By Meegan Scott
There is a sentiment within and outside the black community that blacks do not know how to love. That we do not know how to love in a way that can sustain long lasting romantic unions, family harmony; and peaceful communities. But the Black Language of Love is rich in verbal and symbolic utterances which have forged unbreakable bonds of love in all types of love relationships shared by humans. The real problem lies in the fact that many black people are yet to develop an advanced level of fluency in the black language of love—a situation that comes with a high price and much sadness for families, individuals, children, and romantic partners.
Despite the high rates of single parent families, overrepresentation of children in state care, separation, and even singleness among young adults, the rich expressions of the black language of love in song, art, endearments, as well as in tough love tells a different story. The following utterances by black musicians resonate with peoples of all ethnic groups and serves as testimony that our language of love is a complete language and communications system; despite being underutilized especially when conflict exists in relationships.
- Legend, John, “And we both still got room left to grow”
- Edwards, Jackie, “Forever, I’ll be true to no one but you”
- Parks, Lloyd, “If you want to be my queen, you’ve got to be officially.”
- Khan, Chaka, “I can sense your need like rain unto the seeds”
- Vandross, Luther, “I want to share all of my love with you, no one else will ever do.”
- Isaacs, Gregory, “Please don’t you hurt her though she once threw an arrow in my heart”
The quotations above prove that our symbolic utterances are rich and adequate.
Still members of our community continue to pay some of highest prices for love gone wrong.
The price paid include many single women who desire companionship, but who are deemed to be angry; and from whom the black man flee in search of someone and somewhere peaceful to lay his head.
There are children who yearn to experience the love of their fathers and at times mothers— who are missing. Love affairs that end in tragedy not because there was no love to begin with, but because the parties involved were not able to use their native language of love for deal with conflicts that comes with love and relationships.
Persistent dilution of our intellectual gene pool a result of our intellectuals’ choice of the childless single life while the less motivated and troublesome in our community reproduce at high rates. Some high achievers who reproduce do so with other ethnicities in love that is not colour blind, but are cerebral acts in pursuit of a love they believe does not exist in their community. Consequently, many are forced to settle for humiliation and disrespect; a situation which sometimes ends in violence.
We also have to pay the price of unhappy adults and children who could only decode the harsh verbal symbols of tough love but not the underlying depth of the love that fueled it. This challenge has led to ingratitude and disharmony in families.
Many seniors feel isolated and unloved when the years of pouring out their life and love is over and they are faced with the ingratitude of children who did not fully understand the language of their love. At times, it is the seniors’ own vulnerability that make it clear to them that they need a more cuddlesome type of love. Then there is violence, even among friends who do not hate each other but who cannot use the language for resolving conflict in a positive and respectful manner.
My survey of individuals (From Africa to the Americas) revealed that members of our community have not given thought to the black language of love or its pertinent love questions. Albeit many were caught off guard by the idea of a black language of love— those who shared proved that the language was rich. They pointed out that more verbal symbols of the cuddly nature should be mixed with tough love for ensuring children had a less harsh outlook on life.
The romance of former First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barrack Obama was cited as an example of fluent and inspiring use of the black language of love. The couple’s side conversations, kisses, and display of courteous behavior were seen as a source of pride.
There are hardly any questions about verbal symbols when it comes to physical acts of sex, or sexual prowess within the black community.
It is therefore a fallacy to say that blacks do not know how to love.
For each individual to experience the kind of love that they need, at the emotional, and social price point that they can afford and is willing to pay we must stop translating the acts and utterances of our love in comparison with that of other ethnic groups. The benchmark that seeps into our psychic via mass media cannot always be translated by replacing each action or utterance from one language of love to another without losing meaning. We must therefore make a determined effort to understand our own language of love. We must ask key questions in order to better problem solve. Questions such as— How do I love? Do I give only the love that I feel desperate to share or do I offer a rich blend of that love plus what is needed by my lover, child, parents, or friend? How should I love you? How do I want to be loved?
You will find that the most impactful love is a blend of the love that is needed by your love and the brand of love that you have to give.
(Meegan Scott is a Jamaica-born Strategic Management Consultant in Toronto)