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     Male/Female Relationships
Pain Guts and Glory of the Black Woman
by Julia Hare

Part I

1.  The Pain Guts and Glory of the Black Woman     
2.  The Fight for Love and Glory     
3.  The Politics of Black Skin and Hair      
The Scorned Woman
The Status Seeker
The Social Nymph

Part II

4. Male Carriers of the Virus of Sexual Anorexia
(The Way You Do the Things You Do)    
Men Who Play
Men Who Fear Love
Men Who Pimp Their Women

5. Why Black Women Find It Hard to Work with White

6. Can Black Women Ever Unite?    

By Nathan Hare

When your woman tells you something to do, over a period of
time you know what you have to do, but it was nevertheless a
satisfaction to me when my wife asked me to write the
foreword to her book on the pain and the glory of the black
woman.  Proceeding with caution, I hastened to read her
manuscript in full, because I know my wife, and anybody who
knows her knows that she is gifted with a very sharp tongue,
which I have learned over the years is buttressed by a keen
eye for uncovering any mischief in a man, not to mention her
swift and surreptitious tactics of investigation.

So, armed with a secret aversion to the possibility of being
seen as a traitor to my fellowman, I vowed to proceed with
caution but with confidence accrued from years of
collaboration with her in the cause of black male-female
togetherness, in which I watched and learned in many ways
her insider’s awareness of the almost unbearable frustration
and agony of the black woman. I also gained a deeper level of
empathy with the black woman’s historical hurts as “the
backbone of the black family,” when the black woman was
sometimes going it alone and “going in the dark” with no man
to stand beside her.  

The black woman is weary now of being the backbone, but
proud of it and at the same time secretly afraid that her
strength will someday be the death of  her relationship with her
man; so that most of the time, when you see a strong black
woman she is looking for a strong black man.  And most
strong black women will tell you they would give their right
arm to have a strong black man to stand beside them.
Not surprisingly, we are being introduced here in this book not
only to the black woman’s pain and glory but also to a new
way of looking at the black man and his connection to the pain
of the black woman, as well as a new psychological malady,
an epidemic the author labels “sexual anorexia,” to which she
adds the interesting corollary, “political anorexia,” now rapidly
emerging in a morally decadent world.

I can say only that I came away imbued with an escalated
awareness that to know the black woman fully you must walk
in her shoes, so that as a black man writing an foreword to a
black woman’s book, it is necessary to be both wary and
brave.  What can I as a black man say to black women who
have had to deal with the white man’s unparalleled wrath as
well as the black male’s misplaced rage in retaliation for the
oppression of us all?  Maybe it’s a bit too much for a black
man so much as to show his face, let alone open his mouth,
but I decided to take the liberty to operate on the principle that
if I am a part of the problem I should like also to be a part of
the solution.

Maybe as men and women we can never really gain a full
familiarity with one another’s heartaches and
disappointments.   But being outsiders to the natural
experiences and conditions of the other, the opposite sex
(though we are locked together in the same race indelibly), we
can come to know each other completely only by fusing our
imaginations and our caring in creative new ways designed to
ensure that our empathy and our  bond will be unbroken.  And
it will be good for us to arm ourselves with the understanding
that it is our very disagreements and the way we handle them
– not our agreements – that will constitute the remedy for our
hurts and the tenor and longevity of our lives -together.
In any event it will always be necessary for us to understand
that after all is said and done, in the end we are locked in this
thing together, we are on the same side, and we all want the
same thing:  love and happiness.

Thus it is that black men, marching in atonement one million
strong, will dare to demand a modicum of forgiveness from
black women, if not a full understanding of the impact of
oppression and its decimation of our devotion and our
relentless sense of duty.   Our women reply that we should
stop crying on the black woman’s shoulder and stiffen our
backs and “man up” to break the chains of self-pity and a
purposeless life, even if we cannot free the black woman and
her children from the white man’s deathly grasp.  
“Give me just a little more time,” the black man cries, but it is
apparent from a reading of this book on “The Sexual and
Political Anorexia of the Black Woman” that the black woman
is “sick and tired of being sick and tired” -- and more and
more the black woman will not wait.   

By Julia Hare

Just before the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic in America,
there arose on the sexual scene a little known emotional
disorder, an affair of the heart that threatened the safety and
the sanctimony of black women everywhere. We at the Black
Think Tank were quick to discover this new malady in our
clinical work,  including the Kupenda ( Swahili for “to love”)
black love therapy groups we were leading, and our torchlight
studies in black male-female relationships.

Then, on the eve of troubling signs of black family decay in
the 1970s, there appeared a curious syndrome we began to call
“sexual anorexia” (loss of interest or appetite for romantic
relationships, in a gut reaction to feelings of being unloved and
unlovable). Soon this condition was noted by psychologists
and psychiatrists in other races and quietly but quickly began
to strike the black woman with the full force of an emotional

One day in Seattle, I saw a wall high portrait of a solitary black
woman hanging in the black student center on the campus of
the University of Washington.  Beneath it lay the caption,
“Bearer of Pain,” illuminated by slivers of sunlight shining
through the window pointing the way to that painting and this

Julia Hare
San Francisco
May 1, 2008

Part I
Chapter 1
The Pain Guts and Glory of the Black Woman
Ever since the black woman was kidnapped and dragged to
this country in chains and shackles -- starved, raped,
impregnated at random, and sometimes thrown overboard, or
otherwise died on board draconian slave ships crossing the
turbulent Middle Passage -- she has found herself subjected to
morbid experiences of squalor, depression, deprivation and

Death hung over her wind-battered head from the moment
they took her out of Africa, her babies wrenched from her
very womb and tossed overboard to unknown vultures of the
dark ocean depths.  Predatory men have raped her; killed her,
impregnated her against her will.  

From the moment they snatched her out of the motherland,
heartache and dejection have hunted and haunted her night and
day, day and night;  and this quality of hurt has been
compounded even more by daily karate chops of oppression,
by her victimization, by domination and humiliation on top of
historical hurts and sorrows for over four  hundred years. And
these were repeated in the course of her relentless experience
of institutionalized prejudice and resistance from her lost days
of chattel slavery, when she was sold away from her children
or made to watch her children sold away from her, separated
from her mates and other kindred and scattered around the
globe, all over what is now a dispersed and disunited black

Forced at last to land on alien American shores, drenched and
degraded in a strange environment, stripped of home and
family, her pride and identity shattered and torn, she was
auctioned and sold away from her children and her children
from her.  In a sense she stood in the naked condition of a
brood sow, an captive breeder of slaves, often by her master,
and for him and his progeny; and this is but a preview of the
suffering she would endure over the centuries of her
enslavement and oppression down to the present day, when
government social workers will swoop in under the authority
of the welfare department and take her children away in the
service of protecting them when she is poor, or because she is
poor,  and deemed to have “too many children without a man”
in a social condition in which the supply of males has been

Today the black woman remains the only female in this
country who is not seen as a woman, who is denied her place
on the pedestal of femininity while being allotted only the
barest and most begrudging qualities of a sexual object,
stigmatized by the wrath of mean white men who once sent
their sons in chamber rooms and maids quarters to practice on
the black woman in preparation for an ultimate consummation
of marital relations with the white “ladies.”  Even today black
women are not considered “trophy wives”; the only pedestal
they are place on is three-inch high heeled platform Manolo
Blahnik or Jimmy Choo shoes. This is just the tip of the
iceberg that has brought on what I am calling the black
woman’s sexual anorexia (loss of appetite for sex and love
relations) and political anorexia (the loss of interest and a
turning away from their own political and psychological
struggles) -- which we will take up in detail later.

