She Got A Big Ego?: Thoughts on Dating with a Doctorate

 

Recently, my romantic interested accused me of throwing my Ph.D. in his face. Most Black women with Ph.D.’s will know exactly how egregious an accusation that is, especially since we are hypersensitive and overly vigilant about making sure never to “throw our degrees” in the face of less-accomplished potential boos or family members.

During a casual phone convo about our respective college experiences, Dude who is a high school math teacher and has a couple of advanced degrees in math fields remarked to me that he found most humanities/ social science majors, including English and Political Science—my undergrad majors—“illegitimate.” Now given that all of my degrees are in humanities fields, I was majorly incensed.

And although I’m tired of  used to –and normally unphased by– these inanely conceived verbal jousting matches that dudes engage highly educated women in in order to see if we are really as smart as our degrees seem to indicate, this time I was pissed.

It’s college administrators and other knuckleheads who think like him that make my job so hard in the first place. Thinking like this explains, partially anyway, why my students can’t write for shit and why my salary is a comically paltry percentage of the amount of student loans I owe.

When I questioned his logic, he got defensive. When I further exposed the flaws in his arguments (skills courtesy of my humanities education), he explained that he would not “back down,” or “give in” even though he could admit that his opinion “wasn’t well thought out,” because he knew that this is what I was used to men doing…”backing down to stroke my ego.” Projection, anyone?

What I’m actually used to men doing is attacking me once they start intellectual fights they can’t finish. I’m used to men putting me in the friend zone because they find my smarts intriguing but not sexy. I’m used to men straight up belittling and insulting me—calling me stupid, unattractive, or using “feminist” like an expletive—in order to get the upper hand when they feel intellectually outmatched. 

Yep. So I went off. Reiterated the illogic of his arguments. Told him my feelings were hurt. Explained that it is important to me that folks who are close to me value what I do, as it is a part of who I am.

His reply: “well, I think it’s cool that you’re a teacher. And people should teach subjects they are passionate about.” Subjects that he doesn’t respect, mind you. “I don’t just teach; I also conduct research and write books and articles” I told him, trying to get him to understand that his remark was patronizing at best. 

What did I say “just” for?

To that came his snarky reply, “I don’t just teach either, and just because I don’t have three little letters behind my name, doesn’t make what I do any less valuable.”

I’ll spare you the sordid details; let’s just say it’s was already a thin line and he crossed it.

But the situation reminded me of all the ways that patriarchy conspires against our ability to build loving connections with men.

  • Patriarchy makes men competitive. It makes them see women with more education as competition rather than as folks who would make good partners.  
  • Patriarchy conditions men to use emotional extortion and passive aggressive behaviors –saying hurtful things and then claiming them as innocuous opinions; shutting down after deliberately saying something provocative and offensive and then accusing the woman of picking fights or being emotional; demanding your silence in the face of offensive behaviors in exchange for love and affection–as a way to gain control over women who intimidate them.
  •  Patriarchy makes straight men feel justified in domesticating smart women. In the case of Black men, with whom I’m most familiar, they largely measure success by their ability to create traditional families. By contrast, many accomplished  straight Black women have become that way largely by jettisoning their investment in traditional gender roles. I get it at an historical level. The Civil Rights Movement for Black men was as much about manhood as about race. Black men wanted to be able to perform the traditional roles that they’d seen white men performing for their families. And they built concepts of masculinity around such outcomes.  Black men want women who are impressed and content if they stay, provide, and lead.  For Black women, there were different outcomes, courtesy of Civil Rights and Black feminism. These sisters imagine men who champion their careers and are willing to actively co-parent– men who partner, support, and communicate.  
  • Male privilege allows Black men not to interrogate these relational preferences, but rather to see them as natural and innate. Hence, they never have to explain why it feels emotionally safer and more comfortable to them to date, conquer, and domesticate a high-achieving sister.  Black women have not had such luxuries. Many of us have had to relinquish our supposed natural desires for a traditional hetero-patriarchal set-up and entertain/embrace other possibilities for partnership. But if dudes can’t or won’t get on board with that, then largely we are shit out of luck. And the reality is that most Black men don’t have to get on board with it; with 70% of highly educated Black women having never been married, our choice not to submit to traditional expectations will not cost Black men anything in the way of finding a partner.

And perhaps it was that realization, that Dude could just pick up and move on to the next one, in a way that my lack of options has not thus far seemed to allow, that made me stay when I knew—and when many of you told me months ago—to go. But perpetual romantic droughts can make one’s principles—“You’re the best thing I never had; there’s a good in goodbye (I never have the Beyonce “sucks to be u” moment, y’all!!! Will I never be vindicated?); etc, etc” seem like the most unconsoling of consolation prizes.

crunktastic

146 thoughts on “She Got A Big Ego?: Thoughts on Dating with a Doctorate

  1. When that happens to me, I love to just sit back and listen to them rant and rave. It allows me to enter their head and make a clean break from them. When asked, why am I so quiet, I’ll calmly say that I’m assessing things, and poof I’m gone. No raised voices, no debates, no high blood pressure.

      • The thing is… His initial statement wasn’t about her gender. He said that he thinks humanities degrees are illegitimate. In my opinion, he is wrong, but that’s just me. I don’t think you should make it a gender thing if it isn’t (even though he did when he said that he wouldn’t back down because she was used to men doing that). Regardless, the dude is maybe insecure, definitely ignorant, but who cares.

        STOP WHINING. I’m proud of you all. Many brothers out here are as well. Settle with this guy or don’t. Why spend time criticizing his opinion? If you can’t deal, tell him why you think he’s wrong and be out.

        When I read things like this, I wonder why SOME black women waste time on men who want to “domesticate” them. If you don’t want that in a man don’t go for that. In 2011, it is very difficult to have an economically stable single-income home. Many brothers want a true partner who can contribute economically and intellectually to a family. You should recognize that some men DON’T want that and then you should GET OVER IT. For the record, some women agree to be “domesticated” and gladly ride that lifestyle into stay-at-home motherhood. Figure out your preference, get your needs met, and stop complaining about the people who have different views.

        To those posters who asserted that they do not want to be domesticated, think about how many first date meals a man has bought for you. Remember, accepting that kind of gift sets up a power dynamic that can last for the entire relationship. I’m not sure, but maybe letting a man pay for your meal is the first step toward “domestication.”

        -VERY Black Man, ABD, Social Sciences

      • People just need to start studying and applying the masculine and feminine principles in their lives (many books on this). Patriarchy, and its religions, has resulted in the subjugation of women and overly competitive and aggressive societies throughout the globe. Matriarchy is not the answer either, because it too does not promote balance.

        Education in today’s world is, to a certain extent, overrated. Even Einstein said – “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education” and “Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.” I use him as an example, because if he’s says it most people will take it seriously.

        To the brothers, humble yourself and try to control your ego (I’m a brother to and I know how hard it is sometimes). To the Mothers of the World, the sisters, it’s even harder for you in this world. My recommendation, is to study the works of Dr. Jewel Pookrum and Dr. Francis Cress Welsing. Those two are excellent examples of women I would want my daughters to emulate. Not Beyonce, Tyra, or Oprah.

        Women are the first teachers, if we lose our women we’ll loose everything! (And that’s what’s happening).

        (BTW I have a M.Sc, so my comment on education is from someone who has it).

        Peace

    • Ditto…Another response to queries about my silence in that moment, “I’m processing…” Very soon afterward, my mom, sister, or some other more important person magically appears on the other line and I have to go. POOF-achieved. If I had the time to invest in conversion, I would have gotten a seminary degree.

    • this is also usually my approach and it works quite well for me. ending with him uncomfortably trying to reinsert (pause) his way into a mind and heart that suddenly and fiercely shut closed.

    • Agreed. In the words of Theologian Tim Keller, “There is nothing more persuasive than gentleness.” I think that is what us strong Black ladies forget sometimes. I know I do.

  2. I just want to comment on the epic nature of a black feminist post that begins with Waiting to Exhale and ends with Beyonce! I love the CFC so much!!!!

    I love the list too!!!

  3. Wow! As an English scholar, professor, writer, etc. etc. (not “just” a teacher), I have received loads of resistance from my own (black men) inside and outside the classroom. I am married, though, to a black man with less education than me. Thankfully, he thinks I’m brilliant and is in love with my mind as well as my body. In this respect, I think I “got lucky.” We did meet, however, long before I amassed graduate degrees.

    If I were a “single”, black, female academic with several “Humanities” degrees, I would not and could not be subjugated by some dude (any dude) because I was tired of being lonely. And if that meant, being lonely a little more, or (as you so delicately phrased it) relinquishing my “supposed natural desires for a traditional hetero-patriarchal set-up and entertain/embrace other possibilities for partnership,” so be it. And I’m not just blowing “strong black woman” smoke.

    Of course I know that I sit in a more comfortable position to have principles and nontransgressible boundaries. I am married with children. I have effectively coupled and reproduced. However, implicit in your comment about patriarchy is that persistent, unrelenting black woman guilt. You state that “the situation reminded [you] of all the ways that patriarchy conspires against our ability to build loving connections with men.” Yes, you are correct. Patriarchy does conspire against our ability to build loving connections with men. However, black women are not betraying black men by having drive, being feminists, and getting Ph.D.s Black men are betraying us by not loving our bodies and our minds (no matter how filled with epistemology they are) .
    Quite frankly, we need to stop wasting our time with men who don’t love us (even if they look like us). I have read and heard black women discussing this same issue repeatedly. I still believe that women (Ph.D. or not) are sometimes drawn to men who are, shall we say, a challenge. We don’t want men who would drink our bathwater. Instead, we want men who would berate us about taking a bath instead of a shower in the first place.
    I’m still holding out for black hetero-love.

