“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
In last week’s column, “Black Women Scapegoat Everyday Brothas To Assuage Failures In Their Love Lives” your correspondent discussed the wildly popular book, “Is Marriage For Black People?” by Stanford Law Prof. Ralph Richard Banks; I made the case as to how and why Banks was so woefully wrong in his assessments, as well as his approach, to the seemingly never-ending “conversation” obtaining on “Black Love(TM)”. Of particular note was my unearthing key details about one of the “stars” of Banks’ book – “Cecilia”, aka Carolyn Edgar – that calls into serious question the notion that the reason why she and so many Black women in our time today have so much trouble out on the open mating market, due to there being a dearth of desirable brothas. I showed and proved, using Edgar’s own words, that her problems may had more to do with the nearest mirror, than large, amorphous (and largely inaccurate!) “narratives” regarding Black men in toto:
“It’s become fashionable for women in general and Black women in particular to scapegoat their problems in life onto Black men who least have a voice in the mainstream media and its counterparts in blackface – take the “street harassment” debacle, for example. Something else that Edgar is known to holler about. Have you ever noticed that the loudest voices in the room in that regard tend to come closer to Edgar in appearance than say, Kim Kardashian or Amber Rose? That’s not by accident, folks. Again, to quote Leykis, the harsh truth of life is that “water seeks its own level”. These women are livid that their educations, incomes and the like doesn’t insulate them from the men who are truly on their level – nor does it catapult them into a higher bracket of men in the mating market. Of course, the obvious answer to their quandary is to invest their considerable disposable incomes into making themselves as conventionally attractive as humanly possible so as to make themselves more competitive on the open mating market – but even admitting such a thing challenges their delusions, removes the blame for their lives off others and places it squarely on themselves.
Edgar didn’t “settle for less” in a mate when she married “Daryl”; she got the man she deserved, with what she could negotiate for out on the open mating market.”
Today, I want to zero-in on what I argue is a key factor in how and why things are the way they are in this “conversation” on “Black Love” – a factor that, to date, no one else has actually identified and examined: the role of “respectable brothas”, how they enable the delusions (read: fuckery) of Black women like Edgar (of which there are literally millions!) and perhaps most importantly, how said “respectable brothas” are so quick to throw “everyday brothas” (like yours truly) under the bus.
Let’s dive right in.
What, do I mean, when I say “respectable brothas”? I mean the kinds of Black men Edgar rubbed shoulders with during her time at Harvard Law School: highly formally educated and credentialed, white-collar professional Black men, who often also tend to be conspicuously handsome – like the aforementioned Hill Harper, for instance. These are the “dreamboat” brothas that Black women like Edgar literally dream about, as she noted in her piece “The Grooming” (and which I copiously quoted in my last column). Black men like Harper, Obama and Banks, know and understand that to get along in their world, i.e., the white collar world of Big Law, Academia, Politics, Entertainment and the like, they have to “play the game” – say all the right things, never be an “asshole”, and so on. Because the white collar professions at at just about every level is permeated with women in general and for purposes of today’s discussion Black women in particular, Black men like the aforementioned understand very well that if they want to be successful in their chosen fields, it makes good sense to be very nice to Black women like Edgar – at the very least, not to get on their bad sides.
This is hugely important, because if Harper, Banks or Obama were to actually tell Edgar the things I noted in my previous article, she and Black women like her, could make life very, very difficult for them. To wit: Satoshi Kanazawaa, someone Edgar has been keen to single out for her harsh critiques. In case you missed it, Kanazawaa, an evolutionary psychologist at the prestigious London School of Economics, suggested in a Psychology Today article that perhaps the reason why Black women had such a difficult time out on the open mating market owed more to their looks and less to notions of “racism” and the like. His mere suggestions and opinions got the ire of the Black Borg Female Hivemind, who rallied themselves into “formation” in a matter of a week to have Kanazawaa ousted from his perch at PT and nearly fired from LSE. Black women like Edgar – who are social media savvy, smart, have considerable degrees of discretionary income and have a goodly amount of leisure time on their hands – can make themselves enough of a nuisance to, again, make life very difficult for Black men like Banks, Harper and Obama. Simply put, these Black men know not to “go hard in the paint” with the Sistahood – the truth, be damned.
That brings us to the second point about the “respectable brothas”: they often scapegoat everyday brothas by blaming them for phenomena and outcomes that, upon closer inspection, they have either a tangential or minimal role. Edgar’s situation is a case in point: her problem was that her appearance wasn’t amenable to what the dreamboat Black men wanted in a mate and therefore she had to lower her standards for a Black man who matched her in pure assortative mating terms – lesser attractive women as a rule, don’t tend to get the elite men. They have to settle for men who are less educated, less accomplished and of course, have less money. Even if said men are handsome – not at all unusual in Black America, I might add – he will often lack the social status and resources with which to vie for the better off Black women (read: those who are hot). Therefore, he must settle for less than he would like in a Black woman as a mate – and many of them do.
These two factors – the tendency to enable the delusions/fuckery of Black women like Edgar and the tendency to throw everyday brothas under the bus, accounts mightily for the very kinds of conversations, statements, positions and writings of respectable brothas like Banks, Harper and Obama. They know they cannot tell Black women like Edgar the truth about their lovelorn experiences and they also know that everyday brothas don’t have the soapbox, dais and bully pulpit with which to have their voices heard (until very recently). So, they’re able to engage in a goodly bit of fuckery of their own, with little in the way of “blowback”, because “Black Men Ain’t Shit(TM)” is a very safe target. Telling Black women about themselves and their delusions, on the other hand, can prove quite costly – figuratively and literally.
Just ask Satoshi Kanazawaa.
This brings me back to Banks proper, because in my role as a citizen journalist specializing in (Black) men’s issues, podcaster and talk radio show host, I have repeatedly tried to reach out to Banks for an interview to discuss his book. In fact, I’ve reached out to him no less than ten times over the past year or so(!) – to no avail. I got no response at all – and while I’m slow to adopt “conspiracy theory thinking”, I have to admit, that I think his “no response” isn’t by accident.
I’ve had very similar experiences with other respectable brothas who also weigh in on “Black Love” issues – at best, I’m able to have a quick conversation with them on the quiet, where they will let slip the real deal. I’ve even had a few, who happen to work in what I’ve referred to as the Black Relationship Expert Industrial Complex, straight up confess to me that my arguments, observations and points were highly valid, but they simply couldn’t broach any of that with their client base, which is largely if not solely made up of Black women like Edgar, for if they did they would experience the same or similar kinds of “blowback” that Kanazawaa got.
If not worse.
This means that we as a people, cannot have an honest conversation guided by intellectual honesty and simple commonsense – because there are too many monied interests involved, coupled with no “Black faces in high places” who give a damn about everyday brothas – and so the beat goes on.
I consider respectable brothas like Banks to be worse then a Benedict Arnold, precisely for the reasons I’ve noted in today’s column. And until more everyday brothas like me take to whatever social media platforms we can get our hands on to raise our voices in response, the Banks’ of the world will continue to, well, make bank, off a bunch of lies.