The Sexist

Why Black Women Shouldn’t Go to College

Like The Root blogger Jimi Izrael, I'm pretty sick of the recent spate of stories that paint all black women as overly-ambitious career women, and all black men as uneducated imbeciles—as Izrael puts it, "the story of the hard-working, over-achieving black women being held back by the shiftless watermelon-stealing, generally no-account black man." Unlike Izrael, however, I don't think a helpful addition to the discussion is to suggest that black women just stop going to college so much. But that's exactly what Izrael does here in an essay that manages to be not just sexist, but pretty damn misanthropic through and through.

To Izrael, there are four kinds of black men: the "Sugar Daddy," the married dude women have sex with for money; the "Pierre Delacroix," the educated black man who is probably gay; the "Bar-Napkin Poet," the open-mic night poser who will get you pregnant; and the "Bartleby," the poor slacker. Black men, in other words, are not marriage material.

There are only three kinds of black women, however: "Dr. Donhavamon," the PhD who "doesn't know what a dustpan is for"; the "Poetess," the open-mic poser who won't give you head; and "Goldbrick," the girl without a degree who is "jealous of anything you may have going on." All black women aren't marriage material, either but for a different reason: not because they cheat on their spouses, or don't use condoms, or are secretly gay. Black women aren't marriage material because she, in Dr. Donhavamon's case, went to college and was really fucking good at it; in the Poetess's case, went to college and thinks it's important; or in Goldbrick's case, simply wants to go to college. Of course, the one black man who succeeded in college, "Pierre Delacroix," doesn't get off either—Izrael even argues this guy doesn't count as "black" anymore.

Apparently, black men and women are just not supposed to go to college. Make sense? Of course not. It makes no fucking sense. Perhaps, you think, Izrael is simply engaging in an ironic exercise in order to remind singles men and ladies that no one is perfect, and stereotyping the opposite sex can be damaging to everyone? Nope: He's pretty much arguing that while the stereotypes of no-good black men are bunk, the stereotypes of overachieving black women have got a grain of truth to them. The argument, in a nutshell: everyone still sucks, but all these sucky people could, at least, suck together, within the context of marriage, as long as one set of sucky people—specifically, educated black women—take one for the team, quit their jobs, and lower their standards. Also, Michelle Obama something something:

There are a lot of women, but not a lot of GOOD women to choose from, educated or not. For some reason, every woman with a college degree now presumes herself to be a Michelle Obama looking for her Barack, when few of them have any of the other qualities that made Michelle a good catch: patience, vision and a sense of purpose and priority.  She wanted a career, but she wanted to be a wife and a mother more, so she figured out what was important to her and made the necessary sacrifices. She didn’t just have a child baby-mama or turkey-baster-style—she wanted a husband and a family. You see? Love came first, it was the first consideration beyond her career. (What kind of lawyer-on-the-rise shackles herself to a broke community organizer driving a hoopty?) And her decisions paid off.

Love was first: that was her choice.

I don't disagree that Michelle Obama is a pretty great lady who looks happy with the life she has. But I don't know—maybe it's because she lives in the White House, is married to the President of the United States, and has found that, for the time being, she can accomplish her professional goals through her national leadership role and enormous celebrity? No, to Izrael, the only incredible thing about Michelle Obama is that she's the only successful black woman willing to get married and have kids. Nevermind that the dude she married was a highly successful, Ivy-educated black man that Izrael would probably razz as overly white and overly gay if he didn't happen to be necessary to his Michelle Obama myth.

It gets better:

I love me some black women—all the most important people in my life are black women. My daughter will be a black woman one day. The truth? Many “successful” black women have simply made choices they can’t reconcile. They have skewed measures of success. Because if you are the other of 35 with an advanced degree, a high-level career but no man or family to share it with, you have successfully isolated yourself, but I don’t know that we could call your life a success story by any measure.

That may not be what you want to hear and I know it’s hard … but it’s fair.