  4. I think most intelligent black woman with goals and ambitions are having a hard time. I have had more than a few dudes say crazy things to me like, “it’s gonna be hard for you to find a man” and the worst, “I’m gonna have to break you” (who am I, Flicka???). As much as I’d like to settle down and have a family, I refuse to do it by sacrificing who I am or diminishing any of my abilities. And though my Beyonce moment hasn’t ended in a white dress yet, every time a new opportunity is presented because of my hard work and success, it reminds me of each of those men who I had to pass over. I do believe that the right one will come along in spite of those past relationships.

  5. First of all, I enjoyed this post and appreciate the perspective from which it was presented. Second, I’ll offer an unorthodox approach to this classic scenario. The debate described in the post is one of logic; the prize being awarded to the most logical. Looking past logic and assumption, there is a conflict of energy here. Two sides both wanting the other to submit. You can change the subject to whatever you like in that situation. Unless there is compromise of perspective, preferable on both sides, you will have the same results. It’s not necessarily an issue of misogyny or feminism. PHDs have little to do with relationships. Allow me to rephrase the accusation of throwing your PHD in dude’s face: I do not require you to have a PHD. Sometimes winning isn’t winning: a lesson learned hard by myself.

    • “Unless there is compromise of perspective, preferable on both sides, you will have the same results.”

      So what is she supposed to compromise on? The statement that her degree is illegitimate?

      • The compromise is that the purpose of her degree was not for her home or personal relationships. The argument itself is friendly fire. You battle with oppression all day; you don’t have to bring it home. If you can’t take your armor off in your own home, when can you?

    • I’m confused, maybe I’m not clear on your position. Are you suggesting that she should shrink, so that he can rise? Her PhD is still a part of who she is, just as a freckle, brown eyes or any other characteristic.
      She earned it and he should be comfortable with it or move on. I agree that it’s a mental, spiritual and intellectual tug-of-war, but they would both have to let go of the rope to win, and that’s not happening. There are some things about a mate, others cannot get passed. Perhaps, this is one of them for him and that means he is not the one.

      • I’m confused, maybe I’m not clear on your position. Are you suggesting that she should shrink, so that he can rise? Her PhD is still a part of who she is, just as a freckle, brown eyes or any other characteristic.

        She earned it and he should be comfortable with it or move on.

        Amen. Her degree shouldn’t be an issue. It shouldn’t even be coming up in conversation.

      • I did not intend to insinuate that she must shrink in order for him to rise. To clarify: I do not see how either one of them could benefit from this argument. I cannot see what good is to come of winning. While I do see where you’re coming from, I have to disagree with you. You cannot discount an education which is a significant part of one’s experience, but I do not equate my own educational background with my physical attributes. As I do not see myself that way, I cannot look at my mate in that manner. I learned this view from home. Both of my parents have advanced degrees, but there was never argument or question of respect. They have also worked together for over 30 years. The respect I develop for a person is outside of their education. Education only becomes a factor with business relationships in my view. Even then I must first respect you as a person. These are qualities which must be the focus of our personal relationships. Save the arguments for the business arena.

    • But he was being insulting. Compromise isn’t the solution 100% of the time; if someone is being insulting the solution isn’t to meet halfway and be *a little* insulting instead. Some behavior is simply unacceptable, period.

      • They were both insulting. Maybe compromise wasn’t the best word to use in this case, but an understanding needs to form from these differences in perspectives. For all we know, dude might have a blog post boasting the opposing view. If our goal is to see us together, then we should not talk about one perspective defeating the other. Sure the brother’s views were ignorant, but one does not use intellect to speak down on ignorance. She did not start her own educational journey knowing what she knows now, nor could she have learned it in a single conversation. For a mental revolution to occur, the mind must undergo a process. I simply urge patience in educating ignorant perspectives. If you recognize the complexity of these issues, then please reevaluate what must go into a solution. Ignorance is just not knowing. It does not indicate one’s ability to know something. It is a quality that we all share, and we can all benefit from our difference in perspective.

      • How was I insulting exactly? Is it insulting just because I didn’t compromise? Intelligence is certainly the antidote to ignorance. And let me reiterate: the brother has two advanced degrees of his own. He is far from ignorant. But if your own experience tells you that compromise must always be pursued even in the face of gross insults and attacks, then so be it. It is not an opinion I share or an approach I’m interested in taking. Thanks for reading.

      • You were insulting by engaging in argument. The brother was clearly insulted. When I use the word ignorance, I am not implying that someone lacks a general intelligence. I refer to it as a lack of a certain intelligence, which in this instance was your own. His degrees will never give him the ability to see/hear you. You must convey that to him. Interpersonal relationships is the very source of your studies. The books written are the result of having obtained the direct knowledge. He was ignorant as to your perspective, while being knowledgeable of other things. Of course intelligence is the antidote to ignorance. I am saying that he was unable to receive it. I wasn’t there, but if it was a heated argument then that is no place to learn new concepts. The mind clings to it’s foundation in times of conflict. Again, I’ll take out the word compromise as it seems to imply loss. When there are two perspectives the truth tends to lie somewhere in between them: argument becomes agreement. What I am ultimately saying is that no perspective is ultimate. I am purposely contradicting myself because life itself is a constant contradiction. I think you can agree that most of the problems as you see them in the world are the result of people knowing that they are right. And if it ain’t broke… It’s cool if you don’t feel as though you were tasked to educate brothers like the one from you post. I am just hopeful that something greater might emerge if you did.

    • When your partner tells you that he thinks not only your degree, but also the subject of study you’ve dedicated your professional life to, is *illegitimate*, that is not something you compromise on. He purposely insulted her because he felt threatened by her accomplishments and was attempting to put her in her place so he could feel better about himself.

      I agree that education should not be something you fight over, but he started the argument here, and he did it with the intention of insulting her to lift up himself. I’m sorry, but you can not, and should not attempt to, carry on a relationship who is that insecure, immature, and petty. I don’t think OP was attempting to argue that she should be viewed as superior; only that the subject matter she studied and continues to work in is valid. It was her partner who insisted on invalidating her achievements in order to make her feel inferior and himself superior.

      Sometimes winning *isn’t* winning, and in this case winning a man who has to put you down to boost his confidence would not be winning. Any man who insists on mortifying your self-esteem and self-respect so that his can remain in tact is not worth it.

  6. I’m new here, love your writing and what I’m learning and I have an honest question: why limit the field to Black men?

    • The field isn’t limited. I’m open to dating non-Black men. But I do balk at any implication that interracial dating is a panacaea for Black women’s problems. Largely, interracial dating is the norm (or more normal) only when one lives in a major urban area, which I don’t; even when I have resided in urban areas, my experience has not been that men of other races (whites, Latinos, Asians) give me any play whatsoever. And I am especially wary of any notions that dating white men is the solution to these issues. When has romantic involvement with white men ever been a broadscale solution to Black women’s problems? History tells me not to put too much stock in that. But if there is an individually cool white or Asian or Latino dude, and they stepped the right way, they could definitely get some play.

      • I usually don’t comment at the end of a blog post twice. But I have to say this.:-) I don’t think that anyone is suggesting that dating White/Other men is a panacea for Black women’s dating/mating/marriage issues. But I do think that one issue implicit in the “go outside the race” suggestion is tolerance. Hear me now–I’m a Sister in her forties who doesn’t have a PhD but I do hold the MFA in Creative Writing and I am very successful in my field; so while I don’t know exactly what you are going through because I don’t have a doctorate, I have experienced these same, exact sorts of situations too many times to count. The Brothers who ask me to hide my tail feathers–as it were:-)–just because their own weren’t bright enough. And I tolerated it for all the various reasons you articulated so brilliantly in your blog post. But I didn’t just tolerate because of Patriarchy with a Big P. I tolerated because they were my Brothers. And I would never tolerate this sort of crap from a non-Black man; I would shut it down before they even got started. So I think what some of these folks are saying is not that White or Other men are the Jesus that will save you romantically, but that maybe you won’t feel the burden of 392 years of Black history every time you deal with a man if he doesn’t look like you. And maybe you won’t be so patient with this sort of hurtful thing. Because yes, this is about Patriarchy with a Big P, but at its core, this sort of exchange is emotionally abusive toward you–but because he’s Black you held out hope. And you also bargained with yourself that it wasn’t emotionally abusive. (I’ve been there, too.:-)) But maybe you could say, “Dang, this man is an [insert maternal expletive noun” a lot quicker if you were opening up your dating pool, and save your time to create pages on your research projects–and maybe that’s why he was acting that way, because if he could mess up your head, you wouldn’t work and be even more fabulous than you already are. I hope I haven’t said all this in the wrong way. I apologize if I had. And I’m so sorry you had to go through this hurtful situation. But you have the victory. I mean, what’s he going to do, write an equation to tell his side of the story.:-)

      • “Because yes, this is about Patriarchy with a Big P, but at its core, this sort of exchange is emotionally abusive toward you–but because he’s Black you held out hope. And you also bargained with yourself that it wasn’t emotionally abusive. (I’ve been there, too.:-))”

        Yes, that is probably truer than I would like to admit.

        “But maybe you could say, “Dang, this man is an [insert maternal expletive noun” a lot quicker if you were opening up your dating pool, and save your time to create pages on your research projects–and maybe that’s why he was acting that way, because if he could mess up your head, you wouldn’t work and be even more fabulous than you already are.”

        Definitely hadn’t thought of this, largely because I don’t go around trying to sabotage others and can’t understand the thinking of anyone who would.

        ” I hope I haven’t said all this in the wrong way. I apologize if I had.”

        Not at all.

        “I mean, what’s he going to do, write an equation to tell his side of the story.:-)” — Touche’

      • I’m very clear that they do, which is why I’m not in a rush to pursue interracial dating as the supposed solution to my problems.

