“People treat you the way you teach them.” My grandmother would tell me this often when she was bestowing jewels of advice to me in regards to love and dealing with men. She also often instructed me to never beg a man to love me. This is how he loses respect for you. You are not a dog! She sternly expressed. I can remember sitting at her dining room table and her refusing to allow me to call back a guy I was dating who suddenly decided unbeknownst to me, that he no longer wanted to have anything to do with me. This love mantra if you will, is what assisted me in deciding who I should continue to date and whose time on my clock has just ended. Ding!
This is why when I hear other Black women make comments that Black men are more willing to treat White women better while dating and in a relationship than they would Black women, I have to offer the screw face. Now, this topic is an onion of sorts because it is packed with so many layers that I even had trouble deciding how I should attack it.
Let me start by first reflecting on one of my grandmother’s mantras. People treat you the way you teach them to treat you. I think that before any sista can complain about how she is treated by a Black man, she must first decide what it is about her that would allow him to mistreat her. In other words, before we can go on the attack we have to take ownership of our own issues. I guarantee that the relationship did not begin with him mistreating you. Usually this works as a slippery slope. This is why it is important to nip any bad behavior from your boo in the butt at first sight. This man needs to understand that mistreatment of any kind will not be tolerated. This is not up for negotiation. Once that is in order, you must then determine how you want to be loved. Making that determination is key is weeding out the losers and time wasters.
Having said all of that, here is where the problem comes in and where the sistas disappoint me. When a man first meets you, he has no idea on what to expect from you. He does not know anything about your personality or your past. This is where you teaching him what is allowable and what is not, is urgent. If you refuse or are too afraid to be vocal and to back up the vocals with action, then you are to blame. Not him. Did I just say that a woman being mistreated by a man is not the man’s fault? Yup! [pullquote_right]When a man first meets you, he has no idea on what to expect from you.[/pullquote_right]
Let’s dissect this whole inequality among Black and White women from Black men. I do agree that there is a level of truth in this. I am not blind to the ways of our society and I hope that you aren’t either otherwise you are going to have a hard life.
For one, our society grooms African Americans from the day we are born to believe that White women are superior in all facets than women of color. They do this by placing them on a proverbial pedestal. They are adored for their beauty, aspects of Black beauty that were seen as unattractive on a Black woman are seen as exotic on a White woman. They are protected by society and appreciated more overall for their contributions. Black women are viewed as overly aggressive. More masculine than feminine in our temperaments. We have often been reserved the role of work horse rather than princess.
So, a Black man who has grown up in our world would have a hell of a battle in not falling victim to the guidelines that society has laid before him his whole life. Having a White woman on your arm equals success and achievements. Having a Black woman on your arm equals nappy headed babies, and a sassy mouth barking at you. Which is why in my opinion, some, not all Black men, opt for dating White women specifically.
You have arrived brotha! Break out the champagne and forego the malt liquor. So, on a subconscious level, Black men are groomed to be more appreciative towards White women then they would a Black woman. Therefore by default, treating a White woman a hell of a lot better than they would a Black woman.
But now let’s go back to that old mantra. The one about teaching someone how to treat you and making those guidelines defined. I firmly believe that delusions lie on both the side of Black men and Black women. While Black men may have fallen victim to some social manipulations, we have our issues as well sistas.
Many sistas have become more accepting of being mistreated by Black men for whatever reason. Whether it be loyalty, a kinship, whatever. (Disclaimer- I am fully aware that men of any race, creed, or religion can be a jerk, but for the sake of this discussion, we are going to keep it on the relationships between Black men and Black women. ) Sure, there are plenty of Black women with the loudest mouths in America who are quick to tell a a man what he is not going to do, how he is not going to do it, and when and where. After the show is over all of the screaming has ended, he still does whatever the hell he wants and she still accepts it. So in essence, nothing has changed.
[box_alert]Here is the bottom line folks: While there may be some Black men who have decided for whatever reason that a White woman is worth reciprocating love and adoration to and a Black woman is not; the awning is still on the sistas.[/box_alert]
Let me tell you a secret that many of us may not know. It is not a man’s responsibility to see to it that he treats us well! (Gasps!) The responsibility has always lied with us. We make the final decision on how we will be loved. My grandfather once told me that I have all of the power in the relationship. It is up to me how much of it I am going to give to the man. You see, a man does not come into our lives having power over us. No, no, no. That is something that must be handed over to them by us. We have the final decision and all of the power when it comes to deciding how we want to be loved. Not a man. Whether he be Black, White, Hispanic or the other.
So while there may be some brothas who have a bitterness or even loathing feelings towards sistas and are reluctant to love us as hard as they would a White woman, (their loss) this does not lessen our worth or our power in dating. We have the same power that any White woman possesses while dating. Perhaps we are just not using it.