Would you date a drug dealer, convict or ex-con?

Doing my usual surfing on the net I ran into this column, Jail-date column sparks battle of black sexes, from the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

Last week’s column pondering why local black women are attracted to ex-cons and black men currently serving time behind bars wasn’t meant to ignite a war between the sexes.

But the column, which focused on the love life of recently exonerated rape suspect Thomas Doswell of East Hills, set off a wildfire among African-American readers both male and female. Local black women seemed to agree, for the most part, that convicts and ex-cons are popular dates for a number of reasons.

Many said they date cons because there are more professional black women than men in Pittsburgh. With few college-educated black men in the region, men who have done time are simply more plentiful than others.

Others blamed interracial dating. They claim the few strong brothers — employed, upstanding black men — in our area prefer to date white women. While that sounds like a classic cop-out from women who aren’t comfortable competing for dates in a, pardon the expression, buyer’s market, it did resonate with a few black men who called or e-mailed in response to the column.

This is the column, Black women’s prospects for love are far too few, from last week.

My cousin, Debbie Hart, used to date a fellow incarcerated at the old County Jail, Downtown, but his being behind bars didn’t seem to be much of a detriment to romance. She was in love and often remarked that so many black men were doing time, finding one who was employed, available and free from the corrections system was almost impossible.

I thought long and hard about my cousin Debbie and how many other young black women I see coming and going from the jail when I drive along Second Avenue. They represent an unfortunate reality of African-American culture, one where one-third of all black men are either on probation, on parole, or doing time.

Have we black women become this desperate? I’m sorry but I have nothing in common with a convict or ex-con. My views on crime are very conservative. I’ll admit that I’m pro death penalty when it comes to certain crimes. And having a now deceased elderly immediate family member become a victim of some two bit thug doesn’t endear me to the criminal element in our society.

Robert Cobb, 30, of Squirrel Hill, said that as a college-educated, well-dressed young African-American man, it’s assumed by the black women he meets that he only dates white women.

“I try and tell them that I like to date all women, but they don’t want to hear that,” said Cobb, a graphic novel artist who studies animation at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

Instead, Cobb said he frequently meets local black women at parties and social functions who openly admit to being turned off by his clean-cut image.

“I’m into wearing turtlenecks or nice clothes, and they want to date thugs in oversized T-shirts and tattoos or guys who’ve done time. I’ve had sisters tell me to my face that I’m not really black because I speak too well, or I don’t wear my pants on the sag and my cap on sideways. That’s just an image Pittsburgh’s black women are in love with,” the Cleveland native said.

Since when did it become a sin for a black male to have a clean cut image? Have black women become brainwashed by rap videos? Has 50 Cent become the ideal black male image for black women nowadays? Oh hell no!!! And you’re not really black cause you speak too well? WTF???

This column reminds me of a similar column by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell titled Copping out: Is a good man that hard to find? that came out in June.

Ladies, are we starting to believe that a good man is really hard to find? That’s the only explanation I can find to explain why an attractive, young, smart woman would risk her career — not to mention her freedom — by helping a drug-dealing gang-banger.

Last week, Tashika Sledge, 29, was among the 47 people charged in a major heroin conspiracy operation at the CHA’s Dearborn Homes. Sledge, a Chicago Police officer, is accused of giving a ranking member of the Mickey Cobras street gang access to her police database.

Although there’s no allegation that Sledge was involved in the drug business, the feds allege that the cop was Lynn Barksdale’s girlfriend and hid his drug sales paraphernalia. She is also accused of letting him use her database to determine what members of his gang were under surveillance, and to check vehicle license plates.

Sisters, we couldn’t possibly be that hard up? Could we?

Yes, unfortunately some of us have become hard up.

While women of substance are demanding that black men uphold their responsibilities to their families and their communities, the superficial sister is helping them throw their lives away by accepting just about anything.

How Sledge could have thought — even for a moment — that her relationship with a man identified as being on the board of directors of a Chicago street gang would remain undercover is unfathomable. Love must make us delusional because a 29-year-old police officer should have known better than that.

Sometimes I wonder if some black women have lost their minds. Is dating drug dealers, convicts or ex-cons that exciting? Or do these women just have low self esteem?

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9 Comments

  1. Sex and the Sushi

    I think it’s low self-esteem and a heaping helping of ignorance. Just more of that “keepin’ it real” and “a piece of man is better than no man at all” nonsense.