Yeah. After all of the rambling over the failures of both black men and women, the story circles back to the same sexist classic.  At least black men are responsible enough to reconcile their choices. Women, of course, don't know how to choose for themselves. They don't know what they want. They certainly can't multitask well enough to hold down a job while simultaneously fostering personal relationships. They're so stupid, they don't even understand that their masters diplomas don't magically poop out a baby after a couple of years! If they say they're happy, they're lying. And no matter how successful her choices have made her, no one respects her. Because she wasn't smart enough to let some relationship writer make those choices for her.

  • kza

    This man doesn't come off as very bright. He even leaves out the possibility that his daughter may one day become a black man! He must hate transgendered persons as well!

  • Victor

    Not to ask a stupid question, but why does he assume black women have to limit their choices to black men? It seems a bit antiquated to me, as pairing off has become more and more based on education and career ambitions than race these days.

    The days of an educated man wanting to settle down with a high-school educated waitress are long gone. I wouldn't even consider dating a woman without an advanced degree, in a real field (read: history and english are fluffy and do not command respect).

    This only seems like an issue if:
    1 - you refuse to date outside your race
    2 - You're uneducated, black and male and you have issues with potential partners being successful.

  • Bitter Elitist

    Victor: As a SBW-attorney #2 is his problem. #1 is NOT mine.

    There were 5-6 black women, for every black man at my law school. Seems like black women aren't/don't have a problem.

  • Cronin

    I'd like to make a case for the word mysoganthropy.

  • kza

    Victor. You realize that people can be intelligent without a advanced degree right? You come off as pretty elitest there.

  • Victor

    kza - yeah... so?
    I didn't say that I was using education as a proxy for intelligence. I stated that I take educational level (and have a minimum set) in to account. I happen to also require intelligence, and an entire bevy of other variables. In fact, I'm extraordinarily lucky to have found someone who fits my myriad requirements.

    Whats your point?

  • Victor

    BE - thats fine, my criticism was aimed more at the author of the paper anyway.

    I'm reminded of a friend of mine from graduate school. She is black, and over the 6 years I've known her, I've never seen her date a black man.

    She says it's because they'll all leave her for a white chick. I don't know how she knows this if she never dates them... but I don't really press the issue.

  • Mr.T

    What drives me crazy about these discussions is the breakdown on interracial numbers. If black women exceed black men in education and income, why don't more of them go out with white men?

  • kza

    You would date the world most beatiful, intelligent, nice, personable, woman on earth who was an excellent cook, had a 6 figure income, and was your soul mate.....because she has a degree in english? Not even consider it? I guess my point is that your rules on who you date are odd. To each his own though.

  • Victor

    Why is "nice", "personable" and "cook" even on that list?

    Of course, if Mila Jovovich(sp) decided decided I was the man of her dreams, then I'd reconsider my criteria. But really, these are in place to deal with the general, not the exception.

    Besides... how the hell would an English PhD even be earning 6 figures??? :)

  • http://thelonestarphoenix.blogspot.com Jennifer

    Sexist? Jimi Izrael? SURELY YOU JEST!!!

    *eyeroll*

    I wish to God somebody would bring this article to Mrs. Obama's attention and she would denounce it as the trash it is. And what's with this "love came first" crap? Last I checked, Michelle Obama had a helluva career before and all during her marriage to the president - including now, as the First Lady.

    Usually Jimi's "bitches ain't shit" manifestos at least make sense. This one was obviously written after he got yet another child support court over, because it's even longer and more incoherent than usual.

  • furious_styles

    Did we read the same article?
    I didn't hear him suggesting that black women have ruined the race by the act of going to college or getting careers. It's not that black men don't want women who are educated and successful (as a black man that is what I have been used to in my past partners). But being a successful black woman doesn't automatically make you marriageable if you , at one extreme, are too damn goal-oriented and mercenary and see a black man as an item on the checklist along with the house, car, and big-screen tv, or at the other, have a chip on your shoulder. That's just for any person.

  • http://www.amazon.com/Denzel-Principle-Black-Women-Cant/dp/031253485X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1251656787&sr=8-1 jimi izrael

    Hi Amy.

    I'm always really flattered when other writers write about stuff I write, and this is no exception -- thanks so much for reading and taking time to give your take. I don't agree, but that hardly matters. You made a new fan.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

    Best and all,

    jimi

  • kza

    Surely furious_styles isn't Jimi. But I am still wondering who Amy is...