Sexual Anorexia
Many recent events have escalated the agony and the
magnitude of sexual anorexia in the black woman, impacting
her wherever she goes in her personal and professional life
where vicious stereotypes associated with her routine daily
experiences have exacerbated the quality and severity of her
suffering. When people stop and stare and sneak furtive
glances, their stares may often represent no more than some
random distraction;  but to the black woman who must live
with such humiliations daily, these furtive glances conjure up
and rubber stamp the stereotypes by which the media
(newspapers, television, books and magazines) incessantly
bombard and pulverize her psyche.  The effect in turn filters
down into the schools and the minds of her children where it
kindles misconceptions and conflicts sparking fights among
unwary students.

Political Anorexia
By way of introduction, let us recall the issue involving the
almost lily white Duke University lacrosse team that broke
college rules to invite a stripper, a black coed from a
historically black college, for their nighttime entertainment, no
doubt acting out some gratification of the well-known sexual
fancies found in the literature and the history of the races in
this country, so spiced with “slave winches,” concubines,
Jezebels, street harlots and prostitutes.

Following the young stripper’s accusations of rape, the media
ran with the notion that she was some kind of a prostitute,
while black women cringed in fear and silence before the
cunning white male spin that the black strip dancer was a
prostitute,  a whore, something echoed by their female
cohorts. Black women stood appalled; you could hear their
dismay forever on their tongues wherever they came together,
for they had already heard the cries of the now faded white
feminist movement arguing that a “prostitute” could be raped
as well as any woman.

The white male powers that be went on to acquit the affluent
white lacrosse players under a shroud of silence conveniently
announced in the media hurricane that surfaced when the Imus
case broke.  Don Imus, a high-rolling shock jock host of the
popular MSNBC “Imus in the Morning,” called a
predominantly black female basketball team “nappy-headed ho’
s” -- after his executive producer had called them “hard core
ho’s” but escaped the burning bush.  Another former associate
of Don Imus blatantly opined: “the more I look at Rutgers they
look exactly like the Toronto Raptors.” Then the executive
producer came back with a description of the NCAA
championship game between Rutgers and Tennessee as “a
Spike Lee thing” (“the Jigaboos vs. the Wannabes”) and the
rigmarole broke out in a media feeding frenzy of innuendos
and insinuations assaulting the quality and pride of the black
woman but by the time you read this book, Don Imus will be
back on his show millions richer but effectively unscathed.
Behind the “Spike Lee joint,” according to “Media Matters,”
lurked a New York Times article many years ago on Spike Lee’
s “School Daze” (in which the women of the iconic black
college were “divided into two camps, the dark “Jigaboos’ and
the fair ‘Wannabees’ shown dissing each other as
“pickanninies” “tar babies” and “high yella heifers).”  In still
another broadcast, according to a Newsday report, the
executive producer had previously said “one of these days you’
re gonna see Venus and Serena Williams in Playboy,” while
somebody else in the studio added the brazen suggestion that
they would have “a better shot at National Geographic.”   

The sensibilities of black women were already shaken to the
quick when “Nappy headed ho's” came out of the mouth of a
high-profiled public white man like Don Imus, for they had
long been distressed by insults of this heartless sort.  But
equally as startling was the fact that black women did not
storm the pearly gates of the Duke University campus, for fear
of the adverse consequences, we all know black women do
not suffer insults lightly. Where were the organized black
women, the sorors -- the AKA’s, the Deltas and the Zetas?
Where were the likes of the National Black Business and
Professional Women, the National Council for Black Women,
or the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, The Links?
Where were the missionary societies of the black churches?  
Where were the members of the Congressional Black Caucus
appointed to watch over us?  Especially the black
Congresswomen (we have no black female senator) who
would later choose to support the white female opponent of
the present and only black male senator running for president
of the United States. None went straight down to the campus
of Duke.  They seem more inclined to step up for issues of
their own political party than the issues of their own people
who sent them to office, and in this they are like too many
black women who are climbing up in whatever field:  they
forget about the sisters who haven’t made it in life; and when
they do step up they fear being knocked back to ground zero
or knocked out altogether;  but the only way that they can stop
this is through the combined, organized and concerted efforts
recognizing that if it happens to one today it can happen to
another tomorrow,  if not this evening.

Hillary Clinton went to Rutgers when the Imus smear was
raging but never referred to Imus by name, and appeared to be
more interested in turning the indiscretion of the lacrosse white
male (one black) players into a white feminist issue, which the
media was already doing; for instance, cut-lines in television
footage would often read “gender and race,” instead of “black
women” or “the rape of a black woman.”  When other ethnic
groups are victimized or standing up for a cause they’re called
and they call themselves just what they are: Asians, Hispanics
or Native Americans, because they know they don’t need
black women to save them; they save themselves while black
women save everybody but ourselves.

Whenever there is an issue in the news media affecting black
women, many black women will  get together to complain that
there are almost no black female anchors or commentators.
When newscasts do have black female commentators they are
mainly on weekends, or in the “ghetto hour” when everybody
else is sleeping, or on holidays, when the regular broadcasters
have escaped work for higher purposes, and the news is
generally what has already gone on during the week, over and
over, in a secondhand replication of the weekday fare.  
Meanwhile we see women of all nationalities and races
participating in high profile issues, many affecting black
women but with black women missing in action or excluded
from the dais. Not surprisingly many will deign to rationalize
“oh, that’s off limits to me – why should I be doing anything
about that, why should I participate in that?” In effect they
throw in the towel saying “this isn’t for me” instead of “we’re
not represented here” and it’s more imperative than ever that
we begin to get involved; not as “women of color,” not as
“minority” women, not as “women,” nor even African-
American women, but as “black women.”  Whenever the issue
is on white women, that’s who’s sitting there as the talking

In the Duke and Imus events black women continued to listen
while the media shepherded in black male civil rights leaders
such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton calling for Imus’s
firing. When you are discussing a critical issue such as black
women on the media, representatives of that group, in this
case black women, should be on every station talking; but the
Imus story was everywhere without them, on just about every
station, twenty-four-seven.

The advertisers did finally pull Imus off the air for a while, but
there are thousands of advertisers out there. If a station pulls
the plug on a show host it does not mean they are necessarily
finished for good, especially if they’re popular and white, and
even so there are usually hundreds more waiting in the wings
to swoop down and carry on.  

As I write, the word on the vine is stations are already looking
at Imus, already booking him, and preparations are being made
by some to bring him back, suggesting that Imus is merely
waiting in some small radio station until the coast is clear
again, then Honey, Imus will be back.  Sisters, would a black
man be given a microphone again after insulting a white
woman who’d been violated by black men. By contrast, the
fate of the black woman is likely to be uncertain; once a black
woman reaches an upper niche and falls from her high place,
it’s virtually impossible for her to surface again, let alone
return to the place where she had been on high.

