“If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. “
John F. Kennedy
Diversity is one of the hot topics of the day. Everyone, at least it would seem, wants more representation. There’s a cry for more “strong” female leading roles in movies across all genres. There is a cry for more and better representation of the LBGTQ community in all forms of media.
This desire for diversity isn’t just limited to entertainment such as television, movies, etc. It has been extended into other areas as well. Take politics for example. There are more openly gay members holding public office than ever before.
What has been seen as attractive in terms of female beauty is attempted to be changed, or at least expanded. Women of all shapes and sizes are all being prominently displayed in ways, and by entities such as Victoria’s Secret, that was thought unthinkable and unconscionable not all that long ago.
Take dating as another example. We as men are asked to consider all women beautiful and to consider dating single mothers. Dark skinned sisters have petitioned for brothers to include them in their dating choices. Overweight women have asked to have their inner beauty seen and their outward appearance ignored or otherwise overlooked when it comes to mate selection.
These are only a few examples, and there are plenty more that I could name, but I think these are enough to drive the point home that I’m trying to make. That point is simply that diversity seems to be the order of the day. Among all this talk of diversity, there seems to be one thing that is never allowed to be diversified; and that is the black man.
Black men almost always are painted with a wide brush. There seems to be a checklist or prototype of what being a black male is or can be. Any deviation from that results in shaming, shunning, or otherwise a loss, if you will, of your black male card.
For example as black men you are expected to be a certain way. Take someone like Donovan Sharpe for example. He wrote an excellent article, The Advantages of “Talkin’ Like A White Boy” in which he details how and brothers like him are often looked at differently for the way they speak. This is a perfect example of my previous point. Because he and brothers like him “talk like a white boy” aka deviate from the accepted black male rulebook, they are often shunned or shamed. This shunning and shaming isn’t limited to women either. Brothers are some of the biggest offenders when it comes to this. It’s sad, but true and something that we need to stop.
Let’s look at how the lack of black male diversity affects another area, dating. As I said previously, women, especially sisters are asking men in general, but brothers in particular to diversify our matting choices. We’ve all heard the tried and true complaints. We all want “Becky with the good hair,” or we all want the light skinned or racially ambiguous video girl or that we all want the girls with the fake ass and fake breasts. We all chase the strippers and hood rats at the expense of the good girls. These are all things that I’m sure we’ve all heard before, and to be fair, there is some modicum of truth these assertions. Fair enough.
Now, let me ask this. What is considered attractive to these very same sisters? Because if a brother “talks like a white boy” he’s is usually considered non select at best, and lame at worse by a good group of sisters. If a brother has interests that lie outside of the accepted realm of black maleness, he’s considered lame by sisters. They often lament the fact that every brother seems to want to be a rapper, an athlete, or a dope boy. Why? Because behavior is driven by incentive, just as necessity drives innovation and invention. So, if those are the brothers that consistently chosen, and just chosen, but chosen by the best or most desirable women; it’s inevitable that more and more will emulate this behavior.
Brothers, we need to get in on this diversity. Every other group of people are clamoring to be diversified, and at least to some degree are succeeding. It’s time for us to demand diversity and not just in terms of entertainment, politics, but within our own community. We need to make it ok for brothers that “talk like boys” aka brothers that use proper grammar, to be accepted. We need to make it ok to be longshoremen, mechanics, plumbers, and other brothers who make their living as blue collars professions to be seen as acceptable mates to sisters. We need to make so brothers who may not be college educated, but who are nonetheless smart, decent, and hardworking find themselves as viable dating options for sisters. These are only a few suggestions. I’m sure that there are plenty of other good ones as well. The point is that we have a great opportunity. Let’s use it.