There’s been an interesting trend in many “Good Black Men” saying that Black women only want thugs. Now I find this interesting because I always made out like a bandit with the sistas. I must have been a thug. Here all this time I thought it was because I filled out a suit, had nice eyes, and had those little things called degrees from major universities. At least that’s what the ladies told me. Maybe they thought I was an undercover thug with tattoos under the tailored suit. Maybe they thought the correct English was a front. That had to be it because according to the wisdom of many of the “Good Black Men” out here these women should have ignored me.
I’m making fun of this issue but it’s really no laughing matter. The reality is that there are a significant number of Black men who feel like they are being overlooked and rejected by Black women because they are not thugs. There are indeed Black women who are attracted to thuggish men or at least the men who have the appearance of being thuggish but this is only a minority of women and even in these cases there are other factors to be considered.
Before I go further let me tell you a little bit about myself so you understand where I get my perspective on Black male/female relationships. I’m doing this because it has been my experience that people will try to find reasons to dismiss what I say if they disagree with my comments. They’ll commonly try to question my credentials or my life experience. My perspective on Black relationships, indeed on relationships in general come from what I’m finding to be a rather unique life experience. Despite what the media and even some Black people think, there are several subcultures within the Black community. Some of the more obvious ones are based on economic status. Thus we have the underclass which includes multigenerational families on government assistance, and those involved in petty criminal activity as a way of life. We have different levels within the worker class, which includes the working poor and those with higher paying hourly wage jobs. There is the professional class which includes individuals with advanced degrees and high paying jobs. Finally, there is the Black upper class and I don’t mean rich celebrities or athletes. We’re talking OLD Black money with family bloodlines going back to Blacks who owned other Blacks during slavery as well as free Blacks during the same period. Across these economic groupings there are several subgroups based on personal interests and especially religious beliefs. Thus if one were to take a cross section of the Black community, say a thousand people, and put them in a ballroom it would be an interesting sight. You would have a Bourgie sista wearing the hottest designer dress standing next to a Muslim brotha with a sharp tailored suit standing next to another Muslim brotha with robes standing next to a sista wearing African clothing with locs going down her back standing next to a RBG brotha wearing fatigues standing next to a brotha with his pants sagging. All of these groups have different nuances as to how they approach male/female relationships. My personal experience is unique in that I’ve spent significant time among several different subcultures within the Black community.
When I was little I lived in a housing project in California and in a poor neighborhood in Washington, DC. That was just the economic situation with my mother and sister. Now, when I look at my extended family they appeared to be rich in my eyes. My grandmother and other extended family members owned multiple properties, businesses, and when I was four, my uncle bought me a pony. In the period of a week I could go from dodging budding stick-up kids to chilling at one of my aunt’s beach properties. As I grew older I learned how to distinguish and navigate between the different social groupings within the Black community. I have applied that knowledge in both my private and professional lives. I have especially applied that knowledge in my analysis of Black male/female relationship issues. One thing I’ve seen is that most relationship “experts” view the problems through the lens of their own particular subculture but try to apply solutions to the entire community which is obviously not working. What I do is look at the big picture. I analyze the different subcultures in terms of their nuances but I also look for common factors.
In the Black community, indeed in all westernized cultures, women tend to place men in two different categories for dating and relationship purposes. For brevity purposes these categories are select and non-select. The men in the select category are those judged by women to be handsome, sexy, and have a respected status. To use the urban vernacular these men have “swag.” The men in the non-select category are those men judged by women to be not as handsome, sexually unappealing and lacking a respected status. Of course, several factors will affect who a particular woman considers handsome and sexy. The status depends on the particular subculture. A professional woman will look at a partner at a law firm as having status while a church woman will look at a minister as having status.
Getting back to the notion that Black women want thugs, this may be the case within certain subcultures in which thuggish behavior is glorified, however, it would be inaccurate to apply this viewpoint to the entire Black female population. This is a perception based on media images and the subcultures from which most of the complaining “Good Black Men” originate. From my vantage point the most accurate statement about the overall dating preferences of Black women would be that the sistas want handsome men with swag and at least enough money to handle their business. Even Black women who genuinely desire thugs want them to be handsome with sex appeal. A reality is that most thugs are having as much trouble with relationships as the “Good Black Men.” Most thugs are non-select in the eyes of the average Black woman. Some sistas will SETTLE for the average thug if there are no other viable options and quite frankly many Black women would rather be single than settle with a non-select man.
