Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It Don't Matter If You're Black or White...

**Author's note: This is one side of an argument that has so many sides and tangents, it could take many a beer summit to figure out. This is just one side and it may or may not be entirely mine. Enjoy**

This weekend, I got a phone call and yet another friend from high school is engaged. I say yet another because pretty much all of my high school friends are set to walk down the aisle or already have. Some are even pregnant or have toddlers running around their McMansions in our same suburb we grew up. I hung up the phone with him, yes, him, and trekked over to my facebook page. I needed an actual count of how many had actually jumped the broom or were on the way over it. But then I realized something. There'd be no broom jumping. All my high school friends are white. They're the ones getting married. Not my black friends.

Now before you start commenting that your black friends are getting married too, let me stop you and say that I'm aware they're getting married as well. I have friends and family that are yanking their brooms out. This is just my observation based on much of society and my black and white friends.

See, somewhere along the line, whites are taught to settle down. Taught that these twenties are about finding a wife, getting a career off the ground, so that your thirties are about the suburbs and raising kids. The girls go to college and come home with boyfriends who become fiancees, they plan weddings at the age of twenty-four and any friends who are almost thirty and unwed are considered spinsters. But switch lanes to the black community and the numbers are enough to make you want to play for the other team (not chicks, other races). In our community, men are taught to run rampant, have a blast, get it in with as many as they can, get so many notches on their bedpost that it looks like Kunta's back in Roots (bad joke, I know). Somewhere along their matriculating line, black men are taught that marriage is what they do, finally, when all the fun stuff is done. They are taught to man whore like crazy and then finally "settle" when their good and "ready" (or maybe even not, hence cheating and divorce). It seems finding your career and getting married for white men lines up, coincides, but with black men, it's all about getting theirs before caring about anyone else. It happens eventually, I suppose, but men used to be ready at 25. Now, it's more like 35 and that's just because they need to pump out some kids. Nobody plans on sixty with a three year old at home.

I don't get it. Or maybe I do a little bit. While white people have been given a slightly easier road historically, and I say that with all the sarcasm I can muster, they have nothing to fear, nothing to want generally and are taught that they can have it all. People of minority descent have been on a bumpy ride since the boat ride over here and consequently have to fight to be free on a regular basis (from society and themselves). So maybe that has something to do with it. They don't want to be held down. They want to experience a life that eludes them. The sparkly, shiny one that was promised on the journey over or when Abe said we were free. So they do what they want, plant their seed so they can leave a life line, but not a legacy or something that matters. My generation isn't totally to blame though. The example isn't set. The black family is a flailing one. The white family has been intact since 1802 and has been perpetuated through Leave It To Beaver and Family Ties. It's all they know generally speaking. On our side of the fence, families are comprised of single-parent households and grandmothers raising black men who will never see what it means to be a married father taking care of his family. The only way to get black family examples is to be black family examples and well, there just aren't enough. There are a few black examples in the ever present media, don't get me wrong. There are some that are NOT the Huxtables. What about the Winslows? Or...um, help?

I have an astounding amount of respect for black marriage-because it's kinda like Haley's Comet. Something big and exciting that is so rare, you have to hold onto it cause who knows when you'll see it again. And while I haven't dated a white guy in forever, and laughed at my friend who was saying he was heading for the slopes, I might join him. Not because I want to get married, but based on this crazy argument I'm having on this blog, I should have jumped ship long ago.

to be continued, I'm sure...



  1. Ms. Collins,

    a very good post. I come from a single-parent home. I am now that single-parent. Why? I was told to get married but not given instructions on how to date, or whom to date, even why to date. But my parents couldn't give me what that hadn't been given. Neither of them have ever been married. I have decided I don't want that for my own son or daughter. Although they are not being raised in what I feel is the ideal situation, I make sure to tell them, to show them, to find examples of what I want for them and any grandchildren I may have.

    Thank you for this.

  2. "i got so much things to say right now!"-BMW

    ok, where do i begin...i am old fashioned, raised in the 70's& 80's middle class/working class black family.
    i thought i was getting "old" when i got married at 22!
    imo, i believe that the way young black men, hell, ALL black men act is a direct results of the lingering effects of slavery!
    the FACT of the matter is, black men were used as "studs" going around from plantation to plantation, to "mate" with women and produce "super slaves"...this went on for centuries, is it any wonder we have this same phenomenon going on 150 years later? baby daddies have been around for ages, they just did not call them that back then. THE FORM CHANGES, YET THE ESSENCE REMAINS THE SAME. old habits are hard to break...i am not saying it is right, but it is what it is. and people who do not know their past are destined to repeat it...all i learned about black people coming up is that we were slaves who were brought to this country to work in cotton and tobacco fields...there was no mention of how we were stripped of our languages, religion, cutlture, etc. there was no mention of how all that "free labor" made this country the greatest/richest country in the world...there was nothing i learned (in school) to make me proud!and you know what is sad, reading my childrens' u.s. history books a few years ago, the only difference i see is now when they talk about slaves, now they are called "enslaved people" how p.c. is that?

  3. black man here to defend us all. well not really. sadly, there seems to be a deficit in the black man under the age of thirty married w/ children, but I'm not sure that's such a bad thing. So what if it takes us until our thirties to do what other cultures may be doing by the time they're 25. I'm sure many of your hs friends could be divorced by the time we're running down the aisle. Wouldn't you rather be with a thirtysomething who's done sowing his wild oats verses heading down the aisle when he isn't ready? I know women want a man, but I'm prety sure you don't want that one.

    Remember there are some good ones out there. Many of us who are ready to take on marriage and family and are just waiting until we meet the right one. It's a shame one (or several) apples is ruining our whole bunch.

    But, I do think it's time for black men to step up and stop living the lives of the men who were or weren't in their lives growing up. As the above woman stated, we're destined to repeat our pasts if we don't learn from it. You're right, the black family is like an endangered species and if that's the case, we better start learning our lesson before we become extinct. Perhaps if we get it together we can actually be there to cultivate our "seeds" that we plant-and hopefully with their mother, who's hopefully our wife too.

  4. "So they do what they want, plant their seed so they can leave a life line, but not a legacy or something that matters."

    There is so much truth and wisdom in these words it hurts. It's hard as you mentioned to hearken back to a strong black family unit in today's society. Today people settle for being a wife, a prospect, a boo, a side chicks, etc. The majority of the women I know are single. We are young professionsals in our mid 20s, some of us have Masters, we're all gainfully employed, own a car, some have an apartment or a house, but we're single. None of us have found this mythical "one" yet, but when and if I'm blessed enough to find him, I have no intention of letting go.

  5. 1:22
    just a little warning, a word to the wise, and i am not making this up...check your Bible to see if i am telling the truth or not...be prepared to share...concubinin' ain't nothing new...these junior flips out here today, even though there is an epidemic...do not know the meaning of the word monogamy!