Tag Archives: Black Women

“It ain’t my fault!!!!!!!”: Black Men Respond to the Insinuation that they are Responsible for Declining Marriage Rates in Black America

The swift and poignant response I received after a recent post linking the cause for spiraling marriage rates in the black community to the steeply declining numbers of young, educated, and professional black men unleashed a long-simmering anger of outrageous ferocity.

As I began to receive calls and read emails regarding the posting, it did not take me long to realize that black men had long ago tired of being blamed for the failings of the black community, particularly failed marriages and the unprecedented increase of single female-headed households. Put simply, accomplished black men are no longer willing to silently carry the bulk of those social maladies alone, if at all. The emotional intensity of the alluded to responses was so significant that I felt compelled to revisit this topic sooner, rather than later.

The public protestations regarding my earlier posting emanated from a cross-section of Black America, male and female, young and old, formally educated within the academy and those who earned their stripes via the school of hard knocks. I personally knew a few of those who responded, others I had no prior exposure to beyond sporadic social media postings. Nevertheless, engagement with this highly diverse population of Black America made one thing painfully clear, this conflict over love and matrimony is Black America’s latest internal Civil War, a conflict that has raged uncontrollably over the past fifty-plus years.

It may have been my pre-existing relationship with many of the responders that led me to consider their impassioned protestations over the data included in my earlier posting as more than irrational complaining. The referenced data base that pointed to young, educated, and professional black men as the primary reason for declining black matrimony rates raised the ire of all responders in an uncommon way.

After pondering on this matter, it is obvious that black men feel that the conclusions presented by the Brookings Institute presents a partial portrait of why so many educated black women are not marrying black men. One of the most poignant responses emanated from a former student who took significant issue with the insinuation that he, and those like him, held any responsibility for black women’s failure to find everlasting love.

There are plenty of single (gainfully employed) black men actively looking for black women…(I have found that) It’s nearly impossible to meet and develop a meaningful relationship with a woman that’s outside of your social circle. Most people I know that got married met their wife through friends or friends of friends.

As for collegiate women, I know some (grown) women that would club them over the head for complaining about their inability to find marriage-minded educated and professional black men. From ages 16-23 women hold ALL the cards. Men don’t really get the upper hand in the dating game until about age 26 and up. I think these women are just hopping on a convenient bandwagon to take the light off themselves and their poor choices in men.

The above sentiments were echoed by a Brooklynite school teacher. “C’mon, black women need to stop all of this complaining about there not being any good black men available” the educator lamented. “The truth of the matter is that for many of the sisters who are supposedly seeking an educated black man, they are their own worst enemies. I cannot tell you how many sisters that I dated prior to getting married (to a black woman) who quite simply were impossible to get along with, particularly if you displayed genuine interest in them without any significant problems. I mean after a while, who wants to be bothered with someone who is being difficult for the sake of being difficult. Oh, I forgot. They aren’t being difficult, they are being STRONG black women. Well, if that is what a strong black woman is, I don’t want any parts of it.”

As I read through the litany of comments, it became obvious that the experiences of so many educated black men are not reflected in data used by the previously referenced Brookings Institute study.

Yet another brother communicated his utter disbelief in what he termed the consistent lie that there are gangs of educated black women who are actively seeking educated, professional, and financially stable black men as husbands.

Please don’t mistake me, I’m not arguing the validity of math, but with so many of my patnas’ (sic) with college degrees, no kids, making good money and actively searching for a black wife it seems odd whenever I read things like this. If they’re in such high demand they’d be off the market, no? I won’t throw shade at the sistas, after all, they’re not some homogeneous hive mind but it’s worth noting that the attentions of some are usually grabbed by another “type”… IJS

Although many relationship experts attribute much of the discord between black men and women to “bad timing”, many African-American men refuse such escapism. A former college roommate offered the following analysis.

I have learned that far too often, black women are not seeking the good guy until they have been psychologically damaged, given a couple of children, and then decide that such associations are not working for them. When you think about it, there is no greater sign of a flawed set of priorities than the decisions that so many black women make regarding their personal lives. I actually had a female friend tell me that she would never settle in regards to her selection of a mate. However, over the past fifteen-years I have watched her select men that even Stevie Wonder could see did not represent any of the things that she wanted for her life. There was some type of disjointing that had occurred in her statements regarding what type of man she desired and the type of man that she welcomed into her bed. For her, settling meant finding a gainfully employed, educated, and professionally successful brother who was not about the B.S. Just crazy, I tell ya!” 

