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White Man-Based Solution to Black Marriage Panic Hits Wall Street Journal

Image from film "Lakeview Terrace."Ever since black people worrying about black women getting married escaped from the Ebony-Essence plantation and hit the mainstream black ladies have been forced to endure article after navel-gazing article about what the "EFF" is wrong with us. I blame the Obamas, kind of. They're married. They seem to be happy. They happen to be black people. So other folks started wondering things like "Black people get married n' stuff? What's up with that?" Then they found that Jet Magazine from 1987 and started copying. This time it's The Wall Street Journal getting their pearl clutching on -- but they've come with solutions! And, surprise! It's a penis attached to a white man who may or may not want you!

From The Wall Street Journal:

Black women lead by far the most segregated intimate lives of any minority group in the U.S. They are less than half as likely as black men to wed across racial lines. Only about 1 in 20 black women are interracially married.

Part of the reason, again, is the market. Numerous studies of Internet dating confirm that black women are the partners least desired by non-black men.

But that's not the whole story. Even if a majority of white men are uninterested in dating black women, that still leaves more than enough eligible white men for every single black woman in America. Moreover, many major urban areas have large numbers of Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern and Latino men, some of whom, according to at least one study of Internet dating, are more responsive to black women than are black men.

Now I know what you're thinking black ladies -- White penis? Haven't we discussed this already? YES. YES WE HAVE! But it's The Wall Street Journal's turn to tell you "Dating: Ur doin it wrong."

You're single because you won't date those white guys on OK Cupid who won't respond to your "Hi, you seem nice!" emails. Probably because you're such a bitch. Yeah, yeah. Your email to Todd who likes mountain climbing wasn't bitchy, but he could probably sense it through the monitor. After all, aren't all black ladies horrible unwanted bitches? That's what some black guy told me once. Whatever. It's all your fault if you're single. Or it's my fault if I'm single, since I'm a black lady too. And my standards are too high n' stuff. Or too low. I can never tell. Whatever I'm doing, I'm doing it wrong according to everyone.

It couldn't possibly be a messed up US drug policy that disproportionately locks up black men at the precise age you'd hope they'd be graduating from high school, going to college or studying a trade or starting a job/career, being responsible adults, then looking to settle down. (That would be your 20s and 30s.) Somehow, the shrinking dating pool of eligible Negroes is your fault. And it couldn't be how due to RACISM black women aren't viewed as attractive as other women. I mean, you're obviously just imagining that preference everyone just "happens" to seem to have for white women with long hair. All those rappers who name check all the blondes and light skinned girls they roll with are just joking. WHY ARE YOU SO SENSITIVE! These things obviously aren't problems. It's you and the fact that you are ignoring all these nice white guys who want to date you.

Unless, um ... you're like most black women and you occasionally meet a white guy who wants to date you, but more often than not ... you don't. Because yadda yadda yadda racism and yadda yadda yadda you don't live in a racially cosmopolitan area ripe for dating the rainbow.

What's annoying to me about these articles is that they always seem to ignore the real problem -- the disparities between black men and black women. We really have a "Why aren't more black men in college" crisis than a "marriage" crisis. A "Why are so many black men in prison?" crisis. A "Why is homicide the number cause of death of young black men?" crisis. These things are CRISES! If I, myself, The Black Snob never gets married again you know what will happen to me? I'll be kind of sad, but will go on to live an otherwise fulfilled, interesting life as a writer and friend to many. I'll still date. I'll still travel. I'll still have adventures. Just not with a husband. You know what will happen if we continue our messed up drug policies that think you can just incarcerate your way out of addiction and recreational drug use? We'll still continue to have the largest and most expensive prison population in the so-called "Free World." And our streets won't be any safer and people will still get high.

That sounds like a problem. The incarceration rate. The lack of education. The lack of jobs. The getting shot up. That sounds bad. Like maybe we should talk about this, write some articles about this, find solutions for this, hold some rallies for this, march to the capitol for this, change our education/drug/law enforcement policies for this, make a litmus test for politicians out of this, legislate and study this.

