Do Black Men Really Think We Don’t Have Their Backs?

In many ways I think the “why black women ain’t got no man” meme is played out. Played out in the way mainstream media has chosen to capitalize off the so-called statistics of successful single black women. But another part of me knows that we must engage in REAL conversations about the abhor some black women and black men have toward one another.

Yesterday folks on Twitter were up in arms about VIBE.com publishing Slim Thug’s over generalizations about black women, his comparison of all black women to his brother’s white girlfriend and how black women need to stand by their man. See here for full article.

Like, who seriously gives a flying shit about Slim Thug? Can anyone name one single he’s ever dropped without injuring a brain muscle? I’ll wait…

So that it’s clear I don’t think the women (myself included) who took to the airwaves to broadcast their frustrations care at all about Slim Thug. More so, many black women are concerned about the paradigm shift of a generation of black men who have us all wrong. Not only do they have it all wrong, they refuse to stick up for us whenever we are attacked. Not all black men, but more than I’d hope for.

Anytime a woman laments about anything slightly critical of black men they are insulted, berated and dismissed. This is exemplified in the piss poor Nightline segments, articles written by black women (see the comments on my “Dumb It Down” article here or on Essence), books that attempt to reverse the premise of the annoying self-help books written by black men  and the list goes on. Instead of seeing the point, whether you agree or not, there is a sense of defensiveness that black men feel the need to defend their brethren even when it doesn’t apply to them. But when black women do the same we’re told, “oh it’s Slim Thug who cares. It’s a waste of energy.”

Last night I enthusiastically waited to watch VH1’s Behind the Music of DMX.  We all know DMX is a troubled soul truly being “One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” However, his musical talent is undeniable. DMX was one of the biggest rappers of the late 90’s, early 2000’s with five consecutive number 1 albums. It was only natural for me to want to watch a semi-documentary of his life.

Now Slim Thug’s incoherent asinine opinion in sum is this:


Black women need to stand by their man more. Black women need to be more genuine and be more 50/50 [but] It should be a fair exchange in a relationship period or eventually somebody is gonna feel like they’re getting fucked over whether it’s the woman or the man. I think that will help Black relationships out a lot.

Ok, Slim whatever you say. If anything proved his statement to be less true it was DMX’s now ex-wife Tashera Simmons.

Tashera and DMX in happier times

Tashera and DMX in happier times

Here was a black woman who had no indication that Earl Simmons would be anything but the petty criminal and junkie he was. Yet, it didn’t deter her from loving Earl, marrying him, giving birth to his children and “giving him 17 years of her life.” Tashera’s dedication was evident in her reassuring him: “I told him I would never leave him for drugs,” nor did she leave him after his many prison stints. However, she did finally leave after several indiscretions and learning he had a child outside of their marriage.

So what the hell is Slim talking about? Of course DMX and Tashera is an isolated case, and one people may say isn’t reality because a) these are celebrities and b) this is that hood love shit.

In all actuality Tashera and DMX’s story sans the drugs and rich lifestyle, is more of an accurate depiction of the black women I know. By that I mean black women for the most part have no qualms or hesitation in having their man’s back in every aspect of life.

An example of black women’s devotion to black men (some may argue the wrong men), is to look at the number of black single mothers. All of these women at some point had their man’s back, loved him and believed in him. And how were they repaid for their devotion? Or what about pre 80’s when black folks at large were still marrying, and several black women would overlook their husband’s infidelity for the sake of the family or his reputation? Coretta Scott King is a prime example.

Examples of black women having black men’s back are all around us and can be seen every single day. One need not look any further than FXP for the love black women have for our men (cue Sable Verity’s most recent article). Similar sentiments are displayed everyday by guess who? Black women.

Excuse me if my vision is blurry, but I don’t see black women not holding their man down really being the issue here. Black women in America have always done this since the days of slavery.  And most likely will continue to do so.

What I do see however is the lack of support, love, encouragement and uplifting from a massive amount of our beloved brothers.

We will never advance as a collective people as long as we continue falling prey to the divide and conquer tactic that has been used on us for centuries. Gender blaming solves nothing; as both men and women bring their share of faults, misconceptions and bitterness to the table, that in turn has caused such a tumultuous dynamic between black women and black men.

We’re all at fault. Now let’s move forward with resolving the problem.