Recall the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVIII and the
fallout from the exposure of one of Janet Jackson’s breasts by
the white crossover–to-black singer Justin Timberlake, the one
who had hung out with black singers long enough to learn all
their moves, how to walk that walk and talk that talk while
catching their crotches rhythmically on cue.  During the Super
Bowl halftime entertainment the dynamic Janet-Justin duo
hooted to the beat of “Rhythm Nation” and “Rock Your Body”
as they went through hip-twisting hip hop gyrations with
boodies and sexuality flying in the air.  Finally, the singing
reached a fatal line when Justin Timberlake crooned “I’m
going to have you naked by the end of the show” and
unceremoniously snatched off Janet’s holster to reveal one
naked breast. Janet was wearing jewelry underneath that gave
the impression she’d had her nipples pierced, so the
newspapers gave more ink and television gave it more
coverage than the Super Bowl itself.  These are the same self-
righteous media outlets that claim to be weary of covering half-
dressed Miss Americas and x-rated magazines exploding from
the newsstands and coeds wearing thongs exposing cracks
and “cleavage.”

In an obsessively big-breasted culture commandeered by white
males, it is nevertheless hard to see how one of Janet Jackson’
s breasts could so excite the public imagination. Politicians and
critics all issued position papers condemning the show and
threatening high hosannas over the scandalizing of one teeny
black breast. Even Justin Timberlake, before he capitulated and
went on to capitalize on his newfound masculine admiration
and attention, had the gall to open his foul mouth and howl that
the breast episode had offended his family.  Sophisticated
Europeans couldn’t understand why all the fuss was being
made about the exposure of one breast in America, a country
long known to be obsessed with breasts in fanatical
proportions.  We do know that all the way back to plantation
days, black men have been known to favor boodies while
white men favored breasts (leading analysts to opine that it had
some connection to the white man’s historical experience of
“nursing” from the breasts of black mammies).  
Anyway, suits were filed against the FCC (Federal
Communications Commission), and the incident threatened to
cripple Janet Jackson’s singing career while Justin Timberlake’
s career took off big-time, and Janet Jackson’s stature was
never the same again.  Understandably, Janet soon fell into a
fury of depression, gained weight and was out of sight and out
of mind for a spell.  Admittedly to his credit, Justin finally
adopted a gentlemanly stance and conceded that America is
tougher on “black and ethnic women.”  That was a white man
saying that.  Nothing at all ever seemed to happen to the
streaker, who had flitted around the field unclothed, with only
these words “Super Bowel” adorning his body against a
background of television commercials advertising remedies for
erectile dysfunctions, including one of a dog attacking a man’s
sexual problems.   Meanwhile, offstage, Janet became a poster
girl for a wave of false piety aimed at cleaning up Super Bowl
and television entertainment for everybody and the ever elusive
goal of public decency in America.  

As the saying goes, when a man falls he can jump back up and
brush his suit off and still have respect in his community, but a
woman wears a scarlet letter. “When a woman falls off the
curb, especially a black woman, she has to stay in the
gutter."   Not long ago a black congresswoman from Georgia,
Cynthia McKinney, had a confrontation with a Capitol Police
Officer, a white male. How could that happen? According to
news reports she refused to show her badge or identification
on grounds that it was a place that persons like her go through
almost daily. The white policeman chimed that McKinney had
whacked him when he did not recognize that she was a
congresswoman and ordered her to present identification,
while the congresswoman accused the officer of
“inappropriate touching” and “racial profiling” (implying a
white female might have been treated differently).
Instead of sticking to the issues and actions that had erupted in
the confrontation between the white guard and the black
congresswoman, the news media and other critics focused on
their assumption that Sister McKinney was channeling the
Sixties-styled hairdo “freedom statement” (the afro or the
“do”) and the congresswoman had to fight to stay out of jail
before eventually losing her job.   Because she had been
confronting this problem for eleven years whenever she wore
her afro braids, she understandably wanted to know if she
would have to change her hair style every time she entered the
gate.  According to the Honorable McKinney, the white guards
were usually the ones that gored her the most on the days
when she wore her braids.  

When it was reported that the white guard put his hands on
their black colleague’s breast, black women in the
Congressional Black Caucus did not fundamentally come to
her aid.  I can
imagine the women of other races would have
been up in arms if one of their nationally prominent sisters they
had chosen to represent them had been the recipient of such
nauseating treatment.  But black women’s lips were sealed;
they didn’t seem to understand that when a black woman is
attacked in her racial physiognomy, it is an attack on the
biology of all black women everywhere, especially in a world
where they say we “all look alike.”

Many other black women have been left, historically and
presently, to swim with the sharks and brave the ocean
alone.   Star Jones was a black co-host of “The View” (hired
and anchored by the legendary Barbara Walters); and,
somewhat borderline obese, she was known to have weight
issues and often was at odds with one of her white co-hosts.
As usual for the media, Star Jones was the only black woman
on the show, so when she hollered they let her go. The

offered up the usual defenses and tried to say
she was let go because of her ratings, but she maintained that
it wasn’t true. Some said she was fired because she had a
“great big wedding” and thought everybody should donate a
fee to snap a picture or get attention or even to be involved in
the matrimonial swim. It was rumored she also had had her
stomach stapled, because she thought she was too plump.
They kept on a white woman who was plumper than her, the
plumpest member of the cast. Even some black women
rationalized that “Star Jones will get another high profile job,”
and “anyway, she’s an attorney and can make a living.”  For
some it was as if they clapped their hands.  The pain was all
Star Jones’s; like many women she “wanted to be Cinderella
for one brief, shining moment:  “I did….I wanted the white
dress. I wanted the 926 bridesmaids. I wanted it all.”  Star
Jones admitted to “Good Morning America” that she’d gained
seventy-five pounds then lost 150 “all in front of the world.”  
Black women mumbled quietly in dark but failed to step up to
the plate. While media the rumors and gossip hammered one of
their own, they lost no rest.

Dorothy Dandridge almost made it to the top of the
pedestal. Strikingly beautiful, she broke attendance records in
Hollywood clubs and was one of the first black women to
receive an Academy Award nomination. Nevertheless, it was
said “she constantly battled insecurities about her looks and
her talent and such anxiety often left her feeling physically ill
before, during or after a performance.”  She had a hard time
all of her life, from childhood on up, when she was allegedly
abused by one of her mother’s lovers; but Dandridge was
brought down in the end by the demons of racism.  
With all of her acclaim, Hollywood never gave her her due;
they locked her in racial stereotypes of the era and restricted
her to “lusty” and “tragic” character roles that seemed to play
out in her off-screen marital life.  Today she has a star on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame, but in real life her story ends with
another unhappy marriage, this time to a white man who
abused her physically, even while he took her to the cleaners
and left her broke from financing his failing business dealings.
After the two-year marriage ended in divorce, Dandridge tried
a comeback that failed.  Then she was found in a hotel room
dead of an overdose of prescription drugs for depression.
In a way, Ms. Dandridge was the prototype of the “domestic
servant” and the “trampy seductress” roles that continue to
plague black female stars in the present day.  Halle Berry had
done some fine acting in other films but received the Academy
Award for her role as a single mother working as a low life in
a 24 hour diner and took up with a trailer trash sheriff who
had arrested and executed her husband and taken her as a
lover. No less than Butterfly McQueen (who rationalized “she’
d rather play a maid than be one any day”), Halle Berry got an
award for the black female Jezebel stereotype.
After almost five centuries of the holocaust of her
enslavement, long before shock jock Don Imus came on the
scene, black women have been locked out of the higher
echelons of beauty and femininity.  The standard of beauty
presented to her and the world remains blue eyes and blonde
hair, but even when a black woman fakes it with peroxide,
blue contact lenses and Miss Clairol, she knows when she
looks in the mirror to remove her makeup at the end of the day
that it was all a façade.  Yet, in reality the black woman is
subject to be raped by every nationality of males, physically
and mentally, including her own, who is unable to save her
from the rest.  Through the many dark nights of plantation life
gone by, and often in the daylight hours of today’s
megalopolises, the black man has been forced to watch the
black woman violated. The black woman in turn has had to
see the black man lynched for his alleged seduction of the
white man’s woman.  Then, in a convolution of reason, too
many black men still turn to the white woman to “get back at
the white man.”  How pray tell can you get back at the man
who has abused your women by loving his?

