This quote comes from the artcle ”All the Single Ladies”.
But the non-committers are out there in growing force. If dating and mating is in fact a marketplace—and of course it is—today we’re contending with a new “dating gap,” where marriage-minded women are increasingly confronted with either deadbeats or players. For evidence, we don’t need to look to the past, or abroad—we have two examples right in front of us: the African American community, and the college campus.
IN AUGUST I traveled to Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, a small, predominantly African American borough on the eastern edge of Pittsburgh. A half-century ago, it was known as “The Holy City” for its preponderance of churches. Today, the cobblestoned streets are lined with defeated clapboard houses that look as if the spirit’s been sucked right out of them.
I was there to spend the afternoon with Denean, a 34-year-old nurse who was living in one such house with three of her four children (the eldest is 19 and lived across town) and, these days, a teenage niece. Denean is pretty and slender, with a wry, deadpan humor. For 10 years she worked for a health-care company, but she was laid off in January. She is twice divorced; no two of her children share a father. In February, when she learned (on Facebook) that her second child, 15-year-old Ronicka, was pregnant, Denean slumped down on her enormous slate-gray sofa and didn’t get up for 10 hours.
“I had done everything I could to make sure she didn’t end up like me, and now this,” she told me.
It was a clear, warm day, and we were clustered on the front porch—Denean, Ronicka, and I, along with Denean’s niece, Keira, 18, and Denean’s friend Chantal, 28, a single mother whose daughter goes to day care with Denean’s youngest. The affection between these four high-spirited women was light and infectious, and they spoke knowingly about the stigmas they’re up against. “That’s right,” Denean laughed, “we’re your standard bunch of single black moms!”
Given the crisis in gender it has suffered through for the past half century, the African American population might as well be a separate nation. An astonishing 70 percent of black women are unmarried, and they are more than twice as likely as white women to remain that way. Those black women who do marry are more likely than any other group of women to “marry down.” This is often chalked up to high incarceration rates—in 2009, of the nearly 1.5 million men in prison, 39 percent were black—but it’s more than that. Across all income levels, black men have dropped far behind black women professionally and educationally; women with college degrees outnumber men 2-to-1. In August, the unemployment rate among black men age 20 or older exceeded 17 percent.
In his book, Is Marriage for White People?, Ralph Richard Banks, a law professor at Stanford, argues that the black experience of the past half century is a harbinger for society at large. “When you’re writing about black people, white people may assume it’s unconnected to them,” he told me when I got him on the phone. It might seem easy to dismiss Banks’s theory that what holds for blacks may hold for nonblacks, if only because no other group has endured such a long history of racism, and racism begets singular ills. But the reality is that what’s happened to the black family is already beginning to happen to the white family. In 1950, 64 percent of African American women were married—roughly the same percentage as white women. By 1965, African American marriage rates had declined precipitously, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan was famously declaring black families a “tangle of pathology.” Black marriage rates have fallen drastically in the years since—but then, so have white marriage rates. In 1965, when Moynihan wrote with such concern about the African American family, fewer than 25 percent of black children were born out of wedlock; in 2011, considerably more than 25 percent of white children are.
This erosion of traditional marriage and family structure has played out most dramatically among low-income groups, both black and white. According to the sociologist William Julius Wilson, inner-city black men struggled badly in the 1970s, as manufacturing plants shut down or moved to distant suburbs. These men naturally resented their downward mobility, and had trouble making the switch to service jobs requiring a very different style of self-presentation. The joblessness and economic insecurity that resulted created a host of problems, and made many men altogether unmarriable. Today, as manufacturing jobs disappear nationwide (American manufacturing shed about a third of its jobs during the first decade of this century), the same phenomenon may be under way, but on a much larger scale.
Just as the decline of marriage in the black underclass augured the decline of marriage in the white underclass, the decline of marriage in the black middle class has prefigured the decline of marriage in the white middle class. In the 1990s, the author Terry McMillan climbed the best-seller list (and box-office charts) with novels like Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back, which provided incisive glimpses of life and frustrated romance among middle-class black women, where the prospect of marrying a black man often seemed more or less hopeless. (As she writes in Waiting to Exhale: “[Successful black men have] taken these stupid statistics about us to heart and are having the time of their lives. They do not hold themselves accountable to anybody for anything, and they’re getting away with murder … They lie to us without a conscience, they fuck as many of us at a time as they want to.”) Today, with the precipitous economic and social decline of men of all races, it’s easy to see why women of any race would feel frustrated by their romantic prospects. (Is it any wonder marriage rates have fallen?) Increasingly, this extends to the upper-middle class, too: early last year, a study by the Pew Research Center reported that professionally successful, college-educated women were confronted with a shrinking pool of like-minded marriage prospects.
“If you’re a successful black man in New York City, one of the most appealing and sought-after men around, your options are plentiful,” Banks told me. “Why marry if you don’t have to?” (Or, as he quotes one black man in his book, “If you have four quality women you’re dating and they’re in a rotation, who’s going to rush into a marriage?”) Banks’s book caused a small stir by suggesting that black women should expand their choices by marrying outside their race—a choice that the women of Terry McMillan’s novels would have found at best unfortunate and at worst an abhorrent betrayal. As it happens, the father of Chantal’s child is white, and Denean has dated across the color line. But in any event, the decline in the economic prospects of white men means that marrying outside their race can expand African American women’s choices only so far. Increasingly, the new dating gap—where women are forced to choose between deadbeats and players—trumps all else, in all socioeconomic brackets.
