Sheila Agnew; Black Women and Marriage… : ThyBlackMan

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Sheila Agnew; Black Women and Marriage…

May 15, 2011 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Relationships, Sista Talk, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) In this era where marriage as it was once established in biblical and cultural terms is constantly being challenged, black women have emerged as the underdog in the hopes and dreams of ever getting married. Though divorce statistics are extremely high and marriage is plummeting in general, the challenge for black women is critical in comparison.

According to The State of our Unions, a yearly study produced by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values, marriage is at a  high risk particularly among the middle and lower classes, mostly attributed to an “overriding shift in values.” The study further concluded that highly educated and more affluent marriages are on the rise enjoying more strong and stable households. The report may be reversed for highly educated and affluent black women who are often plagued with the issue of finding viable mates. This may be associated with the lack of black men accelerating at the same level and the unwillingness of black women in higher wage groups to accept men with a lesser income or profession.

My difficulty in emotionally digesting the thought that society has come to a point where marriage is being constantly attacked and frequently labeled as obsolete and the fact that black women are challenged more severely than any other segment of the population is the compelling reason for this writing. I highly respect the institute of marriage and believe like many cultures and societies around the world that marriage is a sacred gift from God and should not be taken for granted.

Considering the statistics in most studies and reports are overwhelming, I am prompted to research further how this phenomenon came about and if we can find solutions to shift the pattern and break the chains that continue to enslave us and our way of thinking. This thirst for answers took me back to slavery, where African Americans can often find the roots of many problems we still face in America today.

The prolific writer and scholar, W.E. DuBois believed “the pattern of separation and rape by white slave owners during slavery produced single and unwed black mothers.” Noted scholar and sociologist, E. Franklin Frazier, described “black women emerging as a more controlling force in the slave household–self-reliant, self-sufficient, and lacking a spirit of subordination to masculine authority.” I believe these early experiences with the break-up and separation of the black family is significant to why so many black women remain unmarried today.

My reason for connecting our past history with the limited marriage opportunities for black women today is the direct ties to modern day enslavement of black men. Sociologist William Julius Wilson has argued that increasing levels of non marriage and female-headed households is a “manifestation of the high levels of economic dislocation experienced by lower-class black men in recent decades. He asserts that when joblessness is combined with high rates of incarceration and premature mortality among black men, it becomes clearer that there are fewer marriageable black men relative to black women who are able to provide the economic support needed to sustain a family.” Today’s society breeds other prevailing factors that support the limited availability of black men including homosexuality and marrying women outside the black race.

As painful as this situation appears, we have to openly discuss and work on solutions to counteract the doom portrayed in statistical reports and main stream media. I am hopeful if we begin even as individuals to implement change we can reduce and reverse negative ratios. Some thoughts and suggestions are.

• Encourage black men to advance their education. With innovation and technology at the forefront of our future, black men must be in a position to compete in the global workforce. Women will reinvent themselves at forty, fifty, sixty and beyond, whereas men are less likely to be motivated to return to school or embark on another trade or profession. We can begin early by instilling the importance of education in our boys and continue to encourage our black men whether they are husbands, partners, sons, brothers, friends or colleagues.

• Focus on communicating openly and effectively with our mates. Instead of concentrating on being right, listen to what the other person is saying. We may agree or disagree. No matter how strong the disagreement, ineffective communication leads to separation. Separation breeds distance and increases the gap.

• Drop the “angry black woman” image. No matter how strong men are, they don’t want to be overpowered by their women. For some black women, this may mean humbling yourself to submission. Humility is an honor and submission is a deep level of devotion and commitment that should be exercised by both men and women to create a deeper love for each other. We often confuse submission with control and manipulation when we simply need to cooperate with the divine flow of working together.

• Stop settling for less in relationships. Less is defined as physical and mental abuse, relationships with married men we are not married to and living together unmarried. A good question to ask yourself is, “Would you do to the other person what you are allowing them to do to you?”

• Move up, move down, and move out. Try dating and marrying men who are younger or older. As long as the gap makes sense (let’s be realistic) and you bring joy to each other, age is insignificant. Moving out is to consider dating men of other races. Black women are among the most loyal women staying within their own race in dating and marriage. Be more open to expanding your horizons.

