We must at all times be able to distinguish between what is real and that which may regard as ideal.
The Reality: Photo cred, Google Images
Ideally, all women want their men, who are in their 30s, to be having a house, a nice car and all kinds of things. I don't think there's any woman who doesn't want to be with a financially stable man, and I'm including even those of us who don't aspire to be financed by men. We want our men to be financially stable because we are not ignorant to the fact that financial difficulties have the serious potential to emasculate men. Men who aren't very financially secure tend to have self-esteem issues because they're raised in a heteropatriarchal society that has taught them that it is the duty of a man to be the financial provider in the house.
But realistically speaking, most Black men in their 30s are still starting out, trying to build their lives. It is not because they're lazy, but because of the structural challenges that come with being Black. You'll find that because of the frustrations of entering into institutions of higher learning, many young Blacks start school in their early 20s. So you find that a man completed his degree at 25 and couldn't find a job immediately, largely because as statistics have proven, a Black graduate is less likely to find a job than a White graduate. This explains why we have more than half a million unemployed graduates in our country, an overwhelming majority of them being Black. So this young man stays unemployed and then only a year later, at 27, gets an internship. If he's lucky, he starts working at 28. Immediately, he must start repaying his NSFAS loan. He then has to stretch his meagre salary to ensure that he takes his siblings to school, fixes his parents' home, try to provide for his woman and also do things for himself.
So when we say by 30, a man must be driving a nice car and having a house, what exactly are we saying, in light of the fact that our Black men are drowning in the economic bondage that is suffocating our country?
Ideal: Photo cred, Google images
Black men have it hard in this country. We have a racist system that subjects them to the worst forms of exploitation. As if that is not bad enough, we as their women also want to assist that system to kill the little dignity they have left, by making unrealistic demands on them, wanting them to buy houses on top of mountains and so on.
People speak confidently when they say: "He is a man, he must provide. African men are supposed to be providers". We forget that this was easier centuries ago when the Black man had land and resources and could look after his woman while she raises children. But this is colonised, Africa. We must stop pretending that colonialism didn't happen because it did. And more than 350 years later, we are still feeling the effects. In this Africa, the Black man has no land and no economy in his hands. He has been stripped naked by imperial devastation, his manhood trampled on like it is trash. I'm not saying our men must be lazy and do nothing. I'm not saying our men must be complacent. I'm saying we have a duty as Black women to make life more bearable for them because most of them are trying very very hard to retain their dispossessed humanness. It's not easy. They are swimming against the tide, but they are trying so hard. Let's not help this racist system's attempts to reduce the Black man to nothing.