I think there’s some expectation for me to begin this response with some form of unwavering support to the original piece: ’It is so cliche now to see an intelligent/ well-to-do African man with a white woman’ or some other biting statement, but the truth is that this type of response is so cliche… another
bitter angry annoyed black female blogger writing about black men and white women. It’s a waste of time and energy, doesn’t help anyone, and is such a bore. Although, I can relate to the sentiments discussed in the piece (and the scenarios as well), once we come down from the ‘ranting and raving’ on our soapboxes, I think there are some things to address as African women, with the role we play in ‘letting our men go to other races white women’.
My last longterm situationship ended last year and following the demise of the relationship, I had to take a hard look at the role I played in its demise. Not only because I don’t ever want to repeat the situation again, but also because I felt as though I let my fellow African sisters down. It’s a bit difficult to convey this feeling because
I don’t fully understand it myself I’ve never felt a particular sense of devotion to my fellow African woman. However, in some strange way I felt as though I let the past, present, and future African woman down. Namely on my part, I contributed to the stereotype of not being able to ‘hold your African/black man down’, ‘love and take care of him like he needs’… and accordingly, I was not able to help the world see what real (educated) black/African love looks like in the 21st century. Please note before you keep reading, the only thing I am addressing in this piece is me. I am writing this in hopes that it can help someone out there, because I think we do ourselves a disservice if we’re not learning lessons from others.
When a close black guy friend read the White Women guest piece I am responding to, he sent me this:
I don’t totally agree with the premise, but it was humorous. If I had to answer the question of what is the difference between the Black Woman and the White Woman, it is as simple as this: Black Women spend more time talking about “What I’m not going to do…” where White Women spend more time talking about “What I’m open to consider…” Thus, they get the man they want, because they’re willing to consider things where Black Women immediately put up the no and set the ultimatum for the Black Man to take it or leave it, and we see what he usually does…Leaves it.
What’s said above is spot on. From what I’ve seen, a lot of African women are brought up with very principled backgrounds, which leads them to an attitude of ‘I don’t do this, I would never do this, I only do this this way… take it or leave it’. Like the guest blogger mentioned at the end of her piece, “I am not moving to anyone’s country where I do not speak the language, cannot cook the food and burn every time I go outside unless there are ring(s) on it…take it or leave it.” Whether it’s from watching what has occurred in their own households (how the women in their lives didn’t compromise, or did compromise and got burned); or it’s from growing up in strong christian or traditionally valued households which have framed what they believe a lady should and shouldn’t do for a man… these things play into what women give up and give in for their men.
In my personal case, I held on to things, rightly or wrongly, which I believed trumped being with him. When I was eventually ready to lay aside “my ultimatums”, it was way too late. My point here is not necessarily about being principled about certain things, but it’s more about understanding the situation. We, African women, can’t get mad when African men pass us up (because of this issue) when
other white women are more willing to, for all intents and purposes, ‘sacrifice for their man’. And ladies, the amount of times I’ve heard (and said) ‘well if he loves me, he’ll oblige, and if he doesn’t…then he can get to steppn’ is beyond countless. And there is some truth to this, BUT there is also truth to the fact that you may not be giving him the chance to fall in love with you with all your barriers placed, so you can’t get mad if he doesn’t decide to stick around long enough to figure out whether he can love you.
Second thing, and this is a little paradoxical to what I just mentioned, is that for me, I didn’t demand anything in terms of commitment from the guy. And I think this is more common than not with black women. Though I wasn’t content keeping the relationship as it was, I thought because he didn’t say anything about things, I didn’t want to rock the boat… so we remained non-defined and that’s an equation which will never add up: Not requesting commitment + Having demands 1,2,3 now or before we are ever to take it to the next level = diaster. Perhaps what should have happened is a discussion of commitment and what that entails on both our parts, which would have also helped with the issue of ‘giving in’ and ‘giving up’. I think some African women put barriers in place because they don’t have the commitment they want or they are scared that they won’t get the commitment they want if they let down their guard. This is not to say the fear isn’t unfounded, but at the end of the day love is an art not a science… you go all in and try. When Beyonce said, ‘if you like it, then you shoulda put a ring on it’, I don’t think she meant neglect telling a man what you want in terms of commitment before the ring stage. And I’m not saying to do this to any guy, but this is for a guy who you believe is serious about a relationship with you.
