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?