Now I am not American, but I am black. The above is true! What is happening in white america has happened in black communities. Just look at the Caribbean (where I am from). Just visit Jamaica to see exactly where family life is going. Feminists THAT is where you are taking your communities and you may not care about the future generation, you may only care about yourselves but promoting that type of mentality to others is just wrong.
My entire dating experience (besides my husband who is the most amazing partner in the world and is white and German) was in Jamaica and it was horrible. HORRIBLE. Women in that setting HAVE NO CHOICES. There is no choice about whether to work or not to work. As a woman you know that you have to work and will always have to work because if you get pregnant you have to financially support that child. Men are not educated enough and do not have stable jobs and those that are will NEVER be faithful to you because they have far too many options.
Choice does not exist in such a society. So feminists if you want choice for women back off now. If you care in the slightest about women just stop.
The major parallel between post slavery communities and modern day communities is that there was no traditional structure in place in post slavery communities and the traditional structure in modern day communities is being destroyed. And while we destroy the social structure we are leaving the system the same, so we are trying to fit a new social structure into an old system that was not designed for the new social system.
The weak or lack of social structure fitting to the surrounding system in post slavery communities is why black communities did so poorly during and after slavery. The lack of a normal family life for children. The lack of stability and male role models contributing to the home. The unwillingness of black women to commit to black men who could not provide for them. Along with many other things this is why black males became so badly marginalized, because there was no structure and people did what felt best. See”We are living in a Patriarchy which has been designed with the Traditional Family in mind.” post.
The very same this is happening in communities under the attack of feminism and liberalism, you all are giving up structure and replacing it with ”do what feels best”. What feels best is not commitment to males who can not provide, what feels best is single motherhood and absent fathers and sleeping around, what feels best results in marginalized males, more crime, less children and a generally less successful and less happy society. This is especially the case in a capitalist economy and in a patriarchal setting. Please read this for a more updated view on where I think society is going.
Another very important quote on this topic comes from this JudgyBitch article:
Burrell’s chapter on black sexuality and family formation is disturbing, to say the least. He charts out how the legacy of slavery and early emancipation was deliberately designed to fracture black families and make it incredibly difficult for black men and women to see each other as fully realized humans.
A common, modern critique of black culture is that plenty of other groups have had a rough go in terms of being dehumanized, vilified, and outright murdered throughout our long, sad history, and have still managed to maintain their basic orientation towards family and community. Most notably, Jewish people, subjected to the Holocaust, mass murder and plenty of anti-Semitism across the globe have still managed to be productive, functional members of civilized society.
The Holocaust lasted 12 years.
Slavery lasted 250 years.
That’s a whole lot more time to destroy the foundations of a culture. And the reverberations have carried across a wider gulf of time.
The effect of slavery on families is pretty much a no-brainer. Children could be, and were sold away from their families. Marriages were either outright forbidden, or destroyed at the will of the slavemaster. Once it became illegal to import new slaves, existing slaves were used as breeding stock, and the bonds of family were completely and utterly irrelevant.
What I found very interesting was how early welfare laws STILL acted to destroy black families. In order for a woman to be eligible for benefits, she could not have a man in the house. She had to choose between her children and her husband.
Here is how Burrell lays out the historically rooted dysfunction in black families:
Disrespect: words of mutual contempt, ridicule, wide mistrust of mates
Roots: Black family life, not conducive to a slave based economy, was disrupted, disrespected, and destroyed. Black men and women were stripped of their roles as parents and protectors. Soceity, through the welfare system, dismissed black fathers
The beat-down: disproportionate rates of physical, verbal, spiritual, and psychological abuse in black families
Roots: Slaves and descendants were conditioned to accept physical and psychological abuse. Emulation of slave-era dominant males norms continues today with a misplaced sense of “manhood” and reaction to powerlessness
Can’t be true to my Boo: the acceptance and expectation of infidelity
Roots: Result of male slave emasculation and bearing witness to misogynistic, humiliating crimes against black women. Black men portrayed as unreliable and unable to protect. Black women portrayed as the property of white males. Unquestioned belief in black male and female unworthiness.
Icing: Emotional shutdown and distance that fosters unhealthy relationships
Roots: Slaves learned to endure conditions outside their control. Protective mechanisms to provide family safety fractured during slavery. Generational acceptance of trauma and instability of black life.
What I find most compelling about Tom’s book is that he is not offering EXCUSES for how black culture operates, nor is he asking for ACCEPTANCE. He is offering an EXPLANATION, and using his analysis of how and why certain aspects of the culture came to be as a means of charting a way out of the mess that exists now.
And he very clearly points out that white, especially liberal, thinkers are a key part of the strategy to CONTINUE to represent black people as inherently inferior all the while pretending to be sympathetic and understanding.
Many communities in Jamaica in my view show how nature would structure society in times of abundant resources and it is simply not as productive as the way in which the patriarchy has structured society. What is worse is that post-slavery communities are set within a patriarchy, so they are matriarchal societies set within a patriarchy and that in my opinion leads to more crime. Male contribution is not the same as it would be when they are involved in family life. Males contribute more to society on a whole when they are a part of family life. It makes a difference, and by forcing male female interchangeability we ask the sexes to be independent and that weakens the relationship between the sexes. It leads to absent fathers, it leads to less productivity than could otherwise be achieved.