  7. “For Black women, there were different outcomes, courtesy of Civil Rights and Black feminism. These sisters imagine men who champion their careers and are willing to actively co-parent– men who partner, support, and communicate.”

    - that right there sums up my life.

  8. Rereading Gloria Wekker’s Politics of Passion for comps, I was reminded of how we can’t look at Black women’s sexuality without looking at the political economy of Black women’s sexuality in order to get a sense of what is going on.

    Which leads me to ask, what is going on economically and how does that shape and constrain our relationships?

    By political economy I am thinking about who gets which resources and why?

    I love the paragraph below because it states some awesome assumptions without NAMING any particular individuals. We are all in this system together. Our solutions will be found together as well.

    “Patriarchy makes straight men feel justified in domesticating smart women. In the case of Black men, with whom I’m most familiar, they largely measure success by their ability to create traditional families. By contrast, many accomplished straight Black women have become that way largely by jettisoning their investment in traditional gender roles. I get it at an historical level. The Civil Rights Movement for Black men was as much about manhood as about race. Black men wanted to be able to perform the traditional roles that they’d seen white men performing for their families. And they built concepts of masculinity around such outcomes. Black men want women who are impressed and content if they stay, provide, and lead. For Black women, there were different outcomes, courtesy of Civil Rights and Black feminism. These sisters imagine men who champion their careers and are willing to actively co-parent– men who partner, support, and communicate. “

    • I think that economics definitely matters, though it’s an angle I hadn’t considered here largely because though I have the Ph.D. I think dude makes more money or a comparable salary to mine. But I do get the large gist of the question. I don’t have an answer though. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  9. 1) Kick this dude to the curb, NOW!!

    2) @Sonya: RE: yr comment:” We don’t want men who would drink our bathwater. Instead, we want men who would berate us about taking a bath instead of a shower in the first place.” I didn’t get the 2nd sentence; why would someone be berated for taking a bath? Maybe I’m taking it too literally. Please elaborate…

    3) As a creative type with an M.A, I would love to get to a point where this conversation is moot. Although honestly, my level of education is less of an issue for me with most of the dudes I’ve interacted with. What I come across often is the man I’m dating/trying to date/male friends saying something either factually or logically wrong. I offer the facts or a logical opinion, and it devolves into a long, drawn out argument. This has happened with men who run the gamut of lacking a college degree to Ivy Leaguers to dudes with Ph.D’s themselves, across racial lines. The bottom line is that most men need to be right and the “smartest guy in the room.” They respect, are even ATTRACTED TO my intelligence, but when their egos are threatened, they revert to childish ways.

    I’m single and yeah, I get sick of being lonely. But I also don’t want to subjugate my intellect or accomplishments (or simply “shut the fuck up”) to make a guy feel comfortable with me. There are days that I wish I was a lesbian, but I’m as hetero as they come, so I hold out hope that there is an attractive, funny, ambitious smart guy out there (Black or otherwise) who digs me and is fucking GROWN!!

  10. I think regardless of gender, a partner with a minimally useful doctorate and big loans is an unwise choice. Women with science degrees or useful professional degrees likely have less of these problems.

    • “I think regardless of gender, a partner with a minimally useful doctorate and big loans is an unwise choice.”

      I agree, but “minimally useful” sounds harsh. Certain degrees just (generally) don’t lead to high-paying positions, so it really doesn’t make any financial sense to rack up loans to get those. I wouldn’t feel comfortable being in a relationship with a person who thought that that kind of an investment was a smart idea.

      For me, as long my s.o. makes at least as much as I do, then it’s all good. Also, I just wanted to note that all the black men I’ve dated are Engineering/Applied Science PhDs (as am I) and I’ve never had any of these problems. (I’ve also dated Caucasian men; didn’t have these problems with them, either.)

      • Wow. Well someone has to teach the humanities classes, the classes on race, gender, and class, on politics, and all those other things that happen in the world while the scientists among us make scientific inventions and contributions. What bothers me is the assumption that lack of funding indicates usefulness. You can put paragraphs together and express your thoughts because of humanities, not because of your engineering classes. So let’s be clear that humanities, social sciences, hard sciences and math are all useful. This arrogance among the scientific community is a most troubling and dangerous kind of myopia. I also greatly resent the assumption that my choice to invest in doing something I love and am great at doing is unwise. Furthermore, I’m paying back my loans, and I have good credit. Therefore, my educational and financial choices create no burdens for my partner. And I certainly pursued those degrees when I didn’t have a partner (I still don’t.) So why would I make educational choices based on the degree of usefulness that a potential partner thinks such degrees have? Sounds like the most ridiculous logic, or lack thereof, I’ve ever heard. But then I would expect no less from folks who think the humanities have “minimal use.”

    • Some people feel you’re either too much, or not enough and they’ll mask it with pissing contest about which degree is worth more. Tom, I’m going to presume your comment was purely for entertainment and sarcasm.

    • I have a PhD in physics and have a lot of the same problems. I have had similar experiences.

  11. I’m a white guy – i.e.dude with plenty of privilege. And yet, I’ve had my Masters degree in English thrashed by numerous people, including a few women I have dated. The whole “useful,” “practical” line of arguing is so tired, and so lacking creativity and insight into how the world functions as a whole.

    You’re points about male privilege and patriarchy are very true, and it’s really disappointing that so many men continue to be threatened by intelligent women, and choose to play games and pick fights in order to maintain (in their minds at least) “top dog” status in a relationship.

    But I also wonder if part of the issue is that the two of you simply see the world too differently to be good partners. I have never had any luck dating women who either rejected the deep value of the humanities in general, or who felt that it was better to “be practical” and consider art, writing, music, etc as hobbies or solely for entertainment.

    • I appreciate the comment. And yes, I think there is a difference in worldviews that would affect our compatibility as partners, especially given my love for writing, music, and art, as you suggest–but a huge part of that difference, I maintain, is dude’s strident commitment to his own sexism, even when it was exposed to him in a loving manner.

      • “…but a huge part of that difference, I maintain, is dude’s strident commitment to his own sexism, even when it was exposed to him in a loving manner.”

        yes! folk really don’t understand how much of a “problem” that can be…

  12. In graduate school there was nothing more conversation-killing than telling someone in a social setting that you were studying cell biology and biochemistry. What some people fail to realize are those “3 little letters” represent many hours of blood, sweat, and tears. Furthermore, being smart and sexy ARE NOT mutually exclusive attributes!

  13. I believe that a lot of what you say is absolutely true. And just so you know, as a white woman with only a master’s degree in humanities/social sciences field, I am treated in much the same way. My last partner broke things off because I was “too good for him,” and he was “intimidated by” me…. Such nonsense!

    I wish you the best of luck!

    • My last partner broke things off because he (PhD with a job) cheated on me (working on a PhD) with another person of color who had their PhD and a job. Same patriarchal need to fulfill their ego, just a different method. I feel you!

  14. Another thing that Patriarchy does is tell women that we should feel bad or care when someone tries to throw our achievements in our face. Most guy’s I know with a PhD wouldn’t care if their heart flutter threw their education in their face, or minimized their field. It may annoy them, but they are okay with it because they don’t have to Actually care.

    What concerns me is that you”Told him my feelings were hurt. Explained that it is important to me that folks who are close to me value what I do, as it is a part of who I am.” and dude failed to respond to that. Sounds like he was having a MAJOR peak of insecurity since instead of hearing your pain, he just went on to defend what he does. Red flags are red flags. But this lifetime TV idea about relationships that every guy is a serial killer in disguise and we women should know better is not only totally distorted but also victim blaming. It’s great that you are done with dude, but men are not perfect, the pull all sorts of games and say stupid things and try and win stupid arguments and it really takes the right man to make it worth it. For me that man is the one that sticks with me and stays patient when I say stupid things, try to win stupid arguments, and pull all sorts of games because he knows that it is worth it. That’s love, and it take two to tango. But I can say, that if I ran from certain things earlier I wouldn’t have to deal with them today. I had a list too, and he didn’t fill any of the criteria, that was sort of hard for me to deal with. But he offered me stuff I didn’t even think to put on the list, like calm, understanding and balance

    On another note:

    If you are single and sick of it, and you are sure it is your education that is the problem you can decide to either except being single or explore that maybe there are things other than your education and patriarchy that are creating your singlehood. There definitely could be other reasons why you are single and not attracting the right guys you want to spend time with, that attract, exhilarate and respect you. Maybe you have some self doubt working, or maybe you are too wary of dating.

    When I was single, I found out that maybe I was single because I wore frumpy white gym socks all the time and basically dressed in a frumpy (and I really mean like, loungewear EVERYWHERE) way that stamped “taken” on my forehead. In guy vision, I was considered an available option for dating because who wants to compete over someone when there are plenty of single women out there? But when I got excited about dating, dressed with a bit more intention and bought some new socks I instantly started to attract more attention. Then I had a more choice. Maybe you have something like that going on… What could your “taken” sign be?

    I might sound like, a little too talky talky or whatever right now, but my heart goes out to you.

    Be confident about your PhD. Having a PhD is awesome. You may not be a man, but when someone says something crappy you don’t have to ACTUALLY care. Like if you are “Uppity” about it than you are, and that is something it sounds like you would be interested in working on, if you were. But if you aren’t “Uppity” about it, which is sounds like you aren’t don’t let peoples stupid comments or low blows get to you.

    When it comes to the words of a patriarch sometimes (almost always) it’s better to play “I am rubber you are glue” and move on to something more interesting, nurishing and connecting, if not with that person than with someone else.
    <3

    • I appreciate the great advice in this post. Lots of good stuff here. And yes, I think I do a pretty decent job of advertising the goods, :) .

