By Dwight Hobbes
Crude stereotyping, or effort to heal the erosion of Black families?
You can’t swing a dead cat in the Twin Cites without hitting a Black woman who’s married to — or doing her damnedest to marry — a White man: must be something in the water. Dr. Nazaree Hines-Starr, PharmD goes one better, urging Black women, in her memoir Why Every Black Woman Should Marry a Jewish Man, not to settle for just a plain old regular White man but to truly grab the brass ring.
On first hearing about the book, my immediate thought was that someone had come up with a very clever satire or some smart tongue-in-cheek mischief to mess with readers’ minds. To the contrary, Hines-Starr is in absolute earnest.
An excerpt from the press release for Why Every Black Woman… reads that the author neatly highlights “the merits of Jewish men [and] states: “Jewish men are not looking for someone to take care of them; Jewish men attend and graduate from college; Jewish men at least attempt to marry before making babies; Jewish men are great with financial planning and stability; Jewish males don’t take everything as a challenge to their masculinity.”
Further, the good doctor attests, “If [a Black man] doesn’t call when he said he would call, just assume he’s a liar. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out what’s going on; just move on and then go find a Jewish guy to date.
“The Jewish way of dating,” according to Nazaree Hines-Starr, “explores the phenomenon of falling in love, except with some common sense.” Nazaree’s book concludes that Jewish men “receive extensive training in manhood” and “are often raised with traditional gender roles where the men seek to take care of the women.” She calls Jewish men “the new hotness for black women” and “the perfect Alpha Male.”
As you can well imagine, there has been a fit-storm of impassioned reaction. At the popular website MadamNoire, host Veronica Wells, in a critique, “The Innumerable Problems Behind Why Every Black Woman Should Marry a Jewish Man,” comments, “Hines-Starr successfully manages to stereotype two groups simultaneously. On the one hand she dogs out Black men, calling them unromantic, uneducated, uncommitted and unstable all while lauding not only her Jewish man but all Jewish men above the rest.”
At the same website, an entry grinding an axe against African American men, seconding Hines-Starr’s sentiment and observation, goes, “Black men, particularly the Hollywood coons, are truly Judas. Black men and their hateful actions against Black women have proven them to be the ultimate Judas.”
The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder reached Dr. Nazaree Hines-Starr (who, yes, has a Jewish husband) by email for a response to Wells’ words. She replied, “The criticisms for the most part are based on statistics and the personal experiences of myself as well as many other women. There is another way that this criticism can be viewed. I would like to see African American men and other non-Jewish men revert to their dating and relationship behavior from the 60’s and 70’s.
“That was a time where the African American community had much higher marriage rates, and the majority of our children were raised in two-parent households. Back then we had 70 percent of our children in stable situations. Now, the percent has dropped to a paltry 30 percent. Our babies deserve better than that, and so I am seriously hoping that my book sparks a much needed conversation about the state of the African American community and the erosion of the Black family unit.”
Going by Nazaree Hines-Starr’s coffee-colored complexion and not-quite-Caucasian features, when she went shopping for a husband it was with a different mindset than did her mom. Asked what advice her mother, in fact, gave her in terms of looking for a man, she states, “My mother always told me to look for quality, and then love will follow. She also said to look for someone with a kind heart because they will most likely have a great personality.
“An important piece of advice that came from her was to know yourself before you start dating seriously, because you will know what type of man will compliment your personality.” Evidently being a man of quality inherently rules out being a man of color, specifically one who is Black, and is a trait exclusive to Jewish men. You have to wonder what Michelle Obama would have to say about that.
“I would like,” she says, “to sit down with leaders in our Black communities and discuss how do we begin to reverse the low marriage rates within our community.” That, it goes without saying, could be a most interesting exchange of ideas.
Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.
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