Tyra's "Black women : State of the union 2008"

  • Black women are the least likely to get married out of any other race.
  • Half the black women in America have never been married.
  • In 73% of interracial marriages, the man is black.
  • Almost 70% of African American births are to unwed mothers.
  • Black women making more than 75K/year are 10x more likely to become a single parent by choice.
Topics discussed were hair (which I have no problem with, I am constantly changing it, weaves, short cut, my own hair permed, colored, etc, I've done it all), relationships, being treated fairly at work, having children alone, etc. These topics keep coming up. NBC had a special late last year and now Tyra. The state of the Black women in America. Being a young black woman, there doesn't leave much hope for me. The fact that I will always be underpaid at work, the fact that there is a slim chance that I will get married, and if so it may not be to a black man. The fact that I may have to have children on my own threw artificial insemination or by adopting.

After the NBC special, I honestly didn't feel any of those issues applied to me, I would just be patient, and love would find me when the time was right; but after recently having a conversation with a fellow blogger, and I realized that I have never been on a real date before, and then seeing the Tyra show, I really began to worry. Yes, I am 26 years old, will be 27 in May and have never had a real date before. I've had the dinner and a movie, or the let's meet up for drinks, but never a real date. It's always been I suggest we go to this play, or I suggest we go on this trip. I have never once had a man plan everything to the T and I be completely swept away on a date. I don't blame any of them though. I'm just too damn laid back for my own good that guys don't really feel I care about that stuff. I love just chilling at the crib and watching a game, but that doesn't mean that I also don't like to be wined and dined.

Also, I have never really dated a guy that fully complemented me intellectually. I am a sucker for a nice body and for some reason the guys that stimulate me physically, usually aren't the ones that can also stimulate my mind. I look back and some of the men I've dated and even ask myself why... and came up with "just cause." I never thought all but 1 were ever "the one." I knew they were all just temporary and that it would never go anywhere, but it was something to do at that time.

Then I had to re-evaluate if my expectations for love are too high. For those that have ridden with me for a while, you are familiar with my perfect man box post, where I went into detail the things I want in a significant other. So the question I have to ask myself is "how much will I let that box wilt just to have a companion?" Should I have to tear down any of its sides? Aren't I entitled to have the man of my dreams? I honestly don't think I've asked too much.

But the show did make me realize that distinguished African American men feel the same way. Just like I meet the street hustlers and Mcdonald's cashier's; they meet the strippers, or the chick that has 7 different baby daddies for their 5 children...yeah peep that one... or better yet just read it over again. I wanted to get a better understanding of the black male psyche so I went to a series the washington post did on the state of the black man.

So should we sacrifice ourselves as a people, and what we really want in a mate, meaning we settle, just so we can feel some companionship. I personally feel the answer is "NO." I feel settling is a huge reason why the divorce rate is so high. Women are settling for a man that does nothing for them just because his bankroll is right. Or men are settling for that women that is to be seen and not heard and then embarrassed when she goes to a corporate function and can't hold a meaningful conversation with your colleagues.

If you want to check out the videos from the Tyra show:
Part 1 - Interacial dating
Part 2 - Why black women are single? and Hair
Part 3 - Hair continued, black women's body image, Black women single parents
Part 4 - Black women single parents continued, Black actresses being underpaid
Part 5 - Black actresses being underpaid continued, Tips on how to find a mate

More and more black actresses are speaking out about being underpaid, and not having enough roles. Last year, actress Teri J. Vaughn got other black actresses in hollywood together for a documentary last year to talk about all the challenges they face called "Angels can't help but laugh." Here is the trailor if you haven't seen it.

Overall this whole show made me kinda depressed. Is there hope for African American relationships??? Janice Bryant Howroyd says yes. That you just need to be patient and make sure that you are meeting the standards that you want your mate to have. That you both need time to get on point. This encouraged me being that I am only 26, but seriously I am not trying to be just getting married at 40. She also said to remove age limits and parameters. I have a huge problem with this. I have never dated a man more than 5 years older than me, and it kinda disgusts me a little bit. My mom had me when she was 17, so I feel if a man is any older than that they can date my mom. I can go up to 35 as long as he doesn't look 35 so that's a start. As far as the parameters thing, I guess there are exceptions to some sides of my perfect man box.