    • Ha! Funny stuff @Most guy’s I know with a PhD wouldn’t care if their heart flutter threw their education in their face, or minimized their field. It may annoy them, but they are okay with it because they don’t have to Actually care.

  15. As a black male researcher in the sciences it saddens me when any level of education is downplayed. Furthermore I find the problems being researched in the social science/humanities deal with just as fascinating or more fascinating problems than those solved in the sciences. Furthermore I feel that in order for the research I do in science to be relevant to our society’s problems more research is needed in the guess what? humanities fields. Finding new energy doesn’t solve our society’s problems if we can’t figure out ethical and political ways of disseminating it. Speaking of which where do the major components of the new Li-batteries come from. (A: Mines in South America). Try sending a scientist there for political negotiations. Our society and our communities need researchers in all fields. Not just sciences. And women deserve better.

  16. One- I am stoked to have found this site. Two- I am stoked to have found this post. Just this morning…I gave into the “OMFG, I am going to be alone forever” train of thought after a semblance of events that happened over the weekend and I don’t have a PhD…just a rack of Masters and a few certificates etc. I am also an entrepreneur and that puts a whole new stank on things as well.

    For a moment, I was really down and out but also pissed the hell off that because of my “degrees” I would have to be relegated to spinster status. After a good temper tantrum, I pulled myself together and then happened across this post on Facebook. I felt better not for another woman’s struggle in finding companionship…but in that I was not making up the perceived slights in my mind- as I have been told. When most all of your friends are married and you are the lonely flag on the pole- you naturally start to question yourself.

    On the flipside, In attending various events and hanging out with some married friends….I also see first hand what “personality adjustments” my friends have had to make in order to get and stay married (if they did not marry a “Beta Male”). Lights dimmed and dreams deferred. I personally refuse. I also quickly saw that some of them lost themselves and became dependent on their mate for their happiness. This is not the move and it is never fair to make someone else the keeper of your emotions.

    I have come to terms with my current truth that right now, its more important for me to live my purpose, experience what I want to do and fulfill dreams that need to be expressed so that…eventually when I do find my soul-mate…I have evolved int the person that I will be and there will be no question about what they get with me and I know that my mate is with me because he sees me for who I truly am. Two fulfilled people make a rock solid relationship any day and that is what I am looking forward too. All this other fukery can go play in traffic.

  17. Sorry to hear about that. As an electrical engineer, I tend to regularly socialize with other engineers, of all backgrounds, with BS’s, MS’s and PhDs. I love to meet black women engineering PhDs – mostly because of the odds and adversity they most likely would have faced to achieve that goal. At the same time, I am disgusted when conversations go to the humanities and people show their ignorance and lack of respect for scholarship in those areas. On one hand, I have had many roommates who were not in the sciences or engineering and they could, on the undergraduate level, do things like go out during the week – which was something that engineering students could not afford to do. I think among many of us, resentment sort of grew out of the fact that we had to spend so much time studying – just to get C’s. The whole time I was an engineering student, I was so stressed, I was unable to menstruate. This is why, even though I would really like to go to graduate school, I feel like my body wouldn’t be able to take it. On the graduate level though, (from what I’ve heard), a degree in the natural sciences (especially physics) or humanities could possibly be relatively more rigorous. Most engineers graduate with a PhD within 4-5 years, debt free, whereas many other doctoral programs take much longer, might not be funded and are less “defined.” (loosely based on what I remember from “Getting What You Came For”)

    Also, I am saddened by so many engineers having horrible communication skills (especially writing) and a limited worldview (those from the US) – ignorance in general. I think we could all use some extra English, Geography, Sociology, and History courses – taught by a motivated PhD in Humanities. I was fortunate to have a mother who was an artist and a writer – very into history and anthropology – so I recognize that various types of humanities are very important to my life and my identity. I get more excited about meeting a famous historian than a famous engineer. (I almost drove 300 miles to hear Manning Marable speak, shortly before he died). I think being more well-rounded makes you better, and more effective at whatever you do.

    I dated an African American man with a PhD in History from an elite university. I was extremely impressed at first because he was attractive, tall, multilingual, well-traveled, quirky, into art history (like I was at the time). But eventually I saw that he was an arrogant asshole who was kind of insane. He kept referring back to his PhD as if that made him better than me or anyone who questioned him. He really wasn’t all that smart. But I think African American men with PhDs get a pass in being expected be be proud of their achievement and throwing it in the face of the person they’re dating – especially if she doesn’t have one or it’s from a more rigorous program or a “harder” area.

    Anyway, thank you for doing what you do! Being an expert in your field of interest – is what self-actualization is all about. You are free. I’m trying to be like you. That guy really missed out.

    • “Harder” area? I have taught many in the sciences who could not write to save their lives. Please clarify. ( I have a PhD)

    • Naima, it sounds like we dated the same PhDer in the same field from an “elite” university. However, you will get there. You will get to a point where it’s you over anyone that doesn’t have your best interest at heart. What we are looking for is someone (regardless of their education level) who respects the person you are and wants to be on the journey to the you are striving to be…

  18. WORD. I don’t have any higher degrees (yet) but have met plenty of people who are apparently allergic to less commonly employed English words.

    I’ve also noticed, living in Korea, when I tell women I speak Korean, they go “oh, that’s cool and useful” but men either need to prove they speak MORE Korean than me, or they spend an hour telling me about how they totally could be an expert but why would they bother because Korea is small and Korean is useless (says the dude who LIVES IN KOREA…hmmmm).

  19. Well. This scenario is not necessarily due to the fact the type of or how many degrees you have.
    Insecurity is a real and folks “hide” it in the most interesting of ways. Also, someone to understand and may even profess the knowledge about the interlocking systems of opression may not know how to adequately translate it into their daily livelihood.

    • I agree with Rosalind, I do not believe the feedback was due to your level of education, but maybe due to your level of common sense. My experience is when you present a well thought out common sensed based perspective, people who have control issues will have a issue with you. I do think it is an insecurity based on the need to have control over other people, that you might be running into.

    • I agree as well. What it all seems to be is just people being people. Insecurity on both sides–IMHO. I don’t have any degrees, but have spent a lifetime studying. I’ve worked 15 years in a library and 10 in a bookstore, and I’m self taught in many subjects.

      One of the great lessons I’ve learned is that we people have a very hard time if we don’t get the accolades and affirmations that we feel we deserve. But, If we know we’re brilliant, then why do we need a man’s acknowledgement? I believe it’s that same patriarchy that makes us desire acknowledgement–for the woman focused on her looks she wants her man to acknowledge her beauty, and for the woman focused on her brains, she wants her man to acknowledge her intelligence.

      Since we know that men are socialized by patriarchy, then why do we devalue a man when he proves that he’s a victim of patriarchy? When he shows the deeply embedded insecurity that patriarchy socializes in him, we toss him “to the curb”. Is this the only way that we can deal with brothers? Are they REALLY so debased as to need a kicking to the curb? Let’s think about this.

      This type of reaction in and of itself shows that we women are also the victims of patriarchy (still), socialized by it ourselves–even the most intelligent of us. We are going to have to shift our paradigm and stop valuing black men and ourselves by the demon spirit of the white patriarchy.

      IMHO of course.

  20. As with poster above, white male, somewhat privileged, mid-way through a literature PhD, so I’m poorly placed to comment on many the issues here and won’t.

    That said, I just wanted to say that the issues you raise hold true across race; white males are just as capable of chauvinistic, bigoted behaviour and, indeed, feel threatened by educated women. I hope that this is something that will eventually die out.

    I also wondered if you were aware of the excellent “University of Venus” project?: http://uvenus.org/about/ which brings to light the problems faced, and accomplishments of, women in higher education.

    Thanks again for the post and hope you find someone who appreciates you.

  21. Any man that insults a woman’s education, isn’t worth your time period. And who, do such men think will explain rising fascism in America? Education should not be downplayed.

    Black women with PHD’s are sexy! I don’t meet many. Big up to my sisters in Humanities, expertise in your field and critical thinking is one of your many superlatives. All three of my degrees are in Humanities as well. Frankly, Black women deserve better from Black men.

    Just know, Black men are here that will champion your careers, actively co-parent, partner and communicate.

  22. Wow! A friend sent me this link and unfortunately I could relate! I say do you and keep your head up. There are men in the world who respect, honor and cherish intelligence and some day you will run into one of those. Be prepared because he may or may not be Black or American, but will have your back when you need him.

  23. I think your comments on the elements of patriarchy that went in to his devaluing of your education and profession are really interesting. As an engineer with an LGBT studies minor, I’ve always thought that people in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) often devalued humanities/social sciences (or didn’t think of them as “real” majors) because the numbers aren’t quite as firm and the thought that one can B.S. papers more easily than numbers/the laws of physics.

    After reading your post, I think the devaluing of social sciences/humanities (more diverse field) by STEM (male-dominated field) folks probably has some roots in sexism and patriarchy. Either way, it’s a pretty illogical thing to think. Hopefully you find someone who isn’t intimidated by you and isn’t a jerk about your field.