Today the black woman is compelled to watch the political and
economic lynching of the black male, something akin to “hi
tech lynching.” Yet she knows that whatever impacts upon the
black man affects the black woman also, just as whatever
affects the black woman affects the black man: whether
incarcerated in prison cages, blocked and all but eliminated
from the labor force, or subdued by political impotence and
emasculation. It is getting so bad that some black women have
been heard to ask if they are now being forced to face the
question, “do we have to become the new black men of the
black community?”  Or “is the black man becoming the new
black woman?”  What starts as a topic of conversation in
beauty shops and conference seminars and Q and A’s
eventually emerges as a quasi-ideal, where more and more men
are deserting their families and giving up on marrying at all,
opting to seek out lonely women, sometimes considerably
older, who can take care of them in unwedded splendor, or
some are even slipping into the down-low.

But will it work?  Is it possible for a race to be psychologically
and sociologically viable without a patriarch in a patriarchal
land? You used to could drive through the black community
and see a lot of pretty women and a lot of working men; now
you drive through the black community and see a lot of
working women and a lot of pretty men, earrings and all.
So it should not be surprising that black male-female
discussions more and more are breaking down in wars of
misplaced rage.  Solid solutions have been thrown aside and
forfeited in quixotic quests for personal and gender revenge.  
Some women are weary now and sometimes giving up the
fight altogether and sending the children of broken
relationships to live with their “baby daddies” and their brand-
new wives and children. Just as men have tended to have
visitation rights when the children are with their mother,
women now have visiting rights when the children are with
their father.  Some sistas go over to irk the new wife, wearing
a plastic smile, legs crossed, dressed down to the nines in high
heel shoes, in order to hang out in the new wife’s home on
visitation days to sit and smile and watch the new wife
cleaning and sweating and cooking for the stepchildren she
had never bargained for when she stole the affections of the
sista’s man after sneaking around with him. The wife whose
husband was stolen delights in sneaking snide glances at the
new wife’s distress and embarrassment while admonishing her
own children to “be nice to your step mommy” as she herself
stands up and adopts an air of majesty while slowly taking her

There was once a man in one of the Bible Belt states who had
a loving wife and six children, replete with a white picket
fence and a dog, before he met a younger woman and took the
notion to leave his wife. To his surprise, the disheartened wife
took all six children and left them with his new wife, who
soon fled the waiting clutches of a dismal life.         

When a woman is going it alone or even when she’s
widowed, she retains the same desires as a married woman.
She wants a man, a mate or husband to love her and herself
alone; but if she so much as takes her children to the park she
runs the risk of subjection to an inward rage seeing other men
doing for their women what she feels her man should be doing
for her. The same thing goes for the mall, the church, or the
Sunday School for that matter. If she has sons she has to take
to athletic activities her difficulties are doubled when she is
sitting surrounded by white males or otherwise unavailable
men opening car doors for their women and simultaneously
helping with the children, sometimes with a child from a new
mate’s previous marriage riding papoose-style on his  back.  
You can see how easy it is for the sister’s spirit to crumble
and her heart to break.  

Day by day the black woman sees the white man on soap
operas, television and movie dramas, in restaurants and public
places, pulling out chairs and showering terms of endearment
on their woman while constantly making the largely untenable
claim that she is beautiful – questionable at least in the
jaundiced eyes of the forlorn black woman looking on, the one
compelled to look on in unrequited longing and disaffection,
because she is unaccustomed to hearing that kind of talk from
men in her own condition of poverty, brutality and blues,
where men too often sing and say demeaning words: “You
looking  as ugly as a buzzard, woman,” he might joke in hearty
laughter and insensitivity, “ you look like seven miles of bad
road.”  “I’m going to Chicago, sorry but I can’t take you,
cause there ain’t nothing in Chicago that a monkey-face
woman can do,” the black man sings in ill-mannered self-

Today, in the adolescent culture of hip hop music, this
degradation of the woman a man’s supposed to love has
become an art form, set to riveting rhythm and harsh but
captivating tones of alienation and rejection.  As early as
elementary school,  black girls are indoctrinated with white
storybook characters such as Snow White -- and the little
black girls will raise their hands in hopes of being accepted and
chosen as Snow White in school closing plays.

This is not quite as hurting to the boys at that stage yet
because white males are not so much held up to them as
standards of beauty; only the epitome of power and social
potency. Black girls want to be as beautiful as society says the
white girls are.  Snow White and Cinderella, Fun with Dick
and Jane, Goldilocks, pretty girls all in a row, these aren’t
black. Where a school is black, textbooks ought to be black.  
Asians have their own books, whites have their own books,
blacks should have their own books; then, we could teach the
history and the standards of beauty in our children’s image,
perhaps also giving our own take on little white lies and cherry
trees and the discovery of America and the brave new world.
As things now stand, the black woman continues to be
presented as a breeder of dysfunctional children in a society
that clamps an anchor on her and her children and her mate.
Stripped of the socialization and sometimes custody and
contact with her children, she may be put in jail if she attempts
to discipline them, and if she doesn’t she may later have to
watch them incarcerated. At every stage of the life cycle and
at each and every turning point, she is more apt to have her
children taken away from her than any other woman for little
more than the consequences of living in poverty;
impoverished, she stands to be punished again for being poor.

Meanwhile the dysfunctional children of powerful people,
from the president of the United States on down, are not taken
away from them, although we see them on the evening news
---- the dysfunctional children of the high and the mighty --
stealing their doctors’ prescription pads, sneaking in and out of
rehab, getting into secret murders, yet going on to Ivy League
colleges instead of jail.  We see Hollywood stars and the rich
and the famous whisking their children off to rehab programs
or leaving them in the care of the governess, the maid and the
nannies and whatever without sin, or any clear sense of shame.
Yet racial matters and the color complex are constantly
fostered by Hollywood and the media in every way. When the
film industry gives awards to black people, the black awards
are almost always in synch with their stereotypes of black
people. When Jennifer Hudson won the academy award in
“Dream Girls,” many black women whispered, “aren’t you
happy that a plump black woman got the award, but also
Jennifer played a downtrodden and rejected black woman in
her role.

