Is marriage for white people?

Posted by James, 30 Dec 08

Warning: The above question may be offensive to some readers. This is not the objective. The question is in no way meant to defame or inflame any parties, groups or persons. It is simply meant to find out why statistics about marriage are the way they are.

“Marriage is for white people”, said a sixth grader at an elementary school in Southeast Washington.

Statistically, the boy is right:

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The marriage rate for African Americans has been dropping since the 1960s, and today, we have the lowest marriage rate of any racial group in the United States. In 2001, according to the U.S. Census, 43.3 percent of black men and 41.9 percent of black women in America had never been married, in contrast to 27.4 percent and 20.7 percent respectively for whites. African American women are the least likely in our society to marry. In the period between 1970 and 2001, the overall marriage rate in the United States declined by 17 percent; but for blacks, it fell by 34 percent …

Audrey Chapman, a Howard University relationship therapist seems to be thinking it’s true by pointing out that African Americans are the most uncoupled people in the country.

During slavery days, a black man would go as far as chopping his hand off just to avoid being sold away from his son. Sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin was stunned to realize that a black child was more likely to grow up living with both parents during slavery days than he or she is today.

So what is happening that is making sixth graders feel that marriage is unattainable for African Americans? And let’s not even look at African Americans. Seems marriage rate is dropping for all though it seems to be at a much higher rate for blacks. Do you agree with the boy? If yes, why?

34 responses to "Is marriage for white people?"

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  1.   bas44 says:
    Posted: 25 Mar 10

    My husband walked out on me after 18 years of marriage. I struggled alot with his affairs and having to be response one in the marriage. But I believed in my vows. Being single now I believe in marriage more than ever! I married the wrong person. You have to discern, why do some marriages work and others don't. Asking and finding out the right questions up front. How did that person treat past boyfriends and girlfriends? How do/did they treat their parents or other. Are they able to commit? etc.. Yes I feel that Afro-Americans have to work harder in this area, not to fall foolishly in love . But if we go back to the core values that God set in place, people like WONKA, " THE BACHELOR FOR LIFE". Wouldn't get free milk. He would eventually have to marry the cow or go hungry. COMMITMENT

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  2.   wonka says:
    Posted: 09 Mar 10

    I should write a book about this,NAH!...That's OK!!.

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  3.   wonka says:
    Posted: 09 Mar 10

    I don't EVER plan on getting married,NEVER!!,Wonka LOVES being a bachelor!!.Why? you may ask,well that's for me to find out and you to know!(LoL!). -WONKA"THE BACHELOR" (JUST THE WAY HE LIKES IT!!).

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  4.   wonka says:
    Posted: 09 Mar 10

    OH PLEASE!!,GIVE ME A FREAKIN' BREAK,WHO CARES?!.

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  5.   Smile4242 says:
    Posted: 30 Mar 09

    The marriage rate for white people is declining as well. I suspect there are a lot of additional forces at work on a societal level. For example, with both parents working, the old sense of family where the woman stayed home and the man took care of the wife and children financially no longer applies. In the past most women married because if they did not, then no one would take care of them since they did not or could not work. Now, today, because both men and women can take care of themselves, there really is no need for universal marriage. It is a wonderful institution when it is based on love and commitment, but the economic incentives to get married are not there anymore. In the U.S., you even get taxed higher as a married couple. Also, as a single mom, you can get government assistance, but as a married mom, it is more difficult. Then add womens liberation where women are choosing to not get married, and add the fact that many of our youth come from broken homes and don't know how a good marriage is supposed to work, and it is no wonder than many in the younger generation do not want to get married, do not want kids, and have no understanding of what family is. Why get married if 50% of marriages result in a divorce, frequently a bitter one that is damaging to the kids? Why marry if the economics do not support or require it? Why marry when there is no pressure from society to commit and stay in good times and bad? The answer is marrying for love and commitment. But that seems to be missing as well, unfortunately. And, hence, the reason why more and more young people of all races are not getting married anymore.