  24. Talk about your degree not keeping you warm at night!! I think the issue here is not about the degree’s you have or for that matter you being more educated than your ex-boo, but more so about an antiquated ideology of masculinity vs. a new aged theory of masculinity. It’s like old school vs new school and no one wants to bend. The ideas you discussed in outlining the dichotomic relationship between patriarchies and “lasting relationships” only come in to play when the two people have varied ideological views, which is a difficult thing to overcome in a relationship no matter what level of education is involved. There are plenty of sisters with a PhD willing and able to play the traditional feminine role in a relationship. And there is nothing wrong with that, just as your ideas are equally valid. I think that sometimes sisters (and brothers) get degrees and get the big head and begin to demand respect. But what they really want is adoration. You got a PhD, great, what does that have to do with a relationship? If your degree defines you to the point that it is a topic of discussion in your relationship (whether you bring it up or he does) that in itself is an issue. A degree is no more a part of you than your job title. It doesn’t make you a better person or a grant you cart blanche. I don’t believe the having a masters or a doctorate should automatically increase your standards in what you want in a relationship. (Don’t date a dummy, but a degree is not always indicitive of intelligence) When I read this article I felt like both of you may have been a little gassed up and got caught up in things that don’t really matter. (I know I don’t know the whole story, I’m just going off what I read here) With all that being said, you just got a regular reader!

    • Yes, and double yes! It’s part of the patriarchial groupthink to believe that one is elevated because of a degree! Not saying that Crunkstastic thinks that way, but obviously she doesn’t feel devalued by her degrees.

      It’s unfortunate that the white man’s degree has the power to destroy a black relationship–standing in as a proxy so to speak. The reason that it can is that we put too much stock in that degree. For example, I also have majored in the humanities, yet have never stepped foot into a university.

      What I notice about black women, no matter what level of education, is that too many of us feel superior to black men, and it’s very subtle because we don’t believe that we do. We don’t admit how patriarchy has shaped and socialized us as well. But whenever a sister is talking about “kicking black men to the curb” she’s already dehumanized him which puts her in agreement with the patriarchy.

      Another thing I notice is that feminists are not too keen on talking about how patriarchy socializes them–they are very focused on how MEN are socialized but not too much on women. But if we are the critical thinkers that we claim to be, we have to be able to turn the spotlight on ourselves.

      • With rare exceptions, I have not met Black women who feel superior to Black men; I think the problem is that we see ourselves as their equals which means we don’t buy easily anymore into narratives about how they should lead us or how we should submit to them. That however is not the same thing as feeling superior. I’d also be willing to bet that the few Black women who do have an overinflated sense of self-importance are negligible in terms of numbers in comparison to the sisters who suffer with low self-esteem because of societal factors, family experiences, and past romantic relationships. In any case, I just want to be clear that the “white man’s degree” didn’t ruin this relationship. An insecure Black man who made piss-poor choices and refused to address the source of his insecurities did. And that thinking got him an invitation out of my heart and on to the curb. No apologies. I refuse to let a man dehumanize me with his words and his thinking on the faulty premise that his humanity can only remain in tact if I permit him to dehumanize me. If that means I have a superiority complex, so be it.

      • @Crunkstastic–Thanks for your response.

        I believe that sisters’ insecurities manifest in more ways than we are willing or even able to acknowledge. I’m one who is down for looking at the hard facts as it pertains to how we as black women view ourselves, relate to each other, and to black men.

        Too often we (myself included) refuse to acknowledge where we are at fault in relationships (not speaking for you) because we are socialized to believe that our opinion is the correct default opinion.

        Yes there are too many sisters with low self-esteem, and too often we try to build ourselves by linking our self esteem with a man’s acknowledgement; when they have low self esteem themselves.

        I can’t speak for your ex, but when black men make “piss poor” decisions, we might want to consider where they’re coming from, as men’s reasoning is different from women’s. His decision-making process can’t merely be that he’s stupid. There’s probably a method to the madness. If a black man is trying to survive with his manhood intact in a culture that’s determined to tear it down, then he’s going to make decisions based on protecting his manhood at all costs, unfortunately based on patriarchal definitions.

        In this society we black women see how our men are emasculated on a daily basis. How do we protect ourselves from losing respect for our men? The black man sees that we see: how does he not become hypersensitive about how we view him? How does he cope? He falls back on that old paradigm of control and dominate. How do we counteract this? Or do we bother?

        Of course this is a two sided issue. Men have to wage the same battle to overcome how patriarchy diminishes his proper interaction with black women.

        For those who feel that it’s worth the fight, we have to accept that it’s a process to deconstruct patriarchal conditioning. It takes patience and understanding, respect and all the intelligence and energy one can muster. It has to be worth it to you.

      • It’s worth it to me, definitely. And if you will recall, in the blog post, I didn’t merely knock Black men for having traditional values. I placed their investment in those values into historical context, acknowledging that given the assault on Black masculinity, the Civil Rights movement was as much about racism as about recouping a certain kind of Black masculine dignity. In other words, I acknowledge the historical complexity of Black men’s plight, far more often than I think brothers are willing to acknowledge the ways that history has affected Black women’s plight. As I said in the post, most brothers want us to be content and impressed if they stay, provide, and lead; and when we demand more or different notions, often they resent that, and claim that we have unreasonable standards. I disagree. In any case, I didn’t “kick Dude to the curb” after this one conversation. There were a series of interactions of which this was the final straw. Although to be honest, this conversation was worthy of me walking away in and of itself. I’m not gonna be emotionally abused or try to save/ fix any brother just because racism has given him low self-esteem. He has to own his issues and work through them, just like we all do. There was definitely a method to the madness; another CFC reader on the FB page put the issue here in a way that resonates for me. She said, the bottom line is “the brother’s ego was bigger than his self-esteem.” I agree. And mind you, had the same been true of me, Black men have little tolerance for sisters with self-esteem problems or big egos. So why should he get a pass? He shouldn’t. I can’t want someone’s healing and growth more than they do, however much I understand the impetus for the piss-poor choices being made.

        Thus, I declare that my racial obligations, whatever they may be and if I have any, are complete. I’m at peace with that. And every sister has to determine just how much bullshit she’s willing to put up with in the name of understanding Black men’s plight. My tolerance is increasingly low, and if that makes me less down for the cause of brothers, so be it. It wouldn’t be the first time such a charge has been levied against feminists. But what Black feminism has taught me is that I am worth it and that the cost of helping some brother maintain his dignity cannot be my own self-esteem. My self-esteem, my dignity, my emotional well-being are things I’ve fought hard to maintain under continual assaults from plenty of insecure brothers down through the years; I know it’s cost and worth, and it’s a price I’m unwilling to pay. It is worth me choosing me and walking away, even if it means I can’t put Black men’s racially damaged self-esteem front and center. And again, I’m at peace with that. Thanks for reading.

    • Wow. That chart is mind blowing. Thanks for sharing! And I appreciate the commiseration and receive the strength.

  25. Loved this article! Thanks to the author, Crunktastic. I’m a woman of color with a Master’s degree in Terrorism studies. I don’t tell people that’s what I achieved my degree in because I’m immediately ostracized by women as well as men. So I lie, not because I’m ashamed or have low-self esteem. I’m highly “intolerant” of other’s people’s insecurities. For shallow meetings and acquaintances that I might meet, I just tell them I studied political science. Makes the small talk and the false conversation go a lot faster. Of course my close circle of friends know, but that’s different, they’re my trusted inner circle of friends. I haven’t been on a date since I graduated from my terrorism studies program and that was in ’09. I live as an expat overseas to remedy several of these problems…..Nordic and Western Europeans aren’t as anti-intellectual as some Americans can be.

    • I hear you. I’m a white woman with a PhD, but an immigrant a few times over, and in my birth country it was pretty normal for women to be educated (even in “masculine” fields like engineering) and to work full time as a matter of course. I had terrible luck dating N. American men, even before I had a BA — I still remember being on a date in my first year of college with an astronomy student who kept complaining that I was using “long words.” That stuff really got old after a while. I’ve been much happier dating in Western Europe, and am happily married to a German man. My very subjective observation is that German men, at least the educated ones, tend to be much less hung up on traditional notions of masculinity. (I.e., many will happily take parental leave, will share childrearing, some take the wife’s last name, etc. etc.) This is not necessarily true for well-educated North American men, as the post demonstrates.

      While I realise that this kind of masculine insecurity is particularly an issue for women of color, I think the problem is also broadly North American — a poisonous combination of anti-intellectualism and retrograde gender roles.

  26. I hope to one day earn my PhD and I’ve already had encounters with men that have left me totally appalled. Even as far as being called a “delusional bitch” and the C-Word (yes, the misogynistic C-Word that is beyond offensive coming off of the lips of a man).

    Although fundamental differences in the way in which two potential “partners” see the world can account for arguing or debate, the heightened use of violent language and tone certainly comes from the fact that patriarchy reigns in the U.S.

    I’m beyond thankful to have come across this piece. I could cry! It is comforting to know that I am not alone and that there is no need to silence myself for the sake of keeping a man around.

    You will find a partner that deserves you and that is just that: a partner. Not an insecure, wreck of a man that has to attempt to null and void a significant accomplishment in your life. To quote Beyonce’s partner, Jay-Z: “ON TO THE NEXT ONE!” lol! :)

    • Wow! It actually makes me sad to hear that you were called out of your name; definitely dealt with my (un)fair share of that. But yes, “on to the next one,” indeed! Once I get my mind right…that is. :)

  27. well-written article using personal experience as a teaching tool; wondering if they have sista groups throughout the US and abroad that discuss this issue regularly?

  28. Actually women with PhDs turn me on, but thats for generalizing that all men think like that one does.

    • Yeah, Dude claimed the same exact thing, but then fell victim to the faulty and defensive reasoning that you seem to be employing here. Perhaps I misunderstood your point.

      • I don’t think you misunderstood at all… imho those who respond to female strength and intelligence by sexualizing those qualities have a few things to work through in their own heads.

  29. Good for you for demanding the treatment you deserve, and I’m so glad you’ve got a ton of supportive commenters here telling you so. :D

  30. Very interesting. It happens within marriage too. It is hard to have open honest conversations on the topic of a woman having a PhD, particularly when the man doesn’t. It pervades many other areas of the relationship. My marriage only survived it because we began to focus on one another as COMPLETE people, coinsidering more than our degrees, their percieved utility and the extent to which we pursued professional goals. If you are doing what you love, keep doing it and keep talking with potential partners, one that is a good fit will come along.

