Lately it seems like the media has been focusing on the daunting question: why can’t successful black women find husbands? What brought my attention to the topic (because I didn’t even know it existed) was an article and news segment that aired on ABC’s Nightline in December 2009. Entitled ‘Single, Black, Female – and Plenty of Company’, the article looked at the reasons why so many black women were unmarried compared to white women. The article states that there are 1.8 million more black women than men, many black men are in jail, don’t have their high school diploma, or are unemployed. So there aren’t enough men to go around, and many of them aren’t up to the ‘standards’ black women have for a potential mate.
All of these statistics are American, but it’s probably similar here in Canada. When I first read this article and watched the attached video segment, I actually got scared. I was wondering if I’d ever find a man, or end up like these women who have great jobs, lots of money and friends, but no husband. But as I started reading comments posted by readers, and talked to family members about it, the whole issue in itself started to bother me.
First of all, it seems like in the article and the special on Nightline that aired this week featuring an all-star panel debating the topic, places the blame on women. “Black women’s standards are too high!”, “She’s looking for a man who’s just like Denzel,”, “She’ll only date a man who has a nice car.” And the men who say this, like resident expert on all things black relationships, Steve Harvey, say that black women need to ‘lower their standards’ in order to find a good black man. My problem with that argument is its way too general. Yeah, I have standards when it comes to dating, but they’re not about money. Personality and intelligence are the most important things to me. Of course finances are important, but it’s not everything. I understand the concept of lowering standards if they’re too specific, some women seem to have long, long lists of the way their ideal man is supposed to look, to how much money he has to make. But my opinion is, when it comes to personality and attitude, I’m not lowering my standards just to say that I’m in a relationship. All of this is not taking in to consideration the standards that black men have for women (which was pointed out on the View this morning). Men have a particular type of woman they like, and may only date that kind of woman. Why isn’t anyone calling them out on that?
The counter argument to this is, why just date black men? There are so many men in the world of all different shades. Why discriminate? Black men do it all the time, and no one says anything. I know that in America, race relations are different from here in Canada. Personally, I don’t care if I see a mixed couple, it doesn’t bother me. But it’s different in the States, evident by an article Jill Scott recently wrote in Essence magazine about why seeing black men with white women “hurts” her. It’s unrealistic for black women to limit herself to only black men. Sure, it would be nice to have one, but it may not happen. As Oprah once said, the numbers just aren’t there.
My parents weren’t married when they had me, I’ve only been to one wedding in my life. Marriage doesn’t really mean anything to me, so I don’t understand why that’s such a big deal. This is 2010, women don’t need to get married to be happy anymore. No one pressures men to get married, its unfair to do that to women.
The final thing about this debate that bothers me to no end is the role of Steve Harvey. Since his bestselling book, “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man” was released last year, he is seen as an expert in relationships, especially black relationships. I read the book and thought it was complete garbage. There were a few points I agreed with, but most of it was about giving your man sex when he needs it, cook for him, make him feel like he’s the man. It was extremely sexist to me. And now he’s everywhere, talking about what the black woman needs to do to get a man. I want to tell him to shut up! I used to be a fan of his, but I can’t stand to listen to him anymore. He seems to put the blame on the women, saying that there are so many good black men out there, just lower your standards, keep your mouth closed and make him feel like the man and you’ll get one. Sorry, Steve. It’s not going to happen.
There are a lot of issues between black men and women that are constantly being discussed and I think it’s sad that these issues are still around and are unresolved. Black love is a beautiful thing when it’s real and serious. This article and debate make it seem like it doesn’t exist. Like I said at the beginning of the post, it kind of scares me.
I think the bottom line is, there are single women of all races, most women want to find a good man and get married. Maybe it’s harder for black women but why is it such a big deal? And why does Steve Harvey have to weigh in?
Black women have to believe that they’re desirable and beautiful, because we are. They say the key to finding love is loving yourself first. We should all learn to do that and celebrate being single instead of fighting against it.
This is such a hot topic right now, leave a comment and discuss.