But all that is hard. It's a lot easier to just say "date a white guy" than "fix institutionalized racism, impossible racialized beauty standards and our broken education and legal system." Ugh. Those things are hard to fix and won't solve the problem right away. We want quick fixes. Quick fixes in form of Jeff in accounting. Because, remember, at the end of the day, it's always your fault, black ladies, if you're not married. Whether you want to be married or not. That's what I learned.

Your fault. 

(Please ignore that black men aren't married either. That's not a "panic." Gender/racial stereotyping told me that black men aren't supposed to want to get married -- allegedly -- even though marriage seems to really hook men up with the whole living longer, making more money, having more stuff, being happier thing.)

Now, I, myself, still stand by my whole "Love the person who loves and respects you because life is too short to be married to an asshole" policy. I don't think dating white men is a solution anymore than only dating black men is a solution. And I'm not going to entertain this fantasy of black women being chased down by white men they reject over and over. If you meet a woman who's constantly shooting guys down, that's probably a woman who believes she has options. By telling her she needs to "settle" you're buying into the same crap of how all black women should settle because we're not worth that much. No matter what Nancy Grace's Missing White Woman Index tells you -- a black woman is not worth less than any other woman. I'm not going to make dating decisions based on whether or not Tyrese cast me to shake my ass in a music video. And being alone is always going to be preferable to being in a relationship where you aren't respected, aren't happy or are mistreated. 

If you're not married and you want to get married, it's going to be hard. So, you need to get serious about it, make dating as important as all the other things you put ahead of dating, and do the do. Not all of us are going to luck out and have their future spouse show up at their front door one day. You're going to face a lot of disappointment and rejection, but to win, you have to actually play the dating game.

Everything else -- about the mythical white guys you're passing up on or being a giant bitch -- is just background noise. A distraction from the reality that find true love is a rare gift and most marriages, black or white, end in divorce. It's hard because it's supposed to be. Women fought to have better choices, not to get stuck in unhappy, unescapable marriages and pregnancies at 16. The more choices you have the harder it is to make a choice. But I'm not going to start longing for a more "quaint" time when I, as a woman, had no agency in who I wanted to be with.

There are worse things in the world than being alone.

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Reader Comments (27)

Don't you think this is something SCAN could deal with? Or am I just jonesing for new SCAN so much that I'm willing to take naything?


August 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterG

Preach...very nice piece!

August 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterToks

Perfection. Also, so nice it needed to be stated twice: "And being alone is always going to be preferable to being in a relationship where you aren't respected, aren't happy or are mistreated. " *Emphasis mine.

August 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLMO85

*Orson Welles clapping gif*

Well said. Particularly: "I'm not going to start longing for a more "quaint" time when I, as a woman, had no agency in who I wanted to be with. There are worse things in the world than being alone."

The real problems are out there to be fixed, meanwhile the 'black women marriage crisis' bandwagon rumbles on. Enough, ugh.

August 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterYorubaGirl

LMAO at this: No matter what Nancy Grace's Missing White Woman Index tells you -- a black woman is not worth less than any other woman.

August 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

i agree with your points, but the wsj article author says he is black... 5th paragraph:
"What explains this marriage gap? As a black man, my interest in the issue is more than academic"

August 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdekadaye

It couldn't possibly be a messed up US drug policy that disproportionately locks up black men...

Agree with most of this except for one salient point--why on earth should black women be concerned about black male incarceration rates? After all, if they're at a point of being incarcerated aren't they already in the criminal justice system? As far as I'm concerned inmates, regardless of how long his sentence is should be off any sane woman's dance card. After all, avoiding being disproportionately sentenced is easy--stop breaking the damned law. Next!

