Unfortunately, it’s been regurgitated so often and for so many years, we have internalized the notion, believed it as fact, then retell similar statements to our friends and family members—to our children. The truth is, there are a lot of layers to this topic that need to be unpacked.
First thing’s first: the majority of black men in this country are married to black women. Now, the media often misconstrues the fact that when comparing the percentages, black men marry nonblack women more frequently than black women marry nonblack men. The somewhat outdated statistics that back this up come from the Pew Research Center analysis of 2014-2015, and unfortunately there are no recent studies specifically rating the flux of interracial newlyweds since that time. This Pew Research Center analysis also reports the African American community not seen an increase in marriages since 1980.
The percentage of African American newlyweds in 2015 (9%) is identical to that of 1980. This is definitely not ideal, but the real misleading statement comes in the next stat that was partially mentioned earlier. When women hear “black men are twice as likely as black women to have a spouse of a different race or ethnicity (24% vs. 12%)”, they use that statement to confirm the black-male-shortage narrative. The problem is lack of understanding the percentages in relation to the actual numbers, one of which is the gender gap for interracial marriages was just as lopsided in 1980 with 8% for men and 3% for women (Brom and Livingston). The number of interracial marriages for African Americans has tripled for men and quadrupled for women, but no one mentions the women. The media portrays black women as ugly, difficult and angry, giving those and others as reasons why black men don’t marry black women.
Additionally, the media and other personnel fail to contextualize the statistics they provide. Out of the nine percent of newlyweds in 2015, 24% of those men married outside of their race. If you don’t mind a little math lesson, let’s say there were 100,000 newlyweds in 2015, and 9,000 of those were African Americans. Of the 9,000 couples 2,160 (2.16%) of those males married out of their race and 1,080 (1.08%) of those couples had black women marry nonblack men. With this example 5,760 black couples who married in 2015 were not interracial. Yet the charts and graphs shown online lead the public to believe these numbers are far greater than they are. We focus so heavily on the 24% vs 12%, we fail to see that the majority of black men are still marrying black women, proving the narrative of unavailable black men to be false.
We are also extremely uneducated on the amount of nonblack interracial marriages in the country. There’s a negative perception of black males being the highest demographic to marry outside of their race. According to the Pew Research Center study of 2015, they’re not even close to the highest. Asians (36% women, 21% men) and Hispanics (28% women, 26% men) are far more likely to marry outside of their race compared to African American and Caucasian demographics (Brown and Livingston). The study does however highlight the contrast of black men versus black women because of the large gap in percentages. With that being said, it comes down to the rate in which our men and women are marrying, which according to the study has not changed in over 35 years.
There is no book you should read or seminar you should attend that teaches love-hungry black women how to conduct themselves so black men will be interested. No. Buying into that type of thinking will have you (and all the sistas you know) forever morphing into what “they” tell you black men are looking for, and simply put it’s a waste of your time, energy and effort. Contrary to society and your well-meaning tribe, good black men are not “hard to find”, there is no “shortage” and they’re not “all taken or in jail”. These are false, misleading statements designed to discourage black women from manifesting their black families.
Yes, there is an over-incarceration rate of black men— but that’s a completely separate issue. While I absolutely support the need for more prison reformation and rehabilitation projects, I highly doubt your perfect match is currently in a state penitentiary. And who’s to say you’d be interested in a good black man who had a criminal record but turned his life around? Would you even give a good black man a second look if he didn’t meet the physical type you saw yourself with? Or if he is a divorcée with two kids? Or if he made less money than you did but was a loving, honorable man ready to provide and build a life with you?
The reality of dating (with the intent to marry) is that it’s hard. And concentrating your search on one specific demographic (black male, tall, college-educated, earns $80k+, church goer, loves his mother, no kids, never been married, vegan, athletic, strong-but-sensitive, handy etc.) will make the size of your pool smaller. There are several, more modern ways of widening your dating pool like participating in singles activity-groups, hiring a matchmaker, a dating coach or vacationing to find love. However, these methods aren’t a requirement to find a “good black man”.
Single black men worthy of your love are everywhere. He’s not with another woman (of any ethnic background) and he’s not in jail. Your match is preparing himself so when you walk into his life, he will be ready. One major issue with repeating fiction as fact is that we don’t understand the power of our words. You may not believe this, but we all have the power to speak the desires of our hearts, to speak anything into existence. Verbalizing your inability to find a “good black man” will create a world wherein you are unable to find black men with honorable intentions. Change your mentality and how you use your words; be patient, be open, and watch your situation improve. Stop allowing the media and your core circle to tell you all the decent black men are unavailable because they’re taken by white women or Latinas. This is not true. I get it. Fiction spreads faster than fact, and you may be frustrated at the uphill climb dating has been thus far, but the reality is couples are choosing to cohabitate in lieu of getting married. “In 2018, the marriage rate in the United States stood at 6.5 per 1,000 people of the population. This is a decrease from 1990 levels, when the marriage rate was 9.8 marriages per 1,000 people” (Duffin, Erin).
Are there percentages black men who prefer to date and marry nonblack women? Absolutely. But there are also percentages of black women who prefer the same. This goes for Asian women and Hispanic men, and white men too. Even though it’s been reported that black males are increasingly marrying outside of their race, the rate is not as significant as the percentages lead you to believe. Even among male athletes, celebrities and entertainers. There are some who have nonblack wives, but many of them have black wives—but publicizing the true amount of black love present in our country goes against the narrative society wants to portray. Black love is powerful. It is popular, and it is real. Trust and believe there are still black men in search of their beautiful black queen.
Brown, Anna and Livingston, Gretchen. Intermarriage in the U.S. 50 Years After Loving v. Virginia. 18 2017 May.
Duffin, Erin. USA - Marriage rate 1990-2018. 2 Jan 2020
Duffin, Erin. Number of marriages in the U.S. 1990-2018. 17 Jan 2020.