  31. I’ve observed what appeared, on its surface, to be a similar situation by its primary elements: Woman in relationship moves toward Ph.D. and friction ensues in final year with degree-lacking mate. She accuses him of being a tool of the patriarchy. He argues back whatever blah blah blah but he keeps arguing and refuses to back down. She leaves, justified. … Afterward: He explains he wasn’t fighting to be right over her wrong, he was fighting for the relationship – he believed in her degree path, supported her emotionally for many years, was prepared to move anywhere to be with her and even give up his job to go back to school himself. She maintains the “growing apart” paradigm – he had become too different from her and didn’t fit her self-image of who a professor would be married to. … Unless the actors were intimately known, their drama would seem to be entirely a patriarchal culture problem.

    • The circumstances of my relationship with this guy are quite different–i.e. I met him after I had already received the degree; he knew about it from jump and claimed it was one of the things that he found attractive about me. The exchange–and the other one with this person which I linked to at the bottom of the piece– happened pretty much as I recounted it; you can choose to believe it or not believe it. Thanks for reading.

  32. I keep reading comments about “conversations about my PhD”. What are the conversations about? I feel like I’m missing something. I’m about to enter a masters program and plan on getting my doctorate as well. My wife is about to finish a masters program and prepping to to start her PhD, the only thing we talk about is homework and how we are going to pay for the next semester!!

    Why is there all this talk about your degree? It shouldn’t be a secret and should be celebrated but I’m not calling my wife Dr anything unless I’m introducing her for the first time or you know we are playing doctor!!

    My cousin has a phd and is one of the worlds best at what she does. She is single and always blames it on her education and income. But if you only want to date someone that has a phd and makes over 500k your pool is very limited no matter what race you’re looking for. After some basic standards are met (college degree, drive, good job,etc.) your degree is simply a means to a greater end. Maybe I’m missing something…

    • A conversation about one’s degree(s) can come up any number of ways. Remember that the convo recounted here was about undergrad majors! Not even the Ph.D. I will also say that whenever this person referred to me by name he routinely called me Dr. and my last name, never my first name. Sometimes that can be flirty if said in the right context, but mostly I find/found it annoying and told him so; I asked him on several occasions to refer to me by first name because I didn’t want the focus to be on my title. Again, this is just one more reason that I maintain that he had the problem with my degree. I didn’t make it a problem. And as I’ve said, I don’t require dudes to make comparable income or have a Ph.D. But I note the irony that it bothers you that your cousin wants someone with comparable levels of achievement when it seems that you and your wife have comparable levels of achievement. Why do we get mad at Black women who’ve done well for themselves and want men who’ve done comparably? Personally I think that such a choice limits the dating pool just based on the shear number of brothers in Ph.D. programs (something like 55,000 to Black women’s 125,000). But I’m not hating on a sister who wants that and sometimes her reasoning has everything to do with wanting to avoid a knucklehead like the one I discuss here.

      • I think this young man was lame for calling you Dr. Crunktastic (he was certainly insecure). The only thing that bothers me about my cousin is that she wouldn’t let me hold a few hundred when i was down at the craps table in vegas and didn’t want to go to the atm!! Other than that, I think she is great, i was simply stating that when you are doing a search with very exact parameters it limits the results and sometimes you miss out on what you are truly looking for. I think that an educated man making 85 to 120k can easily be a great partner for her. but she won’t consider a man without a phd AND making close to her 500k salary. THAT IS INSANE I stil love her though.

  33. Hey! the Humanities and Education majors rock (Biased) yall others rock too!!! I remember when I was little walking down the street with my grandmother, and my father was doing college work. I wanted a PhD at 9 years old and told her that I too will cry when I get mine. Now at 39 I am on my second year of my Masters! wow! I did it against every odd. A single parent with a learning disability and still pushing forward. I guess it is not the degree but our determination to “just keep swimming” that men feel they have to compete with. I had a problem like that recently, where a guy I was dating decided to flirt on his facebook page with women who write like: “Dis is so kewl” misusing cap locks, (and despite my ability to learn languages all over the world I had a heck of a time decoding that crap) and devolved speech. Why in the heck did he downgrade???? I have to re-read what they wrote multiple times because my first reaction is what the f**k is this sh*t?? Followed by are you f**king kidding me???!! Please do not tell me you went for THAT? they think that because we are hard working and passionate about our chosen paths, we have traded that in for the ability to be loving, nurturing partners. A degree of any kind is an accomplishment. Just to take a course and complete it is an accomplishment, and this is part of our life’s journey. I would feel honored to have the right person’s name on my thesis and dissertation and my further diplomas. As long as the man who comes into our (my daughter and my life) understands he will marry a woman who is passionate about teaching and education, then it would be a beautiful exchange and sharing of journeys!

  34. Starters:
    I’m a guy who works with his hands full of tools.
    Yes, I know that’s “sexy” to some of you women. I’m rather proud of that.
    I am also one of those guys who is ok with himself.
    That deos not mean that I see myself as better than anyone of any other gender.
    What it does mean is that I am more ready and able to laugh at myself about whatever.
    It also allows me to not be intimidated by a woman who is intelligent, beautiful, both of those or any other myriad ways a woman might be.
    It mas made it much easier for me to get along in life.
    I’m one of those guys who is legitimately attracted to intelligent/highly intelligent women.
    If we meet at a soiree(neat word from a toolguy, huh;~) or anywhere and you tell me that you’re studying micro or macrobiology, I’d look you in the eyes and say, “Tell me”. I would be sincere in wanting to know and do really listen when you speak to me.
    My point is this: There are some of us men in all walks of life, races, ethnicities, etc who are able to accept you for who you are, what you have or can or will accomplish and can still enjoy fixing your damn sink or toilet or car.
    I’m one of those guys and, I enjoyed reading all of you here.
    I’ll keep this site because I want to know.
    OK, back this~~
    Peace, baby.lol

  35. amen, hallelujah, and all that…

    naming it is part of getting it the hell outta the way. so, thank you.

  36. That guy- Thank you. My Dad is a man like you. He is a union truck driver and at 55, has dated several professional women since being widowed. He thinks education and ambition are great traits in women and encouarged them in me. Even though he didn’t finish his BA, he doesn’t down women who did. He is well-read and well-spoken in many settings and is also handy. I did not marry a blue collar guy, but I was certainly open to it and never looked down on guys with good jobs who did not have BAs or formal education.

  37. I’m sure I’ll get blasted but I don’t think your friend (“dude”, as you refer to him) was blasting your for your degree or threatened by it. I do think he is-as I confess, I am-an elitist when it comes to subject matter. I was a science major and I’m a writer so I can tell you: It’s a helluva lot harder to make it through Microbiology/Molecular Physics-type courses than any English or humanities course on the planet. It just is. As such, most people that majored in something mathematical/scientific tend to look down their nose at those who major in English, Psych, or similar. I’d feel bad about it but I’m just being honest-I don’t. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t respect you or your hard work in whichever field you choose but it does mean I wouldn’t necessarily equate it with my friends who are astrophysicists. It’s elitist. It’s wrong. It is what it is.

    I do think you make strong points about the patriarchal nature of this country and the attitudes of its men-especially in the black community. There are men out there who aren’t threatened by smart women-you just have to find one.

    • What an incredible set of assumptions, starting with the idea that your perception of reality can be extrapolated to that of everyone else’s. What is your position on fields like Political Science or Philosophy?

      As someone who majored in both mathematics as well as a humanities field- I have personally found several mathematics courses to be far more approachable and less “hard” than some of the humanities coursework I’ve come across. I would find it much easier to go through another semester of ‘Euclidean and Non-Euclidean Geometry’ than read Judith Butler’s “Gender Trouble” or James Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake.”

    • I agree with Wonderwoman for the most part. When I was an undergraduate engineering major we thought all humanities majors were idiots. It wasn’t gender motivated but a feeling of elitism towards anyone who wasn’t doing something pure. Fields where opinions mattered rather than there being an absolute right answer.

      Now that I’m older, I have let this go…. mostly.

    • Here is the thing… We are all wired differently… For some people, mathematics and anything requiring analytics comes easier than the philosophical, creative, and critical stuff… Then there are other people well suited for the opposite… We have to respect people’s choices and make a decision not to judge either way. There may be some merit to Wonderwoman’s argument, but there are so many factors mitigating one’s success in any given course that this argument cannot be fully generalized across all schools and all situations…

  38. I think it is amazing how people can listen to a man’s retelling of a break-up and go, “Wow, she is crazy, he dodged a bullet!” or in other ways confirm what he says. But when a women talks about her break-up and how hard dating is for her, people say, “Are you sure you affirmed his manhood? Why do you talk about your education level? Are you keeping your body/ breath/ clothes, tight?”
    We need to examine why we are so quick as a society to blame Black women for relational failures that may not be fair or logical.

  39. it’s crazy how patriarchy blinds us. Getting a PH.D is a GREAT THING for anyone. For someone (usually we men) to belittle someone for pursuing that goal and not even placing any value in it, its shameful and disgusting.

    Patriarchy conditions us to think that any achievement a woman makes, its something that we lose.

    We have to realize that more women getting PH.D’s is a good thing for everyone!

  40. This was a great read, sad how it ended though. I want to start off by saying that I was offended that dude called degrees in humanities illegitimate. As an African American Studies major/Asian American Studies minor, i get stereotyped as only being teacher material. (In actuality, I’m going to start my own non-profit).

    End personal rant.

