Tuesday, August 7, 2007

'Could Mr. Right Be White?' - The AP's Assault on Black Marriage

As if black men didn't have enough shit to worry about (hypertension, 5.0/one-time/PoPo, Rudy 4 Prez), the Associated Press launched an unprovoked all out assault on brothers with a ridiculously one-sided and shortsighted article wordily titled "'Could Mr. Right be white?' More black women consider 'dating out'".

I'm married, and long since off the market, but I have a soft spot in my heart for the many single sisters around me each day. Marriage ain't easy itself (trust me), but for many women, just getting to the altar is damn near impossible. In a city like DC where there are lots of successful (defined by me as: not in jail and gainfully employed) black men, and even more successful black women, if you're a guy, life is a pretty good deal. With so many different black women, you can virtually have your pick. For black women, apparently not so much.

Never one to tackle a story in a timely manner, the Associated Press apparently just got wind of the fact that some black women are casting their nets a bit wider in a search for that ever elusive "soulmate". And in true AP fashion, they take half baked statistics and tired-assed cliches to make a somewhat bad situation seem on the verge of utter chaos.

Oh yeah, and black men get reamed in the process.

[Note: I personally hate any blog entry that overly quotes the source article, but in this case, the original AP story was so overridden with questionable material, I had to make an exception. Forgive me.]

To wit.

Black women around the country also are reconsidering deep-seated reservations toward interracial relationships, reservations rooted in America's history of slavery and segregation.

They're taking cues from their favorite stars -- from actress Shar Jackson to tennis pro Venus Williams -- as well as support blogs, how-to books and interracially themed novels telling them it's OK to "date out."
Is this the same Shar Jackson from Moesha fame that had a 1/2 dozen babies by K-Fed? Is there really a sane black woman out there taking dating cues from this golddiggin' chickenhead "favorite star"? If so, that might be half the problem at least. As for Venus and Serena, both have dated black men as well as guys of other races, and neither they, nor Shar Jackson have ever been married. If intent of the article and it's context is marriage, not getting black women knocked up (which black men are pretty good at doing), then why even mention such examples?
She reflects many black women frustrated as the field of marriageable black men narrows: They're nearly seven times more likely to be incarcerated than white men and more than twice as likely to be unemployed.

Census data showed 117,000 black wife-white husband couples in 2006, up from 95,000 in 2000.
Whoop de-damn doo! Even with this increase, less than 5% of all married black men are married to white women. Is this really an epidemic? Interracial marriages of all kinds are up (including black women and white men) across the board. Tragedy, or mere sign of the times? And other than to compare (poorly) and contrast (unfavorably) blacks with white men, why bother mentioning incarceration and um employment rates for brothers? This isn't exactly new news for anyone, is it?
"Black women are refusing to comply with that message about just find yourself a good blue-collar man with a job, or just find a black man," Moore said.
Why not? Are you marrying money or are you marrying a man? Different socioeconomic status doesn't (necessarily) mean different core values or shared visions for the future. The stereotypical Disappearing Acts scenario where the blue-collar brother is helplessly out of his element at a high class cocktail party seems to have clouded many women's judgements on whether or not a non-professional man is worth marrying. This is just plain B.S. Marriage is about far more than shallow discussions about politricks and other negro nonsense.
She pointed to low rates of black men in college, a place where women of all races often meet their spouses.

Black women on campus largely are surrounded by non-black men: In 2004, 26.5 percent of black males ages 18 to 24 were enrolled in college versus 36.5 percent of black women that age, according to the American Council on Education's most recent statistics.
News Flash!!! There are fewer men in college than women period, regardless of race. This gender achievement gap is among the biggest of issues educators are dealing with at present.
Even after college, Roslyn Holcomb struggled to meet professional black men.

"I wanted to get married (and) have children," she said. "If I was only meeting one guy a year, or every few years, that wasn't going to happen."

The Alabama author eventually married white.
News Flash II!!! Move to Atlanta!!!
They're made even slimmer, grumble many black women, by high rates of successful black men choosing blondes. For some, they argue, white wives are the ultimate status symbol.

"They don't want a dark chocolate sister laying around their swimming pool," Moore said.
This is nothing more than conjecture, colored by tabloid pix of dudes like Taye Diggs, Tiger Woods, and Kobe Bryant. If you want a more accurate picture of who "successful" (there goes that word again) men are marrying, look around your church or workplace, not BET.
Meanwhile, psychological barriers have discouraged black women from crossing racial lines.

"Black women are socialized to stick by their men," explained Kellina Craig-Henderson, a Howard University psychology professor who studied 15 black women dating interracially.
Is there ANY race/ethnic group that hasn't been socialized to stick by their men? What kind of baloney is that?
Jones remembered being troubled when a white man politely approached her around 1990. Her stance softened years later, after a sobering party experience.

"All the black men literally pushed (us) out the way to talk to the blondes," said Jones, who soon declared, "I'm going to date whoever."
I have to ask, what the hell kinda party was this?
But Ayo Handy-Kendi, creator of Black Love Day, argues blacks are simply reacting to messages linking success with whiteness. She referred to a string of successful athletes with white partners, including golfer Tiger Woods.

"They normally rejected their culture and they went to the acceptable standard of success -- a white woman," said Handy-Kendy, who thought it ironic high-achieving black women were mimicking the behavior.
Ironic indeed.

This article is really just a crock of @#!%! Really. I am not suggesting that there isn't some imbalance between the sheer numbers (there are just more black girls born than boys, scientific fact) of black men and women, but if you're a black woman who has spent her entire life dating black men and suddenly find yourself 35 and single, maybe it's easier to look at the common denominator (you) than external factors (black men) in trying to assess the problem.

Perhaps the bigger issue is what articles like this don't mention: articles like this re-inforce stereotypes that black men hold about black women (too much attitude) and vice versa (cheaters, on the DL, in jail). The net result is that black men think they're a valuable commodity (and thus are less likely to want to get marries) and black women make blanket assumptions about black men rather than bother trying to know them. Black male-female relations aren't exactly in the best of places right now statistically, but before you buy into this hype (or flame me in the comments section) find a way to go see this movie first.

Whatever you do, don't buy into the B.S. that the AP is peddling.

Black Men Ain't Sh*t 'Could Mr. Right Be White?' [CNN via AP]

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