A series named in tribute to Bell Hooks. Love is a subject that is often discussed in the most trivial and superficial terms. Love, as a subject matter, especially from a Black perspective, hardly ever includes discussions regarding the nature of love, the function of love, the purpose of love, or the relevance of love. All we ever talk about is how we want it, have it, never had it, or keep losing it. We are right to see lack of love as a concern; we just have to choose the right angle for exploring solutions. Here is where that happens.


The Story

I haven’t really kept up with the Love and Hip Hop although it seems very popular and social media buzzes when the plot takes a turn. I did her a chance to watch several episodes from this season this past week. One episode in particular (episode 13) where Traci and her new boyfriend, DeShaun, meet her ex, Drew so that Drew can apologize for being so rude when he’d first met DeShaun. Drew does this and goes on to interrogate DeShaun, specifically asking if DeShaun had any criminal history Traci should know about. DeShaun says that he doesn’t and Drew whips out his phone wit a mugshot of DeShaun that he googled. Traci blows up and states that she can’t trust DeShaun because he lied. DeShaun admits he lied but states that it was because her ex was trying to play him in front of her and he felt that wouldn’t be the time to discuss that. In the end Tracindays she can’t trust him and DeShaun says he’s not gonna beg her.


This incited me to ask a few friends about whether they check out the people they date. Most stated that they did at some point google, ask around, or in some manner check up on their potential mates. When I asked whether any “negative” information they found ever affected their decision to be with that person, most said yes.


I have often heard people say that trust is earned; I have discovered that’s a lie. Many times when discuss trusting someone we talk about the actions, honesty, or consistency about the person that makes them trustworthy. In truth, none of those things proves anything about whether or not we choose to trust someone. We either do or we don’t.

Trust is given. It is about the person who’s giving the trust and whether or not they find that person trustworthy. Those requirements are subjective and depends on the individual. The same person one individual would never trust may have the trust of every other person they meet. Trust, then, is a personal evaluation an individual makes about another person that may or may not go against evidence to the contrary.

Traci’s insecurity leads her to test and try DeShaun to figure if she can trust him and whether or not he’s a suitable partner. Testing a potential mate to see if they can be trusted is useless and futile because trustworthiness cannot be measured. DeShaun appears to be a decent enough dude. The fact that he has made a mistake in his youth does not stain him as being someone untrustworthy. But, Traci, lost in her own insecurity cannot see this. Her reaction to the information about DeShaun’s background tells more about her than it does about him. It is natural to have some baggage or insecurity after being betrayed and hurt in past relationships. However, people who distrust others are, in truth, unable to trust themselves.

The Point

The choice to trust is a complicated and risky decision. The decision and how one comes to make that decision is full of nuances to be considered and pitfalls to be avoided. In the Black community we have grown so distrustful of each other, in general, that while we long for one another, we find it difficult to develop and sustain relationships. This is especially true for romantic relationships. While no one wants to have their heart broken or get played, such are the risks of romance. The best way to reduce those risks is to change the way we evaluate each other. The choice to trust is a judgment of character, not of actions and logistics. There is no way to quantify trust.

I’m not sayin’; I’m just sayin’,

An Angry Black Man

  1. charlesgreen says:

    I have studied the subject of trust for 15 years, in fact built my business around it.
    Most people, as you say, think trust is earned.But they’re wrong and you are exactly right, it’s either given or not. You are also dead right about the inability to trust ; we often accuse others of low trustworthiness when it’s our own inability to trust at work.

    A couple of other implications for your consideration.
    1. Trusting someone usually makes them more trustworthy; the reverse is also true, distrusting some makes them behave in less trustworthy ways.
    2. Another myth: trust takes time. Not necessarily, and not usually; as you said, it’s a quick and subjective decision.
    3. Still another myth: trust can be destroyed in an instant. If that were true, battered women would leave their men after one incident. Broken trust is not related to time, but to the relative intensity of the trust that existed vs. the severity of the violation.

    There’s more, but I just wanted to say your instincts about trust are dead right, and that’s uncommon.

    • DesiBjorn says:

      Wow. Thank you for that added information. I am planning a part 2 to this post and will definitely quote you on those points. I’m glad to have the endorsement of a professional. I definitely think trust is gravely misunderstood.

      I like your point about how strong trust is and how difficult it is to destroy. The timing of trust is something I find fascinating. What do you think the connection is between the time it takes to decide to trust someone and the actual moment you decide to trust them or not to trust them? (Hope that makes sense).

      Thanks for reading and responding.

    • revmatthews says:

      “…Broken trust is not related to time, but to the relative intensity of the trust that existed vs. the severity of the violation…”

      Tweet that, Mr. Charlie. It’s definitely worthy of repeat mention.

      “…Still another myth: trust can be destroyed in an instant….”

      True, dat. Any trust that is destroyed in an instant was already destroyed; it was merely waiting for justification and confirmation of the prefabricated reason.

      Good stuff.

  2. revmatthews says:

    “…Trust, then, is a personal evaluation an individual makes about another person that may or may not go against evidence to the contrary…”

    Did you Tweet that? If not, you should. That’s profound.

    Do you mind if I cut-and-paste this piece into my church’s newsletter? Along with your website addy, of course.

    Mr. Charlie (typed with straight face @ “Mr. Charlie”) is right. You do have good instincts. People your age (straight face again) have a tendency to absorb the sources of revelation/advice they admire, and never bother to think for themselves. Kudos.

    I may adopt you yet….

    • DesiBjorn says:

      I haven’t tweeted it yet lol, but I will. And by all means please do use it (please do cite men though lol).

      And go head and adopt me Pops. I’m always collecting mentors. You can be on my board of elders. I appreciate the support and you taking the time to engage my thoughts more than you know. Respect.

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