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30 Responses

  1. miz jj
    miz jj June 21, 2010 at 1:01 pm |

    To quote from huny on twitter:
    I refuse to read even one more “article” that starts with “why are black women…” unless the rest is “so awesome”.

  2. GingieBee
    GingieBee June 21, 2010 at 1:02 pm |

    Thank you! This needs to be called out loudly and repeatedly.

    Your post brought to mind some (astonishing to me at the time) trends revealed by a statistical analysis of inter racial dating patterns on Cupid.com. Details are at the following URL and what it reveals is another almost never examined aspect of our culture’s race based pathology that affects black women in particular.
    http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/2009/10/05/your-race-affects-whether-people-write-you-back/

    I remember reading another statistic not too long ago (an NY Times article maybe? I’m not sure) that noted the lower percentage of black women who married outside their race (compared to black men and to men and women of other races\ethnicity) implying that inter racial dating and marriage is something that black women tend not to prefer, which in the light of what the statistics from Cupid.com reveals is totally and completely wrong.

  3. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers June 21, 2010 at 1:02 pm |

    God, this is awful. It’s a lot like many “women, be scared! everything you face is your fault because you weren’t good enough!” tropes the media loves, but I think in many ways it’s worse because it’s specifically picking on a phenomenon that is in no way whatsoever caused by the people who are being singled out to be blamed/shamed/told they have to be afraid of it (the relative disparity between the availability of black men and black women is caused mostly by racism, and to some extent perhaps by black men, but in *no* way is caused or even influenced by black women), and because that’s a group of people who were already getting a double whammy from societal prejudices (in this case, racism and sexism.)

    And there’s so much fail packed into the question itself, as you pointed out — the idea that a woman isn’t “successful” unless she’s married, the idea that a woman can’t have a good marriage if she marries someone who’s less educated than she is or has lower social status… and why isn’t anyone wondering how it is that you have a situation where there are attractive, well-educated, financially successful people who can’t get a mate who is an equal, and this is presented as an awful thing and essentially the equivalent of not being able to get a mate at all, and yet when white men can’t find women who are equally successful, this is treated as absolutely normal and expected? Why does the culture expect women to marry “up” so strongly that women’s success is supposed to get in the way of them having marriages at all, because it decreases the pool of men who are “up” from them?

    But the worst aspect of this, to me, is that our society pre-emptively treats black men as criminals, and as a result incarcerates them at such high rates that it has an impact on the marriage market, and yet none of these articles about the difficulties of being a black woman looking for a man are addressing the issue that if we didn’t lock *anybody* up for buying or possessing drugs, and if we didn’t treat black boys as future criminals, the problem would be significantly alleviated. The vast majority of incarcerated black men, like the vast majority of incarcerated Americans in general, are there for victimless drug crimes such as possession. How do you talk about women being unable to find a man because all the men got thrown in jail, and not even address how incredibly unfair it is that all the men are getting thrown in jail?

  4. Felicity
    Felicity June 21, 2010 at 1:06 pm |

    Thanks for this article. I’ve read other blog posts that touch on this topic, but none so comprehensive.

  5. Jason
    Jason June 21, 2010 at 1:13 pm |

    I’m still trying to figure out what the hell the high percentage of black men in prison have to do with black womens’ marriage prospects. A black woman who falls in love with a white, native, or Asian dude (or woman) is not some kind of traitor or weirdo.

    1. Jill
      Jill June 21, 2010 at 1:16 pm | *

      Jason, no one is suggesting that a black woman who falls in love with a white, native or Asian dude is a traitor or weirdo. But some people do prefer to marry within their own culture or race; the majority of people in the United States still do marry within their own race (whether those people are black, white, brown or whatever else). Diane recognizes that many black women do marry men who are not black; but the mass incarceration of black men is the elephant in the room when the media talks about how black women don’t marry as often as white women.

  6. Nicole
    Nicole June 21, 2010 at 1:45 pm |

    Thank you for this. This has been bugging me for so long. Extending on what Jill was saying to Jason, to me 100% of these articles play specifically on black women finding, dating & marrying black men with a sidenote on if we’re not willing to do all of the things required to obtain a black men then & only then is it an option for us to date outside the box. With the high percentage of black men incarcerated, that already lowers the pool that these “experts” deem we should be swimming in

  7. Diane
    Diane June 21, 2010 at 2:07 pm |

    Like Jill said, the elephant in the room is the mass incarceration of black men. It is the problem of the school to prison pipeline in black communities. The mass incarceration of black men breaks black families and prevents many black women, who prefer to marry within their race, from finding a mate. I agree with Alara that this is an extremely pressing issue that needs more attention from the media and of couse, law makers. Frankly, the media/society just doesn’t think it’s a sexy topic. They would rather focus on the same story of black women’s desperation to find men. That apparently is the money-making story. Even the Economist article that discussed the racialization of the criminal justice system problem at length, still framed the discussion around black women’s low marriage rates.