When Vanessa Williams was set to be the first black Miss
America in the history of the United States, the media dug up
stuff on her days of youthful dalliance and dethroned her.  
They went snooping and sniffing until they found something
they could use.  They came up with suggestive risqué pictures
from a porno magazine and defrocked her for that; not for her
talents or her looks. Happily, her runner-up was of darker hue,
but they gave her little attention and she quickly disappeared
from the radar screen and then was seen no more.  Sadly
nobody knows her name now,  or talks about her anymore,
while Vanessa continues to sing, dance, act and marry at the
top of the mart.  The white world wishes not to see the black
woman’s beauty; it goes against their definition of beauty,
which is light, white and pallid of skin, despite the fact that we
all know that when it’s black it doesn’t crack.

Condoleezza Rice was the first black woman U.S. Secretary of
State. A former professor of linguistics and a provost of
Stanford University, Ms. Rice is fluent in several languages,
and we see her on the news negotiating with heads of state in
the middle of our wars.  Regardless of her politics,
Condoleezza is not celebrated for anything positive, but if she
were a white woman, with the same facial features she has
now, the same hair style, the choice of clothing, she would be
praised to high heaven, or critics would elect to fall silent on
her faults.  Instead she’s often speculatively linked to the
president as his paramour, with rumors and conjectures of a
purported romance threatening the president’s family with
divorce, and the tabloids burn with a towering inferno of
innuendo and gossip.  With the black woman, there may not
be glory in pain but there is pain in her glory.

Some of the most popular black women in this country,
whether they’re athletes, mayors, astronauts, radio
announcers, television talk show hosts or whatnot, at the end
of the day they can always tell each other about the
aggravation and  racism they face, and they will tell you they
believe it is because they are black.  When the white woman is
kidnapped – and of course this is a terrible thing for anyone –
the story is prone to run forever on the news: the Aruba
situation ran for almost two years and continues to crop up;
there’s also “the runaway bride” (black women have been
running away for years).  Chandra Levy seemed forever in the
news when her death followed an alleged affair with a
congressman; not to mention the late Anna Niccole Smith, a
young woman with big breasts married to a wealthy
octogenarian, with several men stepping up to claim parentage
of her newborn baby, is still alluded to in the news like she
was some kind of a queen.  

Black women go missing almost daily all over the nation but
get little coverage except on cop shows and occasional
forensic and investigative reports. When white babies are
missing, the “Amber Alert” goes up immediately, but when
black babies disappear black women are left to face the despair
and emotional devastation with only their closest relations.
Maybe we should have a “Tamika Alert” for black women;
then, maybe they can break free of the shackles of political

Political Pain
When politics work against the black woman, her family and
children are caught up in the quality of her hurt, and there is
pain in the family.   Whether she is successful (going up the
social ladder) or going down, the political pain comes down on
the black woman who is unable to rear and nurture her
children or find and keep a good enough husband, a father for
her children, while life all around her is falling apart.
What’s falling apart?  Even when there is food on the table, the
rearing of her children may be weakened and obstructed for
the low income mother who has been steadily losing the
authority to discipline her children ever since white politicians
and advocates of ultra-permissive childrearing, which is more
amenable to the middle class condition, decided that discipline
was to be outlawed as punitive although black women see their
discipline as love. Without discipline, without a helpmeet, the
task of keeping her children out of jail falls into the lap of the
black woman.  Years ago, before integration and mass
urbanization, when black women controlled the care and
comfort of their own families better, they would take the time
to teach them that you will be watched more than anybody
else in this society. They had to teach their boys that around
whites you have to exhibit a special politeness or you are going
to jail. Too bad that warning wasn’t imparted sufficiently to
Emmitt Till, who as a fourteen year old Chicagoan was on a
visit back home to Mississippi and was lynched and thrown
into the river after he whistled at a grownup white female store
clerk while trying to impress his adolescent Mississippi

When I was growing up near “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa,
Oklahoma, I learned that one of the worst race riots in
American history had taken place there in1921. My father used
to tell me how a young black man had gotten on an elevator
with a young white woman and the white woman jumped off
the elevator and claimed the black man had stepped on her
toe.  Soon a riotous mob of white men moved slowly but
ominously toward the black community looking for the black
man who had stepped on a white woman’s toe.  That was the
kind of thing that made black people teach their sons to stay
out of elevators for fear of some chance encounter with a
white woman that might land them in jail or get them killed.  
Black boys were admonished never to go over to the white
part of town or glance at a white woman anywhere.  They
were teaching their sons how to stay alive.  Even today the
black woman has to spend a lot of her time preparing and
indoctrinating her children against the psychosocial hassles and
horrors of race that white mothers and their children within
socioeconomic serenity of the suburbs and the protective
safety net so often provided by the police and the courts.   

The black woman is more likely to lose her mate than anybody
else, white or black male or female, due to the high
unemployment, incarceration and underemployment of the
black males. Accordingly, she suffers a shortage of BMW’s
(Black Men Working), and she is too often compelled to live
with the pain of having her children taken away from her, by
social workers in the ambiguous child abuse and child custody
system, to be placed by the courts in alien foster homes and
subjected to all the institutional devices now existing to take
the place of the family in a society in which underprivileged
parents are steadily losing the authority to rear and discipline
their children.  Meanwhile, we see white society sending
people out from hospices to help the ill, along with maids and
nannies to train affluent children.  We send the firefighters out
when there is a fire. We send policemen out when there is a
homicide. We could likewise send people out to teach and help
the single mother parent.

The black woman suffers for herself and her family. If the
husband leaves and gets with someone else --  which he often
does -- the black woman is confronted with all the issues of
raising her children:  her  man coming in and out of her house
to pick up the kids and see who’s there, trying to find some
sign of some other man, titillating her now and then to see if
the flame is still burning, blocking out other men who will get
the impression he’s still got himself in the game and will be in
a huff if anybody else, some other man, keeps on coming
around. And the worst pain of all is when her children grow
up and wonder if she drove their father away, and sometimes
become a somewhat estranged from her, instead of taking
their rage out on the father, the one who went away, the one
who deserted them.

History of Struggle
Bearer of Pain
We know black women can boast of a long proud history of
fighting oppression, of coping with powerlessness and
standing against their political pain.  The black woman is
inscribed in an undeniable history as “the backbone of the
black family,” the “bearer of pain,” an unrequited legacy of
going the last mile, “reaching for the sky,” “doing it to death,”
“loving too long to stop now,” fighting for her family and
making ends meet, many times suffering but always fighting
back and reaching landings and standing beside and sometimes
in front of her man.

Ida B. Wells
Ida B. Wells spent a lifetime trying to end the long vicious
lynching, most notably of black men.  She was to lynching
what Rosa Parks was to segregation. Publishing and
advocating against lynching, she rallied against the lynching of
black men and almost single-handedly forced the reluctant
government to step in, so that the lynching of black men after
1921 (also by chance the year of the bombing of “Black Wall
Street”) was never quite the same again.  Although an ardent
activist in the suffragist movement, she exposed as myth the
rationale that white men were lynching black men for the “rape
of white women” instead of the white man’s own hidden
sexual fears and his dogged opposition to black economic
progress, his claims of black inferiority, and fears in reaction
to the undying threat of the rise of black men.

