#CULTURE: Are Dating Options Really That Scarce?

 

By: Lisa Brown

You’re smart, beautiful and college educated. You’re on  your way to becoming a very successful Black career woman. You also have a budding social life, great friends and a strong supportive family. Even though your life appears to be perfect on the outside, something is missing. That something is your Mr.Right. Where could he be? This is a question many Black women ask themselves often. Why does there always seem to be a shortage of good, eligible Black men on the market?

It seems that the percentage of Black men enrolled in college is far less great than the number of Black men incarcerated or simply “lost” in the streets. According to the site, thelastpsychiatrist.com, 1 in 9 Black men in their 20s is
in jail and only a third of Black women ages 30-44 are married.

In the study, Male Incarceration, The Marriage Market, and Female Outcomes, it estimates that for every percent of incarcerated men, there is a 2.4 percent drop in marriage rates.

Other studies mentioned on the site discuss the fact that if there’s a dwindling supply of eligible men, then the women may feel forced to settle. If they settle, that makes the marriage rate high. Men who are also not exactly rated high on
the list of desirable mates creates an even tougher challenge for women to find a worthwhile companion. The absence of these men has more of an effect on other men rather than on women.

Suddenly, men who are considered to be a great catch realize they’re a hot commodity and therefore feel they don’t really have to try as hard at getting a woman. The women naturally feel in competition with each other and will try and figure out what they can do to grab his attention.

In the long run, this pushes women back even further as far as finding a partner for a solid, committed marriage.

Twenty-five-year-old Columbia College Chicago alumnus, Stormi Texas hasn’t had too many problems with dating Black men so far.

“I feel a lot of Black women just think that all men are dogs. I also think that sometimes the women reflect on how they date certain people. Like if their father wasn’t around, they might date guys who don’t treat them well or some might be searching for that love they never found in a father,” explains Texas. Texas adds that if a girl saw her mother being abused then she’s more likely to get into that type of relationship because she won’t know the difference between a good and not so good man.

“A lot of girls settle, they’re either looking for love or they just want somebody right now instead of finding the quality of a person they want,” she says.

Lately there have been a lot of new relationship books written by men for the single Black female and all females in general. One very popular book by comedian Steve Harvey, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.” The book was recently turned into a movie which was a box office smash. The book discusses
how men think and offers helpful hints and tips to help women navigate the road of love and relationships.

“I think all the relationship books women and men should question. To me it’s like, I think men write books because they want to give women what women want to hear. I think women write relationship books because other women may be going through the same things as them. I never bought a relationship book and I never will buy one. It’s almost like giving us what we already know, telling us stuff that really want to hear,” Texas explains.

So what are the real answers that we are seeking when it comes to our relationship woes? What really can be done in order for us to learn how to trust ourselves, therefore helping our own selves? Lately, a lot of Black men, especially celebrities in the media have been seen with more fair skinned
women on their arms. Interracial dating has become more prevalent among Black men. Unfortunately, this trend leaves Black women feeling rejected.

“I hate to say this, but I think some Black women don’t want to date outside their race because they don’t want to feel like they couldn’t find certain qualities in a Black man. But then again, these same women will see a Black man with a White woman and say, ‘oh, that is just so disrespectful,’” Texas adds.

Texas says that Black women just have to find the right person for them and Black men may be dating outside their race because of negative stereotypes of Black women, such as all Black women are angry; they don’t want to do certain things or they’re too picky. They may feel White women compromise more.

“One thing I’d love to see is a television show or a special on TV One or BET (Black Entertainment Television) about the stereotypes. I think a lot of things are always said between Black people but it’s never really put in front of our face, like, ‘hmm…maybe we should think about that,’” Texas explains.

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