Guest Post: A Different Dialogue

The following was written by Phoebeprunelle

I was inspired to write this piece by Brothawolf’s post “Empowerment Through Expense” and a few exchanges I had a some days ago on Topix. And factor in that I do not have the courage to start my own blog, I figured this may be the safest place to begin a “new, new” dialogue concerning black people (yes this includes black men, black women, black girls, black boys, black homosexuals, black lesbians, black transgendered people,black biracials, black multicultural people, I mean you get my drift)

If there is one thing black people know who frequent the Web 2.0 sites (blogs, blogtalkradio, youtube and a host of other forums and threads), is that we seem to hate each other’s guts! Between the BWE’s, BMVers and other quasi movements, an unassuming black person who has never had any real reason to complain about the opposite sex of his/her race–let alone consider IR marriage as an option– will be lead to believe that MOST black men and women in America are married or about to marry a non black spouse by virtue of the fact that this person is not black. So is this the reality? Do black people offline really feel this way?

After I present you with the facts, you be the judge. According to a study done by Dr. Ivory Achebe Toldson and Dr. Bryant T. Marks, both black professors of sociology and education at Howard and Morehouse Universities respectively (if you didn’t know HBCU’s) they released a study about black marriage among other studies that alters the traditional thinking about black men in America. After completing classes that allowed them to objectively look at data–they found that the myth of the Black Marriage Crisis is just that–a myth. By raising the age of the black women in the study they found that 75% of black women by the age of 35 had gotten married. The often cited figure of 42% of black women never marrying included black women as young as 18 (a population we don’t expect to be married), and elderly black women (who in many cases were already widowed).

Through their findings, they were also able to look at the marriage patterns of black men of various educational backgrounds and income brackets. In general, 88% of all married black men have black wives. But let’s be a little more specific.  Of black men who have a personal income of 100,000 or more a year 83% have black wives, 12% have white wives and 5% have a wife who is neither white nor black. Yes black women–you snag the majority of well-to-do black men (if you want to think of it that way).

Black men with college and professional degrees: 85% have a black wife, 10% have a white wife. Again black ladies, you get picked first from this black man demographic.

Black men professional athletes: 72.8% have black wives, 22.2% have white wives and 5% have a wife who is neither black nor white.

Of black men who live near or at the poverty line, 8% have a white wife and of black men who are middle class, 9% have a white wife–we should consider that these figures are not notably higher than the 12% of wealthy black men with white wives. 92% of black men who are high school drop outs have black wives and only 6% have white wives.

Black women are the least likely to marry out. Of black women with college degrees, 5.3% have a white husband and 93% have black husbands. Only .7% of married white women have black husbands making Asian women the most likely race-gender to marry out with white men being second.

Now since marriage like never before is associated with wealth–black women who are educated do not have to settle for less. They found that black women who hold advanced degrees were three times more likely to be married than her white female counterparts who have only a high school diploma. In Atlanta, 55% of black women with masters degrees were married and 67% with doctorates were married compared to 27% of black women with high school diplomas. In the D.C. area, the figures were almost identical. But don’t get confused because black women outpace black men at this point in obtaining degrees–although that will even out in time–black men still out earn black women by 70,000 a year in occupations such as police officers,construction workers, janitorial services, managers, firefighters, truck drivers, etc.

So what does all of this mean? For one thing, now that we know that the majority of black men and women offline have absolutely no hang-ups about loving one another for their cultural, aesthetic and educational values, a different dialogue for those of Us online who are serious about the restoration of the black family can begin. Yes there are things that We need to address like the high out of wedlock birth issue and the mass incarceration of black men, but We need to understand that throwing numbers out during heated discussions online is not only counterproductive but usually does not take into account:

1. The context in which the data was analyze.

2. The cultural lens of the study (if whites gathered the data, do they have an incentive to be ethical towards Us?)

3. We do know now that the STD studies conducted about Us left out a very important demographic–the black middle class– which has more than tripled in the past thirty years.

We have got to start asking ourselves very hard questions about why year after year damning statistics and studies are being released about us and in many cases they are proved to be misleading by none other than black scholars. If black people online are contributing to the already anti black women, anti black men rhetoric that is a part of American mainstream culture, they need to understand that they are part of the problem and likely will go down with the ship.


9 thoughts on “Guest Post: A Different Dialogue

  1. Good article Phoebe. I’m not a conspiracy theorist(most of the time), but it’s like Disraeli said; ‘there are lies, damned lies, and statistics’! Statistics in the hands of the wrong lot can be used to ‘prove’ all sorts of negative outcomes, hence that quote.

  2. On point Phoebe, Good post. “Girl put your big girl panties on and start your blog. You are bright and artticulate enough. “You can do this”. I have faith in you.

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