How many times have we have we all heard these words spoken (usually by a black woman--isn't it odd how rarely black men express this belief?) in response to the latest candid photo of Will and Jada, Bill and Camille, Holly and Rodney, Denzel and Pauletta? And who could disagree? Black love--love period--is indeed a beautiful thing.
However, what is often implicit in these expressions of wistful admiration for "black love" are some more uncomfortable, often unspoken emotional beliefs--the belief that black love is increasingly rare and imperiled, and that other kinds of love ("non-black" love?) are in some way inferior or even threatening to the gold standard that is "black love."
Very often, the same black women who wax poetic in response to images of "black love" respond more acidly to the vision of black men with non-black women. This particular love is often dismissed as not being love at all, but a false, lust-driven form of self-hatred and self-annihilation, an expression of contempt for black women and blackness itself.
The resentment that many black women express towards black men in interracial relationships is often rooted in their very real experience of discrimination, both in the larger society and within their own communities. Few women have ever had to face the degree of character assassination and disparagement of their womanhood and feminine appeal that black women have had to cope with. When the very same black men who all too often have not only joined in mainstream contempt for black women, but have actively spearheaded the dissemination of hostile and demeaning images of black womanhood (see the essay "Virulent Racio-Misogyny in the Black Community" for an in-depth discussion of this phenomenon at http://dateawhiteguy.blogspot.com/,) simultaneously express their respect and appreciation for the beauty and appeal of non-black women, black women feel doubly betrayed.
However, black women's embrace of the "black love" ideal and resentment of BM/WW interracial relationships is also a product of black women's own refusal to consider pursuing relationships with non-black men. Many black women have concluded that racial loyalty and "self-love" requires that one only love those within one's own race, and they are angry that increasing numbers of black men do not seem to share this belief.
Ultimately, black women find themselves one of the least married demographic groups in American society, and many have concluded that the culprit for their plight is the accelerated abandonment by black men of their "duty" to marry black. What black women must consider, however, is what actions we can take to have the lives that we want and deserve. When healthy, attractive, intelligent, accomplished women are alone while there are available men who want to be with them, something is wrong.
The answers that black women get from the "community" as to what that something is all to often simply fall back on the same knee-jerk scapegoating that has become something of an addiction for the black community over the past 50 years. Whether the issue is single-parent households, rates of imprisonment for black men, the spread of AIDS, crime, poverty, there is always a simple explanation: the problem is black women. Black women themselves have come to accept and embrace this concept, and can often be found hectoring and cajoling their "sisters" to "do better."
In terms of declining marriage rates, the latest version of "do better" typically incorporates two contradictory concepts: black women must stop being so "picky" when it comes to black men and lower their gold digging standards; and black women must become more discriminating when it comes to black men, and stop pursuing "thugs" and losers. That perhaps there maybe some problems with the pool of black men from which black women have to choose is an idea that is rarely if ever seriously considered.
My version of "doing better" and finding "black love" begins with black women loving ourselves enough to pursue our own best interests. If you are smart, witty, charming, kind, honest, pretty, fit, and successful, and you want a man who is comparable and compatible, you are NOT too picky, and you do NOT need to change your standards. What you DO need to do is consider whether the pool of candidates from which you are seeking companions is actually sufficient. If it is not, you need to increase that pool--plain and simple.
Ain't black girls loving themselves beautiful?