Of course this is my one-dimensional take on things, and I have not exhausted the list of my faults in the relationship, but I think these two things stand out as dear lessons learned, which I thought I would pass on to my fellow African woman. So no Kanye, ‘he didn’t leave my a$$ for a white girl’, really he just left my a$$, period. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what color the new girl is, because it’s less about that than it is about what the two of you couldn’t do and be for each other. White women aren’t stealing African men as much as they are offering them something ‘WE’ won’t or don’t. Until we’re willing to change that, or at the very least acknowledge it, we can’t be mad when another bites the dust.
I must separately address this idea of not being African enough or foreign enough, because it’s so intriguing to me. I have to say that
unfortunately for me, I was privy to this guy’s thoughts about our compatibility after the fact… and I was indeed hit with the ‘you wouldn’t fit in with the fam’ chorus… so it was a little fascinating to see that family compatibility would exist with a white woman. However, the one foot in/one foot out explanation makes a little sense now. It is excusable when a foreigner acts as a foreigner, but when someone brought up in an African household acts as a foreigner, perhaps traditional families are less forgiving with this. This is definitely a topic to continue exploring… I wonder readers, what’s your experience on African men opting out of relationships with African women who are too foreign?
On an ending note, perhaps me and ms. guest blogger should be encouraging our fellow African women to become more open to scenarios such as the one on the right **KanYe Shrug** ->
I just had one of the weirdest occurrences tonight… apologies in advance, this post might be a little convoluted.
I’ve been away traveling for a bit, and it’s been a very exhausting week AND weekend for me. After arriving at home and noticing that I did not have my keys to my place, one of my first reactions naturally was to call the guy I’m seeing and begin lamenting about my afternoon and not having my keys and wanting only just to be in my bed, etc etc etc. Which I proceeded to do: “babe, get this…I don’t have my keys… no, no one’s at home… no, no one’s going to be back until… and both my phones are about to die, so how am I going to…. and…” It continues like this for another few minutes. After I ‘finished’ my story, which quite honestly could be up for an oscar given it’s embellishments and exaggerations, I come up for air only to hear, ‘Ok, do you what me to go pick up the key for you from …” The next few exchanges that take place in my head are yet to be fully digested… dive in with me as I revisit my thoughts:
…. wait, what?… I don’t get it.
Why are you…why are you talking…
No, aaa… no I don’t want you to do anything
Did I ask you to do anything for me…
Again, why are you asking me such asinine questions
I’m. actually. not. finished. my. story. so. why. are. you. talking.
I don’t understand what’s going on here…
Yes. That’s pretty much the gist of what took place in my head… the more obscure thing was the simultaneous ‘conversation’ that also took place in my head…
friend*, you realize he’s being thoughtful and only wanting to help
why are you overreacting??
…are you okay?…
omg, what is wrong with you?
As I was having dueling conversations with myself, I managed to respond out loud with a simple, ‘no it’s okay, I’ll figure it out’. The sad thing was I was in a hurry to hang up the phone not to figure out how and when I could get into my apartment, but rather to figure out what the heck was going on with me.
It would seem only logical for a person to offer assistance when a problem has been communicated to them, right? So why was I so annoyed with his response. I was annoyed because I didn’t ask for it… as strange as that sounds. I called for his ear, I called so that I could talk out my problems to someone and be heard. What’s even more irritating is the fact that it wasn’t rocket science to solve my problem, so of course I could solve it myself.
I have a “work husband” who I complain about work to ALLLL the time. It took him a little while to figure out how to react to me, but it’s so interesting now…he’s figured out when to sit quietly…with an ‘uh huh’ and an ‘I understand’ from time to time, and when to offer actual input to the conversation. He’s actually told me that he’s learned more about how to treat women from working with me than in any relationship he’s been in before… You’re welcome, work husband.
Back to the point of my story… women can be so confusing. Half the time we don’t know what we want. In another turn of events, tonight I would have been just as annoyed if he hadn’t offered to help. Men, I think the best advice I can offer is to make an effort to learn more about your woman…because she is from Venus… or in my case, pluto….. a planet that doesn’t even exist. Take the time to understand when it’s appropriate to be a silent participant to the conversation and when it’s time to give feedback and solutions, and it will be well with you…. most of the time.
*this is myself talking to myself.
Having witnessed a flood of people getting engaged and married in the last 6months, I think I’m going to start a mini-series on marriage… so here begins the first piece. Enjoy!
If I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve heard of a young African couple getting married abruptly, and then <9months later welcoming a new child into their home, I probably wouldn’t be rich, but at least middle class status There’s no judgment, but I do find the differences in the African approach and the American approach to pregnancy before marriage quite intriguing.
Take Lady #1- a woman in her mid-20s who has been dating her bf for a few yrs. They were married this past year and recently had a child. The kicker isn’t that people know the couple got married because she was pregnant, but rather that it is common knowledge that this lady got pregnant on purpose because the guy was taking a long time to marry her.
