Here we go again.
Over the weekend the Wall Street Journal ran an article highlighting the marriage “crisis” for educated, ambitious, well-heeled Black women. Predictably, it highlighted several professional Black women who—despite their best efforts—couldn’t find a brotha to settle down with. If you are experiencing a sense of déjà vu, you’re not alone. This is just the latest in the series of the “Black women are single and desperate” meme we saw play out over the last few years. But this time, instead of merely reporting the “news,” Ralph Richard Banks has a solution—marry a White man!
In his piece, “An Interracial Fix for Black Marriage,” Banks argues that Black women, and Black marriages as a whole, will be better off if they married across the racial spectrum.
To further his argument, Banks cites the “shocking” stats: Nearly 70% of Black women are not married (this number, however, includes divorced women), and three out of 10 college-educated Black women haven’t married by age 40 (but doesn’t that mean 7 out of 10 have?).
In the face of these statistics, the over-incarceration of Black men, and the tough economic factors that disproportionally face Black people, Banks asserts that Black women are single for two reasons: The relationship market sucks and we limit ourselves to Black men.
I came away convinced of two facts: Black women confront the worst relationship market of any group because of economic and cultural forces that are not of their own making; and they have needlessly worsened their situation by limiting themselves to black men. I also arrived at a startling conclusion: Black women can best promote black marriage by opening themselves to relationships with men of other races.
And for Black women who do “beat the odds” and luck up on a Black man, well…he isn’t good enough either According to Banks.
Black women who do marry often end up with black men who are less accomplished than they are. They are more likely than any other group of women to earn more than their husbands. More than half of college-educated black wives are better educated than their husbands.
So, why don’t Black women run into the arms of waiting White men and end their singleness forever? Well, aside from the fact that many of us simply prefer Black men, most non-Black men aren’t checking for sisters either.
Part of the reason, again, is the market. Numerous studies of Internet dating confirm that black women are the partners least desired by non-black men.
But according to Banks, that’s ok…ENOUGH White men will want us. He continues:
But that’s not the whole story. Even if a majority of white men are uninterested in dating black women, that still leaves more than enough eligible white men for every single black woman in America. Moreover, many major urban areas have large numbers of Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern and Latino men, some of whom, according to at least one study of Internet dating, are more responsive to black women than are black men.
Let’s set aside cultural compatibility and shared experiences for a moment. Banks’ assumption that White men can put an end to the Black marriage crisis would be laughable if it wasn’t so destructive. Instead of fighting structural racism that keep many Black folks, and specifically Black men, from attaining great success, Banks argues we should merely abandon our preferences, our cultural ties, and date White men…even though many do not want to date us. Interesting.
Personally, I have nothing against interracial dating and marriage. I am a firm believer in following your heart and falling in love with whomever you want. But I can’t stand when people try to make Black women who DO prefer to marry Black men feel like they are somehow living in fantasy land. My experience has shown me that, despite the hype, there are tons of available, open, kind, and caring black men waiting to meet and marry a Black woman–but that doesn’t fit into the media’s narrative that Black women are doomed.
Whenever articles like this pop up I wonder what is the media getting out of the “Black women are single and hopeless” hype. Who is really winning by continuging to put out stories that we are, and always will be single…unless [Insert piece of B.S. advice here].
I’m over it, and I’m over articles like Banks’ that do little but stoke the fear of some single sisters who are worried about falling in love.