Standards. Everyone should have them, right? Apparently not if you're a black woman. By now, surely, you've seen or heard about the "Black Marriage Negotiations" video, featuring a black businesswoman negotiating her relationship terms with a black businessman in a boardroom. This particular video, one in a series of online animated clips satirizing black relationships, has gone viral and drawn quite a bit of outcry.
In the video, a monotone-voiced animated black woman runs down her list of what she wants from a man. Of course, this woman comes off as unreasonable, unrealistic and — here comes my favorite adjective irresponsibly attached to black women — crazy. When you watch this video, it may seem funny at first. But after it sinks in that this is really how many black men and others see black women, it may infuriate and even hurt you, especially if you are a single black woman.
As a single black woman, let me stress that there is nothing wrong with us, despite what media reports suggest. Yes, 42 percent of us have never married. But it's not because all of us are angry or bitter or hard to get along with or too demanding or wear too much weave or don't work out or talk and laugh too loud. We are single because there is a shortage of single, straight black men of quality who want to get married to us. And we, as a group, are still slower to marry outside of our race. Period.
The characters in "Black Marriage Negotiations" are exaggerations, but are the woman's demands so farfetched? What is the problem with a black woman wanting to be with a man who a) will love, nurture and protect her; b) knows how to manage a household and make sound decisions; c) can financially enhance what she already has going on; or d) wants to go to church and help out around the house?
These are called standards. And while the numbers of singles may be greater among black women, we aren't the only women who have high hopes for our potential husbands. Consider this quote from a recent article about Muslim women from zawaj.com: "Indeed, a startling number of young Muslim women are finding themselves scrambling to find a husband before reaching their 30s and possibly never marrying. Many accomplished and educated young women end up lowering their standards for the sake of avoiding lifelong loneliness."
How about this, from a Jewish blog: "Money and education are big factors in why Jewish women have a hard time finding Jewish mates. But the way they affect matters — the reason that these are important aspects of the dating game — depends almost entirely on whether you ask the women ('It's hard to find someone as educated as I am') or the men ('Jewish women are only concerned about money and success')."
Hill's words remind me of what is most disturbing about that viral video — the lack of comments from black men defending black women. The comment pages on YouTube and Facebook should be flooded with brothers who are outraged at what is being said about their mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, wives, girlfriends, friends and partners in this struggle of life. Instead, the Slim Thugs of the world want to publicly embrace and perpetuate these hurtful, damaging stereotypes.
I am sick and tired of the attack on the single black woman. We were built tough, so we can handle it. But what about the young sisters out there surfing the Net as they try to find and define themselves? I wonder what they see after they watch that viral video and then look in the mirror.
Jacque Reid is a seasoned broadcast journalist and a contributing editor for The Root. Listen to her biweekly on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, and visit her on the Web at jacquereid.com.