    Personally, if you can’t appreciate your partner physically and mentally, then the relationship is doomed from the start. I think that should be a universal building block. Race really has nothing to do with it. If you as an individual wants to only look for one particular race, that’s fine. Just don’t say that there are no good men since you choose to limit yourself. On the flipside as a guy, we shouldn’t expect women to have less of a role in relationships. Granted, this is a new idea in American society. Either the man worked with a supporting wife and children. Or women worked full time as both the father and mother. Having two full time parents in the household is something we all are trying to perfect. Even if it’s just dating, women in the professional field (that wasn’t teaching or being a secretary) is new. So us guys relinquishing our power to accommodate for our partner would be a little unfamiliar, but not out of the question. Females of the 21st century are smarter, worker harder, and earn a lot more than 40 and 20 years ago. So they want more respect, I’m all for it.

    As for a female (as to the author) who has a Ph. D trying to find a black man who is comfortable in their manhood to see you as your equal or better education wise and salary wise… well that is a daunting task it seems. It shouldn’t have to be, but it looks like the world has been dealing you shitty hands as of late.

  41. Oh, boy, I’ve sung this song before. I dated a string of guys during grad school who were always competing to prove to me that their field was tougher/more abstract/requiring more intelligence than mine. They were also striving to tell me that I’m not really all that smart, despite my having fellowships, published papers, etc. (and no, I don’t brag about these things, but they were my everyday life). I put up with this for years until a fellow grad student therapist got me to consider why I would date and live with men who didn’t behave like friends.

    That thought broke my heart open. Within a couple of months, I had dumped the latest I’m-so-brilliant-you’re-mediocre fellow student, and called up the geographically-inconvenient-and-degreeless awesome guy I had met a couple of years before. I learned what it was like to be with a man who admired my accomplishments and loved my flawed self just as I was. And I found out that all the competitiveness was not the spice I thought it was, but a poison. Mutual love and appreciation are so much sweeter.

  42. I’m gen Y and just about to start graduate school, so I haven’t had specific conversations like this, but I’ve already been told by friends that I’m intimidating and scare people with my demands for intellectual excellence and with my brains. So this piece scares me a little, but it also makes me feel validated and like I’m not alone. But I have to agree with some of the commenters that this seems like more of a subject elitism issue than a race issue alone, though that may add to the tension. Still, I’m glad I found this piece and, as a result, this blog. Bookmarking now…

  43. At risk of being perceived as making a sexist comment and belittling your situation, it appears to me that your conversation had much more to do with someone who is devaluing the liberal arts than someone who was perpetuating sexist ideals and behaviors. I’m a Black male with an advanced degree and I place a great level of value liberal arts. I have had similar conversations with my significant other (who is a Black female) and she didn’t immediately value liberal arts. In fact, she thought it was foolish for anyone to take a loan to earn a degree that did not closely correspond to some occupation. I disagreed with her and we left it at that. Now, I’m proud to say she understands and even values the liberal arts so much more. The reason for this change is that I decided to take time to teach her and show her why what I do is valuable as opposed to engaging in an intellectual debate about why what I do is valuable.

    I’m saying all of this to get to the point of a problem among people with advanced degrees in relationships. Graduate school was hard, but they don’t compare to the difficulty of establishing a strong, positive, and loving relationship. One of my biggest hurdles in my relationship was refraining from bringing my proud-accomplished-and-degreed-self into my relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I highly value my own education and I HIGHLY value a Black woman with an education, but my degree won’t make me a better mate and it won’t make my significant other a better mate. In my experience using my exceptional skills that are byproducts of my degree, it usually ended in me winning an argument – IF it were a logic and reasoning class discussion or if it were a heated exchange of words between myself and a insensitive, ethnocentric colleague…BUT, this was a relationship, so in reality I lost these arguments.

    So, while I do hear and agree with your frustrations as an educated Black woman I do want to announce that at the end of the day, a Black man…in my case, a Black woman, can care about your identity as an educated African American, but those skills ARE NOT transferable. At the end of the day most Black men and women want someone that empathizes and listens, that’s present in a time of need, that’s supportive,that’s willing to admit wrongs and weaknesses.

    My struggle as one who has “done all the right things” with school, is succeeding in education takes hard work; succeeding in a relationship takes hard work, compromise, perseverance, spirituality, understanding and learning the person your with. Even after doing all those things in a relationship, it might not work. Succeeding in education doesn’t mean you have all the tools to succeed in a relationship. If anything, it’s easy to get so proud and cocky to the point of making relationships more difficult.

    These are just a few things out of my personal experiences that I’ve thought about and struggled with.

    • I completely agree with much of what you’ve beautifully expressed here. Being successful at school does not make one successful in relationships. Mind you, I don’t like to argue in my personal relationships (I’m a studious conflict avoider–and this is not a good thing), but because I am effective at argumentation in my professional life, I tend to find men who like these intellectual jousting matches and engage in them as a way to prove their superiority. Yes, I participate, but rarely do I initiate such conversations, and largely I try to find a way out or give the other person a way out. I even go so far as to explain that how I conduct my professional life which requires a certain acuity for argumentation is not how I conduct my personal life.

      In the case of this conflict, I explained that my feelings were hurt, and that this wasn’t so much about defending humanities (it doesn’t need defending), as it was about my need to have a partner who respected what I do. Dude chose to continue to make it about “his opinions and his right to his opinions on the humanities” largely because if he had actually stopped to care about my feelings, then he wouldn’t have had a leg to stand on, and I really do think it was ultimately for him about having a leg to stand on, about maintaining power in the face of what he perceived as my out of control ego. I was vulnerable enough to own my hurt feelings; I asked him to care about me and to care about the things that were important to me, and therefore to be respectful and not dismissive. Those are not the actions of an ego-driven person; ego-driven people save face at all costs. Much like he did, when he told me that he refused “to back down” to me.

      Being single throughout college, grad school, and now the professoriate long ago taught me that degrees do not take the place of interpersonal relationships. My mother told me long ago, “school is not everything.” I heard her and I hear you, and I honestly try to live my life as an introspective, emotionally honest, and emotionally generous person. I can hear criticism and I’m willing to change. I’m not perfect, but I work diligently on me, so that I’m bringing my best self to the table. And on days when I don’t, I retreat, get my mind right, and I ask for grace and forgiveness from the other person. To me, that is the best we can hope for. I ask for that kind of space to be my whole self, and I try to give it to the other person.

      In any case, you have given me a lot to think about and you have articulated it in productive ways here, and in future interactions I will keep much of what you’ve said in mind. In relationships, winning arguments really isn’t winning–most often you lose much more than you gain. Definitely hear that.

      Peace,

      Crunktastic

      • Reading your post I feel some universality. This my be a gender difference, but my mother actually has talked more about me and school than me and marriage. Strangely enough, I would sell a degree for a marriage and family any day. I know very few, but HUGE props to those who can do both.

  44. I think people get tired and adjust their horizons. Black men get tired of the black women they’ve encountered and flip the script. Black women get tired of the black men they’ve encountered and flip the script. Both said “hell nah!” at a certain point, thus both missed out on the other ones who really are cool and just as tired. I know the real world doesn’t work out quite so simply but I think this happens a lot.

    I put up with dudes at lame stages in their lives hella times. Additionally, dudes put up with me at lame stages in my life hella times. Fortunately I have grown and am not on some of the foolishness I used to be. Anyways, my boyfriend now is black, and he is tight! Nobody is perfect and I do think that black people have to be prepared to put in work when we are together because we have a particular array of issues– just from being human and of course from growing up in this round of civilization. Overall, I’m glad I didn’t give up on black men, and glad he didn’t give up on black women because what we have is very dear to my heart.

    I just completed my bachelors degree and he has one year left in his masters; although he always encourages me to pursue any and all educational and professional opportunities and to never hesitate or limit myself. We both want to earn a PhD. He is also a great listener. I think its cool that we’re this little team. Anyways, I encourage you to hold it down for your dignity but keep your eyes open, the well isn’t as dry as it may seem.

    I know a couple dudes in the hard sciences and they have pretty poetic souls, looking for sistas too!

  45. Interesting discussion.
    I was quite interested in the discussion on the degrees and fields of study – I have a PhD in the sciences – but I know the importance of the work for a PhD of any kind – except those on-line PhDs – I must say I do not have much respect for those – Its quite interesting to hear people talk about how difficult one type was vs another – I remember, as an undergraduate, watching my roommates spending late nights writing papers while I did my Math home work in a few hours and was done for the night! so “hard” is relative!

  46. I composed a previous post here concerning the subject of the OP and her trials and tribulations.
    I believe I omitted one fact about myself so, let’s see of that fact disintegrates all of the pertinencies which were included in my comments.

    If you did/did not read my original comments, go back and reread them knowing this fact:

    I am a white guy who works with his hands.

    I’d be interested to know if/how that does/does not impact your opinion of my comments.

    Peace

  47. it’s a good article – but (as a male) i relate way too much to what is being said… am i a victim of patriarchy emerging sui generis out of genedered antagonisms as well, or is this more about culturally dictated anti-intellectualism that functions to perpetuate prevailing power relations by coaxing certain classes to re-inscribe their subordinate status through truncating the development of liberatory thought processes (which of course must be qualified as playing out differently in different contexts according to race, gender, etc – but this seems to be a truism that can be said about any ‘ism or concept) ?

