Black people are NOT cowards



What a difference a weekend makes. Before the Don Sterling tape scandal, I had not heard of the Clippers basketball team or of their multi-billionaire owner. The back-story behind this scandal is the stuff that soap operas are made of. From what I have gleaned online it appears that an 80 year old rich White man who happens to own a basketball team takes a young biracial mistress. His wife of 50 (something) years instead of divorcing her husband sues mistress for $1.8 million citing that she is a gold digger using her feminine wiles to extort money from silly old men. Mistress goes to her boyfriend to complain; apparently he shrugs and refuses to offer help. Mistress then makes the recording, probably selling it to the highest bidder. Old man is then banned from owning a basketball team for life by the NBA.

This story is very interesting on many levels. I found it ridiculous that a man would date a biracial woman and then complain when she associates with other Black people. Is she only Black when she is in the company of other Black people? Is he able to overlook her blackness when they are alone or associating with other White people? He objected to her being photographed with Magic Johnson, a respected sports legend and entrepreneur. Mr Johnson is not exactly someone dodgy from the wrong part of town. It does beg the question as to whether Black people can be truly accepted by white patriarchy, even if they are respected members of society. If a former athlete who has been openly praised by former US presidents is not enough for a Black man to be deemed reputable company it would suggest that the answer to the question is a resounding no.

I was prompted to write this piece after reading an article by rapper Homeboy Sandboy titled ‘Black People Are Cowards’. His premise is that African – Americans do not stand up for themselves in the way that the Civil Rights generation did. As a consequence White people are now free to disrespect us. His secondary gripe is that hip hop artists and TV reality stars perpetuate negative stereotypes about Black people which fuels the racism African-Americans face.

It is ridiculous to blame the oppressed for their oppression. The way in which Black people behave or are perceived to behave has nothing to do with racism. Racism is a social construct which exists to determine who controls and has access to the world’s resources. Slurs such as Black people are lazy, violent, feckless, crazy etc are hollow excuses to justify the barbarism of slavery, apartheid and colonialism. A Black person’s behaviour will not protect them from prejudice. Sterling was not impressed by Magic Johnson’s reputation. Respectability politics is a dangerous concept because it offers a false sense of security at the expense of our self respect. I abhor the behaviour of certain Black entertainers or members of the community. I am no fan of misogyny or Black on Black violence. However, I will always champion the idea that we are not a monolith group. When Black people play into the ‘respectability’ game you are ignoring the pervasive power of institutionalised racism and denying our humanity by lumping us as a group rather than a collective of unique individuals with a shared hue. Most importantly this argument lets the perpetrators and beneficiaries of racism off the hook. ‘It’s not our fault that we are racist; after all look at how these people behave.’

Mr Sandboy goes on in his piece to label the NBA players cowards for not refusing to play after the tape had been leaked. These men may very well be multi millionaires but who are we behind the safety of our keyboards to expect them to put their livelihoods on the line. He goes on to label every one of us cowards for not being prepared to do the same should a relevant situation arise. I have no idea how many bosses worldwide hold absolutely abhorrent beliefs. There are very few people who can abruptly leave their jobs without facing dire financial consequences. Is Mr Sandboy prepared to pay the rent/mortgage of the people who do not want to work for a jerk? Racism is a societal problem it is too big to expect an individual(s) to rectify. In some cases the biggest sign of defiance is survival. My own parents suffered a lot of indignities throughout their working life and did this (without complaint) to put food on the table and to provide opportunities for my sister and I. To continue and thrive in a hostile environment is the greatest act of bravery. It takes all of your physical and emotional strength to carry on day after day. The promise of the post Civil Rights era has not been fully realised. Gains have been made in the last 50 years but we have not reached the Promised Land. Black people are still several more times likely to be stopped by police, unemployed and imprisoned compared to their White counterparts on both sides of the Atlantic. If you doubt that we live in a post racial society, this tape is proof enough to remove those rose coloured glasses.

I believe in the power of protest but we must put things into context. We live in a different time from the 50s and 60s. The Civil Rights just like the Arab Spring were not random. They were orchestrated acts of civil disobedience which took years to build its momentum. In order to have a far reaching movement, it requires strategy, patience and planning. If you want to hurt the likes of Sterling, stop watching/attending matches, stop purchasing their sponsors products, then sit back and watch Rome burn. In order to have purchasing power you need to be in employment. Once you have lost your purchasing power you have no voice. I would advise Mr Sandboy to take a class in 101 Economics.

