Black Men and Women: Our Relationship

by Burnett W. “Kwadwo” Gallman, Jr. M.D.
Burnett W. “Kwadwo” Gallman, Jr. M.D. Burnett W. “Kwadwo” Gallman, Jr. M.D.

Too often I have heard AUSA (Afrikans from the United States of America) men complaining about AUSA women. They insist our sisters don’t want a good man, they want ‘bad boys.’ These men complain about some women’s choice of “bad boys” so much that too many AUSA men frequently try to become “bad boys,” but they take it too far. At the same time they will observe many women who have been “burned” or hurt by these ‘bad boys’ during their youth, only become available for ‘good men’ in committed relationships later in life.

They say these women become embittered and treat their subsequent ‘good men’ as if they were guilty of the things the ‘bad boys’ did to them. They have mistrust and occasional disrespect for the men in their lives. Some of these women even say, “I don’t need a man. I can do bad by myself.”

These complaints from men may be all very well and good, but as my mother used to say, when you point a finger at someone there are three fingers pointing back at you. My brothers, we need to look in the mirror.

I have canvassed a multigenerational sample of AUSA women, mostly single and some married, to get an idea of what they were experiencing and feeling. I found that many AUSA men of all ages are considered weak, irresponsible and inconsistent. By weak they don’t mean wimpy or punkish, but inappropriately aggressive and non-ambitious. These sisters also stated that too many of us AUSA men seem challenged and intimidated by female excellence. Interestingly, and paradoxically, most of the single ladies said that too often AUSA men are too comfortable in allowing the sisters to take the complete lead in the relationship.

To me this showed up in the way some AUSA men reacted to the film, “Woman King.” I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard my brothers say men were minimized and rendered impotent in this film. First of all it was a doggonne movie! My brothers were sounding like non-Afrikan people sound when they say they are being oppressed because they are losing privilege. These are brothers who may talk the talk about equality between the sistas and brothas, but still love the patriarchy. That is, they don’t want to lose the privilege that comes with being a man in Western culture, so a movie that glorifies a female hero intimidates them.

Another observation by these sisters was that brothers don’t often reveal their feelings and keep them bottled up. Unfortunately, combining the frustration and anger about anything happening in their lives with these bottled-up feelings can account for intimate partner violence (commonly known as domestic violence), including homicide. Although some men are abused by women, the vast majority of intimate partner violence is committed by men on women. To me, that is the very definition of weakness.

Jawanza Kunjufu, a noted and brilliant educational consultant, publisher, lecturer and author often said in his lectures, “Black mothers raise their daughters and love their sons.” Perhaps the origin of this stems from the fear that enslaved mothers had for the safety of their sons. The result of this frequently was immature, irresponsible and even childish men and mature, responsible, serious and achieving women.

Viciously and toxically powerful patriarchal men see threats only from other men. This may explain the “sport” of lynching and the genital mutilation that was inflicted on AUSA men by non-AUSA men for most of the history of this country. The bright side of this situation was how grossly they underestimated AUSA women. Brothers, our sisters saved the race! We simply must show them our gratitude and stand up. Danger, albeit a different kind of danger, looms even greater in today’s world. So now, my brothers, whatcha gonna do?!

Food for thought.