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  6.   luvanurse says:
    Posted: 09 Mar 09

    I was reading a blog online one day and the author of the blog stated he had lots of white friends who are married, but half the marriages are unhappy. He stated alot of white people stay married because of their kids or investments or whatever.I guess people have their reasons for doing whatever they do. I work with alot of white people and from my own experiences there are some happy marriages, but most are not good and there are some very unhappy people raising kids. How good could that be?

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  7.   ShidaMJB says:
    Posted: 22 Feb 09

    Sure.

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  8.   brazil1. says:
    Posted: 22 Feb 09

    I think white people get married more but i think the cheat while married. I think black people marry when they are tired of running around.

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  9.   calli40 says:
    Posted: 19 Jan 09

    I agree with Barbeeee, I didn't read all the comments and I almost didn't read the post at all because this is such an emotionally charged subject for me. My parents are also still married through good times and bad. As black women we should expect more in the way of committment not to be confused with demanding, and I think it starts with truly respecting and valuing ourselves.

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  10.   fromchicago says:
    Posted: 16 Jan 09

    interesting comments

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  11.   mzztheword says:
    Posted: 13 Jan 09

    As a mature white lady dating an African/American man I found him unwilling to be monogomous. That was a very surprising trait for me, new to the dating game, again....late and out of it too long. Maybe alot of men are that way, but it was a comupence for me. He was very casual about a child he had 18 years ago and only provides support (good for him) but no emotional or personal contact. It made me face values that I expected and didn't see. It could happen to anyone ~ but I wonder -

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  12.   Barbeeee says:
    Posted: 11 Jan 09

    I want to add something else. I think the day pre-marital sex became "cool" with women, men took it and ran with it!!! We may have to start demanding marriage before s*x like the old days!!! I know men wouldn't like that so they'd better start coming correct!!

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  13.   Barbeeee says:
    Posted: 11 Jan 09

    Nitaj, I love what you said and I totally agree!!! You hit the hammer on the nail!!! I personally noticed that the art of courtship is rapidly dying!!! Most men don't even bother being chivalrous and charming anymore. They state their intentions and lack of commitment upfront. Relationships and marriage hardly ever enter the picture!!! I really think we have to bring some of the values from the old days back!!! The problem nowadays is that there is a lack of values, period!!! How disappointing!!!

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  14.   nitaj says:
    Posted: 11 Jan 09

    Lot's of good comments. However let's just explore a truth that I did not see in the comments I read listed above: When a man finds a wife he finds a good thing and obtain favor from God. Marriage is God's concept of how the world should continue. It is the original plan and design for family. Unfortunately because of the fall of man through sin, all these other dynamics came into play. Whether one is black, white, polka-dot, it is in the heart that one makes commitments and it is in the the heart that one keeps them. As one comment pointed out, we are depicting poor values and morals. Why marry when one can drink as much milk as one can and never take responsibility for caring for the cow from which it came. All this frivolous dating and hooking up is a false cure for loneliness and sexual satisfaction. Really it is just practice for divorce. The art of courtship is dead and the decision to commit until death do us part is an animal that has become extinct. "I do" is for keeps not just when things are going well.

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  15.   bdsista says:
    Posted: 06 Jan 09

