UPDATE: Go to the end of the post
Way before switch. was officially switch., and when we were on that other site (switchuva), I’d began a series called “Ode: I put on for UVa” (check it out hurr). The series was dedicated to black students and their life at UVA. It focused on talking positively about different aspects of Black UVa life. It was going well until school started and life took over.
For this particular part of the series, the plan was that I would cover the things that we women love about Black Men here, and D Hud would respond with what Black Men love about our women.
I had started researching this particular part of the series by talking to a few UVa females, from youngins to alumni. I sent out a mass email. It went something like this:
Sorry about the mass email.I am working on something about black men at UVA. Basically, I would love it if you could let me know what you love about UVa Black men and why…Bear with me. I know its easy to just roll your eyes and ignore what I am saying, but just sit for a minute and think about the great things that are unique to the UVA black male. From academics and ambition to love, sex, and dating, you can talk about whatever you want….
Now I sent the email to you guys specifically because you cover all years of UVA. From first years to recent graduates. You all are at a different point in how you view guys at UVa e.g. in the real world versus a school setting etc. Keep it positive but at the same time, if you have time, I am interested in hearing the faults as well. I’ll be writing only positive things though….
Some didnt respond.. o-O
Others just didnt have anything to say
“Sorry, P, I cant help you with this one”
One or two must have misread my email because they sent all negatives stuff.
But there were a few gems.
Before I go into them, let me tell you what I love UVa men:
*Their ambition– I once had a convo with a UVa male in his first year here at the University. I’d asked him where he saw himself twenty years from now if every obstacle was handled (love that question btw…you should ask yourself that). The question then became what did he NOT want to do. Law School. Business school. Start his own company.
“Damn,” I thought. I didn’t know if it was realistic, but I was caught up by his enthusiasm. A few years have passed since we had this conversation, and I can tell you that he’ll probably get there (you know who you are).
Another African bretheren told me about how he planned to become president of his country. He even has a ten year plan to get there. When he told me this, he didnt even blink. He knew he was going to do it, and nothing would stop him. How can you not love that.
*Smarts- Don’t you just love a black educated man? Boy, do I. Hearing an educated discussion about anything from politics to economics to whatever you can think of makes me happy. I may not agree, but having an intellectual argument conversation with our men is something I enjoy.
*Variety– It’s like going to Cold Stone and trying to pick toppings for your ice-cream. “I love caramel…actually can you throw in some Kit-Kat…nah, I dont really like Reeses!” Athlete, intellectual, frat boy, politician, activist, black, brown, green-eyed, brown eyed, chubby, skinny or ALL OF THE ABOVE! No matter your preference, the variety is incredible. And because they are at UVa, they have something to offer.
I could go on, but let me not stroke too many egos 😉 I also happen to work with a great bunch of guys here at switch. who hold all the above. It’s great because I know that they will go as far as whatever they would answer to their “twenty yearr from now” question.
Here are some responses:
“Lmao!! I def had to roll my eyes at this one! God I have so much to say and I disagree about the lack of confidence… I think alot are overconfident but do have low self esteem.”
“Frankly, I don’t know how to answer your question, because we find a bit of everything in the UVa Black male community. There’s not just one kind of UVa Black man, who’s either driven or ambitious, or who’s all about dating and sex. Instead, what we have is a mix of everything, and some are able to find the balance between the drive for success and the drive for love/sex/dating while others can’t. You certainly can’t compare guys like Nick Jordan to guys like Will Harris, because they have both succeeded in their respective areas. Besides, success is relative. It all depends on what one believes as important and relevant, let it be sports, academics, fashion, love, friendship, whatever really.
