Archive for September, 2011

When it comes to entertainment,  I’ve always had peculiar tastes. I’ve always been into things that feed my brain. As a kid I spent most of my time reading sports biographies and the encyclopedia. Even as an adult I generally keep my TV on ESPN, CNN, MSNBC or The History Channel and I really love documentaries.

With that being said, I’ll definitely be watching VH1 tonight at 10 p.m. as the network premieres Planet Rock: The Story of Hip-Hop and The Crack Generation. I hadn’t heard about it until today but I’m hopeful that this will be an insightful and entertaining documentary.

I was born at the beginning of the crack epidemic, and although I wasn’t directly effected by it, I know many of my peers who were and still are. Millions of black men were incarcerated, black women exploited and black children left to fend for themselves as a result of this twisted phenomenon.  Listening to today’s music and interacting with people of my generation, it’s clear that the crack era not only had a huge impact on the entertainment world, but also on the children that grew up in it.

 

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past five years or so, you’ve probably read or heard dozens of news stories and features on marriage and African-Americans. To me, they all pretty much read the same…They give some horrible statistics and talk about how hard it is for Black women to find “good black men. (You know, since we’re all either in jail, gay or dating outside of our race.)

Adding fuel to the fire is a new book by a Black Stanford Professor named Ralph Richard Banks. His book, Is Marriage For White People?  is getting a lot of attention, both in the black community as well as in the mainstream media. In an interview with Time, Banks said educated and successful black women are more apt to look “down” (for black men in blue collar jobs) than “out” (as in out of their race). The conclusion Banks comes to is that it is time for Black Women to start looking outside of their race for potential husbands.

It’s a theory that I’ve heard expressed plenty of times, but usually within the confines of the Black Community. It’s not so much the thought of masses of black women dating outside their race that bothers me as it is an uneasiness with the mainstream media’s interest in a book with this type of editorial slant. There just seems to be something very condescending about it, like they are embracing the idea that dating White people is the solution to the problems for the Blacks. It smacks of paternalism to me. Why no coverage of books about Black Love?

In almost every story, I see all these pictures of beautiful, smiling sisters snuggling up with white men while reading that it’s damn near impossible to find a black man who can read and keep his ass out of prison. I know that as a group, African-American men have alot of areas to improve on, but is there anything positive has ever come from these types of stories?All they do is divide black men and women and continue driving a wedge between us instead of bringing us together.

The problem with stories like this is that they play out like some type of dark, adult Fairy Tale. In order to be saved from the brutish Black man, Black women must lay aside their natural preference and submit to the White Knight, who will wisk them away to a beautiful castle where good credit and children with “good hair” await them.

It’s not only the media who portray this falsity, it’s also black women themselves. After decades of choosing the wrong Black men, they date outside their race, find a white man who meets their requirements and then suddenly become the “expert” on these matters. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard a frustrated black woman threaten to “go to the other side.” The truth of the matter is that men are men and all of us are capable of being equally trifling.

Let me leave you with this scenario: There are two equally attractive, educated female black accountants. One steps outside her social circle and falls in love with a black carpenter. The other decides that since she can’t find a black man that meets her requirements, so she marries a white man she hopes she can learn to love…Who settled more?