No matter what point of view we all take on the state of Black relationships, we can all agree that there some serious, ugly issues. In fact, the depth of the dysfunction that has come to plague the Black family structure is sick enough to make you wonder if we should declare an indefinite moratorium on all reproductive activities.
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This saddens me, for we can look right to the prison industrial complex, broken educational systems and economic disparities as root causes of the sickness that has come to kill our ability to love one another. Added to these systematic obstacles, we can throw on a layer of Hip-Hop music that teaches us that all women are “b*tches and hoes,” and that the size of a man’s wallet trumps his character in making him the right baby daddy for you.
What is most interesting about this depressing state of affairs is that we are now leaning on comedians like Steve Harvey to give us relationship advice. Getting relationship advice from a comedian is the perfect way to guarantee that your relationship will turn into a complete joke. Not to discredit Steve Harvey, but the whole idea of women learning to “think like a man” is both frightening and sorely misguided.
I’ve never, in my life, ever wanted to date a woman who thinks like a man. To be honest, that would actually scare me.
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This is not to generalize, for there are quite a few men who approach relationships with a mature thought process wired to seek out true love. But unfortunately, commercialized Hip-Hop has taught us that a real man wants to be the perpetual sperm donor, the “peeyamp,” the serial cheater and the “playa playa” with vagina juice falling out of his back pocket. He measures himself on the number of sexual conquests on his resume and how many “hoes” he’s got in his rolodex, for sex has become a game in which the emotional well-being of others simply becomes collateral damage.
It saddens me that any woman would ever want to replicate this line of thinking.
How about we write another book called “Act like a lady, think like a woman?” A real woman is not someone who tries to emulate the behavior and thinking of the lowest common denominator. She is not one who juggles men around like a circus bear on a unicycle. She is not someone with a pile of sexual conquests (and subsequent STDs) on her resume. She is someone who commands respect in her relationships, seeks out meaningful love, chooses the right partner, and consistently works to be the best partner she can be.
The bottom line is that “thinking like a man” has been, unfortunately, a way to fight fire with fire in the on-going battle of the sexes taking place in the Black community. Thinking like a man may help you win the war, but love does not emerge out of war. So, for anyone who wishes to build lasting, meaningful relationships with the opposite sex, you may want to consider reading books by trained relationship experts who can help you to overcome your own issues, identify the issues in others and build relationships that last.
To be quite frank, “thinking like a man” is what led to the problems we have in the first place. Steve Harvey books are written for people who spend their lives seeking something that they usually never find. In fact, I dare to say that most of my friends in healthy happy relationships don’t read Steve Harvey books at all. This is not meant to undermine the book or the film, for I am sure Black people will show up in droves. But instead, it is hopefully a sobering reminder that following the latest fad isn’t usually the best way to achieve your personal objectives.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.
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