“Isn’t it heartbreaking how easily you can dedicate your life to destroying yourself?” – Unknown

It’s no secret that there’s strength in numbers. But we just cannot seem to get on the same page. In fact, sometimes it seems as if Black men and women are sworn enemies, with memes, social media campaigns and barber/beauty shop conversations contributing to the divide.

Sure, we can blame the “White man” for our perceptions of each other. Systematic racism permeates the American government’s infrastructure, and more Black men and women dwell behind bars than in their own homes thanks to the workings of the prison industrial complex.

If you have subscribed to the below philosophies at some point, you are undoubtedly contributing to the demise of Black love.

1. Black men are no good. 

There are plenty of Black men who defy this ridiculous notion. Thinking that every Black man is no good not only decreases your chances of finding a quality mate but distorts the world’s view of Black men. There are ignorant, triflin’, no good men (and women) of all races, but Black men are the only ones who seem to be consistently placed on this unflattering throne.

2. Black women are gold diggers.

Like our brothers, Black women have quite a few stereotypes to combat when looking for love, and it seems as if the “gold digger” stereotype will never die. Assuming a woman is looking for a come up is one of the most effective ways to sabotage Black love. Not every Black woman is impressed by a “baller.” Some actually enjoy hardworking, dedicated (but not highly paid) individuals who take pride in earning their keep and providing for their loved ones. By assuming a woman is out for self, you immediately introduce the notion of distrust in what could potentially be an otherwise solid, fulfilling union.

3. You think the “angry Black woman” stereotype is true.

Telling a strong Black woman that she’s angry, unreasonable and cold does not contribute to her being uplifted. It makes her feel ashamed for being who she is, and it honestly makes her want to be a b**ch. Women as a whole can be strong, independent, driven and ambitious without being “angry.” If you happen to believe that a strong Black woman is unworthy and unwilling to sacrifice for love, you’re sadly mistaken.

4. You praise women of other races for being “less difficult.”

The notion that White, Latino, Asian and Indian women are “less difficult” than Black women is quite absurd. The last time I checked, women of all backgrounds in America and beyond had their own unique personalities. I know quite a few difficult White women and a nice amount of easygoing Black women. Believing that White (and other non-Black) women are better to build a family places us sisters in last place when choosing a mate.

5. Respect and love don’t go hand in hand.

At the core of every great relationship—whether it’s friendship, familial or love—is respect. None of the other components matter without it. It is the most basic form of understanding you can give to another human being. When you do not respect someone, nothing they say, do or feel matters. There is no opportunity for any type of relationship because you find them to be unworthy. If that isn’t sabotage, I’m not sure what is.

In no way am I subtracting the impact of racial inequality on the proliferation of Black love. But at some point, we must take personal responsibility for how we view each other.