Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Black In America: Marriage

Let me be clear: I normally don't care for black townhall meetings. Most of the times, I feel these townhall meetings are a base for shouting matches - see my post on BET's Hip-hop vs America and you'll see my point. If it's not about shouting matches, it's about how to prove each panel's status by their expansive vocabulary (how's that going to change folks situation?). But my interest was picqued with the incessant commercials on CNN's Black In America and I thought I should check it out.

Well, there's a lot to be said about this series which started in April commemorating 40 years of Dr. King's assassination. The second installment was this past weekend which featured issues on marriage, teenage pregnancy, education, and HIV and more to come on Wednesday and Thursday. To organize my thoughts, let me give a post to each segment. Let's talk about marriage.

According to 2006 U.S. Census report, 45 percent of African-American women are unmarried compared to 23 percent of their white counterparts. But single parenthood has increased. The panel's duty was to figure out what's wrong with the so called trend. How could marriage get in "vogue?" Well, there was a controversial method from a New York woman, Maryann Reid to "marry your Baby Daddy." Her idea is to stop the trend of just single parenthood and get married.

But what was going through this writer's head was what about those who don't have a "baby daddy?" - I really can't believe we've reduced "fathers" to such term. But I digress. I found out today that subject will be addressed on tomorrow's show, check out the video on this link.

Yep, I'm going to say it to black women: It's time to try something new! Yes the movie with the aforementioned sentence gave some black men angst but brought about a real conversation (even Oprah dedicated a whole show to it) that black women don't need to sit around justifying a need not to betray their race (yes I've heard some folks say that) instead of having their best life regardless of race.

I figured this out a couple of years ago at a basketball game. I must say I was sitting at a great seat and during a timeout, I took some time to scope out my environment. Each black guy around me was with a Caucasian or Hispanic date. Personally, I've never really cared about who dates whom; could be due to the prism of my environment. In South Florida, whoa, inter-relationships is prevalent. But what I wondered was in such diverse culture, how come none of these "brothers" who appeared to be doing well in life found one black woman to date.

I shared my observations with some black guy friends a few days later to get their point of view. What I was told (a sorry excuse) was those black guys I saw at a Miami Heat game moved in certain circles black women don't frequent. The visual of the look I gave them was priceless. Then one said in a bit graphic terms that black women would not put out the way their other race counterparts will. To which I replied, "you mean not dealing with your sorry mess." That got some silence.

Then I asked: "so how do you feel about black women dating outside of their races?" There were grimaces on their faces and the feeling of being uncomfortable settled in. One person I'll call "D" said: NO! I just don't like it. Me: But you'll date a white woman. D: Yeah, but it's not the same. Me: Why isn't it the same, D: Look "M" it's not the same aiight, call me prejudiced all you want but that's like a kick in the gut when I see that. Hmmm, you judge for yourselves.

Tags: CNN, Black In America, Interracial relationships