Can’t Organize Love

A new study on black relationships picks apart dating and marriage myths and shows how media have manipulated facts and figures.

For example, take the popular statistic that more black women than black men have earned bachelor’s degrees. It’s true. So is this: “Nationwide, although more than 800,000 more black women than black men have at least a bachelor’s degree, almost 200,000 more black men than black women earn more than $75,000 per year.”

That piece of information helps put the matter in perspective, and the debate has often lacked balance. As the study notes, “entrepreneurial elements of America have found a variety of creative ways to benefit financially from black females’ anxieties at the expense of black males’ egos.  Preachers, entertainers turned relationship experts, filmmakers and news documentaries have manipulated statistics to stoke the fear necessary to sell their preferred cut-rate brand of catharsis or solace.”

I’m familiar with one of those “creative ways” some have found to deal with the matter. It is easy. Date and marry someone of a different race. A number of web sites, businesses and books tout the idea.

It’s not that easy, though. For years, women and men have dreamed about their ideal mate. They have pursued this vision, playing it over and over again in their minds. It is tough to insert a new man or woman in the leading role. In other words, change is hard. I can’t change how someone thinks. She has to do that.

There are probably more reasons than I can count for why I was open to dating and then marrying someone of a different race. I lived on military bases as a child. I lived overseas as a child. I was exposed to many cultures, thoughts and ideas. I witnessed two interracial relationships in my extended family. No one told me I couldn’t, shouldn’t or better not date someone of another race.

Believer that I am, I’ve stopped suggesting my black girlfriends date someone of another race. Some are not open to the idea; others are offended by the mere mention of it. I accept that I can’t organize love and that what works for me may not work for you.

 

 

  • taliba

    Sorry for so many mispelled words, writing too fast!

  • taliba

    I have dated “outside of my race”. I’d say it “just happened” )because I tend to like people that like me and treat me well). I had very serious relationships with a Jewish male, and a Native American. They were both several years. I didn’t end up marrying either one but the reasons had nothing to do with race (and I ended up marrying a West Indian). My African American girlfriends were shocked when I dated outside my race is because in my youth I had been so militant. However, I chalked it up to growing up and becoming exposed to more of the world. By the time I got to Graduate School guys were just guys and whoever treated me well and with love, got my attetnion.

  • Blanc2

    Interesting study. I’ve always personally disliked the “last resort” argument used to suggest that BW should be open to relationships with WM. As a WM married to a BW, I would not be happy to learn that my wife chose me as a last resort compromise, a “second best” option after concluding that there were no BM, whom she prefers, would be available.

    This study seems to demonstrate (I say “seems” because the study is poorly written and organized and may itself be manipulating statistics), parts of that argument may be based on false syllogisms drawn from manipulative misuse of statistics. As we all know, it’s easy to mis-use statistics in this way.

    However, the study confirms the oft-cited fact that marriage rates for BW (and BM) dropped off precipitously beginning in the 1980’s and continue to decline today. Regardless of the cause, it makes logical sense for anybody truly seeking marriage to broaden the cast of one’s nets.

    By the way, it has been my anecdotal perception that BW and WM are finding one another with increasing frequency, not because of a perceived dearth of same-ethnicity marriagable partners but rather simply because they are attracted to one another. As an example, on my hallway in my company, out of about 12 offices occupied by professionals, 3 are inhabited by WM married to BW in nuclear families with children, one who is senior and near retirement, myself (mid-career), and a younger guy. Total coincidence insofar as company office assignments, but indicative, I think, of how BW/WM nuclear families are becomming somewhat commonplace, at least in this region.

    • Yes, statistics can say anything you want them to say. It’s always good to get a different perspective. I agree that WM don’t want to feel like second best. That’s just one more reason to stop the campaign. Folks will do what they want to do. As you point out, most of the time folks just fall in love and get on with their lives, regardless of race.

  • Unless you are saying it in some offensive manner, I don’t understand why anyone would be offended by you saying, “Hey, be open to all your romantic possibilities.” But, whatever, that’s their stuff. You got your husband and babies. *shrug*

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