Monday, August 24, 2009

Black Women Turning Blue (cuz apparently we don’t get to exhale)


Note: So apparently my need for sleep and "rest" was not that deep. I woke up at 2:00am and typed this post like a woman on a mission… and maybe I am.

Let me start by saying there is nothing a woman loves more than being told what she can't do. Yes, this is sarcasm. Women hate hearing how their fairy tales won't come true more than Fox News hates a fact checker (and you know that's serious). Now imagine this woman is black and single and the recipient of not four, not five but SIX emails with an article entitled: Marriage eludes high-achieving Black Women. Some of the fun from MSNBC:

Yale researchers Natalie Nitsche and Hannah Brueckner argued that "marriage chances for highly educated black women have declined over time relative to white women." Women of both races with postgraduate educations "face particularly hard choices between career and motherhood," they said, "but especially in the absence of a reliable partner."

Another Yale sociologist, Averil Clarke, who has written a soon-to-be-published book called "Love Inequality: Black Women, College Degrees, and the Family We Can't Have," sees the impact of this demographic trend in a slightly different, and more romantic, light. It's not about passing on economic and educational advantages, though these concerns are valid, she said. It's about love.

"I think this inequality can be construed around outcomes in love," she said. "We are very caught up right now in [the controversy] over gay marriage. Well, what are we arguing about? Whether people can have these kinds of emotionally satisfying experiences and if not, if that is unequal." She also believes that these demographic facts, and the reasons for them, constrain the sexuality of some African-American women. She has found that many more are celibate than are white women with similar education levels. "So for me it matters because love matters."

One big reason why these women remained childless is, as one might expect, that they go unmarried, experts say. Among highly educated women of both races, about 22 percent between the ages of 20 and 45 were single in the 1970s. But then that number diverged. It has remained the same for white women, but now 38 percent of black women have never been married.

"Their marriage chances have declined," Brueckner explained. "This may sound trivial but one reason is that they outnumber men in this education group." The disparity in education is important because Americans have a strong tendency to marry those with equal levels of education, a trend that has only grown stronger since World War II. "So since there are fewer men with the same education," Brueckner continued, "you either have to find another group you can marry or you are out of luck. You have nowhere to go."

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.

Black women are either much more reluctant to marry outside their race, or do not have the opportunity to do so. The answer is both, Clarke said.

The article opened by sharing that Michelle Obama "appears" to have it all but she is the exception not the rule. The article goes on to discuss how the lack of marriage leads to lack of children. So basically unless they marry outside the race or to someone less accomplished; black women who are educated and employed are destined to be dried up spinsters with great 401(k)s. (Cue the lace doily and cat named Fluffy) K Sidebar for Nitsche, Brueckner and Clarke: kindly KMEBA (Kiss My Entire… you get the rest) for doing this study at all.

As I turn my attention away from the article, I see this theme reinforced in the blogosphere. Single Black Male is a blog I visit; it's always interesting to read different perspectives. Sometimes I agree with their points of view, sometimes I do not. Today's post was one guy's perspective who felt that women with advanced degrees thought this would assist them in landing a man. It was titled: Degrees don't make you sexy, miss… Sorry.

I added a comment to share that I know no such delusional black women who think this. Cuz I'm sorry too. I'm sorry that listening to all the "helpful" and "insightful" feedback given to sistahs makes me want to dig up Walt Disney and pop him squarely in the jaw while shouting, "Cinderella is a LIE." Seriously, Prince Charming coming to save you? Sistah, get that paper and save yo'self.

Just based on what I've read in the last month in the blogosphere a black woman cannot be too light or too dark. She cannot be too big or too thin. She cannot overachieve or underachieve. She must speak her mind but not get mouthy. She must have her own money but not lord this fact over her man (if she has one). She needs to have a combination of HGTV and ESPN knowledge in her head. She must be confident but not stuck-up. She can work but not let her career infringe on her role as wife/girlfriend/mother/boo. She can be cute, beautiful or hot but only one of those is marriage material apparently. She must be talented in bed but not so talented as to be hoe-ish (is that word?). And it's a whole other thing discussing a black woman and her hair (the debate between natural vs. permed vs. weave rages on). You find the girl who can straddle all of that and I say clone her DNA immediately and hustle her down the aisle.

