I have to warn you, this is either going to be one of my weirdest posts, one of my most profound or both. Even if it sounds really pseudoscientific and downright preposterous at times, I encourage you to read through it and keep an open mind.
One thing I constantly hear educated black guys complain about is their experiences with black women, particularly how they constantly test them or pass them up for guys of a thuggier nature. The big complaint I hear is that black women, even those of middle class status and higher, seem to want “Tupac with a degree.” Black guys often use this as their reason for primarily dating women of other races.
Now of course most women of all races go through a “bad boy” stage, especially when they’re younger and attraction and excitement are more important to them than long-term security. One of the problems with black women though is that they tend to go overboard in this department. A bad boy to an Asian girl may be a guy who’s a liberal arts major. When black women go for a bad boys, however, a prison record and a gun are often be involved. I even found this to be the case when I was in college and hollering at educated black women. With white girls, though, the simple fact that a guy is black is often enough to confer “bad boy” status and make a guy edgy. So when a guy is faced with a choice of going for white girl and being edgy and a “bad boy” simply by being black and having a little bit of street smarts, or going for a black chick and having to be a “soldier” and risk a criminal record to impress a black chick with his edginess, it makes sense that a lot of black guys find it less stressful to date outside the race.
But I’m not writing this to excuse black men’s dating choices or condem black women, but rather to understand why this “thug lust” phenomenon is so prevalent in the black community. After doing a lot of reading on evolutionary psychology, I think I may have an answer.
One of the tenets of evolutionary psychology is that women are programmed to test men for strength and leadership. Constantly. The theory is that in prehistoric times, the world was a much more dangerous place, especially for women, who could easily be raped or killed at will. Weapons were primitive, there weren’t laws to protect rights and society was not very civilized. Women needed men that were strong and dominant to offer them protection from other men who may try to invade. For this reason, it was in a woman’s best interest to test a potential mate. If he was too weak to stand up to her and let her walk all over him, then how could he protect her and their children from other men? If he was wishy-washy in day to day activities, how could he make important decisions in a time of crisis?
Chances are, at some point in history there were not only plenty of women who were genetically predisposed to test men, but also plenty of women who were not genetically predisposed to test men. Thanks to the principles of survival of the fittest, however, the women who didn’t have the innate tendency to test their men probably chose weaker men and wound up getting their genes weeded out of existence once trouble came around and these weak men couldn’t protect them. On the flipside, the women with an innate tendency to test their men and not mate with punks were better suited for survival and ended up passing their genes to future generations of women. Thus as the human race evolved over time, women with “man-testing” genes thrived in the human population because they were beneficial to survival, while women without “man-testing” genes gradually ceased to exist because they were wiped out over time. For this reason, any woman alive today is descended from women with “man testing” genes and has these “man testing” genes too. This is why modern women constantly probe men in a million subtle ways for weakness and lack of leadership during the courtship process.
The irony is that civilization has evolved to a point where a man’s physical protection is not as necessary as it once was. Society is much more civilized, women have access to better weapons to level the playing field, policemen exist to add more protection, there are laws to protect female citizens and conquest of women and other men through brute force is not only frowned upon but actually illegal. So logically, man testing is not as necessary as it once was. However logic can’t change a woman’s genes or hundreds of thousands of years of cultural conditioning, both of which have bred her to test potential mates for leadership and strength. It is for this reason so many women are attracted to assholes. They may not be nice, but they will not stand for disrespect and will fight for their rights against other men. I also think this primal urge for men who don’t take shit plays a big role in why so many death row inmates have those women who write them love letters and are attracted to them: these men take no crap, are leaders in a bizarre way due to the fact that they refuse to conform to society’s rules and can offer a woman protection from outsiders in a way that the average, law-abiding man can’t. Even though logically a woman may know these assholes or thugs are a bad choice, biologically and culturally they’ve been bred through hundreds of thousands of years of evolution to respond positively to dominant, alpha male traits on a primal, unthinking level.
Now over the past few centuries as the West has become more civilized and women have made great strides in gaining equality, Western culture has begun training women to tone down their man-testing ways. Even though the man-testing genes are still there, they seem to play less of a role in mate choice with each generation. This is why that ugly kid from Superbad and Juno can actually be a sex symbol to tweens today. Alpha traits still matter to women on a primal level, but given how safe modern Western society has become for women over the past two centuries, and how much safer society continues to become for them, it’s safe to say that testing a man for alpha status will continue to decline and become more subtle and it will be increasingly easier for beta males to thrive in the mating game.
