Let our next greatest achievement be realizing the dream of full equality for all of us ...

- Human Rights Campaign President, Alphonso David, as reported by Maiysha Kai -

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On Believing In "Black Love" But Not Really Liking Black People

Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The idea of "Black Love" died a thousand internet deaths yesterday when news broke of the Amber Rose, Wiz Khalifa split. They appeared to be such a happy couple. He makes music for Black kids who smoke weed in Macy's dressing rooms and the adults who smoked weed in Macy's dressing rooms as kids, and she made twerk videos to his music. But appearances are just that. Appearances. And apparently they had been unhappy for a while. But it still comes as a shock to our sensibilities. If a bipster from Pittsburgh and a Cape Verdian stripper from Philly can't make it, who can?

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I'm being kinda facetious here, but not really. The concept of a collective "Black Love" is ambiguous, arbitrary, and kinda, sorta ridiculous. But that doesn't prevent people from feeling like it's real. Or should be real. So when a prominent Black couple splits — and this includes celebrities and people within non-celebrity social circles — it's felt. Not by everyone, obviously. But there are people — women and men — who hear of a Khalifa/Rose split or the Carter's rumored marriage issues or the news that cute couple from church are getting a divorce and get legitimately bummed out by it. Not because of how happy they were for them, but because it gives them a little less hope that type of happiness is obtainable and sustainable.

Interestingly enough, it feels like the more likely someone is to be enamored with the concept of "Black Love" — at least in relation to celebrities and other couples they don't personally know — the more likely they are to be pessimistic about their own relationship lives. This is not a ground-breaking discovery. It makes perfect sense that people dissatisfied with their own relationship lives would latch on to a fabricated replication of how relationships should look and feel. But — and, before I continue, let me remind you this is just a theory (basically, if you accused me of pulling it out of my ass, I wouldn't deny it) — what I've also observed is that this dissatisfaction isn't internal. It's not them wondering if they'll ever be able to find a man/woman who likes them. It's them wondering if they'll ever be able to find a man/woman they'll actually like.

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And this is the paradox. We (collectively) believe in Black Love. Or, want to believe, rather. But we (collectively) don't seem to like each other very much.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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DISCUSSION

I'm a romantic, young, naive what have you. I will say, something's rotten in the state of Denmark. Boys are taught none of these women are good enough for them, girls are taught men are vile savage beings u have to manipulate into being serviceable. Fast forward, boy gets rejected and he goes back to what mama taught him about these fast girls, women get hurt and now its 90 day rules and going thru phones.

I tire of the gender war being waged. They can go back and forth about single mothers, beds with no headboards and $200 dates; All I need is to find ONE out of millions and love her as hard as I can for as long as I can. Maybe I'll pick right, maybe I'll pick wrong, but trying to find cheat codes (other races, big girls, church girls, older) and just find what works for ME