Ladies, to all of this I call BULLSHIGGITY. I've got one 44-year old friend that just got engaged. I have a 34-year old friend who is getting divorced. They both have advanced degrees and are well-maintained, good looking women. That didn't stop one from catching a guy or the other from losing hers. But that doesn't make for snazzy headlines or controversial blog posts. It's much easier to pile on all these smart-ass black Superwomen who have "priced themselves out of the market." Le Sigh… backing away from the keyboard.

One last thing… I wish before these Harvard ladies shared their study, they took a second to understand its impact. I wish before another fella writes a post to black women about how to catch and keep a man, they would walk a mile in our pumps. And more than that, I wish for my sisters to keep their head up, keep on steppin' and keep the faith. Now take a second, take a deep breath and exhale.

Was this just a sleep deprived rant or do I have some valid points in here?

28 comments:

Curly Sue said...

That one day rest did you good! Preach sista, preach!

BlackestBerry said...

You ain't said nuthin' but a thang. So tired of all the negativity thrown on women (black women especially).

Black Butterfly said...

I see you just couldn't hold your peace!:)

This post was excellent with very valid points. You had so many valid points it made me sigh at the fact that in society black women are expected to want nothing and accept anything!

Anna N. said...

Gurrrl...

Isn't this some mess? Dr. J must think I live and breathe to kill his posts in the comments section, but really I can't sit by while he gives wack advice. I went off in the comments section on his first post from the "get over it" series and said basically the same thing. When did Black men start piling on with criticism of Black women? Publically checking Black women is what hot on the blogosphere now, and I am *not* happy with it. My new theory is that some of these men just aren't getting women period, and are lashing out.

*sigh*

ColHghts said...

@Black Butterfly - Co-Sign!!!

True2me said...

I love this post..as I just read the post referenced on SBM..

SBM has valid points on that article..because there are women that DO feel that they are wife material simply because of a degree or some other thing like having a job or car..

but I also feel your veiwpoint..and Im tired of being categorized by our black men into ho or wife material, Too Independent or Too needy, Too light or too dark... Like why aren't there any gray areas. why can't women just be women..WTF. What is this perfect woman they seek.

Im glad you woke up and posted this

OnlyMe said...

@Anna N - I read both blogs too. The Get Over series on SBM had my blood boiling. But they are young and they will learn. I hope I'm around to peep those posts five years from now when they are talking about Diaper Genies being what's hot in the streets (ha!)

Bailey said...

This is insightful but I'm waiting for the first male to reply with the "man-bashing" bit. When they write a series on women and their faults it's "instructive" when we answer back it's "bitter" Mars vs. Venus, here we go. LOL @Only Me on the diaper genie

A.Smith said...

You was lettin' the Spirit speak through you this morning.

I ESPECIALLY loved this portion: "Just based on what I've read in the last month in the blogosphere a black woman cannot be too light or too dark. She cannot be too big or too thin. She cannot overachieve or underachieve. She must speak her mind but not get mouthy. She must have her own money but not lord this fact over her man (if she has one). She needs to have a combination of HGTV and ESPN knowledge in her head. She must be confident but not stuck-up. She can work but not let her career infringe on her role as wife/girlfriend/mother/boo. She can be cute, beautiful or hot but only one of those is marriage material apparently. She must be talented in bed but not so talented as to be hoe-ish (is that word?). And it's a whole other thing discussing a black woman and her hair (the debate between natural vs. permed vs. weave rages on). You find the girl who can straddle all of that and I say clone her DNA immediately and hustle her down the aisle. "

And I call bullshiggidy, too because that's all this is. I've never been one to go searching the mainstream media, blogs or any other mass produced source on how to "bag" a man. I let what I see, what I know and what I experience do all the teaching (cause, before we had all these damn Cosmo-esque magazines, interest in black women marrying and blogs, people seemed to manage to get married just fine...)

