Is Marriage for White People? That's the title of a book written by a Stanford law professor Ralph Richard Banks (an African American married to an African American - I like how he puts that out before the haters start questioning his right to make such a proclamation). Alas I am yet to read the book but from the reviews I have read here, here and here it was all heart, backed by personal narratives and data.
His question is 'In an economy where women are thriving and desirable black men are scarce, why do black women stay loyal to black men to their detriment?'
- large numbers of professional black women being rotated by the 'few' college educated black men who gets to pick and choose who he wants to be with and even then he still has multiple sex partners
- almost half of all black women have had an abortion, over twice the rate for white women;
- 2 black women graduate from college every year for every black male that graduates;
- black men out-marry (i.e., marry interracially) at over twice the rate of black women;
- there are two million more black women in America than black men;
- higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases when compared against other groups of women due to the high incidence of `man-sharing' that occurs among black women;
solution well, suggestion is 'Black women should liberate themselves from the shackles of race and date outside the pool'.
I wholeheartedly agree with him though I wonder why we need a Stanford law professor to tell us that? What is it about marrying outside our races, tribes that scares black women?
This isn't the first time I have read or listened to people write/talk about the dearth of eligible black men for black women in America and I used to wonder.. 'but there are other men?!!..Chinese, Indian, Africans, you haven't exhausted your options yet.
I have reframed this problem in our society. Kindly substitute Black women for Ibo, Yoruba and Hausa women and think about the Nigerian environment. Yes, that tribe thing. Maybe its not as pervasive as before but I do know I have single girlfriends who swear that they can never marry a non-igbo/non-Yoruba etc etc.
Interestingly I think this outlook is more common to Ibo women than other tribes yet we are the ones who have a man-scarcity. College educated Ibo men are a minority compared to the majority who are secondary school leavers (though thriving businessmen). From what I have observed/personal experiences, the Ibo men who are good income earning graduates tend to feel like they are 'something special'. Correct me if I am wrong.
I used to think like 'Warrahell? Who said I can't fish across the River Niger' msheew.
So lets reason together, what are the fears of marrying outside our comfort zone be it - Race/Language/Geographical zone?
Off hand I can think of these few points:
Culture. Someone from another race/tribe won't understand the basic parts of black/Igbo/Yoruba/Benin/Tiv life and culture. It may seem trivial at first especially if the dating/married mixed couple are living in a cosmopolitan city. then bang, one day you travel home with your hubby and like a chameleon he suddenly expects you to kneel down and serve him food and you wonder but 'he wasn't like that before'!
Different standards of beauty: For the inter-racial couple, she may feel like you are competing on a different standard of beauty. He is used to blondes/redheads/brunnetes with blue/green/hazel/gray eyes and long wavy hair, now he has you brown chocolate from your eyes, nipples to your happily nappy hair which has not seen the sunlight in oinks because of permanent extensions). Same for the woman who has to exchange her ideal of Denzel W for a Ryan Reynolds.
(On a lighter note, I am yet to be toasted(chatted up) by a Briton. Infact it has become a mission for me. Silly I know, but I need affirmation that my beauty is universally accepted. lol).
Food: She'd have to widen her cooking skills to accommodate what is cultural for the other person. Igbo girl learning to make ewedu/amala. Yoruba girl learning to make oha soup. Nigerian girl learning to make lamb casserole for her British hubby etc (Lucidlilith gives me great comfort that all food is acceptable so long as its cooked right).
Skin color. Yeah that is the simplest to overcome yet the most conspicuous reminder of the boundaries you have bridged in an inter-racial relationship. Even though love has blinded you the world wont let you forget as easily...i think and they may not be polite about it.
Religion: A change of religion maybe part of the bargain. Christian marrying Muslim, Muslim marrying Hindu, Vampire marrying Human (lolsssssss) etc. Blog mom Linda has blogged about her daughter who is married to an Iranian. She (daughter) even converted to Islam; and she can speak Farsi (Iran's official language) and Arabic too. While stories like hers make me marvel at the power of love, on the other hand, it scares me shitless.
Can I love a man that much to give up that much? Come on, I am already giving up my father's name, now I have to cleave to a new culture, language, food, religion.
What is husband giving up for me? (Maybe now I can understand why Edward was so reluctant to grant Bella her wish!)
So that's my first question....Is my fear above valid? If you are involved in a mixed marriage/relationship I'd like to know if such thoughts have crossed your minds and how you combated or resolved it.
Two..for my single and formally single readers, have you ever considered mixed relationships?
p.s. My elder sister said mixed marriages should only be considered if the man is from royal/rich family, hear! hear! Her logic is that people with money/status do not follow culture as strictly as those without so less burden for the wife. I don't know how true that is.....lol