African American relationships have been a topic of popular discussion for quite some time; and with a marital rate less than 30% of their Caucasian counterparts, it’s no wonder the discussion continues to foster often contentious debate.
African American women especially, appear to overwhelm recent studies as members belonging to the most unmarried group in the US. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, nearly 70% of black women are unmarried. This marital, racial gap extends far beyond the socioeconomic spectrum, by not only affecting the urban poor but financially stable professionals as well.
Writer and researcher Ralph Richard Banks went on to explain how, working class, or poor African American men are generally less likely to marry because they fail to provide a more even exchange of monetary contributions; while financially stable black men are less likely to wed given their knowledge of vastly outnumbering their black female counterparts.
Issues which further inflate the marriage gap include education and incarceration. Not only do African American women outnumber African American men 2-1 regarding rates of matriculation and graduation; but roughly more than 10% of African American males considered of prime marrying age (including those between the ages of 20 & 39) are presently incarcerated for sentences of 5 or more years.
With dismal rankings such as these, some may wonder why black women do not decide to simply date outside of their race given the odds would certainly be more in their favor if adjusting socioeconomic standards were completely out of the question.
However, this only further complexes the argument by adding cultural variances to the equation. Although many black men appear to have little trouble dating outside their race, often citing bitterness and unrealistic relationship prerequisites as primary deterrents for dating black women; African American women conversely appear to struggle with the idea of dating other races, citing lack of familiarity, having the “hair talk” and disconnect offspring.
A 31-year-old schoolteacher told the WSJ, “It’s easy to date a black man because he knows about my hair. He knows I don’t wash it every day. He knows I’m going to put the scarf on [to keep it in place at night].”
I know what you may be asking yourself – minute details such as these should appear miniscule in regards to the overarching goal. Are black women allowing a kinky hair discussion and the omission of brown face babies to hinder them from finding love and stability from a suitable mate? Well perhaps, but unfortunately for black women, many individuals belonging to different cultural backgrounds are typically more likely to date women within their own sector as well.
Like Paula Patton and Angela Bassett in Jumping the Broom, how many black women will ever take the leap? And even before marriage, are you willing to consider dating outside of your race?
Share your thoughts…