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I Didn't Give Up on Black Men; They Gave Up on Me

Generic image (Thinkstock Images)
Generic image (Thinkstock Images)

Jai Stone explains at Essence how a long history of rejection led her to have a "come-to-Jesus meeting" with herself on this controversial issue.

I'm going to start with an urgent gripe of mine: Every time I turn around, the mating habits of African-American women are being scrutinized. There is always some broken-down bundle of research about how many Black women are single or an article about why we aren't "suitable for long term relationships." Gee whiz. I can't digest any more of this crap. Check, please!

Perhaps what's most disheartening is the fact that out of all the people who find fault in Black women, it's brothers that are our toughest critics. They reject us for being too dark, having short hair, being plus size or having a less than bodacious donk (translation: a round posterior anatomy). Sisters are lampooned for not being submissive enough, soft enough or simply too vocal with our opinions. And the hits just keep on coming.

Is there any wonder that I say (with tears in my eyes) that [I] didn't give up on Black men, they gave up on me? I came to this painful realization a few years ago, but it was a long time coming.

I can't tell you exactly when I started feeling rejected by Black men; it was too many years ago to count.  I have been told that I am "too opinionated", "too assertive", "too outspoken" or "too fat" more times than I can care to admit. In my 20s I tried to twist and conform to become less, well, me. But, it was like a lioness trying to become a kitty cat. I finally decided that I simply couldn't make myself smaller for others to feel bigger — not even for the sake of love.

My plan was to wait patiently for that some awesome Black man to look at me through accepting eyes and embrace me flaws and all. Ultimately, isn't that what we all really want from love — to feel it unconditionally? Sigh … Dare I say, I'm still waiting …


Read Jai Stone's entire piece at

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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