too much to ask from many black men and that aggravates the problem that are faced by both as an ethnic group.
Unlike the Hispanic culture of ‘machismo’, there is little honor in the behavior of black men towards their women and I think that it is more mainstream within.  It is very nihilistic and it has toxic fallout that affects how black girls develop into black women.
The post’s title comes from my ex-wife.  It was something that she would say repeatedly when engaged in one of her many diatribes with other equally disillusioned young black women (never mind that she HAD a husband… that is a different conversation!) about the state of their relationships with men.  Each one had a story and for me it all boiled down to what should have been covered in ‘freshmen relationships class’ in high school.
A huge issue is one of trust… and not only when it comes to fidelity.  Can black women trust their black men to lead them through difficult times or to be able to provide a source of security and comfort, and to value black women and their contributions in a relationship?  These are areas that black men (myself included) have consistently failed at, and it really impacts how black women see relationship.  Do they see all men in the light that my ex-wife does, and they feel that they have to keep their guard up when they commit to be in love?
There is even a big difference in how each sex regards the negative stereotypes that they are saddled with.  Many sister-girls are strident in their denials of being a ‘Jubilee’ or a castrating, man-loathing woman.  But the brothers embrace and still aim to be like the caricatures that fuel the rap music industry, and expect that kind of behavior to be codified as ‘authentically black’.
I don’t think that the black relationship is in danger of flatlining but it does not look good.  The problem is not with ‘nearly all’ as Deborrah asserts but the large group among the groups, that there is a plurality among the different types as well as an absolute count among the different valuations of archetypes that are caricatures.  Not all black men are dogs… and not all black women are Jubilee’s… but when it comes to the former, enough of them are and that spoils the entire bunch, it seems.


♥ CG ♥ said...

Wow Mark, you really drove home so many of the thoughts I've had of recent and your points are ... well, on point. I've wanted to tackle this issue but get overwhelmed trying to even try to dissect it in bits. I agree with you, this whole thing is in dire straits but can be repaired. I like how you pointed out that choices are a major issue, personal responsibility is something of a lost art to some folks. Gosh...lots of good stuff to think about. Excellent post!

Mizrepresent said...

What a great assessment Mark! Really, being one of the many, perhaps the Jubilee, i wholeheartedly agree with you the black male/female relationship is on Life Support. It the image portrayed of the black woman doesn't help, especially with the numerous individuals who not only embellish this image, but through their words and actions fail at any point to attempt to rectify an already ugly situation. Alot of black females are also to blame by accepting this disrespect and falling in line, as if "you call me a hoe so i'm gonna be that hoe". I don't however think all black men are sociopaths...but i do believe that perhaps a shift in thinking can certainly make a difference in our future.

Have Myelin? said...

Well... as a white female this is all new to me so I will just leave the commenting to the 'experts' lol. =p

An interesting look from the outside in.

FrankandMary said...

What is mostly left in the middle age dating pool(black/white/other-both genders)is MEMEMEME people & then enablers who want to love MEMEME people hook up until they get hurt too bad even for them...then they do it again with a new MEMEME.
The rest of the MEMEME'S hook up & break up frequently...because they are always looking for someone to admire them more~& other MEMEME's don't do that as much as they'd like.

Now if you can figure that out....

Heather said...

I can only speak from my own experience... my one serious relationship with a black man was with a man who had not found a black woman who would respect him in the role that he felt like a man should have... that sounds more vague than I mean for it to. He just was/is a very traditional man and couldn't find a traditional woman. That being said... after six years of dating we were no closer to a real commitment than we were on day one. He had never taken me home to meet mom and dad... which I respect in a way, because his father is a very old man and lived through the horrors of life under racism in the deep south. At any rate... black, white, polka dotted, I don't care. A man needs to be a man and both partners need to respect one another.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

We can only overcome stereotypes one person, one day, at a time.

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