Recently, there have been reports of a Black woman who was allegedly so frustrated with the available pool of marriage prospects, that she decided to marry herself. There has been an overwhelmingly negative stigma surrounding the state of the Black marriage as it relates to the union of the Black man and woman. Media outlets of the dominant society make it their top priority to depict dysfunctional Black relationships, with an emphasis on Blacks oftentimes not being married at all.
Has it ever occurred to you in recent decades that there has been a strong push for Blacks to postpone marriage to much later years than our non-Black counterparts, or to not consider marriage as an option at all? This is because fundamentally speaking, marriage is the foundation on which families are built. In many traditional African societies, men and women would marry as young as possible. Although the socioeconomic conditions here in the States contrast greatly from those in African traditional customs, our Brothers and Sisters on the continent have proven that happy, healthy, and long-lasting marriages can take place if so desired.
It’s evident at this point in time that the myth of the “strong and independent” Black woman not needing a man has severely backfired on our race as a whole. On the other hand, the myth that the Black man should just abandon Black women entirely in search of “greener (whiter) grass on the other side” has blown up in our faces as well. Now that these ridiculous notions have been shattered on numerous occasions, and our sons are generally clueless on how to even engage with young women in quality conversations…and our daughters are under the assumption that every man she meets will prey upon her in some capacity because of the absence of a strong father figure in her life…isn’t it safe to believe that there should at least be a dialogue in place on the topic of the necessity for Black men and women to get married at a higher rate than what we are now?
By no means are we advocating that every single Black person be married, or that they should be married next week. The reality is that there will be some individuals in the Black community–just like any other community–who probably aren’t supposed to be married, and there are some who will never be married. We are also consistently reminded of the treacherous pitfalls that marriage entails. However, we can’t ignore the fact that many statistics have proven how well a child fares when they grow up in two-parent homes. Another fact to keep in mind is that marriage–if carried out correctly–can allow Black families to pass along generational wealth and other benefits to build future generations of Black families.
For quite sometime now, there has been a disheartening narrative that marriage is not meant for Black people. Perhaps this belief alone reinforces many stereotypes that continue to negatively affect our people. It gives credence to a belief that Blacks are unfit to marry, which in many ways also implies that we are incapable of starting families. Maybe the reason why the dominant society attempts to discourage us from even considering marriage is that they’ve realized a value that we have lost as African people over the past few centuries; that a strong nation is built upon a collective of strong communities. Strong communities are built upon a collective of strong families. Strong families are built upon a collective of strong marriages.
by B. Clark