Happily Ever After

Black women have known about the shortage of black men for decades. Now others are taking notice.

In December, ABC’s Nightline addressed the issue. “Let’s take 100 black men. By the time you eliminate those without a high school diploma (21 percent), the unemployed (17 percent) and those ages 25-34 who are incarcerated (8 percent), you have only half of black men, 54 percent, whom many black women find acceptable.”

Here is one more statistic: There are 1.8 million more black women in the U.S. than there are black men, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Where does that leave the next generation of girls?

In the same place as the women who came before them. I married my best friend who happened to be white, but I definitely dated black men in hopes I would one day walk down the aisle with one.

As for Simone and Nadia, I don’t care who they marry. I don’t even care if they marry. These are decisions each will make much later. As long as they have healthy relationships and are treated well, I will be happy. Ken, I suspect, is keeping his options open. More than one person has suggested he purchase a shotgun.

I do have a bit of advice if either one decides a black man will be her prince charming: Marry young.

Find him in college and close the deal shortly after graduation. What I am saying sounds so cold, so businesslike, so premature. It is all of those things. I have talked with girlfriends for hours and hours about this issue. I have watched it featured on television, in magazines, in books. It is a problem, and I don’t think it is going away.

In the end, it is just my advice. Simone and Nadia don’t have to take it. We will have to endure all kinds of breakups and makeups before we can get to that point, but first Ken will have to put away his shotgun.

  • When Harold Ford Jr announced his engagement to a white woman, I wondered what the talk was in the black community. (I am white.) If I were a black woman, I might be a little ticked off that here was yet another really eligible black man choosing a woman who was not black.

  • Blanc2

    As a WM who dated quite a few BW and is now married (15 years) to a BW, I represent sort of the “other side” perspective of that discussion. I certainly hope that my wife married me because of something she likes about me, rather than out of default because she couldn’t find an available single BM. For my part, I never had a shortage of WW in my life, but I generally found BW more attractive and thus, since I’m a man and my initial attraction tends to be physical/visual, was more likely to pursue relationships with them.

    On a higher level, I think that the historical factors that tended to keep WM and BW apart are fading in importance for many, and at the same time WM and BW with similar interests and educational levels are meeting in larger numbers on college campuses, at work, etc. It’s only a matter of time before we see a significant increase in WM/BW couples.

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