The black men who contacted me regarding the previous posting all agreed that researchers who focus solely on data bases are missing the mark and should turn their lens toward examining the socialization and priorities of black women prior to using numbers to explain such matters. “It is in this arena that they will find the actual reason that so many educated black women have failed to find suitable mates” according to a Houston-based Engineer. Indicative of such thoughts was the following litany I received from an anonymous brother who asserted that “in their own pursuit of success, black women have been socialized into believing that they need neither marriage nor black men. So it is predictable that women who have been raised to believe that they must be prepared to take care of themselves, by themselves, would hesitate, if not outright refuse to rely on black men in any situation. I know married sisters who have secretly hidden money from their husband, just in case things go awry. When you think about it, they are only married on paper, not in the truest sense of the word.”    

British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once communicated the following. “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” After hearing and reading the responses of many accomplished black men regarding their culpability, if not outright responsibility, for the declining rates of marriage for educated black women, I am certain that they agree with Disraeli’s quip.

And that most certainly ain’t no lie.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017

Why so many of the Young, Black, and Educated Women I Know Have Yet to Find Their Black Knight in Shining Armor

I have come to understand that my personal discomfort with certain discussions has no impact on others insistence that I participate in them. Such situations invariably revolve around my interactions with my female students who fit the following description of being young, black, and college educated.

Although I often shy away from engaging them in what must be their favorite discussion of who will they marry. I am confident that you understand that this “elephant in the room” discussion of the absence of young black men in collegiate classrooms across the nation is equally uncomfortable and disconcerting because I desperately want to give the young ladies who listen to my lectures at least a modicum of hope that all is not lost in regards to their desire to be courted by and eventually marry a black man that caters to them to no end. Unfortunately, any hope that I provide for them is tempered by their observation that their hopes of finding their equal in regards to education, finances, and social status are severely curtailed by the sheer absence of black males in collegiate classrooms across the nation.

According to a recent Brookings Institute Study, of all female populations, African-American women have the least opportunity of marrying an “equally yoked” male from their racial group. Make no mistake about it, phraseology such as “equally yoked” is a synonym for equal socioeconomic status and educational attainments. According to Brookings Institute researchers, there are simply not enough available black men for successful black women to become “equally yoked.” Such realities lead us to a daunting question of “What is a girl to do?”

According to the researchers mentioned above, for African-American women who refuse to entertain suitors of another race, the only reasonable solution for them is to drastically alter their understanding of what it means to be “equally yoked.” Put simply; black women could dramatically increase their pool of marriageable black men if they curtailed their expectations and “married down.”

Historically speaking, declining marriage rates and an evaporating pool of educated, marriage-minded, black men to choose from is a relatively new phenomenon that has occurred over the last half-century. Ironically, these matters have unfolded during what many projected to be moments of racial advancement. The moments that I allude to are President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s ushering in of racial equality on the law books of America via the 1964 Civil Rights and 1965 Voting Rights Acts. The following chart offers compelling information regarding the marriage rates of black women before advanced stages of racial integration.

 

The myriad reasons that there are so few young college educated black men for like stationed black women to marry are well known: flawed educational system, the absence of suitable role models, female-headed households, dereliction of duty by black fathers, incarceration, homicide, homosexuality, unemployment, and drug abuse. According to the Brookings Institute study, “The lack of marriageable men in the black community is affected by the very high rates of incarceration and early death among black men compared to white men. Among black male high school dropouts, 60 percent will be dead or incarcerated before the age of 35.” Indeed, death or incarceration serve as significant stumbling blocks in the marriage process.

Consider the following chart created by the U.S. Department of Justice that highlights the horrific effects that the war on drugs had on African-American men; an impact that has severely curtailed the number of “marriageable” black men to this very moment.

Considering such realities, one has to consider what the viable options are available to college-educated African-American women who would rather remain single than date, let alone marry, outside of the race?

Making matters worse for black women is the harsh reality that there is a segment of black men who hold a comprehensively negative view of them. As evidenced by their public proclamations of being willing to date outside of the race, many black men of varying socioeconomic status and educational level have vowed to not only date but also marry exclusively outside of the race.

It may be the time that a harsh truth that “education has never done anything for the heart” is taught to young college-educated African-American women. Put simply; there is no correlation between an increase in socioeconomic status and one’s ability to be a suitable mate. If one did not know any better, it would seem that the principal concerns of many educated black women do not revolve around issues of compatibility, love, and commitment, rather a man’s earning potential.

In truth, far too many black men and women have used grossly flawed evaluation criterion such as physical appearance or a person’s style of dress to inform their decision regarding an individual’s potential to be a mate. We have allowed these fleeting qualities to eclipse more everlasting qualities such as integrity, honesty, fidelity, and love.

I am confident that we all agree it is the time that we all, male and female, take a step back and tailor our likes and dislikes, wants and needs, to fit ourselves regardless of what others may think or say about our choice. Failure to do such is doing a major disservice to the most important person in your life, yourself.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017.

