Let’s Settle This "Black Women Don’t Get Married" Thing Once & For All

Love & Relationships

Black women have a harder time getting married than anyone else. Chile. How many times have we all heard that?

Listen, it's not like I don't see the clickbait. There are studies from highly respected sources that say divorce rates are higher for Black women than white ones and we "also have relatively high rates of marital instability." To that I say, "define instability" because stats reveal that whites and Blacks divorce at about the same rate (it's Hispanics and Asians who remain married the most; Native Americans who get divorced the most).

All of this is solid data. It's also only one side of the coin. In "The Top 4 Myths About Black Marriage," it was cited that the ever-so-popular statistic, "42 percent of Black women never marry" actually includes women who are as young as 18 years of age (people who are barely adults). If you remove the teenagers from this, the percentages drop significantly.

How often do you hear this kind of information shared about Black women and marriage?

Research also revealed that according to 2005-2009 census data, a whopping 75 percent of Black women actually DO get married before they turn 35. Also, Black women in small towns have higher marriage rates than white women who live in urban cities like New York and Los Angeles. This article also states that 70 percent of college-educated Black women are married by the age of 40.

Is it just me or is the takeaway from this info that it's not that Black women aren't getting married; it's that they are getting married later in life — once we are more established, settled, and know exactly what we want — and don't want, in a relationship or otherwise.

Personally, I think this all proves that if we're not getting married as often or quickly as the media thinks that we should (and who cares what they think?!), it's because we're more pro-healthy relationships than undesirable when it comes to saying, "I do."

On behalf of us all, I believe this is why we're OK with not rushing (or even having to) jump a broom.

We Respect Marriage.


I don't know why this isn't brought up more, but there is an overwhelming amount of Black women who find marriage to be so serious and sacred that they don't want to do it until they can truly honor it. That requires being holistically healthy, finding the right complement in a partner, and making sure we — and our partner — are emotionally and spiritually mature enough to mean "til death parts us."

For the Christians reading this, it's kind of like in Matthew 19, when Christ broke down the expectations of marriage and the disciples said (paraphrased and modernized), "Man. If marriage takes all that, I'm good. I'll stay single."

Exactly. Some of us aren't married because until we're sure we can take on the awesome weight and responsibility of that kind of union, we'd rather leave it alone. We should be respected for thinking that highly of marriage.

We Love Singleness.


What is the problem with singleness? Goodness. If you've read more than a couple of my articles on here, you know that I'm all for cracking open a dictionary on the regular. That said, yes, singleness does mean "not in a romantic relationship" and "in an unmarried state". You know what else it means? Unique, sincere, and undivided. Some of its synonyms include particular, special, exclusive, exceptional, rare, peerless, uncommon and unrivaled. I don't know about you, but those sound like words that need to go on somebody's T-shirt line to me!

Did I think I would be 45-in-June and still single? Absolutely not. Especially not 20 years ago. But you know what? The more time I spend counseling couples, working on and celebrating myself and enjoying my seasons as they come, and the more I watch folks try and heal from broken marriages, chile…I'm good. Better than that.

I like being exclusive, rare, and undivided. I like knowing that I love men but I'm not needy for them. I like knowing that marriage should be seen as a blessing but not some mandated life goal. And, I really like resting in the fact that if I ever do get married, it will be because it will add to my life — not fill some void.

We Refuse to Settle.


Another informative read is "High-Achieving Black Women and Marriage: Not Choosing or Not Chosen?" It was the subtitle that really caught my attention — "Black SWANS (Strong Women Achievers, No Spouse)".

Some things that the author cited is, "There are 157 Black women for every 100 Black men while there are approximately 450 white men for every 100 white women in [the $100,000 annual income] bracket!" and "If we just count people with master's and doctoral degrees, there are 209 black women for every hundred men versus 133 white women, 101 Asian women and 173 Latinas for every hundred of those men".

Hmm. If a Black woman invested time in order to create a life where she earned multiple degrees and a six-figure salary and then decided that she wanted a partner who did the same, what's wrong with that? I'll answer for you — absolutely nothing.

As for me — a woman who doesn't fall into either category — what am I waiting on? First, I'm not waiting. I'm living my life. Second, something that I know how to do is love. I LOVE BIG too. Whenever someone asks me why I'm still single, I simply say, "Until a man can love me the way I know I love, I'm cool." When you love yourself big, you're not only able to say things like that, you're able to mean it.

Why love yourself in a healthy way and then settle for someone who won't do the same? Yeah, what the media also doesn't speak on enough is most of us are single by choice versus circumstance.

And our choice is to not settle. Point, blank, and period.

We’re in No Rush.


The women I know who desire children (and want to be married when they have them), once they hit their mid-30s, my heart does go out to them (although women are having healthy children well into their 40s and even 50s these days). I'd venture to say that most people who are already parents would still warn against getting married just so you can have kids. That's too much pressure to put on yourself or your unborn children.

But overall, most of the single Black women I know who do want to get married someday are in no rush. They're too focused on getting degrees, starting businesses, traveling the world — doing what my mother advises to single people: "Do everything you can't compromise before getting married because marriage is all about compromise."

When your life is full of goals, plans, and adventures, you're too excited about what's already on your to-do list to be worrying about whether or not a husband is in your future. I mean, you're literally so busy that the thought doesn't have room to cross your mind as nearly as much as your mom or aunt wants it to.

So, can everyone finally stop trying to freak us Black women out about marriage?

Marriage is dope. So is singleness. When we're ready to jump a broom, you can rest assure that it will be because it will make the life we already have that much bigger — and that's some really big shoes to fill!

Until then, don't let the click bait fool you.

Trust us when we say we're doing just fine. Because we are.

All the definitions of single confirm and affirm it.

Featured image by Getty Images.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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