The Tyra Show Asks “Where Have All the Good Black Men Gone?”

by Special Correspondent Nadra Kareem

The club. The street. The grocery store.

These are the places good black men can be found, according to the group of black male panelists featured on the “Tyra Show” May 23. I saw a clip of the show rather than the entire program, but the segment I did see (found below) was pretty underwhelming.

First off, I took issue with the show’s name—“Where Have All the Good Black Men Gone?” It implies that good black men are either on the brink of extinction or a breed we’ve heard about but never had the chance to actually see. Good black men, it would seem, are as hard to come by as el chupacabra, a bag of magic beans or a pot of gold.

Fortunately, some of the guests on the panel debunked this myth by saying that good black men are spread out and can be found anywhere—from coffee shops, to school, to church, anywhere it’s easy to make conversation. Tyra herself suggested that those in search of good black men can be found in the business districts of cities such as Atlanta, Chicago or Los Angeles. One panelist responded to the question by dishing out a dose of plain old common sense. If you want to find a good black man, you have to be active, he said. A woman can’t go from work to home and back again and expect to find a good black man. Of course, this advice applies to any woman trying to find any good man, black or not.

In the comments section of the show’s Web site, some of the viewers were astute enough to point this out, not to mention that the show’s title stereotyped black men. Take Amerie, who wrote:

The show should’ve been about finding a good man peroid, not just a good blackman. People believe that it’s just black women who have a problem with relationships, but all women in every group is looking for someone better not just black women, black women are the only one’s who are willing to tell the truth .White, Hispanic, Asian, etc.these men are no better than the blackmen when it comes to relationships. That’s what the world want people to beleive but it’s not true.

I gathered from the comment below that the show also featured a white guy with a jones for black women. The presence of this guest impelled a viewer named Rhonda to urge black women to date interracially because, see, even Tyra believes that good black men are few and far between. Sigh. I have no problem that Rhonda wants black women to consider dating interracially, but her reasoning makes me cringe. Rhonda wrote:

Ms Tyra, In this context it understandable why interracial dating is on the rise. I was particularly impressed by Mr. Tobias, a white man who lives in the black community and proudly stated that he was raising “strong black men” and expressed his admiration of black american women. As a professional, educated Black woman, this is the type of man who would catch my eye – handsome and culturally competent and appreciative of black american women. Sistas, there is no need to keep on fighting with your brothas! There are other men in the world who are looking for intelligent and beautiful black women like you!

And I’ll end with this comment, which slightly broke my heart. Please, someone enlighten me: What is a “real black man,” and why wouldn’t he want a black woman?

Posted by Huney 05/27/08 9:44 AM

Thanks, Tyra for addressing this topic on your show. I was once told by an old boyfriend in my twenties, who just happened to be bi-ethnic (hispanic and black) that no real black man would ever want me. As painful and cruel as I felt his comment was the truth of the matter is he was right. It would take me many years later to realize real black men don’t want me. I’m not angry or bitter because this is their choice, however I don’t feel that it’s right to impose this type of rejection on anyone. Black women can’t change the fact that GOD made them black. The color of our skin and expression of our culture will not fade away, nor can it be drastically altered. We all need to accept one another for who we are both externally and internally, everyone. We are all guilty of prejudice and biases when we don’t. Keep both an open mind and an open spirit, this is the only way I believe we can find what we’re looking for. Sincerely, one black woman.

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