Take Lady #2- a woman in her early 30s dating a man in his mid-30s for a couple years. Recently she has become restless about the guy not wanting to make a decision about getting married (his MO being, ‘what we have is good, let’s just continue what we’re doing). Her response has been, ‘I’m about to be out of this piece, why wait on someone who is just wasting my time?’
The stories are loosely based on the lives of women I know. I don’t think I have to tell you which of the two women is African either*. Again no judgment. Although there are some differences in age and how long each woman has been in their relationship, I think its okay to compare the two (dating for 5yrs in your mid-20s can be some-what comparable to dating for 2yrs in your 30s). Knowing the 2nd woman very well, I know she is very serious when she says she’ll be out very soon if this guy doesn’t express interest in marriage soon (and side note: I fully agree with her stance- in your 30s, after dating for 2yrs, you need not to be taking a ‘let’s see where this goes’ stance). This lady would NEVER, and I can emphatically say NEVER dream of getting pregnant to corner her bf into marrying her- she just wouldn’t.
Men hold out on marriage for various reasons (not ready financially, finishing school, looking to get to a certain place in their career), but sometimes it simply comes down to the belief that there could be something better out there. So if your guy gives you that spiel, should your action plan be to reel him in (through various means, including pregnancy), or should you let him go? Thoughts?
UPDATE on post – since I initially began writing this piece, lady #2 has in fact ended her relationship, and has a new fabulous bf who is serious about marriage.
*people, please no hate mail on this. I know American women get pregnant on purpose to trap their men too. However, from what I have seen, African men are more likely to respond to pregnancy with a proposal than American men. Correct me if I am wrong though.
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We start with the hate first:
Ain’t this the truth? This past weekend, I hosted a birthday party for one of my best friends, and during the course of the evening I showed her the above picture on facebook. She immediately started screaming, “Do you know how true this is?” She then physically showed me recent birthday text messages from her suitors far and wide, and you could tell right away which ones fell into the two categories above. The worst of it all was that the guy she really cares for forgot about her birthday.
Ok, love next:
FLOWCHARTS! And isn’t this one just great? I hope it helps you make the RIGHT decision the next time you pick up your phone (If you can’t see the chart clear enough, just click on it and it will expand). FYI, this applies to both sexes.
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I recently moved to a new city, and last weekend a friend of mine took me out to explore the town. We ended up at a nice local spot after dinner, and it was there that something very interesting happened to me. Of course I had to blog about it
For most of the night, my friend and I were sitting at a table where there were two empty seats. At one point during the evening, one of the hostesses approached me and asked if it would be alright if two ladies came and sat in the two open seats at our table. ‘Ya, that’s fine with me… why would I have a problem with that?’ At that point in the night the place was getting quite crowded, so of course it would make sense to offer up the seats. Without any thought, I turned over to my friend and asked him if he would mind if two ladies came and sat in the two open seats (I wasn’t sure if any additional people were going to join us). He said he was fine with it, so I told the hostess that we didn’t mind. She then asked me a second time, and explained to me with emphasis that they were the ‘two ladies in the corner’, making sure to point out who she was talking about. Again without any hesitation, I repeated to her that it was fine, they could come sit with us. It was not until she walked away that things started setting in… ‘why did she come up to only ME?’- she knew my friend very well (he’s a regular at the spot)… ‘why was she so set on explaining to me that it was two ladies in the corner who wanted to sit in the two seats’- as if it mattered who needed the seats. In any case, about 20min later when the two seats were still empty, my friend asked the hostess what happened to the two ladies, and her response brought so much clarity to the situation:
“It is not right for me to bring two ladies over here when you are with a lady already.”
My friend relayed her response to me, and we chuckled. I think I had more of a good laugh about the situation because of my own personal take on these things.
First, my friend and I were not on a date, and second, and more importantly, even if we were together, I wouldn’t have batted an eye if two ladies sat next to us at a table. I appreciate that this hostess respected me enough to “protect” me from those ladies who could have possibly made a pass at ‘my man’ (or perhaps she was protecting me from ‘my man’ making a pass at one of the ladies), but honestly if a man is going to step out of the relationship, how much can you really do to prevent it? My friend and I ended up having a lengthy conversation about the whole situation. He understood the point I was making, but he also explained the idea that there are two sets of men: men who cheat and men who are about to cheat. The latter being the majority of men. Even good guys can stray, so there’s no point in creating more opportunities for them to do so. Fair enough, but if you’re with a woman and can’t control yourself, then what does ‘grabbing your hand when a pretty girl walks into the room’ or ‘not allowing two ladies to sit at our table’ really do? …I dunno perhaps there’s such a thing as being too trusting?… or being too naive?
