Black Women: Why is the Wall Street Journal, and the media, still talking about our marriage prospects?

I liked this comment by Daphne so much, I made it a separate post. Check out the following.

Regarding the WSJ* article making the rounds:

I found it bizarre that this was in the The Wall Street Journal*, just like I thought it was bizarre there was a similar article about black women in The Economist** several months (maybe a year?) ago. To me, it reeks of “let us observe these strange creatures known as black women,” similar to zoo animals.

Plus, the author’s subtext is disturbing: more black women should marry out, to potentially improve the rates of black marriage. To me, marriage is a non-sequitur in this context, particularly given that some serious cultural issues aren’t magically repaired by marriage (i.e. ability and desire to provide, being an effective father, knowing HOW to maintain a relationship). I mean, I’d hate for a black woman to have her black man propose primarily because he’s afraid of her being taken off the market rather than….wait for it, actually wanting to be married and prepared for that stage. Not to mention how unfair it is for a non-black man to be a consolation prize because a black man isn’t available or willing to marry. But hey….as long as they’re married, I guess.

I get the supply/demand, economics side of it: more black women date out, fewer are available to black men, black men step up their game. Which is fine, for future generations, I suppose. But for the women NOW who want the best partner for them, it’s entirely possible that even willing black men aren’t the best partners because of the aforementioned cultural issues.

I also give the side-eye to any author who misuses statistics, which the WSJ author did in a major way. That 70% of unmarried black women? Includes widows and the divorced. It is also includes age 15 and up. You would think a law professor would either dig a little deeper with the stats or be more more precise in using them.

Now, I’m not denying cultural differences between whites and blacks with the marriage rate. But it’s certainly convenient for these article to throw out that 70%, as if nobody wants da po’ black woman. Not to mention using the quotes of THREE black women as representative of the majority. And when you correct for college education, the marriage disparity between black and white women is significantly smaller.

Thank you for the contribution and sparking this post, Daphne. 🙂

GoldenAh:

That article does have an air of “What can we do about these black women no one wants?”, right? 😀

As far back as the 1990s, perhaps even earlier, the NY Times periodically ran articles about the large number of college educated unmarried black women without children along with the high rate of out-of-wedlock births of single black women.

The angle changes somewhat, but it still has the familiar reek of: Black women’s relationships are a problem for society. Although I suspect they really mean, Black women’s existence is a problem for society.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Breaking It Down

You did a terrific job of nailing what’s wrong with the WSJ article. It’s not doing us any favors, but it wasn’t meant to anyway. This article insults a number of people, but the main recipients are black women and white men.

Imagine if there was a shortage of marriageable partners for white men, and black women were offered up as the last choice, second rate hope for them, because it would improve their group’s prospects with other, or the same race of, women? Even though they purportedly have a white woman shortage.

Say, what kind of logic is that?

  1. Logic that reinforces a negative image of black women. So, no surprise a black man wrote that article for a major newspaper that reaches around the world. Anything for a couple of dollars to denigrate black women is not a hard task for some black men. Regardless of how well meaning he thinks is.
  2. The logic is to continue presenting black women as racially, socially and bizarrely backward thinking: we’re worried about our HAIR, the complexions of our children, and our inability to be comfortable with non-black men. Oh, what superficial, silly, non-normal, non-female creatures we are. We are still “othering” ourselves. Those selected black women presents an image of people living in a self-imposed prison who lack any sense to free themselves of it.
  3. The logic used is a sneaky backhanded method of blaming black women for the lower rate of black marriage compared to other racial groups. The author cannot directly say that black women must do the asking, since to a mainstream audience it would be outside the norm and viewed as ridiculous. Instead, he indirectly makes the case for marrying non-black men, again like we could make them marry us somehow, to prompt black men into asking.

The key ingredient missing from the entire WSJ article is, What makes a black woman happy? What would make her feel good? What are the ways to approach her if she appears socially remote? Examples of their femininity, their normalcy, or exotic allure, would be enticing to the non-black  men reading the WSJ to look at black women positively. It would peal away at least one thin layer of separation between black women and non-black men.

However, making black women attractive, approachable and normal was not the intention of the article.