So what are your thoughts? I'm young so I couldn't fathom having a baby on my own right now, but is their anyone out there in their 30's that would consider it. Has anyone out there as a black woman given up on black men? Have you given up that you will ever get married, and this question also goes to the men as well? Do you feel that you as a black man have just as hard a time finding a good black woman, as we have finding a good black man. Tell me how ya feel people because this whole state of the black woman really bothers me. Many people continue to bring the problem up but no one really has any answers on how to make it better, and as a young, single, pre-ivy league educated black female on the verge of great things, that really scares me...

Can I be real for a sec?

At one time I didn't even want kids, at all. I thought it would cramp my style. I love to travel, and get up and go when I please and I know that having children won't allow me to always be able to do that. It wasn't until last year when I saw both of my sisters have baby boys that I realized I would be cheating myself out of one of life's great pleasures if I didn't. Although, one of my sisters is married to a white man, and the other sister, the guy isn't even claiming the baby. So is this what I also have to live for? Having a baby with someone other than a black man, or having a baby on my own? Am I working my ass off at a job, doing a helluva lot more than a melanin challenged person per say at work, but will always and forever make less than him? Alright I'm threw... this post has gotten entirely too long and I wanna hear what my Renaissance Black Men and Women have to say...


ChocolateTopaz March 1, 2008 at 8:11 PM

hey Eb this is my first time making a comment even though i regularly come to ur site. YOur words today got to me so i had to say something... It is really hard to be a female in todays world and its sad to see how things have gotten. As we gain we lose. If you have a good career you cant have a family etc. You seem like a really great intelligent hardworking interesting individual and you deserve a man just as good or better and you know what if you dont find that then you are better of being single, at least thats what i think. Sometimes i think women are to blame as well though because we let men take advantage of us and then they think they can go on and treat every female that way. Just because there is supposedly a shortage of good black men is not reason for us to be desperate.

Anonymous March 1, 2008 at 8:18 PM

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Smarty Jones March 1, 2008 at 8:21 PM

Damn, my first comment was deleted. But I think I remember most of it.
You have certainly said a mouthful and I will be blogging about this later on.
But to answer your question, no, I haven't given up on black men or men in general and I'll tell you why.
The Bible says, "When A MAN FINDETH a wife, HE findeth a good thing." That verse tells me two things.
A) I shouldn't be looking for him. He should be looking for me. And
B) I need to sit my ass down and wait to be found.
We spend so much time chasing this dream of the husband and kids and house with the white picket fence because somebody told us when we were little girls that's what we should want.
And to be completely honest, I blame Disney for making every little girl believe that she has her own Prince Charming waiting for her in some far away kingdom.
I have grown completely comfortable with the fact that I may end up by myself. Let's be honest, there's some stuff that I flat out refuse to put up with and I'm not going to lower my standards just to say "I have somebody." That junk is played.
As for having children, I know a lot of women who led perfectly full lives without them. If I want one to keep, I know how to get one.
Plus, I have enough nieces, nephews and godchildren to pick up when I get bored and want somebody to play with. And the great thing about them is when I get tired, I can take their lil' asses home.
And, those statistics don't scare me. Stats are almost always discouraging. Shoot, if Algebra classes taught me nothing, they taught me that numbers are stupid and I don't need them in my life. So these statistics mean nothing to me. You can't live your life by numbers.
So no, I am neither shaken nor stirred by these stats.

Brittany_83 March 1, 2008 at 8:51 PM

Great post. I saw the Tyra show and I saw where she broke down in tears when talking about being older and never married and wanting kids. Kind of scares me as well. I want to be married and have kids one day. Just NO TIME SOON.
I am also with you on the date thing. I have never been on a real date or date as well and I am 24.

dejanae March 1, 2008 at 9:47 PM

i think these are questions a lot of us contemplate
iIl joke around about being an old spinster but in the back of my mind, im scared that's really were i'm gonna end up.
Haven't given up on the black man at all
Just afraid that they'll give up on me.
I got issues.lol

Anonymous March 2, 2008 at 12:06 AM

good post and good thoughtd EB. I will say that it is a shame that the really good women have to suffer because of the actions of the few jacked up ones. But one thing I will point to in tyras show as the woman who said the men that get her mentally do not get her physically. That part leads most of those kinds of brothers to other women, imo. Also, I do not think brothers have given up on sisters but there are certain things a man wants in his own and if the sister is not going to provide it, usually they will go to one who does. Just a few of my thoughts till I can get them all togethor.

