Seventy percent of Black women are unmarried and are twice as likely as White women to remain unwed. Of those who do marry, Black women are more likely to “marry down” as Black women in college outnumber Black men 2:1. Black women are also impacted by the insurgence of interracial marriages. In 2015, for instance, newlywed intermarriages for Black men were 24 percent compared to 12 percent for Black women.
Through interviews, this book explores the reasons African American men chose to date or marry White women and other women outside of their race. With some advice from a matchmaker, minister and African American men, the book will benefit women who are seeking to improve their relationships with their mates and find their happiness in life. It is my hope that the book will inspire Black women and women of all races and nationalities to date whomever they choose without compromising their lifestyles or standards to do so.
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Read an Excerpt
Root of Colorism
The 2011 film, Dark Girls "explores a deep-seated bias within Black culture against women with darker skin." The following provides an excerpt of some key points highlighted in the film:
1. Colorism is "prejudice or discrimination based on the relative lightness or darkness of skin; it is generally a phenomenon occurring with one's own ethnic group."
2. During slavery, light complexion of a slave played a role in the preferential treatment of some Blacks by their slave owners.
3. After slavery, skin color continued to have a deleterious influence on how Blacks are mistreated by Whites, as well as how Black women are mistreated by their own race, particularly Black men.
4. Some Black women are angry about their dark skin color because of how society has promoted dark skin to be ugly and bad.
5. Some Black women hated to have a child of darker complexion because of the stereotype.
6. The impact of skin color on Black women and other women outside of the Black culture is seen as a universal and global problem.
7. Some Black men prefer dating light complexioned women because of pressure from their relatives such as parents and siblings.
8. Some White men praise the looks of Black women including their skin color.
9. The negative images of Blacks on T.V. and the lack of positive images of Blacks in books have added to the stigmatization and negative perception of Blacks.
10. Everything black seems bad such as a funeral; everything white seems good such as a wedding.
11. There is a need for the Black man and woman to discuss the problem of skin color for healing.
12. Blacks were stigmatized by the "paper bag test" whereas beauty was represented by a light complexion and ugliness was represented by a dark complexion.
13. Skin bleaching products are being advertised on T.V. and other mediums as an intervention for Black women to get lighter in order to look white. In 2008, sales of skin bleaching products worldwide increased from $40 to $43 billion.
14. Colorism is perpetuated in society through commercials, movies, and magazines.
Background on Marriages
The following sections provide an understanding of marriages including types of marriages and interracial marriages.
What is Marriage?
Marriage, known as a wedlock or matrimony, is a ritually or socially "recognized union between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between" themselves, their children and in-laws (Wikipedia).
Types of Marriages
While people get married for various reasons such as raising a family and economic security, there are several types of marriages. These include monogamy, serial and polygamy. Monogamy is a marriage with one person. Serial is marriage with a different person after a divorce or death of the first spouse. Polygamy is a marriage in which a person marries two or more individuals at a time, but this type of marriage is illegal in the U.S. (Wikipedia).
Interracial Marriage–Biblical Perspective
Many individuals in the bible such as Moses and Ruth married outside of their race. Moses, a Jew, married an Ethiopian woman outside of his tribe. Moses' siblings, Miriam and Aaron, criticized him for such marriage; and they were confronted by God.
Ruth, a Moabite woman, married into an Israelite family and adopted the faith of her family. After the death of her Israelite husband, she traveled to Israel with her mother-in-law and married a wealthy man, named Boaz.
For God said (1 Corinthians, 7: 8-9), "It is better to marry than burn." God also said, (2 Corinthians, 6:14), "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers" (King James Bible).
Interracial Marriage–Legal Perspective
Interracial marriage is considered a marriage between spouses outside their race. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 6.9 percent interracial married couples in America (Brown, 2013). Historically, anti-miscegenation laws prohibited interracial marriage. Depending on the state, these laws criminalized sex and cohabitation of Whites and non-whites particularly Blacks. These laws were established in Maryland and Virginia as early as the 1660s. Many U.S. states continue to enforce prohibitions against interracial marriage, despite numerous repeals in the 19th century. In the Perez v. Sharp case (1948), the California Supreme Court ruled California's anti-miscegenation statute unconstitutional. Relying partially on the Perez v. Sharp case, the Supreme Court in the Loving v. Commonwealth of Virginia case (1967) ruled laws against interracial marriage or anti-miscegenation were unconstitutional, overruling the Pace v. Alabama case in 1883 (Wikepedia).
