ABC News Nightline did a piece on why so many successful Black women are single, and if they need to lower their standards in regards to requirements for finding a mate.
Nicole Marchand is celebrating another birthday. A 31-year-old black woman, she’s already a prosecuting attorney in Atlanta and running for state court judge.
What is keeping African-American women from walking down the aisle?
Personable yet direct, Marchand isn’t the kind of woman you find standing by passively on the sidelines of life. But you would find her, for example, at the Georgia Dome, cheering on the Atlanta Falcons pro football team.
You’ve heard of a man’s man. Marchand is the quintessential man’s woman: She appears to have it all. And, yet, she’s still single.
She has plenty of company. Forty-two percent of U.S. black women have never been married, double the number of white women who’ve never tied the knot.
I look forward to the day,” Marchand said. “I look forward to being married.”
It’s just not that easy. For starters, there are 1.8 million more black women than black men. So even if every black man in America married a black woman today, one out of 12 black women still wouldn’t make it down the aisle if they hoped to marry a black man.
Let’s take 100 black men. By the time you eliminate those without a high school diploma (21 percent), the unemployed (17 percent) and those ages 25-34 who are incarcerated (8 percent), you have only half of black men, 54 percent, whom many black women find acceptable.
As a prosecutor, Marchand sees this problem firsthand every day.
“It is sad to see that the majority of the defendants that we prosecute are black males,” Marchand said. “Those numbers can be very disappointing.”
Chato Waters is a 32-year-old high school counselor pursuing a doctorate degree in psychology. “I would be lying if I said I don’t have fleeting thoughts of, ‘OK, I am 32, my clock is ticking,” Waters said. “We have a saying called the ‘black girl curse.’ A lot of our white friends are married by 25, happily married with kids by 27, and we’re like, ‘What’s the deal with the BGs?’ — and that’s black girls.”
“I don’t have a certain criteria, like if you are not 6-foot-5. … And I used to, but then as I got older I said, ‘Maybe if you are 6-foot-3, 6-foot-2, 6-foot-1, maybe if we can see eye-to-eye.”
“Nightline” broached the serious dilemma with comedian-turned-relationship-guru Steve Harvey, author of the book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.”
She’s also open to dating outside of her race. Indeed, the number of black women entering interracial marriages has more than doubled in the past decade.
“Last night, I was at a restaurant and had a great conversation with a Caucasian man,” she said. “I mean we were vibing, we were clicking and I am thinking at the end of the night he’s going to ask me for my number, because white men never ask for my number, and he said. ‘Great conversation, maybe I will see you around.’ And I was thinking, ‘What happened?'”
Melinda Watson is a 28-year-old payroll specialist who hasn’t had an exclusive relationship since college.
“We are maybe not as coveted as black men in society,” she said. “I just feel there is a lot of taboo that is associated with dating black women, because I don’t think they are necessarily ready to take us home to see momma.”
The consensus in this group was that their preference is to marry a black man. And it’s not that they can’t find one to date. The issue, in many cases, is exclusivity.
“You meet these great guys, you have a good relationship, and then it is like, ‘I’m going to keep you around, and hopefully when I am ready to settle down, you’ll be there,'” Ashford said.
Waters said, “That is the back-pocket girl. Every once in a while, they will check in on you to make sure you are still single: ‘You still single, you still waiting on me?'”
Waters hasn’t been in a committed relationship in more a decade. “I have my emotional moments where I cry, where I sit and I think, ‘Could I have done something differently?'” she said.
“I get lonely, but in that same vein the hurt I felt, and no peace, being in a situation I knew wasn’t right for me. I am more at peace with just crying myself to sleep sometimes, or going everywhere with Jakene [Ashford], rather than just having that little piece of a man.”
Marchand speculated on underlying causes.
“It may be the numbers,” she said, “It may be the options, it may be them realizing the disparity is there and saying, ‘Well, let me just test the waters and see what the options are.'”
- There are 1.8 million more black women then there are black men.
- One out of twelve black women would be single should every single black women be married today.
- If you eliminate black men who lack a high school diploma, employment and scratch out those who are incarcerated, black women only have 54% of black men to pick from.
“So if I don’t find the perfect person for me, then I’ll just remain single.”