We are always reminded that for all the debate over interracial dating, that while MORE brothers marry out than sisters, it’s still not that many who do it. And since Michelle Obama, Beyonce and that one old lady down the block who don’t talk to her husband no way are the only three Black wives left in Negronia, can the the Black male marriage statistics be that much better than the women’s? Let’s see….
While the magic number is just under 42% for adult Black women, a whopping 43.3% of Black men are married.
43.3! WHERES OBAMA? 911 EMERGENCY! ARE YOU THERE, GOD? ITS ME, TOLDJA! BLACK MEN ARE IN A MARRIAGE CRISIS! CALL STEVE HARVEY! CALL TD JAKES! CALL NIGHTLINE! CALL DATELINE! CALL LOVELINE! CALL THE GHOSTBUSTERS! WHAT IS WE GON’ DO?
Riddle me this, Batman: how in the possible world did this become a story of ‘the crisis of the unmarried Black woman’ if the statistics are so close for both genders?
I have a pretty good clue. The players in the mainstream media (the architects of this crisis reporting; we Black folks have merely been beneficiaries, such as Steve Harvey or reactionaries, such as myself) would not have ran with “the crisis of the unmarried Black man” as a story. They would NEVER consider highlighting the number of marriageable Black men and then discussion the factors keeping them from the altar that are NOT jail, death, lack of education, etc. Black men would never be treated with such dignity by these news outlets; these same reporters talk about your President like he’s a Pullman Porter.
The most logical, reasonable angle would have been ‘the crisis of the Black nuclear family’, right? And the MSM could have taken that story on and continued to roll with the Black deficiency narrative that they need and love so much. Why not this instead of the tragic single Black woman foolishness? Well, because this sounds a little bit too much like it’s encouraging Black unity and Black family building. Why encourage that when you can sensationalize Black women and make us look like super b*tches, emasculating and driving the Black man further and further away each day with our fancy degrees and picky nature?
Furthermore, by taking Black men from the margin to the center of this conversation would have forced these media outlets to adress the big question of why there are 1.8 million more Black women than men. Who wants to do that? Let’s start a colored gender war instead and watch them Negroes fight! The media is gonna do what the media is gonna do. But to interpolate Chris Rock’s famous quip, it’s not the media that I look to go on date with on Friday night. It’s not the media that I plan to stand next to in the Jet Magazine wedding section somewhere around 2015 (I don’t think “The bride is a graduate of Howard University” and “the groom is owned by Rupret Murdoch’s old racist self” has a nice ring to it).
I don’t love the media. I love Black men. But I can’t say I love how some of them have reacted to these single Black woman stories. We can put Hill, Steve and Jimi to the side for today; they have books to sell, I get that (and I will, again, say bless Hill and his intentions). The commentary from lesser known Black male writers and blog readers has been disheartening to say the least. So many of them are so happy to jump on this anti-Black woman train and beat us over the head with “You need to smile more”, “You need to stop focusing so much on a career and more on being mothers and wives”,“You should be more focused on a career and worry less about getting a man”, “Date men of other races, we never asked you to be loyal”. And on. And on. And on. But ask them about how Black men have factored into the decline in Black marriage and get prepared for an onslaught of righteous indignation. The irony: by jumping right in and deriding us for having expectations says a whole lot about how highly some of these brothers DON’T think of themselves.
Writer and funny girl Jessica Danielle has asked this question a few times and I have yet to hear a great answer: Why is it that while Black women have used these new media outlets as the opportunity to be self-reflective and discuss Black female issues, while our brothers seem more willing to write over and over again about what’s wrong with Black women or tell us how we can be good enough for them? I’m certainly not discounting the necessity of guy advice for women on dating men; girlfriends often give the worst “wisdom” to other women about what men want or need. But why does it seem that most online writings about the challenges facing Black love seem to have to do with what Black women are doing wrong? And while sisters are pushing back at Nightline, why aren’t we asking a little more from the brothers we interact with on a regular basis? Why aren’t we asking Black men to confront their demons, their issues and the things they have done that have contributed to the decline in Black love.
The crisis is that of both parties. There’s nearly 2 million less Black men here to discuss it and that is DEFINITELY a crisis for all of us. I’d like to vow to never write about this again (the media fiasco, not the very real issue), but I can’t say that. You come for me, I’m blasting back. However, I will try real hard to let this side of the story go for a while. I was thinking my next move would be to ask Wanda Sykes to pen “What These Sistas Want From A Brotha: Why Black Men Can’t Find Good Black Women“, but I can’t get a hold of her agent. In the meantime, I’m issuing an edict for the male bloggers and blog readers, the Twitter gurus, the barbershop philosophers, the preachers, etc, etc…it’s something I’ma need for y’all to understand RIGHT NOW:
Don’t let Dateline, the Washington Post or some zoot suit wearing ‘bamma fool you. Black men have not, have not, have NOT some how suprassed Black women in quality. Thus, you are not qualified to enter the ‘fixing of Black women’ business. Don’t think for a second that because you have more options than we do (and I’m looking my bougie buppie boys straight in the eyes when I say this, because while you may be my favorites, Lord knows it doesn’t take much to start you guys high horsing) that you need to be writing or preaching about what Black women are doing wrong. Are you a catch because you’re a catch, or a catch because of the crisis? Are YOUR expectations reasonable or are you using the current state of affairs as an excuse to demand something you might not be worthy of if all things were equal? Holler at that man in the mirror for a second. And if he’s got his game together, then maybe he can talk to some of his homeboys. Introspection: it’s not only for single Black women.