• Pray and seek spiritual guidance and stay focused on things that enrich your life with or without a mate.

These suggestions may not resolve many of the deep issues that have created the tremendous marriage gap black women experience, but we should make a commitment to start focusing on self-improvement and become role models for our young daughters. One final comment, media, statistics and other people do not define us and rarely portray black women for the phenomenal women we really are. We still stand as beautiful queens regardless of our marriage status. “Facts do not hinder our faith.”

Staff Writer; Sheila Agnew

For more work by this talented writer visit the following site; “Mo Better” Inspiration by Sheila.


Comments

12 Responses to “Sheila Agnew; Black Women and Marriage…”
  1. Cado says:

    Ramses, ever wonder why you’re actually single? You blame American women so easily yet you failed to mention any personal flaws. As if you are a perfect catch. You sound like an angry control freak. Also, all that prejudging you are doing on women’s sexuality tells me you are rather obsessed..perhaps a closet porn addict? Men can also be “dirty” btw. Those nasty worthless jocks you speak of are an example. Lastly, these uneducated women you boast about who don’t mention their degrees don’t mention them because they didn’t have the privilege or resources to get one. Hell yes they would rather educate themselves and make their own money than be verbally abused by you everytime you get your old man PMS. You sound bitter and my guess is it’s because you don’t have a degree. Sucks to be you in 2013.

  2. Stantheman says:

    As a black man, I agree that you should not limit yourself to one race, whether male or female. Date who you like! I am 41 years old, homeowner, college educated with two kids. Was engaged but never married. In NJ, there are not alot of marriage material black women where I live. They all have two and three different baby daddies, no careers (nurses aides or home health aides making $8 an hour); live off welfare or section 8 housing. I just don’t see the benefit to getting married in my situation. If I met someone that had her head on straight, I would, but I am not forcing the issue. I am content to live out my live as is, if necessary.

  3. Ramses says:

    I laughed when I saw black women and marriage. Black women and marriage is an oxymoron. The two concepts just don’t go together at all. And please stop using these same tired, old hisotrical comparisons to justify the ignorance of black females. Call a spade a spade and queens most of these females are not trust me. A person put it to me like this a few years back these women are more like stray dogs. They will allow themselves to be inseminated by weak dudes who just happen to come by. But a Lioness doesn’t do that. She wants the strong male lion who can protect the pride because it is he who protects the legacy. Slutty females don’t allow a Man to leave a legacy. First you have to ask what makes a Man want to marry a Woman in the first place. Most black females don’t answer this question because the truth of the matter is most of them don’t think about it. It’s only when they are beat up by their jobs and miserable old hags, which they are even at 20, they want to come and marry a Black Man. Se what you females don’t recognize is that this is not a race thing, it’s a Man thing. No matter how you much you try to get Men to buy into this “New Age” thinking, Men who have strength will reject you. Yes you have dudes who put their sperm in you but that’s it. They will procreate with you, but won’t commit to you. I remember back in the day females use to use “TheBorn Again Virgin” term. Why? Because they knew what kind of woman they needed to be in order to be married but it also showed how loose they were back then. Can you females honestly say it’s fair to bring a Woman in a Man’s life who have screwed the whole football team? You want black men to be loyal to you but this is what you put forth http://tommysotomayor.com/?p=12265. And these are chicks who are young in age. These females are in their early thirties. True to form you have females on here who have degrees and that’s the only thing they can talk about in terms of having anything to offer. When I have looked on dating services of south american women in the past, the first thing they say in their profile is that they want families. And they are nice and sweet and don’t have a bad attitude. But why do they do this? Because so many brothers and white men too (white men are leaving white women in the states for foreign women Indians, South AMericans, Chinese, Koreans etc) talk about how bad american women are, they know to advertise themselves as non-aggressive. For the most part, there is nothing feminine about american black women. What does your degree mean in terms of you co-existing with a man? It’s clear you women still don’t get it. My ideal woman would have no degree. A skill? Yes. Degree? No. A brother told me years ago black women want chivalry and independence at the same time and you can’t have both. Females are inconsistent we are not. If we view you as a tramp then that’s how we will deal wt. you. If we view you as marriage material we will deal with you on that level. We don’t try to change you: we just change you when we meet quality. On the other hand you females try to change instead of choosing someone who you claim will bring marriage your way. You meet him at the club and have sex with him in the same night and then after 6 months of pure sex you expect him to marry you. That is not the formula for success. And this is from a Man who has been married before. Can the women who commented on here say the same thing? By the time these females hit 20 it’s too late because they have been screwing since 12. Who wants that as a wife and for the so-called educated females who went to college and jined sororities I wouldn’t marry to save my life personally. I heard the stories of how my Q Dog homies ran through you’ll so if a woman told me she was in a sorority, I would run for the hills.

