Not your mule: ‘Dear Culture’ discusses how to properly love a Black woman

'Treat Black women the way you would want a man to treat your mother. Start there,' says host Gerren Keith Gaynor.

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In the final weeks of Women’s History Month, the Dear Culture podcast is taking the time to discuss the ins and outs of how to properly love a Black woman. Whether it’s a familial upbringing, the Black church, or even contemporary dating habits—Black femmes deserve higher love and celebration despite all that is thrown at their feet. This week, hosts Gerren Keith Gaynor and Shana Pinnock to ask the pertinent question: “Dear Culture, do y’all know how to properly love a Black woman?”

“Treat Black women the way you would want a man to treat your mother. Start there,” says Gaynor.

“Folks are so eager to have the old school relationship, and that ‘we made it work,'” adds Pinnock.

Loving Black women is not hard, what’s hard is unpacking unconscious socializations that come within the realm of love, our hosts argue. As Pinnock aptly notes, “struggle love is not cute,” nor okay. She adds that “if I’m being dishonored” as a Black woman in a relationship—whether that is lying, emotional and/or physical infidelity, and so forth—then said relationship lacks mutual respect.

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Hence, as Gaynor puts it, relationships of that nature “distort [one’s] ability to know what is safe or not safe,” ultimately rendering that relationship closer to “spiritual or mental abuse.”

“I’ve seen the things Black women can sometimes endure over and over again because of this fear of ‘if I leave him that removes my safety,’” says Gaynor.

The trope of Black women remaining dutiful to their partners in life, despite everything, is a double-edged sword, the hosts say. Though the “ride or die mentality” is all about loyalty and honor, our Dear Culture hosts wonder at what cost and to what extent?

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Both Gaynor and Pinnock want Black women to actively walk away from “manipulations” in relationships, especially when it comes at their detriment. Whether one thinks “the relationship is the only thing sustaining them” to consistently blaming the devil for one’s actions, what is important is to accept matters for what they are and walk away sometimes. 

“Why not just love your sons, and love your daughters? Why is there a different standard?” says Gaynor. 

From colloquial sayings that reify loving Black women less to demonization, Black women deal with a lot in the heart space. Like Pinnock, many Black women often feel that they need to “teach” the other person “how to love” a Black femme without any constraints. Loving a Black woman, the hosts say, is making sure you respect her boundaries and always honor her. Period. 

Tune in to Dear Culture, the smart, reliable Black news podcast. Now streaming on Apple Podcast, Spotify, and Stitcher.

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