Bookclub inspired by Feeding the Squirrels - A Novella discussion

Far from a Good Read, But I am Sure There are Books On This

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message 1: by Nina (new)

Nina | 4 comments I am not a big TV watcher, but I just got home from taking my mom to one of her appointments and the place had a TV tuned the The Tyra Show. Tyra Banks is a moron. Hands down. What piqued my interest about this idiocy is the fact that tomorrow's show is the "State of the Union: Black Women Today" show in which Tyra (fancying herself the next Oprah - yeah, right) is going to be focusing on...

"With an audience of black women, they have an open discussion about sensitive issues; hair weaves vs. natural hair, body shapes, single motherhood and the opinions on the lack of eligible black men. She also speaks to "High School Musical's" Monique Coleman about her experience being a black actress in Hollywood, and Editor-in-Chief of Essence magazine, Angela Burt-Murray. They also discuss how black women can deal with obstacles faced in the workplace -- and how to shatter the glass ceiling!"

Now, on the trailer for said show she talks about how 60% of interracial marriages are composed of black men. Flash to a black man saying, "A good Black woman is hard to find." Now, I have several different reads on this comment, but I wanted to see if anyone else (particularly Black men) had anything to comment on this. Where does this notion come from? Why is it so common place to hear the flip side of this? (I.e. Black women not being able to find a decent Black man)

It reminds me of a book I read and sent to my Father (read: Sperm Donor) which I am sure he did not read:

"What's Love Got To Do With It: Understanding and Healing the Rift Between Black Men and Women" by Donna Franklin.

message 2: by Roy (new)

Roy (mplwdscribe) | 7 comments Mod
Hi Nina,
Thanks for contributing your insightful thoughts to the Discussion I began and for kick starting a new and equally interesting one. I've given the percentage you referenced some thought and have concluded that the most likely explanation is given in the movie Silence of the Lambs . When trying to figure out who the killer could be, the investigator played by Jodie Foster is asked what the killer was likely to covet. The answer - what he sees everyday. Therefore it stood to reason that the first victim was someone that the killer knew personally. The most powerful tool in marketing is that of women's sexuality and sensuality, and in America specifically, the image of a white woman (particularly blonde tressed, blue eyed, slim but not curveless proportions) being the most common image stamped on our retinas and in our brains. Many black men will desire white women just as much as they desire black women, if not more, because they are bombarded with imagery helping them to decide what to want. Men regardless of race are constantly being told both overtly and subliminally that they should be seeking out Pamela Anderson even if they need to push past Halle Berry to find her. The sexuality/sensuality of men is much less exploited by the media, so a black woman would not typically be inclined to be attracted to a white man over a black man. If all was fair in love and society and sexual attraction, 50% of every conceivable combo would probably be the norm. But all is not fair, hence the 20% margin. Good men and good women of every race are out there despite what anyone says to the contrary, so simply seek and eventually you will find.

message 3: by Kristy (new)

Kristy Alley (kristyalley) | 3 comments I would like to preface my comments on this by saying that I'm a white woman and not in an interracial relationship, and that my observations are based on 10 years as a teacher in Memphis middle and high schools, during which about 98% of all of my students have always been African-American. For the past few years I've taught all seniors, so many of my stdents are facing major life decisions and I get to observe their thought process quite intimately in many cases as they share with me and ask for advice.

I also work with a lot of youngish, single black women and have had some interesting discussions with them about their dating experiences. So...

I recently had an interesting exchange with one of these teachers. We were talking about a particular male student who is really average and maybe of above average intelligence, but is very lazy and every report card period, his mama would get after his teachers about why his grades "should" be two and three points higher because he said he turned in such-and-such. I noted that he was a perfect example of the "little prince" syndrome that an older, experienced black female teacher explained to me years ago. Just because he's a black male who isn't a thug, his family puts him on a pedastal and spoils him and builds him up to think he has done something really great, instead of just that he has met reasonable expectations of average achievement. So the young, single teacher told me "It doesn't get any better when we get older, either. I run into that with almost every guy I try to date." She said that there isn't much to choose from. I think this is also why I often find that my female honors students will date boys who have been in some trouble or are achieving way below what the girls themselves are doing. It doesn't help that Memphis is plagued by racial problems and pverty that often breaks down along racial lines, making for a relatively small black middle class.

I don't see a whole lot of interracial relationships among my students, even though there are a handful of white kids in each honors class, like maybe two or three. I did have one couple in a class this past year that was a white girl and African-American boy, and they fought a lot because she was very controlling. They were both honors students and she was very Type-A, and really their personalities seemd to be at the base of all their conflicts rather than racial issues. The other students seemd totally accepting of them, but I think this is partially because they have all grown up together for the most part and the white kids just become part of the group (but without trying to "act black"," which does not fly.) For whatever reason, I have not seen any of the white boys have black girlfriends, although even the ones I find to be geeky get a lot of attetion from the black female students, who will overtly pet them and talk to each other on the spot about how cute these boys are and how they look like this or that movie star. I think some of this is that the boys are scared, either of retribution from black male students, or of these girls who are recognizably way out of their league, or of disapproving family maybe (although it's mainly white, liberal, long-standing upper-middle class families who will still send their sons to this particular school based on tradition and principal so that seems less likely in most cases).

Lastly I will say that as a white woman who has spent a lot of time as kind of a participant-observer in the community, I would feel very hesitant about entering into an interracial relationship only because it seems like an act of usurping or betrayal, taking the place of a black woman.

message 4: by Nina (new)

Nina | 4 comments That is terribly fascinating and I enjoy reading things like this.

I am working on getting my teaching certification, but I can honestly say I have spent mos of my time with very small children. I adore them, don't get me wrong, but I love being around high school kids because they have so much to say. So much potential and a lot of them are just looking for someone to show an interest in them other than what they can accomplish academically.

I can not say I have ever encountered the "little prince" type, but it is fascinating. I have seen this scenario play out in Indian families and understandably so. Their culture deems their sons the purveyors of their livelihood, retirement and future of not only their family, but of their race. But in Black families, I have never seen this.

Race is an interesting thing when it comes to America's youth. It is mind-boggling how it is so vastly different by geographic location. I went to college with some people who had never seen black people until they got there. I once stumbled upon a KKK church in the Pine Barrens. My high school was predominately white as was my choice of university. We all think that a race riot is coming soon at my alma mater. Who knows. Of course this is nothing compared to what it must be like for some young black kids in other parts of America. It is both riveting and heart breaking.

Though I am not opposed to the idea of dating outside of my race, I think I would like to end up with someone who can understand my struggle at a fundamental level. Not to say that someone outside of my race wouldn't be able to, but there are some things you will never have to explain to a black man when it comes to the social, political and economic struggles of the African American family.

I have issues with black men. My Sperm donor is atrocious. My (ex) brother is a poor excuse for a human being and my barrage of Black ex-lovers have all left a bad taste in my mouth. What I can say about it is that these bad experiences have formed an image of a man I would be honored to call my husband/partner. If not for my poor examples of black male heterosexuality I would never have been able to feasibly think about what kind of man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. All that being said, I find it extremely unlikely that there are black men in this world who truly believe there are "no good black women left." This country was forged on the backs of good black women.

I have an image of him in the back of my head. I am sure he is out there somewhere....

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