Why African Women Don’t Often Date African-American Men

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by Lema Abeng-Nsah (Twitter: @LemaNsah)

Well, this is one of those testy topics that I am sure you will either agree with or think of as ‘utterly senseless’, but the truth is that since Dunia Magazine provides the platform for cross cultural discussions, I thought to ‘lay it out on the table’. By confronting and discussing these things, we may actually begin to break the ice … that I am sure you agree often exists between Africans and African Americans.

In as much as my intention is not to generalize or stereotype, I am writing this article based on real life experiences and events.

Earlier this year, I believe in January, a client walked into my office, his name JD (I am sure he is going to read this article). For the record, JD is an African American male and I am an African female. He was a first time client, so we began to chit chat as I worked on his papers. We talked about travels and different people we had met; the conversation turned to marriage as I was obviously wearing my wedding ring; he asked if I was married to an African, I said “Yes, of course,” then he asked if my husband was a doctor. I answered ‘No’, laughing. Oh well, he says quite a few African men he knows are doctors … ha,ha,ha. That’s when he asked  me why it is so uncommon to find African women who date or marry outside their culture, especially to African American men. I thought about this for a few seconds … I kinda agreed – African women do marry outside their race and culture, but it’s more common to find them married to Caucasian men. Personally, I only know a handful of girls from Africa who are married to black American men.

So, wanting to know what my friends thought, I posted this question on my Facebook page:

One of my clients, an African American male asked me an interesting question the other day: “WHY IS IT THAT IN THE U.S. ESPECIALLY, YOU DON’T OFTEN FIND AFRICAN WOMEN WHO MARRY OUTSIDE THEIR CULTURE, ESPECIALLY TO BLACK AMERICAN MALES? …”

There were quite a few comments left, most of them by African females; unscripted, they show real undiluted thoughts that run in our community. I will summarize them into the following points:

The ‘devil’ I know
African women prefer to deal with the guys they know; in line with the popular saying, “I’ll rather deal with the devil I know, than an angel I don’t.”

Superiority complex
African American men do not often ask African women out. A couple of girls felt that the African Americans tend to think that they are superior to Africans, showing less respect for them than the Caucasians who are more open to learning about different cultures.

Distrust
African women tend to believe that African American men are ‘playas’, out looking for nothing but a good time. It was stated that those who do ask African women out are not usually looking for serious long term relationships and African ‘sistas’ out here in the diaspora are often very much aware of their ticking biological clocks; they have no time to waste playing around.

Not much in common
Fundamental cultural differences serve as a huge divide between both groups; they do not share the same values for the most part. Most folks “tend to be comfortable with the culture they can identify with”, Anthony said.

Not enough interaction
Diane kind of hit the nail on the head when she wrote: “On my part, I think both parties have bought into the stereotypes. Reality is we don’t interact enough with one another. Only by so doing and gaining adequate knowledge/understanding of what angles we are all coming from will the demystification process begin …”

In a few words

Lisa summed it up when she wrote: “… seriously good points all around. Stereotypes, cultural differences, a natural wariness of the unfamiliar and other complexities – let’s admit a fair number of Africans feel superior to African Americans – all play a role. The question is, are these perceptions justified or not? Some African sisters are happily married to African American men. I think the same rules should apply for cross-cultural/mixed race relationships as for any other: does he/she love, respect, and value you and the relationship? Is he/she a morally upright and responsible person? But given the low degree of interaction between both communities, it’s little wonder few ever get past first base and these all important questions never even come up.”

I would say, having lived in the United States for almost 10 years, I have had the opportunity to work with African Americans on a regular basis, and have gotten close to many who are now like family.  Personally, I believe that there are huge walls of ignorant stereotypes between us when we first meet, but once these begin to be broken down (which happens especially when both groups have no choice but to get along), we find that we really have a lot more in common.

Unfortunately, like Lisa said, most Africans and African Americans never really ever get pass ‘first base’. It’s our hope at Dunia Magazine to begin to bridge these divides.

Looking forward to hearing from you, please leave an honest comment.

Photo by BrinsImage Photography

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31 Responses to “Why African Women Don’t Often Date African-American Men”

  1. Nicoline Ambe says:

    What a fascinating read. One word is responsible for this discord between African women and AA men – STEREOTYPES. I also know many African men who would never marry African women. They prefer AA women. That's another issue altogether. At the end of the day, I think we should just all focus on ourselves and try to be the best we can be. What the late Michael Jackson calls "if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change."

    Great article!

    • tosky says:

      When ever an African man opens his mouth to tell you he won't marry an African woman, be careful. He just wants to get something from you. It will happen before your eyes, you will see him marry her (an African lady), by them you might have lost all. He can tell you he loves African ladies and love you too but that's it.
      And what's up with the Michael Jackson quote? "if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change."? I guess he looked at himself in the mirror and made a change. Not even his children and a resemblance of him

  2. Marie says:

    Most African American men are involve in the baby mama saga, and is uncommon in the African culture. On the other hand, some African women are too up tight, wants to stay around their own kinda people, eat same kinda food everyday, speak their same kinda lang 24/7 and don't wonna try something different. People with those mind frame will never date outside the box…I'm just saying..

