Love = Marriage: Not If You’re Black
Marriage is a big thing in this country, isn’t it? People are all up in arms about protecting the sanctity of it. Making sure people wait for it before they have kids, and that those of the same sex don’t do it because that would be wrong. With all of this to do about stopping certain people from marrying, who’s making sure that other people do?
It seems that marriage (according to statistics, which as we all know, are infallible) has become a white institution. Black people just aren’t doing it anymore.
Some of you may be familiar with the special CNN aired, “Black in America” in which they spoke on many of the issues that black America is having not only with marriage, but with other aspects of day to day life: employment, education, etc., all of which impact the black community.
Dionne Hill, the producer of the segment has a special rumination on black people and marriage. It’s not a new statistic, but the fact still remains: black people simply are not getting married in the numbers that we once used to. Certainly no longer comparable in numbers to the ethnic majority of Caucasian people marrying. In the article, which can be found in it’s entirety here, she talks about her own experience with the illusive unicorn that is marriage and her own vision of the perfect life, which is, of course: marriage, career, and children.
Like many black women she has one of the three – career – and hopes that the other two will fall in line on their own.
So why isn’t she, or the other black women she speaks about, getting married? What’s wrong here? Some people say it’s a cycle that we’re just repeating. Our parents weren’t married, therefore, we aren’t getting married either. Or maybe it’s TV and media – black pop culture has this single black super woman thing going on that discourages the idea of marriage. You know, the successful black woman: constantly dating but never finding the one that meets her standards.
And that’s probably the root of the problem right there.
In previous generations its been the idea that a man brings something more to the table. A job, stability, ability to make babies who won’t be shunned because they were had out of wedlock, etc… Nowadays, these values aren’t as important in a potential mate because, let’s face it, we can get all of these things on our own. No longer do we have to be like Beyonce and Upgrade a man; we can be picky and wait for the supped up version to enter our lives.
Despite this growing trend, Hill still has hope, but her silver lining has its rain cloud:
“My outlook: optimistic. My honest fear: It may never happen,”
And this is perhaps the most touching and honest thing in the entire article. It was more than just reporting facts, recalling memories and ideas she was holding onto. It was brutal and honest and every black woman’s fear (not to mention a fear rampant among women of all colors and backgrounds). Because despite understanding the problem, despite accepting it, it’s still there. The numbers are still there and numbers do not lie.
But there is hope.
There are men out there who bring what every woman is looking for; it just takes time to find them. I don’t think that black people are getting married less, I just think that they’re finally not settling for less. Little things that we may have overlooked before – emotionally stunted, bad teeth, criminal record, etc. – no longer get a pass for the sake of just being married.
[Photo courtesy of wikimedia.org]