Even in all the contradictory statements you showed in that WELL-written section (as was the whole damn post,a s your posts always are... gosh OneChele, so glad I found you... oh, sorry... I digress) it all boils down to a whole lot of standards and lines that I'm just not gonna meet. I. Refuse.

So, I appreciate the words and the chance to hear some different opinions, I do... but I cannot take them too seriously or I'd go batsh*t crazy.

Somethin Special... said...

**stands up slowly and begins the slow clap** Take a Bow Ugggh I've been trying to figure out what it was that has been bugging me and you nailed it right on the head! As a black female we are taking hits left and right lately. I love that "Just based on what I've read in the last month in the blogosphere a black woman cannot be too light or too dark. She cannot be too big or too thin. She cannot overachieve or underachieve. She must speak her mind but not get mouthy...." also **le sigh** A sistah can't seem to catch a break. Great blog!

DatDudeinCali said...

I'll man up. I have met the woman that SBM referred to and it was not a pleasant encounter. I will agree that there is a lot of pressure on women (of all races)to be and look and act a certain way. Similar pressures are placed on men but as you said, no one is writing MSNBC articles about that.

Mostly, they write articles about how black men are deadbeat dads, locked up or shooting each other. A lot of ugly sterotypical negativism coming at us.

I enjoy your blog by the way. Thanks for the fresh voice.

Tiffany Nicole said...

*Jaw on the floor* Nothing left to say!

Berriblk said...

I just started reading these types of blogs, SBM, etc and boy do I need to stop. These blogs have jaded me and given me a defeatist attitude more than any amount of dating has done to me in such a short period of time.

I honestly don't know where they draw there conclusions from and what men and women they are meeting, but I know for sure that these people exist. Should I turn a blin eye to these accusations and opinions...maybe or maybe not. I haven't decided yet...

Miss Marche said...

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

I'm sorry, I had to let out a scream.

There is something SERIOUSLY WRONG when people MAKE IT A CRIME to be educated.

I'm hot right now. I'm SO hot, I don't know what to do with myself.

ARGH.

I can't stand it. Everytime someone rants on a woman having a degree, I want to say, "Pick up a damn book."

Seriously. Pick one up.

*sigh* I'm sorry, it's my first comment here and I'm angry. I need to cool off... I'm going to get a latte.

:-)

Single Black Male said...

First, I really love the post. One thing about my site and the fact that 96% of the posts are from men (we do feature women too) is that the only rebuttals come from the comments, or other posts that we might never find.

Secondly, I think you should ease up on us men who are supposedly "bashing" women left and right. Honestly, I started the site because there was no male voice in the blogosphere. Relationship sites and blogs often told us men we were no good, doing nothing with our lives, cheating, and afraid of commitment and fatherhood. I don't aim to paint women overall in a negative light, but I am going to speak to the other side now and again.

And so you know, we have talked about no good ninjas, whack dudes, and man-whores too ... when the mood strikes us.

Again, loved the post.

ManAmongMen said...

Now this is interesting. I think you both have valid points, so what's the solution?

OneChele said...

Everyone - thanks for the great feedback. I guess I should write more posts at 2:00am :-)

@Berriblk - stay tuned and don't give up!

@SBM - Thanks. While there may not have been a bunch of anti-bash pro-male sites in the past, there are plenty out there now. And they all have an opinion to share, not always positive. We'll work on it :-)

@Man - better communication, better voices. We'll work on it

FWET said...

If, for some reason, Black women are still waiting to exhale, Black men seem to be inhaling far too much. I am generally disappointed to look at the lack of educated Black men. It seems to be a prevailing thought that wealth can be gained without hard work and without the benfit of a quality education. And, Brutha's constantly ask that the bar be lowered for them. It isn't that men are lazy, merely that men tend to pursue the path of least resistance.

Just one educated black man's opinion.

natural nubian said...

will men ever start to hold other men accountable? will there be any bonds shared that go beyond the love of the booty?

