Sunday, December 30, 2007

Marriage Is For White People - Revisited

There has been an interesting discussion going over at SheCodes awesome new blog, Black Women Vote about the different issues facing black women and how these issues can be challenged and changed in 2008. One "hot-button" issue was the "marriage crisis" of black women. She is planning an extended series on the subject, so get your thinking cap on about ways this issue can be tackled and improved. And while you're thinking, do a little research and read Joy James' excellent article, Marriage is for White People.

Now, while I strongly agreed with many of the excellent comments made about how the lack of positive and committed relationships between black men and women are having a tremendous negative impact on the state of the black family and that black women do deserve loving and supportive partners and additionally, the opportunity if they chose to become loving and nurturing mothers as well, but I just could not help but feel more than a little disappointed, frustrated, irritated, weary, and angry about the discussion.

I admit that this a serious issue, but I can't keep but think -


If a whole lot of black women are single, and never married, then aren't a whole lot of black men equally single and unmarried as well? Why isn't it a "marriage crisis" for them? Why isn't anyone criticizing black men about "being too picky" or "unwilling to settle for a single black woman with children" or "afraid of black women who have more education or make more money than they do?" Why isn't anyone telling black men how much they are "missing" by not being husbands and become fathers? Why isn't anyone telling black men that their lives are incomplete with a spouse and children?

Why aren't black male preachers telling black men to pray for more self-esteem, more education, and improved character in order to attract black women? Why aren't these same preachers telling black men not to lay down in the bed with anyone they are not intending to marry? Why aren't black male preachers telling black men to get a haircut, pull up their pants, learn how to have an adult conversation (not coversate, but converse!) and to stop using black women to supplement and mainstain their "playa, playa" lifestyles?

Please spare me the political commentaries, black history lessons, and psychological lectures on why black men are not challenged about their single status and their failures to commit. I already know quite well the fake reasons and ghetto passes black men have been given for not becoming husbands and fathers. My point is that I am sick of carrying burdens that all black folks should carry together! If we are not going to change the tone, the language, and the responsibilities of this "marriage crisis" debate, leave me out of it.


She December 31, 2007 at 9:10 AM  

I'm hearing you, Professor Tracy, and I actually agree with your points 100%. I am coming from a different place than the people who you have talked to before.

There is so much that I want to say about this subject that I had to make it week-long, because one post would end up spanning seven pages!!

Let me just say this: EVERYONE is suffering because this 'black marriage crisis'... meaning white people too!! Therefore it is NOT an exclusively 'black female problem'.

WE ARE NOT THE PROBLEM. ESPECIALLY because most black WOMEN I know are not the ones who are running from commitment like perpetual juveniles.

The "black community" will ALWAYS give BLACK MEN a pass. I have come to terms with that! Done swallowed that bitter pill and moved on! I ain't even trying to talk to the brothers with their pants hangin down!

So when I address the marriage issue, it is SO NOT going to be about how to 'attract the brothers to come home'!! A mistake is being made. People think that the marriage crisis is about each black woman's ability to attract a man. I'm about to bust that myth wide open, and I think that you're going to like what I have to say.

I am flying... soaring higher than angry recriminations against men, or silly 'flirting tips' for black women.

The black marriage crisis will be 1/2 over when black women take back their power. When our 'stock' rises by taking control of our published images, by flexing and utilizing our political power, and by strategically positioning ourselves into a place of economic wealth -- the 'marriage crisis' will be OVER for black WOMEN.

And I say that that the 'marriage crisis' will only be 1/2 over because when we're through, a lot of Black MEN might still still be sitting around unpartnered, watching 'Law and Order' marathons.

msladydeborah January 1, 2008 at 10:22 AM  

she~you know you are preaching the truth!

I am old enough to have seen our family standards go from long term commitments to the current chaos.

I totally agree that it is not just a Black woman crisis. It is a problem for everyone! Of course, this is not a popular view, but it is the truth anyhow.

What really gauls me about this situation is the propoganda of lowering standards. I am in my fifties and my parents and grandparents never advocated that as a standard for me. It is not one that I find works well. Either we are going to be up where we honestly belong or not. I do not like what not brings. The lack of~is not a great position to be in.

This crisis has been fed too much, it needs to be starved with a fast from the non~sense, and junk that goes into it.

Penni Brown January 4, 2008 at 1:58 PM  

I totally feel you on this one. However, I think that folks will stop gearing their advice solely towards us, as soon as we (black women in general/not us in particular) stop complaining about not having a man/not finding a man, etc. I'd like to see black women start saying that men are the icing, not the whole cake. We've got the cake part in the bag. I'm not saying that I don't need a man, but heck - he needs me too!

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