So what does this have to do with black women and thugs? The black woman for a long time was denied the societal progress available to other Western women over the past two centuries. Unlike other women in the West, for a long time black women did not experience the same increase in status and societal protection that would allow them to feel less dependent on the protections of a mate. Europeans invaded West Africa and took black people as slaves. Once in America, the black slave woman could be violated at will by her master and his visiting friends. This was acceptable under law. Her black husband could do nothing about this, which had to be very emasculating for him. In addition, she probably gradually began to resent him for his inability to protect her, even if logically she knew there was nothing he could actually do. This dynamic likely was passed to her daughters too, who had to grow up seeing both their fathers and their mates routinely emasculated and rendered incapable of protecting them. After slavery ended, things didn’t get that much better. The Ku Klux Klan was around in the south, lynchings and other forms of racial violence were rampant, black families could be physically intimidated and wiped out at will and the black man’s emasculation continued.
Given all the hardships a black woman faced up until very recent history, it would make sense that her need to test a man would remain strong, even as this need subsided some in Western women of other races. If anything, man-testing genes may have increased over the last several hundred years in the black community due to the hardships they faced. Getting an strong alpha male probably became much more important to a black woman than to a white woman, since unlike the white woman she did not have the same alternative protections of law, status and police available to her. I imagine that black women needed man-testing genes more than any other race of women because they were more reliant on the protection of a strong man than any other race of women because they couldn’t rely on societal protections. And out of all the strong types of black men available, I figure a thug was probably the type of alpha male that made her feel the safest. A thug was probably the type of black man most likely to stand up to the white man or other dangerous blacks even at the cost of his own life. I imagine that over the course of history, evolution and cultural conditioning rewarded man-testing genes in black women much more than it did in other races of women because strong, tough men were much more vital to a black woman’s survival. I also think that history and evolution were probably more unkind to black women who didn’t test their men for strength than it was to white women who didn’t test their men.
The second most popular type of man in the West is the beta provider. He’s not as dominant, as strong a leader or as tough as the alpha male, because he’s a beta male. But thanks to his intellectual prowess and his ability to provide financial support, he becomes the next best thing to the alpha dog. He offers a different type of security. It may not be as primally attractive to a woman as a tough, dominant alpha male, but it is a very safe and secure (if somewhat boring) secondary choice. Examples of beta male providers can be your wimpy scientists, male lawyers, educated, civilized guys, sucessful metrosexuals, nerds with poor social skills but good incomes, etc. They may not have as much to offer in primal attraction and physical protection, but they make up for it in their ability to provide security in the form of financial assistance. The catch is, a beta provider can only compete with alpha males in extremely civilized cultures were society offers women a sense of physical protection through the existence of cultural norms and legal protections. This allows things like financial security and education to become as important as alpha dog status. That is why being a beta provider can be so attractive to Western women, since society allows them the luxury of choosing a man for reasons other than brutish alpha dog status. If society ever reverted back to the dangerously harsh, brutish free-for-all it used to be in the old days, the stock of beta providers would drop drastically.
Since black women didn’t have the same societal protections as white Western women, beta providers were probably a bad choice in the black community for a long time, even as the stock of beta providers was on the rise in the white community. How much good could a square, law-abiding doctor or lawyer be to a black woman in the heart of the rural, racist south? His money doesn’t have that much benefit since many white businesses wouldn’t take it and he couldn’t move to any neighborhood he wanted, even if he could afford to. If anything, his education and intellect and legitimate financial success could be interpreted as being “uppity” and not “knowing his role,” thereby making him a target and putting the family in more danger from racist whites. For all these reasons, I think that black American women have evolved to have even more man-testing genes than other women, especially in favor of men who disregard the white man and his laws. In the black community, the tables have traditionally been stacked against the beta provider black male. Money in the hands of a black man just didn’t offer that much protection and wasn’t as valuable as being tough and macho and strong.
And it only got worse once the welfare state came into effect in the 1960s. Once Lyndon Johnson introduced the Great Society, allowing single women with children to get money and housing from the federal government, this took away one of the black beta provider’s last bargaining chips: his money and house. Now a black woman could get that financial security from the government. Not just that, but if she did get together with a beta provider, she’d actually lose her free money, food, house and education because you had to be single to receive those benefits. The welfare system actually created an incentive against settling down with a beta provider. He can’t provide the primal attraction and physical protection an alpha male does, and now his presence is actually an economic liability. And since a man was no longer as needed for economic reasons, this helped raised the stock of thugs: the physical protection from racist whites and other blacks in the ghetto, the superior sexual prowess, the primal attraction that comes from his role as a “bad boy” alpha male and the tax-free, under the table financial benefits of his illegal money.
Even though society has changed greatly for black women in the past few decades and they no longer face the same level of racism or need for an alpha dog thug for survival, they still have generations of these thug-loving genes and cultural conditioning to fight against. And of course the glamorization of thug life through hip-hop probably doesn’t help things either. And this is why even as many black women move up socially and get more educated, they still have such a strong pull toward thugs.