A good Black man?

Can someone tell me the difference between a Black man and a “good” Black man? After seeing two articles this past week talk about the plight of Black men in the New York Times and how marriage is for White people in the Washington Post, that phrase is rearing its ugly head again.

Let me begin by saying that for this post, the phrase “good Black man” will be limited to love interests of Black women. Which makes me wonder, why don’t we hear the phrase, I want “a good Black woman?” That doesn’t sound right does it? I digress, but if you are Black man/woman, I would venture to say that your answer to my original question would allude to some socioeconomic factor in some way or form.

And this is what I hate the most. You got people who are 25, who are 2 or 3 years removed from undergrad that are appalled at the idea of seriously dating/marrying a person who also does not have at least an undergraduate degree. What happened in two years that you are so all that that you couldn’t see yourself dating someone who doesn’t have a B.A.? The same goes for salaries and the list goes on. Now I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have any standards but it seems that being with a person who makes you happy is an afterthought after we sift through religion, family, age, education, income, FUTURE POTENTIAL, friends, geography, etc. You get my point.

I believe there is someone out there for everybody but the problem I see in the Black community is that too many of us are either trying to marry a clone of ourselves or we get so caught up in the idea of a “good” Black woman/man that we don’t act like ourselves when we come across one, however defined.

We have to stop buying into the notion of a good Black man because it makes the brothers who are think they are successful more arrogant and it makes the sisters feel like, “What’s the fuss?” And then you have sisters crossing over to date other races or feeling a sense of hopelessness such that they will never find a “good” Black man. Ladies, let me tell you this, the brother out there who is looking for you right now may not be a “good” Black man, but if he is good for you, THEN WHO CARES!!! Fellas, we have a host of other issues but I will get to you later. But seriously fam, the constant filtering of love via status and self is killing our future families.

In closing I will repeat my question; what is the difference between a Black man and a good Black man?

Stay up fam,
Brandon

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11 responses to “A good Black man?”

  1. Dayna C. says :

    B.

    Thank you for bringing this up! Here’s my take on it. I choose not to subscribe to the idea of good/bad Black men. There are men that I prefer and don’t, just b/c there are men w/ qualities that fall outside of my preference that does not make them bad. I think there has become a problem of labeling many of our men bad, which makes so few seemingly good. I constantly hear my female peers reflecting on the state of Black relationships and making the claim “There are no good Black men.” That begs the question “What is your reality?” You will continue to see what it is you believe, in other words if you make the claim that there is a lack of good men then there will be a lack. My other question to my sisters is “What’s really important?” Is it money, clothes, car, resume, or social status? You will never get screwed over if you ask for and focus on the fundamentals. What I mean by that is, we need to ask for what are the most important aspects of how a person will interact with us. Instead of ‘How much money does he make?’ we should be asking ‘How does he want to impact the world?’. Instead of ‘How many affluent people does he socialize with?’ we should be asking ‘How does he treat his momma?’. What’s important are his morals, values, respect, honesty, devotion, ambition, self-love, love for his people, patience, and confidence, to name a few. ;) Are we focusing on the person or the things? And if it’s the things then do we really value ourselves? If it is not important how a person treats me, themselves, and the world around them but their money, social status, car, etc. are important then it’s time to stop blaming it on a lack of ‘good’ Black men, because I don’t value myself enough to even know what ‘good’ is.

    It is important to ask for what you want and to not settle, but in terms of who a person is and not what a person does/has. I’d rather have a trashman that treats me like a queen, then a king that treats me like trash. But more than either of those I’d rather have a king that treats me like a queen, and I’m not required to settle. But my definition of a king has nothing to do with the amount of money he makes, it has to do with his ability to promote change and lead and be a servant to Black people. So it’s time to reconsider what makes a ‘good’ Black man good.

    I love Black men; I know I’m not alone. Brothers know that you are loved. You are not ‘good’, nor are you ‘bad’. There is/will be someone who appreciates you as you are now, don’t lose faith.

    Dayna C.

  2. ms mimi the mocha soulchild says :

    Well…

    I have always been one of those die hard, I support a brotha that is trying to do well from himself, dutch paying, have my own thangs kind of woman.

    This extends to education. I have maintained that we should not become cultural snobs because we earn a diploma, because a degree doesn’t mean that a man or woman is qualified to be relationship material.