General Tubman
We could call the names of hordes but need only mention one,
Harriett   Tubman (Araminta Ross), who was one of eleven
children born into slavery but made a vow to resist when she
saw her master punishing another slave by picking up a piece
of iron and throwing it at him but missed and hit Harriett,
leaving her to suffer a permanent scar and seizures for as long
as she lived.  Rather than slipping into political anorexia,
Harriett Tubman joined the Underground Railroad and served
as a nurse, also as a cook and a spy, on the side of the Union
Army in the Civil War before she made history as the
conductor of the Underground Railroad.  She returned many
times, fearlessly, to the South to rescue slaves; and, once she
had gained her own freedom, ushered an estimated three
hundred slaves out of slavery and said she “could have freed  
thousands more, but they didn’t  know that they were
slaves.”  It has been related that some of the brothers among
those freed had a mind to turn around and head back, but
General Tubman would pull out her gun and tell them to keep
on moving or, “I’ll shoot you myself.”  She reputedly once
said that in all her work with the Underground Railroad, she
never lost a passenger and never ran a train off the track.
Could Amtrak claim that?

Black female freedom fighters are also legion in modern times,
though most remain in obscurity, unknown and unsung:  
Fannie Lou Hamer, Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher, Kathleen Cleaver,
Angela Davis, Queen Mother Moore, Shirley Graham DuBois,
Little Rock’s Daisy Bates, Gloria Richardson. Assatur Sakur,
ad infinitum, proving a black woman doesn’t have to submit to
sexual and political anorexia.

Queen Mother Moore
Audley Moore, nicknamed Queen Mother Moore, was a strong
black freedom fighter for most of her life and a mentor to
many young men and leaders, including Malcolm X, Max
Stanford and Nathan Hare in the Black Power movement of
the late 1960s. Queen Mother fought for the worldwide unity
of Africans in America and elsewhere and almost single-
handedly revived and rekindled the demand for black

Lady Day
The legendary blues singer, Billy Holiday, better known as
“Lady Day,” was known to resist incessantly the exploitation
of black musicians. Lady Day never succumbed to political
anorexia and seldom failed to tell her listeners how the music
industry was trying to use her labor and talents for pennies:
“Papa may have, mama may have, but God bless the child that’
s got his own.”

Mothers and Great Grandmothers
It’s said if you educate a woman you educate a race, but how
quickly we forget what our mothers and our grandmothers
told us when  they boasted how they had gone as far as the
eighth grade in school and would have gone farther if they’d
had the chance. They’d ramble on about the fact that  they
“may not have been to no college, ain’t swallowed no
grammar or eaten no ‘rithmetic, ain’t been in no Who’s Who,
but I know What’s What.”

Got to Give it Up
Yet political powerlessness and the loss of appetite for things
political (a political disdain), is part and parcel of too many of
the black woman’s feelings of resentment, fury and rage, of
despair and hopelessness.  The ultimate source of her political
anorexia is of course the white dominated political world that
the white slave masters and slave mistresses made.  Today,
the black woman is impelled to sit and talk and complain and
grumble, to nitpick and whine, to vent more than to act, only
to find that in the end, when all is said and done, nobody much
wants to share her pain.  

Though racial oppression looms as the original and most
continual generator of the black woman’s alienation, it is not
the only source (whether within or without) of undeniable and
enduring symptoms of political anorexia today. Many
traditional black churches do not allow black women to preach
or even to go up and stand at the pulpit, except to read
announcements or lift an offering, prepare the Lord’s Supper,
or the pastor’s upcoming anniversary, or the Pastor’s Guild.  
She keeps the church finances moving, the organization going,
and the preacher fed; the black church could not function
without black women, it could not run; and yet she allows the
men to be the preacher, and some sisters go so far as to say
they would not belong to a church with a female preacher.  So
while there are a million black men in jail waiting for justice,
there are a million women in church waiting for Jesus.
As smart as church sisters are, they should know that the
pastor serves at their behest, he is their employee. Tell the
preacher what you want things to be, and if he doesn’t agree,
tell him to take his tithing envelopes, pack his robes, and take
his clerical collar and go. Sometimes we forget there is more
than one church in town, and sometimes somebody’s got to
go. If the preacher refuses to leave tell him like Patti LaBelle
said in the song:  “you can call me crazy, you can call me
stupid, but call me gone.”

Chapter 2
The Best of Black  
Male Female    
Splendor in the Dust: The Best of Black Male Female Relationships is
the title of a forthcoming selection of previously published essays on
the subject by Drs. Nathan and Julia Hare. It is scheduled for 2010.
Like this "Black Male Female Relationships" page, it will reach back
to the birth of the black male/relationships movement in the mid
1970s, including a late 1969 article by the Hares in
Society) magazine and selections from a doctoral dissertation,
"Black Male/Female Relations," by Nathan Hare (1975). Then on to
the journal,
Black Male/Female Relationships, launched by The
Black Think Tank upon its founding in 1979 to bring insights and
understanding to the surface from black intellectuals nationwide. As
prolegomena to the essay collection we will start here with two books
in serial form by Julia Hare to be continued on a monthly basis.
by Dr. Julia Hare

1.  Getting Ready to Kick It
2.  The Successful Black Woman Syndrome
3.  Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall
4.  Black Women Who Marry White Men
5.  The Brother Who Marries White

Where Have You Gone?
6.   The Eurocentric Brother
7.   The Afrocentric Brother
8.   The Bisexual Brother
9.   Married Men

10.  Brothers Who Play
11.  Sleep-In Lovers And The Man Over Your Children
12.  The Violent Man
13.  The Blue Collar Lover

Getting Ready to Kick It
Whenever black women get together, you can
almost always hear them crying “ain’t no black men
out here.”  “Ain’t  nothing on these streets, child.”
“Where’re all the good black men---they’re either
married, gay or playing games.”  And if you live in a
small town, “Girlfriend” will tell you you can just
about hang it up.

Just the other day, I attended the funeral of a close
friend’s father.  After the ceremony, we walked out
of the mortuary and stood on the sidewalk to wait
for the procession to pass by.  In a few minutes, a
sister came up and asked us, “where are the men?”
She said she knew the corpse in the coffin was the
body of an old man in his seventies but that she
was there in the hope that, inasmuch as he lived
the sporting life, somebody or “something” young
enough for her might show up at the funeral.

Many are the times when sisters are meeting on
very serious issues – say, saving the black child, or
social liberation, whether the tragedy in Somalia,
South Africa, Rwanda or wherever, multicultural
diversity or Aristide’s return to Haiti – the
conversation will suddently switch with no warning
to “the black male shortage.”

Where have all the black males gone?  A lot of
sisters are afraid they’ve been looking in all the
wrong places.  Many have no trouble bumping into
men who appear to be eligible if not elegant
catches.  It’s just that when they do, it always
turns out something’s wrong.

They say, too many brothers are “threatened” by
successful black women.  Or, they’re already taken
or they ain’t the marrying kind, you know.  With
some you go to bed and wake up to find their wrist
is limp.

Recently, in the middle of an annual black
bourgeoisie hen’s party around Christmas time in
San Francisco, a prominent black woman stood up
and said she already knew exactly why she hadn’t
been able to find a black man.

