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Thursday
Aug182011

The Root's Jeneé Desmond-Harris Does Some Black Marriage Crisis Push-Back

Want to add some weapons to your "Ugh, I hate all these black marriage panic stories" arsenal? Today over on The Root, Jeneé Desmond-Harris chatted with two researchers who provided counter arguments and narratives to the greatest panic of our "Post-Racial" age -- Why your Cousin Earnestine can't get a man. The counter research argues she'll probably get a man before she turns 35, since quite a few women get married by then, pointing out our "never married" stats are skewed since the "black woman never married" stat starts counting from age 18 and up. Most folks, no matter what their race or socio-economic status is in America, are not putting a ring on it out of high school, let alone by 25. Also, most black men at the tune of more than 80 percent and up are still marrying black women. Even your wealthy ones, which just one sitting of "Basketball Wives" will demonstrate to you, still mostly date and marry black women. (Even if "Basketball Wives" also demonstrates that these black women they desire are also fundamentally insane.) So, just put these statistics in your pillow and spoon with them at night until they turn into the Nubian prince of your dreams. (The Root)

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Reader Comments (7)

I posted this article on my FB page and was shocked by the negative reaction I received. People said they refused to believe that things are good as this article makes them appear. I tried to remind them with statistics it's all about where the needlepoint is when you're doing the measuring, but proceeded to get this avalanche of anecdotal feedback that was overwhelmingly negative. But when I thought about my vast circle (and not just my immediate hanging out circle) of friends a good number of the ladies that are in their late 20s early 30s are in fact married. It made me wonder if as single black women we've become comfortable with the negative statistics that say we're more likely to win a million dollars than marry a black man because it makes us feel better that we haven't found the one and maybe don't feel like we have many options. Is it more comfortable to stay in my little box and make it a blockbuster night then to get out there and date, date and then date some more? Are we comfortable with the glass being half empty?

August 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarkeshia

@ Markeshia

I think the truth -- that finding love is a rare and difficult thing for many people -- is a hard one to take. People want there to be a real, tangible reason behind why they're single. Even I struggle with anxiety over being single and why I'm single, but I avoid pathology and focus on how things are harder because we're not marrying our high school sweethearts right out of high school anymore. We live in an age of choice for men and women, where we move far away from home for work and we have surrounded by so many choices of where to work, where to live, what career to pursue and who to date.

If I stayed in St. Louis, it's far more likely I would be married as most of my friends who remained in the Midwest are. But I moved to the West and East coasts where it can be more difficult to find someone. Nothing is really guaranteed in this area and none of us are "promised" a spouse. The divorce rate is 50 percent, meaning even if you do find someone, there's still a 50-50 chance it won't work out. But finding a catch-all pathology to blame your dating history on is an easy out. That way you don't have to focus on you and your decisions you made in our lives full of choices.

August 19, 2011 | Registered CommenterDanielle Belton

"But finding a catch-all pathology to blame your dating history on is an easy out. That way you don't have to focus on you and your decisions you made in our lives full of choices." *cosigning*

Not to say that there aren't real challenges in finding a life partner, but I think we'd (black women) be best served by turning our focus inward. All of these discussions are noise that create and support self-doubt. It is time we stop allowing others to define (or attempt to define) our realities -- even when those within our culture.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSilkOne

I fully applaud these researchers for producing sufficient evidence in refutation of one of the worst urban legends circulating among African-Americans, especially Af-Am women. However, I suspect it'll mostly fall upon deaf ears and blind eyes of a population so inured with poor self-image that continued acceptance of the lie will feel so much better.

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWm_Tucker

Any refutation of this narrative is welcome -- it has become so tiresome (see the insulting Wall Street Journal article even today. Sigh.) But I would also have to say, reluctantly, that I am also skeptical of those feel-good numbers. Perhaps it is a regional thing -- that would make sense. More black women in the south and midwest probably marry than those of us on the west and, especially, east coasts. Anecdotal evidence can be deceiving, of course, but years of collective observation also can't be easily dismissed. It's not all about poor self-image

In fact, this statistical narrative -- of women not marrying until much later and a larger percentage not marrying at all -- is becoming increasingly true for white women as well. Now, how one deals with and interprets the fact of remaining single is another thing entirely. But it's not all a big lie.

August 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisalisa

Sorry, Snob, as a fellow St. Louisan, I'd have to disagree with your belief that staying here would have bolstered your chances for marriage (think Tammie H.-radio and Vicki N.-TV, two beautiful, but very single women). Though I love your optimism and positivity.

For the African American women who are a bit dismayed over claims that they'll never marry, perhaps you should try and date more and see where it goes. Reading these articles will only put you in a funk. I'll say find out for yourself. Stop reading the negativity (as you see it), do your hair, put on your favorite outfit and get out there. What you find may enlighten (or shock) you. Or, you may find that husband hunting is quite the daunting task. But if you think the statistics are wrong, defy them. Good luck, though.

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNestafan2

I think if black women stop buying into the ever present articles about how we will never marry, there may be some hope for the wanna be married crowd. If you think the odds are stacked against you before you put yourself out there, you may just think, why bother anyway.

I think part of the the problem is that women should date more or date like men. Women tend to meet a guy, and without knowing if he is worth settling in with, just date him to the exclusion of others. I call it putting all your eggs in one basket. Date as many guys as you can handle. Have fun. That's what dating is. To some women this won't be acceptable because society assumes that if a woman dates numerous men, she's a whore. Not so with men. Men are lauded and celebrated for seeing numerous women. The double standard is alive and well in 2011. Women have also bought into this line of BS also. In fact some of us are the first to line up to call another woman a whore. They assume that a woman is sleeping with every man she dates. But whether she is or isn't is no one's business but her and the man she's with. It's not what you do, but how you do it.

If you are having a difficult time finding a date, take yourself out, or go out with your girlfriends - just to have a good time. Don't go out specifically to meet men. That way if you don't meet anyone, you won't be disappointed, but you will have had a good time.

And while I love and prefer my black men, if you have expand your options, do so. Love and happiness comes in all colors and life is short.

August 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFran

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