1980 March 2, 2008 at 12:13 AM

Wow, this is an excellent and definitely thorough post. I have alot to say about it but I will try to be as concise as possible. First of all, I believe black people in general are in crisis. But having these types of discussions is the first step to creating a solution. Personally, I do not believe in settling and lowering my standards. I'll be alone before I settle for less. I haven't given up on black women and I sure as hell hope they haven't given up on me. You just have to be patient and not allow your happiness to be contingent upon someone else.

mp1 v.8.0 March 2, 2008 at 12:28 PM

great post. i know I haven't given up on the black women. Hell, I'm married to one with a beautiful daughter. At times, I've made it known that I was giving up on it but I'm realizing that's the worng decision. I've got a great find and I'm going to make it work.

I compare her with other women my age and I see that she really has it together. So many females of the opposite sex and same complexion are not motivated, intelligent, hard working etc... They're fine, but they offer nothing else. I think it might have something to do with the places I frequent and hang out. I'm lucky to have come across someone. But from what I'm hearing, this is different from what others of our generation are experiencing.

My mother is one of those women who has never been married. It's kind of saddening to me. She's a good woman, but can't find a compatible man. I feel sorry for what the black woman has to go through. You ladies deserve much better.

I did a post that touched on the historical aspect of this problem. You bout to make me go back and read that now.

James Tubman March 2, 2008 at 3:15 PM

you should not lower your expectations but if they don't meet all of them (which might be likely lol) then you can help them to meet them

this is a new day and baby

you can't take anything for granted

if you want something you have to create it in your life

the days of prince charming are over

get your head out of the clouds and come down to earth

people are heavily flawed

and they are going to be there 24/7to deal with all your baggage too

you believe that you have the power to do this and the power to do that

you are an empowered woman

than take advantage of the power you have and create the man you want to have

black women back in the day knew this

all they had to do was fix something nice for him when they wanted something or do something nice for him in the bed

getting all up in his face and challenging his manhood is foolish

my grandmother told me you catch more flys with honey than vinegar

think about it

James Tubman March 2, 2008 at 3:18 PM

oh yeah and the best thing i ever did for myself was get rid of the TV for precisely the reason you felt so depressed

i've been happy ever since

Mizrepresent March 2, 2008 at 4:38 PM

This is a great post Eb, and much to think about. It does sometimes look very bleak for the AA female with regards to relationships, but it is not impossible to have what you want...flipside, you have what a lot of woman want, freedom, good job, career...your focus should be on that until you've reached your goals in that arena. I know it never works out when we are seeking love and relationships, the most meaningful kind find you...and so he will. I do understand your frustration, though. I married very young, and stayed married for half of my living years. While married i watched my sister, who was divorced go 10 years without any meaningful relationship...this shocked me...now that i am single again...i wonder the same, will it be 10 years before i find someone, will i be the aunt that lives alone with her cats and nobody else? lol! ( i don't even like cats... i digress)

12kyle March 2, 2008 at 5:26 PM

Eb...great post as usual

I understand where you're coming from. I think that there is a crisis for us...not just black women...but men, too. I know bruthas who are not interested in being challenged by a woman like you. I don't mean challenge as a conquest but being challenged by a woman who will make THEM better. They would rather take an "easy road". And on the flip side, I know women who want to be totally dependent on a man. And that's not a challenge either.

Where did we go wrong? Maybe we went wrong over the last generations? There are more single parent homes now than there ever were before. The kids are growing up and not seeing what true love is. Little boys aren't being shown by their fathers how they are to treat and love women. Thus, the cycle begins. They never show love b/c they never learned how to love.

I don't think that anyone should lower their standards to meet someone who brings them happiness. There's nothing wrong with being picky...just don't be too picky. LOL. When it's all said and done, you'll find someone that is right for you. And you'll find them when you least suspect it and probably in the most inauspicious place.

Anonymous March 2, 2008 at 5:53 PM

As a woman hitting 30 in the summer, I wonder what sacrifices I will be willing to make if I am not married in a couple of years. Yeah, the choices out there are slim. Most black men that I come in contact with are 10 years my senior, have been divorced, have kids. I feel like removing age limits and parameters would equate settling for me. Settling for love doesn't equate happiness.

