Recently, XoNecole published an article on black love that caught my attention. But agreement turned to disapproval as I read through the piece and by the end I was doing a full on face palm.

The article, titled In Order to Have Black Love, There Must First Be Forgiveness, touches on things that many black families experience — generational damage dating back to slavery, the assault on and abandonment of black women, the assault on black male bodies, the testy relationship between black men and women, and the effects all of this has on black love.

“I know that if you’re a Black woman it is more likely than not that you have been raped or violently assaulted. That you have walked out of or into your home feeling unsafe….

I know that if you’re a Black man there has been a narrative written in your name. You may have been raped, beaten, neglected, assaulted and forced to shake it off. That you may have been raised by a tired single mother who didn’t have the time or was not taught to think about your emotional development…

How do you love someone who may be systematically broken? And who, throughout their life, may break again and again?”

While I agree with much of what the article discussed, the conclusion — that we as black men and women must subject ourselves to mistreatment because it comes from a place of pain — disappointed me. 

If you can forgive yourself a thousand times a day — know that you will have to forgive your lover just the same. You will have to accept that they will hurt you, pull away from you, lie to you, and perhaps leave you. That they may do those things because those things have been done to them by others. Or by you.

And then you have to accept how important this process is. The static in the air right now is solidifying.

We are at war.

We do have to fight back.

We do have to be aggressive.

We do have to be relentless.

But if Black people are standing on a battlefield, make no mistake—our greatest weapon is the ability to be loving.

To ourselves, to our lovers, to our children.

To our oppressors who are cowardly waiting for us to retreat.

I’m sorry. I cannot take on a man’s pain.

I can forgive him, but I cannot continue in a relationship with a man who bruises me, metaphorically or otherwise. I have been down that road enough times. The road of “accepting that they will hurt me, pull away from me, lie to me, and perhaps leave me.” The road of accepting “that they may do those things because those things have been done to them by others.” Where did all of my “loving” get me? Jaded. With extra baggage. That I had to heal on my own. Why should a black woman have to suffer so?

Frankly, I believe that once we reach adulthood we can no longer use our childhood (or past) as an excuse to continue what we are doing. Rather, our adulthood and independence is an opportunity to explore when and where we became broken… and then get the necessary help to heal so as not to hurt or scar others. Especially those that we claim to love.

And while I agree that we must forgive ourselves, our past, and those who have hurt us, I don’t agree that black love requires the kind of forgiveness that is accepting of abuse. There is such a thing as a healthy black love. Though I never experienced it, I have witnessed it enough times at the wedding altars of friends and family members to know that it exists. And it’s beautiful and without the pain.

But what if you never find this healthy black love? Well, don’t settle for an unhealthy version just for the sake of “helping” the black community. Yes, as the author states, “our greatest weapon [as a community] is the ability to be loving,” but it should not come at the price of ourselves. It should not come at the cost of a black woman’s well being. The first love we must master is love of ourselves, our own minds and our own bodies. And that love cannot accept abuse.

What do you think? Share your thoughts below!

 

Chinwe

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21 Comments on "As a Black Woman I Believe in Black Love — But Not at the Expense of My Well-Being"

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@AngOBB (Twitter)

Love this and totally agree

Lois Kasweka

i agree!

guest
i think it’s great to date black men, but it’s also okay to be oen minded and date from other races. Often times we assume that non black men won’t like us or understand us when it’s the exact opposite. You just have to meet open minded people. Besides, as black women, we are conditionned to avoid dating outside the race for fear of being objectified and oppressed, but we accept these behaviors from many misogynistic black men who obsess over out butts but degrade us, mock us, and compare us to women from other races. Sorry but I wll… Read more »
Mel
Exactly! The whole notion of ‘black love’ is very baffling to me. There are good and bad men from ALL races, and this whole idea in my opinion has black women acting extremely close-minded, because they feel they need to have love with a man of their colour, perhaps to prove something to someone. While I understand the wanting to know and show that there are good black men in the world, as a mixed race person, I consider myself a product of LOVE. 2 very different individuals of different races got together and made me out of love! And… Read more »
Michelle

Beautifully said!

