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Lee is a middle class white male with no black female friends, rare interactions with black families growing up, and who states his interactions with black women only consist of work-related experiences. Yet, he expresses strong negative views of black women as unattractive and uneducated as the first thoughts that come to his mind. This quote by Lee and several other white m ale respondents in this essay dispute notions that only a few highly identifiable, old, deep-south bigots hold strong deep seated racialized views of black women.
Other work suggests that some women are happy to remain unmarried, given their uncertainties about the permanency of marriage or their desire to concentrate on their professional lives e. We obtained perspectives from men who value marriage, as evidenced by their commitment to enrolling in and completing a marriage enrichment program. The men were enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis. Though prior work has sampled Black women to learn more about reasons for remaining single, very few studies consider the perspectives of married Black men.
Of the couples who participated in ProSAAM, husbands had completed their three-year follow-up assessment by December 1,marking their completion of the larger ProSAAM study and were thus eligible for participation in the present study called Pathways to Marriage. The average length of their current marriage was 14 years range 2 — The 52 men were interviewed in their homes or another setting of their choice e.
Ethnographic work has highlighted how compromised educational and economic opportunities, as well as perceived loss of freedom, undermined the likelihood that men will marry Anderson, Dickson noted that women are encouraged to pursue education, secure employment, and be self-reliant in communities where there is a shortage of marriageable men, as in the Black community. The availability of mates in the marriage market affects the likelihood of marital formation and longevity Hopkins-Williams, Despite considerable attention to macro-level influences that impact Black unions, only a fraction of the variations in relationship patterns can be attributed to structural factors such as employment, education, sex ratio, and incarceration Cherlin, ; Wilson, We review these two relationship dynamics next.
Among those desiring to marry, scholars have identified barriers related to economic instabilities, challenges that undermine long-term relationship success e. Seventy-three percent of the men had not been married ly. We focused on the opinions of these men for three reasons.
Married black men’s opinions as to why black women are disproportionately single: a qualitative study
Furthermore, 7 out of 10 Black women are unmarried and 3 out of 10 may never marry Banks, Thus, the disproportionate of Black women who are single has been well-documented. We felt that a qualitative inquiry could provide a richer understanding of these issues elucidated by Black men than had been obtained using survey measurements in quantitative studies. Children raised in marriage-based households also exhibit more favorable developmental outcomes over time Blackman et al. Relational challenges, negative orientations and attitudes, and difficult interactional styles between Black men and Black women were passed on to younger generations through socialization Boyd-Franklin, ; Browning, ; Johnson, In addition, the spirit of independence and a sense of personal rights among Black women, which developed out of the necessity for coping with persistent inequality, may strain couple relationships between Black men and Black women Hill, ; Johnson, In addition to gender relations, another micro-level factor to consider relates to interpersonal trust, which we address next.
Fifty-two men consented to participate. No study of which we are aware has sought the perspective of married Black men to better understand why a disproportionate of Black women are single. Boyd-Franklin and Franklin have counseled Black women in clinical settings on these issues. Several qualitative studies have been conducted but have primarily used samples of women or couples e.
Few investigations of relationships have adopted a within-group analysis approach and focused exclusively on Black men. The two interviewers digitally recorded each interview, and the recordings were electronically submitted to a transcriber. Although Black women may offer the best insight on these experiences, we interviewed Black men to capture their unique perspectives on the issues.
Particularly among men, as incomes rise and jobs become more secure, the probability of marriage increases Gibson-Davis et al. There are gaps in the literature on Black men, particularly with regard to type of samples and kind of methodologies employed. They have noted that Black women are frequently provided with conflicting messages about intimate relationships by elders in their families and communities. Another comparable framework—the Vulnerability-Stress-Adaptation Model—is a useful tool for understanding factors that could explain non-marriage among Black women.