I believe that the perfect love for us, as black women, is out there. We just need to release it, make our requests known to God, and have the assured faith that he will be there when the time and season presents itself.

Great post.

Homer is My Co-pilot March 2, 2008 at 7:15 PM

I think I've heard similar thoughts from every single woman I know. that includes black, white, Filipino, whatever. Everyone has trouble finding that one person perfect for them. That's the whole point of dating, you go out with person after person still someone touches you and then you hold on to them and try to make it last. The fact you have not been on a proper date is a whole nother issue, the least a brother could do is take you to a museum... lol

Nobelle March 2, 2008 at 8:02 PM

Wow...this post thoroughly resonates with me.

I too feel like I’m slowly coming around to the idea that I just might be single for the rest of my life. And as much as we want a Black man who will complement us—mentally, culturally, intellectually, emotionally—we realize every day that the dream seems harder and harder to attain. There’s a systematic problem in this country...I was just reading an article in the NY Times quoting a recent report that 1 in 9 Black men aged 20-34 is incarcerated.

1 in 9.

That’s incredulous! Sure, it’s a struggle to be a black woman. But to be a Black man in America is a plight I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand.

I haven’t given up yet, though. He’s out there, somewhere.

Sass March 2, 2008 at 9:42 PM

i have this conversation with myself quite a bit.
i made a decision when i was very young that i would not wait for marriage or anything else to have the things that i want, such as kids and general happiness. though my son was a beautiful surprise, when i became pregnant i knew i had to have him because who knew if another chance would come. my thing is, i live my life as it comes. i make the best possible decisions and i let shit ride. the things that can be planned, i plan, the things that can't, i don't try. its definitely easier said than done. i haven't given up on men (black or otherwise) but i am sure now that if i have to live without love or with love coming and going, that i am fine with that and alone but never lonely.

Canon Adonis March 3, 2008 at 12:33 AM

hmmm... I don't know what to say... honestly... I don't think we should just settle for the sake, but sometimes, if we're not finding the person that meets every dimension to the perfect mate, then maybe we should tone down on the specifics until we do come across that one. the more 'perfect' the person has to be, the less chance we actually have of finding them... in my opinion

Seven March 3, 2008 at 11:12 AM

A friend of mine mentioned the possibility of never being married. It's still not a consideration to me. I just kow it will happen. At 26, I've never been on a real date either. I've been on the interviews. I thought about being a single mom but shut that idea down. I want my kiddies to have a mother and father in the home.

Ticia March 3, 2008 at 12:20 PM

I watched this show.. it was good...

I am always baffled when men talk abt meeting no good women...
I just don't know too many women like that..... however.. I know many men that are dogs.....

I don't know..
I didn't relate to her show that much... it just seemed like topics...talk.....blah blah!!!

Life is life.. no script.... I am just going with the flow and walking on the path of God.. I figure he will add all things I need in the right season... so I have let the questions/fears/concerns go..and I will just be...

I think Ty ty should too.. I am kinda sick of her shows..she always talks abt herself way too much... but I guess everyone does too! Eh!

Don March 3, 2008 at 12:23 PM

Top notch post, Ebonne. Interesting comments.

I dont really think I am one who can add anything to it. Ive failed in every relationship Ive ever been in.

From what I see, there is a certain level of sacrifice which both the black man and black woman must be willing to submit too. Above any and everything else. Until that takes place I personally dont see the numbers differing too much from those which you posted.

Ms. Wright (Hunnie) March 3, 2008 at 1:08 PM

something that I realized around this time last year:

If I expect a man to bring all sorts of things that I require AND MORE to the table, will I be ready for him or will he keep on moving and will I be ready to match it.

I couldn't answer that question so I prayed about it and came to the conclusion that if I want all that I SAY I want and deserve then i have to be ALL that I want and deserve first. Meaning simply that I've got to have something to bring to the table as well. Just as that man must be desireable to me, I've got to be a desireable "candidate" as well.

I also had to go on with the belief that no MATTER WHAT, what's for ME in the world is for ME and not for anyone else and eventually LOVE will find ME.

i think that those are the two biggest problems with black women in general today. Searching out love and of course looking for love in all the wrong places instead of LETTING love...find them and also expecting SO much when they aren't READY(because it's not that they are never WILLING...just gotta be ready to do it) to give as much.

