Notes from a bitch… a problem in search of a fix or a fix in search of a problem…

I recently read An Interracial Fix for Black Marriage by Ralph Richard Banks published in the Wall Street Journal. In the article, Banks points to the lower rate of marriage among black women as compared to the general population and attempts to make the case that interracial marriage is the likely “fix” because it would solve the problem of unwed black women and create pressure on black men by lowering the number of available women for them to…

Sweet Jesus, I can’t believe this mess made it to print!

Pause…collect thyself…continue.

Where was I?

Oh, yes – the author makes the argument that interracial marriage would solve the black women not being married problem…’cause unwed black women are a PROBLEM, duh!

Full disclosure #1 – I don’t have a problem with the interracial dating angle. I’ve actually mentioned diversifying dating options to friends who bring up dating woes.

My problem is with the fix, but before I get to that…

Full disclosure #2 – I am not married, I’m not looking to get married, and my non-married state is not a problem.

My people call it being single.

What if…just once for kicks and giggles…we skipped blaming black women for [insert thing that may or may not actually be a problem but, should it be determined to truly be a problem, most certainly got to be a problem because of something black women did or didn't do or attempted to do but ended up doing wrong] and actually explored a topic?

I know…outrageous!

But what the heck…let’s get zany and give it a spin.

Not all black women want to get married, not all black women can get married, and not all black women should get married.

Just like everyone in the world doesn’t want to get married, everyone in the world isn’t able to get married, and a lot of people out there shouldn’t get married.

The author has fallen into the convenient hole of absolute statements and gross generalizations.

Black women are not a monolith.

As for the reasons the author cites for black women perhaps being reluctant to date outside of our race…like what our babies may look like or having to explain our hair…I’m still trying to figure out how the hell he walked right past the giant History of Sexualization & Exploitation of Black Women in America elephant in the damn room.

Contrary to a scenario mentioned in the article, my hair hasn’t been a hurdle to romance or sex or commitment.

Being told more than once that a prospective date has “always wanted to try a black chick” is.

That brings me to Full Disclosure #3!

I have a problem…it involves being seen as a walking, talking, breathing problem.

Fix it.

Join the Conversation

  • tehanu

    Funny, too, last I checked not all black women were straight!

    The article goes from strength to strength — how about this line? “So why don’t more black women, especially the most accomplished of them, marry men of other races? Why do they marry down so much and out so little?” Marry down? Er, ouch.

    The conclusion seems to be along the lines of hey, ladies, if you marry a white dude, you’ll be helping your sisters because all of a sudden everyone, including black men, will suddenly find black women desirable. Which is certainly not the case now.

    Where to start, where to start …

  • Weenta

    I’m a black woman and I don’t see a problem with his article. Although I agree with you that some of his points (black hair, mixed babies) were a bit trite. Un-wed black women are a problem not according to the male author, but according to the un-wed black women he’s spent time interviewing. It seems you don’t have a problem being an un-wed black women, (I don’t either) but the article wasn’t about people like us, it’s about a majority of black women’s experiences. What’s so wrong with really wanting to get married anyways? We celebrated the desire and fight for it on behalf of the gay community, but deny it to black women just because they’re successful and educated?

  • Melissa Lynnette

    “Black women are not a monolith.”

    One day, ONE DAY, the truth of this will be understood across the land and then I can live my life without people being so damned confused about me.

    And someone tell the guy who wrote that article that someone at the Economist wrote the exact same one last year. I think it was the Economist, at least. It might have been some other publication that had no business fixing a problem that doesn’t really exist.

  • Ariadne

    I got news for the author: African Americans aren’t the only people with different hair. Asians and Middle Easterners also have completely different hair from Caucasians and if you happen to naturally express the gene for red hair in any of those groups than all bets are off. I know the hair thing is something everyone likes to point out about Africans but … its a bit tried. And then let me tell you about the hair of my mixed race friends … It’s hair. This is not an issue for generalized dating.

  • jessie

    The author is blaming black women for this marriage disparity which I think is totally missing what is really going on. The fact is that black women in the media are constantly displayed with negative stereotypes, causing men to often think of black women as undesirable. Often white men, because of these stereotypes, do not consider black women good enough of to marry. At most, as Sharkfu mentioned, white men seem to look at black men as sexual objects and something for them to “try” at some point. The article would have done much better if it had instead of looking into why black women won’t marry white men, looked into the negative stereotypes that cause white men to not consider black women.

  • Monique

    There was a similar article on Perfectly Imperphect yesterday regarding the same topic. While I agree with several of Professor Banks’ points in his WSJ article, I think that at the end of the day, realizing that Black Women should open themselves up to ALL men, not just black (Americans) and not just white men allows Black Women to have access to a much larger dating pool.