As you’ve noted, Daphne, the actual  purpose is: How do we eventually get black men to do X, Y, and Z? Because it always has to be about them, beginning, middle and ending. People need to let that go and forget about closing the barn door.  The horse that ran out is now a great-great-grand mare to her offspring. Black men cannot be cajoled, conned or bribed into marrying black women, especially when they have no desire or interest to do so.

Black women have to be happy on their own terms.  I’d respect the mainstream media if there were more articles pertaining to black women, without the insincere hand-wringing, making their own decision to integrate intimately with non-black men: by working with, making friends with, dating and marrying them. And solely for their own benefit.

 


 

* The Wall Street Journal – An Interracial Fix for Black Marriage

** The Economist Article – Print Edition – Sex and the single black woman

** The Economist Article – Blog – The unintended consequences of mass incarceration

 

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Rant: To People Who Compare Every Politically Incorrect Expression or Treatment to "the Blacks"

Stop it right now.

Stop those trite, irritating, and annoying expressions of “Well, it is like doing X against the blacks,” or “Well, it is like using the N-word to describe group Y,” or the all time favorite, “Group Z going through this discrimination is like doing this to the blacks.”

For real though, those declarations do not make any sense at all. If the offense is that serious, then the blacks do not need to be dragged into the discussion.

The history of black people(s) in the diaspora is not short, simple, and it is not a convenient, slick, back of the envelope example of discrimination and suffering for other groups to use.

We are not a trick bag of goodies for others to use and (mis)appropriate when convenient.

Some folks may not mind, but I do. My suggestion: Use your own damn history. Compile and relate your own pertinent examples of discrimination, suffering, and intolerance. People will understand. People will respect you for it. People will be able to picture your complaints and take them seriously.

Right now, whenever I hear “the blacks“, whatever support I may have had for your position(s) gets negated to zip, zero, and zilch. It drops down into “I could not care less” category.

It Is Not Logical

Using “the blacks” to exemplify discrimination will not work, because it is not a correct logical construct to compare it to using the word “retarded”, being a woman, blind, deaf, dumb, alcoholic, mentally disabled, physically disabled, a drug addict, a fat ugly white woman, a senior citizen, a homosexual, lesbian, or whatever group feels they have a problem.

You know why the comparisons do not make any sense? Aside from the coalition of fat ugly white women, black people are also women, senior citizens, mentally disabled, blind, deaf dumb, etc.

Default Normalcy

Saying “the blacks” is deliberately erasing our complexity and humanity. When the slaves were emancipated, and freedmen got the vote, only black men could vote (in theory, since Jim Crow closed that door). Yet, all the time, I see idiots, especially in the media, saying “the blacks” got the vote when slavery ended. Black women could not vote until all women, excepting Native Americans at the time, were granted suffrage.

Some of you assume everyone’s default for man is a white man. Some of you assume everyone’s default for woman is a white woman. This thinking is about seeing whiteness as normal, and blackness as abnormal. It is so automatic, no one stops to think why they do it. It makes as much sense as this sentence: women and minorities. Translation: white women and others. Are minorities not women too?

That is why some of you folks love to associate every group that might be outcast, abnormal, dysfunctional, disrespected, or whatever as “the blacks.”

Get it clear, not all of us has a world view where we are a minority, secondary, subordinate, a permanent victim group, or inferior to anyone

So, shut up already.

Next time you find yourself in a search of a short hand narrative, leave “the blacks” out of it.

Put the trick bag of missappropriating black people’s culture, history, gender, and identity down. Go free ride on the back of some other group.

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Black American? or American Who Is Black? Part ii

Please note for those of you who are literalistic: I mean some, not all, when referencing black or white Americans.

I have a confession to make: I rarely think about my race.

I’m not saying that I am color-blind. I don’t even know what sense to make of that word. What does it convey? That’s like saying: I don’t see men or women, everyone is the same gender. That’s just stupid.

I admire all sorts of things about different groups of people, be it their coloring or cultural or religious heritage. I also enjoy being brown skinned. I enjoy my complexion. I like who I am. I delight in it. It’s just that the race I am (in America) is not at the forefront of my thinking.