    However—
    But the older I get, I realized several things about life

    1.) You shouldn’t ask for more than you can offer.

    2.) It is alright for a man to have less education ONLY if he doesn’t have a problem with you having more.

    3.) The “S” factor counts. (As in stability.) As we start moving from the early twenties to the late twenties and early thirties, you do want to find somebody who at least is thinking about, you know, having a health plan.

    4.) As much as I would like to believe otherwise, and wish it were otherwise, most men still feel like the biggest contribution they make to a relationship is as a provider. I’d rather have somebody who co-contributes and is a companion, but hey, if y’all figure that out let me know and I’ll patent the dang thing.

    5.) In a relationship the four “c’s” and one “s” mean the most.

    You gotta have communication, commitment, things in common,
    cain’t be crazy, and you have to have spirituality. God needs to come first.

    http://worthwatering.blogspot.com/

  3. Dancewithme2 says :

    Ahhh. I’m reading “A Poverty of Mind” right now. I agree with Mimi’s opening point – I am also a die-hard fan of black men. There are many societal reasons that make it harder for black men to be successful. With that said – there are many successful black men – despite the fact that society has no desire to help them become that way. Is that an excuse? No. Black men, however, are not exempt from being human. Being human should allow for mistakes and/or bad behavior. The level of someone’s “goodness” or “badness” should not be measured in connection with their race. There are men that I would not trust or want to marry, etc in every racial category imaginable. Men are men -and women are women. There are questionable women out there. Being black and female makes us a little invisible to society so we are rarely study worthy (another blog entirely).

    Patterson’s article incorporates the idea that culture has a lot to do with the failure of black male youth. Let me be the first to acknowledge that while I support black men – I realize that there is a huge disparity between the measured “success” of black men and men of other races especially white men. Patterson recommends that we study black males better now that we know that culture is a major reason for this disparity. While he uses “hip hop” as a major culprit more than once – I understand his point that it is not “cool” for males to be educated in the black community. Why is that?

    Back to your question – here is my answer. I do not measure the “goodness” of a man by how much education he has or by the amount of money that he makes. The most important factor – is his relationship with GOD. Ironically – the more education we get – the less we think that we need GOD. Next – how he was raised is very important. I was raised to value family, friendship, the arts, stopping to smell the roses, travel, and acceptance of cultures other than my own. Some might argue that certain social classes of people can afford the time and money to indulge in the arts and travel. Lastly – it is about how a man treats me. If he sees me as his equal, does not talk down to me, but still sees the beauty of “woman-ness” in me and feels the need to protect me and be chivalrous – that’s what I want. Lastly – must love dogs and want children. If a man with less education and a lower paying job fits this criteria (with room for additions and subtractions in some areas because I’m willing to compromise a little) – then so be it. My experience, however, is that men are not comfortable with a woman who has more education, makes more money, or has a higher social status than themselves. In fact, they try to hold on to the control of power and dominate the relationship because they feel that they lack control in other areas.
    ~Dance

  4. t.HYPE says :

    Brandon,

    What is THIS?!? The brother out there who is looking for you right now may not be a “good” Black man, but if he is good for you, THEN WHO CARES!!!

    I found the op-ed you mentioned in the Washington Post and I TOTALLY AGREE with the author. Sure, we all want a man with beauty and riches but realistically, I’m looking for a man who fits into my lifestyle a.k.a. I’m willing to make some minor changes, but I am too grown to be reconstructing my life! Word of advice – Ladies, get married while you’re too young to be stable or stuck in your ways.

    Here’s what the author of
    ‘>“Marriage is for White People”
    had to say:
    In other words, for the circumspect black woman, marriage may not be a business deal that offers sufficient return on investment. In the past, marriage was primarily just such a business deal… But now instead of access only to low-paying jobs, we [women] can earn a breadwinner’s wage, which has changed what we want in a husband. “Women’s expectations have changed dramatically while men’s have not changed much at all,”

    As I reviewed the situation, I realized that all the things I expected marriage to confer — male companionship, close family ties, a house — I already had, or were within reach, and with exponentially less drama.I can do bad by myself, I used to say as I exited a relationship. But the truth is, I can do pretty good by myself, too.