    I had heard this quote before, I agree that it is about values, and I disagree that values come from the church and therefore religious is somehow problematic or causational. I am a divorce attorney and can say that I have seen many couples who needed to divorce because of abuse or one spouse gets involved in serious criminal activity that endangers the family. But I have also seen couples who refuse counseling, refuse to compromise and refuse to engage in behavior that dishonors their spouse, or they have already set up an exit strategy and a new relationship (usually husbands) and so they have emotionally and physically removed themselves from the relationship, so the legal ending at that point is procedural. What is damaging for Black families is that marriage and dual income are the building blocks of wealth in America. Its much easier for married couples to get loans, buy property and amass wealth together, particularly that which can be passed down to their children. There is a stability in community and in families that comes with marriage, that is not to say single parents cannot foster stable communities, but the lack of resources -especially if child support is not being paid, places single parents in more survival mode and having less disposable income, they have less time. I would proffer that a child in the DC/MD metro area might well have that perspective, if he/she grew up in environment where very few families are married. There seems to be a predilection for settling, rather than holding out for respect. Also Black men marry out of the race more than Black women, so fellas, if you like Black women, step up to the plate! Also, I am reading Why Men Marry Bitches and it is (despite the title) a really good book about why men want women who respect themselves and are confident. Another good book for perspective is He's Not That Into You. Funny, but got good points.

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  16.   bosmike says:
    Posted: 06 Jan 09

    The numbers don't surprise me, especially when you have a significant percentage of black culture (especially men) embracing the thug life and consequently disrespecting black women. That said, there are still MANY good examples of black marriages, but the statistics also aren't coincidental.

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  17. Posted: 06 Jan 09

    To add onto the rest of my post, I should add that, while I said marriage isn't for white people, I meant to say that it isn't JUST for white people. Sorry for missing that important word "just" there!

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  18. Posted: 06 Jan 09

    To give a quick response, no, marriage isn't for white people. There are African-Americans out there getting married, and wow, some of them are even happy! While it looks all dramatic, those numbers in the stats mean nothing to me, because even though 43% looks huge compared to 27%, looking at the population sizes, there will always be more Caucasians getting married than African-Americans, mainly because there are more Caucasians in the population! Having taken courses in statistics and surveys as a psychology major, I ignore them, mainly because it's all smoke and mirrors, and numbers can be manipulated to suit anything.

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  19.   ShellyPoo says:
    Posted: 05 Jan 09

    I agree with RICKI that it has everything to do w/ values, not race. One of the posts stated that black women do expect a committment so we don't get committments. We need to start expecting committment if we want committed relationships. As soon as it is clear to me that a manis not going to commit to me, I AM OUT. I am NOT going to waste my time and energy on a man that is not going to give as good as he gets. If a man wants the priviledges of a committed relationship he has to take on the responsibilities of a committed relationship. We need to start making that clear to the men we date.

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  20.   Flirty1 says:
    Posted: 05 Jan 09

    The stats above are new to me. I've heard that the number of unmarried black women in the US is as high as 70%. Despite which stats are used, they all draw the same picture: black women are least likely to be married. Why is this so? I've yet to read or hear anything that gives answers or some insight to the question.

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  21.   rockchal31 says:
    Posted: 04 Jan 09

    The universal morals and values that christianity, judaism, islam, hinduism, bhuddism etc. (I know I missed a multitude of belief systems)really are helpful guides to living peaceful, caring, thoughtful, respectful lives. The problem with religion as with any certain train of thought is at a certain point certain individuals reach a conclusion that whatever religion they follow is right, and all others are flawed. I should clarify and say their is no problem with the stated religions it is the individual's interpretations that make religion a problem for others, but more importantly themselves, at times. At that point one's mind shuts down and closes all possibilities of what may or not be the actual truth. This exclusive religious thought is very dangerous in a lot of ways, but I don't think religion itself has much to do with a healthy functioning relationship/marriage, besides the fact one might marry only those of their same faith and close the door on all other potentially amazing relationships. Religion itself does not corrupt people, one's perception of reality is what corrupts themselves. It is almost impossible to have an objective view of reality, when one's perception is subjective to life experience (parents, geographic location, social groups etc.), and not one person on earth (that I know of) has ever shared all life experiences in the history of our planet. Sorry for rambling everybody(and perhaps sounding like an idiot), long story short, religion has nothing to do with the above articles flawed nature.