In the meantime however, it would be refreshing to see Tashera’s or Sable’s kind of love reversed with brothers having that same adoration for us. Then maybe we wouldn’t be so frustrated when the mentally underdeveloped likes of Slim Thug are released from their cages.

  • sarah

    I AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY WITH THIS: “We will never advance as a collective people as long as we continue falling prey to the divide and conquer tactic that has been used on us for centuries.”

    Also, did you see Marc Lamont Hill’s response to the anti-black woman tidal wave:


    • WrittenbyBene

      Do you agree with anything else in the post? Just curious as you boldly pointed out one statement you agree with, lol. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

      I think his response was a call for action for rappers to see how much influence they have on the younger generation. It was honest, genuine and true. His examples of how “down” sisters have been since slavery is exactly the point I made in this post. I also saw his debate with Slim Thug on Twitter today. Slim Thug doesn’t understand that he did anything wrong and in checking out his timeline I realized he is an ignorant slave to white AmeriKKKa. A waste of time trying to have intelligent dialogue with him.

      My concern is the legion of black males that also hold this same warped mentality of black females.If this attitude is more and more prevalent, where does this leave our next generation of young black males and females?

  • Peter Parker

    honestly, imo, in short, to answer your question…”no”. unless i personally know BW, i don’t expect them to have my backs. imo it seems that BW and BM are talking at each other, instead of listening to each other to understand why we hurt each other. so long as men focus on women not right for us, and women focus on men not right for them, then a gap will persist, and women will feel attack, and men will feel no one has their back.

    • Nice post. So what are your suggestions for a solution, Bene?

      Btw, I agree with this -> “so long as men focus on women not right for us, and women focus on men not right for them, then a gap will persist, and women will feel attack, and men will feel no one has their back.” ~ Peter Parker

      • WrittenbyBene

        I agree with Peter Parker as well. I think the first step is, I hate to sound cliche, but like I said in the post we have to start having REAL conversations. Black women and men need to talk about all of these misconceptions we have, fears, hurt feelings and remove this layer of dislike. I think a lot of us are not being honest about what the we’re really feeling and a lot of that is: hurt, resentment and fear. Until we get to the root of what’s causing us to harbor such ill feelings we cannot move forward.

        After we have dialogue I think we need to make sure the positive is vocalized and broadcast more. For example, the many many black men who feel the exact opposite of ST aren’t given a platform so that the world and black women know there are brothers who think this dude is full of crap. Same with sisters. The sisters who openly critique black men are given a larger forum than the many sisters who praise black men. That has to change, which will in turn change how we view one another.

        From there I have no idea where we go. But I do know we have to stop being so adversary about everything when it comes to one another. Also, we need to wake up to the games that are being played with us. This is only a ploy to break the structure of black family’s. Unfortunately, we’ve fallen right into the trap.

  • sarah

    Lol. You’re right. I didn’t write everything I felt about your post. I’ll try to elaborate a bit.

    Ok. I completely agree with you premise: too many black men feel that we don’t have their backs. Its disturbing, maddening and almost inexplicable; because as you said, examples of black women having their backs are all around them.

    I guess I would only add that despite the above, there remain lots (legions) of brothers who KNOW we have their backs and they have ours. I just wish their voices came more loudly and clearly through the dense and compact cloud of anti-black woman ideas currently swirling about in american dominant culture. I thought Mr. Hill’s response offered a glimmer of hope in that regard and I’d like to see more brothers doing that. Even if it all goes over that thuggish fellow’s head, Mr. Hill’s words may positively influence some other young brothers.

    There was a reason I focused on your “We will never advance” language in my original response. It’s because I believe that the principle reason some black men mistakenly believe we don’t have their backs, are less supportive, less loving, less everything than other women, is because they are falling prey to the divide and conquer tactics you mentioned. “Black people are no good”, “black women are no good”, “black men are no good” memes pervade the dominant culture and they serve but one purpose. I thought you got right to the heart of the matter with:

    “We will never advance as a collective people as long as we continue falling prey to the divide and conquer tactic that has been used on us for centuries. … We’re all at fault. Now let’s move forward with resolving the problem.”

    • WrittenbyBene

      This: “there remain lots (legions) of brothers who KNOW we have their backs and they have ours. I just wish their voices came more loudly and clearly through the dense and compact cloud of anti-black woman ideas currently swirling about in american dominant culture.” BINGO! More of those voices need to be heard, and the same with the “brothers ain’t shit” voices of our sisters that are blasted throughout the media. We need to hear more of the positive on both sides. There isn’t a balance on any level in the media when it comes to our people.