Funeka Manzi
I’m disturbed by this sentence: “That you may have been raised by a tired single mother who didn’t have the time or was not taught to think about your emotional development…” I don’t understand why the author of this article had to focus on the mother as the sole parent responsible for the upbringing and emotional development of a man, in this case. I know that a lot of black women are single parents but there is an accusatory tone in this sentence and its misogynistic. More often than not, black man are told to “shake it off” by other… Read more »
Nana

as a child thats where we gain the understanding of love and affection, It is usually through the mother. The mother is not to blame, it’s just a common household situation growing up. As a mother you can never win. Mothers get blamed for everything they did or didn’t let their child do sadly. I can personally relate to this post as both my parents are both emotionally detached, towards family, and their children. It sucks and I do have issues because of it

Guest Writer
I don’t believe in black love! I think it is no different from the Disney princess love fairy tales used to keep little girls blind, deaf, and dumb to what love really is, except it specifically targets BLACK WOMEN. It is a ploy to imprison us in the black community and keep us at the disposal of black men. Black men (as a collective, please spare me the exception about your 1 or 2 daddy, uncles, and cousins who don’t count because you legally can’t marry them anyway) walk away from their communities at an alarming rate (72% OOW). They… Read more »
Von

Wow. You sound extremely bitter, and it’s very sad. Speak for yourself, but black love DOES exist, whether you want to believe it or not–and there are good black men and women out there, getting together, loving each other & raising families. We’re still here. And all of y’all who want to generalize & believe the “no-good BM/BW” mess can spare us & go elsewhere–you get back the same energy you put out, which is why you probably won’t find love from anyone, black or white, until you get over the bitterness & accept people as individuals. Peace.

Jess
Stop calling her bitter and shaming her for their opinion. Don’t tell her what she should or should not feel. Just because she’s talking about her observations and opinions doesn’t mean she’s bitter, or generalizing because trust me, many of us observed exactly the same things she did. See our emotions and opinions as black women are often dismissed and discredited, (i.e this situation right here) instead of being understood and supported and thats exactly why many of us are realizing that we need to put ourself first. We are loving the people that love and respect us thats it,… Read more »
Guest Writer
I have no problem accepting individuals as they are. I am also nowhere near bitter. I see the facts, I see the numbers, and I ‘ve had the experiences so you trying to invalidate that means you too can go elsewhere. I love people who love me period. I just don’t feel an allegiance to anyone because we share the same skin tone. People can love and appreciate you in any shade because it’s the soul that matters. If a BM/BW couple find happiness then great for them, but a BW holding out for happiness with a BM when someone… Read more »
Funeka Manzi

Thank you for articulating this so beautifully! Why is the onus on us as black women?

Stillwoke

This was cathartic. Thank you. Drops mike.

Michelle

In a way I feel guilty for saying it but Amen!

Guest Writer

Why feel guilty?

Michelle

Because it feels Im not supporting the men of our race. A guilt that shouldn’t be any of ours if it includes abuse of any kind.

Guest Writer

Support others who support you. Those individual men or women may/may not look like you and that’s ok. Go where you are loved and appreciated and don’t look back.

ajeé
yes Chinwe, yes! reading this, i can’t help but think of how it’s expected of black women by black men to stand by and either help build that black man up, or even take on the full task of building that black man up *entirely* on our own. i believe that’s exactly where black men have black women fucked up. black men not only participate in and perpetuate the devaluation of black women, but also offer no protection from it. the black man’s pain is far from the black woman’s responsibility to take on when black men don’t even love… Read more »
TWA4now

True so true…self love is number one no love is worth abuse or acceptance of it.

Angela Shortt
The first time a man threatens you in any way, believe that he means it. Don’t try to justify or explain his hurtful words and actions. If you become frightened, that’s your spirit trying to tell you something your mind doesn’t want to hear. I know this because I lived it for nearly seven years. My ex husband nearly killed me twice,in addition to several beatings. I divorced him in 1981, but what I didn’t know was I have been suffering from PTSD ever since. I was literally living in a war zone because I never knew when, where or… Read more »
Michelle

That was well said Chinwe and I agree 1000%. The past is not an excuse to not make a positive change or to accept abusive behavior. Ive always believed that.

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