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Real Talk: Don't Give Up on Marriage

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Black Marriage
By now, we’ve all heard the statistic that 42% of Black women are unmarried. But what we haven’t heard is that by 35, 75% of Black women are experiencing bridal bliss, and have headed down the aisle at least once, according to the new study. 

Surely, you’re sick of all the news reports wondering why single black women can't make it down the aisle? I got so fed up, I wrote an entire book -- "A Belle in Brooklyn" --  in praise of single living. But there’s been sooo much coverage of this issue that I had to wonder why a recent study by professors at Howard and Morehouse has made barely a blip on mainstream media’s radar.

And I know you’ve heard complaints about how any Negro with some extra zeroes in his bank account is salivating to, as Kanye put it, “leave you’re a** for a White girl.”

Not true. Eighty-three percent of married Black men with an income of more than $100,000 put a ring on a Black woman. Black men with college degrees also overwhelmingly marry Black women to the tune of 85%. Among Black professional athletes, Lamar Odom, Tiger Woods, and Kobe Bryant are in the minority. Seventy-two percent marry a Black woman.

Listen to mainstream media, and you’re likely under the impression that if you’ve got a degree (or three), that your education may be working against you when it comes to finding a mate. Rest assured, your degrees don’t hurt your prospects -- though as we learned Friday in my Real Talk post, “Is Your Man Jealous of Your Success?”, you may have to kiss a few clichéd frogs before you find your Prince. 

In fact, the better educated you are, the more likely you are to get married. The study took a look at ladies in Atlanta and found that 67% of women with a Doctoral degree were married, 55% of women with a Masters degree had tied the knot, and 38% of ladies with Bachelors had jumped the broom. Ladies with a high school diploma were almost equally likely to marry as women with a college degree, but among ladies who hadn’t completed high school, only 27% were married. The study reported Black women in Washington, D.C. had similar marriage rates.

This is excellent and optimistic news. So why do we hear so much about where Black women go wrong, instead of what we are doing, and can do right?

“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,” say the authors of the study, Ivory A. Toldson, Ph.D., an associate professor at Howard University School of Education, and Bryant T. Marks, an assistant professor of psychology at Morehouse College. “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.”

Discuss.

Demetria L. Lucas is the Relationships Editor at ESSENCE and the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. She has recently been nominated for an African American Literary Award. Vote for her now on literaryawardshow.com



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