  8. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin June 21, 2010 at 3:03 pm |

    I think part of it is that we’ve been conditioned to expect the media to entertain us and to be constantly entertained ourselves. This is why we end up with these catnip narratives like “Why aren’t black women getting married?” instead of the sober analysis of “Why are so many black men are incarcerated?”

    But that’s only part of the equation. Much of the unwillingness to address an issue like the prison-industrial complex is that it is seen as a problem without any clear resolution. We may concede that to tackle it head on would require major systemic change and be right, but few people wish to think in such terms, no matter how much anyone carps upon it. The matter is a roadblock for the media and it’s a roadblock for individuals, but if we broke it down into its parts and took those on one-by-one, it might not be so daunting.

  9. Holy!
    Holy! June 21, 2010 at 3:07 pm |

    The Moynihan Report predicted such an occurrence decades ago. Even though things like powder vs. crack cocaine sentencing do enter into the equation, the issue is much more complicated.

    The black family structure started to noticeably eroded in the 1960s. Since then things have gotten worse. Urban spatial isolation, what William Julius Wilson calls the “disappearance of work,” and the collapse of inner cities have speeded this process along.

    We shouldn’t forget that black women (white women as well, though to a lesser extent) out pace men in all levels of post-secondary education; hence, they have greater upward mobility than black men, an issue that has also made mate choice harder for those women seeking to date intraracially.

  10. Felicia
    Felicia June 21, 2010 at 3:09 pm |

    Thank you! your article was well written and reflected the sentiments among me and my black girlfriends. I am a double ivy, undergrad and grad school, and i fully intend on marrying a black man and i won’t apologize for it either. I’ve had women and men of different races tell me they’d like to marry their own, and i can’t say it for fear of being labled racist or behind the times. I don’t want to try something new and you can’t make me. None of those statistics scare me one bit, but i have seen the mass hysteria it has caused among some black women and it’s unfortunate because it’s not true. I know plenty of black men who love and worship black women, and the ones who want to take advantage of the numbers? for the birds – those are guys i don’t want anyway.
    Ladies, love yourselves and all will fall into place.

  11. eshowoman
    eshowoman June 21, 2010 at 3:26 pm |

    I think this trend was incited by the cognitive dissonance of having a woman like Michelle Obama for First Lady. Men as talented as Barak Obama are in the forefront of marrying out and his choice of an elegant, beautiful, educated black women who is such an obvious exemplar against the deeply ingrained stereotypes of black women has most Americans in a psychological tizzy. The fact that the majority of women who are like Michelle are unmarried threatens the idea of a post racial America in way that most are unable to digest. The racial sexism that places white women as the icon of ideal femininity and black women as the “mules of the world” is challenged by educated black women would be too disturbing to mainstream America. So instead of examining the dehumanization and brutality suffered by black women throughout the centuries it is easier to make us media fodder that can be easily consumed and thrown away.
    My response was to start the Angry Black Woman Watch as blog that points out the absurdity of stereotypes about black women and honors black women who like Michelle are challenged the mainstream view of black women. Check it out!

  12. Makins Beans
    Makins Beans June 21, 2010 at 3:57 pm |

    Thank you for your insight! I totally agree with the media choosing Steve Harvey as a a so called “relationship expert”….isn’t he divorced? Maybe he should provide insight on how and why his marriage ended. That kind of insight could help all of us.

    Thank you for your insight! I totally agree with the media choosing Steve Harvey as a so called “relationship expert”….isn’t he divorced? Maybe he should provide insight on how and why his 17 year marriage ended. That kind of insight could help all of us.

    Black men & women are feeding into the stereotype. I particularly want to point out the gender stereotypical roles in Tyler Perry movies and T.D. Jakes “Not Easily Broken”. I have witnessed too many “Sapphire” type characters that feature the emasculating black female role that beats her husband or love interest down with her words and negativity. This leads to the end of the relationship and thus the problem is always the “black woman’s fault”. What sickens me are the black women you happily embrace the stereotype as TRUTH!?!?!?

    As a black woman I am tired of being the scapegoat. I am tired of being portrayed as a one dimensional caricature in which my only focus in life is “finding a man” and “getting my hair did”. People rarely ask our opinion about anything because our opinion on major issues is tightly wound up in the stereotypes.

