Is Love Blind or Strategic: Shame, SK, and Raven
Updated: Dec 4, 2022
I wasn’t going to do a blog on these two, or at all. But here I am, jumping on the bandwagon as always. 'llow small.
This a reminder that I study shame, so this blog is coming from a perspective where I’m considering the role of shame and what it was doing to these two. I’m interested here in how shame moved them away from one another. All of this is my personal opinion/experience too, so, take it with a grain of salt. Who cares what I or anyone else has to say on the matter, only they know for sure what happened between them. I’m using this more as a teachable moment to share more about the emotion of shame. Although it’s more entertainment than educational too.
From personal experience and from watching SK and Raven’s storyline in Love Is Blind, I absolutely think it's intentional that men like SK lead women on, or drag a relationship on that they know is not viable. In part to humiliate their partners because they felt initial humiliation by them first, or, so they perceive. I haven’t watched the last part of the show, so I haven’t seen the altar scene and what came after their living together.
Let's be real, Raven didn’t want SK at first. It was clear as day. They had no chemistry. She didn’t touch him for how long? I was shocked they survived the honeymoon retreat phase. It was painful to watch. She made him look like a damn fool at first. “The dark-skin guy being rejected by the light skin girl,” is what I thought. I know this story well. There are brothers in my life who stay chasing the validation of white or light skin women, only to meet unrequited love. I've been an emotional support for some of these men.
It’s the "pick-me" version of men, dark skin men especially. Those that are used to not being chosen. Even worse if they were nerds, or got rejected often as kids and youth. The incel type who gets vengeful because women don't check for them. Not saying this is SK. He actually seems to get women it seems. He might even be a player. You get the gist.
Because of their insecurities, they are attracted to “the baddest.”
You know the type: white women, light-skin women, pretty girls, thin women, slim-thick women, women king, bad bitches, boss bitches, the “it” girls, the ones other men want but can’t have, the ones that are out of their league, who they love to chase because it gives them a thrill, the ones who the thought of them makes them feel powerful and big, insert whatever name you label girls who are seen as desirable, worthy, pretty, blah, blah, blah, etc.
They need to get with these types of women to overcompensate. It’s psychology, really. At least in my opinion.
It’s better math for these men. It makes sense to get with a so-called, “high-value women”. “If I see myself as a deficit, or if society sees men like me as undesirable (which most dark-skin men are), then I need someone better and more desirable than me to even and balance out.” I imagine this is the conversation a lot of men have with themselves, though they would never ever admit this.
I think SK would agree that he is darker skin, African, Nigerian (Yoruba at that), with an accent, immigrant, and shorter than most men. He’s not read by society as “conventionally/traditionally attractive” when it comes to men. He’s not white, or light-skin. He’s not super tall. He seems more introverted, quiet, kind, emotional, awkward. “Boring,” one comment said. In touch with his emotions (or so the persona goes). Not the stereotypical angry aggressive gangster athlete suave smooth actor type that is deemed "acceptable" of stereotypical Black masculinity.
As an African woman who is in a similar category, but on the other end of the gender spectrum, I can tell you that being seen like this by the rest of the world comes with some level of shame. Even when we aren’t ashamed of ourselves.
Whether we like it or not, shame enters the conversation. Whether we want it to or not, who we are, and how others see us is associated with things and messages that say we should be ashamed of ourselves. This is in the scholarly literature on shame. Not something I’m making up. Visit the last few blogs on the history of shame.
There are certain people that mainstream white media has associated with shame. We are sold the message that Black people in general are shameful. Never mind if you’re a continental African. That comes with an added layer of shame because of how Africans are connected with poverty, hunger, scarcity, lack, incompetence, animals, animism, nakedness, swinging from tree vines, with flies swarming our swollen malnourished bodies.
God forbid if you’re a dark-skin African. Or trans. Or disabled. Or fat. Or queer. Or a lesbian. Or autistic. Or don’t ascribe to gender. There are just certain people who we automatically assume are shameful because we’ve been ingrained with messages that say they are. No matter where you are across the globe, most people worldwide know and understand the social scripts around who should be ashamed of themselves. It’s common. Well known. Colonial. Sexist. Racist. Vile.
