THE LYNCHING OF BLACK MARRIAGE
"What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility."
- Leo Tolstoy
I’m constantly reading about the decline of the black man and the black woman. Statistically I’m bombarded with media purporting that the black relationship is not on life-support, but dead and buried. According to the powers that be; black men and women can’t have a conversation; let alone connect for a possible relationship.
Here’s a little history lesson: Lynching was a standard practice of killing blacks by the hands of a mob. This went on from the 18th Century through the 1960’s. Demanding no more government complicity; lynching began to stop when blacks rallied and mounted resistance using protest, lobbying against the violence. Numerous organizations were born out of the struggle such as the NAACP. An anti-lynching bill was passed in January 1922 in the House of Representatives. History shows that the lynchings continued, but things didn’t change until blacks took an active role in their own freedom. I contend that marriage is no different. Yes, I know it is a legal union made before GOD and family. My personal definition is finding that one person that you not only love, but can’t live without.
Top Issues in Black Marriage
1. What examples do we have?
Very few of us grew up in a two-parent household. It is easier to uphold a standard when that is the example you’ve been given. Those of you whose parents have been married as long as you’ve been alive consider yourself blessed. Many of us are ill-equipped and have been set-up for failure.
2. Not understanding our roles as men and women.
Due to the changing of our roles out of necessity; women have taken on the roles that were traditional held by men. Factor in the confusion in sexuality in men and women and you see where part of the problem lies.
3. Blacks are the least likely to marry, and the most likely to divorce.
Although I don’t have the figures; it’s been reported that the divorce rate is at 50% overall. For blacks it has been reported at an even higher rate. We are not expected to have a successful marriage. After the age of thirty (30) black women aren’t expected to marry. By the age of thirty most of us have already had children and are most likely divorced.
4. THE GREAT DIVIDE: As black women become more successful black men are falling behind.
Black women have been encouraged to educated themselves and enter the corporate world. A few years ago black women were the highest paid in corporate America; second only to white men.
During this same time when great strides were made; black men are now the highest in those incarcerated. Black men are also some of the lowest paid in corporate America. The literacy rate has fallen and so has the high school graduation rate.
5. Open Relationships: Trying to redefine what needs no new definition. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!”
Black men have fed into this myth that they are the hottest commodity on the market. They count on the numbers that report that we outnumber them as much as 12 to 1. Black women are so desperate; why not share the wealth? This is a good reason as any not to practice monogamy. Now we have books such as; IS MARRIAGE FOR WHITE PEOPLE? by Ralph Richard Banks, that encourages black women to explore their options and contemplate marrying outside their race. Mr. Banks contends that this is not only a great idea for black women, but it helps to build up the black race as a whole. I don’t agree with synopsis.
6. Disproportionate amount of blacks (particularly men) are unemployed or under-employed.
Getting married is not cheap. The wedding can be very expensive, but too many of us are more concerned with the pomp and circumstance of the wedding than the marriage. The unemployment rate has fallen, but a disproportionate amount of black men are unemployed. Yes, we have our superstars and athletes, but they are few and far between. If women earn $0.30 for every dollar a man earns; imagine what that is for every black man. Most educated black men opt out of corporate America to avoid the glass ceiling.
7. Under the illusion that marriage doesn’t demand compromise or change (this crosses all color lines).
A healthy relationship experiences change and growth. We’ve become a selfish society that doesn’t believe we have to accommodate anyone or their feelings. Any great relationship requires compromise. When you love someone you can put their needs before your own. When the love is reciprocated you gladly do the same.
I said it today and still believe that this is a problem to which we still don’t have all these answers. In order to have the solution we need to know the issues. Everyone else has discussed “our issues”, but it won’t be solved until we own it and deal with it in-house. Growing up we didn’t discuss our problems in front of company. It was considered a private matter. This is very old-school, but we need to discuss amongst ourselves. When we figure this out then we can invite company. I don’t want “us” contributing to the problem. We solved and stopped the lynching before; we can do it again.
STRANGE FRUIT by Billie Holiday