Jamila: Black People Do Have a Different Cultural Outlook on Marriage, And It’s Time Black Folks Accept the Consequences of that Outlook

Our very own Christelyn has ruffled a few feathers around the blogosphere with a recent post, “You Just Can’t Ignore It: Cultural Outlooks About Out-of-Wedlock Babies.” In that post Christelyn asserts that African Americans, on average, have a different cultural outlook, as compared to the rest of America, on the importance of marriage. Some people take issue with the fact that Christelyn wrote:”Here is another cultural difference that we just can’t ignore: while the out-of-wedlock rate is rising across the races, every other race EXCEPT for the black race values making babies within wedlock.”

But what if what Christelyn is saying is true? What if black people really honestly and truly do have a different outlook on the timing and importance of marriage?

Survey says that what Christelyn wrote is indeed true. Based on my decidedly personal and anecdotal evidence I agree with Chris. But don’t take my word for it. Read “Eligible, Black, Male, and Hopelessly Single” by Damon Young, a black man, who wrote an excellent article for the Good Men Project which honestly dissects how black men feel about marriage.

In Young’s article, black men give their personal reasons for not getting into ‘serious’ relationships and not rushing down the aisle until they are good and well ready to do so:

It’s not that sistas’ standards are too high. If I had an already successful daughter, I’d want her to date an already successful man. From a personal standpoint, though, I wouldn’t even want to enter a serious relationship unless I had my shit together.

Something tells me that by ‘serious,’ the man being quoted means ‘monogamous,’(i.e., “I wouldn’t even want to enter a monogamous relationship…”) rather than ‘a relationship that does not involve sex, and thus avoids altogether the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy.’

Another quote:

Seems like white men don’t feel “grown” until they start families, but we [black men] don’t seem to want to start families until we feel “grown” enough.

So while many black men and women are waiting until they feel “grown” enough to start a family, they have children outside of wedlock. Somehow the idea that you don’t get married until you are grown and mature but you can have children whenever has permeated the black community. Marriage is for grown folks; childbearing is first-come-first-served.

And here’s the money quote:

Not everybody grew up in a two-parent household. In fact, most of us haven’t. Because of that, we learn how to date and how to identify “good” men and women from TV.

As more and more black children grow in households where they do not see their mother and father living together, paying bills together, having fights and then making up, compromising, raising children, and basically being married, these black kids will either get their ideas about how to make a relationship work from the television, or, worst case scenario, they won’t get any ideas at all and will make up their own rules as they go along. You can see how well the ‘make up your own rules as you go along’ method of child-rearing is working out for black people–that method has resulted in high incarceration rates, high drop out rates, high out-of-wedlock birth rates, low marriage rates, and high school truancy rates for black kids.

Khadija Nassif, of the now-archived blog Muslim Bushido, quoted a comment that summed up the #1 problem for black people:

I’m supporting Single Mothers TOO… by giving them permission to feel ENTITLED to a co-parent. We aren’t doing single mothers any favors by reinforcing the idea that it is normal or acceptable to be forced to raise a child on our own. Black women are NOT superwomen.

I feel like I am in Episode of Star Wars where Senator Palpatine has convinced everyone that he has their best interests at heart and is “looking out for them” when in fact he’s manipulating them for their own purposes.

All medicine doesn’t taste good and a whole lot of things that “go down easy” are horrible for your health.

Sure it feels GREAT to have a slick PR campaign called “Raising Him Alone”, but you’re gonna end up with a cavity.

When we’ve gotten a OOW birthrate of 98% where exactly will these “families” making up the village be?

MARRIAGE is the tie that binds families together. Many of you are relying on families being held together by a marriage that occurred 3 generations ago. What about 3 generations from now?

This all feels great NOW, but look down the road three generations later. You’re depleting the “village.” There are going to be entire SWATHS of society where there won’t be an adult male in sight because everybody’s Raising Him Alone.

If the village was a forest and families were trees, what are y’all going to do when you get through chopping all the trees in HALF? You’re wearing the HELL out of “the Village.” If the Village were a spotted owl, environmental activists would be chaining themselves to trees right about now. The beloved “Village” is about to become an endangered species. The “village” doesn’t crop up by osmosis.

I support single mothers. I support single mothers by telling them to REJECT this propaganda that Black women aren’t entitled to HELP- from the father’s of their children, not some “village” she had to cobble together.

Everybody wants to talk about the village, but nobody wants to maintain the Village. Nobody wants to pay property taxes in the Village. Nobody wants to do strategic planning for the Village. Everybody LOVES the village, but don’t want any ordinances in the Village. They don’t want any zoning in “the Village.” The don’t want the Village to have a homeowners association that enforces “The Village”‘s rules and regulations. They don’t want police to patrol the Village or enforce the laws of the village or throw those who commit violence against the Village in jail.

You take for granted that “the Village” will always be intact. When in fact MY GENERATION is living in the Village our Great Grand Parents and Grand Parents built and we’re unwilling to make any investments in the infrastructure of the village.

One day, this all important “Village” will collapse on itself and the people who will pay the HEAVIEST price will be the people who rely on the “Village” the most.

Yeah, it takes a “village” unfortunately there won’t be a village in about three generations, why? because three generations of Black children won’t know how to build a freaking Village. We have a Village because somebody fought to create maintain and preserve it. They were so good at constructing the village that despite our best efforts to burn it to the ground, the Village has some ever dwindling huts intact. They really knew how to build things back in the day. They built their village with STONE. We’re building our modern village with particle board.

Ironically, I don’t need “the village” (I have a tribe called a FAMILY) yet I appear to be the most concerned about it.

I don’t know what’s going to happen after the last functioning two-parent family in the Village has stopped raising kids. My guess is that there will simply be no more Village.

The Man Myth