Whether we internalize it or not, the object of shame circulates around us. Sometimes, it seeps into us. Our psyches, our muscles, and bones. Shame specifically is physically painful. Like a bad chemical, it blocks our solar plexus, attacks our gut, and threatens our self-worth. Shame directed and projected onto us accumulates on stress already wreaking havoc on our lives. Often without our realization or participation.
At some point, we find ourselves caught in this anti-Black rhetoric. We start to believe that we are not enough. We believe that others are more desirable than we are. To start to think that aligning ourselves with certain people will get us more liked or become more popular. Simply because (though not exclusively due to) myths that shape and inform the outcomes of our lives. Because others have decided for us that we are less than other humans.
The reality is, like women, some [dark-skin] Black men, because of the negative messaging they got about who they are, have low self-worth, low self-esteem, and high self-hatred. Not all, but enough. Most would never say this out loud or admit it.
Instead, they see self-hate in women. They can’t see it in themselves. Absolutely refuse. Or if they do see it in themselves, they need to see it in others even more. They will point and make fun of self-hate in others, knowing damn well it’s something they struggle with too. They have to be loud about it to others, so they don’t feel so bad about their own self-hatred.
Over-compensation, this hyper-superiority that masks their inferiority complex, it’s why most will go for white or light skin women (obviously there are other reasons). They need what others think is desirable because it makes them appear more desirable. It gives them the capital they need to compete with other men who are thought to be more desirable than they are.
These dynamics still exist for light-skin men as well, to a lesser degree. To be clear, insecurity knows no complexion. Anti-Blackness affects all Black men. This internalized shame does something to men like SK who are seen as “good guys.”
There is the incel type who straight up just kills and harasses women. Then there are the covert men who hide the not-so-nice aspects of themselves that they project. The latter category silently brews in their hatred. Outwardly, they act like they love women. The whole time they are scheming on how to humiliate women whom they feel rejected and diminished by. The comeback is usually in cheating on them when they get them. And they will work hard to be chosen by them first.
Getting the girl that is “out of their league” reasserts their manhood.
To be clear, Raven is not out of SK’s league. That is an anti-Black message I’m talking about in the first place. I’m speaking about how these dynamics are typically perceived. I think men themselves buy into this anti-Blackness, which is what I’m saying.
I’m sure SK at some point thought he was that guy for getting white women or a light-skin woman who he perceives as out of his league. A trophy. A prize. He was the real winner. He won in bagging her. (Using this language intentionally to objectify women because that is exactly what is happening here).
If they could get the "baddest" (ie. the white girl, the light skin girl, the cool dark skin girl, the Asian girl, the Brown girl, the insert whatever exotic and trending woman that is in and seen as more desirable than dark-skin Black women). If they got them in the first place, imagine how much more capital they get if they are the ones to leave them. Breaking this type of girl’s heart actually elevates a lot of men. It makes them look “cool.”
To disrespect a Black woman in general is fashionable. People love to see men humiliating Black women. But when the nerd humiliates a Black woman, there’s a sense of vindication that a lot of men feel. As if justice is being served. It makes them feel even more like real men.
This is my hypothesis of why SK stayed. Staying made him look good. It made him the patient and supportive one. The one fighting to make it work, despite the future obstacles in their way, like his schooling. He wanted to “love her the Raven way.” A noble cause. The audience applauds.
Maybe it was real. He very well could have been genuine. (I am likely projecting my jaded experiences onto him). Things turned around after the couple’s massage. They looked like they had possibility. I was rooting for them. I wanted them to prove me wrong. I wanted so badly to believe in their love story because I was hoping all these sorts of ugly dynamics I just named weren't true. We wanted to believe in Black love. That the dark skin man really did get his love story. That the light skin girl finally got a good guy.
It’s a show. not real. they both were performing too. Or rather, there was a level of performativity that comes with all dating in the initial phase.
Apparently, Raven removed his pics on Instagram. We get the impression they are going through a tough time. Apparently, she left him. I didn’t think she would, not yet. Not being married makes it easier to leave, I guess.
I’m wishing her well during this time. I’m wishing him well as well. I hope they both find healing, because I have some things to say about Raven as well, including her views on Africans. There’s some light-skin superiority complex happening there too. She didn’t have to do him like that when it first started, so too led him on. There was also some xenophobic stuff happening that she was off the hook for. But that’s for another post.
Until next time, in solidarity.