Everybody said “why?”
“Cause I scare they ass away,” the sister bragged,
slipping easily into the vernacular middle class black
people use when they want to “get down” or bask
in being black for dramatic effect.  “The first thing I
let them niggers know is they got to show me a
negative HIV and a positive cash flow.”  One hefty
lady – with the confidence that can come with
middle age --- claimed she already “buried one
husband, divorced one, lived with a third, and I don’
t want no mo’ runover shoes beneath my bed.”
“What about his false teeth in the Efferdent in your
china cups?” another quipped.  “Yeah, I tell them, if
you want to be with, you got to have a J.O.B.”
And so it went into the night.  “Yeah Girl, I can have
nothing with nobody all by myself.”

When the laughter died, a grim but sophisticated
claque of stylish corporate sisters inched over to
where I was sitting and told me they knew of my
longstanding collaboration with my husband at the
Black Think Tank in the movement to mend black
male/female relationships.  Under the privacy of the
moment, they broke down and pleaded for help and
comfort in the rawest language they could call up to
describe the inner pain they felt.  They bared many
moving recollections of the joyless days and nights
they’d spend in quiet but unending desperation.  
One confessed she had adorned a disguise and
gone into an adult store for a dildo, vibrator and
batteries.  They begged me to tell them the secrets
of finding a good black man – a working black man.

They wanted to know if the problem was one of
simply looking in the wrong places for something
which, in the first place, isn’t there or anywhere
else.  Or whether they set their standards too high
– or too low.

I saw that one sister seemed to be hanging back,
but as soon as she could catch me  alone, she came
over and tried to remind me of a seminar I once
presented.  She said she remembered I had made
the point that it seems black women don’t mind
telling one another the most intimate private inside
details when they are looking for a job or trying to
find a better condo or a car, but can’t be very open
in their search for a man.

If looking for an apartment, they’ll say, “if you see
anything, let me know, and don’t put me in any ol’
part of town.  I want a pretty good zip code,
Honey.  “They’ll even ask about the price and the
place to find a special dress.  But when it comes to
looking for a man, the one they hope to share the
rest of their lives with, they don’t want to ask for
fear of exposing some shameless vulnerability.  

On the way home from that hen’s party,  I decided
if Michael Jordan can write a book called “How to
Keep from Getting AIDS.” Somebody ought to be
able to tell a sister how to find and keep a good
enough man.  I called the sister and said I’d write a
book on “How to Find and Keep a BMW (Black Man

In the process, I’ll enter a lot of forbidden places,
harbor no secrets, in the exposure and examination
of the ways and motivations of the dwindling supply
of marriageable black men – especially the marrying

Once we’ve told how to find one, we’ll get into how
to know what, if anything, a brother has to offer a
woman.  We’ll also keep in mind its connection to all
we’ve learned about what black women want in a
man.  So brothers, you can pick up something too.

Not that it’ll be easy.  The supply keeps dwindling,
even as we write.  On top of that, it sometimes
seems that everybody – and I mean everybody –
wants a piece of the black man, if not a black man
working.  He’s on everybody’s most wanted list.

One of the reasons, in fact, that the supply keeps
dwindling is because the white woman keeps raiding
the barn.  Their man shortage isn’t as great as
ours, especially at the top – and only about one or
two percent would ever marry a black man – but the
white woman outnumbers us ten to one.  So when
two percent of them comes over for “the big rip-
off,” that’s one-fifth of the brothers gone.

The white woman wants the
cream of the crop.  
So, since she’s twice as likely to be a college
graduate as the black male is, she puts a bigger
hurting on the already limited and dwindling black
male supply – especially at the top.  In fact she’ll
want a college brother even when she didn’t get out
of the 8th grade herself, figures show.

But leaving the white woman aside (just for the
moment). It’s now being said in some circles that
the white man also wants a piece of the black man.  
Sisters, who deserve a piece of the brother, cling to
the quest for their share of any remainders – and
sometimes finds she’s left with only a piece, if that
– and a piece of a black man, as in a piece of a car,
is likely to be something broken down an sometimes
whipped down also.

Problem is, sisters no longer want to settle fr a
piece of a broken down brother.  They want a brand
new dream.  After a while you get tired of patching
up old transmissions, brakes and batteries.  One
thing breaks down, here comes another, something
else is wrong.  That’s why when we come home in
the evening, before we speak, especially if the
brother is grinning or trying to do something nice,
we say “What’s wrong now?  What’d you do this

What does the black woman want from the black
man?  Maybe too much.  But, the bottom line is we
want a brother with a job of his own.  It’s not that
we’re all that mercenary, though it may seem that
way.  You have to understand that a brother with a
job is more likely to be emotionally stable, at least
enough to hold it, have a better looking supply of
clothes, a minimum of intelligence, over all savvy –
commitment and general socialization.  Not
somebody we’re going to have to raise all over –
and get accused of being domineering or
“matriarchal” or “castrating” to boot – before we
can have a satisfactory love relation with someone
we can call our own.  Besides, you don’t have to
have a job to be considered a woman in this
society, but you have to be employed to be
considered a man.

So, hold your horses, we’re putting every brother
on notice, from this day forward, what we want is a
BMW (a Black Man Working).  We can handle the

The white woman may want a whole lot more.  They
scope for a high profile brother, or at least a
brother with a high profile job, a position, maybe a
corporate executive with his own expense account,
trips to Africa, Europe and all the perks.  I’ve heard
of white women who don’t even want to take trips
with a brother unless he’s the U.S. Ambassador to
wherever they’re going.  And she expects the royal
treatment long before she boards the boat.

So far as she’s concerned, there’s always the star-
level entertainer, the big time athlete.  They want
the high life of the all pro ball player, O.J. Simpson
style, and the tragedy and mystery of double
murder isn’t likely to change that.  In fact, a recent
poll showed that three out of four women would still
date him.  Long before the trial, two-thirds of the
white public already pegged O.J. as guilty.  Funny
thing, you rarely see a white athlete at the top of
his game walking down the street  (or aisle) with a
black woman.  Wonder why?

Brothers, listen, I know all of you aren’t guilty, but
you’re going to have to teach your rainbow
brethren that their mothers were black.  They were
born black, and chances are they will die black.

