It appears the In Thing to do in the black community–bash black women and our relationship woes–hasn’t been lost on whiteness. In an interview with Essence Magazine, R&B singer Robin Thicke joined in the fury against black women and offered his two cents on dating and relationships.
ESSENCE: The media often tells Black women that they’re better off dating White guys. What’s your response to that?
THICKE: I think that’s ridiculous. There are so many good Black men out there that are hardworking, decent, and handsome, you know? To start that rumor is as bad as starting any other negative rumor. There are great Black men out there. There are only a few good White men — trust me. (Laughs) Good luck finding a good White man who understands your journey. I only have three White friends. I’ve got 20 Black male friends, who are all good men who take good care of their wives, and good care of their children. I know amazing Black men. Maybe the women have to take better care of their men. Maybe you’re being too stubborn. Maybe you’re not saying you’re sorry. You have to take good care of him, too. You have to give love to get love.
First, I want to quickly address Essence’s question. Which media outlets tell black women that they are better off dating white men? CNN? ABC News? The media outlets I know often hammer home the fact that black women are single, desperate and alone because, due to our flawed expectations, we are waiting for that black Prince Charming to sweep us off our feet, marry us and produce beautiful black children with, only to realize that man doesn’t exist. Not to mention that we have HIV/AIDS, herpes, suffer from morbid obesity and diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. In a nutshell, the media outlets I’m familiar with like to remind us of our problems, but stop short of providing solutions. They leave the burden of finding solutions to academics and social commentators.
I do find the question and Thicke’s response interesting for two reasons. First, I find it peculiar that Essence would ask a white man, who happens to be in an interracial relationship, about the woes of black women and dating. Second, it’s interesting Thicke feels he has the authority to theorize about black women.
I wonder if the folks at Essence thought Thicke’s interracial relationship gave him some sort of magical insight into the mind of a black woman. One can’t help but to think if Essence would ask Kim Kardashian the same line of questioning if the subject were on black men. Furthermore, would the folks at Essence poll former President Bill Clinton on the pulse of black America just because he was once dubbed him the first black president? Would the folks at Essence felt the need to question Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel on the state of Chicago’s black community? Any person with a brain can guess the folks at Essence wouldn’t dare to ask white politicians about the state of the black community, so why would they think it’s okay to ask a white man, who is married to a black woman, about the state of black male and female relationships?
Furthermore, posing this question to Thicke allows him to utilize his white privilege and power to dictate to black women. Earlier in the interview, Thicke refers to his wife as a strong black woman, but it troubles me that he is so willing to throw other black women under the bus by implying that we are callous, stubborn and prideful. It’s ironic Thicke likes to croon about how special and beautiful black women are in one breath, but in the same breath is quick to promote the Down-With-Black-Women and pro-Black Love diatribe espoused by outlets like Essence.
It’s a slap in the face for Thicke to believe he can theorize on why black women are supposedly single, desperate and alone. This sort of sweeping generalization is nothing new as whiteness grants white people the authority to make these broad statements just because they either have numerous friends of color or have dated people of color. As someone who’s been in an interracial relationship, any attempt by my white boyfriend to stereotype black women OR black men will be given not only the infamous side eye, but a drop of knowledge on why that foolishness will not fly in our relationship. One can only hope that Thicke’s wife is on the same wavelength.
Any other white man making this kind of blanket observation would be burned at the stake by the black community, so why is Thicke given a pass to degrade black women?
Because he’s promoting the norm. He’s upholding the long-standing belief in this country that black women’s standards are too high, too extravagant and too rigid, which prevents us from obtaining a husband, two children, a two-car garage in a home surrounded by a white-picket fence. Thicke’s comments promote the racist and sexist stereotype that black women are rude, bossy, stubborn and too demanding to find a good black man. It’s not a surprise that while Thicke is married to a black woman, as his comments prove he’s the victim of whiteness’ propaganda and its othering of black women.
Both Thicke and Essence need to apologize to black women. They need to apologize for the patronizing and offensive question and answer that not only gave Thicke an opportunity to talk on a subject he hasn’t a clue about, but also repeated offensive stereotypes about black women. They need to apologize for participating in the campaign to reel black women back in to the patriarchal line of thinking that being submissive and passive will attract good black men. They need to apologize for allowing Thicke to wield his white privilege and use offensive stereotypes whiteness AND blackness use to other black women.
Thicke and Essence need to apologize for upholding a line of thinking that tells black women that you, the over-achieving, 40-something diva, are the problem and that you, the educated professional with a successful business, need to change your ways before your uterus and vagina shrivel up to the point that no man, black or white, will want you. Both parties need to apologize for participating in the campaign to create hysteria among black women that there aren’t enough quality black men on the planet, so we better lower our standards and change your priorities to snag one as soon as possible.
They need to apologize for promoting the flawed notion of Black Love, which we all know turns the other cheek when it comes to black men dating, mating with and marrying other women, but is thrown into the faces of black women when we want to expand our dating, mating and marrying pool.