August 09, 2007

Sistas, move beyond "The Ratio"

A friend brought to my attention yet another news article about how there's no hope for Black women to find a decent Black man to marry, so they're forced to start marrying white men.

Personally, I've had enough of this crap.

Now, before I proceed, let me first state a few things for the record: I have absolutely no problem with interracial dating, except when a Black woman that I personally desire for myself chooses instead to date a white man. :-)

Frankly, I'd have a problem if she choose to date a brother, too, but because she picked a guy with whom I have less in common with (at least, physically), it just really drives home the point that I don't suit her tastes. Beyond that, I say, you love who you love. Just be true to yourself.

But when I hear sisters complain about brothers who are cocky and who think they're all that because they know the numbers are in their favor, so they just throw up their hands and say "forget it", to me, that says that they don't really want a successful Black man because they're unwilling to raise their game to get him. Now, does that mean compromise your principles (i.e. he'll only talk to you if you blow him first)? Of course not - that would make him a bad Black man instead of a good one. And any man who makes you feel less than you are isn't worth your tears if he picks a white girl. However, if you're willing to acknowledge that, from your POV, it's a seller's market, you need to bring your A-game, which is more than just education and credentials, but personality, spirit, physical & emotional beauty. And I'm not talking about hitting the pilates classes or getting breast implants or wearing a super-slinky outfit. I hear all this talk about looking for a husband, but are you actually ready to receive one? Are you ready to open your heart and share your life with someone else, or are you just checking something off of a "things to do before I'm 40" list? Are you actually ready to love? Give love AND receive love?

Which brings me to the larger point - all of these articles talk about how many interracial marriages there are and how many unmarried sisters there are and how low our marriage rates are - but, as far as I can tell, the majority of Black people who get married are still marrying Black people. So, despite "The Ratio", Black men & black women are still finding each other and getting married. I've been invited to a ton of Black weddings over the last 10-15 years, and not a single one of them involved an interracial couple. NOT ONE.

It's all about perspective and state of mind. I vividly recall a moment in college when a beautiful dark-skinned sister was complaining about how she'd been at a party and was ready to cry because all the brothers where dancing with light-skinned sisters..... the very same party where I had been dancing with her that night!!!

My point is, if you have an idea in your head, you'll always find evidence to support it. It's like that movie "The Number 23" - once you start to think that the number is everywhere, you start seeing it everywhere. But you only see it because you focus on it.

Everyone wants to focus on the successful Black men married to white women, but I can name just as many successful brothers married to sisters.

Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Bill Cosby, Eddie Murphy (past & future), Chris Rock, Boris Kodjoe, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Courtney Vance, Reggie Rock-Blythewood, Barack Obama, Denzel Washington, Will Smith, etc., etc.

Have I made my point?

So, I would suggest that, all of these people who are complaining about this subject, take a look in the mirror. There are Black people who can't find other Black people to marry, and there are Black people who can. It's a very simple equation - DECIDE which one you want to be, and then BE it. Period.

And, honestly, is marriage even the point?

I had a real epiphany at this time last summer, as I was ending a very beautiful, fairly long-term relationship that, at one point, was very much moving towards marriage. But it was a forced movement - we wanted to get married because we basically wanted to freeze time and capture this moment forever. We were terrified of letting so much love end.

But, the reality is, things born out of fear only create more fear.

All things end. Even love. But just because it's finite, doesn't make it any less valid. And just because something ends doesn't mean it's been destroyed. Our romance may have been finished, but the connection of two souls - true friends for life - will live for an eternity. We just needed the courage to let go and let it be.

And that's when I realized that I had drunk the Kool-Aid and was fitting damn near every women I'd ever dated for a wedding dress in my mind. I suppose it starts with being a child produced from a 40+ year marriage. Props to Mom & Dad, but there's no trophy waiting for anybody in Heaven just because you got and stayed married until one or both of you died.

Joy is the point. Happiness is the point. Love is the point.

We're so fixated on the norms and forms that these things take that we lose sight of WHY these institutions were created in the first place.

I know a couple who've been married over 20 years - produced two beautiful childen, live in a lovely house - a portrait of happy Black buppie affluence.

And, as far as I can tell, they've never had a single moment of true, shared bliss between them from the second they said "I do".

I wouldn't wish a marriage like that on my worst enemy.

Everything has a life of it's own - when you put two people together, the relationship that gets formed is a separate entity, with it's own energy & personality & life expectancy. Case in point - most people will say that I'm generally a fun, jovial, generous, caring soul. But there is one ex-girlfriend of mine where we really just brought out the most malicious, vindictive, and evil aspects of each other's personalities. Away from each other, we're totally different.

Needless to say, we don't talk anymore. :-)

Personally, I'm no longer focused on marriage. I'm interested in having relationships that are aligned to my intentions (love, joy, fun, growth) and living them to their fullest potential. If that full potential is a marriage and 6 kids, great. If that full potential is one really good a cup of coffee, beautiful.

Sisters - I hear you, and I know your pain. But be honest with yourself about what you really want and why you want it. And take stock for a moment - does that which you desire truly nourish your soul? Because, if it doesn't, find the courage to let it go.

You'll need your hands free to pick up the manna that's been waiting for you.
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