‘I’VE SEEN THIS BEFORE’: WHY THE POLITICAL DILEMMAS OF BLACK WOMEN ARE RARELY ADDRESSED OR SOLVED BY ANY POLITICAL MOVEMENT AND WHAT THEY SHOULD DO ABOUT IT

Yesterday, the largest single-day protest on American soil occurred with a diverse crowd of men and women taking to American cities in the following numbers.

  • Atlanta (250,000 protestors)
  • Chicago (250,000 protestors)
  • Boston (250,000 protestors)
  • Denver (200,000 protestors)
  • New York (350,000 protestors)
  • Washington C. (500,000 protestors)
  • Los Angeles (500,000 protestors)

For comparison’s sake, a relatively modest 250,000 assembled for the 1963 March on Washington.

This historic assembly appears to be a serious attempt at renewing American democracy by issuing a powerful statement against the new Presidential administration. However, as with most political matters in this nation, one has to question will the peculiar issues facing the African-American community, in this case, black women, be acknowledged, let alone ameliorated in this rising tide of political activism.

The above concerns regarding the addressing of issues facing African-American women, many of which flow directly from black men performing a perverse blackface minstrel performance that mirrors white male patriarchy, are reasonable when one considers the historical subordination of such matters by both Black Nationalist and White Feminist leaders.

One must remember that political elitism facilitated white feminist leaders inability to acknowledge that the issues facing white, married, heterosexual, wealthy women in no way covered the complex problems facing black women, a flaw that forced African-American women to forge their path toward gender equality about both white women and black men. Noted intellectual Alice Walker acknowledged the differences found within the struggles of black and white women with her reverberating comment that “Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.” Put simply, the Black Nationalist and Feminist movements often fail to represent, let alone solve, the issues of black women.

Hopefully, those leading this reiteration of female political agitation are astute enough to realize that racial matters are a significant negative in the lives of African-American women and must be addressed with the same intensity that patriarchy has historically been. Failure at this mundane task dooms African-American women to assume their usual position behind not only white women but also behind black men.

A close reading of history displays the ease with which black women are made invisible. African-American women are frequently asked to choose which is the greater part of them, their gender or race as if they can easily split not only their identities but also their political desires. Far too frequently, Black women have been too female to be a significant element in the African-American freedom struggle and too black to be considered full partners in the feminist movement. It is a damning quandary that can never be solved.

So as many bask in the after-effects of the historic nature of this march, a historical achievement only in the number of participants I might add, the politically astute are carefully examining the political agendas that emerge from this latest push for women’s rights.

I hope that this time things will be different for black women and they will assume the ‘nasty woman’ persona that so many of their white sisters have historically embraced. I pray that there are more than a few ‘nasty black women’ in our midst who are willing to advance the politicoeconomic needs of their sisters “by any means necessary,” even if it means strategically separating themselves from other movements at opportune moments. The tendency of African-American women to mute their voice due to what often appears to be a desperate desire to maintain decorum in the face of political pressure from other groups must cease if black women are serious about solving their issues.

I pray that all of the previous activism and political experiences black women have engaged in have prepared them to avoid a repeat of past moments of activism that left them at the back of the bus. Hopefully, black women have grown weary enough of being “Sick and tired of being sick and tired” that they step forward with a collective consciousness that emphasizes both their unique identity and the resulting issues that flow from it with an uncommon fervor. History has taught us that the only women that have ever changed the world have been “nasty women,” it is the time that black women accepted that fact and make it a policy going forward that their political agenda is the only one that matters.

At least that is what I hope and pray for them.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

The Look: Michelle Obama Represents Black America Yet Again

There are moments in any African-American professionals life where they are forced to attend events and interact with a class of persons that are morally repulsive and therefore beneath them. Unfortunately for those African-Americans forced to enter such situations, decorum and professional expectations often mute our disgust for the event and the major players involved.

The above situation forces one to make a critical decision, do you follow your heart and the heartfelt advice of Malcolm X to “tell that man just how you feel” or do you preserve your professional credibility and literally ‘eat shit and grin.’

Michelle Obama has once again reminded Black America of a familiar tactic that anyone caught in a situation where decorum prevents them from speaking their mind could use. I simply call it “the look.”

Make no mistake about it, it is not happenstance that it was Michelle Obama who shot ‘the look,’ a subtle sign of disapproval that conveys a clear disapproval, yet is subtle enough that it offers a thin veil of plausible deniability. I am confident that if a patent search were conducted, we would find that someone black woman long ago, possibly a peer of Madame C.J. Walker, licensed ‘the look.’