Fast forward a few days, Mr Sterling has been fined $2.8 million dollars and received a lifetime ban from the NBA. (And to think that no Black athletes had to lose their jobs in order to achieve this) I am not naive, once the sponsors feared a serious backlash due to the tape the NBA had to take action. I am glad that such action was taken but I am far from dancing in the streets. Personally, I couldn’t care less who Donald Sterling wishes to associate with and the reasons behind that choice. What I do care about is when someone is able to use their racist beliefs as a platform to diminish the quality of life for others. When he is not busy chasing a woman four times his junior, Sterling is a housing magnate owning vast amount of property in Los Angeles. He has been accused of systematically refusing to rent apartments to Black and Latino tenants. Various court case of discrimination has been brought against him, the most recent being in 2006. In the US and most places at that, where you live greatly determines your safety, the ability to receive a decent education or healthcare. Consigning Black people to ghetto environments significantly reduces their quality of life, potential for social advancement and perpetuates the disparity between rich White and poor Blacks. That is the power of institutionalised racism, when somebody has the authority to put their beliefs into action at the detriment of others.

I am all for all of us doing our part to make the world a fairer place but I am a believer in picking battles. I think it is right that Sterling be taken to task for his abhorrent views but the real fight is how do we tackle the system which allows men like Sterling to live in their ivory towers while they enforce housing segregation in the 21st century. Mr Sandboy would be better served taking his ire out on the powers that be instead of expecting miracles from the have nots.

Please let me know your thoughts


The post-racial myth


This week leading actor, singer and activist Harry Belafonte was presented with yet another accolade for his various works promoting Civil Rights and social justice. Not just content to receive his award, he placed responsibility on the stars of today, claiming that the likes of Beyonce and Jay-Z do little in highlighting the inequality in society for people of colour. Many have rushed to their defence stating all of the good works they do for various charities. However, the most powerful couple in music have been noticeably silent on this issue.

I do expect celebrities to have a social conscience. Carefully stage managed acts of charity are a good thing but not to be unexpected when you earn more than the Commonwealth combined. The Black community were the first to support their careers and start their ascent to superstardom so you would think that the support would be mutual. By way of comparison Bruce Springsteen has consistently championed the plight of working class Americans throughout his nearly 40 year career. On issues such as mass unemployment or the Trayvon Martin murder, the majority of Black celebrities are conspicuously silent. Many Black entertainers show two very worrying traits, apathy and selfishness. As long as the individual’s needs are being met, the rest of the poor masses can eat cake.

Whether they like it or not, celebrities are a massive influence our young people. This deliberate avoidance of any political thinking by Black celebrities has helped to create a critical thinking vacuum with our young people. Instead they are force fed the same message daily: ‘Get rich or die trying’. Concepts such as consequence, self esteem, racial pride and love are no where to be seen in mainstream hip hop and rnb. The results are startling and depressing. The rise of colourism within the Black community on both sides of the Atlantic is a pathetic backwards step. We now have Black people who insult other Black people who look exactly like them because they are Black. Where is this generation’s James Brown to say ‘I’m Black and I’m proud?’

I am not taken with the argument that Jay-Z (or any other multi platinum rapper) embodies the ‘American Dream’. This statement implies that there are equal opportunities for all. In the U.S. as of June 2012, unemployment for African American men is at 14.4% compared to the national average of 8.2% (source CNN) Jay-Z and his ilk cannot represent the American dream if only a select few can realise that dream. The inference that just because there are a few multi millionaire Black celebrities and a Black man in the White House that we live in a warm and fuzzy post racial age is hogwash. When Black men on both sides of the Atlantic are still several times more likely to be stopped by the police, unemployed or jailed we do not live in a post racial age.

Terms like post racism/post feminism are misleading because we do not live in a world without racism, misogyny or homophobia. It hoodwinks our youth into believing that this is as good as it gets, that there is nothing left to fight against. Racism has not disappeared, it has merely changed form. Black footballers no longer have bananas thrown at them as they did in the 70’s but in the last football season two high profile footballers Luis Suarez and former England captain John Terry were found guilty of using racist language against Black footballers. The lack of any real consequence, the apologist language of those seeking to defend their actions goes to show that racism is still a malignant force. The killing of Mark Duggan served as the catalyst for the London Riots of 2011. The police claimed that they killed him as he pointed a loaded gun at them. The police have been unable to prove that he was armed at all. Therefore, it would appear that his race was a determining factor in death.