      I don’t know what we can do about: “Black people are no good”, “black women are no good”, “black men are no good” memes pervade the dominant culture and they serve but one purpose.” It is clear to me that some of us don’t know this is a ploy to break down the family structure of black folks. It has worked thus far. I guess I would say this is where knowledge of self and knowledge of history comes in. If one is informed about the plight of black people in this country it would be easier to recognize the tactics being used on us. Unfortunately, some of us either don’t know or don’t care. It is much an easier solution to say “I’m just going to go get me a white girl” instead of communicating and participating in self reflection to find out why the dynamic between BM and BW is so broken.

  • sarah

    “Unfortunately, some of us either don’t know or don’t care. It is much an easier solution to say “I’m just going to go get me a white girl” instead of communicating and participating in self reflection to find out why the dynamic between BM and BW is so broken.”


  • Anna Renee

    Why is it that when a few fools come out and step to the mike about black women/men relationships, we believe they actually are talking for us all? Do we really believe that black relationships are all failed because some failed Slim person (who?) speaks his own situation? I say that we ought to start looking for all the millions of examples of good black love and use those to define us, rather than falling for the okey doke of some celebrity loser, then getting all upset about how black relationships are failing. Please ladies, were not as broken and f***ked up as we think we are.

    • WrittenbyBene

      Thanks for reading.

      No one is saying Slim Thug speaks for all black men. Nor did I say that his statements hold true for all black women. ST is the one who generalized and discussed black women as a monolith.

      I’m not sure why you keep saying “all” because I never implied that. However, I do think black women and men need to address the facts. The facts are that there are not “millions of examples of good black love.” The facts are in what the studies have proven and the overwhelming mentality of the likes of ST among regular men. No one can deny there is a thick loathe for black women coming from a lot of black men. And vice versa. If there were so many examples of these healthy relationships that you see I would like to know why 70% of children are born out of wedlock into single parent households? Also, I would like to know why there is a rising statistics of black men marrying white women? Or how about the rising statistics of successful black women not getting married? To pretend there is not a problematic dynamic with how black men and black women view one another is to live in denial.

      So this post is not about falling for any “oke doke” of an irrelevant rapper. It’s his attitude that is symbolic of a new generation of men. There is no doubt in my mind that there are several happily married black people and black people dating in healthy relationships. However, this issue is still a relevant one.

      The one thing I agree with you on is: “we are not as broken and f***ked up as we think we are.”

      • All of the stats that you quote are correct, Bene. But the thing about stats is that they can be viewed and interpreted from different viewpoints:

        1. 70% of children born out of wedlock isn’t the same thing as 70% of children born NOT out of love or NOT from a couple that is still together. That’s a different stat.

        2. Traditionally, during times of recession, marriage rates for lower-income people (of ALL races) goes down drastically because marriage carries with it a huge set of extra financial costs.

        3. Also, people tend to look at the Black men marrying white women stat but fail to realize that black women dating and marrying interracially is the HIGHEST rising interracial stat of them all. So the trend is that black women are marrying BLACK MEN LESS and looking outside the race for longterm or legally permanent relationships.

        4. Of the black men who are married, the stat for them marrying outside the race is way less than the stat for them marrying black women. The trend for black men marrying other races is actually pointing downward. Check Wiki “Interracial marriage”.

        But those aren’t “sexy”, headline-grabbing stats. It’s not a coincidence that single black women are the main ones broadcasting certain stats, because to single black women who aren’t married with friends in similar situations, it seems that very few blacks are married…but that’s just a case of “who you know”. Despite the oft-quoted 70% stat, there are millions of examples of black married couples. Whether or not they’re happily married remains to be seen.

        • WrittenbyBene

          Jara, I agree. I have always said stats are a tricky thing and don’t necessarily represent the whole truth. But I still hold my same position.

          I meant to post this article for Anna Renee it has the actual statistics of what we’ve mostly been discussing. : http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/04/us/04interracial.html?scp=1&sq=black%20men%20altar&st=cse

          1. I guess we need a definition for that 70% to know what all it entails. It is my belief that single parent households are ones where the father is not present. Yes, this can include a father who takes care of his child, but isn’t in the home, it can include a couple who is together that don’t live together and the list goes on. Still doesn’t negate the fact that the number of black women raising kids alone and unwed is higher than it was just two decades ago. Why is this?