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  22.   Atheist says:
    Posted: 03 Jan 09

    Blacks are also one of the most church going group in America. Most blacks get their values from church. Religion isn't logical and when religion becomes too relavant in people's lives, it corrupts.

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  23.   thekid47 says:
    Posted: 01 Jan 09

    Thanks RockChal31, I also enjoyed your thoughts-it brings out very valid and good points. Those quotes are great, from two of my favorite people at that :-). {Ahh, correction, that was Probability and Statistics, not Probability and Statics--oops ..:-#| } Awesome quotes, I will add those to my list-Happy New Year, buddy and much respect.

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  24.   RockChal31 says:
    Posted: 01 Jan 09

    thekid47, I really enjoy hearing your thoughts, along with all others who took the time to post, and can say that I truly love the powerful use of logic with your comment. I will leave everyone (for now, bedtime) with two of my favorite quotes: The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived, and dishonest -- but the myth -- persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. John F. Kennedy An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. -Mahatma Gandhi

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  25.   thekid47 says:
    Posted: 01 Jan 09

    The problematic with the question is not just the subjective nature of the question and the questionable use of statistics-not to mention that they are incomplete statistics-it is the linking of marriage being associated with one particular ethnic group vice another. The basis from which it proceeds is problematic and indeed flawed. It really has nothing fundamentally to do with persons who are not 'white' viewing marriage as a label-still the majority of Americans across ethnic groups for example, still value marriage. Yes, agreed that the use of statistics can be rather subjective, but one of the things you learn in Probability and Statics, is the limitations on what your survey can say. In this case, the survey was of one 6th grader, in one part of Washington, D.C.-and a rather limited survey from a particular professor. This is something that is in a real sense, independent of what one ..well, wants to believe. Facts are stubborn things, as John Adams would say.. Happy New Year to you as well-and good discussion! respects

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  26.   RockChal31 says:
    Posted: 01 Jan 09

    I'm not necessarily offended by the question, or subsequent subjective use of those statistics, but can totally see why one would be offended. I feel that being legally/religiously married is a societal norm and that just because you are married does not mean that true love exists with-in the relationship. One could surmise from these statistics and the train of thought from the previous statement that perhaps those that are not white realize that being married is just a label and truly does not define what unconditional love is for a significant other. I don't' agree with the articles theory, or my own I just stated that thought to get people to think a little bit about how statistics are very subjective to what one wants to believe to be the truth in any subject matter. Happy New Years everyone, and best of luck to find true love with-in a relationship married or not.

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  27.   thekid47 says:
    Posted: 31 Dec 08

    You know, it may not be your objective to offend, but you guys ask the most curious questions I have heard. This is a foolish question, quite frankly-and the reaction of a child in, where, South East Washington D.C., is a sad one, but that is something that one needs to take up with the parents of the child. Is that the response of children in PG County? Of children who are in Montgomery County? Fairfax County? The question is trying to be too clever by half--if that. The question about other children in counties nearby to DC-and we haven't even asked that question in NW Washington, or NE Washington-is directed at the claim that '6th graders' as though it is ALL or a MAJORITY of them. The fact that people haven't got married yet, is disjoint-that is, has no relationship, to the question of whether people believe in marriage or not-in fact it is as much an indication of a BELIEF in marriage because people don't jump into this. Guys, try again with your questioning, it is not an excuse to ask a offensive question, and then say that you didn't mean or desire to offend, is not sufficient.

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  28.   sassykae says:
    Posted: 31 Dec 08

    This is oddly depressing. This is a child and that is what our society is perpetrating. I think it starts at home and as adults we need to teach the children what's right. But, before we can take on that task we need to figure out what is right for us. Think before you act, marriage is a big deal and not something that should be disrespected and entered into on a whim. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and love. We need to start there and perhaps our children won't feel that marriage is a joke anymore.

