See this is why I don’t let people, particularly white folks, touch my hair because then they start thinking they can have opinions about other parts of my life.
And this my roundabout way of bringing up this survey, which was commissioned by National Public Radio (NPR), The Harvard School of Public Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The survey topic was simple: black people. More specifically; black people, why are you not abiding by these social constructs we made up about the “proper” definition of family?
I don’t know why white folks have this particular fascination about only certain aspects of black life, particularly marriage. Maybe surveying us helps them to understand why their own marriage numbers have been going down sharply over the last decade. Black folks have always been trendy like that. I imagine that soon the idea of postponing marriage – and to a larger extend co-parenting without the expectation of marriage – will soon be normalized across the mainstream. And we’ll start seeing television shows and films, and reading books and articles about some fancy free white woman exalting the virtues of singledom. And then black folks will collectively roll their eyes and forever snark, “…but we all know that it was us, who first rejected marriage…”
Or it could just be click bait, considering these sort of articles tend to attract angry dissent like spandex attracts fat thighs. Folks just love to be outraged, I guess.
At any rate, the survey, which included the responses from nearly 1,100 African-Americans, has revealed that 25 percent of black women surveyed said that they were looking for a long-term relationship. Compare those dismal numbers to the brothers, who according to the survey results, a whole 43 percent of them are looking for long-term partners, and you see what the real problem is: the women. More specifically black women, because we are always at fault for something or another.
At any rate, NPR responded to criticisms from the survey (and there was lots) by offering up several theories behind the results (no, skewed questioning thus non-actual responses, was not one of them) including the Financial Stability theory; The What-Do-You-Mean-By-Long-Term-Relationship theory,;and my personal favorite: the Survey-is-Accurate-Black-Folks-Just-Need-To-Face-Fact-theory, which goes something like this:
“Maybe the truth really is that lots of black men really do want to get boo’ed up while lots of black women are ambivalent. People felt strongly, on a visceral level, that the poll results were off. But maybe what’s off are our assumptions about what black women and men really want.”
Point taken. But the next question I have is if these numbers are true then why are these men not in relationships? I mean, with the ratio of eligible and available black men and women skewed in their favors, it would certainly appear that finding a suitable mate is pretty simple. But then I think about a couple of single men I know, who both swear up and down that they want to settle down. At the same time, these men have some of the most uncompromising expectations for what each feels would make a good wife. According to one of these guys, his inability to find a woman that measures up is why he is not married, and thus forced to play the field. And that is where the bullshit lies between what a person says they want and what they actually are aiming to do.
But any rate, so what?
Just a few days before this article, NPR released other data from their survey including results, which suggest that the overwhelming majority of black people (86 percent) said they were satisfied with their lives – even without the prospects of holy matrimony. Maybe that satisfaction has to do with women having more options (including education, traveling and professional endeavors) and not being beholden to stale and antiquated social constructs, which were unequal to begin with? Sorry to say fellas but after watching last night’s episode of “Love & Hip Hop,” particularly watching Kirk Slore-shame his wife into an abortion (because he is too egotistical and lazy to accept his part in creating that “unwanted” baby) and knowing of similar stories of women (of all colors) caught in similar abusive situations with their husbands, nothing about marriage looks appetizing. I mean, just because a guy says he is looking for a wife doesn’t necessarily make him marriage material or worthy of such a wife.
The real question, though, is that now that the black men are revealed to be the real ones desiring relationships – but ultimately failing to actually get into a relationship – will we start writing self-help books and lecturing to dudes about all the behavior on their parts, which needs to be corrected, in order for them to become more appealing prospects for their more selective counterparts?