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Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Great Black Prince

Once upon a time, when I was a kid, I had a vivid imagination--like most kids do I suppose. A little before elementary school, I believed that mermaids and unicorns were real creatures. After all, the movies and books I was exposed to had all these fantastic tales of their existence. So I believed that they had to be somewhere out there in this huge world! But then, something almost tragic happened. When I got to be about 6, I started to have my suspicions and decided to I ask a trusted family member about whether unicorns and mermaids were real. To my dismay, she told me that they were not. It was like being smacked in the face with a frying pan. “Why not?” I asked innocently, wanting and wishing these fairytales to be reality. “Because they just don’t, they are make-believe,” she answered gently not wanting to destroy the hopes of a small child. What a reality check! My most beloved fairytale characters were just that--“fairytales”. My hope in their reality was just wishful thinking. Darn those liars who had me convinced that my mythical beings were genuine!

I think it’s safe to say that I no longer believe in fairytales. In fact, if you were to survey a random sample of mentally stable adult women they would probably tell you the same--that fairytales, no matter how fanciful and endearing, are not real. I don’t think I’ve said anything that’s not self-evident. So why is it that many women go about their lives thinking that someday a great prince will come and save them from the mundane? Obviously, this kind of counterproductive thinking was part of the early socialization/indoctrination process of most women. Just think that most little girls watch Cinderella, the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast etc. and read all manner of tales about great princes on white stallions sleighing dragons. Girls are given Barbie and Ken dolls to play with and all manner of domestication toys (tea sets, clean up sets, baby dolls, bridal sets) with the implications being they too will grow up and find princes of their own and then get married and live happily every after. Even with 40 to 50% of our marriages jettisoned into the sewer of divorce, we still feed our children these outrageous lies.

For the African American woman, these well-intended lies sting most ferociously. Consider that the black divorce rate is TWICE what it is for society at large! Translation: that almost all black marriages end in divorce. That’s not any easy thing for me to type. Neither is it easy for me to write that because of the lack of suitable and marriageable black men, 45% of black women will never get married. The brutal truth of the matter is that black men are crap! Yeah, I said it. In fact, allow me to give you an example. I can easily lists you several brilliant, articulate, erudite, moral black women, but if I were to rack my brain I could barely come up with more than a couple black men with similar attributes. I see black women in graduate school, involved in the community, socially conscious, ambitious and many are breathtakingly beautiful. Yet they remain single. It seems that any man would bend over backwards, climb mountains and swim seas to attain women with such credentials, but NOT black men.

See he realizes that there are a surplus of us, and that no matter how raggedy, illiterate, unattractive, or shady he is, because of the man shortage that he helped perpetuate, there will always be some female who will put up with his reprehensible behavior just for the sake of having a black man. In fact, so called black women empowerment magazines like Ebony and Essence even encourage black women to date down in order to have one of these coveted black penises. To be sure, I have an issue with men of all races in terms of their continual mistreatment of women, however, as stated before I am most affected by the actions of black people and therefore my focus as a conscious black woman is on our plight.

Which brings me to the point, do black men know how coveted they are? You better believe it! And that is why they have no impetus to change. Why become a good man and work hard to attain an education, career, and a monogamous relationship, when so many women of so many different races and backgrounds will do almost anything to secure your interest—and the sweetest part is that you don’t have to do anything but be both black and a man to have it! While black women are being labeled oversexed whores, and golddiggers, black men enjoy the privilege of being thought of as the most virile and masculine men on the planet. Such is the great black dick myth! So despite their high incarceration rate, their unabashed misogyny and violence towards women, their notoriety for abandoning their own children, and their low professional and educational attainment, they will NEVER change because women all over the globe have enabled their behavior!

It’s basic psychology. Put the rat in the box with a lever. If every time the rat pushes the lever he is rewarded with food, he will continue to do so, because his behavior has been reinforced (in psychology we call this a continual schedule of reinforcement). He associates lever pressing with food treats and thus has no motivation to change his behavior. Why change behavior, regardless of how malignant it might be, if it is being rewarded! This is operant conditioning at its best. All people learn through this kind of conditioning, including, or rather in this case, especially the black man.

What are women taught to do? We black women are scolded to stick by our men, even if it is to our detriment! That has become the black woman’s mantra. We are taught that black men have to endure a more difficult life because racism somehow affects them more. If this load of lies is true, than why is it that despite being both black and women (belonging to two historically oppressed groups) and having to cope with the insidiousness of both racism and sexism, black women continue to advance? Black women need to realize when they are being lied to. Why are we supposed to stick by men who relentlessly hate, subjugate, and victimize us? How does this benefit US? Simply put, it does not!

And so we wait.

We get older and more tired, but like a maltreated animal that still retains his loyalty to an abusive master, we return to suffer at the hands of black men over and over again. We get more and more disillusioned and depressed, but pathologically we stand up for men who throw us away for white, Asian, and Hispanic women. We allow our self-esteem to be murdered because these Eurocentric black men do not appreciate our African features. We fantasize about being whisked away by a great black prince, who contradicts all the stereotypes and statistics about black men and loves and desires only us. We wish upon stars, and subscribe to fairytales, thinking that if we are just good enough we might receive the love of the great black prince. My sistah you will wait forever, because like mermaids and unicorns, the great black prince does not exist—no matter how much we want him too. He is just a fairytale.

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