    • Man, that was a long sentence! :) But I think I get you. Do I think that anti-intellectual impulses circumscribe dating options for certain groups? Sure. Do I think intellectual men can be affected by anti-intellectualism negatively? Absolutely. I’ve had plenty of educated Black men tell me how girls/women passed over them for “bad boys.” But I think that too has at least something to do with the kinds of masculinity that patriarchy places a premium on; among Black men, there is a high currency placed on the ability to perform alpha male roles. So I get it, and I would argue that this is in some ways about sisters also buying wholeheartedly and uncritically into particular patriarchal practices. In other words, I don’t think patriarchy helps Black men anymore than it helps Black women, and I think there is some blame to go around. But I do think patriarchy makes women an easy target for men. Men often feel like at the very least they should be able to dominate or be better than the women in their lives. And when that doesn’t happen, ugliness of various sorts often ensues. I write about it from the perspective of Black men because that’s whom I used to dating and Black men are my father, cousins, friends, brothers, and nephews. I also write with that kind of specificity because sometimes we aren’t explicit in discussing the ways in which Black men have bought into patriarchy and the ways in which that is detrimental for Black relationships. Instead, we prefer to give Black women fifty million things to change in order to get a man. But the specificity of the truths offered can certainly have broader application.

  48. I am pretty slow to comment here but seeing that this discussion is still going on I wanted to say something.

    Basically, I was uncomfortable with some of the the things in the post itself, even though overall I really liked it. I was uncomfortable with even more things in the comments. But if I were dating crunktastic (and if she wanted to date someone who likely is about a decade or more younger than her, probably lives nowhere near her, and may or may not have anything in common with her, feel free to call me), I ultimately would not feel defensive nor would I be dismissive of her. I think that even if we couldn’t agree on some things, we would both come away from the conversation with a wider understanding of the world and the people in it and maybe more respect for each other. And that is so totally not what she is describing in the post and she absolutely right to analyze some of the influences that make her kind of situation more likely relative to what would happen if we talked about it.

    So while I can empathesize with some of the (often male) commenters, a lot of the responses probably are not useful. Eg, while women often set unfair standards for men too and I am totally willing to criticize that, I definitely have noticed that women are held under MUCH more scrutiny about this than men, who often actually have their unfair standards ENCOURAGED. And I think it’s OK to have a space where we are mainly focusing on the unfair things that are directed at women, even if some of the things make us uncomfortable.

    I have seen some of the most vicious attacks on men for their supposed lack of “masculinity” from women- that is not okay. To be totally honest, I am not currently and do not intend to date or have sexual activities with anyone, but I STILL am hurt (both subjectively and objectively) by some of the unfair things that people say/think/do in this regard. But we absolutely should not bring that hurt into spaces where women are trying to defend themselves, at the very least not in a way that obscures what women are trying to do or makes them question their right to do that. In a very basic way, what I mean is that we should not turn that hurt into weapon, we should not insist that women act perfectly before they even think of asking to be treated better themselves. Some things can wait.

    I’m sorry if my comment is too long or unwanted but I do think this is important.

  49. Pingback: The Skinny from McKinney Thoughts on Dating With a Doctorate

  50. I know Jesus and He for me is the Great Equalizer… I am an African-American man earning a PhD in Education and I am not stupid enough to believe that I could’ve ever done this without him. I’ve had a successful career as a teacher and school administrator. I know that I am in no position to denigrate the success of a potential mate because of my accomplishments. There is so much to learn and why allow ego to usurp what could be a powerful partnership. I’m sorry so many sisters go through this…

  51. The thing is… His initial statement wasn’t about her gender. He said that he thinks humanities degrees are illegitimate. In my opinion, he is wrong, but that’s just me. I don’t think you should make it a gender thing if it isn’t (even though he did when he said that he wouldn’t back down because she was used to men doing that). Regardless, the dude is maybe insecure, definitely ignorant, but who cares.

    STOP WHINING. I’m proud of you all. Many brothers out here are as well. Settle with this guy or don’t. Why spend time criticizing his opinion? If you can’t deal, tell him why you think he’s wrong and be out.

    When I read things like this, I wonder why SOME black women waste time on men who want to “domesticate” them. If you don’t want that in a man don’t go for that. In 2011, it is very difficult to have an economically stable single-income home. Many brothers want a true partner who can contribute economically and intellectually to a family. You should recognize that some men DON’T want that and then you should GET OVER IT. For the record, some women agree to be “domesticated” and gladly ride that lifestyle into stay-at-home motherhood. Figure out your preference, get your needs met, and stop complaining about the people who have different views.

    To those posters who asserted that they do not want to be domesticated, think about how many first date meals a man has bought for you. Remember, accepting that kind of gift sets up a power dynamic that can last for the entire relationship. I’m not sure, but maybe letting a man pay for your meal is the first step toward “domestication.”

    -VERY Black Man, ABD, Social Sciences

    • While it may not be your intent to be dismissive and condescending, that’s exactly what much of your reply has done. Specifically:

      1)”Regardless, the dude is maybe insecure, definitely ignorant, but who cares.” Crunktastic cares (or, at least, she used to care). She was DATING dude. They shared time, energy, intimacy, whatever in the process to getting to know one another. She made herself vulnerable to him and tried to be generous enough with him and with the relationship to actually explore the sources of conflict/tension/etc. You make that kind of investment in someone you’re dating because you CARE. Since an insecure, ignorant man doesn’t usually wear an “i’m not compatible with you because I’m insecure and ignorant” t-shirt on the first date, it’s reasonable and fair to expect to develop some feelings and affection that you’ll have to make peace with once you realize you need to move on.

      2) “STOP WHINING.” Siiiiiigh. This is NOT whining. This is being thoughtful, analytical, introspective, communicative … you know, the kinds of things that we expect from emotionally sophisticated adults in successful love relationships.

      3)” GET OVER IT.” Siiiiiigh, again. Getting over things (esp things as complex and personal as romantic relationships) is a process. For some of us, that process includes writing posts and exchanging ideas on the interwebs. Don’t presume to know when the time to be “over it” is for anyone but yourself.
      Point well taken, however, about women examining how they play into traditional power dynamics of patriarchy and domestication when it suits them (e.g. the man always paying on the first date) and how that may be a set-up. I’m a woman who falls firmly in the “whoever suggests the date pays” camp, no matter what date you’re on. But I know I’m probably in the minority on that…

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  53. What do you think you could have done differently to drive the outcome possibly towards a different direction?

    • This situation had the outcome it needed to have as this particular relationship had run its course: however, I’m committed to becoming a better communicator and to working diligently to manage conflicts in ways that respect both the other person’s needs and feelings and my own needs and feelings.

      • I am happy that you’ve made some growth decision, but that didn’t answer my question.

        I’m wanting to know, regardless of the length of the relationship, what you think you could have done better.

      • I’ve answered your question; perhaps just not with the answer you wanted. I want to communicate better because I feel like I didn’t communicate as well as I should have in critical moments, and I feel like I might have diffused conflicts more effectively. Other than that, I was pretty consistent in bringing my A-game; I always try to bring my best self, which of course, is not a perfect self, but it is an honest self, a compassionate, generous, engaging, friendly self. That’s why I can walk away with no regrets and without creating a lengthy laundry list of self-improvement tasks. Definitely his loss.

  54. “That’s why I can walk away with no regrets and without creating a lengthy laundry list of self-improvement tasks.”
    CT, there are people who create these lists because of intimidation and/or succumbing to what someone else might think of them.
    From reading you, you are a strong person/woman and, if you did adopt any self-improvement, I’d say that you would be able to do so independently of others’ opinions.

    Some of us truly are able to be ok with ourselves.
    It’s a comfortably satisfying feeling, one which I’m sure you enjoy.
    You’re an interesting woman. Too bad there aren’t more like you.

  55. Pingback: What’s New at University of Venus – Week Ending 13 August 2011 « University of Venus

  56. What role does the intention to hurt and/or reduce another’s self-esteem factor into this equation?

    As was pointed out earlier, and glanced over, we’re all victims of patricarchy and at different way stations in our struggle to overcome it.

    Intention is especially critical for those of us that are married.s

    • Intention is critical in all human relationships. Hurting/reducing someone’s self-esteem had no role whatsoever on my end. On his end, I absolutely believe as another commenter put it so beautifully that “his ego was bigger than his self-esteem.” And while I recognize that we all need the space to work on issues of self-esteem which is so often assaulted in multiple and daily ways when you are an African American person, I value my own self-esteem (especially in light of the many times that Black men have chosen to directly and specifically assault it in the ways that I partially outlined in the italicized portion of this entry), and in order for it to remain intact, I refuse to be a victim of someone else’s low self-esteem.

  57. I haven’t read any of the previous comments. I felt inclined to post something because of the way that this article began. Why do you feel that your degrees make you more accomplished? More formally educated perhaps, but more accomplished???

    • I’m not sure I understand your question. Define accomplishment. For the record, I do agree that there is or can be a distinction between accomplishment and degrees, although advanced degrees (law, medical, Ph.D.) are a significant accomplishment, and should not be minimized. In any case, I do have friends who have less degrees (or no degrees) but are equally, if not more accomplished– because they own businesses, run companies, make more money, are significant figures in their respective fields of work, etc.

      That said, the larger point was that I don’t think my degree makes me better than anyone (friends, family members or potential romantic partners.) They are a set of credentials that allow me to do the work I do. They don’t define me as a person, although they are a part of who I am. Very often, however, I have found that family members and romantic partners presume that I will think such things (because apparently Ph.D.’s are automatically full of themselves) and then proceed to (mis)treat me accordingly. Therefore, there have been times when I have played down my education and accomplishments so that others will not mistake me as arrogant or conceited.

      • I don’t think you have to justify yourself to what was asked.
        Leaving three~~???’s~~ sems somewhat rude and as an underhanded insult.

        Stop rising to bait, you’re better than that and, advanced degrees ARE accomplishments in and of themselves.

      • I agree, but I like to preempt potential foolishness with clarity. Thanks for the support, :) .

  58. Pingback: Why I Don’t Get Laid (And Why I Don’t Give Two Shits if I Do) « Feminism, Poetry, Pop-Culture, Sex -

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