So the next time that you find yourself within an uncomfortable professional setting drum up the spirit of all of those black women who have used ‘the look’ to display utter disgust for those around them. What am I saying?
African-American women don’t need to be told to do that; it is a standard part of the toolkit that they use to navigate a hostile world on a daily basis.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race, and Culture, 2017

TRICK DADDY ON BLACK WOMEN: YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF HOW EXPENSIVE IGNORANCE CAN BE

There is a certain amount of decorum that I have for some illogical reason come to expect from so-called adult African-American mentrick-daddy-5 when they are either in the company of or referring to African-American women. I am also certain that if you are a rational human being who has had any exposure to a fair sample size of African-American males that you also realize that I am grossly disappointed with the manner in which many, most certainly not all, Black males consider the women who have historically birthed, considered, coddled, comforted, and aided them in what often amounted to selfless unconscionable ways that no other population of women would ever do for even their own kind.

Let me make this plain, if you are an African-American male who does not hold the Black women in the highest place possible, you are an individual who fails to realize that in doing so you have made a conscious decision to “cut off your nose to spite your face.”

Considering that what I just penned most likely flew over your head, let me say it in the simplest language possible; “Black man, if you do not cherish the Black women you are quite simply in desperate need of a real world education regarding the path that Black women have paved for every Black man existing today. Without them, we would be extinct.”

Maybe you were fortunate enough to miss the most recent ignorance to fly out of a somewhat notable African-American male’s mouth on social media. The individual whom I am referring to istrick-daddy-2 none other than Florida based rapper ‘Trick Daddy’ — a dubious name in and of itself — who took it upon himself to warn Black women that “These Spanish, these white hoes…they done started getting finer than a mother*cka. Ya’ll black hoes betta tighten up…(if non-Black women learn to fry chicken) black hoes will officially be useless.

Only in America would it be permissible for a figure such as ‘Trick Daddy’ to voice such ignorance into a public space.

As an educated African-American I am actually unsure if I am more offended that ‘Trick Daddy’ has reduced the needs of Black men to merely having a fine ‘Spanish or white hoe’ who can fry chicken or what such a statement means in the larger scheme of things. Actually, I do know which offends me more, it is the latter.

Although I would love to say that ‘Trick Daddy’ is an anomaly in regards to African-American males continuing failure to understand even the most basic aspects of choosing a mate to produce and raise children with, he is in many ways ‘par for the course’ when examining this matter. One of the most obvious examples of the failure of many Black men to choose a suitable mate is found in their pre-occupation with superficial characteristics such as the eroding physical beauty of women or even more ridiculous is the adoration of the hair that adorning her hair, yet is not growing out of her own hair follicles. I am certain that many brothers will take great issue with what I am saying, however, it must be said.

Although it is a harsh reality to accept, the truth of the matter is that trick-daddy-1there is no balm to be found for the voluminous political, social, historical, economic, and cultural maladies afflicting Black men to be found between the legs of any woman, regardless of their race, the length of their hair, or even if their racial/ethnic background has been so muddled through the centuries that your ignorant ass is forced to refer to her as an ‘exotical’.

However, all is not lost, you can reverse your current course if you so desire. The first step toward addressing a life that has become so painful to live that you are now cursing your mother, even if indirectly, your aunts, your sisters, and your daughters by swearing off the comforting embrace of a woman who looks like your mama or the sway of the hips that so many Black women have been naturally blessed with that reminds you of your first crush, begins with you and only you. Put simply, stop blaming Black women for your inadequacies, inefficiencies, and failings in life.

Any African-American male who has been able to build a stable family will tell you through experience that whom you mate with matters greatly in regards to where you are headed as a man. Such men would advise you to pay more attention to the expansiveness of a potential mate’s brain than the plumpness of her derriere. Unfortunately, a figure such as ‘Trick Daddy’ and the droves of those who emanate from similar viewpoints refuse to follow such tried and true practices that have worked for our people for centuries; failure to do such most certainly places you in peril.

In many ways it is poetic justice that they pay the price for their poor decision-making. The great social critic James Baldwin said it in this way, “People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become, and they pay for it, very simply, by the lives they lead.”

It is this failure that makes the following information not only likely, but also predictable for African-American males who chose to follow the gospel of the greatest Trick of them all, ‘Trick Daddy’.

Trick Daddy has filed for bankruptcy because, according to him … he’s got trick-daddy-3next to ZERO money in the bank, and his baby mama bills keep piling up.

The Miami rapper filed for Chapter 11 saying he’s got about $430k in assets – which sounds decent, except he’s also $645k in the red! Including: $34,837 child support to one mother, $22,282 to another, $290k in back taxes, and $280k for his first mortgage. (TMZ)

The only thing that I could say to a figure such as ‘Trick Daddy’ or the droves of ignorant males that follow him is that they need to go and get a ‘life coach’ or something, embrace the fact that they are Black and that Black women are absolutely unrivaled in their beauty; and then go out onto the street, any street, and apologize to every Black woman for the evil that you kind has done for centuries.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016