And sometimes you DO have to open your vision up beyond what's inside of that box.

I used to think to myself...that if I could take Three guys in particualr that I had dated and melt them together they would make the perfect man FOR ME. Of course that's impossible.

So I looked outside my own box and I found everything and I DO MEAN EVERYTHING that I could want in a one man that I was about to let slip away because in his jeans... I thought he was "TOO nice" and "had big thighs". Come to find out later, he's the only one I've ever met that fits perfectly IN the box.

Black women...women in general should be MORE open at times. It pays off.

Anonymous March 3, 2008 at 1:17 PM

GOOD POST!!! The relationship part is so true. I'm glad that I'm starting to acknowledge this, not settling for less then what is deserved...

You mentioned, the marriage part, and not to a black man, i feel you on that too... and the kids part by artificial insemination and or adopting... but then again... my silly ass is only 22 no time to focus on that yet....

Don't even watch Tyra Banks show... good or bad topics she bore me to death....

Afrodite March 3, 2008 at 5:14 PM

First off, this is an amazing post. Kudos!

Second of all, I hate those statistics. As soon as I read them I get depressed.

Third of all, I'm all for dating outside my race. I've done it before and I'll do it again. I also don't believe that black women need to lower their standards and "settle". As the saying goes, I can do bad by myself.

The Jaded NYer March 4, 2008 at 10:06 AM

Ok, my two cents...

I married the Black Man, I had his babies... and then we split. Now I'm 33 with two kids, a crazy amount of debt and an unhealthy addiction to viral videos on YouTube to keep me warm at night!

It's all a crapshoot, hon, so please please please- you cannot let an NBC special or that heifer Tyra make you feel like your future is doomed.

I agree with the comment above to get rid of your TV! And while you're at it, if you read all those "ladies' magazines" cancel your subscriptions! They are all poison. I live by the Ani DiFranco quote: The Media Is Not Fooling Me.

Whatever they say I just roll my eyes at it; I guess that's why they call me jaded...

Anyway, just remember that your bad thoughts can turn into bad words and words are powerful enough to make things happen, so try to keep your words positive!!

Just know your worth and the right situation will find you.

Cat March 6, 2008 at 12:26 PM

Great post, I'm new to your site but will be checking this out more often! Just to add to the bandwagon, I missed this episode of Tyra (they only show her at 12 down here and I have to work!) but I did catch those dateline segments and the state of the black woman is depressing. For all our personal victories (education, work), there are so many others that seem to overshadow it (single parenthood, singledom!). I think we need to be more proactive in our take on things and that may mean thinking out the box (ie. dating "something new"). I, and a few friends of mine, have dated outside our race and found much sucess. I won't turn my back on an eligible brotha but I no longer have a preference. We need to start taking care of ourselves and demanding better of how we are treated while at the same time doing our fare share of uplifting our community (more than just discussing/complaining,instead, making sure we are raising sons to be better for our society).

SolShine7 March 11, 2008 at 10:14 PM

I'm an indie filmmaker and the trailer for Teri J. Vaughn's documentary almost made me cry. These are women who have achieved a notable amount of success and yet there's still so much to fight for in the industry. However, if we keep pressing on then hopefully things will be better for those who come after us. I am truly thankful for all the black filmmakers who worked long and hard to pave the way so that we could have opportunities now.

Excellent post!!!

p.s. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Anonymous March 23, 2008 at 9:58 AM

This is a great post.

There is nothing wrong with being proactive when trying to find someone. No, a man should never be the end-all-be-all of your existence but I have never fully agreed with the "wait until someone finds you." Why? Because based on the stats, it clearly aint working--I watched most of the women in my family spout that nonsense only to end up lonely. Why not flirt and ask someone casually for their phone number?

And it's great to have standards and want your man to be XYZ. However, if you cant cook, dont want to lose weight, or refuse to do other things that *most* men want be prepared for an uphill battle. If you wont settle, why should they? Also, what works in the boardroom, doesnt necessarily work in a relationship (and this goes for most relationships not just romantic ones).

And finally--why are we hellbent on solely dating black men? Many black men seem quite comfortable dating women of a different race that fulfills them. Perhaps we should do the same. No. This does not mean abandon all black men in search of mighty whitey. It means, realistically, you increase your chances of finding someone if you dont limit yourself.

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