August 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoslyn Holcomb

Great post! My friend sent me the link to the WSJ article yesterday and I was kind of at a loss for a response. I'm going to forward your post to her, because I couldn't have said it better myself.

And to Roslyn's point above, I think that incarceration rates are an important factor because of how they affect the black community as a whole. So many children are growing up without fathers and other male role models in their lives which can encourage a vicious cycle. While individuals should certainly be held accountable for their decisions, it would make for a healthier community if we paid more attention to the criminal justice system and how it affects us as a whole.

August 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlisha

@ dekadaye

The title refers to the "solution" which is that black women need to date inter-racially, specifically mentioning white men. It's not a reference to the author of the piece.

August 8, 2011 | Registered CommenterDanielle Belton

Black people are always happy to tear each other down and to place white people on a pedestal. It was only a matter of time before mainstream news organizations discovered how many black men and black women hate each other. We were taught this on the slave plantation and we learned VERY well. A few years ago there was a similar article in the Economist magazine. In a publication aimed at upper middle class whites, there were countless comments from black people trashing other black people for being too lazy, criminal minded, uneducated, and generally lacking in ambition to have a relationship with. It hurt me as a black person to see other black people so eager to rip each other apart for the entertainment of whites. Sad.

August 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersad

Young black women are the fastest growing prison population. The same Prison Industrial Complex that has made billions of dollars warehousing young black men has discovered an untapped source of wealth: Sisters! These young women are re-entering society and finding that they have few options other than to return to a life of crime or to participate in the sex industry. Simply dismissing the incarceration rates of young black men is beyond foolish.

August 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwake up

Wow, Snob, you did it again. I especially love how you pointed out the fact that there is also a disproportionate number of single black males as well; but this little tid-bit has been ignored. My question is: Why has everyone taken such an interest in the poor, disenfranchised, expendable black woman all of a sudden? Is it because of Steve Harvey (with his three marriages) and all of his infinite wisdom about relationships?

What is really interesting (or disappointing) about the expert analyses regarding the single black female crisis is, just as always, it is always the woman's fault she is single. And black women have been so brow-beaten by society, that many have learned to identify with the oppressor.

August 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNestafan2

loved this.
very refreshing.
thank you.

August 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergrandgryph

"Numerous studies of Internet dating confirm that black women are the partners least desired by non-black men."

Screw that.
I ride the subway every day with dozens of black women who are so beautiful, it's almost painful to look at them. (Though it's unclear how much of that pain is from the pessimistic suspicion that I wouldn't get anywhere by approaching any of them. That's how we pessimists roll, you see. With the pain. =)

August 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarbles

I agree that there are larger issues at hand and that tackling those issues will take time.... but in the meantime I will gladly date "jeff in accounting". My mother says I have a white boy magnet. lol. I truly believe that you can't help who you love.

We should be concerned with the black male incarceration rate it affects the community as a whole. Those are our fathers, sons, brothers, cousins, etc. While I agree that individuals need to be held accountable, drug laws, sentencing guidelines, etc. need to be reviewed. The system is screwed up all around and young black males seem to be getting the shortest end of the stick. Locking someone up without addressing the root of the problem doesn't help anyone. Prison used to be about rehabilitation, but those days seem to be long gone.

August 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKyra

@Roslyn- High incarceration rates of young black males destabilize the entire black community. If you believe that somehow this will not have a devastating impact on millions of black women and girls you are sadly mistaken.

August 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersepia

The one thing all of these articles have in common is that none of them address the fact that white men have an overwhelming preference for WHITE women. Pick up a copy of GQ, Esquire, Maxim or FHM and 99 percent of the women are very skinny and very white. This is not a coincidence. As much as some white men love Asian women, only 1 percent have an Asian wife. Can we please stop pretending that white men are beyond race?

August 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterv

we should do away with drug laws altogether because some folks just can't put down the pipe. of course. that's the best way to approach a problem.