    Smooches,
    Ms. GD

  2. bluestocking

    Hi classicrose. As always, your post left me thinking. This is a real problem affecting women, isn’t it? This idea that it’s okay, acceptable or worst of all, commendable to date or have a serious relationship with an ex-con or criminal. Perhaps we [women and black sisters in particular] still truly think that a fit-looking black guy who looks and/or dresses like a gang member, or someone’s who criminally minded, is actually attractive. The appalling examples set by that drug-dealer turned talentless rapper and ‘actor’ [ha!] 50 Cent and his ex-homie The Game have obviously infiltrated far into our subconcious thinking. I find guys like them repellant on every level imaginable; their backgrounds, opinions and lifestyles are truly against everything I have ever wanted in a man and a mate. Sadly, guys like these are just as popular in Britain with young black girls as they are in your home country.
    We have serious problems with gang-related violence in the UK now: gang-rapes, knife crimes, and gun crime in some of our cities is unprecedented. In my city of Birmingham, two teenage students were shot dead, caught in the crossfire between two local rival gangs. This happened in January 2004. One of the gangsters [all of whom are now behind bars] was the half-brother of one of the victims. Last year, in the city of Reading, Surrey [not far from London],two schoolgirls were kidnapped, raped, beaten, tortured and eventually, one was shot in the head [amazingly, she survived] and the other girl was stabbed to death. Again, all those involved were finally caught and jailed for a very long time… but in both these appalling cases, young black youths committed these horrific crimes. And in both cases, there was no remorse. Gang-related crimes, drug-related crimes… they are probably the biggest threat to Black people living in Britain. True, we have serious problems with poverty and neglect from various governments and British institutions [the judiciary and the police], and more probs with racism and a resurgence in far-right race-hate sympathies, but we seem unable to protect ourselves within our own communities. We won’t turn to the police to serve and protect us, they have killed [and continue to do so] many innocent people in the Black community over the last 40 or so years. I don’t like to point the finger of blame at single mothers, it’s too damn easy to hold them responsible for everything that goes wrong in the home – but brothers! Please start being fathers to your children! More and more, there are cases of teenage girls committing assaults, robberies, muggings, gang-related violence and random attacks on strangers [an appalling trend called 'happy slapping', where people are targeted and attacked for no reason, and it's recorded on camera phones and sent from phone to phone].
    Religious people would say that this is a sign of the end of the world, a total breakdown in law and order; I don’t know. All I do know that nobody, and I mean NOBODY hates and hurts Black people as much as other Black people. I’ll give one final example: nearly 2 years ago, again in my city of Birmingham, a soldier in the British Army named Narel Sharpe, had returned home on leave to celebrate his and his mom’s birthdays. He gone to fill his car up with gas, when he was mugged for his gold chain and murdered. He was shot in the stomach. Narel had travelled and served with distinction in some of the most dangerous places in the world, Kosovo, Afghanistan to name just two. He came home to celebrate his mom’s birthday and was murdered in his home city. It transpired that one of the accomplices in the murder was a young woman, one of the murderer’s various ‘girlfriends’, and she was a classmate of Narel’s at school. She helped the murderer dispose of the stolen chain. While he got a lengthy sentence, she got only 18 months. She was highly educated, apparently studying law, yet was happy to help this career criminal get rid of the evidence of what he’d done. According to the newspaper report, she grinned when she heard how long she’d got, because she knew got a lenient sentence. Disgusting.
    Classicrose, I apologize for ranting on for so long, but I empathize and understand your anger on this subject. I guess we all have to pray harder.

    Peace to you and yours in the USA
    Wobblyang

  3. Classicrose

    Ms. GD, this “keepin it real” mess is ridiculous. I swear sometimes I feel the black race may become extinct in the next 100 years if we keep this up.

    Bluestocking, I had no idea all of this was going on in England. Seems like problems here in the states has caught on overseas. Your comment about blacks doing more harm to each other reminded me of a similar comment I read in the Being A Black Men series comments section. One man said he would probably feel safer with the KKK than he would with a fellow black male. Now you know that’s sad.

  4. Anonymous

    I do not believe that low self-esteem or low-self worth has anything to do with the reason women, in general, may date a “ex-con.” The adjective is just that. IT is a very negative label and negates the fact that many of these men have turned their lives around and we (society) may not be willing to accept this. Jsut because a man has been convicted of a crime, doesn’t mean, he has to be emasculated or castrated. He can still be or become a loving, responsible, feeling, loving, living life, God fearing man. All of us have done things that we are not proud of and for that matter are not a matter of public record and this is the only thing that seperates us from them. What about the men who commit white collar crimes, but have never been convicted. These deeds of these men were just as violent and costly to society. Need I say Enron. Look at the number of lives that were forever changed because of the actions of those man, who are, just as violent and just as offensive. Now, I do believe that if a woman becomes involved with a man who has a criminal past, she should be given all the facts and be able to make an informed decision. Would I date and/or marry a convicted rapist, child molestor, kidnapper, or murderer. No. Would I date an individual who in their past, was a drug dealer, but who has changed and not just in word, but in form and fashion. Yes I would. These men are no less of man than the men who are not behind bars or who have never been behind bars. They are still human beings who deserve more than a second chance. What about the men who do not disclose other things that are just detrimental (homosexuality, infidelity, etc)? As evidence shows, many of the men who rape, murder, kidnap and commit haneous crimes live in homes with their wives and children and these people are none the wiser to what’s going on. There are many testimonies of men who have had a past of selling narcotics and the like, but have turned their lives around. I wonder what men would say about women if some of the things we experiences were a matter of public record. We talk a lot about forgiveness, redemption, love and second chances when it comes to ourselves, but what about when it comes to fellow man? Why does a woman have to be referred to as desperate and willing to settle and suffering from low self-esteem and broke down and just out of it if she meets, dates and marries a man who in his past life, did some things that he is very remorseful about?

