Black Relationships : Marriage is for White people...

Discussion in 'Black Relationships' started by HoneyBrown05, Apr 8, 2006.

  1. HoneyBrown05

    HoneyBrown05 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I was browsing on the web and came across this article.

    'Marriage Is for White People'
    By Joy Jones
    Sunday, March 26, 2006; Page B01


    "I grew up in a time when two-parent families were still the norm, in both black and white America. Then, as an adult, I saw divorce become more commonplace, then almost a rite of passage. Today it would appear that many -- particularly in the black community -- have dispensed with marriage altogether.

    But as a black woman,I have witnessed the outrage of girlfriends when the ex failed to show up for his weekend with the kids, and I've seen the disappointment of children who missed having a dad around. Having enjoyed a close relationship with my own father, I made a conscious decision that I wanted a husband, not a live-in boyfriend and not a "baby's daddy," when it came my time to mate and marry.My time never came.

    For years, I wondered why not. And then some 12-year-olds enlightened me.

    "Marriage is for white people."That's what one of my students told me some years back when I taught a career exploration class for sixth-graders at an elementary school in Southeast Washington. I was pleasantly surprised when the boys in the class stated that being a good father was a very important goal to them, more meaningful than making money or having a fancy title.

    "That's wonderful!" I told my class. "I think I'll invite some couples in to talk about being married and rearing children."

    "Oh, no," objected one student. "We're not interested in the part about marriage. Only about how to be good fathers."

    And that's when the other boy chimed in, speaking as if the words left a nasty taste in his mouth: "Marriage is for white people."

    He's right. At least statistically. The marriage rate for African Americans has been dropping since the 1960s, and today, we have the lowest marriage rate of any racial group in the United States. In 2001, according to the U.S. Census, 43.3 percent of black men and 41.9 percent of black women in America had never been married, in contrast to 27.4 percent and 20.7 percent respectively for whites. African American women are the least likely in our society to marry. In the period between 1970 and 2001, the overall marriage rate in the United States declined by 17 percent; but for blacks, it fell by 34 percent. Such statistics have caused Howard University relationship therapist Audrey Chapman to point out that African Americans are the most uncoupled people in the country.

    How have we gotten here? What has shifted in African American customs, in our community, in our consciousness, that has made marriage seem unnecessary or unattainable?

    Although slavery was an atrocious social system, men and women back then nonetheless often succeeded in establishing working families. In his account of slave life and culture, "Roll, Jordan, Roll," historian Eugene D. Genovese wrote: "A slave in Georgia prevailed on his master to sell him to Jamaica so that he could find his wife, despite warnings that his chances of finding her on so large an island were remote. . . . Another slave in Virginia chopped his left hand off with a hatchet to prevent being sold away from his son." I was stunned to learn that a black child was more likely to grow up living with both parents during slavery days than he or she is today, according to sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin.Traditional notions of family, especially the extended family network, endure. But working mothers, unmarried couples living together, out-of-wedlock births, birth control, divorce and remarriage have transformed the social landscape. And no one seems to feel this more than African American women. One told me that with today's changing mores, it's hard to know "what normal looks like" when it comes to courtship, marriage and parenthood. Sex, love and childbearing have become a la carte choices rather than a package deal that comes with marriage. Moreover, in an era of brothers on the "down low," the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and the decline of the stable blue-collar jobs that black men used to hold, linking one's fate to a man makes marriage a risky business for a black woman.

    "A woman who takes that step is bold and brave," one young single mother told me. "Women don't want to marry because they don't want to lose their freedom."
    Among African Americans, the desire for marriage seems to have a different trajectory for women and men. My observation is that black women in their twenties and early thirties want to marry and commit at a time when black men their age are more likely to enjoy playing the field. As the woman realizes that a good marriage may not be as possible or sustainable as she would like, her focus turns to having a baby, or possibly improving her job status, perhaps by returning to school or investing more energy in her career.

    As men mature, and begin to recognize the benefits of having a roost and roots (and to feel the consequences of their risky bachelor behavior), they are more willing to marry and settle down. By this time, however, many of their female peers are satisfied with the lives they have constructed and are less likely to settle for marriage to a man who doesn't bring much to the table. Indeed, he may bring too much to the table: children and their mothers from previous relationships, limited earning power, and the fallout from years of drug use, poor health care, sexual promiscuity. In other words, for the circumspect black woman, marriage may not be a business deal that offers sufficient return on investment.

    In the past, marriage was primarily just such a business deal. Among wealthy families, it solidified political alliances or expanded land holdings. For poorer people, it was a means of managing the farm or operating a household. Today, people have become economically self-sufficient as individuals, no longer requiring a spouse for survival. African American women have always had a high rate of labor-force participation. "Why should well-salaried women marry?" asked black feminist and author Alice Dunbar-Nelson as early as 1895. But now instead of access only to low-paying jobs, we can earn a breadwinner's wage, which has changed what we want in a husband. "Women's expectations have changed dramatically while men's have not changed much at all," said one well-paid working wife and mother. "Women now say, 'Providing is not enough. I need more partnership.' "

    The turning point in my own thinking about marriage came when a longtime friend proposed about five years ago. He and I had attended college together, dated briefly, then kept in touch through the years. We built a solid friendship, which I believe is a good foundation for a successful marriage.