    Most single black women…would not mind getting married, but acknowledge that the kind of man and the quality of marriage they would like to have may not be likely, and they are not desperate enough to simply accept any situation just to have a man.

    He doesn’t even have to be black but he has got to come correct! My mom would be so happy if I married a black man though…

  5. Tone says :

    Brandon,

    I see what you’re saying in this post, but I kind of don’t agree (or kind of do agree depending on how you look at it). Correct me if I’m wrong, as I see it you’re basically saying that since people tend to include status in their definition of a good black man/woman and status is inherently superficial, that we people shouldn’t prescribe to the notion of a good black man/woman.

    I disagree because I think that there are good and bad black men/women out there (just as there are good and bad men/women of other races); folks just don’t know how to properly identify them.

    They tend to look at the elements of status and materialism as indicators of a good mate. The problem is that the elements of status and materialism don’t equate to the elements of a good mate. For peacocks, roosters, and flamingos that’s what works, but for us it doesn’t. For us, those respective qualities of a good mate and a person with status are often in direct opposition. In other words, thugs, ballers, and prettyboys would all make great mates if we were birds (oh snap, maybe that’s the problem too many women out there don’t know they aren’t birds).

    Despite the pitfalls of using status as a mate compass, it’s still important to have a concept of a good black man/woman, an ideal mate. An ideal mate denotes standards and standards in general are a good thing. They mean you know what you want in a mate. The key is to have standards that directly relate to the qualities of a good mate ie. trustworthiness, loyalty, honesty, disposition, etc.

    Status, ambition, drive, and education tend to show up more frequently in the black mate ideals, and when you think about it, it makes sense. These days black males have such an acute affliction of complacency, apathy, ignorance, and joblessness that often times having standards that relate to those qualities (or lack thereof) effectively weed out a lot of potential mates.

    This begs the question, is there a higher incidence of qualified mates (based on the proper indicators) in the lower or the higher socioeconomic levels of black males? Adjusting for entertainers, I tend to think the latter. So I won’t completely rule out an uneducated, unemployed woman as a potential mate, I just almost will. Actually having written that and looked at that last sentence, it makes me sound kind of cold, but oh well, it’s a numbers game.

    -tone

  6. Brandon Q. says :

    To answer your first question when you quoted a section from my post, I don’t think you understood why I placed good in parantheses. The problem I tried to address was that the idea of a “good” Black man has crippled the mating process in the Black community. My point is that too many women have the exact same notion of what a “good” Black man is so that when a brother comes along that doesn’t have all those traits (if you saw Something New, then you know what I’m talking about when I say IBM), the very lack of those traits serve as an anchor weighing down the love and companionship both parties are searching for. But let me quote a snippet of Dayna’s commment where she said, “I constantly hear my female peers reflecting on the state of Black relationships and making the claim “There are no good Black men.” That begs the question “What is your reality?” You will continue to see what it is you believe, in other words if you make the claim that there is a lack of good men then there will be a lack.” In other words, our reality changes when we change our perception and Black people have to start defining ourselves rather than getting all hyped up when the latest data on marriage/divorce rates are released.

    Moreover, I agree and support you that you should be willing to make some minor changes but why did you have to add you are too grown to reconstruct your life. I am not trying to minimize the serious commitment marriage requires BUT to go into marriage thinking that you are only going to make “minor changes” is silly. Isn’t deciding to have kids with someone a major reconstruction of your life? I think we tend to forget that marriage is all about compromise from both the man and the woman. So when you have married people who are concerned abuot giving up the least amount of ground, it won’t work.

    Now you quoted Joy Jones in your comment and I wanted to cite what she said prior to her talking about how marriage may not offer a sufficient return on investment;
    ”As men mature, and begin to recognize the benefits of having a roost and roots (and to feel the consequences of their risky bachelor behavior), they are more willing to marry and settle down. By this time, however, many of their female peers are satisfied with the lives they have constructed and are less likely to settle for marriage to a man who doesn’t bring much to the table. Indeed, he may bring too much to the table: children and their mothers from previous relationships, limited earning power, and the fallout from years of drug use, poor health care, sexual promiscuity. In other words, for the circumspect black woman, marriage may not be a business deal that offers sufficient return on investment.”
    Now if you read carefully, just pay attention to the negative terminology she uses; either brothers are not bringing enough to the table or what they are bringing is drug use, limited earning power, children, etc. To be clear, I am not trying to excuse brothers who made bad decisions but when your “either or” is that negative, then of course you are going to have some problems meeting brothers you are compatible with.

