Megan K. Scott of the Associated Press wrote an article this week about the president’s name becoming a new buzz word in the dating scene when it comes to a woman’s ideal man.
Monica Weeks has met many men, but at age 51 she says she still hasn’t found her “Barack.”
Among Weeks and her friends, U.S. President Barack Obama’s name has become shorthand for a black man with integrity, character and spirituality, one who loves and values his wife and makes his family a priority – in other words, the kind of man that many black women had despaired of finding.
Weeks said probably every single woman she knows is looking for her “Barack.”
“He absolutely makes me think it’s attainable,” said Weeks, a divorced mom in Somerset, N.J. “For women who are older and seeking a man, I think we can look at him and say, ‘All is not lost.”‘
The story is the same elsewhere among black women, who say the new code word for Prince Charming has become so commonplace that they have been asked “Have you found your Barack?” or told others “I’m looking for my Barack.”
Obama’s sex appeal hasn’t hurt – what other president would get high marks in a swimsuit competition? But he has touched a nerve among black women in particular, who consider him an IBM (Ideal Black Man) – educated, eloquent, tall, attractive, family oriented, ambitious and down to earth.
For years, single black women have been commiserating about the perceived shortage of eligible black men. It’s laughed about in movies (“Waiting to Exhale”) and backed up with statistics: The May unemployment rate for black men was 16.8 per cent for those ages 20 and older, compared to a national rate of 9.8 per cent for all adult men. Black women outnumber black men almost 2-to-1 on college campuses. Most black babies are born to unwed mothers.
“There are a large number of African-American women who have largely given up on finding a mate,” said Sheri Parks, associate professor of American studies at the University of Maryland. “Their men are not there.”