Too many people want to diagnose what is wrong with the Single Black successful female. Unfortunately, the problem is that being single is apparently not acceptable and dating for appearance is what we should be doing to make others feel comfortable.
I’m a college-educated Black female in my 30s with a great career. I’ve never been married, never been engaged, have no children, and apparently, that means that something is wrong with me. Right now, there is some person who wants to diagnose exactly what that is. New York Post writer David Kaufman is the latest to try to figure out what is wrong with high-achieving Black women who happen to still be single. His story, “No Scrubs? The Dilemma of Modern African-American Women” struck a nerve as soon as I read the title. After hearing about the story from a few friends and my sister – all who were enraged by the premise, by the way – I read it and decided to tweet David, who has not yet responded, of course.
He begins by talking about Black women choosing “more appropriate” mates and goes on to talk about Black women who are dating men who make less than them or are less educated than them. At some point, he discusses how Black women are the least desired in an oh-so-scientific study by the dating site, OK Cupid. Then, as if he hasn’t said enough that is berating, he goes on to say that the Black church and Tyler Perry are responsible for Black women only wanting to date Black men followed by, “these educated, upwardly mobile women have earned the right to choose their own spouses. But tethered to their pasts by baby-daddies and preachers, they may be no more emancipated than their sisters stuck in the ‘hood.”
But because, as David presents, Black men who are on par with Black women are so few, we often end up dating beneath us, instead of dating or marrying “up.”
My issue is not just with David Kaufman.
He’s not the first person to do a diagnosis on the love lives of Black women. But, when was the last time any of these people were a single Black woman? All of the research in the world will not give you the experience to diagnose why there are single Black women. Not even our Black brothers are qualified enough to fully have that discussion, especially because we aren’t some monolith.
But more importantly, David, like others before him, proves just how misogynistic some people in our society still are. We are no longer in the 1950s and ’60s. It shouldn’t make a difference if a woman earns more or is more educated than her partner. Women also don’t have to “marry up” instead of finding a partner who loves them and treats them right.
No one questions why men marry strippers or if they date a woman who is a high school dropout, so why is there a double standard for women and especially black women?
There is also the assertion that Black women need someone to tell them it is okay to date men of other races, when in reality, no Black woman needs external validation any more than the next person does. All people seek validation and that can be as simple as, “I hope s/he fits in with my family,” or “will my friends like him/her.” If a Black woman is comfortable dating a man or woman outside of her race, she will.
Moreover, this newest claim that ministers and baby-daddies stand in the way of finding a “good man” is questionable. I have been working with ministers for a while, I am also the granddaughter of a minister, and I have NEVER heard any minister tell anyone not to date outside of our race. While I don’t have children, I do have friends who are Mothers and they don’t actually have a shortage of men to date.
And the notion that “good men” are only those men who work high-paying jobs or are college-educated is an unfair assessment that doesn’t take in to account the actual character of the person.
I am single because I haven’t found the person that I am supposed to be with, or if I have, it hasn’t been revealed. But there is no shortage of Black men who would be “acceptable” to date – on paper. I, like many of my single, educated, high-achieving sisters, am not looking for the man people think I should be with. I want to be with someone who I feel complements me, makes me feel my absolute best, and loves me unconditionally – flaws and all. If that comes in a package that is less educated or earns less, I am okay with that. That doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with me, that I can’t find a “suitable” partner, or that I am settling. It means that only I can write my love story and no editor is needed.