It is becoming increasingly more common for men and women to find partners that match their own educational background, but when racial biases are still plaguing nearly every institution in America this trend remains far less common among Black women dating Black men.
A new study by Brookings revealed that college-educated Black women are far less likely than their white counterparts to marry a man who also graduated college.
While relationship experts have consistently sounded off on the fact that an educational background is no indication of compatibility or intellect, Brookings researchers say there are still some negative implications from the findings.
Black women, according to the study, are losing out on attaining a higher household income by missing the opportunity to find a mate who has also earned a BA.
It’s a study that speaks to the importance of unlocking certain economic advantages but it also provides another perspective about the current landscape for Black men in America and how that impacts a Black woman’s dating pool.
In some cities in America, Black girls are up to 50 percent more likely than Black boys to graduate from high school, according to a report by the NAACP and Schott Foundation for Public Education.
The numbers continue dwindling down through college where Black women outnumber the amount of Black men pursuing a higher education. According to a Pew Research Center report released last year, in 1994 Black men were actually more likely than Black women to be enrolled in college immediately after high school—56 percent for men vs. 48 percent for women. But by 2012, the pattern had reversed: The share of Black men enrolled in college remained stagnant at 57 percent, while the share of young Black women enrolled in college increased to 69 percent —a 12 percentage point gap with black men.
That leaves the dating pool for Black women who want a college-educated Black male relatively small and the racially bias justice system only makes matters worse.
Black men are about six times more likely to be incarcerated than white men.
The study notes that while interracial relationships are not longer considered taboo, they are still incredibly less common than marriages within the same race.
So while white women are typically left with a large pool of educated white men to select from, the options don’t tend to be as great for Black women who prefer to date Black men.
Black women are also more likely to consider it their personal responsibility to help their partner achieve success and overcome certain hardships.
“Because black men are so beleaguered, black women are made to feel like it’s their duty to ‘help a brother out,’ “ said Ralph Richard Banks, the author of Is Marriage for White People?, according to the NY Post. “Black women face a kind of pressure, a type of survivor’s guilt that simply doesn’t affect white women in the same way.”
In other words, there is an acknowledgment among Black women of the fact that some Black men have not attained a certain level of education because external factors made it more difficult for them to do so.
So rather than put a higher value on having a man with a certain educational background, Black women tend to hold on to hopes that they can use their own platform to give their partner the type of opportunities that once alluded them.
It’s a responsibility that some say is too great for a woman to place on herself and instead there should be more focus on other aspects of the relationship where their partner still proves to be an excellent partner.
After all, the lack of a college degree is not synonymous with a lack of economic stability, overall intelligence, parenting capabilities or any of the other many factors that have to be considered when looking for a suitable mate.