With respect to their said lack-of-confidence, I really, truly believe that Black guys at UVa are the exact opposite of not confident, and that’s cutting through all group/frat/athletes/smart guys/dumb guys/nice guys/not nice guys lines. This is the one domain where guys like Nick Jordan and Will Harris do compare, and that’s not only to each other but to the regular Black male at Uva as well, because even though their success is not accounted for in the same manner, the fact that they are at the top of their game makes them extremely confident, even if it is in different domains. Now Nick and Will are a bit of the ‘crème de la crème’, but when you look at more regular Black guys at UVa, I find them just as confident, if not more.”————————————————————————————————————————————“Things I love about UVa black men1. Many of them are fairly attractive when you first see them (I say this because as you get to know them, many of them become increasingly unattractive)2. Most of them are pretty intelligent (sometimes they try to disguise this little tidbit but underneath all of that barely comprehensible ebonics, there are some brilliant ideas)3. They put on a show very well (that I-know-I’m-the-best-thing-since-sliced-bread SHOW). I like to watch the show. Everyone does. But in the end, it’s just a show. Some live up to the hype of the show after the curtain’s fallen. Most don’t though (see things that I don’t love)4. They’re from all over. Black males at U.Va. are literally from all over the world and there are so many different experiences in the bunch. I love that as a whole there’s just so much diversity in the black male population.5. They’re ambitious. I don’t think I’ve met a black man at U.Va. that didn’t have some sort of long-term goal for himself. They may not always have a plan to reach that goal (or not a realistic one) but they have a goal.6. They can dance. I’m rarely disappointed (though it does happen) when I go to parties or to bars and dance with U.Va.’s black men. They definitely make me wonder how they move in other situations.7. It’s been my experience that many of the black men at U.Va. have some sort of artistic ability (singing, dancing, spoken word, poetry, instruments, etc.). I’m not sure what that’s all about but it’s odd that they’re all artists in some way and that way is oftentimes used as an avenue for emotional expression. Strange phenomenom.8. Street smarts–they don’t always use them but most have them and will advise you on them even if they sometimes get a little “under the influence” and forget about them.”
As you can tell, it wasn’t all kumbaya in the dialogue that ensued. There were ALOT of issues (not critiques),that I have edited or left out, brought up by the women. But at the end of it all, they do love you fellaz!
So D Hud…wot u got?
UPDATE: (I just copied and pasted this email I received)
I just finished reading D Hud’s post, which reminded me that I wanted to add some things to the list you put up on “Ode: Black Men at UVa”. Could you add it to the post. I prefer to stay anonymous. Here is my list
1) Friendship- I am/was a nerd in high school, and my interaction with men was very limited. I think alot of people at UVa were nerds at high school, and the majority of people may understand where I am coming from. But let me speak for myself. The male friends I have made here at UVa, I will have for life. And men are so drama-free! We could have the worst fight, and still be cool the next day. And they teach me something new about life every single day. I really value the male friends I have made at UVa. Now most men, probably never want to be put in the friend zone (esp. with a girl they want to smash) but we love your friendship either way.
2) First love– see above when I talk about nerds. And for a lot of UVA women, they meet their first loves, lose their virginities etc with the men here at the school. Sometimes it can become mad messy. And if everyone is in your business…DAMN! But no one ever forgets their first, do they? My first love was here at UVa. And the school will always have that special mark because I met him here.
3) Gossip— these n**** be worse than CNN when it comes to gossip! Why is it that all the juiciest gossip (esp. about other chicks) is from men! smh… like old women! But I cant pretend I don’t love hearing it, so I love you for that.
4) their maturation— One of the guys in D Hud’s post talked about how girls always want the athletes. I think, to be honest, that is something we women want as an underclassmen. Real talk, y’all are like bitter plantain when you first come to UVa. But like fine wine, you get more confident, and sexier with age. What athlete? Give me that guy who transformed the summer after sophomore year. The curve really does exist
5) Variety- And to add to the thing about athletes. I don’t know who you’ve been chilling with, but there are quite a few girls out there that are TURNED OFF by athletes because of everything that they represent. The athlete could be the nicest dude around, but homegirl won’t give him the time of day BECAUSE he is rocking that tracksuit. And that tracksuit represents drama (groupies, cheating etc). I may be stereotyping, but there is truth in what I say. In the same way, there are a group of girls that most guys (really confident ones) try to holla at 24/7. I am thinking the guy complaining about the athletes is not a fourth year because by that time, the women are over the athletes. The girls aren’t.
6) Alcohol– There is no black man I know who doesn’t have some form of alcohol in his fridge right now. Don’t believe me? Check the next time you’re at your boy’s house! And by boy, I mean you are clearly friends. If he’s someone you are talking to, he is setting up to bat!