Degrees of Separation: A Black Conundrum

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As an undergraduate college student with a girlfriend, I can only imagine how difficult dating as an adult can be. How do you meet people outside of a campus setting? Approaching people you don’t know at casual settings like a restaurant or in passing on the street sounds like a nightmare. Past that, black women seem to be dealing with a dating nightmare of their own: an unqualified selection of suitors to choose from. Black women have long since complained that if they want to marry black men, they have to settle for men who are less educated and/or make less money than them.

According to a 2016 report by the National Center for Education Statistics, black women are the most educated group in the United States. They earned 68% of all associate degrees awarded to black students, 66% of bachelor’s degrees, 71% of master’s degrees and 65% of all doctorates awarded to black students between 2009 and 2010. At 9.7% they also hold the title for the highest percentage of college enrollment by race and gender. Even taking a look at the smaller demographic of Howard University, the ratio of men to women here is hovering somewhere around 5 to 1. Seems like an open and shut case by these numbers, right? I’m not so sure.

In my research, I was not able to find any reports to corroborate black women out-earning black men in income. Possession of a college degree does not always translate to employability. Anyone in any business school can tell you that it’s all about who you know, not what you know. And what about the other things black men possess? The intangibles. A 2013 CDC report shows that black men are the most involved fathers. So now we get to an important point of introspection. Is it really that there are no black men on your level, or is that there are black men on your level but they don’t look how you wish they would? Those are two completely different arguments. I’m not calling anyone shallow. No one wants to be with someone they aren’t attracted to. But “settling” because of looks and “settling” because of social mobility are not one in the same.

“Settling” is also one hell of a way to refer to the person you’re supposed to love forever. Sheesh.

Comment, and let me know what you think!

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