    The problem will only go away when we start to define ourselves at individuals rather than a collective stereotype. If every black woman’s story of the search for love is portrayed as an individual journey then the less likely we can all be lumped together as a statistic.

    As a black woman I am tired of being the scapegoat. I am tired of being portayed as a one dimensional creature in which my only focus in life is “finding a man” and “getting my hair did”. People rarely ask our opinion about anything because our opinion on major issues is tightly wound up in the stereotypes.

    The problem will only go away when we start to define ourselves at individuals rather than a collective sterotype. If every black woman’s story of the search for love is portrayed as an individual journey then the less likely we can all be lumped together as a group.

  13. Nika C. Beamon
    Nika C. Beamon June 21, 2010 at 3:57 pm |

    I am thrilled you wrote this article, but must say this is phenomenon and perpetuation of self-hatred, rather than self-love is something I’ve been speaking about since the release of my book: I Didn’t Work This Hard Just to Get Married: Successful, Single Black Women Speak Out.

    Despite the negative glances the title gets, the overall message of the book is that love is attainable but the most important thing black women, all women, need to know is that you must first get to know, love and respect yourself before being ina relationship. Additionally, there’s nothing wrong with being single. You can be happily single and still achieve all of your dreams, you just have to be more creative.

  14. Kaz
    Kaz June 21, 2010 at 4:13 pm |

    The mind boggles; according to these articles, not only are all black women apparently desperate for committed relationships but also straight.

    This is horrible, horrible stuff. Thank you for writing about it. And I echo the people saying that leaving out the incarceration rate of black men in this kind of dialogue in order to blame it all on black women is appalling.

  15. R.A.B.
    R.A.B. June 21, 2010 at 4:25 pm |

    Okay, just want to point out for the millionth time in these debates that if you want to talk about black women and marriage, or you want to talk about *other* people talking about black women and marriage, you can’t reference the social dynamic between available black men and available black women, and these two groups particularly, so exclusively. That conflation of *marriage* and *black* marriage gets pretty tired after the fourth paragraph.

  16. R.A.B.
    R.A.B. June 21, 2010 at 4:35 pm |

    This is just to say that the post reads just like every other instance of people — often black, often white — treating (a) the idea of marriage generally and (b) the need/desire to see black people marry *each other* as the same thing.

  17. jdelacroix
    jdelacroix June 21, 2010 at 4:40 pm |

    I agree generally with the poster’s sentiments with the exception of the “elephant in room” comment. The fact that black men are incarcerated is not an elephant in the room or any other euphamism for a taboo or not-talked about subject. In fact, black male incarceration (along with high unemployment, bad credit, lower educational levels, jungle fever*, down low-ism, bad breadth and general suckitude) is always cited to and highlighted as the cause of black women’s plight any time the subject of single black women is discussed in the media. To be honest, this article does it as well (its front in center in the first paragraph)–although the author at least spares us the statsitics and moves quickly to the real point.

    I do believe there is a direct causal relationship between the glamour, prestige and swagger of Michele Obama and the media’s relentless attack on black women.

    *I actually dislike this term, but it is the only visceral shorthand I know for the oft-repeated belief that a tsnumani of black men are constantly crashing against the shores of white (or other) womanhood in abandonment of black women.

  18. Miss S
    Miss S June 21, 2010 at 6:26 pm |

    The vast majority of incarcerated black men, like the vast majority of incarcerated Americans in general, are there for victimless drug crimes such as possession.

    Except there are victims, oftentimes the women and children of color in these neighborhoods. This gets glossed over far too often. The lack of willingness to put any responsibility on black men is why some of these “troubled black women” articles are so frustrating for women of color, at least for me and my girlfriends. I know a large number of black men who had opportunities, and didn’t take them. Not all of these black men are dealing drugs to put food on the table. I know several who came from middle class, upper class, and a couple from gated communities. It wasn’t about money or lack of a good education. It was a lifestyle/image they were chasing. It was cool and thuggish to sell drugs and join gangs. Being an accountant or lawyer doesn’t fit in with that image. Some of them are now drug addicts, in jail, a few dead, and one paralyzed from the waist down. Wasted opportunities. Where I lived used to be a nice neighborhood. The year we moved out, there were 2 murders in my court; my friend’s dad (who took a second job as a cab driver for the holidays) was killed in the court next to mine. It’s not victimless to his widow and 7 fatherless children.