  3. Bern says:

    AA men and african women maybe the same color, but I think thats where the similarities end.The cultures are different making it difficult to really get along. It takes 2 open minded and worldly people to click and be able to deal with these differences.

  4. Sade says:

    I disagree..somewhat.. i'm Nigerian and have blacks ask me out all the time. It's a class issue.( not I live in the south and don't come in regular contact with educated black males. Up North and things may be different. And yes we are warned by parents to stay away from AA men… (that's obviously based on the negative image of AA in Western Media..scary)

  5. Patience A says:

    Like most of your articles, this is a deep issue. Most african women were brought up with the notion of being provided and catered for by their men. So even when they become the bread winners, they still make it look like their man is doing it all. However, it is the reverse with most AA men who are provided and catered for by their women and even take pride in it even when they could take care of themselves and their partners as well.Dont get me wrong, there are still a good number of AA men who find pride in taking care of their women as they ought to.

  6. Dieneba says:

    I think t here is alot to this article. I am a west african female living in Harlem, originally from Guinea. it's interesting because this area is mostly AA and African. about 3 blocks make up what we call LIttle Senegal, but there are many West African immigrants here from other countries. You would htink they would mingle more but in reality there is a divide. and more, we are mostly Muslim over here.

    I do get approached by AA men sometimes, bu t most of the time they didnt think i was African,t elling me 'you don't look African' which leads me to think what they believe Africans look like. Finding out we are African they seem to be intimidated by this for some reason.

    AA men and African women don't really move in the same circles, at least not that much right now, i think in about 20 years or so when the first generation comes of age, this will change. As far as having things in common that is true, but i feel two people can connect despite cultural differences. There exists alot of misconception, mistrust still between AA and AFrican people. You can find the other side more, African men and AA women getting together, but it's easier for a man to go after a woman i believe. since he does the approaching!

    I will also mention alot of African men would not look well upon African women dating AA men, for whatever reasons. just the truth

  7. Jocelyn says:

    Personally, I will date an educated and mature African American man….But where are they? The few that are around my age group have already been taken…. And I think that could be the same for other Sistas.

  8. A rational mind will begin to ask why the fuss on African women/men not marrying African American men/women arise in the first place when, the fundamentals of marriage are better laid down only in a comfortable pre-knowledge of partner's ways,style,believe systems,foods "CULTURE". The rest will be super construction which will endure survival only because, we self accuse using words like:stereotypes, AA Men, African women/men, superiority complex etc.. to make us guilty and subdued. I think that,marriage goes way beyond sexuality which i see as the crux of this mask debate. Do not be too polite and end up losing a tooth.

  9. Derrick says:

    I am engage to an African women Im an African American. i visit my fiance in africa twice and i had a lot of fun with her we love one another so much and we learn our culture differences and most african love african american music weather its gospel rap comedy shows and so on. i never look down on my fiance neither does she think she better than me we been in a relationship for two years and cant wait to get married you guys can look at our photos on facebook just type in Derrick Hill or Koneka you will see

    • Lilian says:

      Hello
      My name is Lilian,
      i saw your profile today at (www.duniamagazine.com) and became interested in you, i will also like to know you more, and i want you to send an email to my email address so that i can give you my picture for you to know whom i am. Here is my email address (liliandesmond221@yahoo.in)
      I believe we can move from here. I am waiting for your mail to my email address above.
      (Remember that distance or co-lour does not matter but love matters allot in life.

      yours new friend.
      Lilian.

    • MFoster says:

      that's good you took the time to learn her culture. your intentions were good. some just don't care if you overworked and cry, they are so cold.

  10. jamiir says:

    i never had a problem with african women. i have befriended many on a plutonic non-sexual basis to the point of us introducing each other as family and being accepted as such amongst our perspective families. in fact my wife is from cote d'iviore. we are both muslims living in new york so that trumped any of the cultural differences that affect other potential couples.we have more in common especially in food although prepared differently ( my southern cuisine roots)are basically the same ingredients with the exception of what cannot be grown here in the states( cassava,potato leaf etc.) but her and my southern relatives both have an affinity for superstition and a lot of gullah words are dioula(mandingo) words like "tote" which i still hear when i visit the rural south.i think overall if you are a genuine brother with a respectfull persona and have an open mind for the culture of our distant relatives from the motherland chances are your african queen awaits you. but keep in mind these are traits that any woman regardless of color are looking for so if you are into "playing the feild" you wont be able to get into the stadium much less first base. so either come right or take flight!!

