Rich enough to afford to reject marriage, black enough that it doesn’t matter

Thinking about marriage – and why neither I nor so many similarly situated sisters (alliteration!) have been hitched – after seeing this Atlantic article titled: “Wealthy Women Can Afford to Reject Marriage, but Poor Women Can’t.”

The writer says:

Taking a stand against patriarchy is much easier if you’re well-educated, have a stable income, and live in a community where you could theoretically find an educated, employed man to marry. For poor, uneducated women, especially those who have kids, the question of whether to get married looks a lot different: It’s the choice between raising children on one or two incomes, between having someone to help with household chores and child-rearing alone while working multiple jobs. 

For educated black women with a stable income, it’s more complicated. Black women are the least likely to be in interracial pairings and the least likely to be approached on online dating sites by men – black or not. (And least married, period.) Add that to the government’s mass incarceration of the men mostly likely to be our partners. Once you have a criminal record, it’s damn near impossible to get a good job (or federal loans for college). And factor in that in Memphis, less than 25 percent of adults have a four-year college degree, the acquisition of which means you’ll earn lots more over your lifetime than a high school grad.

After all this, the question of whether to get married seems like a theoretical exercise. At best.

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5 thoughts on “Rich enough to afford to reject marriage, black enough that it doesn’t matter

  1. You’ve written about this before, and it always intrigues me because I find darker skin so much more attractive than white skin. I know that’s just me and not the general population, which tends to buy into the blonde, blue-eyed vision of ideal beauty. But I always wonder– do you think the objectification of black women (it happens to all of us, but even more often to y’all) and that whole pathetic fixation where black women are viewed as exotic playthings contributes to this? I feel like a lot of those preconceived ideas (prejudices) and the ridiculous stereotypes about how black women are supposed to act (angry), be (uneducated), look (less attractive than white women), etc. might make it hard for men (of any race) to face the reality of a strong, beautiful, educated black woman. Thoughts?

  2. In the 90″s, I use to have this conversation with a lot of so-called successful black women. Its amazing that in the past when the black woman didn’t even have an income black men still accept you with open arms. Now, some black women are making more than .15, and all of a sudden, we can’t tell you ish.
    The economy died, and most of my sisters found out something. They didn’t own the jobs, someone gave them that opportunity. Sadly to say, when the job went away so did all the expectations, and high self-esteem.

  3. Hm. In this case, I think it’s more about realizing all the ways that systemic bias reduces the number of “eligible” black male partners. But I do think there’s something there re some men being more comfortable in relationships where they feel “needed.” That’s a whole nother post tho. 🙂

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