Can you imagine, leaving all his melanin enriched
sisters?  I mean, brothers fresh out of the projects,
where they learned their basketball moves, the
dunk, which  got them out of the slow-learners
classes and, barely out of college, but suddenly
have the nerve to stand up and say before the
whole white world that they’ve out-grown black
women.  With Wilt Chamberlain,  Reggie Jackson, O.
J. Simpson, and Brent Staples, to name a few.  Not
just athletes, this thing includes the movie idols and
the entertainer.  Where do we begin if we wanted to
name them?  Then, as soon as they get in trouble
with the white folks, they come running to black
people and Minister Farrakhan.  Michael Jackson,
who got clobbered for pouring affections on a white
boy, not caring to give his tremendous generosity
of gifts and the advantages of multi-thousand dollar
toys to black boys and girls, even had the nerve to
pick a white woman, jump heterocentric and get
married.  Low and behold, there she is, Elvis Presley’
s daughter.  Her father stole our music (remember
Big Mabel Thornton) and the daughter steals the

Being closer to the corporate ways (even if often at
the bottom rung), we still get a chance to learn and
take the best from everybody, as when we had to
scuffle between keeping up our slave quarters and
the master’s mansion on the plantation,  we know
the ways of the corporation. We know how to go
after what we want in the white mainstream.  We
can plan our own promotions  -- and get them if we
have a chance – even without sleeping with the
boss on a par with the white woman, even without
bending  over or folding up like too many brothers
do.  We can plan our budgets. We can plan our
budgets, pinch off and feed our children from a little
or nothing in our bra, or wherever.  But, sisters,
you have to start to learn that the same kind of
energy, the same hawkeyed attention, has to be
brought into our repertoire when we’re looking to
find and keep a good black man (our unsuspecting

Why are we reluctant to set clear goals in the arena
of life the way we do in the pursuit of material
objects and acquisitions?  It probably goes back to
some kind of thinking that “marriages are made in
Heaven,” so we think it’s wrong to set a blueprint
on the brother who could be our natural (or
supernatural) partner.  Maybe we don’t want to
think of our chosen oe as any kind of targeted

That’s why I just had to do this book.  At the Black
Think Tank, we’ve studied and talked with every
kind of man that’s still out there.  If you want an
Afrocentric nationalist, we’ve got a good case
study. If you prefer a Eurocentric  assimilationist  (a
“coconut”)  we have an enormous laboratory of
subjects.  If you desire the polygamous brother,
read on and find out how to coexist in his harem
(my husband says “hare-em.” But he knows not to
look, let alone to touch.

Maybe you always wanted a Mr. T or a Minister
Khalid.  If so, these pages hold the secret o winning
a baldheaded brother’s heart.  If your older man
doesn’t have the energy to keep you up or keep up
with you, socially or/and sexually, maybe you
should slow down before you look for the younger
brother.  But if you should find yourself still kicking
it with a younger man, through no fault of your
own, by hook or by crook, relax, it’s all right, no
problem.  If you want a younger man, I say train
what you want.

Speaking of youth, let me say a special word to my
college sisterfriends.  When I visit campuses around
the country lecturing on Black Male/Female
Relationships and The Black Family.  I can see the
stress, the distress, as well as the mistress (and
mistresses) registered all over your innocent  
faces.  One sophomore at the University of Michigan’
s Ann Arbor campus confessed to me that she had
arrived at a reluctant conclusion.  When I asked her
what it was, she said that the brothers with the
scholarships playing ball actually think that a white
woman goes with the scholarship.  I said “you don’t
mean it,” but I had to admit that it sometimes
seems to be the case.

Still no need to dash your hopes.  When you finish
reading this handbook, you’ll know how to select
and groom your own private MVP (Most Valuable
Player), if you know what I mean.

Even if your thing is for the history—minded
brother and you hope somehow to reincarnate your
own, you might learn how to make it work.  Maybe it’
s not as hard as staying with a contemporary
Carter G. Woodson, a high tech Booker T.
Washington (the brother who wants to go into
business for himself, who preaches self help but  
settles with helping himself to what you have).  But
if you find yourself in love with one of these “self-
starters,” there’s a section on why you should keep
your job while the enterprise is getting off the
ground and how to hold your sisterfriends at bay
once his business starts to bloom.

You’ll learn how to watch Girlfriend closely, very
carefully.  Don’t let her fool you, with such friendly
rhetoric as:  “Child, I wouldn’t take this, I wouldn’t
take that. “ because when you begin to restrict
yourself to a man with a J.O.N. (though he may not
treat you with the same respect and tender loving
care as the less marketable self starter), the very
girlfriend admonishing you most to leave the man
you’re with will have her slippers on your side f the
bed before you can sign another lease.

If you’re working in a corporation, I know you’re
running into many brothers who claim (at least
when they’re in compromising positions) that they
want a successful black woman.  They’ll even tell
you they like a woman who’s strong and
independent,  irregardless  of success.  Okay, but
careful, don’t you be no fool.  Wonder why so many
successful sisters are without successful black men
who can operate on an even keel in a romantic
relationship?  We’ll get to the bottom of that.

On the other hand, get ready to meet and greet the
black man, if you haven’t already, who will boast
that he wants his woman to be able to pass the
“paper bag and blow test” (lighter than a paper bag,
with blow hair).  What do you do if you can’t meet
the paper bag and blow test, at least not quite?

How do you handle the brother, clearly moving on in
age if not in consciousness of kind, who constantly
seeks a woman young enough to be his daughter
instead of you.  First thing you know, he could be
backing right into the arms of your daughter.  You
could wind up sharing your bed and STD (socially
transmitted disease) with your daughter’s boy
friend, if you aren’t hip.

I’ll dissect among other things, the brother who
thinks that  Mother’s Day is the first of every
month.  A lot of sisters mistakenly think this type of
brother comes under the exclusive domain of the
welfare woman.  They have a lot to learn.  Better
watch your paycheck, Miss School Teacher, Ms Sales
Rep., Ms. Middle manager, Ms. Other Woman (and
some Mrs. Other Women)  married sisters following  
the a la carte approach to “man-sharing” proposed
several years ago by Howard University counselor
Audrey Chapman.  Better get hipped to the
“Sweetheart Swindle,”  so you can recognize it when
it comes your way.  Otherwise, the next Sweetheart
Swindle victim could be you.

So read on young lady, and be ready for the
brother who approaches you with visions of
polygamy or pseudo-polygamy which he proposes
to practice on you. Or, when you man suddenly
decides polygamy could be the answer to your
prayers and his – as soon as you catch him with his
pants down, he wiggles out of the situation telling
you, “this is the key to what the black race needs.”
If you’re getting tired of brothers who continue to
cling to the blonde hair syndrome – because
“women are women, love is love, sex is sex” – yet
take  special pains to avoid being seen with anybody
that looks like their own black mother, we need to

Have you heard about all of the sisters who are
tired and worried about the snowballing cases of
brothers who are “bi-sexual,” or openly gay?  
Worse, it appears their marriage rate is soaring on
the backs of desperate sisters given to denial.  
These brothers will hide in the closet flexing pump
iron muscles with their hooks in you (their social
cover) then leave you and three kids in the crib for
their new male crush.

How to Find and Keep a BMW can be a veritable
flashlight for finding your way around in the tricky
dimness of the black male shortage.  It can be your
secret weapon, but let’s keep it the black woman’s
secret.  There are people who, when they see you
with a good thing, will want to steal it or take it
away.  It’s okay to discuss it at a private party, but
you might hesitate to take it to the office to be
shared with “the girls” because as soon as 10.000
others discover the existence of your gold mine,
somebody is liable to get there before you.

Without airing all our secrets, or yours, come with
me to all the hidden places as we scale the depths
and heights of the dwindling supply of marriageable
(and marrying) brothers.  Let’s learn more of the
art of deterring what, if anything, a given black man
has to offer a serious –mined black woman like
you.  We’ll base a lot our insights on what we’ve
learned about what it is that black women want
from a man.  That way, brothers, you can pick up
something too.
Chapter 2
Return to the top for
Sexual and Political
on the other side of this page.
The Politics of Black Skin and Hair
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