    Moreover, the part that really disturbed me was when Joy quoted Alice Dunbar-Nelson (a black feminist) who said, “Why should well-salaried women marry?” Joy went on to say that “instead of access only to low-paying jobs, we can earn a breadwinner’s wage, which has changed what we want in a husband.” Excuse me but what the hell!!! So if a woman makes good money, she doesn’t want/need to marry? Have you heard Jill Scott’s “I need you?” And I’m sorry, but what a well-salaried woman wants in her husband is not different from what a low-salaried woman wants in a husband. We need more womanism not feminism, but I will save that for another post.

    In closing, Joy said in her piece, “Most single black women…would not mind getting married, but acknowledge that the kind of man and the quality of marriage they would like to have may not be likely, and they are not desperate enough to simply accept any situation just to have a man.”
    Again, if you assume you are going to have a bad day, chances are you going to have a bad day. The same thing goes for the dating/marriage practices between Black people. We need to change our assumptions and change our perceptions and define our own reality.

    And Tone, I agree with you and I stated in my original post that people should have standards BUT when they are steeped in materialistic terms, it becomes too easy to pass up a good thing.
    With regards to your question of qualified mates, how are you defining qualified? Because if you are using qualified as the stereotypical “good” Black man (“good” job, house, car, etc.) and this brother does come along but beats on you, then is he really a “good” Black man? And if a Black woman hooked up with this dude with someone who had an OK job but treated her like a queen, I would consider that dude “right” for her.

    And that’s my whole point, a “good” Black man may not be a good fit for you.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been so hyped over comments. Thank you for the insights.

    Stay up fam,
    Brandon

  7. sonya says :

    I think a ‘good’ black man is one who makes his woman happy. Spirituality – of course. Job – a must. Educated – enough to hold a good conversation. But someone who makes me smile at the end of my day when I think about coming home to him – that pretty much does it for me….

  8. ms mimi the mocha soulchild says :

    Brandon writes,” And if a Black woman hooked up with this dude with someone who had an OK job but treated her like a queen, I would consider that dude “right” for her.

    And that’s my whole point, a “good” Black man may not be a good fit for you.”

    Brandon, thanks for the food for thought. I agree with your premise that we should not use materialistic ideals to judge potential mates. I think that we need to stay away from absolutes.

    I tend to think, for instance, your example about the black man with a good job, house and a car who beats his mate is the extreme, because abuse knows no class boundaries.

    And while I don’t think the dollar sign rules, I think that BOTH men and women have a responsibility to provide some economic stability if they intend to bring children in the world. When you’re childless and carefree you can be more flexible with career choices. But when you have to be reponsible for another person I don’t think it makes you materialistic to want to hook up with somebody who can contribute. Women are more sensitive to this because historically we bear the weight of raising children regardless of if the father is involved or not. (But that is another topic entirely!)

    Long lasting unions and jobs are not sure things for people who start out with them, but imagine the chances without them.

    I’m not talking about eliminating a man because he does not have investments, the newest jag, a yacht, and a summer home in Spain. I’m talking about if you and your mate cannot make enough starting out to feed yourselves, then it is your social responsibility to wait to bring kids into it, (present broke company included…;)

    When it all comes down to it, class and economic status, just like race affect our relationships, but at the end of the day, there is a man and a woman, and choices.

    Each of us have to decide what we value, and what those values say about us.

  9. t.HYPE says :

    Brandon,
    You know you still my boy right?

    That said, I’m voting for ms. mimi on this one and I quote, “Women are more sensitive to this because historically we bear the weight of raising children regardless of if the father is involved or not.” That’s just the way it is.

    I was having a meal with a group of friends a few days ago and was awestruck at how the brothas at the table in all seriousness stated that they expected a woman they were dating to break out her wallet and pay after the first few dates. Not offer to pay but to pay for the meal or activity. I’m like, Are you planning on having children with this woman? Am I the only person that recognizes that pregnancy is a part-time job in an of itself which can become a full-time job if complications ensue?! Now for the one man at the table who was past the childbearing stage of his life, I can let that slide but again, back to the business transaction analogy, I think a brotha with that mindset is setting himself up for failure in as much as marriage is concerned.

