A Few Good Men

by P. Braithwaite

I have to say, public tweeting has been a difficult transition for me. I’m used to being inappropriate in the company of about 26 people who know me offline. Today, though, a really interesting twitter conversation erupted regarding a recent study conducted by BestBlackDatingSites.org. The study claims that for every 100 available black women, there are only 3 “good” black men. I suspect this “study” it is part of an effort to stir up controversy and drive traffic to the site.

In any case, the folks at BestBlackDatingSites.org boil the “good black man” down to 7 of the most cliché (no) superficial, (no) “common” criteria used among black women (and by “black women” I mean black actresses in urban movies from 10 years ago). I’m not attacking the criteria, everyone has a right to define their own terms; however, as a woman who has dated “good” black men and “not so good” black men (as well as a few white and Hispanic men that fall on both sides of the spectrum), I am struggling with the requirements that the folks at Bestblackdatingsites.org have laid out.  I mean, one of the requirements is that he’s “fit.”

(I don’t know about you, but I can stand to do a sit up or two. I don’t think that makes me any less “good.”)

As a writer, it scares me when we box ANY group of people into categories like good and bad based on some arbitrary rubric. What would happen if I approached my book interviews this way? If I encountered each man I met with a check list that boiled down to “good” or “less than good.”

I’ll tell you what would happen — my work would be flat, judgmental and superficial – and yet, this collection of statistics is an acceptable to choose a mate?  

I am always looking for interesting men to talk to, and I think that we often rob ourselves of new experiences by making snap judgments. It could be that the man that looks great on paper is completely screwed up, and the man who seems to have nothing to offer you (except a baby momma and some love handles), might just be everything you never knew you wanted.

I’m NOT saying that anyone of any race should settle for less than they want/deserve. It’s just that “studies” like these reinforce the idea that black women are somehow unlovable and unmarryable, and I (being a black woman), must vehemently reject that.

I have to believe that there are wonderful men in the world, even if that means looking beyond race and “statistics” to begin seeing with an open  heart.

I actually wrote out a list of issues for each of the criteria, but I decided not to post it. I’d rather have you all click on the info-graph and decide for yourselves. For me, there’s a bit of a gap b/w the statistics that they provide and the conclusions that they draw. What do you guys think?

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