We are not society free from racism or sexism. We cannot be swayed by the superficial. The odd Black millionaire or the acceptance of Black culture in mainstream music or fashion does not indicate that we now live in a harmonious utopia. The engine behind equality is power. Until all people of colour can influence legislation, access to wealth, are present on the boards of schools, businesses, media outlets and other institutions we will find ourselves in a state of racism continued.

I have also noticed that in tandem with this post racialism fallacy is the normalisation of Black ‘dysfunctionalism’. The video of the Black bus driver giving a female passenger an uppercut is a perfect example. I agree that the bus driver in a role of authority should have removed her from the bus and used excessive force. I also agree that the young woman was out of line and should not be acting in a violent manner and then be surprised to be assaulted herself. On reading comments about the video I am also very disheartened at the acceptance of violence against Black women within the Black community. I raise the video because once again it reinforces every negative stereotype and justifies why there are only a few Black success stories because the vast majority supposedly lack the discipline, finesse and talent to become one. This is really dangerous because it places the onus of responsibility on the disenfranchised and not on social inequality. Tragically, it also acts as proof for the growing amounts of Black people who do not believe that they should strive or expect more from life.

We do not live in a post racial age. I will freely admit that I have had more opportunities than the generation before but the fight for equal rights continues. Equal rights require equal power across various societal structures. Access to that power will not occur without the belief of various communities that that power is owed to them. We have to energise our youth so that they strive to have more not less opportunities than the current generation in charge. To do otherwise would be an abject failure in our responsibilities. We cannot continue to be content with individual success. The political silence by the majority of the Black famous elite reinforces that we are not in this all together. It is also very limiting that majority of Black millionaires are all within the entertainment sector. I am looking forward to a time when I see celebrated Black scientists, politicians, architects and law makers. Stagnation is not progress. If that does sadly come to pass, the blame does not just lie with any rapper or a punching bus driver – it will be a damning indictment of us all.

Please let me know your thoughts


The cost of Black patriarchy


The Creflo Dollar story was a major talking point recently. Does a 50 year old man really have the right to choke his 15 year old daughter and then deny any wrongdoing in the pulpit? It brought several issues to the fore; the role of new Christian churches in the Black community; are charismatic preachers truly men of God or opportunistic snake oil salesmen and most importantly, why are the rights of Black men constantly pitted against the rights of Black women?

I have always believed that Black women need a different type of feminism to counterbalance the challenges they face. Unlike White women, Black women have both White and Black patriarchy to contend with. I find the level of vitriol levied at 15 year old Ms Dollar very distasteful. She was demonised as a liar, unruly and deserving of the physical abuse she suffered. My father raised two daughters without raising a fist or a shoe.

The most dangerous aspect of Black patriarchy is that it supports the lie that only Black men suffer from the negative effects of racism. Somehow, Black women are exempt and their main role is to prop up Black men and the rest of the Black community. Admittedly, young Black men do run a greater risk of racist violence/death – the Trayvon Martin and Stephen Lawrence murders being clear examples on both sides of the Atlantic. However, the Black community continuously underplays the exposure to racial violence that Black women have faced. There are between 154 to 159 reported cases of Black female lynching in the U.S. The vast majority of these women were also raped. (Source: Scores of young female students were also killed in the 1976 Soweto uprising in South Africa. Black women were also hosed and mauled by dogs during the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. Black women and men share the same history, the painful legacy of slavery, colonialism and racism.

Modern day institutionalised racism continues to affect both genders. In the UK, Black men are seven times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police (Source: The Guardian). According to Law Professor Michelle Alexander:
‘More African American men are in prison, jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began.’
(Source: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
Yet this is not a gender specific problem. The levels of Black female imprisonment are also at endemic proportions. In the US, 93 out of every 100,000 White women were incarcerated by mid 2008. During the same period, 349 out of every 100,000 Black women were incarcerated. (Source: There is a definite inference within the Black community that Black women are somehow immune from the affects of racism. Anecdotally, I have met several Black men who believe that they are owed patience from Black women because their lives are infinitely harder. That is obviously untrue but it does beg the question, why is there such a lack of support for Black women within the Black community?

The answer is Black patriarchy. It is a system which places the needs of Black women below the needs of Black men. A clear example is the Creflo Dollar case, where the liberty of a violent father is considered to be more important than the emotional and physical well being of a 15 year old girl. In the R.Kelly case, the only important factor should have been whether he ‘allegedly’ had sex with an underage girl not the young lady’s sexual history. I also never understood the overwhelming support that OJ Simpson received from the Black community when he had sought to distance himself from them as he became famous. This was a Black man who would have never married a Black woman yet, the moment he found himself on the wrong side of the law he expected support from the Black community.

