Which is more significant? Finding an ethnic equal or finding an intellectual equal?
Most successful black women would love to marry a black man they can relate with and can understand her culturally, and also one who is her intellectual and/or her financial equal. So what happens when they can't find both?
When grappled with the decision to "marry down" in order to marry a black man or "marry out" of the race in order to find an equally accomplished man, they say most successful black women would rather date a lesser accomplished Black man; that they choose not to search for desirable men across the racial border to find common status. There is nothing wrong with this because we all feel comfortable dating someone we have a lot in common with. And most black women use race as the basis of commonality; they look for someone who can understand the background they grew up in; a black man.
The problem is: When marrying this black man who isn't her financial or intellectual equal, but one she can relate with on a cultural level, most black women think that the man must be having a clear plan to better himself; that all the man needs is a boost and the woman thinks she can take him to her level. So she assumes the man will to go to college or become a business man; basically she expects the man to upgrade himself so that he can be comfortable in her world. And that's where the issue begins.
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See, there is nothing wrong with a woman marrying a man who earns less or whose resume doesn't match her own. But can the woman be comfortable in his world too? Much as they can relate on a cultural level, can she be with him and love him for who he is without thinking that in future, she can sculpture him into what she want him to be; what he is not? Can you marry him and be with him without having some sort of improvement plan for him? See, you cant push him into being what he is not; just let him operate in his own world. And this "trying to upgrade black men" is what makes them feel that they are being controlled by their mates.
The thing is, all women, no matter the ethnicity should sit and assess their needs. Much as he may not be from your own background, he could be the kind of guy who can meet your needs. Much as he may not be as accomplished as you are, he probably is the man who can meet your every need; a man you are in sync with. Marrying a man within your race in the hopes that you will upgrade him to fit your world (because you get uncomfortable when the man is around your friends or peers) is wrong. You can't change your mate into something else for you. Doing this changes the core of who he is; what he has always believed. Its like telling it to his face that his world just aint good enough for you.
So why marry someone who aint good enough for you - who the only thing you two have in common is race - when you can find a man of your status who can love you outside your race? Marry the man you love. Look for a partner you can grow with.
Well, lawyer Carolyn Edgar - who is featured in Ralph Richard Banks' book "Is Marriage for White People?: How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone" shares her regrets about marrying a guy who was from the neighborhood, who was neither her educational nor financial match in the video below. And in her advice:
"...leave the upgrading to Beyonce.
And for the record, she didn’t have to upgrade her man, either."
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