Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Denzel Principle (BOOK REVIEW)

The Denzel Principle:
Why Black Women Can’t Find Good Black Men
By Jimi Izrael
St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover, $22.99
320 pages
ISBN: 978-0-312-53485-1

Book Review by Kam Williams

“What do black women want? The truth? They are looking for Denzel Washington. They have been so thoroughly brainwashed, that black women don’t know what a good black man even looks like… The brothers out there know exactly [what] I’m talking about.
Every time you turn around sisters say they just want a good black man, but being good is never enough. If it was, there would be no complaining, because there are good black men everywhere… We can’t all be in jail, on crack, trudging through natural disaster areas with plasma TVs strapped to our backs, raping newborns two at a time, sick with the DL, Jungle Fever, or otherwise afflicted.
This book is all about my life, sifting through unreasonable expectations from certain kinds of women… This is a personal journey I’m putting out there in hopes that women will read my experience and maybe it will help them find themselves, wake up, and find one of the good brothers who are far less the exception than the rule.”

-- Excerpted from the Introduction (pgs. 16-19)

Seems like black folks must be craving relationship advice, based on the number of self-appointed love gurus publishing how-to books aimed at the African-American community. This latest one, The Denzel Principle: Why Black Women Can’t Find Good Black Men, was written by a brother who seems like more of an embittered casualty of the battle-of-the-sexes suffering from post-traumatic street syndrome, than a leading authority in the field with legitimate credentials.
A Bachelor’s degree from Cleveland State and a Master’s in Fine Arts from Spalding University doesn’t sound like the appropriate background, but that hasn’t discouraged Jimi Izrael from passing himself off as a cultural critic. And he’s apparently met with considerable success, given his numerous TV appearances as a pundit around the dial on a variety of national cable news networks, at least when he isn’t busy lecturing as a lecturer at Case Western Reserve or other colleges in the Cleveland area.
That fair warning out of the way, you might be surprised to hear me say that I found Professor Izrael’s expletive-laced tome, thoroughly entertaining, if not exactly politically-correct or ready for prime time. For this twice-divorced father is obviously still angry at his two exes (“Both of them were crazy [b-words]!” and he sees them as responsible for the failure of their marriages.
And jilted Jimi goes on at length to describe how the first, “rolled me for tuition money and bounced “ a couple weeks after she got her college degree, while the second left him after nearly ten years, moving with the kids into a “nearly condemned house” with an unemployed slacker with dreadlocks who wasn’t “well-educated or particularly handsome.”
At first, I thought this book was just Jimi’s way of getting even, and settling a score in a very public fashion with ex-wives Frances and Leslie. But no, he sees their discontent and behavior as par for the course, since in his eyes black females in general set their standards too high and exchange vows with unrealistic expectations of brothers. So, it is no surprise that he would also blame the fact that two-thirds of all African-American marriages end in divorce “less on black men and more on black women and their inability to make good choices.”
I doubt that this is the definitive primer on how to find a good black man, unless you’re inclined to take advice from a guy who, for instance, would discourage you from falling for an ex-con by simply saying “That’s [bleep]-ing stupid! Holy [bleep]!” However, as the colorful, comical and relentlessly-raw reflections of a miserable two-time loser with some serious unresolved anger issues, this memoir rates an A+. But when it comes to dating do’s and don’ts, you might want to get a second opinion.

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