Lisa in Pitt said...

Did they ever say what their purpose in doing the study was? Surely they didn't think the world needed another study to say we're more likely to win the lottery, get struck by lighting, and get mauled by a tiger than get married and have kids?

First time reading you blog but I love it!

Scipio Africanus said...

Natural Nubian, what does this mean?

"will men ever start to hold other men accountable?"

First off, men are not a monolith, where an individual has to bear the sins of other individuals within that group (sound familiar?) I could maybe see if a close friend was doing something stupid, or a sibling/family member, but that doesn't speak to a simple "black men" dynamic - that has to do with people with whom you have a close relation and therefore a duty to be real with them. Therefore that applies to everyone that person (in this case you've brought up men) is close to - both male and female.

Second, accountable for what, exactly (regarding the issues this post directly touces on)?

Third, what would this accountability even look like? Rounding up posses and beating fools down, D.R.O.P. Squad style? Or like Ice Cube hemming up 'Toine during the Phone Check scene of the Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself video?

natural nubian said...

to S.Aficanus, no where did i mention men are a monolith/uni-mold of the single-minded nature so i'm not sure what you mean by that comment.

to elaborate on what i meant by holding each other accountable in relation to chele's post, men calling out other men when the woman-bashing gets repetitious. i do not condone or participate in convos or blogs that say nothing but negative things about men, especially my brothers. so when i read blog posts about how sisters need to get off pedastals, advice from other men on how we can keep a man, how we should reduce our strengths so the men who approach us can feel like a man (we shouldn't be "too independent", only "so-so independent") i'm saddened that the men who do reply in the comment section fail to check the author and inform them that building up instead of tearing down has always been more effective.

men were designed to be leaders in yalls own right. so i'm just saying i'd like to see more leaders in the cybler blog community to step up and check their fellow brothers when the hostility (cloaked as "advice") gets played/tired time and time again. your black sisters read enough about how/what we need to "fix" in order to keep our own men by our caucasian counterpart, who are on the outside looking in. it would nice to have our own correct us, but out of love absent from the attitue/approach of "this is why yall are failing and why the brothas stray."

Scipio Africanus said...

Natural Nubian,
You didn't have to mention the monolith thing - it flows naturally from the idea of group accountability, which you seem to endorse. It's related to the old "credit to his/her race" thing from the past, only here, it's flipped to "discredit to his/her gender."

It's good that you don't condone the all-male-bashing-all-the-time posts and sites (this blog is not one of them at all, imo) if only because I can't imagine that to be particularly healthy for any individual's mental/emotional state. But the way I see it, alot of the sites that do this are simply echo chambers. Let's not kid ourselves either, most of these black echo chamber sites go in one direction, and it ain't the direction your original reply aimed to criticize.

Honestly, I don't think you need to worry about any of the "advice" you cited from that guy's blog (it wasn't even advice - it was mostly positive assessments, not normative ones). Nothing that guy could say, or that any man could say, is going to slow down the aggregate progress toward self-suffiency, independence, and achievement we've seen among Black women in the fields of higher learning, the work world, and overall dopeness, in the last 30 years.

And I don't know about your feelings on Patriarchy, but this line: "men were designed to be leaders in yalls own right" was a definite YIKES moment when I read it. I thought most people of good conscience and enlightenment had sort of tossed this notion into the trashbin of ideas along with the New Coke, Cross-Colours and Cop Rock?

natural nubian said...

i don't know what the New Coke, Cross-Colours and Cop Rock ideas are.

Scipio Africanus said...

If you've got any Hipster inclinations, I've got a chest full of Cross-Colours from 1993 I can sell you. You'll be the coolest kid in LoCash, I swear.

Citizen Ojo said...

Bravo..."clapping my hands" Good Post!!

uglyblackjohn said...

The thing is - people have lists.
But in reality, no one depends on them.
The worst thing that can happen to someone is getting a person who fills every spot on their list - this only leads to disappointment.

It all comes down to who ya' like and whether they like you back.

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