Respecting The Black Woman

____________________ Brown Sugar Inspiration: All women of African descent – especially those who have had a profound influence on my life.

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Maybe it’s because I just moved from a less diverse city on the west coast where black people exist but only in sparse numbers, back south to Houston, where black folks are a plenty, and they are beautiful, successful, and on the move.  Or, maybe it was experiencing my first downtown Houston Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) parade, where I was quickly reminded how a MLK parade, SWAC bands and performers continue to prove the origins of America’s pop culture, yet still beautifully balance respect in paying homage to the great MLK.  Or maybe it’s because that subsequent afternoon’s mindless YouTubing that led me to the Iyanla Vanzant “Fix my life” episode of “3 Black Men Explain Why They Don’t Date Black Women” – but for some reason I have had the urge, no the need, to expound upon and possibly provide some insight to Dating, Loving, and Marrying Black Women – from a black man’s perspective.  Shoot, actually its more likely that I’m having this urge to write because my very own daughter, a high schooler, who has unfortunately – matured, is getting the attention she so deserves but I really don’t want her to have.  Actually, now that I think about it, that’s it!  Yep for sure.  So this urge to write, just might be my way of warning some young punk nigg.. – sorry – some fine young man who might need some insight, or a lesson or two, (a warning perhaps), on how to properly step to my daughter. 

Now, who am I?  No one to you most likely.  I’m just another regular black man, with a relatively successful career and a stable job, whose mama “raised him right”, and has been married for many years, so “officially” out of the dating scene for a long minute, but unofficially still very observant and appreciative of all the beautiful, no gorgeous, and amazingly awesome, lovely black women all over this wonderful country who are rarely appreciated for the powerful goddesses they are.

To be sure, I am not a PhD, I am not a therapist, I’m not Iyanla, and I’m not even your local clergy.  I’m just a hard working black man and this is just my personal opinion – though backed by years of careful observation, occasional infatuation (Tariji, Nia, Jill), and even sometimes consternation, over, about, and for the beautiful black queens that are the backbone of the black community if not this entire nation, and maybe the entire planet. 

Although I may not have professional credentials for psychoanalysis, rest assured, I do have some direct experience in dealing with black women, that is if you count my wife, my daughter, my mama, three sisters, a mother in-law, three sister in-laws, eight aunts, two grandma’s, a great grandma, six great-aunts (and dozens of friends and church folk of any of theirs or mine) who all are, were, and continue to be some of the strongest women I’ve ever known – some of whom have passed on, but all of whom at some point I’ve observed closely, respected, admired and in most cases been chastised by in some shape form or fashion to help remind me that I need to treat them and all black women with respect.    

So yeah, I’ve got a bit of experience on this topic, but needless to say – I, nor any man, can claim to be an “expert” on black women.  But, for some crazy reason I’m choosing to share my thoughts on this very – sensitive topic.  So here goes:

[Clearing my throat]

So with complete sincerity out of my own experiences, and with some hesitation for the backlash that I will inevitably experience, yet without complete categorization, but still far from a generalization, my brothers, it is without a doubt helpful to be a bit of a masochist when it comes to loving, dating, marrying, or even just generally being involved in any type of relationship with a black woman. 

Now Wait!  Before you go off on me (black women) – hear me out!  And let me continue to speak to my brothas.

First, let’s clarify the definition for those of you who may not know what I mean by masochist.  As defined by most online dictionaries including Urban Dictionary, a masochist “is a person who enjoys an activity that appears to be painful or tedious, [not necessarily sexual in nature]”. 

A keyword in that definition is that it “appears” to be painful or tedious.  But wait, who enjoys any activity that even “appears” to be painful or tedious?  Very few of us, but most of us love the results.  Ever bought a house?  Lost weight?  Got a college degree?  Had a newborn wake you in the middle of the night that you had to feed, and your half-sleep groggy butt had better not make the milk too hot!?  All painful, all tedious, and just like all the world’s beautiful descendants of African Queens, in all their amazing and beautiful shades, shapes, sizes and unique personalities – completely and totally worth the effort.

Now look, don’t get me wrong.  Not all black women are a painful and tedious activity to deal with or love.  Just like not all women of other ethnicities are pushovers, or willing to be submissive to a man just because – well he’s a man, (although that’s what some lazy brothers say that’s why they are attracted to them).  But, what I will say to you, is that in general, black women, African descendants, those closest in DNA from the cradle of civilization, the motherland, the same DNA that originated all human life on this planet – DNA in which love and respect originates both to be given to and expected from, from my experience, will absolutely and unequivocally make you work like hell to earn that love and respect.  It’s ingrained into the black woman’s psyche by DNA and by God.  In addition, of all the black women I’ve known, (and probably those you’ve known), not a single one of them showed respect for any man, just because he was a man.  Oh, they may have been cordial, but if he got out of line, he’d quickly learn what respecting a black woman really meant.

