Black Women: Grab Your Cats — We Will All Die Alone

Illustration for article titled Black Women: Grab Your Cats — We Will All Die Alone

"Marriage eludes high-achieving black women: Many remain single and childless, according to new research." Fuck. And to make sure they rub the salt in the wound, there's a big ass picture of Barack and Michelle.

Michelle Obama may have become an archetypal African-American female success story - law career, strong marriage, happy children - but the reality is often very different for other highly educated black women. [...]


The unspoken context here is that we are not Michelle Obama, so obviously, we will all die alone. This article is a rehash of a rehash, the same super-hyped hysteria made to display the horrific plight of poor, downtrodden, manless black women. (Which goes nicely with the stereotype of us as castrating, swivel-necked harpies).

But this article really goes above and beyond to ratchet up the madness. Apparently, we're responsible for the decline of the black middle class!

Beyond the personal interests of individual women, the trend is significant because "in terms of American society, this is one additional obstacle" to the broadening of the black middle class, Brueckner said. Fewer highly educated black people having children means that they cannot pass on those advantages and knowledge."

This defeats the goal of affirmative action, argue some demographers. The idea behind assuring that blacks had access to higher education and graduate school was that after a generation or so, African-Americans would reach a kind of achievement parity after generations of suffering educational and career restriction. But if black women, who comprise 71 percent of black graduate students, according to the census data, do not have children, the rate of achievement reaches a kind of familial dead end.


All our fancy schooling is for naught and we've undermined Affirmative Action! Woe, woe is us all!

But it gets worse. Hysteria Point #2 - All the men are leaving!!!

Highly educated black men tend to "outmarry" (marry outside race, religion or ethnicity) at a higher rate than black women, researchers say. Think of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates or Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Both married white women.

How dare they!!? (Wait, did we want them? Is there a voting block where we lament departed black men? Seems foolish to try to force someone to like you, but if the article says so...)

So black men are going to other pastures. But we can't do that because (Hysteria Point #3) our families are racist and we can't resist the pressure!!!

In interviews with a large number of black women, she found that community pressures on black women to marry black men can be more intense than the reverse.

"A greater negative reaction falls on them," Clarke said. "Some women in my sample told stories of African-American men on college campuses getting upset if they dated outside the race. There seems to be a sense of some policing of women's sexuality. I think women are more controlled by these community and family pressures around who they should date. Men have greater freedom."


And too bad for that, because (Hysteria Point #4) Black women are a bad dating investment!

A sociological line of inquiry called "exchange theory" suggests that in the piggy bank of goods each of us brings to a possible relationship - money, smarts, sense of humor, looks, family background, education, gender - African heritage is devalued compared with European or Asian heritage. African-American females, even with lots of education, do not fetch as much "value" in the marriage market.

That may be a cold way to look at love, romance, and sex, but studies dating back to the 1980s support it.


Damn. Do I need to get on my Cyrano de Bergerac over here, and find a white face to front me?

When I read things like this, it just annoys me.

Analysis like the type done by the National Center for Health Statistics, that puts the racial stats in perspective along with age, region, location, and income bracket is hard to come by. (The last study in this vein was done in 2002.)


There are some conversations that wold be very worthwhile and fruitful about marriage rates in the black community and intraracial dating. However, I hate these kinds of articles because they over-sensationalize everything, in the same way op-eds written to let women know their sell by date is passing and a few years back there were a rash of articles about how college educated women wouldn't be able to find suitable mates, these kind of article use the hyped up hysteria to reinforce existing (often racist and patriarchal) ideas.

Marriage Eludes High Achieving Black Women [MSNBC]

Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce, And Remarriage in the United States [NCHS]

Share This Story

Get our newsletter



Oh media where would be without your sensationlist, shallow, vapid examinations of society? There is a grain of truth to each statement being made but it is a truth needing careful examination. These talking points need clarification, perspective, debunking and honesty. Are there issues for black women in the romance area? Yea. But have we examined what is happening within this female population? Are we asking the females what the issues are that they face? Hell did we ask them if they even want a man? Anectdotal take it for what its worth: Many black women are independent, self sufficient, proud people. Many have been raised in non-nuclear environments, matriarchal environments and have a sense of needing to provide for themselves and create a life by themselves so that romance isn't a goal on a list or a major priority. Romance is something these woman considered to be apart of their lives journey, something that would just happen. On the flip side are those who were not given the gift of confidence and independence and who wistnessed the devaluing of black womanhood by both men and women and so find themselves in one realtionship after another that does not meet their needs or provide love, acceptence and so are not married because no one (man or woman) valued them enough to place them in marriage. Instead used and tossed. There are so many reasons that "men don't want them" is just not good enough.