Is it just me, or is there a groundswell of news surrounding America’s changing marital patterns? Nope. It’s not. It’s quite the hot topic of discussion, and that’s a good thing. According to a report by NPR, Americans are swirling more than ever before. But looks like whites of both genders are marrying Asians and Hispanics, and blacks (both male and female) are the least likely to be in these unions.
Why, you ask?
This quote cuts right to the point:
“It reflects the status hierarchy,” says Roderick J. Harrison, a demographer at Howard University. “If you’re trying to marry up, clearly whites are it. If you’re trying to avoid marrying down, it would still look like blacks might be the least preferred.”
So there you have it. And I don’t need to reference a bunch of studies to see why, even after hundreds and hundreds of years, blacks are clumped into this dung heap of negative impressions. We are the oldest minorities to have settled in America–many of us came over with the first European settlers as slaves–but as a collective, we continue to stay low on the racial hierarchy.
You know why? Frankly, too many of us just don’t give a shit. Throughout history, marriage has been less about love and more about a contract between individual families who share mutual goals and values. What can we expect, when black people hardly get married to each other? Societal obstacles and constructs aside, the lack of value placed upon education (50% of black boys drop out of high school), the 73% out-of-wedlock rate, lack of decent role modeling, negative media perceptions and (c)rap culture has ruined our reputation as a collective.
As such, black women and black men are first perceived through a negative prism until they PROVE to be otherwise. Whereas, Asians commonly have a favorable stereotype as being high-achieving, hard working and goal and family oriented. Indians also fall into that category. Hispanics are a mixed bag, but still better off and higher up on the racial step ladder. This didn’t “just” happen. For the most part these people FIT their stereotype. So…
Our problem, in part, is that too many of us just don’t care that we are at the bottom, and are perfectly content to stay there. I remember posing this very question on Twitter, Madame Noire and on this blog about a question I posed to a prominent black female blogger:
Me: Don’t you know the world is laughing at our dysfunction? It’s not a secret if everybody knows.
Her: What do I care what a person, say, in France thinks of me?
Therein lies the problem. We (as a collective, not talking individuals) don’t seem to grasp the magnitude of what it means to be in a global village, when everyone from California to Outer Syberia can see the poop stains in our underwear. We’re still stuck on “American owes me for slavery!” that we have tightened our own nooses.
Now before the GAT-DL comes in force to dispute the obvious because it just feels better to blame everyone else, don’t even try it. There is only black dis-unity. I don’t care how we got here, but we have the power to get out. Alas, I fear apathy and inertia will keep our collective feet in the cement.
Here’s what I want you all to walk away with: This is NOT a black woman issue. This is a CULTURE issue. And to answer the question, “Why should I care what other folks think?” Because the actions of others may very well impede upon your own progress.