In the same way, I never really understand why women confront the ‘other woman’ when they suspect cheating (with the argument that ‘you should respect me as a woman’). Isn’t that something the woman should be addressing with her man? He should be respecting you as his mate, no? Is a man not grown enough to do the right thing? A close friend of mine told me that early on in her relationship with her boyfriend, she had to set him straight a few times after he had gone and acted a little crazy …checking out girls with his friends while she was around, errmmm…?? But after she set him straight regarding what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior, he knew what the deal was. I’m obviously simplifying their situation, but in essence shouldn’t you be dealing with these issues in-house?
When I think about the other side of things though, it is nice when a man lets another man know you’re his, even with a small gesture. Not sure how men feel when women do the same. What do you think? Is it different for men and women? Do men want women to act territorial? Should women be territorial about their men, or should you just be confident in your relationship? …you know I love my polls! Let me know!
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PillowTalk’s new question has been up for about a week now on Bandeka, but it’s taken me a little bit to put together a piece to address the issue. Why? Because the topic of black men with
other women white women isn’t the same topic as interracial dating for people black women, so the topic has to be treaded on delicately.
Never have I ever seen a race of men who are so quick to date outside of their race as black men.
A couple weeks ago, I saw this piece announcing Michael Jordan’s engagement to his longtime girlfriend Yvete Prieto (a Cuban American model). There was nothing particularly exciting about the announcement, however I was
floored entertained at the comments written by readers. They go on in a similar manner to the one I just quoted above:
“Sistas, let this be a wake up call to keep it movin and do what you need to do. Its obvious that we’re not considered worthy and have been hated by our own men for quite sometime…”
“It Figures! A NON-MINORITY FEMALE!”
“There is nothing I can say that hasn’t been said already …Black men are sell outs, black women are jealous, love has no color…blah blah blah…”
“Et tu, Michael? Boy, what are there now, like 3 black women in the world so all those who are famous have to look to other races?”
At first, I did throw some judgment at the commenters- ‘haters, much?’, however when I recalled a conversation that I had with a friend a few months ago, I had to check myself. A few months ago, after seeing a picture of a successful African man that I admire a lot, I asked my friend if the white lady beside him was his wife. ‘Yes, that’s his wife’. My response was a sadden, ‘oh ok’. Not because I have anything against
interracial marriages white women, not because I have anything bad to say about her personally, but because it’s becoming common to see powerful black men marrying outside of their race, and sue me, when I see a successful happily married black couple, I smile a little inside (if Obama’s wife was white, I wouldn’t feel the same way about the first couple). A friend put it quite reasonably to me, there are so few black men ‘at the top’, and white women have their pick of a much wider pool of white men every other type of man, so it stings more when they dip into our jar. [Read here why black women rarely date outside their race/white men: http://madamenoire.com/124921/reasons-why-black-women-dont-date-white-men/5/. It also stings to be passed over by an eligible black man when he 'makes it' - statistics show that as black men increase their earnings and status, a larger percentage marry outside their race. So back to the first comment I referred to in this post, I do agree with it- I may be wrong, but I can't think of any other race where men are so quick to date outside AND celebrate it. (Though this is probably one of the worst examples out there, see here).
Ladies, here's some good perspective on things though: "While it may annoy you that a black man chooses to date outside his race, it’s also foolish to fixate on a segment of the population that clearly has no interest in you. If this same man chose to date black women, he may prefer them in a certain size, shape and color that you may not fit and he’d overlook you anyway. So what’s really the difference?"* Perhaps instead of racking our brains as to why certain black men don't want to be with black women, black women should just keep it moving and look for that person that wants to be with them.
It's so easy to clump 'blacks' together as well, but there are differences between African Americans and Africans. I'm interested to know your thoughts on African men. Is this a phenomenon across the board for black men? Do you think African men tend to sideline African women for white women as their incomes increase or when they 'make it'? From my experience, African men DATE white women, but MARRY them less; I've actually heard this from African men I know: 'I'll date white women, but it's not like I would ever marry one." Does that make African women feel better? Anyhoo POLL BELOW, let me know your thoughts... this should be an interesting one!
Make sure to check out White Women Part II
In the wake of Vanessa Bryant filing for divorce (after her ten year marriage to Kobe Bryant), I thought it was the perfect time to bring up the discussion of prenups, and whether in modern-day African relationships (between two successful people), prenups should become more customary? And if not, how should we protect ourselves?
