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?