However, I like my own definition of self. Yes, for practical reasons, at this point in time, my race is black. Lord knows what tomorrow will bring: What black Americans or the US government will call the group next.

It doesn’t change who or what I am.

And no, I don’t see myself as African American. That’s a misnomer. I was born in Europe, shouldn’t I call myself European American?

I am an American. My cultural heritage is West Indian. I like saying black, because it’s a shorthand term: a political, social subset of Americans with a degree of African heritage, among others.

I have noticed that amongst some generational Americans taking note of your background upsets them. They act like it is an either or choice. Pick one and it’s offensive, pick the other and you are rejecting their social and cultural dictates.

They get upset with hyphenated Americans, or there are others who want people to emphasize the hyphen and fit within their group definition.

White Americans seem to dislike the hyphenation and emphasis on racial / ethnic background.

Black Americans seem to dislike black immigrants who don’t immediately accede to their definition of “black”. For example, a Jamaican, Nigerian, Hutu or Guyanese, etc. may see themselves as a West Indian or African, or whatever first, and not ascribe to being “black”.

Somehow that accurate self-definition is a rejection of them.

I’ve always looked at it this way: black Americans have to stop thinking that immigrants of any color owe them something. They do not. Unfortunately, no one cares if your ancestors fought in the Revolutionary or Civil War or any of the following wars.

They didn’t march and die alone in the Civil Rights movement: some whites and even some black immigrants were right alongside them.

When America decided to change, they felt they were changing it for the better of everyone, not just generational black Americans. Otherwise, the words used in Civil Rights legislation wouldn’t have been “minorities.”

Black Americans also have to stop telling immigrants, Africans and Caribbean peoples, how to define themselves. These people are coming from countries where everyone is more or less the same race.

Who are you to tell them what they are?

Those who complain are the same ones that resent the immigrant for his appearance and progress in this country. Hey, it is a struggle to come here, work, study and start fresh from scratch. It makes them grateful to be here.

They aren’t carrying the scars of past historical racial antagonism with white Americans. So don’t expect them to. They’re not here to do that.

Last, but not least, they come here for a multitude of reasons. If this magnificent country lets them in: they will take advantage of it.

In some cases, that may mean staying, and letting their kids become Americans. Or it may mean going back home to retire after working here a number of years.

Yet, it is not up to black Americans to define who is black in this country.

They have to learn to accept people who come here as they are, and stop demanding more from people who happen to have a degree of African ancestry in common.

At some point, every group assimilates.

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Black American? or an American Who Is Black? Part i

I have a confession to make: I rarely think about my race.

I mean that I don’t wake up every morning and say, “Damn, I’m still black?” or “Damn, where can I go to escape being a black person?” I also don’t see everything through a prism of: this is racist! I don’t go looking for it.

I do think about being a woman, almost all the time, especially at my age, more than anything else.

Why don’t I think about my race? Let me try to put my thoughts in perspective.

I’ve been traveling since I was a little kid. I’ve been to the Caribbean, which have black majority ruled countries. I grew up in a mostly black area here in the USA.

Even as I got older and really traveled overseas to Europe (and other places hopefully!), certain things stood out in my mind. In the Caribbean and elsewhere, I’m a woman first. People may ask, or note, that I am also an American.

I’d get into the specifics of why they know I’m American, but that’s for another posting. The same goes for Europe, well, except for the UK. People assume I am native there. Aside from driving on the wrong side of the road and talking funny, it’s a bit like being at home.

Oh wait, no! No one in the UK clutches their purse when I’m around. I don’t get the “you must be a criminal because you are black” treatment. No one stares at me “funny” when I go into a pub or restaurant. Although I hear from my UK family that the country does have its issues with black people.

The grass is never greener anywhere.

I figure when our (America’s) bad racial habits gets picked up overseas, it will be with a country we are closely tied to culturally. Plus, it’s to be expected with the US media devoted to the demonizing of (American) blacks worldwide. A ton of the entertainment on UK TV / movies / radio / etc. are American. Think of the anti-black pollution served there daily.

Overall, my thinking of race has been tantamount to this: racism is the problem of the person who harbors it. As long as this person isn’t trying to deny me Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, I don’t think about it.

More to follow…

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