The Miseducation of the Single Black Female
There are so many unresolved, unanalyzed, undiscussed consequences to having generations of our ancestors enslaved. If you think about it, we’ve only been free for 140 years, but we were enslaved for almost three centuries and one of the things we haven’t dealt with is our relationships.”
Darlene Clark Hine, Ph.D.
Professor of African-American Studies at Northwestern University
It is the year 2010. America is involved in multiple wars, unemployment is hovering around 10% (15% for black people), and the Gulf of Mexico is being polluted by a seemingly endless release of raw crude oil with no foreseeable end in sight. Along with these and other significant issues of the day, the “plight” of the single black female has been able to capture and hold the attention spans of various media outlets and publications for whatever reason. In fact, the dilemma of the single black woman has become so newsworthy that it has even been reported in Russia. Could it be the “Obama effect” suddenly influencing news organizations to pay attention to black people or could it simply be that the powers that be want to counter the positive imagery of real black love being exemplified on a world stage through Michelle and Barack? I do not know the answer to that question and I am normally not a conspiracy theorist, but somebody somewhere has an agenda and it is not one noble in nature.
First, know that anyone who wants you to fully believe and buy into their ideas always has to plant a seed of plausibility to support their agenda. In most cases, statistics is usually that seed. The statistics concerning the single black female and the black male shortage have been thrown around like practice dummies on a football field. The statistics being reported show a very bleak future for black women and men to enter into a positive relationship and further goes on to lead the black woman into believing that she has little to no hope of ever landing her own “good” black man. One report even found that black women on dating sites were not only shunned by black men, but by all other races as well. Hearing this type of information would make any woman feel like “Damn, what’s wrong with me!” However, I cannot discuss the statistics without first presenting the most prevalent. The most common stats are as follows:
- Between the ages of 20 and 29, 1 in 9 black men are behind bars. For black women of the same age, the figure is about 1 in 150.
- As incarceration rates exploded between 1970 and 2007, the proportion of US-born black women aged 30-44 who were married plunged from 62% to 33%.
- Single black women with college degrees outnumber single black men with college degrees almost 3 to 1 in major urban areas
- 70% of black women are single
- 46% of single Black women remain unmarried compared to 23% of White women.
- If every Black man in America married a Black woman today, 1 out of 12 Black women still wouldn’t make it down the aisle if they hoped to marry a Black man.
Now, I will admit that the statistics are sobering to hear and view, but people in general (especially the media) only want to present to you exactly what they want you to hear. The media does not tell you that 51% of all American women are living without a husband. This is an unprecedented figure in American society period. On average, there are 86 single men to every 100 single women in America. Women in general have always outnumbered men. Nature seems to rig the system that way. The playing field actually levels out in states like California, Florida, Texas, and New York but black women are targeted to feel as if they are the only group of women experiencing a “shortage” of high quality men. Also, educated White and Hispanic women are outnumbering their men 2 to 1 in most major cities with the numbers steadily increasing, but black women are being told that only black men are not choosing to pursue higher education.
In addition, the undertone of the “unmarried” tag is different for black women compared to other races of women. It is implied that something is seriously wrong with black women. For centuries, black women have had to deal with the myth of being viewed by other races of people and sometimes by their own as standoffish, bad attitude having, emasculating, animalistic, controlling, morally loose, super black, ultra independent women looking to dominate anyone that crosses their path. Couple those stereotypes with a statistic that displays that black women can’t even marry their own people and you will have everyone pointing a finger and saying, “See, Look. Something is seriously wrong with those women!” Fifty-one percent of Latina woman are unmarried, so are 45% of non-Hispanic White women, and 41% of Asian women, but these women are viewed as consciously unmarried and are just enjoying their lives as single women until they decide when to call it quits on the dating scene (example: Sex in the City).
All single black women are not the desperate, lonely, woe is me, living a miserable existence without a man type of women. There are numerous successful and attractive black women choosing themselves to be single. Whether the choice is to focus on a specific career path or simply to see the world, there are many black women who do not want to be tied down to a man for whatever reason. These stories do not receive any airtime because it does not fit the negative imagery of the dejected black woman.
Furthermore, the happily single and successful black woman’s story is never told or given an opportunity to be displayed in the media because covering stereotypes is more entertaining to people who are not black. There are always three primary themes that are attached to single black women within the media. The first involves her being desperate, lonely, and tired. She has been praying, wishing, and searching for a righteous black man, but they always seem to dog her or cause her harm. The second involves her being outrageously jealous of white women who snag black men and outraged at black men who even date white women. When Jill Scott commented to Essence magazine about her spirit “wincing” when she saw a black man with a white woman, CNN and Headline News did not hesitate to book her for an interview so that she could elaborate more on her comments. In my opinion, the interviews were probably booked because the news organizations wanted their own negative sound bites on interracial dating.
The third and final theme always involves the “Prince Charming” or “Knight in shining armor” story. Often times, these tales involve the black woman who never finds true love and happiness until she finds that good, faithful, honorable, morally upright white man who would never harm or hurt her. I look at most of this shit and want to break my TV with particular extreme disgust for the “Prince Charming” stories. To clarify, my disgust of these stories is not rooted in contempt for interracial relationships because you love whom you love. My issue is with the implied nature of the “Prince Charming” stories of painting black men as unmotivated, uneducated, lazy, irresponsible, immature, morally corrupt, half dog, and part leech men compared to the “Captain Save Em’” white man. YouTube is full of these trash ass videos with titles such as “Don’t
Settle…Get a Man on Your Level”, “Black Women: Your PRINCE Will Come”, and “Interracial Love…So Beautiful.”
Equally important is the media’s blatant refusal to acknowledge that the plight of the black woman is a direct result of the architecture of white supremacy and not the black man’s inadequacy. Due to the age of Obama, people conveniently forget that government sponsored programs such as the Red Squad and COINTELPRO have contributed to the demise of the black family and essentially prolonged any attempts at cohesiveness within the black community. It is documented as early as the 1950′s that the C.I.A. began pumping tons of heroin and cocaine into black communities. Black people have yet to recover from these tactics. Slavery fucked black people up, but the Red Squads and COINTELPRO came in and did clean up. No one can deny that statistics tell a demonstrable and mathematical fact. However, they give little insight to the story behind that fact.
In conclusion, the portrayal of the black women by the media as being less desirable, less beautiful, less feminine, less valuable, less healthy, less cleanly, and less perfect than any other woman on the planet (especially white women) still persists. Being consistently paraded around on television and wrote about in articles as the woman nobody wants deeply bothers me hence the reason for these thoughts. The fact that this is an actually issue and that the statistical data exists doesn’t bother me. However, the fact that unstable, insecure, self-hating black women could digest these statistics and regurgitate them into their daughters is the disturbing part of all of this in my opinion. We will not only have a whole generation of young black girls growing up believing that men that look exactly like them do not want them, but they have no chance in hell of ever being happy unless they consider the “Prince Charming” option. I don’t give a damn what any statistics say, the black man and woman are always each other’s first option and neither do not have to settle for anything less than a Black King or Queen. The other “options” are not and will not be saviors.
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THE MISEDUCATION OF THE SINGLE BLACK FEMALE by King Curtis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at ilikesitraw.com.
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