Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Good Black Man

Throughout my childhood, I constantly heard of the greatness that would come my way once I found the mystical Good Black Man (GBM, as referred to in the movie Something New). This GBM would solve all my problems; he would be the Holy Grail. For me, success would mean finally gaining this GBM; he was an integral part of what my identity as a woman would be. All of our problems were seen as being a product of not having a GBM, and once we found one things would get better. Despite the greatness of the GBM, he would leave if you did not know how to treat him; you had to let him know that he was THE MAN! You had to be a lady in the streets and a freak in the bedroom; you were to stand with him come hell or high water. Nothing was to break you apart.
Growing up the importance of standing behind the Black man come hell or high water was drilled in to me. I was raised in a family full of beautiful single Black women, and many of their struggles were due to men, who promised them the world and instead gave them disease and heartache. They were left to raise the children, which the men claimed they loved so much. Despite it all they were still hopeful that their GBM would come along and help them with their struggles, they would give them companionship, support and they would also help them guide their children.
As a child I looked for my own GBM not because I necessarily wanted one, but because he would make my life easier, as well as uplift the community. When gathering around other black women the main topic of conversation was Black men. I recently went to a conference for black women, and there were comedians and performances and all reinforcing the importance of our relationship with black men. One speaker even spoke about how Black women’s not supporting our black men was leading to the destruction of our community. This is how as a black woman I relate to other black women I meet, we talk about our trials tribulations and struggles with and for Good black men. This past weekend at a family BBQ, I was asked several times when I was going to get married, did I have anyone special in my life. My relatives talked about the wonderful man that I would find to complete me. So now as I have come to the realization that I do not want a GBM or any man for that reason. This has caused me particular stress as I struggle with the feeling that I'm letting my community down, by being me, it's as backwards as it sounds. But so much of my identity as a woman has been built around gaining a black man and keeping him, whether I wanted to or not.
I don't know I'm writing this out of my frustration and anger at feeling that I am a traitor, that I will never be a complete black woman, that other women will feel inferior because they weren't good enough to snag a good black man.


Maxjulian said...

I hear you, sister.

The pianist, Thelonious Monk, has this quote where he was talking about how he'd been overlooked through the years by many jazz heads. “I say, play your own way. Don’t play what the public want — you play what you want and let the public pick up on what you doing — even if it does take them fifteen, twenty years.”

I love that. I'm not gonna be anybody but my own self.

Good luck.

DivineLavender said...

I understand the GBM syndrome. As a black woman I have been lead down a path of wanting one for all the same reasons you listed. But those messages are all backwards and don't work. I just wrote about this very thing on my blog today. I ain't a hater on black men and know and believe GBM exist.

I love my man but I can't do it like other people tell me to do it. I work with my man and WE figure it out, issues and all. We write and authorize our own one else.

Wishing you the best.

dustdaughter said...

This is a raw, honest, wonderful post. Followed the link on Skyscraper's blog and I'm so glad I did.


belledame222 said...

>As a child I looked for my own GBM not because I necessarily wanted one, but because he would make my life easier, as well as uplift the community.

I think that's pretty much what A. Rich meant by "compulsory heterosexuality." It doesn't matter what you want. It's what you need to survive and your obligation to others.

“I remember how being young and black and gay and lonely felt. A lot of it was fine, feeling I had the truth and the light and the key, but a lot of it was purely hell.” ~Audre Lorde