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  29.   PeaceStar says:
    Posted: 31 Dec 08

    No, I do not agree with the boy that marriage is only for white people. Even though the divorce rates are high and getting higher every year, I still believe in the concept of marriage. I do agree with several of the earlier responses (robinlh and Barbeeee) that you get what you ask for and expect. So I believe when the relationships goes on and on and he or she won't commit, its time to go. Yes, it might seem to be a very good relationship to you, but if the other person doesn't want to commit to you forever or a strong spoken commitment, they are looking for something you don't have. I have not found the one for me yet, but I am here and I am looking and I have learned to say what I really want and I what I expect from a man. Like the other responses so far, I want forever too. Marriage is for everyone, and even though because we are spread out so far across the globe it is harder to find "the true one". I haven't given up and neither should you.

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  30.   robinlh says:
    Posted: 31 Dec 08

    So true Barbeeee! A friend of mine had this one guy who would never give her a key to his home and told her she had to call before coming over with over 5 years into the relationship. I tried to tell her the truth and it finally sunk in after another 3 years with this guy she finally left him. The unfortunate thing about all this is she picked another guy and is living in the same situation I guess she thinks its a bit better since they are living together. No commitment for marriage though. Don't be afraid people at worst get a prenuptial to keep your stuff and divorce. They have divorce down to a science now. If no one contests you can get a no-fault divorce online for about $160 and processed in 3 months. With kids a bit more costly but shouldn't be much more than $500 for a lawyer to write up a settlement document.

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  31.   Barbeeee says:
    Posted: 31 Dec 08

    I don't think marriage is only for white people but unfortunately a lot of African Americans don't consider commitment that important anymore. I see a lot of Black women who feel blessed to even have a boyfriend. It's almost like winning the lottery. One day, a friend of mine asked the guy she was seeing why do white women get committed to and black women don't? His answer was: White women EXPECT a commitment and Sistas don't!!! It was the hardest thing to hear but damn if it wasn't true. I was guilty of this!! I wanted a commitment but I didn't really expect it!!! I was one of those sistas that wanted companionship at any cost. Now as a 33 year old woman, I've come to realize that its our behavior that needs to change. If a man refuses to give you what you want, move on!!! If more Sistas put their foot down, Black men would eventually come around and give us the commitment that we deserve. WE MUST EXPECT IT!!!!!

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  32.   robinlh says:
    Posted: 30 Dec 08

    It is true we learn from both our parent(s) and society as both ricki36 and jrabbit1982 have indicated. The institution of marriage is nearly becoming a joke with the divorce rate so high. Celebrities pave the way in this area some married for 3 months then divorce. I was in a 16 year marriage that ended in divorce. We dated and live together 5 years prior to getting married. Ex decided he wanted something different, he now calls it a mid-life crises. All in all, I loved being married and intend to do it again.

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  33.   jrabbit1982 says:
    Posted: 30 Dec 08

    I agree with ricki. it all breaks down to family values and what we were raised knowing. lets face it. marriage has been made a farce by the media and ignorant people which is affecting the views in young people. hardly anybody is taking marriage seriously anymore. Lets see here. "who wants to marrry a millionare?" "The Bachelor" "The Bachlorette" and then there are horrible shows like temptation island where they separate couples on an island and have mad temptation try to get them to cheat. what are we depicting here. That cheating and getting married without really thinking about it is ok? I am proud to say that my parents are still married. they showed me what the real thing is. And when i mention to people that my folks are still married 100%of them has said.. wow that's rare.. How sad.. I hope i can carry on the legacy in my family of successful marriage.

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  34.   RICKI36 says:
    Posted: 30 Dec 08

    The answer is no,it all has to do with family values when we are growing up.We are taught to do things a certain way,people are no being taught values anymore of what is important in life.I good family raising has a lot to do with your parents,they explain why things are this way and why it should be done.I don't blame them, but there parents are the cause of everything that go on later for them.I was raised to believe marriage is good and meaning full in a true relationship.

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