  4. Reginald says:

    Sheila,

    Good read and excellent advice. Unfortunately a few of your responders didn’t get the message.

    First let me acknowledge the colossal ignorance of many brothers who selfishly want to play games rather than build families. I get it and my organization counsels many of these brothers. But many of your responders are just as negligent for the relationship gap, however for different reasons.

    Neither my degrees, earnings or affluence in my career are factors that make me a great husband (and those are words of my wife). I can’t come home and flaunt my professional attributes and or accomplishments at her. Being a terrific spouse or even understanding how to be a terrific spouse requires an absolutely different set of skills that many women lacks just as their counterpart – men. Folks speak about how educated they are, but possess no education when it comes to understandinding the skills requirements for being married or in a committed relationship. You just believe you are relationship expert – hell you are education, independent, strong and all that other stuff.

    I don’t speak from an opinion position, but one of practice – certified the past 7 years as a marriage and relationship educator. I can’t tell you how many times a wife has theortically dragged a husband into one of my workshops or one-on-one to fix him only to discover on her own that she needed fixing too.

    While many men repel against marriage or relationship commitment and women attract to it, men and women alike equally have no clue about what is required to say I do. With all do respect, the woe-is-me attitude is just a bit tiresome.

  5. Patricia McNutt says:

    This is a interesting read. I have been so frustrated with the dating scene, 1 failed marriage, 2 engagements and here I am educated,professional, own my home, car, very independent and yet, I keep trying to adjust to black men who may not be up to standards yet, and have been willing to work with and encourage them to set higher goals, but yet disappointment continue to follows. I believe in open communication in letting the individual know what I will and will not tolerate in the relationship, that is some how translated to….you are too difficult. Why, because I expect to be treated with respect and hold you accountabitly for your actions. Well, to make a long story short, I love me some black brothers, but you know what I am looking past color and looking for quality no mater what shape or color. Life is too short, I am ready to start living and enjoying life. BTW, I live in Minnesota, so you know a sister have a even smaller chance to find a desirable mate because all the pink toes (white women) has taken the somewhate quality ones as well as the bombs.

  6. greyeyedgirl says:

    The reason why black women are not getting married is black women are not valued…at least by black men; black men think that they are the black woman’s only option…that black men are the only men that black women can get…in spite of more and more of them not wanting black women. Black women are not emasculating or difficult, black women for the most part will not put up with bullshit. Black men want black women to be submissive to them being submissive is bowing down and taking whatever is dished out. Black women have been viewed is ugly and undesirable for that last 400 years, all in the name of securing white women’s self esteem. Black men have taken up the helm in launching a massive anti-black woman campaign all over on and off the net. So much so that there are videos all over youtube from black men saying how white men can not sexually please black women and that they don’t want black women. What a crock of shit that is!

    If black women are so ugly, fat, black, nappy headed and unwanted then why do black men have all of these I HATE BLACK WOMEN videos all over the net since they have made it clear that they do not like or want us? Now that more and more black women are dating and marrying out; why do black men care if we are all of those horrid things that they have said about us? It’s ok for other women to want a good man; a man with money and career, yet if a black woman wants that, then she is a golddigger, whore and hoodrat! Black women need to realize that love does not have to come from a black man, God may have something…someone BETTER in store for black women and black women that are happily married to non black men have found this out.

