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.
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.
(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.