Are black girls raised to be single?
I was watching last week’s episode of Toya, and there was a scene when Memphitz, Toya’s husband-to-be, and T-Pain were sitting around talking about marriage. T-Pain has apparently been happily married since he was 18 year old (2003)…who knew?! Anyhoo, T-Pain was cautioning Memphitz that marrying a black girl would mean less forgiveness and less leeway to eff up in the relationship (actually, he said one chance). Without hesitation, Memphitz made a comment that black girls were raised to be single and they both agreed on that point. Here are two young (late 20s) black men having a candid conversation…and, even as one of them embarks upon what he intends to be a lifelong relationship with a black woman, this is what they believe to be true. So, this is my question: are little black girls really raised to be single? Are we instilled with characteristics and survival mechanisms under the assumption that we will live life alone? I do not purport to have the answer to this question, but I do find it an interesting one to ponder.
As I look around me and notice that the ratio of married to unmarried black girls in my circle is about 50%, I know that some black women are successful in attaining un-single status. Yet, when I think about the environments in which lots of (if not most) black girls are raised, I can’t help but believe that this question holds some merit. Regardless of the usual factors thrown out as explanations (i.e., how many parents are in the home, the presence of a stable male figure in the home, socioeconomic status, family values, etc.), I think a majority of black children are exposed to a range of people/families that span the spectrum on all of those factors. Whether it’s our neighbors, our cousins, or classmates, our barbers/beauticians, or whomever, we get a chance to observe and learn about life on each end of those spectrums. We see one-parent, two-parent, and no-parent households. We see the relationships that people have with their “real daddy”, step daddy, God daddy, mama’s boyfriend, and/or no one. We know the difference between people who live on section 8, those who live hood rich, those who make due, and those who are truly living large. My point: black kids are exposed to a lot. While I believe exposure is a good thing, I also believe there’s such a thing as too much exposure.
Maybe little black girls who are exposed to all the possibilities of how life’s path can lead to something other than marital bliss develop some combination of cautionary characteristics–independence, distrust, loquaciousness, loyalty, bitterness, promiscuity, etc.–that lead to singledom. Or maybe, just maybe, we develop characteristics so noble that only a select few men are able and willing to take the necessary steps to love us. I really don’t know. What do you think?