  • http://thelonestarphoenix.blogspot.com Jennifer

    "Amy, Amanda, Antoinette...look, I gave the bitch a compliment, okay? That's why you ain't gonna get a Barack or a Denzel. Shoot, you think Barack didn't call Michelle Malina every once in a while?"

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/sexist Amanda Hess

    I think Britney Spears wrote a song about this?

  • jimi izrael

    Oops. Sorry bout that Amanda. My Iphone assumed Amy and I didn't double-check. No slight intended.

    Best,

    j---

  • Patrick Salem

    Ms. Hess,

    I've known jimi izrael for years and can tell you that he's really not so bad a guy who loves the haters so much that he makes it a point to be that oppositional character. Basically, he's the Black man version of Stephen Colbert. It's all really an act. The key line in his piece was the plug for his soon-to-be released book The Denzel Principle.

    Don't be so sensitive: it's just jimi being jimi.

  • kza

    A black Colbert? Thank god, I had a feeling that colum was a joke.

  • http://thelonestarphoenix.blogspot.com Jennifer

    kra, if this column is a joke, I'm not laughing. Guess ol' boy needs to polish up his act.

    As for this idea that black women won't marry "below" their station, somebody apparently forgot to tell my parents. My mom (the one w/the degree and the MUCH bigger paycheck) is from not one, but two fairly prominent families in our city. She spent 13 years in the best private schools in the state. She met my dad - who grew up with less than nothing, if that's possible - when he moved to Texas carrying the raggediest, mismatched "luggage" you've ever seen in your life. She'd already been divorced from my dad (the son of the Hon. Rev. So-and-So), so most men would have - and did - write her off because she had a child. So if black men won't date women with children and black women won't dated busted-ass dudes w/no hem in their pants, how are my parents coming up on 22 (23?) years of marriage?

    If we're not dating you, it's not because your car is raggedy. It's not because you don't have a degree. It's because you don't have a car or a degree and you obviously resent us for having one, the other, or both. That's not my problem - that's yours. "Ooh, that bitch paid her rent on time this month! She thank she don't meed a brotha!" Whatever. I'm sick of these bitch made black men whose feel like they can pick and choose which women are WORTHY of respect and then get pissed off when they're called on it. Man up, and you'll be treated thusly.

  • kza

    Is this like in a black persons DNA? Why are white people immune to this?

  • Frank

    Hey, lets not forget that most black women, educated or not, like thugs away.

  • Pingback: Sexist Comments of the Week: The Problem With Black Women Edition - The Sexist - Washington City Paper

  • A.

    Frank, you sound bitter.

    Just like Jimi.

    Quite honestly - Michelle Obama WAS Barack's superior for a long fucking time. Looks like Jimi hasn't even done his homework in that regard. If Barack had the mentality that men like Jimi hold, Michelle would have been among the ranks of those "successful and single" black women.

    As I said someplace else - looks like Jimi and those that share an opinion to his better start playing catch-up to me - because I'm a black woman with a white beau, and it looks like he seems to enjoy my high-minded standards.

  • KiKi Slice

    I think this whole article and everything that was posted here is a result of ignorance and the unwillingness to understand others--even those of your own race (which really should not even be an issue, but seeing as how this is the basis of this article...). Nobody really knows what anybody else is going through. It's the same idea as that neighbor who never looks as tidy as the others--ever consider that he/she isn't just a slob but down on his/her luck? Regardless, black men and women need to buck up about each other. This could be said about anybody, though.

  • http://www.theprogressiveblackwoman.com Lady Progressive

    Hello,
    I am very happy that I came across this site as it is very informative.I also run a site that deals with the issues of Black women but I deal with it in a different perspective. I decided to take on the role of having Black women look at themselves and realize that they are contributing to their own demise and that we as Black women must stop being so sexist against ourselves. Please feel free to visit @ theprogressiveblackwoman.com.

    I will absolutely continue to visit this site and promote it to others. Thank You. Lady Progressive.

  • http://citypaperdetroit Shelia

    I am an educated Black women married to a wonderful Educated White man and I am noticing that many Black women are taking my advice and marrying out of the race to find loving, sucessful husbands who just happen to be of a lighter hue (SMILE)

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