Thursday, April 19, 2012

On Black Women & Marriage

Photo Credit: godserv
From The Economist:
"The collapse of marriage among blacks is well documented, but not the sexual, psychological, emotional and social toll this has taken on black women. Seven out of ten are single. Of the others, many are forced into "man-sharing." 
This crisis in the black “relationship market,” as Mr Banks calls it, starts with a “man shortage.” About one in ten black men in their early thirties are in prison. As a group, black men have also fallen behind in education and income, just as black women have surged ahead. Two black women graduate from college for every black man. As these women rise into the middle class, the men stay in the lower class, becoming less compatible. 
Many black women respond by “marrying down, but not out,” as Mr Banks puts it. But that makes bad marriages. Two out of every three black marriages fail, about twice the rate of white marriages. 
The real problem is the behaviour of those few black men who are considered good catches. They often stay unmarried for the opposite reason: they have too many options. As one man told Mr Banks: “If you have four quality women you’re dating and they’re in a rotation, who’s going to rush into a marriage?” Even black men who nominally commit to one woman are five times as likely as their white counterparts to have others on the side."
To read the rest of the article please click here.

In my ministry within the black community, I've seen some of these realities and, unfortunately, with some individuals very close to me. But I've also personally witnessed numerous successful marriages between African Americans.

If you are an African American man or woman, what is your response to this article? What solutions can be offered to reverse these current trends?


Unknown said...

I see why I was asked if I was okay with marrying outside my race. Some dont think I will ever meet a black man who is qualified.

Okay so this is all true and a very real reality of my culture. It breaks my heart. I havent read the whole article but its weird it doesnt point out the fact that most blacks arent getting married but are simply having kids outside of wedlock. I HATE single parenthood. Growing up in a single parent home and missing out on having a father has affected me and my siblings more than we could ever understand. I think the only solution outside of simple education on family, dating, sex, etc is Jesus. A lot of the problems and the current epidemic is caused by the fact that most black men are raised in single parent homes where strong male role models are lacking. Mothers, grandmothers and the like have become enablers to their sons instead of teaching them how to man up and take responsibility for their actions (I see this in the jail A LOT). Its also clear that the lack of a father in the home has affected the female as well because she will be with just about anyone. Her standards are low and self esteem is even lower. These are just my thoughts. I could probably write a book on this topic. Its so messy that Im convinced that only Jesus can change it.

scottmcrocker said...

Tyshan - If you wrote a book, I'd buy it. Of course, you'd probably hook me up with a discount, right? :)

J. Hill said...

Scott, this pains me in so many ways. For one, the extinction of the Black family as one whole unit seems to be ever possible with such trends. Two, the number of men in jail, not to mention the number arrested. Three, the fact that Black men are at the bottom of society's ladder when it comes to education, income, and marriage. Fourth, the pain it brings black women to marry outside of the race.

I have many thoughts and issues concerning Black men and women in relationships. The whole outlook for far too many is very "game" like. The article mentions "swag" as a qualifying factor. I've seen this up close and personal as I have been told by many Black women if I changed my car, my clothing, my...whatever, I'd get a lot more attention from Black women. On the other side, I've yet to have a White woman make any suggestions concerning my appearance or style. I feel that as a conservative, educated, Christian Black man that I'm too "White" so to speak.

I've confronted many Black women about these issues of attraction and who they select as perspective mates. So many claim high standards while choosing gutter level men. Quite a few don't even give a "good guy" a chance. I know that's not all Black women but my anecdotal evidence is strong.

The church, The Black Church, must be aggressive to turn this tide. Marriage and what a family looks like has to be a part of the culture and teaching from Pre-K up, complete with mentoring and counseling. Men need to teach men how to be husbands, women how to be wives, even those that aren't our biological children.

I also think that the economic uprise of Black women is an issue as one of my friends now divorced said, "They don't need us." This is a major issue in how women address men, men feel about themselves, and can have a crushing impact on relationships. I could go on for days but I will break at this point.

Unknown said...

Thanks Scott. You know you would get a free copy :). J. Hill totally on point! Not all black women feel the same but your right...

scottmcrocker said...

Good word, James.