  19. Miss S
    Miss S June 21, 2010 at 6:51 pm |

    As a woman of color who has worked her ass off, and is still working her ass off to have a better life, I can’t sympathize with the men who had opportunities and didn’t take them. My friends have worked their asses off as well. We had the sense to take advantage of opportunities. No, we don’t want convicts let out of jail so we can marry them (yes, an article actually suggested this.) Is there any other race of women where that would be an acceptable solution? We don’t want to marry men who have 1) never had stable employment 2) whose only stable employment involves selling drugs and 3) has kids that they don’t take care of. According to some people, that makes us snobs. Can we please stop calling woc bourgeoisie for having standards? As if we should remember our place and not expect too much… If we can’t marry black men who fit the most basic criteria, we will marry men of another race. Plenty of interracial marriages in my family, so it’s not taboo to me. Another commenter here, (Faith I think?) has written extensively about this.
    Thanks for this article. It makes me happy to see pieces that focus on women of color in a positive way. I feel like I always need to be armed with the latest WOC statistics to remind people that WOC are not a sad, pitiful group  I really wish the above problem was not discussed in a way that suggests that the solution lies with black women. It doesn’t. WOC are enrolled in business, law and medical schools at an incredibly high rate. And considering that we live in a sexist society as well, there really is no excuse for so many men to not have it together.
    *Let me add that I know quite a few black men who are responsible, successful, intelligent, motivated, hardworking, etc. I realize my rant is sort of one sided, but I’m talking about a specific group.
    **Also, I second whoever pointed out that not all black women are hetero; I do think it’s important to discuss the issues hetero woc women face, but also the issues lgbt woc face.

  20. Miss S
    Miss S June 21, 2010 at 7:15 pm |

    Ugh…it’s hard to talk about this online where people don’t know you and automatically know what you mean when you say certain things….

    When I say successful, I don’t mean rich, I mean motivated, ambitious,etc. My family has blue collar roots, so I don’t have the view that certain work isn’t ‘good enough.’

    Just wanted to clear that up :)

  21. Léna
    Léna June 22, 2010 at 3:47 am |

    I have a totally irrelevant question, but it disturbed me so much I had to ask. In the phrase “Although some articles and T.V. specials acknowledge the disparate number of available black men vís a vís black women due to the racialization of the criminal justice system, the discussion rarely turns to how black men can improve their romantic interactions with black women”, is “vís a vís” a loanword from French ? (English is not my native language).

  22. Simplejewel
    Simplejewel June 22, 2010 at 11:05 am |

    AMEN to both Diane and Miss S.

    That is all.

  23. janet ramos
    janet ramos June 22, 2010 at 6:21 pm |

    Ladies…..please read The Color Of Privilege by Aida Hurtado….this is some serious reading …being a woman of color myself there is absouletly NO REASON to apologize for ANYTHING, this is such a good read and it gets into the policies of Privilege of white women and believe me they do not want women of color to have any kind of say in anything..myself being anishinabe (OJIBIWAY) i do not bow down to anyone who is white so my sisters of color please read this book …we do love ourselves and we do not NEED a man to make us whole, granted I love my husband (ex) still and we are best of friends and lover’s, but i do not need him to live or be happy..

  24. shannon
    shannon June 23, 2010 at 7:13 am |

    It’s also difficult being the target of the fantasy that all would be well in the black community if those black women just lowered their standards and got married. This fantasy takes the responsibility off of various members of society[black men, married black women(they got married! what else should they contribute!] and people of other races] since all they have to do is scold black women about not being married instead of finding out what the issues are, and finding ways to improve things.

  25. pretty eyed girl
    pretty eyed girl June 24, 2010 at 12:57 am |

    It seems like there is open season on black women. Why I dont know, but I will say this; I never really had any issues with dating out. Its strange how black women are attacked and hated. I will not lower my standards for anyone, white women can set their standards through the roof and she is celeberated yet with a black women does it she is scorned. I dont care what is said about black women; yet we need to be good and better towards one another as we are all we got out here in in this pit of hate.

  26. Single Black Chics – Are you being Attacked?? « 16's Candles

    […] Well, in the little compilation of comments and commentary that followed, one of her Facebook friends attached this link to a feminist slanted blog where a guest writer had taken the time to share her frustration with what she calls an “attack” on the single Black woman in America. The Guest Writer’s name being Diane Lucas. Here’s that post http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2010/06/21/the-media-v-black-women-the-peculiar-case-of-the-me… […]

  27. Tasha
    Tasha June 26, 2010 at 7:21 am |

    JEALOUSY, darlings….JEALOUSY!!
    INSECURITY, sistas….INSECURITY!!

    I believe wholeheartedly that this is the motivation behind the attack not just on black women but also black men in the media. I, myself, have been obsessed with this topic–the media’s examination of the black woman.

