Which is more significant? Finding an ethnic equal or finding an intellectual equal?

Posted by James, 25 Apr 13

marry out or downMost 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.

Your perfect partner could be online right now...

What are you looking for?

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."

7 responses to "Which is more significant? Finding an ethnic equal or finding an intellectual equal?"

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  1.   mrhandsome says:
    Posted: 28 Dec 13

    Love and tolerance in a relationship, in a family, between friends, at work, at sport, between politicians and in a society in general should matter more than colour to be honest

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  2.   jod212 says:
    Posted: 28 Apr 13

    Sadly, too many women of every ethnic group invest far too much time and energy into changing men. Many times these women are young but this is a very bad mistake. Love is or should be about respect as well as attraction and all the rest, of course. I have noticed both in my experience as well as that of my friends, when you don't accept people for who they are you run the risk of not fully enjoying the person in front of you which can be very sad. It's at that point that a decision needs to be made as to if you have a foundation to build a relationship on or not. Personally, having a friend/buddy has been much more important to me than the social and/or cultural influence. I would think each individual would be wise to evaluate what is important to you when selecting a partner. In some instances people marry to fulfill family and community expectations but that is quite victorian, in a word. Be invested in making a connection with someone who comes to the table with the emotional strength that complements you. Money can be earned, culture can be learned but strength when times are bad and support when times are good is what I've found to be the most important thing for me.

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  3.   Sweetoto says:
    Posted: 27 Apr 13

    A partner in marriage needs to complement you not to make your life difficult. They are your pillar, cheering you on to be the best that you were meant to be. Ethnicity and Level of education are secondary. Love and a complete resolve to stick together and build a home is what matters.

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  4.   Robbar22 says:
    Posted: 27 Apr 13

    This article would be laughable if it wasn't so sad. If you have a preference for dating outside you race that 100% cool. However the problem comes into it when you're reasons include throwing people under the bus. I hear this same argument on CNN's Black in America all the time about sisters not being able to date black men on their educational or economic level but there is something that they always seem to leave out. Why is it that white, Hispanic, and Asian women seem to have no problem finding professional black men? My advise is to just drop the excuses and if you want to choose up on a white, Hispanic or Asian guy just do it!

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  5.   dave_74 says:
    Posted: 26 Apr 13

    If you're #1 reason for marriage is other than for love, then it is bound to fail. Also we shouldn't put ourselves on different levels to this degree and especially not with our spouses. I mean anyone can learn something from somebody. If you have a post grad degree, you can still learn something from your spouse that may only have a HS diploma. The most successful companies or organizations have people that work in teams because more people collectively come up with more vs. just one person. It's great to have an advanced degree, I am proud of my degrees and accomplishments as well however I don't look at the next guy and assume because he hasn't got equal # of diplomas, degrees and certificates on the wall that he is an inferior. If people are doing that to their spouses then OMG, change your attitude quick or prepare to live a lonely life.

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  6.   arlandf says:
    Posted: 25 Apr 13

    Here is my question, what make these women successful? All these women have is a good paying job. They have the same fate as the person working at McDonalds. Also, men in general is not attracted to a woman's success, but their beauty. Let's be real, she dated and married this man because there is a control factor to it. If not, why does she have to correct the man for how he talks? Now if he was being belligerent, that a different story, but she was telling this man how to speak, how to dress, how to basically live his life and have the nerve to wonder why he feels emasculated. Also, another reason why she married this guy is because if there was a black man that is equal or greater to her, she will be intimidated. She really can't tell him what to do neither he will bow down to her and that is a threat to many so called successful black women. This is why when black men get a lot of money they will marry a woman of another race or they will marry black women for public relations or political purposes. I am not trying to down play getting a degrees and a good paying jobs, congratulations, but stop making things out of something that is really nothing.

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