Cyberstalking trolls take note.
That said, I'd like to address a really persistent meme that keeps going around about Black women and what we want out of life. It goes like this: every Black woman is desperately searching for Good Black Man (TM) to make her life complete. Everything she is and everything she does is made to snag such a rare and elusive creature. He must (among other things):
- make good money
- have good looks
- be Christian
- have no Baby Mama Drama
- love his mother without clinging to her
- be straight
In the case of the hunt for the rare and elusive Good Black Man (TM), it's a problem because the assumptions involved in that conversation cut out pretty much every Black person who is not cisgender and heterosexual. Oh, it's never as blatant as "no homos allowed," but not formally excluding Black LGBTQs is not the same as including Black LGBTQs. Saying, "I don't have a problem with the gay lifestyle" is not the same as inviting us into your space. There's a huge difference between a lack of overt hostility and the presence of welcoming.
Heteronormative assumptions about Black relationships used to not bother me. I used to take the attitude that the conversation was by and for straight Black people, and I didn't begrudge them that. Now it's starting to get to me, and I'm just starting to figure out why.
For a long time I couldn't articulate what irked me so much about it. Reflecting on experiences and conversations I've had about this, it's not merely the erasure of queerness. It's the fact that in order to contribute in these conversations - at least around straight people - I need to mute or dilute my queerness. I have to pretend that my queerness is ultimately a different flavor of heterosexuality. Unfortunately, that's not how I experience it.
Queerness is not just about who we want to fuck. It's also about the visceral relationship we have to gender and the nuances of how attraction and affection work for us while single or in a relationship. I am always queer no matter who I'm with or who I like. Even if I were to settle down with a man, I am still queer because I would relate to him as a man differently from the way straight women relate to men.
How can we have that Gotta Find A Good Black Man (TM) conversation in a way that's queer-inclusive? I honestly don't know. Maybe it starts with broadening our ideas about the relationships we can have with Black men. How about we stop focusing exclusively on romance? Think beyond boyfriends and husbands. What about Black men as fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, mentors, muses, students, peers, and (gasp!) friends?