Interracial Marriage–Loving v. Commonwealth of Virginia
This landmark case involves Virginians Mildred Jeter, a Black woman and Richard Loving, a White man. In Virginia, the anti-miscegenation statute and the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, "prohibited marriage between people classified as "white" and people classified as "colored." Despite the state's statute, the couple married in the District of Columbia. Once the Lovings returned to Virginia, they were arrested and sentenced to one year in prison for breaking the state's anti-miscegenation statute. The Lovings, however, were offered the chance of not serving the sentence if they left Virginia and did not return to the state as a couple for 25 years.
Contrary to the statute, the Lovings left the state but returned to visit family members. Once authorities discovered them, they were arrested again for violating the statue. In an attempt to gain their freedom, the Lovings appealed the charges all the way to the Supreme Court. Subsequently, the highest Court of the land ruled in 1967 that the state's anti-miscegenation laws violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. As a basic civil right, the Court stated that, "The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State" (Wikipedia).
Statistics on U.S. Marriages
The following provides some statistics of all Americans in the U.S. and, particularly, Black women in America.
1. In their lifetime, it is projected that 85% of all Americans will marry; from their first marriage, 40% will depart in a divorce and successive marriages resulting at a 60% and 70% rate respectively (Campbell & Wright found in, Liu, 2016).
2. It is reported that "41.9% of Black women in America have never been married" compared to 21.7% of White women; "Black women are the least coupled group in the U.S." (Berry & Duke, 2011).
3. "By 1950, 64% of all Black women were married, roughly the same percentage of White women," and they were roughly the same age; By 1970, the number of Black women marrying by age 29 years dropped by 25% compared to 13% for White women; and the overall rate of Black women never marrying has doubled compared to White women from 5% to 10% (Liu, 2016).
4. It is estimated that "1 in every 3 Black women over the age of 30 will never marry" (Schnieder found in Liu, 2016).
5. "Today, 70% of Black women are unmarried and are twice as likely as White women to remain unwed. Of those who do marry, Black women are more likely to "marry down" as Black women in college today outnumber Black men 2:1. The unemployment rate for Black men over age 20 years is 17% (Bolick found in Lius, 2016).
6. In America, approximately 6.9% of married couples are interracial; the percentage in Washington, D.C. is approximately 11% (Brown, 2013).
7. In 1960, there were approximately 51,000 White-Black, interracial married couples. Of this number, 25,000 consisted of a White woman and a Black man. In 1980, there were approximately 167,000 White-Black, interracial married couples. Of this number, 122,000 consisted of a White woman and a Black man. In 1997, there were approximately 311,000 White-Black, interracial married couples. Of this number, 201,000 consisted of a White woman and Black man; and 110,000 consisted of a White man and Black woman. In 2002, there were approximately, 395,000 White-Black, interracial married couples. Of this number, 279,000 consisted of a White woman and Black man; and 116,000 consisted of a White man and Black woman (U.S. Census Bureau found in Wright, 2006).
8. In 2009, there were approximately 354,000 White woman and Black man interracial married couples. Of this number, 196,000 consisted of a White man and Black woman (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009).
9. In 2010, 168,000 Black women were married to a White husband, 4,072,000 to a Black husband, 9,000 to an Asian husband and 18,000 to other husband. In the same year, 50,410,000 White women were married to a White husband, 390,000 to a Black husband, 219,000 to an Asian husband and 488,000 to other husband (Wikipedia).
10. Approximately 15% of first time marriages in the U.S. in 2010 were between couples from a different race compared to 6.7% in 1980. For all marriages in the same year, 8.4% were couples from a different race compared to 3.2 in 1980 (Pew Research Center, 2012).
11. In 2013, approximately 12% of first time marriages in the U.S. were between newlyweds of different races (Pew Research Center, 2015).
12. In 2015, approximately 10% of all marriages in the U.S. were between people of a different ethnicity or race compared to 3% in 1980. In the same year, 17% of all weddings performed were interracial compared to 7% in 1980 (Pew Research Center found in Balwit, 2017).
13. In 2015, "18% of new marriages in metropolitan areas were interracial compared to 11% of newlyweds outside of metropolitan areas." Figure 2 provides the percentage of the newlyweds who are married to people of a different ethnicity or race in the top 10 metropolitan areas (Pew Research Center found in Balwit, 2017).
14. In 2015, newlywed intermarriages were 17% compared to 3% in 1967 after the Loving v. Virginia case (Pew Research Center found in Livingston, G. & Brown, A., 2017).
15. In 2015, newlywed intermarriages for Asians were 29% compared to Hispanics 27%; Blacks 18% and White 11% (Pew Research Center found in Livingston, G. & Brown, A., 2017).
