After telling the love of my life how I felt about him, his response was, “You are better off without me.” (Let’s just say that in my head, I was hit by a mack truck that day.) After literally going through the five stages of grief in a matter of hours, I read this article online that asked the question, “Is Marriage for White People?” (I’m highly appalled at the title — but, Um, this can’t be a sign.)
I sent the article to my four girl friends via email — with the subject line, “WTF?!?!!?” — to get their opinion. That’s a tactic, we all use frequently to start a squawkbox. While the question deemed to be a bit offensive, the opinion-piece and roundtable was backed with shocking statistics:
- 70 percent of black women are unmarried (meaning either having never been married, divorced, separated or widowed), compared to 45 percent of unmarried white women
EDITOR’S NOTE: If I put 10 of my girlfriends in one room, only about three of them would be married.
- Only about 9 percent of black women are married to men of a different race –compare that to 41 percent of Hispanic women, 48 percent of Asian women and 58 percent of Native American women in the United States.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I only have one close Black girlfriend who dated a White man. And, that relationship happened very naturally and organically, opposed to an online hook-up.
The article touched on all of the major points that me and the girls talk about on a daily basis. They are going to kill me for sharing their responses to the article, but here it is:
J – “I’m not even going to entertain that article” (I think the offensive title made J not even want to read the article.)
S – “A hot mess” (Really, S? um, the stats don’t lie)
Me - “It’s a interesting study. We need to start looking for suitable partners outside our race.”
S – “Well, I have been saying that for a while now. There are only a small percentage of black/spanish men who can hold a candle to us.”
J – “Red, green, yellow, black, pink they all come with something that needs to be attended to: commitment issues, growth complex, baggage…”
R – “Preach, gurl! There is always something.”
J – “The sad part is that when they [black men] have someone who is willing to be with them regardless of their faults, they still feel it’s not enough. I am at no age to mold a man in what he should already be. In my 20s I used to tell men what I wanted and they did it. No problem. Now in my 30s I can’t get a man to get it right.”
Me – “The article also states, “don’t marry down, marry out.”
J – “We should be able to marry who we want”
R- “No, not lowering my standards. We are single because we want to be. We could be in crappy relationships, but we strive for something better.”
We are all beautiful, intelligent, successful women who are sadly becoming statistics or the other stigma, “the angry/mad black woman” ….
Here’s the article:
When it comes to black women and marriage, perhaps the only thing more disheartening than the dire statistics –70 percent of them are unmarried, studies have shown — is the tedious conversation itself. But a new book adds fresh ideas and a new tone to the conversation, suggesting black women need to start looking for suitable mates outside their race.
“Many women would do well to expand their options in the same way people of other races have, and look beyond black men in their search for a partner,” Stanford law professor Ralph Richard Banks told “Nightline.” “Black women are the most segregated group in our society when it comes to relationships.”
For his book, “Is Marriage for White People?”, Banks conducted roughly 100 interviews with African-Americans about their marriage and dating ideals and experiences. His explanation as to why marriage rates are so low among black Americans is that there is a shortage of eligible black men.
“There’s a social catastrophe going on in terms of black men,” he said. “Imprisonment numbers, unemployment numbers, under-performance academically, these are crisis not just for African-Americans, but for the nation.”
Tomika Anderson, a 35-year-old freelance writer living in Brooklyn, is all too familiar with the notion that 70 percent of black women are unmarried (meaning either having never been married, divorced, separated or widowed), compared to 45 percent of unmarried white women.
“It’s really getting old,” she said. “I think by focusing so much on the negative, you’re missing out on the positive, and the positive is that at any given time, you can decide for yourself not to be a ‘statistic’”
In 2009 “Nightline” spoke with four single, African-American professional women in Atlanta about the relative difficulty they and others like them had finding husbands. One of them called it the “black girl curse.” Almost two years later, they’re still dating, but no one has put a ring on it.
Last year, “Nightline: Face-Off” put the question — “why can’t a successful black woman find a man?” — to an all-star panel, which included Steve Harvey, Sherri Shepherd, Jacque Reid, Jimi Izrael and Hill Harper, and opened the discussion up to a wide audience. Almost 1,000 people showed up to the Porter Sanford Performing Arts Center in Atlanta to watch.
“Women are looking for men that don’t exist,” Izrael said at the time. “They’re looking for this picture-perfect archetype.”
The general consensus among the black men who were on that panel: black women need to scale down expectations and stop being so picky. Misguided advice, according to Banks.