As Black Income Rises, So Does Our Break-Ups

October 4, 2010  |  

Black relationships have been under study and research for the past 35 years. Many African-American studies at university and colleges study the evolution of the relationships among Black families in comparison to other cultures. There are differences between races and much of it has to do with the cultural behaviors of each group. However, there have been effects to the Black familial dynamics with the emerging trend caused by special interest groups and other macro causes in America. These effects have been caused by Women’s Rights groups and the increase of the economic power of the Black group. The effects not only affect the woman, it also affects the man and children. How?

With the perceived economic independence to women came a laundry list of problems. First, let’s determine economic independence. For one, economic independence is not simply getting income. Economic independence is sustainability through philosophical beliefs and financial intelligence. Women getting jobs developed an apathetic attitude in Black women towards Black men, causing many relationship break-ups. “I don’t need a man” has become a new and popular slogan among “independent women.” Their independence is seen as having their own income. Quite frankly, getting additional income into the home is a great emergence in our families, but not clearly understanding what income should be used for, not allowing it to affect the intrinsic relationship with family and not realizing that income isn’t wealth is where the danger lies. Income is basically the opportunity to create wealth. Not knowing the difference and using wealth to spend, instead of using it to build, then using our “wealth positions” to determine how we spend is dividing the family.

However, the affects of women involved in economic activity has also misled some Black men. Men don’t work as hard to build wealth and keep marital and dating relationships in tact since they know a woman can fend for herself. Recreation has become more attractive to the man and he too has developed a sense of apathy.

My plea isn’t to remove women from the workplace it is to get us to see beyond the surface of simply getting income. We should really maintain our focus on keeping true to strong family principles that are not tethered by a woman’s income; keep in mind, determining one’s net worth, has nothing to do with income. We are finding more latchkey children leaving their homes in the morning and returning to the homes after school with no adult supervision. We find there are an exponentially increasing number of child support payments instead of live-in dads. We are finding that more men are carelessly impregnating women, knowing women can survive without their intimate assistance.

How do we reverse the “Black Fallout?” We must get the message across that income is only a vessel to a destination. It is only a means to an ends. It is temporary, sporadic and inconsistent. Tying our family legacies to what incomes exist and at what levels, diminish our overall community’s worth, our progress and the future mindset of our Black children; which, by the way, sends a message of disaster if we continue to proceed staying the course!

Devin Robinson is an economics professor in Atlanta, GA and author of Blacks: From the Plantation to the Prison and Rebuilding the Black Infrastructure: Making America a Colorless Nation. He can be reached at

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