A new study on black relationships picks apart dating and marriage myths and shows how media have manipulated facts and figures.
For example, take the popular statistic that more black women than black men have earned bachelor’s degrees. It’s true. So is this: “Nationwide, although more than 800,000 more black women than black men have at least a bachelor’s degree, almost 200,000 more black men than black women earn more than $75,000 per year.”
That piece of information helps put the matter in perspective, and the debate has often lacked balance. As the study notes, “entrepreneurial elements of America have found a variety of creative ways to benefit financially from black females’ anxieties at the expense of black males’ egos. Preachers, entertainers turned relationship experts, filmmakers and news documentaries have manipulated statistics to stoke the fear necessary to sell their preferred cut-rate brand of catharsis or solace.”
I’m familiar with one of those “creative ways” some have found to deal with the matter. It is easy. Date and marry someone of a different race. A number of web sites, businesses and books tout the idea.
It’s not that easy, though. For years, women and men have dreamed about their ideal mate. They have pursued this vision, playing it over and over again in their minds. It is tough to insert a new man or woman in the leading role. In other words, change is hard. I can’t change how someone thinks. She has to do that.
There are probably more reasons than I can count for why I was open to dating and then marrying someone of a different race. I lived on military bases as a child. I lived overseas as a child. I was exposed to many cultures, thoughts and ideas. I witnessed two interracial relationships in my extended family. No one told me I couldn’t, shouldn’t or better not date someone of another race.
Believer that I am, I’ve stopped suggesting my black girlfriends date someone of another race. Some are not open to the idea; others are offended by the mere mention of it. I accept that I can’t organize love and that what works for me may not work for you.