In researching for my film I met and read the thoughts of Black women online that refuse to date Black men. The main reasons cited for their decisions were lack of trust. They believe that Black men only want to use them are unable to remain faithful and have little desire to become loving husbands and fathers. It is none of my business who people choose to love and I wish the very best for anyone lucky enough to love and be loved in equal measure. That said I find it desperately sad that there is a growing number of Black women who feel this way. I know that I am lucky; I have been surrounded by loving Black men my whole life – my father, my partner, uncles, cousins and nephews. However, the Black community champions people such as Steve Harvey who promotes the idea that all men are players and that Black women just need to get used to it. Dark skinned Black women are invisible in music videos and in general. Hip hop artists refer to women who most resemble themselves as bitches and hoes. Various Black churches advise Black women to pray, wait and put the needs of everyone else ahead of theirs. Black patriarchy offers no protection, care, and respect for Black women.

I want to be very clear; this is not an anti male piece. There are many Black women who collude with Black patriarchy. These women encourage other women to become pregnant for a man who offers little, to justify their own life choices. With limited emotional and financial support, these women are promoting a life of hardship. Why not encourage young women to pursue enterprise or education, to become financially independent and make life decisions from a position of strength? These are the same type of women who wrote horrible comments about Rhianna after Chris Brown assaulted her. Their support condones domestic abuse. We have lonely women who blindly follow charismatic preachers. The New Testament states that we all have the same spiritual power; a preacher/pastor/priest’s role is to teach the word not to tell people what to do with their lives. I am not a subordinate; I am equal partner in a mutual beneficial relationship. There are also women, who put their boyfriends/romantic interests ahead of their children’s safety. They expose their children to men of questionable integrity all because they want a man to validate them. There are women who will take on board the opinions of men such as Steve Harvey, when it is clear that being thrice divorced proves that he knows little about marriage or how to make a woman happy. There are women who put down other Black women for being too dark, too Afrocentric, too demanding, not being submissive enough, too ambitious, too fat, too skinny, too stuck up or for not having a big enough butt.

Black patriarchy brings division within the Black community. Without harmony between the sexes, there is no platform to deal with the negative effects of institutional racism. We need a new brand of feminism to counteract this. There is no need to burn bras as Black women are already progressing educationally and financially. The lack is an emotional one. What we need is a greater expression of love. A daughter should expect her father to protect her from harm, a girlfriend to be cherished by her lover, for young black girls to be protected from sexual predators and for the Black community to call for justice when a Black woman is attacked even if the aggressor is a Black man. That love needs to spread throughout the community. We have had Black power, the time has come for Black love. Black men should become feminists too. We need to develop an appreciation of ourselves. Too often our sense of worth is dependent on external factors: wealth, status, the validation of others. This puts us in such a precarious position, ripe to be exploited by smooth talking charlatans, or by hip hop artists who spew the self hate that too many believe to be true. Love is powerful; it gives the recipient hope, purpose, faith, inspiration and courage. These are all of the ingredients needed to live a life worth living. Black patriarchy promotes dominion instead of co-operation. It benefits the few at the expense of us all.

Please let me know your thoughts


The hatred within


Self hate are two words which have plagued and continue to plague the Black community. In the last forty years the world has witnessed a Black first family in the White House, the ‘Black is beautiful’ slogans of the 70’s and Black artists filmmakers, CEOs hold positions of prominence. For all of this progress, the greatest enemy within the Black community is the self loathing that we have for ourselves and for others who share a similar hue. Skin lightening products are a booming trade, where people are prepared to put mercury on their bare skin. On both sides of the Atlantic, young Black men killing each other at a higher rate than any other racial group. To add insult to injury there is a new wave of Black entertainers who believe that it is acceptable to make derogatory remarks about their race with impunity.

