Tuesday, December 25, 2007
What Is The Cost Of The 70% Unmarried Black Women As Reported By Oprah?
Oprah video clip on the rate of Single Black women
According to a topic on the Oprah Winfrey show - 70% of Black females are single and many are likely to remain that way. Instead of talking about the reasons why this might be I hope to use this post to detail the costs to the Black community and culture in the wake of this situation.
First let me start off and say - Marriage is a long term commitment and needs to be taken seriously. No societal pressure from the outside is going to craft a successful and healthy marriage. The two individuals involved in the agreement will ultimately determine the effective results of this social contract.
I have no problem with people expressing their liberty and independence to do as they please. When the exception becomes the rule - then there is a problem that will show up in the long term condition of the community.
It is my view that the cost of this high rate of signle-ness among Black women is as follow
1) Relationships that are meant to be are never consummated. From my perspective as a Black man - the Black woman is the God created complement to the Black man. A woman brings natural balance into a man's life. She, in the context of a family forces him to prioritize his behaviors and to eliminate the foolish actions that he may have done in the past which now threaten the bond with his family. In a culture that is so permissive that the primary male/female relationship is casual and serial in nature (sometimes overlapping depending on the "player" involved) the long term commitment to the person never develops. What happens with the physical relationship goes and gravity takes over with the bodies of both of them? At this point in time a more firm understanding and contentment should have been created in the relationship. Just knowing that someone else is there to care for your primary interests when you are infirmed due to some type of accident or medical ailment is something that so many people take for granted.
2)Temperament - when one in it for the long haul they adopt a more give and take attitude about accepting the flaws and frustration of a more permanent mate. The first sample that comes to mind is a family member who is "hard on a brother" as I always tell her. That promising brother one month becomes a "has been" the next as he does the slightest thing to ruin the interview. By the next month this same young lady is complaining how she doesn't have a man. It is clear to me that if she were to open up about her own flaws and enter into more of a give and take exchange with a brother that has potential that together they could over come the start up complexities in the relationship and be more of a balance between each other. I always laugh at her in that in having me as a permanent family member who has enough background with her that she can't push out of her life and with my years of seniority over her where she respects my wisdom and accomplishments in life - THIS is an example of the women who I struggled with upon first moving to Atlanta. At the time I was broke and in a tenuous position. I did not come from a family with much drama that is the hidden secret that some have to gently expose their new mate to. In my case it was not the women who I had chosen from the streets or the club that I settled upon. It was the women that other women that had more experience in identifying a "good man" as they got to know me on a more long term basis via the job that had the woman that I settled with to tune into me.
3) Kids caught in the middle. There is no way around it. You add a third party mate into the mix of two people who have borne children and you have just complicated the matter in an exponential manner. It is already difficult to do the give and take with respect to child rearing while in a committed relationship where both parties live together. I can imagine how things get even more complicated when one parent, typically the man resides outside of the residence of the mother of his children and his children. That last minute coverage to pick up the child from school because she is running late to pick him up becomes more complex, particularly if the father lives across town and thus is not in a practical position to receive the call at the last minute. When brother man starts to date other females or when mother beings to seek out male companionship as well there is no doubt that the natural feelings of jealousy about your partner moving on with their lives will be introduced. This is especially the case if one side of the issue feels in the back of their minds that there is another change to come back into the relationship in the long run that the other does not feel is the case. If it is the mother who is bearing the majority of the burden and the father who resumes his dating then all too often the children will be caught in the middle as the father's good name is trampled in the minds of his children while he is not there to defend himself. On the other side as the mother resumes dating - the concern that I have even as a resident father is ever present - another male is now in the presence of my children. Beyond the difficulty in knowing that another man is attempting to be the authority figure who my children have to obey is the dismantling of my rule that no male that is older than my children will ever be alone with them as the threat of sexual molestation is introduced into their lives. Of course at times it is the father himself who is the culprit of such an act that so greatly impacts the psyche of so many girls and boys as well. In the case of myself and so many other male protective figures who wouldn't think of doing such a thing, however, not knowing the true character of this third party male is beyond my ability of contentment.
3) Back to the sex and physical relationships angle. Today Black people are disproportionate victims of sexually transmitted diseases, most notably AIDS. It is unfortunate that certain cities such as Washington DC, Atlanta and Baltimore that have a racially (and income strata) identifiable population also have a designation of being HIV infection hot spots. The pure mechanics of the situation dictates that as a culture that imposes a "slow your roll" type constraint upon those who partake in it will also receive the benefit of having a reduced velocity of STDs among the population. There need not be a focus on the "moral" elements of married relationships to make this argument. This is strictly from a "functional" stand point. I also note that the veil of marriage does not always mean that a wayward mate will actually "stop his roll" but merely "get in when he can fit in". At the same time having a society that expects a certain reference for all to follow and then DEALS WITH THE EXCEPTION when they take place will have a bee-line that is more close to the ideal than a comparative culture that chooses to "dumb down" their standards because that which was the exception has now become THE RULE, mostly due to the absence of some controlling influence to redirect.
More on this point - so many pseudo-Black Public Intellectuals will take the rebellious position AGAINST that which "White folks have indoctrinated us with" - as they will say. You will hear from them certain notions such as "formal marriage was not a part of the African culture. It was imposed upon us as slaves or colonial subjects". They will add a turn of the knife with some point such as "And even then the commerce of the buying and selling of human beings who were Black was not subordinated by the common law agreement of marriage between these two people who assumed a married relationship. To this I ask - "How the HELL does this address any real world situation that we face as a people in 2007/2008?". Besides what the WHITE MAN has given our culture has not stopped you from using capitalisticly manufactured toilet paper rather than leaves from a tree to wipe your behind nor has it prevented you from mastering the art of elocution of the non-native language of proper English so that you, the self proclaimed 'Public Intellectual' can spout your IGNORANCE but make it sound so good in your appeal to people who value style over APPLICABILITY to the real world and the problems that they face.
Thus it is up to the Black people alive today to make note of both the problems that we have WITHIN the Black community and of the ideals that we want to MANAGE TOWARD and then implement a cultural NORM that is commonly enforced that can express this ideal for both the people living today and for transmission across the generational synapse to our progeny. (PS: and NO - the serial marriages of Pamela Anderson is NOT a reference to what WHITE FOLKS are doing as you look for ways to PACIFY yourself as to what Black folks are not doing. Having another people 'in the mud with you' gives you contentment in your backslidden condition. It does NOTHING to advance YOU and your people into the full potential that you seek - which should be the focus of your efforts. It is only an example of Non-White White Supremacy where another man is your primary reference. He is a "1.0" on your scale and you are a fraction there of.)
The concept of sacrifice now as a future investment and of "living below your means" are both concepts of economics that are directly applicable to the situation of male/female relationships and thus "wealth building via relationships".