  11. Jacklyn says:

    I think the problem is the lack of understanding that we are all people of African descent. Africans has always had a problem with preferencing differences over similarities to the point it makes them blind and ignorant of the cultural continuity that all Africans in the Diaspora share. Only a few select Africans from the continent and Africans in the U.S. (African Americans for the ignorant) actually recognize we are the same people not only in color but our foundational culture and world view. Those AA who seem to be most different is due to extreme CULTURAL ACCULTURATION OF WESTERN CULTURE. I will admit that modern day African Americans, in general, are more so Americanized than we were 20 or 60 years ago. I see it as AA suffering from cultural imperialsm. This is a whole other subject. However, many AA are not so extremely acculturated and many AA without even understanding what they are doing and some who do still are practicing cultural traditions that originated with their African ancestors who were stolen from Africa and taken to America. So, lets look at the cultural continuity amongst each other using some examples. First, Africans in the U.S. (African Americans) and on the continent are emotive very expressive people, we communicate very passionately and we express alot with our hands and body movements. In our music we have an affinity towards call and response and the drum and singing from the soul–the beat the rhythm although that is something that is changing in the U.S. b/c so many Blacks wanting to cross over so they are going the pop music route. Suprisingly, cooking styles are very similar even though many of the foods we cook are different–we love as Africans flavorful highly seasoned food and we like to integrate meat and vegetables in our dishes in the form of stews, gumbos, our greens, etc.., Africans love to make a statement with our dress style and hair– very decorative and elaborate colorful clothing, elaborate jewelry, etc.., both African Americans and Africans practice extended family structures and we practice adoption of non-relatives into our family structues–we just practice different forms of this model. We are very spiritual people. Finally, African men can be just as womanizing as African American men, the difference is in this day and time, African men still believe in marriage and its benefits and will get married whereas most Black American men don't marry or marry at last–they are more so for staying alone and having a long time girlfriend(s) or living with a woman for years without "a piece of paper". However, Black American men are not any different from African men–African men are famous for polygomous marriages in pre-colonial traditional Africa and it is not uncommon for them to have extra-marital relations with other women including having children with them. So, in regards to women and families, what they do is the same but the strategies are very different. Also, I would say the Black American style of relationships is why so many of these men have baby mamma drama. These are just some few examples.

  12. Sha says:

    This is an interesting article from different perspectives. I personally dated an AA male for 12 months and had hoped to settle down but when it came close to that day I just had to face reality and return the ring. Reality in the sense that although he was very well schooled and mannered, with a hefty pay-check, having kids was never a part of his to-do-list. I could have everything I wanted, the expensive dining, NBA games then dine with NBA players , play golf or even a ride in a yatch on weekends; you name it I had s long as I never bring up having kids..so despite the fancy life style I had to give it up for more realistic life. Life with a family of my own. So it’s a give and take. Yet you have other AA male who think they need AF just to satisfy their lustful desires. You have others who are good body and soul but can’t keep a job or have too much baby mama drama going on. African man are different because they are raised differently and even when they migrate their core values still remain intact for the most part

  13. African Women Don't Often date African american men. The reason listed above are true cases. Hope this situation would change. It's not bad at all whether you'll be with black or white people. As long as you love and understand each other your good to go.

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  15. MFoster says:

    My African America man betrayed me and my child. Treated us worst than dogs, They just care about bringing an African Women to USA and ill treat her. What we do, we make them feel special because we don't want people to know the truth. 10.9 years, a long time.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] W&#1211&#1091 African Women Don’t Oft&#1077&#1495 Date African-American Men | Dunia … [...]

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Troy Shaw, Lema Abeng-Nsah. Lema Abeng-Nsah said: Stereotypes between Africans and African Americans; thought provoking … http://t.co/VEFdxCq #cultures [...]

  3. [...] 5. Why African Women Don’t Often Date African-American Men [...]

  4. […] Why African Women Don’t Often Date African-American Men […]

  5. […] Why African Women Don’t Often Date African-American Men … – Most African American men are involve in the baby mama saga, and is uncommon in the African culture. On the other hand, some African women are too up tight, wants …… […]

  6. […] Why African Women Don’t Often Date African-American Men … – Most African American men are involve in the baby mama saga, and is uncommon in the African culture. On the other hand, some African women are too up tight, wants …… […]

  7. […] Why African Women Don’t Often Date African-American Men … – Most African American men are involve in the baby mama saga, and is uncommon in the African culture. On the other hand, some African women are too up tight, wants …… […]

  8. […] Why African Women Don’t Often Date African-American Men … – Most African American men are involve in the baby mama saga, and is uncommon in the African culture. On the other hand, some African women are too up tight, wants …… […]

  9. […] Why African Women Don’t Often Date African-American Men … – Most African American men are involve in the baby mama saga, and is uncommon in the African culture. On the other hand, some African women are too up tight, wants …… […]

  10. […] Why African Women Don’t Often Date African-American Men … – Most African American men are involve in the baby mama saga, and is uncommon in the African culture. On the other hand, some African women are too up tight, wants …… […]


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