The lack of self love is the negative emotional legacy of slavery and colonialism. Dividing the Black community was a deliberate strategy to control and manipulate. It is hard to stomach that several hundreds of years later that we have Black celebrities who are only too happy to spread this toxic bile to their own people. I read reports where rapper Lil Wayne was bemoaning the fact that his eldest daughter was dark skinned (source Bougie Black and his protégé Niki Minaj referred to other Black women as ‘nappy headed hoes’. In the Britney Spears remix of ‘Till the World Ends’ she goes on to say:

Chimpanzee’s is hatin’ but I take it all in stride
Put her in a jungle with bananas on the side

I honestly cannot believe that a Black woman would say such a thing, let alone put it on a record. My worry is that artists of this ilk have the platform to spread these self defeating thoughts to young Black men and women worldwide, who readily absorb these messages. It is important to analyse the information we are being fed and who is providing that information. Lil Wayne public persona is that of a bumbling, incoherent, baby making fool. He is a walking talking stereotype of the black buffoon. His image encourages young black men to be ignorant and irresponsible. Then we have his protégé Ms Minaj, a woman so desperate to adopt a White version of beauty that her hero is a Barbie doll. Her message is clear, in order for Black women to be accepted we have to renounce any trace of authenticity and embrace the old nonsense Black beauty and women are less than their White counterparts.

We have a generation of young Black people who have turned their backs on the education system. It is undeniable that the system is riddled with institutional racism, which dampens the enthusiasm to learn however the biggest threat is an accepted anti intelligentsia within the Black community. I deeply resent the implication that being poor and uneducated is the natural condition for all Black people. I think that rappers such as Lil Wayne and co are extremely dangerous because they endorse this message. They promote stagnation at the expense of progression. I don’t believe for a second that Lil Wayne is an idiot. He runs a label, manages the careers of several other artists/staff and has to oversee the legal requirements of his business. An idiot, no matter how well advised cannot do all of this successfully. Therefore all I can deduce is that this shrewd businessman knows exactly what he is doing.

None of us are immune from the effects of White patriarchy, my parents occasionally remind me of the time when aged four how I cried that I didn’t have blue eyes and long hair. I doubt that my school friend with blue eyes cried that I had brown eyes. We may not all be immune but some within the Black community are active collaborators. Our society has norms some subtle, some overt which is understood by all. Every Black entertainer who acts the buffoon, who insults Black women, promotes lighter skin tone as the only acceptable form of beauty,glorifies poverty and illegality is upholding White patriarchy. They are selling a vision of Black mediocrity to those who want Black people to remain at the bottom of the economic ladder and to Black people who take twisted comfort in never attempting to progress. These people are not selling entertainment; they are draining the youth of their aspirations, convincing them that they will always be less than. These ‘entertainers’ are not promoting ‘Black Pride’ they are force feeding their community ‘Black Fatalism’.

In order to fund my creative ambitions I often have to dip my toe in the corporate world. I have met various captains of industry all from different backgrounds. The one thing that they all have in common is an unwavering sense of self belief. Self esteem is the foundation of personal advancement and happiness. It is what spurs you on when your teachers tell you that you won’t amount to anything, it provides the discernment to allow and remove certain people from your life, it gives you the courage to pursue your dreams and the wisdom to know when to quit. Without self esteem you lack the skills to navigate your life in a positive way.

I don’t think that it is coincidence that the Black community has the highest level of Black on Black violence on both sides of the Atlantic. In the US Blacks are only 13% of the population but 40% of murder victims (Source: American In 1998 Operation Trident was launched, a Metropolitan Police Unit dealing specifically with UK Black gun crime. No other race has a police unit charged with looking at crime in their own community in the United Kingdom. This is the most vicious form of self hate where scores of young Black men believe that their lives count for nothing, extend that sense of worthlessness to whoever shares their skin colour.

Institutional racism is a reality, a reality that we need to strengthen the next generation to fight against. if as a community we are not encouraged to adopt responsibility and fight for opportunities, stagnation is the inevitable outcome. We have political leaders who revel in Civil Rights past glories yet offer no direction with the self hate within the Black community. We rush out to financially support Black entertainers who mock their own people, peddling the idea that Black is synonymous with a lack of education and personal advancement. Make no mistake our so called leaders and entertainers know exactly what they are doing. Our continued victimhood keeps these leaders and entertainers very rich at our expense.

I honestly could not care less about these public figures that are only too happy to sell their communities down the river. I just recognise how important self esteem is to have a contented life. I want any future son that I may have to believe that the world his oyster and that he could be anything that he chooses. I would wish the same for any future daughter, and that she would know that she is beautiful, special and unique. It’s important that we protect our children from this self hating bile that often comes from other Black people. In order for the Black community to prosper and grow we must turn out backs and close our wallets to those who happily betray their own people for financial gain.

Please let me know your thoughts


Black is beautiful dammit!


I believe that self esteem is the foundation for happiness. Self esteem provides us with the knowledge that we have worth, the confidence to take risks, the strength to fight our corner and the wisdom to walk away from bad situations and people. Without this self esteem, we leave ourselves defenceless against the whims of others and lack the conviction to lead the lives we deserve.

