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Wednesday, June 5th 2013

7:50 AM

An Obsidian Triptych: Part Two - The Black Male Retreat From Marriage

The second in our special series of posts today, is informed by a recent post by Single Black Male contributor, Wisdom Is Misery: "What’s in it for Me: Black Men Avoid Marriage Longer than Every Other Race". (H/T: Adonis) As of Jun 3rd, this post of Wiz's garnered more than 200 comments, debating hot-n-heavy, the whys and wherefores as to the now well-documented Black Male skittisheness when it comes to jumping the broom. His post merits the kind of closer examination that only yours truly would be capable of. 

So, let's have at it.

First, consider the data; I'll let Wiz tell it:

"We can debate a lot of things but for the sake of today’s I’ve included a 2001 census table below (there may be a more recent table but I’m too lazy to look for it and the stats have more than likely only gotten worse) which shows that black men and women marry later than every other race. I already know some of you will dismissively say, “You can’t put an age on marriage!” and I’ll grant you that opinion. However, even by age 40, only 75% of black men will be married. The next closest, Hispanic men, is 86% by this age. Further, since men of all races traditionally ask women of all races for their hand in marriage, the delay in marriage is likely driven by men."

Wiz ends his piece by posing the simple, yet powerful question: "Today I have one simple question: Why are black men avoiding marriage longer than every other race?"

Well, my friend, and to paraphrase the Gipper, the answers are simple, but not necessarily easy. 

First, what Roissy/Heartiste refers to as the Four Sirens has a heck of a lot to do with it - simply put, Black Men don't need to marry as much as they used to in order to get all of their romantic, sexual, cohabitative and even reproductive needs met. If Black Men are able to stave off marriage longer than other Men in contemporary American life, it can only be because, at least in part, Black Women are good with it (keep in mind, that Black Women, regardless of their place on the SES ladder, have higher OOW birthrates than any other group in America by a leaps-and-bounds margin - and have, for decades now). It does take two to tango, and all that. 

But there are other reasons as well. Consider:

1. Deindustrialization of America's inner cities

2. Corporate mergers, downsizing, outsourcing and the end of the Era of the Pension and Gold Watch

3. Higher cost(s) of living (thus affecting Affordable Family Formation)

4. Astronomical price of formal education beyond highschool (and questionable prospect of it paying off years,
sometimes decades, after graduation - keep in mind, Blacks have higher college debt and make less, than everyone else)

5. Unintended - but nevertheless Ruinous - effects and impact of Welfare

6. Feminist Ideology warping the minds of Black Women

7. Many Black Men seeing firsthand the aftermath and toll divorce takes on other Black Men, creating a strong disincentive NOT to marry (or failing that, to stave it off for as long as possible)

8. And, finally, many Black Men having grown up seeing their dads in marriages that sucked, where said dads worked jobs they hated, did things they didn't like, gave up their dreams and frequently didn't get along with their wives. Contrary to romantic notions of "the strong Black Family back in the day" the reality was, at the least, equal parts Ike and Tina, as much as it was was James and Florida. What kept "the strong Black Family" together, wasn't romanticism per se...but, to be frank, The Man. Like it or not, Jim Crow wasn't all bad. 

Add to this the fact that, for Brothas on the lower end of the SES totem pole, their ability to woo Sistas and put a ring on it has greatly diminished over the past three decades or so, making them less attractive marital options in the eyes of their assortative Sistas (and which is something that is now being written about and discussed among Whites; see Charles Murray's "Coming Apart" and Hannah Rosin's "The End of Men" for more on this point), and, well, we get what we get. 

But, since SBM, like VSB and the vast majority of the Afrosphere is a venue that caters almost exclusively to the Bougie Set, let's not spend too much time fretting about the Charles Ramseys of Black America; what the Sistas really wanna know, is why those handsome, educated, eligible Brothas aren't walking down the aisle - right? 

Well ladies, as yours truly so often says, to ask the question, is to answer it - and indeed I have, on more than one occasion. Repeat after me: anyone, or anything, that is highly desirable, is also very likely to be in short supply - and as such, is in a position to demand their "price" - in this case, handsome, eligible, highly educated and professional Black Men who have, either naturally or studied, GAME, are able to get all the lovin' they want from Black (and other) Women without having to put a ring on it (or if they already have, they can get "extra" relatively easily), in some cases, indefinitely. Think George Clooney with a Denzel-tan. 

In short, and as longtime reader and frequent commenter Dragnet puts it so very well - there is little incentive for many Black Men - especially the kinds of Black Men so many Sistas want most - to tie the knot. If anything, the disincentives are just as numerous and depending on who you talk to, much more so. They can put off marriage for the same reasons a dog lifts up one leg to take a leak - because he can. 

Not pretty I know, but then, the Truth, rarely is.

Now adjourn your arses...

The Obsidian
11 comment(s).

Posted by Shady_Grady:

To be blunt for just a moment, are the women complaining most vociferously about not being married the top of the line women?
Wednesday, June 5th 2013 @ 1:19 PM

Posted by Obsidian:

@Shady Grady:
Pretty much...

O.
Wednesday, June 5th 2013 @ 2:06 PM

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What kept "the strong Black Family" together, wasn't romanticism per se...but, to be frank, The Man. Like it or not, Jim Crow wasn't all bad. history of same sex marriage
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