Before I go further let me explain why I put the term “Good Black Man” in quotations. As I’ve explained above I’ve dealt with many subcultures and in doing so I’ve interacted with a lot of people both male and female. In my eyes many of the men running around talking about how “good” they are have serious character issues which have more to do with their lack of success with women than anything else. In my opinion, many of these men are simply failures with women and instead of doing something to improve their level of success they hate on the men who get the women and also the women who reject them. These men know deep down the women don’t see them as handsome and they know they don’t have sex appeal. So what do they do? They try act intellectually and morally superior to the select men. The “Good Black Men” will especially put down Black women for rejecting them. That’s really the genesis of this whole “Black women want thugs” thing. The truth about the select is difficult for most of these “good” men to handle.
The men that Black women, indeed all women, consider select are those men who are the most optimally developed on all levels. It’s not an issue of these men just being handsome with charisma even though this plays a big role. In most cases these men are also very intelligent and have a lot of drive and ambition. These are men of substance. This is not a conclusion I’m just pulling out of the air. My first real introduction to the concept of select and non-select came the summer before I started freshmen year at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, DC. I’m not sure about the school’s reputation in the present day but in the early eighties it was a prestigious institution. I went with my grandmother to see one of her friends. Her friend had maybe a few of her granddaughters at the house. These girls pretty much ignored me until my grandmother casually mentioned that I would be attending Carroll. The granddaughters got real friendly all of a sudden. It was an eye opener as to what got a response from females.
Women don’t just want a handsome man. Many women can attest to meeting a fine brotha and then get turned off when he starts talking. Depending on the character of the woman she might use the man as a boy toy but she won’t take him out with her in public. An honest look at the selectmen will reveal men with advanced degrees such as MBA’s JD’s and PhDs. You will find doctors, lawyers, accountants, ministers, and business owners. One will also encounter plumbers, carpenters, and garbage men. There will be some negative individuals in the select group but not in a greater percentage than there is in the non-select. The main thing is that there is no intellectual or moral difference between the groups. There are monogamous men in both groups and there are players in both groups. So what separates the groups? Let’s get to that.
The only difference between the select and the non-select is sex. The select/non-select paradigm is a sexual hierarchy. The Black men in the select category are simply the ones sexually desirable to most Black women. The men in the non-select fail to make the cut. There’s very little honest discussion about the true sexual desires of Black women in the public realm. In the media, the sistas will talk about the virtues they look for in men but what’s not being said is that they are looking for these virtues in men they consider sexually appealing. To be fair this is why many Black men get frustrated because many will have the virtues on some level but will still get rejected. Then the men will see a woman with a man they consider to be a thug and think that the woman is crazy. A man can’t look at another man and see what a woman sees in him. A man may see a fine sista with a man he considers to be a thug. The woman knows that her man is a doctor and in her eyes is drop dead fine.
Sex appeal to a woman is more than just physical appearance. There is also a mental component which a select man has to bring to the table. A man has to have a certain level of intelligence in order to be seen as sexually appealing to a woman. This intelligence isn’t necessarily in an academic sense though that is important to some women, but more of a social/common sense type of intelligence. A woman has to be turned on mentally and physically to truly be satisfied. A thug by nature is a negative individual who quite frankly isn’t going to appeal to most Black women.
This whole “Black women want thugs” idea needs to be checked for several reasons. There are a few black subcultures where this may be a reality but cannot be applied to the entire Black community. It’s an insult to most Black women, who are genuinely attracted to professional men, blue collar men, activists, or artists. It’s an insult to Black men who get love and respect from Black women on a daily basis without compromising their manhood.
Instead of trying to put down the men who get attention from women or trying put down the women for wanting certain men, the so-called “Good Black Man” needs to look in the mirror. There’s nothing wrong with rejection. Rejection is a beautiful thing because it tells a person what they need to improve on in life. The key is to learn from rejection. The most successful people in life faced a lot of rejection regardless of whether it was it was in relationships or business. Successful people take responsibility for their own lives. They don’t blame the world. They realize that there is only one thing they can control in life: the person in the mirror.