16. In 2015, newlywed intermarriages for White men were 12% compared to 10% for White women; newlywed intermarriages for Black men were 24% compared to 12% for Black women; newlywed intermarriages for Hispanic men were 26% compared to 28% for Hispanic women; newlywed intermarriages for Asian men were 21% compared to 36% for Asian women (Pew Research Center found in Livingston, G. & Brown, A., 2017). Figure 3 provides an overall percentage of U.S. newlyweds (interracial marriages) along with a breakdown by ethnic groups in 2015.
For this book, the critical question to be asked is: "Why do African American men "jump the fence" to date or marry White women and other women outside of their race? Through interviews, this book seeks to answer the question. The interviews include a relatively small sample of 34 African American men who are dating or married to White women and other women outside of their race. These men, however, were raised and currently reside in different parts of the United State. Additionally, this book provides several interviews of African American women who are dating or married to White men. Finally, it discusses advice from African American men and women, a matchmaker and minister related to this subject matter. For confidentiality, the names of the interviewees have been changed.
Background and Commonalities Among the African American Men Who Date or Marry Outside of Their Race
The African American men represented in this book were reared and currently reside in different parts of the United States. They come from the states of Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, California, Illinois, Mississippi, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia and Washington. The majority of the men were from two parent households that have significantly lengthy marriages. Others were from divorced families.
The men work in occupations such as education, the military and entertainment (acting and National Football League). They work in fields such as management and healthcare. They also work in various industries doing blue collar work or operating their own businesses. While most of the men were raised in the Baptist faith, many of them were not actively involved in the church. The interviewees ranged in age from 19–67. Their relationships comprised of mostly White women; however, there were some who were in active relationships with Asians, Brazilians, Hispanics, Mexicans and Turkish women.
Regarding education, the interviewees all had a high school degree with others securing college degrees. Their mates were often similarly degreed.
The objective of the interviews was to gain a better understanding of why Black Men choose to date and marry outside of their race. Below are the collective learnings garnered from the interviews.
Black Men Still Love their Black Women
Black Men overwhelmingly agreed that even though they were dating and marrying White women and other women outside of their race, they still love their Black women. They described Black women as strong and being the backbone of the family. They respect Black women for the strength they display and acknowledged that Black women have been molded by history to stand up and be strong. As one interviewee put it, all he has known is Black women and has been raised by a strong Black woman. Another interviewee explained it this way, "I love their dark complexion, full lips and short natural hair. Black women are everything to me." See the stories–Spiritual Connection, Awkward Mix and Attitude Matters–for a more thorough discussion.
A Chance Meeting
The majority of the interviewees indicated that they were not actively looking to date outside of their race. They were introduced to their acquaintances through various means. Some met the women through mutual friends, at work, school or at a social event; and one interviewee indicated the meeting occurred due to their children. It was clear that it was proximity that opened the door to building a relationship with a woman outside of their race. As one interviewee put it, "I just didn't wake up one day and want to date outside my race, it just happened." A few connected on social media (a rarity); and at least one interviewee indicated there was curiosity about White women even though he had been coached by his mother to not date White women. In the story on "Curiosity," Oliver Johnston said, he had always been curious about White women but the chance had never presented itself until a particular social event. Additionally, he wasn't sure how to approach his White girl friend or how to start the conversation. However, to his delight once the conversation began, they had a lot in common. Another interviewee said he was ready to experience something different. He said he had a "bad run" with Black women and wanted to try an interracial relationship. See article on No Separation for further discussion about chance meeting.
The strong Black woman comes with a strong attitude. Many of the men indicated that they are pushed away from Black women because of this attitude. They described the attitudes as "angry, frustrated and confrontational." In the following story on "A Break," Jeremy Johnson said, Black women have a different view of what being a man is, they start off with the negative. White women don't come with all the baggage. You're a man and it doesn't have to be proven. And, it's not that it's easier to be with a White woman, but nothing is under the microscope. White women might do a checklist on what type of person you are, but it's not a checklist of your manhood. But with Black women, it seems to be a checklist that adds up to if you're a man or not. There's no tug of war with White women. There's no limbo to see whose womanhood or manhood wins with White women. See more on negativity in the articles–Comfort Level, Love Oneself, Man Attraction, Best Friends, Color Complex, Foreign Interests and Pleasantly Surprised.
Excerpted from "Why Black Men Jump the Fence?"
Copyright © 2018 Gabriel Woodhouse.
Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Root of Colorism, 11,
Background on Marriages, 13,
Types of Marriages, 14,
Background and Commonalities Among the African American Men Who Date or Marry Outside of Their Race, 21,
Real Stories of Why Black Men Jump to Date or Marry Outside of Their Race, 27,
Real Stories of Why African American Women Jump to Date or Marry White Men, 105,
Key Advice from African American Men, 113,
Key Advice from African American Women, 117,
Advice from a Matchmaker, 118,
Excerpt of Spiritual Advice from a Minister, 122,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, 129,