I don’t believe in prenups myself, but when I heard that Kobe didn’t have one, I cringed a little inside. All I kept thinking was, ‘Man, that sucks!’ But is that the right attitude to take? See HERE for a different view of the situation:
Vanessa stood by her husband as his wife for over a decade, and raised their two children. If he couldn’t respect the marriage enough to be faithful, then getting half is getting exactly what she deserves.
It is true. Vanessa has been with Kobe for 10 years, and even though she wasn’t physically playing the game with him on the court, she sacrificed for him to have his successful career (including standing by his side during his rape ordeal, sticking with him through multiple extramarital affairs, and raising their two daughters). Although, half of ‘his’ fortune (estimates put this at $150 million) is A LOT of money, and let’s not forget the spousal support. Thoughts?? I’m not sure where Kobe goes from here, but a discussion with one of the co-founders of bandeka brought up an interesting take on celebrities: ‘when you get to a certain level of wealth (or you’re on track to reach a certain level of wealth), there’s no point getting married – you can have relationships, you can have children, just don’t get married (or at least don’t without a prenup)… look at Oprah, Diddy, Clooney, etc.
On another note, while reading about Vanessa and Kobe’s relationship, I discovered that they met when she was 17, and they got married when she was 19 (she was a backup dancer in a music video which was being filmed in the same building where Kobe was working on his own music video, which was never released). They dated for six months before getting engaged. His parents and sisters were so against the union that they did not attend the wedding (neither did any of his teammates or his longtime agent…awkward.)
In African relationships, family is a very important part of the equation- for various reasons (the most basic being, approval and peace of mind). So if your parents did not approve of your future spouse, would you go ahead with the marriage? Do parents have a sixth sense when it comes to these things? I want to know what you think. Have you witnessed instances where parents have been dead wrong about their child’s significant other in the end? Let me be clear that I am not saying that Vanessa was the problem here, nor am I saying that in general parents think that there is something necessarily wrong with the other person. What I am saying is that perhaps parents/family may be able to see whether a union with you and another person will ultimately work out. Take our poll below!
Bandeka’s third PillowTalk question is now up on Bandeka.com, and it appears women want to know, “Why does everything revolve around sex?” Good question. Why is it such an important part of a ‘good’, ‘healthy’, or unhealthy relationship for a guy? You should definitely take a look at the site if you haven’t already! I think some of the answers are quite interesting.
We’ve heard studies say that men think about sex every seven seconds, but apparently that isn’t true according to a recent Ohio State University study. The study found that it is really more like every 1.26hrs. Hmmm… so guys think about sex less often than we think they do, but the truth is women think about sex too (and probably more than guys think they do). I’ll make a shout out here for my girl Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, who runs the blog Adventuresfrom.com* (full title: Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women). Nana, who is a big fan of
Bandeka one of our co-founders (check out: http://adventuresfrom.com/2011/11/23/bandeka-an-online-dating-service-for-well-educated-africans.html), launched Adventuresfrom a couple years ago because she wanted to create a platform where African women could express some of the things that they wanted to say regarding sex (and the things that men needed to know). She (rightfully) thought that no one was talking about sex from an African woman’s perspective.
In Africa, it seems that the topic of sex has been reduced to a few things: abstinence, violence or AIDS; but, the discussion should open up more to include the needs of both women and men (it is important because sexual satisfaction IS a predictor of a happy marriage: see here http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/45604220/ns/today-today_health/#.TuhxsOZb9-6 ). They say one of the reasons why sex begins to die in a marriage is because women begin to feel like it’s more of a chore, and I think one of the main reasons this occurs is because women don’t communicate what they want and need from their partners in the bedroom.
I digress though. Back to the Ohio State Study, which will be published in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of Sex Research. Psychology Professor Terri Fisher says that, “It’s not uniquely sex that [men spend] more time thinking about [compared to women], but [it is also] other issues related to their biological needs, as well [including food, sleep, etc.]” So, in essence men just think about their biological needs more than women do. Read more on the study HERE.
RANDOM: Music Artist Robin Thicke recently said in an interview that the key to a happy, successful, passionate marriage is “lots of sex”. Hmmm..yeah, sure… And honesty, trust, patience, forgiveness, etc- It’s all summed up in those three C’s: compatibility, communication, AND chemistry (which encompasses sex)…but yeah, I ain’t mad at his statement
* Reader discretion is advised, Nana’s site isn’t for everyone.
Before I disclose the results, I want to say a special Happy Birthday to Bandeka Co-Founder, Tunde Kehinde!
Cheating: Does The How Make A Difference?*
*The original poll was posted on November 18th, 2011: http://loveafrican.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/cheating-does-the-how-make-a-difference/