          2. Yep, marriage rates are low for everybody. I understand this and wrote about this in my post re: the first Nightline special.

          3. You are right. Black women marrying white men is the “highest rising interracial stat of them all,” but it is still not comparable to the percentage of black men who marry non-black women at 22%. Black women who marry outside of the race is at 9%. I think your last sentence is debatable. There are still way more black women who hold out for black men in comparison to this “trend of black women marrying black men less” you speak of.

          4. Of course. No argument there.

          I respect your opinion just as much as I do the next one. I still think people are missing the point. Why do you think so many sisters and brothers alike(cue Marc Lemont Hill) who were offended and outraged by ST’s comments? You really think people care about him? It’s because the truth of the matter is that there is this permeating conflictual relationship between black women and black men and it’s proven by the stats, comments on any blog post about black men and women, celebrities who spew this garbage, its in the music and it was displayed even in Nightline’s segment with 5 educated successful black men and women. There are some serious issues there. I stand firm in that belief.

          I’m not saying “very few blacks are married.” That really wasn’t the point of this post or any post I’ve ever written. Instead I’ve tried to focus on the discontent a lot of black women and men have for one another. If we can get to the root of that issue then I think we can start solving some of the others we face.

  • Anna Renee

    Thanks, ladies. I guess I came across wrongly. I’m just sick to death of all that we have to process because of people who are against us consistantly telling us we’re wrong in this way, wrong in that way, screwed in the other way. We then have to filter through all this stuff. It’s hard for alot of us to do this. It breaks our spirits and creates mistrust that we have one for another. It royally pisses me off that we black people have to go through it. What I would like to do is wave a magic wand and then all black people would never again be influenced by negative statistics used and published to further confuse and break us.

    Sister Bene, I wasn’t attacking you or the post you wrote. I’m just tired of us looking at statistics then drawing conclusions about ourselves. My point about millions of black relationship may sound ridiculous if we look only at African Americans, but we can look at all black people worldwide–Afro Cubans, Afro Canadians, Nigerians, Somalis, Kenyans, South Africans, Jamaicans, Black Brits, Blacks in Holland, Blacks in Japan, Blacks in Liberia, and the entire rest of the planet, then we can logically say that there are millions!

    We simply have to get a new perspective other than what the NYT gives us, because they give us very little to have hope in. There’s no reason for us to limit ourselve–we’re fighting for our sense of self, for our sanity, for our belief in ourselves, for our self respect. They are trying to destroy and we need to use better tactics than theirs to fight them back.

    Sister, its a very strong topic of conversation and sometimes a strong opinion may come your way. That doesn’t mean it’s an attack against you, it’s just the person’s anger at the subject. As for the link to NYT’s stats about us, I wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole

    • WrittenbyBene

      Anna: I completely understand everything you’re saying. And sis I agree with you for the most part. I understand you didn’t mean any disrespect and I think disagreement is ok too. So I apologize if my response was a little harsh.

      I am too very tired of this “black women ain’t shit” meme. The media is using the same divide and conquer tactic that was used in colonization in our motherland and then ins slavery. Sadly many of us buy into it and some even capitalize off of it. (cue Steve Harvey, Jimmy Izrael, etc). I’m not trying to just hurl all these statistics as if they’re proof we are doomed or messed up. The single successful black woman statistic or story is not even one I subscribe to. But I do take heed to the rising number of black mother’s being left to raise kids by themselves.

      I think there needs to be a major change in how not only perspective, but how we treat one another. We certainly cannot look to the media to determine how we view ourselves. I will be the first to say black people, especially black women, are targeted right now by the media. I guess I’m just more concerned with the harsh realities of our actions toward one another because at the end of the day that’s all we can change.

    • I feel where you’re coming from Anna. When I hear “black”, I tend to think of us globally and not just in America. Black love isn’t dead. I’m tired of hearing about people being tired of the media trying to kill black love. They wouldn’t keep telling the story if it wasn’t striking a nerve AND GETTING EYEBALLS and blog responses. Thanks for putting “black” in perspective.

  • I’m going to uncheck the “email notifications” box here because I’m out!

  • OMG

    That title should be reversed because It seems like black men don’t have our backs.  Having a program called “Black Girls Rock”, is a prime example.  We need to be uplifted by our man just like any other women, and it seems to me,  We just don’t get that.