By Karyn Langhorne Folan
I know, I know. You’re sick of hearing about it. About how many black women are unhappily single. About how many have never been married. About attractive, successful sisters who haven’t found their “special someone.”
You might be one of those lonely sisters. On Valentine’s Day, you’ll go to church and pray for the Lord to send you a “boo.” Or you and your girlfriends will get together and complain. Or you’ll just pretend you don’t care. You can buy your own damn roses and chocolates, thank you.
Everyone says you’re the problem. Too “independent.” Too “picky.” Over-educated. If you were more accommodating, if you picked up the check, if you didn’t insist your man have a job and some ambition, if you were willing to be just a link in his chain or change his Depends–you’d be married by now.
You don’t want that? That’s why you’re single.
It’s ridiculous but you go along with it. It’s easier than acknowledging that the world is crawling with available men. The problem is that most of them aren’t African-Americans.
According to Census figures, if every black man and woman in the US were to marry each other, there would be 1.8 million black women left over. The same Census says 14 percent of black men marry women of other races–making even more “leftover” black women. Add the tens of thousands of black men who are gay, incarcerated, mentally ill or just not interested in marriage and there’s your answer. Black women are single because many refuse to consider any man but a black man and there just aren’t enough eligible black men to go around.
The solution? Date men of other cultures. Date a rainbow: Asians, Hispanics, Africans and Native Americans. Date Chinese, Australian, Saudi Arabian and Pakistani men. And yes, date white men.
I hear you. What about slavery? What about my family? What about my brown babies? What about the brothers? What about the way people stare and the things people say? Besides, those other men aren’t interested in me… are they?
At least part of that answer depends on you. Men–all men–like women who like them, who make them feel good, who are happy and confident and comfortable in their own skin. But cultural taboos have put black women and men of other cultures–white men in particular–in a kind of détente. We eye each other at work. We laugh and joke. We respect and admire…but it goes no further, out of mutual fears of rejection and social stigma. We believe that in drawing that line, we stay loyal to the brothers, to the culture, to the memory of what our great-great grandmothers suffered during slavery–even though black men don’t seem to feel the same disloyalty in dating any appealing woman regardless of race.
And why should they? Love is hard to come by. If you find it, who cares what package it’s in. Right?
Is it possible that a man with compatible education, drive, religious beliefs and values… could be a white man? That a man who celebrates your unique beauty…could be a white man? That a man who loves his children and wants them to celebrate all of their heritage… could be a White man? And if so, are open to pursuing that possibility… no matter what anyone says or who looks at you funny?
Because this is about you. You…and what you believe about men, about race, about your own desirability and who controls your destiny. Can you cross the “color line”? Do you believe you can find compatibility and common ground with a man…even if he’s not black? Are you willing to end the racial Cold War and date a rainbow of men in 2010?
Or are you waiting in a black box…even though Mr. Right might just be white?
Happy Valentine’s Day, sista.
Karyn Langhorne Folan is the author of Don’t Bring Home a White Boy (And Other Notions that Keep Black Women from Dating Out), Karen Hunter Publishing/Simon & Schuster. She has been interracially married for five years. Visit her website at www.karynlanghornefolan.com.
Check out the added advice from life coach Cathy Holloway Hill