    The true key to happiness for black women in general is realizing that black men are NOT the only men to date, love and marry. Loyalty to SELF must come FIRST and stop the loyalty bullshit to black men, because believe me sistas, they are not loyal to black women as their numbers of dating and marrying out is proof of that. Yes I am a happier black woman that loves, prefers and dates white men and makes no apologies for it to say the very least. The angry strong esmasculing black woman is nothing than a bullshit game that is played on black women to keep them in their place…AWAY FROM WHITE MEN! Screw that sistas; CHOOSE YOUR OWN PLACE AND DATE, LOVE AND MARRY WHOMEVER YOU WANT; ESPECIALLY IF HE IS A WHITE MAN OR OTHER NON BLACK MEN!!!Black men do NOT have papers on us anymore than we have on them!

    Sistas, get yourselves together, seek and find love elsewhere!!! WHY WASTE THE ONE LIFE YOU HAVE TO LIVE WAITING ON A BLACK MAN WHEN OTHER MEN ARE INTERESTED???

  7. patsy says:

    I really agree with the person who said that the individual has to be attractive marriage material. I have two master’s degrees and I only meet losers who have no ambitious. I want a black prince. I meet men who are not refined. For instance, I spoke this summer to a brother for about an hour in a museum. He thought that just because we had this conversation he could already put his hand on my butt!!! And I am not talking about a young guy who emulates what he sees on BET, it was a 50 year old man flirting with a female who is in her 30s! It is really important for me to be with a brother but where are our good educated men?

  8. Sad to see it come to this says:

    In 1950, the. percentage of white women who were married was 67%. The percentage of bkack women who were married was 64% – almost the same! What killed the black marriage rate? To blame it on slavery is not to accept to responsibility for the present condition. The black marriage rate was killed by welfare. The man became unnecessary, and in some cases an impediment to the woman getting a good check. This also gave rise to the strong black woman as too difficult to live with the the man as the “playa” since he didn’t need to provide anymore, thanks to the government check. The healing has to come from both sides wanting change: The woman can’t let the “playa” take advantage without a marriage commitment, and the man has to acknowledge his responsibilities. But the woman must also be attractive marriage material, not saying in the physical sense, but simply being a nice person to live with, not the angry strong black woman.

  9. Rita W says:

    I also agree with Margo Rose. Life is too short to not seek men from other races.

  10. Kjen says:

    It was pleasant to see someone address the often unsaid half of relationship advice which is advice for men. So often the relationship work is left up to the woman.

    Okay, this “Strong Black Woman,” I would like to see an exact definition of her characteristics and a well-funded and scientifically objective study of how many women fit that description.

    I joke, but only a little. Often regarding dating and relationships, the only advice given to black women assumes first that they are the Strong Black Woman and that this is the impediment to them getting married.

    However, the only evidence we have about the nature of the effect of the strong black women is anecdotal and untested theories at best. But since apparently judging from old-school intellectuals “she” was created by the slave system, then shouldn’t Black couples have been decimated from the very beginning? Unless, you/they are making the point that the difference in marriage rates between black couples and white couples WAS caused by the Strong Black Women that nobody wanted?

    I’m just asking as someone who has grown tired of the SBW straw woman and ask if people still think she’s a viable theory then they at least conduct a deeper analysis.

  11. Margo Rose says:

    Such a well-written and important article! I have long thought that a huge improvement in the United States as a country and culture will occur when African American woman begin in larger numbers to enjoy the support of men who love and care for them.

    As this article points out, single black women are already accomplishing so much professionally and as mothers. It is amazing to consider how much more could they be doing with additional support.

    The advice about being open to potential male partners from other races seems worth considering.
    It is important to know that men from most other cultures are SUPER shy and slow to ask a woman (of any hue) for a first date. Men from other races may not realize that you are interested in them! Perhaps try asking one of them for a date…they will likely be delighted!

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  1. […] Black men don’t want to marry black women, especially if they’re successful and not submissive. (read more about that here)http://thyblackman.com/2011/05/15/sheila-agnew-black-women-and-marriage/. […]



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