Guest post: I love African men too, but do they love me back?

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 Guest post: I love African men too, but do they love me back?This is a guest blog by Stephanie Kimou (pictured) who blogs at A Black Girl in the World

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Minna’s article last week on the reasons why she/we love African men, was pretty spot on right? I certainly appreciate African men and if I may be biased, especially West African men – *swoon*.

I agree that there is an aura of unrehearsed confidence about African men that makes women like me weak. And Minna’s point about a sort of feministic archetype African man is interesting.

Plus, they understand us right? They too get the 3am calls from relatives back home who can never seem to get the time differences right. They too understand the monthly Western Union visits to send our cousins’ school fees. They sympathize with us the when our white co-workers ask if we speak “African”, or if we can teach them how to twerk.

However, now that I’m back living on the continent as a single girl, many of my interactions with African men have left me wondering if the love is mutual.

I’ve come to wonder if African men see us are as their cherished equals, their queens? I’m getting the feeling that they all lust for their very own Kim Khardashians, leaving the Fatimas, Onyekas, and Wanjirus of the world high and dry?

Let me give you a few examples. A couple of weeks ago I had some friends over to my home in Tanzania for Sunday daytime drinking (don’t judge). One of my guests, influenced by my cocktails, confessed his feelings about my roommate who is white. He basically said that I was not as valuable as my roommate because of her heritage. Another case: one of my friends doing her masters degree in a cold, faraway Scandinavian country met a guy from the same African country that she comes from. After spending time together, and connecting on the fact that they spoke the same language, and shared other experiences, he eventually revealed to her that he really wanted an “exotic” woman, meaning non-African. This reminded me of a male friend who doesn’t mind African women as long as they are light skinned. Ethiopian women, he once told me he liked, because “Ethiopian women make the women from his country,” [beautiful women who I think look very much like myself] “look like animals.” Can you imagine?

The list of experiences goes on. Between my girlfriends and I; we have had our fair share of less than pleasant interactions with African men.

African men that we in return speak so highly about; African men that we have loved all our lives, whom we were raised with, who raised us. African men who we covet and respect. Yet have we lost the shine in their eyes? Do African men really love us back?

Leave a comment with your thoughts.

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Born in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire and raised in Washington, DC, Stephanie Kimou is a blogger by night at A Black Girl in the World and a program manager at WomenCraft Social Enterprises in Ngara, Tanzania by day. She holds a masters in International Affairs and Gender Studies from Georgetown University in DC.
Stephanie has written on MsAfropolitan previously about marriage and women in an African context.

 

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  • http://www.mukaintu.blogspot.de Twaambo

    Great post and valid questions!I’d like to hear what the men have to say.

    • http://myburntorange.wordpress.com Freedes

      Twaambo, this reminds me of your post on DD. What a perspective.

  • http://www.chikaoduahblog.com Chika

    I’ve been saying this for years. Black men don’t want us. That includes Black African and Black American. They’ve got issues, inferiority complex issues and they’re busy chasing white booty. It’s a shame but it’s the bald-faced truth. Thank you for this post.

    • black man

      I date black women exclusively and Im a black man. I have many friends the same as me, I also know some who dare white women. Im african american, we have been exposed to white women for a long time its not new or exotic to us, When i was younger I dated many white women and the reason is very simple, they wer more available, they wer ready to sleep with me quicker so I messed with them. As I got older and began looking for a wife I bagan to recognize that it was a Black woman I needed to have a family with. Anyways this is my 2 cents. There are many black men out there who prefer black woman, sometimes we just cant get to you with all the white women standing in the path

  • http://www.jorisocentric.blogspot.com Joke

    I’ve heard and seen men do the same thing. African women need to broaden their horizons. African men are not the only men in the world. The sooner we start to diversify our idea of the ‘ideal man’ the better.

    • Adura

      I agree

    • https://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000113479528 Jacqueline Bussey

      i agree

  • DM

    I partially agree with Joke. Women need to broaden their horizons as regards dating and marriage. African women might just realize they are better appreciated by men of other races.

  • Kweku

    I will not agree with the generalisation that African men do not love African women back. What I think could be the issue is that as an African woman once you acquire european tastes, interests and a lot of their culture it becomes difficult to meet or attract other african men who have equally attained european tastes, interests and culture and it is these type of African men who tend to go for White European women. For the African men that may be interested in because you have little in common in terms of taste, interests and culture that they may not make the approach. I think the problem is the smaller pool that African women educated in the west have to choose from and that is why it appears that you are not being loved back. This may be a simplistic explanation of what is going on but it may form one of the reasons why some African women think their men is not loving them back.

