Meet Mario Johnson. He is a Black man in his mid-thirties. He is different from many other Black men and any man regardless of race. He dresses like an executive. He has on a well-tailored suit, an expensive watch, a leather brief case, and black shoes so polished you could see your reflection. All this is just the surface. What people do not know is that Mario is the General Counsel of a major corporation. He is well educated, with a BA, JD, and a MBA. He is tall, in great shape, and handsome. He volunteers with troubled youth and plans to become politically active. By anyone’s standards this brother has his act together.
Meet Sam Watson. He is a Black Man in his mid-twenties. At first glance he may seem like any other young male. He wears stylish baggy clothes. He has dreadlocks and an earring. He only has a high school education. On the surface it looks like Sam does not have anything going for him. That is just the surface.
People don’t realize that Sam owns three stores specializing in clothes for a young urban crowd. As early as high school Sam was always selling something. After graduation Sam decided to start a business selling T-shirts he’d designed. This business eventually grew to the point that he was able to move from a street corner stand to a small store. He expanded his business to include clothes from other designers. One store became two stores. Two became three. With all the energy he put into his business he simply did not have time for college. Despite this he has a large collection of books on a variety of subjects making him a well-read and well-informed individual.
Meet James Abraham. James graduated college and has a job working as an analyst in a government agency. To his co-workers he is content and average. James’ co-workers do not realize he is a different person away from work. James has an entertainment company that produces parties, fashion shows and other functions. In another year James will have saved enough money to quit his government job and pursue his business full-time.
These three brothas are fictional, however, they represent several types of successful men. These men have several things in common. They are all men who worked to get where they are going in life. They have all attained a measure of success. Each one, however, lacks one thing: a special lady with whom to share his life. Someone may look at the examples above and say that men like these should not have any problems finding someone special. Black women greatly outnumber Black men. These men should have literally dozens of women at their beck and call. The reality is that this is not the case. The reality is that for the successful Black man there is a shortage of good women.
The term “good” is relative. What one person considers good another person may consider bad. In this case I use the word “good” to mean women who are good for successful Black men. A successful Black man in most cases will not grab any woman he sees. There are several issues to consider when he chooses a mate. The biggest issue is compatibility.
When people talk about how many women there are for each man, it is never taken into consideration that a man is only going to be compatible with a few women. For example, Phil has college and graduate degrees. He makes six figures, lives in an upscale neighborhood, and drives a late model car. As a result of the supposed shortage of “good” men Phil has several women he can choose from.
Let us say for the sake of argument he has met ten single women in one month. All the women are interested in Phil. Two of them, however, are on welfare and view Phil as a way out of their situation. Phil does not bother with them because he realizes they have nothing to offer him. Three have children and although Phil loves children he does not want to deal with issues that come with “babies daddies.” Three will be physically unattractive to him. That leaves two women. These two women are professionals with nearly the same credentials as Phil so he still has a choice.
There are still compatibility problems when a successful Black man has to deal with successful or professional Black women. The problem many times stem from background. Several successful Black men come from poor or working class backgrounds. A successful Black man from this background will tend to have a combination a formal education and street smarts.
Professional women regardless of their background tend to come from isolated environments. (Not all of course, but a significant number.) A worldly brother and isolated sister do not make for a winning combination. In many cases, this couple may not have much in common beyond economic status and the bedroom. A successful man is going to look for somebody he can talk to and share his life with. Getting back to the example above, Phil does not hook up with either woman. One woman is not worldly enough for him and the other is caught up in a bourgeois existence, which brings me to my next point.
When people talk about relationships in the Black community and particularly about the choices a Black man has to make, few seem to take into consideration class differences. We constantly hear about how professional sisters do not want to date men who are not professionals. We do not hear as much about men who are professionals. As I mentioned above, men want to date someone on their level as well. A successful brother is going to want a certain level of class, education, and sophistication in a mate. He is typically not going to want someone whose biggest concern is her hair and nails. He is not going to want someone who is content to live day to day. With money and success a man will behave in such a way that he is not going to be compatible with everybody he meets.
Another issue the successful brother must consider: is a woman with him for his personality or for his money? A successful brother recalls the time when he was broke and had to walk because he had no car. Times when he could not afford to even take a date to a fast food place. This man remembers when women did not want to be bothered with him. Once this brother has reached a level of measurable success he will look at women differently. He will not want the women who once rejected him. How can he trust them? The experience of being rejected by women when he was broke will affect how a brother chooses a woman once he has money.
Like everyone else in society, a successful Black man is looking for a woman with whom to share his life. Despite what people believe he does not have a lot to choose from. He is looking for a woman to help him grow so he can be the best he can be. He needs a woman who will be a helpmate, not a hindrance. He does not need a gold digger. He does not need an unambitious woman. He does not need someone who will play games with him. He needs a strong positive woman.
Successful Black Men
and the Shortage of Good Black Women
©1999, 2005, 2011 Rom Wills