Anyone who’s familiar with the fact that soooo many black women are single, and single later in life than what was previously the norm, is familiar with SBF theory. You just may not know it. SBF theory is no different from any other type of theory that exist. A theory is simply a hypothesis–an unproven, yet plausible, explanation of why some set of realities exist and how they came to be. That said, theories on why and how we’ve gotten to the current state of affairs for black women (single, older than usual, often childless, somewhat hopeful, somewhat jaded) have proliferated. These theories offer varying, yet overlapping, hypotheses on why black women outnumber eligible black bachelors. Let’s first review some of the most popular…
There’s the number cruncher theory where we calculate the number of black men who are imprisoned, incarcerated, murdered at a young age, or any have fallen into any other number of pitfalls that help young brothers fail. Those who ascribe to the number cruncher theory often win new believers by demonstrating the drastic difference in the numbers of eligible black bachelors to eligible black women.
The education theory is another popular one. People who champion this theory believe that the plight of the single black woman is closely tied to the disproportionate ratio of black females to black males in the population of people who choose to pursue postsecondary education. SBF education theorists sometimes refer to this as the thug to smart girl ratio–a concept borrowed (and updated) from self-proclaimed non-thuggish black men who want to qualify the fact that they are apparently just too perfect and respectful to attract a woman who claims to want to be treated with respect by a man with whom she is equally-yoked.
Finally, in our list of most popular SBF theories is one for which I do not know the proper term, but I can tell you that is based around the age-old “they’re all gay” argument. This theory began as DL theory, where theorists believed that homosexuality was a secret society in which hoards of black men lived double lives the likes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It has since evolved, along with the integration of topics such as gay pride and GLBTQIAA rights into mainstream avenues and daily conversations. The main belief with this theory is that black women can’t find a man to date because the ones who have escaped the grasp of both the number crunchers and the education theorists, and ultimately triumphed as eligible bachelors, are all gay (some like to add to the end of this statement the two words “or married”…but how much this fact truly matters to the dating world is debatable).
There’s some validity to each of those theories, which is why they exist and why my blog is likely not the first time you’ve heard them. I thought they were important to outline, though before I got to the true inspiration for this blog post: a new (to me) SBF theory that names the black church as the culprit. You can read all about it here:
If you don’t feel like clicking that link, here’s the gist: Black churches tend to be full of black women who are committed to the mission of the church and believe in the messages preached as the Word of God. These preached messages are slowly but surely convincing women to wait for a man who is never coming to find them…thus leaving black women single and foolishly hopeful.
After the blog linked above was posted, it was picked up by a few news sources. It’s been given a voice, so I wonder how many have either jumped on the bandwagon and adopted it, or already ascribed to it. So, for those of you who have some relationship with the black church, here’s something to marinate on…
Sisters…when you reflect on it for a minute, do you feel as if your relationship with the church hinders you dating? Does your interpretation of scripture and God’s intentions for Christian living close you off from otherwise viable possibilities?
Brothers…do you feel in some way shunned or judged by black women who are devoted to church-going?
Theme song for this post: \”Ready for Love\” – India.Arie