  5. MS

    Hello all, I’m dating a ex covict a ex murder, looking at him you would have never knew it. He spent 24 years 6 months behind bars and he is the hardest working man I have ever known, he a christian and will do anything legally to provide for me and to prove to society that he is a good man inspite of his past. He goes to her grave and apologize to her and her girls who are grown now. I care dearly for him, and he has dicloswe evrything about himself to me because he will not live a lie, but i’m not sure. THe fact still remain that he commited a serious crime and who’s to say that he will not do it again. Everyday we hear about men who commit domestic violence against women and the end result is death for most of these women. Now I’m not saying that he is an exception to the rule because of the way he live now, But the truth is that I can’t marry this man because of the fear, yes they were both on drugs during that time, and had a very drugged altered mind, I believe that if he never had an addiction maybe he woukd have never did what he did. How can i look beyond that, without the fear, how can i love this man the way he shows me.

  6. Looking

    Greetings this is something that has crossed my mind since I was released in 2008 . I am a hard working black man who have made mistakes . I now attend college majoring in law as a paralegal . I have found that most black women have a right not to trust guys like me until they are really ready for a real black man not just a black male. See I am ready to be a husband daddy and friend again, but I want that special female that I can share my past with and she;s capable of seeing me for the man God has made me. Because without my past I would’nt be the man I am today. I meet young girls and have to tell them to go play with those boys. I am a street n#### that is getting an education so that I can finally give something positive back to my young brothers and sisters . So don’t let your guy’s past stop you from having true love as long as he treat you good, and you answered your own question. If he shows you love , respect and stands besides you in good or bad time then don’t judge him by his past accept who is today. Because we do change.

  7. Flores Morales

    I’m currently seeing a man on parole. He isn’t perfect but he is real and I can only be his friend at this time. (not sexual) He clearly needs to see life from a different perspective than he is used to. He doesn’t want to spend his life in jail. He has been honest about his past, as doesn’t have to think about how to answer because he isn’t trying to hide what has happened. He isn’t educated but he isn’t dumb either. My issues with him is how he sees women. He has sold drugs., done some and had prostitutes for friends. He now realizes in order to stay out of jail, he can’t have them around him, he can’t be their “daddy”, he wants someone that isn’t full of drama and can have him understand a stable more secure life. o me how he has a lot of changes to be with me. I told him, he has to allow himself the opportunities he is blessed with and truly learn coping skills in order to lead a better life. As who wants to live a life of always looking behind them. I do feel his hardest obstacle is to find a passion and develop listening skills as everything can’t be his way. He has kept jobs in the past (beyond 4 years) but I’m not sure his confidence is there to get one. My advice to him is to not only attend a 12 step program but to also volunteer his time to a shelter or some youth group. As he needs to learn valuable social skills that he lost in his youth. plus it will give him the chance to meet others and give back to the community.
    I don’t know if I can become all he seeks. I’m his friend and I’d rather keep it that way till I feel his path is kept on the right course. I do believe an ex-con needs a lot chances to believe in himself and to move forward from a jaded past. Since I find my guy to be harmless and just misguided, I can only hope my outlook on life can be something he can embrace and understand what will work for him this time around

  8. Jennifer Snelling

    That sounds like sheer self-esteem and straight up desperation. I would rather be by myself than be involved in a sting operation that was never told to me in the first place, in addition being spied on and being tapped! As for the man in Pittsburgh who is constantly rejected by women who prefer reprobate offenders and abusers, keep holding your head up, continue to uphold your standards, and prayerfully, the right woman will come into your life. I believe it can happen! Trust God!

  9. This isn’t only a black issue. There are white women who date ex-cons too. I’m not one of them. I’ve always heard that the recidivism rate of prisoners is high so why would I want to date someone who is going to end up in the clink again? Just being a part of his life could implicate me. I’ve been to jail as a visitor on a field trip. It ain’t a nice place to be. I wouldn’t want to be there longer than a visit, or frankly ever again, so why would I want to risk everything just to date a convict. I think it is self esteem issues that drive these women to be with cons. I also think they don’t have all the facts. I doubt they look ahead at the possibility that they could end up in jail themselves running with these men. These women (black and white) may also have learning disabilities. I know a white woman who is divorced 3 times and is now dating an ex-con. She’s made poor choices in the past. Yet, she won’t listen to reason. She seems to be headed for divorce number 4. Someone who is that much of a slow learner has learning disabilities in my book. These women may also be afraid of being alone to such a degree that they’ll date anyone to avoid being alone. This woman thinks she is being “non-judgmental” by dating this man. I just shake my head. A man with a record has a hard time finding employment. Who wants to hire him? What employer is willing to trust him? How are you going to survive as a couple if he can’t get a decent job? While it may be true that some ex-cons have turned their lives around, they are in the minority. Most prisons are filled with sociopaths. And if you’re attracted to the excitement of dating an ex-con, I say go bungee jumping instead.

    Thank you for writing this post. It was timely.

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