This Essay For Black Men.
“Being Mary Jane” on BET is one of my favorite if not my favorite show to watch ever. I love the show because of it’s realism and attention to detail when it comes to every episode. And manly because I love the character Mary Jane Paul she is a black women living in Atlanta, extremely educated, financially secured, and anchors her own news show on one of the most watched news networks in the country. However all characters have to deal with an issue in their life. Mary Jane is in her late 30’s and she is still single with no children. She has everything in place but not her personal and love life in order completely. Furthermore there was one scene in a specific episode that really caught my attention. Mary Jane was talking with a friend at his house his name in the show is Sheldon. Mary Jane and Sheldon were sitting in his living room when an intellectual conversation sparked. Sheldon states that “The life of a black man today is significantly more difficult than any other single demographic.” Mary Jane casually responded “Well, except for that of a black woman.” Sheldon sips his wine and says “Including that of a black woman.” You then see the passion of Mary Jane eyes light up because you know what she’s about to say next is powerful
Mary Jane places the wine down looks Sheldon in the eye and says “Are you saying that black women have not been smothered by American ideals and expectations? That we have not been surveilled, pushed down, bullied and belittled by society? Because truth be told not only has society tried to smother black women, we’ve also been smothered by the very black men who claim to defend our honor. Least you guys have someone to go home to. Chit-chat with Talk out your troubles but who the hell takes care of us? Who’s left to love the black woman hmm? You want to talk hard? Try finding an educated black man in America? Now- that that’s difficult.”
Sheldon cuts her off and says “No that’s a myth. there’s nearly 1.5 million black men in college, compared to 840,000 in the prison system.”
Mary Jane replied “That wasn’t the correlation I was making. In my opinion that would be a foolish one to make. But since you brought it up yes. Black men are in college….community college, not the fiercely competitive ones that you and I went attended. Those are the men I’m talking about where are they? Stop me if I’m wrong, but don’t black women make up 2/3 of all African American bachelors degrees? 70% of all African-American master’s degrees? 60% of all African-American doctorates? I mean I’m not naive to understanding the systemic complexities of journey. But come on at the end of the day our men aren’t there. So you think this is hard? Living up in this massive house? Try being a single black women in America. That’s hard.”
I would love to go on and quote what Sheldon said next but you would just have to watch the show to find out. But to go on I quote all of this to make a point. Who is there for the black woman? Really, who is there? when you think about it. For me, a white man can disrespect me and treat me badly all day and night. I can handle it but it truly hurts when that disrespectful treatment is coming from a black man of all people. Especially when out of any demographic black women are the most loyal to them the most. My sophomore year of high school I had 2nd year Ceramics my 5th period. 5th period is the longest class at my school because its the lunch period so Ceramics was 90 mins long so conversation and clay is what kept us going from boredom. One day the five people including me at my table were working on our bowls. The topic of dating came across the room a girl name Kesha asked “Vincent, why do you don’t like black women?” Vincent was a first generation Senegalese-American I’ve known since the 6th grade. He was always known for messing with White women and Latin women and sometimes a light-skin black woman here and there. Abel laughed out loud at Kesha “What do you mean? I like black women” I laughed everyone looked at me I realized I was now in this conversation so I gave my opinion. “Vincent, you know good and dang well you don’t date black women its just not your preference I guess but don’t lie.” the table oohhed and ahhhed Vincent looked at me with a focus then he shrugged “Ok, ok listen I like black women but there just have to be a limit for me.” We all looked at him in confusion. He continue “A complexion limit.” Kesha placed her unfinished bowl down “Like a skin color limit?” Vincent smiled and pointed his fentling knife at her “Bingo you got it I will only date black women in my range” I was shocked I was hearing this Vincent is the color of the night sky and he has the audacity to talk about black women being in his range for him to date them. “So what is the darkest you would go.” Kesha asked Vincent flicked his eyes towards me. During the summer my skin color was normally a tan caramel color because I am outside so much but by the fall and winter my skin color goes back to it’s original hue which is a cool golden color. Everyone at our table looked at me Kesha laughed “But Faith isn’t even dark how can she be your darkest you would date.” Vincent shrugged “she’s just is.” he address me now “Faith I’m not calling you dark but in my range I would date anyone darker than you that’s what I’m trying to say.” I placed my bowl down now “That doesn’t make me feel any better that I can be consider for your attention that’s rude Vincent how can you degrade Black
Women like that.” Vincent later on told me he didn’t see it as degrading but than again it dawn on me even though you are a black man and you have to face your struggles in life at the end of the day you are still a man. which is higher than a women in the social pyramid. The things that a man says because of their privilege they will sometimes fail to recognized the rudeness and inconsiderate choices for their statements.
So when I read “This Poem for Black Women” by Reginald Lockett there was one particular line that stuck out to me. “Your deepest concern for us, blackmen.” Reading that line I came to terms that it is Black women who are the number one advocate for Black men. Its was three queer Black women who started the Black Lives Matter movement. Black women are three times more likely to be the main ones matching down the street for gun down unarmed black men but not vice versa I attended BLM rallies for Philando Castile, and Alton Brown but where was the rally for Korynn Gaines, or the other gunned down Black Women who are not walked for. You see what hurt me that day was not Vincent calling me his darkest type. It was the fact that I was listening to black male who I know for a fact was raise by a strong black women who sacrificed and did all she could for her son to go out and be a man she raised to be. Make a derogatory statement that put all that work his mother and the other women in his life have done in the trash. Black women have historically always closed down on black male issues. Black women should expect that same kind of support from black men? Some might see this as black women complaining or being their angry selves. But I like to responded to that by saying imagine all you life you have been in this friendship during times when this friend has needed you you’ve have opened your doors. Times when they were under-attack you’ve been there to defend them. Or just times when they needed someone to just listen you were there to do just that. Now it time that you needed them and the make an excuse not to or closed the door in your face. You are now under attacked and they are just watching or remaining silent. You need someone to listen and they are too busy. That’s not complaining that is being betrayed.
At the end of Lockett’s poem it says “BLACK WOMEN OF THE WORLD I HERE DECLARE MY IMMORTAL LOVE FOR YOU ALL.” Unfortunately that love is just not felt or seen by us black women. But hopefully one day it will be.