A body that does not compare: how white men define black female beauty in the era of colorblindness
Though marriage is delayed when Black men pursue postsecondary education, the probability of marriage increases Marks et al. Qualitative interviews were conducted in as part of the Pathways to Marriage study. Research suggests that slavery in the U. Enslaved Black men were customarily removed from their families and communities, and thus, their function in family life was often more biological than social or financial Boyd-Franklin, ; Franklin, ; Staples, Slavery conditions may have ificantly undermined the formation of permanent unions and the leadership roles of Black men in their families Pinderhughes, Given the marginal roles relegated to Black men within their families and the history of strained gender relations that may be attributable to harsh slavery conditions, communication challenges and confusion about gender roles between Black men and women developed Franklin, ; Hatchett, ; Pinderhughes, This confusion in the gender roles between Black men and women can be traced to fluidity in gender roles between the two genders; gender roles were flexible out of economic necessity.
Next, we outline relevant literature concerning the influence of macro-level e. One is a message of independence e. The authors analyzed the data in a collaborative fashion and utilized content analyses to explore the relationships in the data which were derived from qualitative interviews with the men.
All of the men were married.
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Married Black men offer a unique perspective on this important demographic trend in our country. Black was used to describe the race of the sample in order to include ethnicities such as Cuban American and African American.
Among Black men, scholars have noted a decline in well-paying jobs, and consequentially, a rise in unemployment and underemployment Browning, ; Marks et al. In this respect, this investigation makes an important contribution to the literature.
Most men reported living in a home with two children range 0 — 3.
The purpose of ProSAAM was to examine the role of prayer and skill-based intervention in strengthening African American marital relationships. Much of the research in this area has employed quantitative methodology with larger samples, and has focused on the influential role of education, employment, intermarriage, and nonmarital childbearing on marital behavior. From this perspective, obtaining the opinions of married men is particularly important since men traditionally initiate marriage proposals.
To respond to our inquiry, the men in the present study offered opinions about relationships by reflecting on their own dating and marital histories, as well as their observations of intimate ties in their families and communities. Recommendations for future research are discussed. Available Black females out Black males as a result of mortality, morbidity, and imprisonment among Black males and increased longevity for Black females Lane et al.
Given that stable, satisfying marriages have been associated with positive outcomes e. The mean age for the study participants was 43 range 27— All men reported their race as Black; one man identified himself as a Cuban American while all the others self-identified as African American. The model emphasizes three components—stressful events e. The Mundane Environmental Stress Model served as a conceptual guide to help elucidate the processes by which structural factors may impact intimate relationships. Two married Black male interviewers conducted the interviews between January and April The men were asked about the meaning of marriage, marital socialization, their motivations for marrying and staying married, factors that helped to encourage and sustain marriage, barriers to or challenges in staying married, commitment attitudes, and their participation in ProSAAM Hurt, For these analyses, we examined the advice men provided regarding the disproportionate of Black women who are single.
Next, we discuss empirical work on the impact of education, employment, sex ratio, and incarceration on relationships. Undergraduate research interns listened to the digital recordings and read the transcripts simultaneously to verify complete transcription since the transcriber was not a member of the research team Carlson, The interview transcripts were used for the data analyses.
Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore reasons that Black women are disproportionately single; we explore those reasons using the perspectives of 52 married Black men. This sample of Black men recalled being romantically involved including dating and marriage with their wives for 16 years on average range 3 — 41 years; one participant gave no response.
Boyd-Franklin and Franklin wrote:.
Black women have traditionally worked in the labor force to help sustain their families, but over time, they have become even more independent and less likely to marry solely for financial support Hill, ; Jones, ; Taylor et al. Very few studies of relationships include the opinions and voices of men, particularly Black men. Therefore, we believe that the of this study add to the literature.
Each interviewee was assured anonymity and strict confidentiality of the data collected. Learn More. The interviews were semi-structured, and were the primary method of data collection. Most men fathered two biological children range 0 —7.
Having considered macro-level and micro-level factors that impact Black relationships, we now turn our attention to the rationale for this study.
A brief survey was administered to the participants to collect demographic information. This demographic pattern is so noticeable, that it has even received considerable attention from popular media e. Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think.