This is the last post related to my recently published book, Is Marriage for White People?.
Black women are the least likely of any minority group population to marry across racial lines. Only about 1 in 20 black women is married to a man of a different race. Black women are segregated in their relationships in part because they are committed to forming relationships with black men. However laudable that commitment, it is counterproductive and undermines the black family that women seek to bolster.
Black women confront a paucity of suitable male partners and thus either remain unmarried in unprecedented numbers or marry a less educated and/or lower earning man, also to an unprecedented extent. Neither of these outcomes is optimal. Most black women, like women of all races, want to marry. And when professional women partner with working class men, problems are likely to result.
Black women would benefit themselves by more frequently marrying across the race line. These women would not only have more relationships, they’d have better relationships too. In marrying down rather than out, black women choose a partner of the same race but a different class. Many college-educated black women would do better to find a man of the same class, even if a different race. While compatibility may be a matter of both race and class, it is clearly that case that black women’s marriage patterns reflect too much emphasis of race and not enough of class.
For black women to cross the race line would produce another, broader benefit as well. By exiting the segregated African American relationship market, black women would help to lessen the disproportionate relationship power that black men wield as a result of their scarcity, and which depresses the marriage rates of even middle class African American couples.
Ironically, one way for black women to prompt more black men to marry them would be for more black women to expand their options to include men of other races.