So yeah, my brother, it’s not an easy job earning that love and respect, and it can be a painful and tedious activity.  But let me assure you, no, guarantee you, that this is one job, one activity, that is without a doubt, well worth the effort you put in, because if you do it right, it will pay off like a mutha. 

Why?  Because a black woman that respects you because of who you are, one who loves you for who you are, one who sees beyond the temporary years of your good looks, and is able to peer deep into your soul, past your faults, and see you as a strong black man, her man, the one she has crowned King, will absolutely ride or die with you until, if not beyond the end, and maybe even to a fault.  And all she wants in return is the same.

But why be a masochist?  Look, not really.  But like a masochist, learn to be patient and enduring of situations that you may or may not want to be in or even understand, especially when it comes to loving a black woman.  Be respectful, understanding, kind, and gracious both when you first step to her, but including and especially even more so after years of being together when she really knows you.  Why? Because that expectation (that hope) of being treated and respected as the King can only be earned and willingly given, it never works out well if you demand it.  And it’s for sure a title and a position that can be easily lost in the blink of an eye, simply by disrespecting her.  

And for you young brothers, or you older brothers who don’t know, try a calm, cool, respectful approach when you first step to a sister.  Plant interest and intrigue her mind and be the first to do so.  Show her the attention and respect you hope to get in return if she chooses to entertain you.  And if she doesn’t want to entertain your presence, be even more gracious, for she is and always will be someone’s queen.

So (brothers), you may ask, why should you be the first one to (always) step to her with respect?  Why should you be humble or even be the masochist, the one willing to take on the seemingly painful and tedious job of showing respect to a black woman first – even when it’s uncomfortable?  It’s simple. Because a being black person in America is hard, but being a black woman in America is even harder. 

Being a black woman in America is harder because you my brother, ain’t had to bear the burden of society at large, consistently and incessantly, telling you through mass media and secret whispers, the lie that beauty “looks like this” and not like you.  You haven’t been told “you’re pretty to be so dark”.  You haven’t had to figure out if their makeup will break out your skin or if you even want them to touch your hair.  You haven’t had to go and buy Siri’s hair to put on your head because someone said your hair was too ethnic or too short.  You haven’t had to squeeze into body shapers – that ain’t shaped for your body.  You haven’t had to wear high-heals to lift your ass, only to have your chest size be the first (and most ignorant) determination of your validity.  You haven’t had to endure self-inflicted degradation by posting perfectly posed pics, sexually insinuating content, or outright exploitative or explicit posts on social media, just because they make you believe that’s all they value about you.  And most importantly, you haven’t had to reconcile the illogical stupidity of being worshiped for sexual gratification by men of every race yet be treated like you are not worthy to be any of their equals as partners in life or in the professional workplace. 

So yeah, you step up first bro.  You show respect first and always to all descendants of African queens.  And give the black woman a break for being a bit defensive and on guard of her feelings.  She doesn’t know what she’s going to get when you, or any man for that matter, first opens his mouth to speak to her.  She doesn’t know if it’s going to be ignorance, stupidity, or proof that you are just one of the many other asses that she seems to always run into in life.  And being defensive and on guard for that crap makes it hard for her to cheese at you bro.  Doesn’t means she hates you, or is belligerent by choice, it just means she’s tired of being disgusted and disappointed by smiling at the wrong nigga.

So yeah, working through all that stuff will require a little masochism on your part.  That along with some patience, understanding, thoughtfulness, and a willingness to understand her point of view and what the hell she’s been through just by being a black woman in this world. 

But, if you are willing to show respect, understand her point of view, and work through what may be a seemingly tedious and painful activity of building a relationship of trust with her – trust me my brother, it will no doubt help you on your journey to the most rewarding, most unbelievable, most amazing experiences of dating, loving, and hopefully marrying (and keeping) a good black woman.

And to all the beautiful black queens out there.  Stay strong, stay sweet, keep your head up, be proud and never wavering for who and what you are.  Change society, don’t let society change you.  Keep a look out for the one worthy to be called your King.  He won’t be perfect, but he does exist, and you can work with him, not on him, but with him.  And just know that the both of you could stand to be a bit of masochists when it comes to understanding each other’s lives, perspectives, where you’re coming from, and where you’re going, on this journey through life.  And ladies, if you find that one that is truly legit – well, you know what to do.  And who knows, maybe that’ll be a topic in a future volume of “Brown Sugar and Whiskey”.


Jameson Forge

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