CCF: While many black women don’t marry because they have too few options, some black men don’t marry because they have too many.


In a publication authored by the Council of Contemporary Families, called, Why Interracial Marriage Is Good for Black Women – and the Best Hope for Restoring Marriage in the Black Community, is a lot of stuff we already knew, but kind of surprising that so many outside the community seem to know it but stay pretty quiet about it.

Here’s a few notables:

… by some measures, the racial gap is actually wider among affluent men than among their economically disadvantaged counterparts. In most racial-ethnic groups, increases in income consistently translate into a greater likelihood of marriage. But the most affluent black men-those who earn more than $100,000 a year — are actually less likely to marry than their lower earning but economically stable counterparts, men who earn, say, $50,000 or $60,000 a year.

One way to understand these features of the contemporary African-American relationship scene is the gender imbalance at all income and educational levels. In lower-income groups, black men have fallen behind their female counterparts, victims of a criminal justice system that incarcerates them en masse, an educational system that fails them, and a labor market that offers few lawful economic opportunities for poorly educated men. At any given time, more than 1 in 10 black men in their twenties and early thirties-prime marrying ages-is incarcerated.

But there is also a shortage of potential partners for middle-income and high-income black women. Many of the union jobs and other work that once allowed male high school graduates to earn middle-income wages have vanished, even as jobs that traditionally employ females have expanded. Only half as many black men as women complete college. The ranks of eligible black men are depleted further still by intermarriage: black men are 2 to 3 times as likely as black women to marry someone of another race, and economically successful black men are the most likely to do so.

While many black women don’t marry because they have too few options, some black men don’t marry because they have too many. In the relationship market, scarcity equals power: The better one’s options outside the relationship, the more leverage one can exert within it. A desirable black man who ends an unsatisfying relationship will find many other women waiting. That’s not true for black women, especially those who limit their relationships to black men.

Okay; we all know this is true out here on these streets, right? But many of us have been gaslighted for so long, and I’m STILL hearing, “Good black men are out there! Keep looking! And looking! And looking! And looking!” I was speaking to an extremely handsome black man the other day, and he said, “I’m not knocking your relationship, but as gorgeous as you are, you know you could have found a brother.”

There’s an expectation on black women that we need to make it PRIORITY ONE to search up and down avenues, hallways, rocks, byways, freeways, north, south, near and far for marriageable black men and THEN, after YEARS of searching and you don’t find one, then you might be ALLOWED to date interracially, but only with a full apology and bulleted report of all the places you looked for a good black man and couldn’t find one.

Meanwhile, according to my own eyes and this CCF publication, black men have TOO MANY choices, and therefore, DON’T choose.

Some black men use their scarcity advantage, as men in other racial-ethnic groups and cultures have also done in similar situations, to maintain relationships that are sexually intimate but not monogamous. Research suggests that black men are more likely than any other group of American men to maintain relationships with multiple women. The end result is above-average rates of discord and distrust between black men and women.

Now; I can’t really knock them for that. Imagine going into a shoe store full of your favorites, and when you choose one and turn the corner, there’s one even better, turn another corner, even better still. There’s nothing innately evil about enjoying unicorn status, unless you begrudge the agency of women who have had enough and want to move on to men who ARE interested in marriage and family–in that order.

And here’s the DANGER of coming into dating from a position of scarcity:

Certainly, not all black men take advantage of the numbers imbalance. But when her partner’s behavior is less than satisfactory, a black woman, recognizing that she is on the wrong side of a numbers imbalance, may feel she has few options and hence little power to demand a different arrangement.

Sound familiar? How many sisters do you know that put up with multiple baby mamas, 10 year “engagements,” blatant cheating and disrespect, all out of fear that they won’t or can’t find anyone better?

Black women are further discouraged from looking elsewhere by the widespread belief that they have few options for forming relationships with men who are not black. Much has been made, for example, of an OkCupid website study finding that black women send the most messages and receive the fewest replies of any group, and that white men write back to black women 25 percent less frequently than they should based on the compatibility scores the website calculates.

But fixating on that finding underestimates black women’s prospects in an integrated relationship market. In that same OkCupid study, Latino, Middle Eastern, Indian and Native American men all responded to black women at rates substantially higher than did white men. In fact, some of these groups of men responded to black women at higher rates than did black men!

Oh…and guess who wrote this article for CCF? You guessed it–a black men named, Professor Ralph Richard Banks, author of Is Marriage for White People?


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