I often marvel at the innate confidence that a lot (and sadly not all) of black women possess. I say this because it is a miracle that it exists at all. Black women are under a constant barrage of negative imagery almost at every turn.

I am truly sick and tired of the European version of black beauty which the mainstream media champions. I do not need to have fair skin, slight features and long hair to be considered beautiful. The likes of Rihanna, Beyonce, Vanessa Williams and Halle Berry have become the acceptable face of black. It is undeniable that these women are all beautiful but these women are all of mixed parentage/heritage. Why should black beauty have to have a European makeover in order to be recognised as beautiful? At the end of the day this nonsense still peddles the rubbish that only white beauty is true beauty and the further you are from that ideal the further from beautiful you become. It also perpetuates that women are still just commodities and our value still lies in our bodies and faces.

Over the summer a Japanese psychologist, Satoshi Kanazawa came up with a report stating the black women were the most unattractive group of women on the earth. What I found very interesting is that this crackpot’s views were published in the major newspapers even though it had been rubbished by the psychology community. Perhaps the article was published because it actually promoted a widely held belief? To be honest I thought it was garbage to begin with and advised anyone with sense to completely ignore it. What really saddened me is how many Black women actually take this foolishness on board. I had a debate with a Black woman about this report and she agreed with its findings saying that she does find lighter skinned women more attractive than her. This was an intelligent and articulate woman and she was taken in by this. I base attractiveness on the arrangement and symmetry of facial features – skin tone has nothing to do with it.

Black women are known for our fuller lips, small waist to hip ratio (hourglass figure), big thighs and large bottoms. Unfortunately I am lacking in the ‘junk in my trunk’ department but I think that three out of four aint bad. If these features are so awful why are so many women of other races ruining their faces with lip filler, frequenting tanning beds, stocking up on fake tan and marvelling at JLO’s butt?

What is it about Black women that seem to terrify the mainstream media? I remember watching a piece on TV about ‘Hitch’ (rom-com featuring Will Smith). The movie executives ruled out a Black female lead for Will Smith as they feared it would alienate White audiences. Eva Mendes as a Latin American actress was considered a safer, more inclusive choice. What I want to know is it what is so ‘alienating’ about Black women? I suppose I should also put that question to almost every male hip hop artist, rnb singer and black sportsman. I just don’t understand why you almost never see a dark skinned Black woman in a music video (as the love interest) or on the arm of rich Black sportsman? I remember having to do a double take when I first saw Michelle Obama. I couldn’t believe that she was a Black woman! Something is very wrong when you are surprised that a man of colour is married to a Black woman. It is frustrating to think that Black men also believe the hype that somehow Black women have less appeal, status than other women. In the UK Black men are eight times more likely than any other race to date and marry interracially. In a study led by Tamas Bereczkei at University of Pecs (Hungary), his findings suggested that men are typically attracted to women who resemble their mothers. Why are Black men the exception to this rule in such huge numbers?

I am not against inter-racial relationships. That is not what this article is about. It is none of my business who people choose to love. I have a problem with the world seeing Black women as less than other women. Women are still seen as commodities where a beautiful White woman is considered the epitome of beauty and with dark skinned Black women at the very bottom. We live in a world where many Black men believe this hype and choose women who they believe will reflect or enhance their status. I have many friends of mixed parentage who felt that Black men were only interested in them because of their light skin tone. Conversely, I have friends who find themselves constantly snubbed by Black men because they are considered too dark. This breeds insecurity in Black women of every hue. It saddens me that this ‘self hate’ has created a booming trade in skin lightening creams. We still have a long way to go if some Black people think it is a good idea to put mercury on their skin in order to conform to a false and stupid notion of beauty.

‘So what does this have to with marriage?’ I hear you ask, everything is the answer. It is virtually impossible to find lasting love if you lack self esteem. Confidence has little to do with being a mouthy alpha male/female. However, it does give you a sense a self worth, an ability to believe you are deserving of love and gives you an idea of what real love looks like. I’m lucky, I come from a loving family, my dad believes that I am the best thing since sliced bread and my mother taught me to take crap from no one. What about other Black women who do not have that base? They are constantly undermined or ignored by society at large. In western society perhaps there is a pressure for Black men to prove their self worth via external means such as a fancy car, a high paying job and the right looking woman. Perhaps this pressure drives peoples’ choices. How can we hope as a community to be making the right romantic decisions if they are coming from a place of self doubt instead of self worth?

Please let me know your thoughts