By: Rachel Miller-Bradshaw-
The Dwayne Wade-Gabrielle Union scandal involving Wade fathering a child outside his committed relationship with Union has sparked interesting conversations among African American women. In the comment sections of many blogs, several black women have expressed their disgust at Wade’s, and all black men’s infidelity, as well as their conscious decision to live permanently along. Some have proudly stated that they are in their late 30s and early 40s and have never been married or had children. They mark this as success along with career and financial accomplishments, boasting that they have accomplished their heart’s desire.
The blog comments observed made by these black women specifically in regards to professing these accomplishments, true or not, don’t coincide with the study released by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. The study found that single women of color, between the ages of 36 to 49, have a net worth of $5. It also showed that Black and Hispanic women are drastically worse off than white women who have higher marriage rates.
Ironically, studies show that black men benefit highly from marriage.
Discussing why marriage is important to black existence includes the message that relationships should be based on a loving and healthy premise. Dating black men and black women must understand that relationships aren’t just based on instant feeling and 100% happiness but is also based on love- that will sometime during the marriage require sacrifice, struggle and forgiveness-a lesson maybe Gabrielle Union understands. That is just the reality of being in long-term relationships that all races and ethnic groups experience. There are highs and lows.
Black relationships in many instances are complex and strained stemming from an unstable premise during slavery, which has continued without being fully being addressed. There could be a subconscious disdain between the genders. Supporting this are the recent studies that have shown that black men and black women wait the longest to get married. A detrimental move that prevents or severely extends wealth building, acquired faster, when two people are working together.
Communities strive on healthy families that bring culture, diversity and a source of income to build, maintain and progress the neighborhood. Western society spreads individualism ideology- “what’s mine is mine”. However, socially, the individualistic approach could never work for African Americans who endure disenfranchisement causing higher poverty rates. Most ethnic groups and Caucasians themselves understand that progress can only be made when working as a group. Our communities, plagued with single mothers, display from the higher crime rates, decaying infrastructure and poverty that “I can do it by myself” mentality is a falsehood that black people just can’t afford to adopt.
You could read through the words the anger, unhappiness and disappointment of these commenters, specifically the women, masked in boasting individualism and singledom. These women and men must realize that life is volatile and a partner is needed to assist in buffering the harsh realities of it.
The black community must aggressively encourage and push the marriage agenda, the familial aspect of solidarity. From there, our communities, personal wealth, and social positioning will accelerate.