The Bridge: Finding Us


By Darryl James

Sometimes the best place to look for something is the exact place that thing can be found.

Take Black men, for example, we hear Black women talking about how we are so hard to find, but we are often in the same places they are.

The more I hear Black women complain about not being able to find decent Black men, the more my heart and mind become weary, because I am committed to Black women.

I remain committed, however, the words of some of today’s Black women leave me saddened and frequently, temporarily disheartened.

Some Black women blame their singleness solely on Black men, citing that since good Black men are hard for them to find, that there are less decent single Black men that ever before in history.

This is not based on any verified data, which is always confusing to the throngs of quality single men who can not find the “abundance” of quality single women those magazines always write about.

Some Black women say that “most” Black men are in prison, that “more” Black men are gay and that the “best” Black men are married to white women, but none of that has been statistically supported.

It is sad, but there are Black men in prison.  And yes, there are Black men dying from gang violence and from drugs, but that is not “most” of the Black male population.  There are throngs of Black men who live beyond all of the things that are horribly wrong, and a great number are neither gay nor with white women.

The dicey proposition is when Black women say that Black men are beneath their level (financial or education), when in fact, Black people in America don’t yet have an intrinsic level.  Even many of our so-called middle class Blacks live one paycheck away from disaster.

Perhaps the search is conducted with faulty criteria.

Black women, if you examine a man’s character first, you will find that there are more of us than you imagined.

Certainly Black men in America have challenges, but in this nation, we are both challenged—Black male and female.

Yet with all of our challenges, some of us are still finding each other and marrying each other.  Anyone can point out that marriages are fewer and divorces are more abundant, but those are stats for the masses—they don’t have to apply to the individual.

Perhaps the bigger problem is that many Black women are no longer searching in circles where quality Black men can be found.

The sad fact is that many of us work in a world where there are few of us and live in communities where there are also few of us, yet we complain about not finding us and talk about the sorry state of those of us we run into.

Communities are fragmented, clubs are polluted and many church singles ministries mislead people into relationships with other people who attend church service, but do little to follow the teachings of the ministries.

Yes, things are more challenging than they have been in a long time, but the challenges appear even greater because of the negative things being said about Black men on television, in those magazines, and, oh yes, in circles of single Black women.

And, yet, I understand.

I know why Black women say some of the things that they have been saying.  It’s because they are hurt and afraid.

Black men are also hurt and afraid.

Any of us over the age of 21 has a thought-provoking fear, which can lead us away from finding love, as opposed to hugging expensive creature comforts in solitude, fear and pain, which morph into hatred.

Too many of us thought that we could make things better for ourselves as individuals, but now, the chickens have come home to roost, because many of us can not find quality mates.

We fell from grace when we stopped talking to each other and began talking about each other.  If we wish to make things better, I believe it begins with communication.

The charge for each of us–men and women–is to begin to discuss the problems we both face, without expressing the fear and hatred that have been welling up inside of us.

I want one wish to go around the world faster than an internet hoax or a Jesus chain letter, and I want for each person reading this to pass it on to another person, married or single.

That one simple wish is for Black men and women to begin to change our minds about each other.  Perception is reality and we must begin to perceive each other differently so that we can love each other again.

I want to let Black women know that there are still some good, kind and decent Black men in the world and we are having a hard time finding them as well.

And I want to let them know that many of us are in the same places they are.

Black men are in the grocery store because we have to eat, too.  Black men are in the gas station, because we have to drive, and yes, some of us are on the bus or train.  Black men are at fraternity banquets, and Black men are at plays, museums, the church and the mosque.

Black men can be found in a number of places and many times we are right beside you—all you have to do is smile.  Be sweet and inviting and you may get more than the reprobates to ask for your number, or be progressive and initiate contact with us.  Whatever you do–be grounded and open.

I advise both men and women to look for something that exists.  If you are a single woman looking for a single man, look for examples in the men around you.  Your father, brother, uncle, cousin or neighbor may be married and may serve as a good measurement for the men you date.

            We may not all look like Denzel or bling bling like a rap music video, but some of us are hard working, decent men with solid husband and father potential, ready to love and to be loved.

You have to look around you and find real examples, because once you are convinced that we don’t exist, then, for you, we don’t.

Black women, stop saying that you can’t find a good man, or that we just don’t exist. Come at us in love and what you will find from many of the sane, single Black men is real love—we’re trying to find you and we want you, too.

Look for us where we are and you just may find us.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles this Spring and will be running all Summer. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com.

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