August 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterof course

In general, what I've seen is that white men who like black women---lmeaning attracted to black women as a preference as opposed to their own race. They liked the black american beat etc. There are the few of course that fell in love with someone in church and they happened to be black==but for the most part when a white man marries a black woman--ihe's usually really into black women. So, I think the WSJ article is assuming that even if black women (who generally do prefer black men) tried to be open to a white, he in turn would have the same interest. Most, I suspect agreed with John Meyer when he make those comments regarding preference.

August 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterblackish

As a victim of crime, I'm always disturbed by this emphasis on incarceration rates with no mention of the actual crimes that earned these people their prison sentence. I grew up in San Diego, where the drug and gang problems were so bad that I was always afraid to go outside. On my block, Logan Ave. I have seen several gun battles. Kids couldn't wear certain colors to school. And the gangs were present in both my junior high and high school. --But yet I bought into that black default position of supporting and defending the very young men who made my neighborhood a cess pool. Until I was pistol whipped and raped at a friend's house by young gang members (18-22) who came to her family's house looking for her brother. The cops investigated barely and told us right off the back that no one would probably be punished because the gang would shut up any witnesses. Plus they wore masks and wiped down the house for finger prints, seasoned criminals.And sure enough these young men got away with it, but I know later some of them sold drugs, thats what the whole thing was about. I heard a statistic that the average criminal gets away with 5 crimes before they are caught.--Lets not even talk about all the people and families ruined by drugs. Most criminals are there for a reason, I don't care about their sentence because they would not return the favor. As a crime victim, black male incarceration is not an issue I care about. And I'm stick and tired of my community putting it before black crime/victimization. After all 1 in 4 black women will be raped or molested before 18 years, that statistic must affect the way some of us approach relationships, marriage, and love.

August 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlealah 20

I use to work in a correction facility and I can tell you first hand that most of the brothas that are locked up are not in for drugs. Maybe 20-30% of them are drug related, the rest are in for violent crimes, mostly against black women and children. I don't understand why people chose not to look at the facts. The white man will not stop playing his games, so why do so many black men (who is suppose to lead) keep falling for it. I realize that many people do not follow or believe in the bible, but the fact that we as women are trying to lead and rescue our men is out of order. We have 70% of out of wedlock children statistic, 80% of black women who are not married, 50% of high school drop out rate, people we are failing. I agree with Roselyn, this is something we as women cannot fix.

August 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLady T

whites outnumber blacks at a 5 to 1 clip. other races (including whites) out number blacks at a 7 or even 8 to 1 clip. so the numbers are that while most people prefer their own, the number of non-black men willing to date black women outnumbers the number of black women willing to date non-black men. the fact of the matter is that black women themselves are no more open minded than other races of women. and in some cases, more close minded. often times giving the same reasons that the article had listed for said close mindedness. it's just that other groups aren't really having that hard of a time finding a date. is a non-black man the solution? no. is it a solution? depends on the woman.

August 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterof course

Thank you Lealah and Lady T for making the obvious point that locking up CRIMINALS is not detrimental to the black community. In fact, I would wager a guess that those unequal sentences have probably saved plenty of black people's lives. You know what destabilizes the black community? Criminals. How could it be otherwise? And why on earth would anyone believe that sending criminals to prison would destabilize communities? It actually has the opposite effect. Now if you want to talk about education and drop out prevention programs that keep folks from BECOMING criminals I can certainly see it. But once they become criminals it's best for all concerned if they lock their asses up and throw away the key. I can't imagine why anyone would want black women to marry or even be around criminals. That's not black love, that's black hate.

August 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoslyn Holcomb

what? those criminals are actually responsible for their crimes? really? we really shouldn't have social degenerates on the street? what? where does this thought process come from? sell out!

August 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLOL

Your argument is right on point sister snob. The word in your last paragraph should have been "inescapable".
Sorry to point that out, im quite anal about that kind of stuff.

August 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermistyblu
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