    Alice Dunbar-Nelson’s question “Why should well-salaried women marry?” completely excludes the idea of love. I think her point was that there are many women, who would previously have married merely for economic reasons, who now having access to an independent financial security (a la Oprah), have lost about 80% of their reason to marry. Only love [or sex] could make a paid woman hook up with the lawnboy. The question is, Will they make it? Will he be able to withstand the blow to his self-image as breadwinner?

    Hey, I’m holding my line–I’m looking for a man who fits into my lifestyle. THE REASON WHY: Because we have a better chance of making our relationship last. And you’re right Brandon, having kids DOES cause a major reconstruction of one’s life. [Choosing to have children is a labor of LOVE. Having kids for any other reason is crazy if not stupid.] Still, I know from experience, that if I am not with someone who has the same goals, vision for life and calling as I do, I’m in for frustration no matter how much I enjoy his company or how much we (think we) love each other. Heck, staying married brings about frustrations of its own without added frustrations. I think I’m going to leave this one alone now but I wanted to try to clarify…

  10. Alicia says :

    I have read the article of The Plight of the Black Man and it seem to me that history have told us that the black woman are the backbone to the black man. Instead of us have a list of what we want in a good black man. What about how can we help our black men to be successful when in the white man world they have degraded our black men self esteem to a point that a successful black women don’t want them because they are below there standard. I am disappointed in my sisters that have created a list that my brothers cannot match up too. In my life I have try to educated both my sisters and brothers on relationship and I continue to get the same questions

    Asked by men – How do you keep your married together?
    Asked by women – How do you find a good man?

    The reason they asks me these question is because I have been married 25 years to one man and have 3 children (24, 23, 20 and have 2 grandchildren) and they all have the same father. We both got married at the age of 18. Yes very young but we were so much in LOVE that I was addicted to him.

    We (the black woman) can make any man meaning helping a brother, cousin, uncle etc. to a point to make them strong or to direct them to program that can assist to there success. There a jobs that in need of people like a plumber and many more. I hear is this is what I want.

    My best friend is single and has a son. Went on a blind date with a young black man whom was muslin and at the end of the date she call me up and told me she had a great time and he was muslin. To her that did not work, also he had a job but not a car, OOOHH YEAH he just brought a brand new house.
    That really pisses me off. I went off on her and basically told her who she to judge him. Everybody AIN’T perfect.

    My husband quote:

    Women are the leaders in all relationships (business, marriage etc.) If black women would stop trying to think a white horse and chariot will show up on there steps, I think the illusion of fantasy will fade. Let me give you an example. My wife and I were good friends, then best friends, then married, then partners and now business associates. Why, because we had a relationship that started with commonality and not physical attributes or the illusion of a future fairy tale together. Yes young girls are taught to do without because black men are either gay, in jail, misogynists or married to white women. Well I found that’s really not true. Women in particular go for too many superficial qualities (muscular, tall dark skinned or light skinned). But most men are made into husbands not born that way. Our black women need to continue to add value to the black man not contribute to the destruction of the black man as perpetrated by global white supremacy attitudes.

    Final word…..

    We as a people need to says what are we going to do about it….we need a solution not continuing to complain about the problem, and I haven’t even touched on the Black men issues (that another topic)…

  11. Jeremy B. says :

    I personally think when people say that they want a “good” black man or woman, they’re giving the African American race a bad name. In fact, the assumed difference between a good black man and bad one, is an assumption based soley on a salary, or material things. A black man is so much more complex than what he makes in a given year. A black women, is indeed more complex than what she does for a living.

    Yes, we understand that high-powered positions, high salaries, and nice cars aren’t “the norm” for the average African American. But don’t tell yourself that this is what separates the “good” from the “bad”.

    I think if you sincerely try, you’ll find that you can be compatable with someone that doesn’t meet such an ideal standard. To overlook the seemingly ordinary or cliche’ black man or woman, would be to pre-judge them based on your own standards. Now if you think you’re a “good” black man or woman, wouldn’t you expect the time of day from other African Americans around you? Yes, you do deserve such attention, and so does every other human being. You could be missing out on someone very special if you allow your standards and guidelines get the best of you.

    But by all means, have standards, but be flexible…optimistic to something new…and inviting.

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