    But -- if we had married, I would have had to relocate to the Midwest. Been there, done that, didn't like it. I would have had to become a stepmother and, although I felt an easy camaraderie with his son, stepmotherhood is usually a bumpy ride. I wanted a house and couldn't afford one alone. But I knew that if I was willing to make some changes, I eventually could.

    As I reviewed the situation, I realized that all the things I expected marriage to confer -- male companionship, close family ties, a house -- I already had, or were within reach, and with exponentially less drama. I can do bad by myself, I used to say as I exited a relationship. But the truth is, I can do pretty good by myself, too.

    Most single black women over the age of 30 whom I know would not mind getting married, but acknowledge that the kind of man and the quality of marriage they would like to have may not be likely, and they are not desperate enough to simply accept any situation just to have a man. A number of my married friends complain that taking care of their husbands feels like having an additional child to raise. Then there's the fact that marriage apparently can be hazardous to the health of black women. A recent study by the Institute for American Values, a nonpartisan think tank in New York City, indicates that married African American women are less healthy than their single sisters.

    By design or by default, black women cultivate those skills that allow them to maintain themselves (or sometimes even to prosper) without a mate.

    "If Jesus Christ bought me an engagement ring, I wouldn't take it," a separated thirty-something friend told me. "I'd tell Jesus we could date, but we couldn't marry."

    And here's the new twist. African American women aren't the only ones deciding that they can make do alone. Often what happens in black America is a sign of what the rest of America can eventually expect. In his 2003 book, "Mismatch: The Growing Gulf between Women and Men," Andrew Hacker noted that the structure of white families is evolving in the direction of that of black families of the 1960s. In 1960, 67 percent of black families were headed by a husband and wife, compared to 90.9 percent for whites. By 2000, the figure for white families had dropped to 79.8 percent. Births to unwed white mothers were 22.5 percent in 2001, compared to 2.3 percent in 1960. So my student who thought marriage is for white people may have to rethink that in the future.

    Still, does this mean that marriage is going the way of the phonograph and the typewriter ribbon?

    "I hope it isn't," said one friend who's been married for seven years. "The divorce rate is 50 percent, but people remarry. People want to be married. I don't think it's going out of style."

    A black male acquaintance had a different prediction. "I don't believe marriage is going to be extinct, but I think you'll see fewer people married," he said. "It's a bad thing. I believe it takes the traditional family -- a man and a woman -- to raise kids." He has worked with troubled adolescents, and has observed that "the girls who are in the most trouble and who are abused the most -- the father is absent. And the same is true for the boys, too." He believes that his presence and example in the home is why both his sons decided to marry when their girlfriends became pregnant.

    But human nature being what it is, if marriage is to flourish -- in black or white America -- it will have to offer an individual woman something more than a business alliance, a panacea for what ails the community, or an incubator for rearing children. As one woman said, "If it weren't for the intangibles, the allure of the lovey-dovey stuff, I wouldn't have gotten married. The benefits of marriage are his character and his caring. If not for that, why bother?"








    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/25/AR2006032500029.html
     
  2. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

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    Marriage is for whom so in love and ready to share their means
    together in bond no matter who.......those are the kind of articles
    i never even give my time or thoughts on .
     
  3. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Due to the subject matter and the nature of potential reactions to it, I think this belongs in the "Relationship" forum so I will move it there.

    Queenie :spinstar:
     
  4. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    when did all the good stuff (marriage, good grades, speaking standard English) get to be for white people?
     
  5. Bisabee

    Bisabee Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Excellent question. :welldone: When I was growing up, these were the norm and nothing else was acceptable. Our people need to get back to having standards like these and never ever back down. There are other standards like having good manners (please, thank you, excuse me), not cursing in public, keeping your voice down in public, good general behavior, caring about your reputation, never doing anything to disgrace yourself or your family, and so on.
     
  6. oldiesman

    oldiesman Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    marriage is for...

    28 yrs,three kids,an ulcer,frazzled nerves...and NOW YOU TELL ME!
     
  7. Alkebulan

    Alkebulan Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    :coffee: hi Honeybrown & thanks for posting this.

    i enjoyed the way this article addressed what has become a growing concern & a hot topic n the black community. while clearly written from the perspective of a black female, it's well organized, researched, and brief yet compendious w/o resorting to bashing of either gender.

    the article, at least the way i read it, isn't so much about marriage per se, as about the growing, according 2 the quoted stats, pool of single black women. whenever i read black/yt comparative stats, i always wonder what the purpose was. r they setting som sort of standard we shld b striving toward? f an increasing proportion of black women r choosing 2 remain single, of their own volition, is that something that needs to b "corrected"?

    perhaps they r making the best decision 4 themselves, and the black community as a whole. i'm unaware of what the benefits r of even more dissappointment & heartbreak, and broken homes n our communities from people who got married, but didn't really hv their heart in it. perhaps we should applaud their integrity. it sounds 2 me as thou they hv made a different kind of committment: a committment to not settle!

    given the level of enmity, resentment, & animosity, not 2 mention bellicosity displayed on cyberspace messege boards and the disconnect played out, at times, in real life, between black males & females, i am unconvinced that a higher % of our people getting married could usher in an era of harmony & unity w/o som fundamental changes n the way we think about and act toward each other.

