I went to a funeral today for a cousin’s husband who died suddenly from a heart attack. Both in their fifties and her first marriage, my cousin was devastated. She was only married five years. She is inconsolable. Tall, beautiful, and authentically African looking, she waited and waited and waiting and waited for her ideal black man to come, but she found love with someone who had left his youth and good health behind.
This is the story for many educated and high-career-achieving black women raised in a certain era, when black was always beautiful, black love was the only love, and it was a black woman’s responsibility to keep hope alive even if it was in exchange for her own personal hopes and dreams. Back then, in the late 1960’s and 1970’s it seemed noble and selfless. But after decades of unfilled promises, betrayals, and women like my cousin stepped over for the lighter, brighter and whiter, these mentalities are a lot less noble and more self sabotaging.
Recent studies and statistics indicate that college-educated couples marry well and stay married, and at the top of the pack are white and Hispanics. The following data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
As you can see, whites, followed by Hispanics, have the highest percentage of marriage. Despite the news that marriage is declining, looks like most people are, but black folks lag behind. Only 68% of blacks marry by age 46. “Blacks marry later (and less often) than whites or Hispanics, as the graph below shows clearly,” says The Atlantic, who first published the story.
And let’s talk about how critics of marriage love to wave around the fact that the divorce rate is 50%. Turns out that if you and your mate are college educated, then your divorce rates are like, way low.
So what does this data tell us, chicas? It tells us that if we want to be married and stay married while we’re of child bearing age, we can’t be like my cousin. We need to open that pool up to ALL men, because it boosts our chances of achieving our version of the American dream, which apparently, still means marriage, kids, and a white picket fence.