  • MsAfropolitan

    Thanks for your guest post Stephanie, which I really enjoyed and could relate to. I know the type of guy you’re talking about, I’ve met men to whom I was too black and also those who found me preferable because I’m light skinned. But I’ve also met African men who preferred dark skinned sisters to women with my complexion.

    Yet I’d be interested in discussing whether the issue about African men preferring exotic women is one that Africans who have lived in the diaspora are more conscious of? Is it to some extent an issue that is especially stubborn in African American society that we have imported alongside much US cultural influence?
    After all, most relationships in African societies are between Africans of the same nationality, same skin tone, ethnic group even.
    And in Nollywood movies, for instance, for the most part the “love intererest” is a black African woman.

    I’d love to hear what people think.

    • http://www.jorisocentric.blogspot.com Joke

      @MsAfropolitan I think you’re right in saying that the issue seems to be more apparent with African men living in the diaspora. Could it also be age or generation specific? However, I don’t know if this is an African American influence. I think issues like self-identity and the portrayal of black images in the media have a lot to do with the way African men are relating to African women of all complexions. The too light too dark rhetoric seems to be a common thread.

      • MsAfropolitan

        @Joke – Good point about it also being generation specific. I think you’re right, however, even there I would question whether the import of a particular type of US youth culture influences the debate to some extent.
        Re the media that’s why I mentioned Nollywood, which is after all the most influential TV/media output for many Africans.
        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting the problem doesn’t exist independent of diasporic influences, but I think we should be mindful of how we frame the light/dark skin dialogue in an African continental context.

        Interesting discussion, thanks for commenting.

  • mira

    I’d like to bring the North African view to perspective as well. In Egypt, where most of the women are relatively of lighter skin than those from the rest of the continent, color is also an issue and features are also an issue. I mean the mainstream men prefer the fair skinned woman with straight hair and fair complexion than the relatively darker skinned, curly haired one. It’s a hidden belief in the culture that the lighter you are, the more beautiful. Only men who were able to break through the stereotypes are able to cherish the beauty of dark skin.

  • Rashad

    I am a 70 year old African American man who lived in Africa for three years
    and I must say with candor that the level of complexion, ethnic, and facial
    bias was/is very disturbing. The crux of this disturbing phenomena is rooted in Euro-centrism, and its attendant feature of so-called “white
    privilege. In other words, racism/white supremacy is a centuries old
    philosophy that a considerable number of Africans throughout the Diaspora are not cognizant of its pervasiveness. Hence, they react to
    it via self-hate. A continual historical awareness of Africa, and its subjugation to white nationalist policies can ease, I believe, some of the
    dastardly beliefs and practices that Africans perpetrate on one another.
    Bear in mind that it is not only Africans/women who suffer from this gender/complexion rejection, but other women of color s well. Hence, Asian women are altering their eyes, dying their hair blond in the hope of gaining a Caucasian mate. East Indian men and women view the “ideal”
    mate as “light to white.” As I stated above, this took centuries to develop it will not be erased any time soon; however, we can steadily chip away at it. Some action is better than no action. It is better to be pro-active than re-active.

  • Rashad

    I neglected to tell you Sister Stephanie that you are a beautiful young woman. Please, do not be dismayed; there are men of African descent who will relish your intelligence, charm, and feminine dignity.

    • Yasin Najaa

      Cause they’re weak and stupid minded, and you also got a bunch of undercover fags in the bunch, so let them go, and sleep with the enemy.

  • Yasin Najaa

    I understand how you feel my lady, but we have to also understand that a lot of those guys who feel that way about their own women are weak and stupid minded. For one I know a lot of African men who dream of having a white woman, but they don’t realize that their destroying their own essence, and existence by rejecting who they are. However, for me I don’t mined cause I’m going to stay with a black woman and because of their stupidity it gives me more to chose from.

  • J

    I have dated an a Kenyan guy for over 10 years now and just gotten married 2 months ago to him. Dated 8 years long distance…I was in the US schooling and he was in Kenya in college too. There were so many red flags from the beginning but the long distance blinded me plus, I was just too busy in school to let my mind start thinking of those red flags. I didn’t know any better then anyways. Some of those red flags included; he never paid for any of our dates whenever I visited Kenya (I am the one who paid for the lunches, dinners…), his phone would be off most of the weekends and would NEVER call me, he lied so many times, he rarely sent me birthday wishes…the list is long! To cut the story short, I moved back to when he was denied entry to the US. We ended up having a baby together and stupid me, I agreed to marry him 2 months ago because I thought he was changing to the man I desired to have. It’s barely been 2 months since we got married and honestly, he has proven to me he will never stop being stingy, egocentric, childish, lier, demeaning other people (he thinks he is everything since he is a doctor)! He is a control freak too! He has passwords to all his gadgets/electronics including his phone BUT he gets mad when he tries to access my electronics and is prompted to enter a password. He is so full of himself! He is a typical African man who believes that it is a woman’s job to cook, clean, do laundry, ensure the kids are clean and have done their homework, etc etc. I have raised my concerns regarding his behavior but he just doesn’t care. It’s official that I can’t live with such a man and worse off, I can’t have a marriage relationship with him. I have decided I to go back to the US. I deserve better. It is from my experience with him that I DO NOT WANT anything to do with African men! They are crazy! Maybe there are good African men out there but, not for me. I deserve better.

