labay

To be or not be…with a Caribbean beau that is.

In Caribbean American interest, Caribbean interest, Personal, Relationships on November 30, 2008 at 2:00 am
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Island fare: Jerked salmon, macaroni pie, rice and peas and salad

“Can you do it? I can’t. I can’t date a black American guy,” one of my friends proclaimed in between bites of a cheeseburger she ordered from a burger dive in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood.

It wasn’t the first time I heard this sort of admission but for some reason, it stuck. Perhaps it’s because my friend’s parents are by way of Jamaica and the South, and it surprised me to hear her share such sentiments.

Perhaps it stuck because it suddenly dawned on me that this sentiment was repetitive. I’d heard it expressed in various circles quite often. 

My friend explained that she preferred to date Caribbean guys because they possess a certain je ne sais quoi. My cousin, in a separate conversation on the same topic, described that mysterious something as oomph.

“Black American guys seem to be one dimensional,” my cousin said. “Caribbean men have sex appeal, swagger. There’s something about the way they walk and talk. There’s an extra layer to Caribbean brothas. ”

I’m conflicted. On one hand, I understand such sentiments though to a lesser degree. I love Caribbean men. How can I not when my father and uncles are from the West Indies.

Caribbean men do possess an indiosyncratic quality that I think lies between the accented speech and seemingly innate confidence. 

The fact that these men tinged with mellifluous accents come from a region steep in African (albeit colonize) history make them interesting, intriguing, even exquisite. But there’s something equally beautiful, though in a different way, about American brothas, particularly those from the South. 

I’m not talking about grimy Lil’ Wayne and those of his ilk. I’m referring to the genteel bunch with degrees from Morehouse, ecetera. I’m talking about the ones who believe in God and family and love. Ah, yes, mm, mm…those Southern brothas. Those Southern brothas who love their mamas and think women should be given the utmost respect. 

I’ve never exclusively sought to date one kind of black man over another based on origin. That type of thinking strikes me as borderline jingoistic, not to mention a tad parochial.

Given the dearth of available bachelors on the market, I also don’t think black women can afford to be that picky. We’re already particular. 

I’m opting for a man who believes in love, family, and commitment. Origin is secondary. – MJ

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