    1 of the fundamental obsticles i've observed is an almost unbelievable level of selfishness amoung our people. while som attribution can b allotted 2 living n a "me 1st", acquisition driven, hedonistic society, i'm not sure all of it can b xcused on that basis. f charity begins n the home, luv originates from the heart. we seem 2b disparagingly skimpy when doleing out either toward our own.

    thanx again 4 posting this article :book:
     
  8. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    i am waiting for that day
     
  9. HODEE

    HODEE Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    He's right. At least statistically. The marriage rate for African Americans has been dropping since the 1960s, and today, we have the lowest marriage rate of any racial group in the United States. In 2001, according to the U.S. Census, 43.3 percent of black men and 41.9 percent of black women in America had never been married, in contrast to 27.4 percent and 20.7 percent respectively for whites. African American women are the least likely in our society to marry. In the period between 1970 and 2001, the overall marriage rate in the United States declined by 17 percent; but for blacks, it fell by 34 percent. Such statistics have caused Howard University relationship therapist Audrey Chapman to point out that African Americans are the most uncoupled people in the country.

    How have we gotten here? What has shifted in African American customs, in our community, in our consciousness, that has made marriage seem unnecessary or unattainable?


    I saw in the sixties welfare and social need programs forcing decisions onto Black Americans encouraging them to split up to get assistance. Food and shelter became the prize designed in Congress and distributed thru each state. Kids today see this in their family structure and how so many are fragmented. This generation is still among us.

    There is a belief that marriage changes things. It shouldn't. The union is not in a ring that can be lost, stolen or you be robbed for. Nor a piece of paper kept on file in the states office. It equates to two praying and growing in God’s name. He actually created a perfect world full of resourses and promised to be there also. Man usurped this and creates the disjoint in nature and life. Marriage is a legal union recognized by God and man. But the treatment of one's spouse should be the same. Everyday should be another day to wake up and appreciate the one destined to support and build with you in life. The whole 50/50 thing and idea is wrong. It has to be 100% of her and 100% of him so that when bad times and dry times arise; there will be a big enough effort to make it thru.

    Invest time in your children. Invest effort and additional aids to help them in reading, math and sciences. Read and know the laws of the state you’re living in so you can speak and act from a position of strength and knowledge and avoid the pitfalls set before us. Save as much money as possible and set goals to grow together. A six month goal, a one year goal and a five year goal set them all. If you miss the six months one then it will happen in nine months if you stay the course. Same for any goal. Just keep setting new ones. Dreams can become reality. Sacrifice your time for family.

    No one has to do as you ask or say. I told my kids until they reach the age of eighteen they didn’t have to do anything me or my wife ask of them. I told them based on their love for God and his commandments that they should honor their Mother and Father. And should listen and cooperate.

    Adjustments have to be made and compromise of course. But not to the point of destroying the very nature and what attracted you to someone to begin with. Consideration I think is paramount.

    Make it a point to perform. Keep the sex at a level that’s satisfying. Contribute and agree. Enjoy cooking together; washing the car together, drinking together, what ever floats your boat.

    Know which relation - Ship your sailing on and keep your vessel tied to his or hers in case a hole develops in one or the other. SBoth should leave the ship your sailing thru this life on together. This means lead or follow but know which one you’re performing.

    Two trains on the same track can't pull in diferent directions and leave the station.

    To the women… Keep some credit in your Maiden name to use only when circumstances deal you all a crushing blow. It will build credit for you both just as fast. Open a card for your husband by extending him some of your credit line and help him build back up the credit in your married name.

    Treat each other like it was your first date. Look at them. See the beauty that attracted you from day one. Grow old together and don't worry about time. It passes with or without you. With them or by yourself. Look your partner directly in the eye as you speak.

    Don’t demand, but do insist on accountability and that each take responsibility to try their best. Trust and be trustworthy. Smile as much as possible and be as pleasant as possible at all times. Don’t let your head rest on the pillow without making an effort to apologize and work things out.

    Tomorrow isn’t promised and you owe your spouse that much. Let nothing cross your threshold, come into your house via the phone, internet or by gossip that would create a problem in your relationship that wasn’t your issue to begin with.

    In Missouri we say " show me." fear God for after marriage and even while you’re single you will have to answer for your deeds, and each commandment you break.

    Saying three Hail Mary’s is not forgiveness. And never never let your EGO get control and not make you work toward conciliation of some sorts, and always be willing to say you are SORRY!

    Hardship is nothing new for Black Americans and our ancestors had it harder. Is it a take care of me welfare lingering sort of nature that curbs the true effort to build and solidify a strong union?
     
  10. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    this is awsome brotha, truly awsome. :bowdown:
     
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