  • E.

    Maybe it’s the curse of the Afropolitan single woman! I have heard from uncles in my family married to non-African women: “If I had met a black woman like you, I’d have never married out of race.” What do they mean? That if they had met an African woman with the RIGHT amount of Western mannerisms and values they can put up with, they would have settled with her. I have also heard from guys my age (I’m 35): “Well, when men meet a like you, they think they can’t get her.” or “you’re too self-sufficient, you’re too Westernized, you will never get along with a black men.” All comments from fellow Afropolitans! The truth is that black men can’t get rid of their prejudices towards black women. First of all, there is the fact that when they see us (the fact that we have a dark skin), they expect us to behave like their moms did and still do with their dads. I’m always befuddled by black men who cook, do the laundry when they date a non-black girl and refuse to do these chores with a female black partner. Yep, I’m still talking about Afropolitans. 2nd preconceived idea: black women are complicated, drama queens, opinionated and impossible to court. The result of this way of thinking: they’d rather date out of race. Of course, there’s also the inferiority complex, the ingrained subconscious colonial self-hate at play but that’s the way it is. Last but not least: the skin complexion and the hair. Well let’s call a spade a spade: men in Africa, especially West and Central Africa, love light-skinned women. Some even buy bleaching products for their wives and girlfriends because a dark-skinned girl isn’t considered beautiful. Now, let’s move to the hair! Do black men hit on black girls who has short hair, decide to go natural or just stick with hair styles like cornrows? Nope, they don’t find it attractive: relaxed hair is more attractive, is deemed neat. The truth is that a lot of male educated black men really don’t know where they’re from hence they don’t know themselves. I am not talking about platitudes like “in traditional African societies, a man used to the provider, the leader”, this kind of BS. I am talking about knowing themselves what makes them the individual they’re. They’re confused and there’s nothing sadder than a black man who tells you about the real and imaginary flaws of black women as a justification for looking for an “exotic” woman. Have you looked at your mom lately? I have no issues with brothers who tell me “I’m just attracted to Asian, European, non-Black women, it’s just like that.” But the ones who try to explain you how Black women are intrinsically defective or inferior to the other ones, nah, those self-hating ones? I say: “Good riddance” when they decide to date/marry non-black women.

  • http://Gmail Tegegn fufa

    We should love one another

  • http://www.ligali.org Toyin Agbetu

    OMG.

    I feel like I’ve just been punched in the head after reading this well written but very tragic article.

    My sista’s if this is what you are thinking then all I can do is say is that I am very sorry that you have come into contact with my brothas that think like that.

    I can equally tell you that there are many of us for whom the ‘exotic’ desire is equally untrue.

    It is my experience that most men exposed to western media are socialised in a way that elevates european beauty ideals above all else. However the spiritual and political maturity that is supposed to comes with age offers men the discipline to eradicate or at least mange their physical urges and make choices based on character and love of cultural compatibility and /or familiarity.

    However as you may know, many ‘men’ are really boys grown big. There has been little personal development since childhood so they carry on with simplistic thoughts based on normalised ‘white is right’ stimuli.

    But look hard at most of those African men who don’t even want to know you and you will find a man who doesn’t quite love himself.
    And a man that loathes self is incapable of loving reflection of self let alone ironically, the ‘exotic’ prize he so desperately seeks to validate his own need to be accepted as valuable. Franz Fanon explains the phenomena far better than I ever can.

    So in answer to your opening question.

    Yes Stephanie, we love you.

    Not all of us, but enough of us, the trick now is our finding each other.

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  • Divising

    Im Nigerian I currently go out with a girl thats from Brazil but in all honesty african women are beautiful and shouldn’t worry a man chases what he wants thats all it is

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  • Don Nickerly

    I must say, I love and adore openly, only black woman as a darkskin Caribbean Blackman, this is somewhat frowned upon by people in the west. I find it hard to approach the average dark skinned blackwoman, most are perpetuated with self hate, and they have shown a lot darkskin men in the hope for light skin One. lighter skin woman are usually more open to darkskin men, even if that man wanted a dark skin woman. Ladies do not judge any man by what he looks like! We have get pass the weaves the make up and your tedious issues. But I love black woman anyway, because of who they are. They are me!