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HITCH IN T.O. - PART 4: The Politics of Black Love

29 Sep 2005

As you may recall, one of my original goals in going undercover at the Nubian Connections event was to gage the "state of the union" of Black love. During my pre-mission briefing with the two charming founders of Nubian Connections, we had a very interesting exchange of ideas about the politics of Black love. They had recounted some of their previous experiences at "mainstream" speed dating events where the Black man was extinct and the Black females just ended up having to chill together at the back of the room. Hence the need for, and value of, their new venture -- Nubian Connections.

I have heard from them, and many other sisters, about the varying statistics working against Black women in finding Mr. Right. The main gist of it is: "After you leave out the brothers who are at any given point in the spectrum of the criminal justice system, and the ones with limited employment prospects, or those with multiple children or other "issues", the pickings that are left are pretty slim." On the other hand, the non-Black men too often see them as an "exotic" sweet that they rarely take seriously for long-term prospects. Final analysis? The Black woman has it rough.

At the other side of the fence, the Black men also have their own grievances. From one extreme, I have a Black male friend who staunchly believes in the existence of an "Oprah Conspiracy." His theory is that there is a whole industry of Black male bashing -- from the movie Waiting to Exhale, through the Scrubs song from TLC and Erykah Badu's Tyrone, and the whole Toronto Black female fad for American men. Going back to that Black Love panel discussion at Harbourfront I discussed in Hitch in T.O. - Part I, the polar extremes couldn't be more palpable. Many black men feel like they are being unfairly typecast and constantly find themselves fighting the negative stereotypes which precede them.

Where does the Undercover Brother stand in the debate? Well, until the Undercover Sister comes up with her own report on one of the upcoming Nubian Connections events (scoop, scoop), let me give you my hopefully balanced and reasoned male opinion.

I am not a man of extremes so I don't believe that either Apocalyptic views are necessarily correct. Granted, and brothas don't hate, there is a shortage of quality Nubian men who are committed to giving Black love a fair chance. Many of us have tired of dealing with "having to prove" that we are not the scrubs sisters all-too-often assume we are.

Guilty until proven innocent is the mantra. Not only in the court of justice, but increasingly in the dating arena.

So a few Nubian men may have chosen to jump ship altogether. But despite what many sisters argue, it's another stereotype to assume that most good Black men have. Granted, Black love is more of a "choice" for us, statistically speaking, than is it for Black women. But a lot more of us are making that choice than we are typically given credit for. It is also a misconception on the part of the sisters to think that we have it so easy when we do chose Black love. Not to rain on your parade sistahs, but ya'll got some freaks on your team too! How many times have I been set up on dates by Black female friends who found it unexplainable that I am still single and wanted to fix me up with a sister before I end up being snatched by the "enemy camp."

Sorry to break it to you sistahs but that sister-girlfriend you think is so perfect may have horns underneath that perfectly combed weave.

Just because two people have the same cultural background and fit well together in a demographics chart, it doesn't necessarily follow that they are romantically compatible. Cultural unity aside, the spark and romance has to be there. At the end of the day, love has no colour.

But like anyone's taste for ice cream flavours or chocolate types can attest, where you stand in line first at Laura Secord does matter. Despite the uphill battle against stereotypes and her Waiting to Exhale poster on the wall, I still think she's worth fighting for.

Just one last thing sistah ... Can you give a brother a break?