    I was afraid that some blacks would listen to these reports and feel unwanted, scared, depressed, etc. But now, I do not feel that way.

    I believe that God will bless those that are persecuted and I know that my strong sistas and brothas will look past the stereotypes and negative comments and continue being the positive and spectacular people that they are.

  28. Lily
    Lily July 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm |

    These articles that the author is speaking of are nothing but propoganda and another ploy to kill the BLACK “womb”mans spirit…..this is not a typo either. For those of us who know what time it is…the black woman is the enemy of the state for those who know their time is up. Everything starts and ends with the BLACK woman. The funny thing is that too many of us keep feeding into this negative b/s the media continues to put in your face and are too quick to stand up and volunteer to be victims and talk about why you cant find a man. Stop feeding into this b./s. First of all, white women have the same man issue…their men CHEAT on them big time, asian women do not want their men and go to the white man or any successful BLACK baller with money…..go figure…..spanish women dont have many successful men to choose from, but I give it to them….at least their men love them without all the material demands…..the point is….you don’t see any of these women on TV crying to CNN about a man. Why do black women continue to play the victim and put the spot-light on us. Why not talk about the black man’s issues…..you know how many good sisters out there that have been loyal to brothers and treated them well only to be treated like crap…..why not have a show about why SOME not all brothers have a self hatred issue and continue to run away from anyone that looks like them in an effort to not face themselves. If you really know what time it is, you would really see that the best attitude to develop is to not give a F***. Yes, I have to be blunt about it because enough is enough. Know who you are and LOVE YOURSELF. When you reflect a strong sense of self, you will attract brothers from everywhere and all walks of life. I have travelled globally for the past few years and believe me, when you feel good about yourself, men are attracted to you like a magnet. You can want a black man but stop being so loyal to a fault….explore yourself and who you are and be open to love…..first of all SELF LOVE. Tell the media to kiss your ass and go read a book if they want to know about black women. Tell them to dig into their ancestry and they are destined to find a black women in their bloodline. Do not put yourself in a position to be scrutinized by the media. They have been doing this to us for centuries and enough is enough. Stop caring and live your life. The Obama’s are not thinking about you…..the article on their black love was also propoganda….do not feed into the bullshit and it wont effect you. BE YOU, DO YOU AND LOVE YOU AND THE REST WILL FALL INTO PLACE. You will meet your soulmate and be in bliss. Stop givng a F***K and live your life. Remember, the black man wont raise up until the black woman stands up and stop taking ill treatment and being treated like shit. One last thing….this thing about marriage being a business and brothers telling sisters to come to the table with something……any man that tells you this, give him your ass to kiss. Tiger did not demand the nanny to come to the table with anything and she will walk away close to being a billionaire….brothers do not make these demands on women of other races….this b/s condition is only put on YOU. Do not accept it. You should bring yourself, respect, love and willingness to do what is needed in your relationship. Your occupation and how much you make should not be the main concern of his if he is marrying you for love. That is not to say tha tyou should not get it together, but be a successful woman for yourself, not to get a man or a husband. Put the demands of being a MAN back on the MAN so he can stop being confused about who he is and what his role is to you. So my beloved sisters, WE HAVE THE POWER, the problem is that YOU have forgotten who you are. Look in the mirrior and know that YOU ARE the queen B that everybody is attacking because they know who you are and hope that you stay sleep and not awaken to your true power. Every women on the planet wants our skin color and yet some of us are trying to be like others. This comments is no disrespect to any women of any other race, to brothers or anybody, it is simply to state that YOU ONLY TRY TO CONQUER THOSE YOU FEAR…..a war is on spiritually to break the black woman’s spirit and you must rise up and know who you are.

  29. Legend 2005
    Legend 2005 July 8, 2010 at 2:08 pm |

    I am so sick of this propaganda about black women being manless. Really! It’s a sick topic that is getting way out of hand and not to mention it’s being secretly promoted through the media by ignorant racist whites and not to mentioned a few of the ignorant blacks who need to get out more. I’m black and was married to a black man like all the rest of my family members. There are a lot of white women who are single. I am sick of the media and the stupid blogs trying to promote that black women need a man. I live in a area with HOUSES. You have black families OWnING them. The only ones that you see parading around wealthy with white women are the sports guys. It’s obvious they are dumb and lack common sense. Even the rap stars have their black women in their lives. Black women are envied by most white women. They will do anything to promote negativity towards my race. If you look at a 40 yr old black woman and compare to a 25 yr old white women you will then realize the envy. Until then I’m proud to be black and other than these stupid articles floating around most black women I know are with their black man. Get oujt more before you write your stupid blog about my race.

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