Marriage and the Well-Being of African American Boys

Many significant historical and current societal factors have contributed to
lower levels of well-being among African American boys. One factor that is sometimes overlooked and appears to have an especially important impact is family structure. This brief summarizes research strongly indicating that African American boys do best when they live with two parents – especially their own two married parents.

Together, these briefs support the case that government policies to help
low-income couples and fragile families must include serious proposals to
support marriage. As two policy experts, one Democrat and one Republican, concluded recently in a piece written for the Brookings Institution: “Both scholars and politicians now agree that married two-parent families are good for children, and that poverty would be greatly reduced if marriage could be increased.”

(Ron Haskins and Paul Offner: Achieving Compromise on Welfare Reform Reauthorization.)
The report is available for download here:

May 25, 2005

Divorce and marriage play much bigger economic roles for black children than white children in the United States, according to a new study by two UC Davis economists. Marianne Page and Ann Huff Stevens find that in the first two years following a divorce, family income among white children falls about 30 percent, while it falls by 53 percent among black children.
“This difference increases dramatically in the long run,” Page and Stevens write. “Three or more years after the divorce, about a third of the loss in whites’ household income is recouped, but the income of black families barely improves.”

In fact, three or more years after the divorce, the black families’ income remains 47 percent lower than if the parents had remained together. Marriage appears to have even greater benefits for black children whose single mothers marry than for their white counterparts, according to the study.

Page and Stevens estimate that while the family income of white children rises by 45 percent when their single parent marries, the family income of black children rises by 81 percent with marriage. One reason for the difference in improvement is that married black mothers are more likely to work than married white mothers. On the other hand, when divorce occurs, the probability of black mothers working does not change, while recently divorced white women have an 18 percent greater probability of working.

The study, published in the February 2005 issue of Demography, followed a nationally representative, longitudinal survey of Americans conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research.

Ralph Richard Banks recently authored a book asking the question is marriage for white people? Apparently in the book the author suggests that interracial marriage may be a solution for middle-class African-American women who can’t find a suitable black husband. In an interview and review of the book with the aptly named web site daily beast all kinds of excuses are given to satisfy our recent and often peculiar predilections, that seems to contradict yet exacerbate the series of quotes I had lifted from  A quote lifted from the Daily Beast stood out so much I had to take a pause before switching off that site.

The quote:

‘It’s time for black women to stop being held hostage to the deficiencies of black men.’

This quote literally sums up the altogether too prevalent reasons why not only are the family structure in the African communities in the west gone to the trash heap, but that there is a clear cut strategy to accelerate the demise of our numerical, cultural and social presence not only in the west but on the planet. Don’t for a moment think that western influenced and actuated wars of destruction and attrition are the only means of ensuring that Africans never regain their rightful place as fathers and mothers of the planet. Brighter minds than I have pointed to this phenomenon, but it is with our conscious and unconscious maintenance of this cultural and social pogrom will there ever be seen the light of success

A while back I had promised a reader of one of my post, Anita that I would attempt to do a post about African male-female relationship. Though I was slow to actually do some work on that, I have recently been inspired by my newest favourite blogger, Nojma Mohammed (don’t worry Anna Renee, I reserve the right to surround myself with more than one wise woman, so I am much elevated, Lol!)

Alas I have been also alarmed by an associate of mine, who decided to share with me the hidden from the media phenomena of the number of African men here in Toronto, Canada, who have been, arrested for domestic abuse and tossed into jail, evicted from their own home and are currently going through the most horrendous type of humiliation since we once stood on the slavers block, buck naked, with our dicks and balls hanging out for enemies to weigh and price on the open market. I am talking about family court and the value placed on us as men in this society.

“….A man’s on a ledge, says he’s gonna jump
People gather round, said, “He won’t he’s just a chump”
Cause he lost his job, then he got robbed
His mortgage is due and his marriage is through
He says he ain’t gonna pay no child support
Because the bitch left him without a second thought

He got nothin to eat, no shoes on his feet
She even left his clothes, out in the street
He keeps hearin noises when he’s at home
He always hears voices when he’s all alone
His wife took the kids, the car and the crib
In this man’s world, so much for women’s lib…

New York New –
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five

The one sided narrative between my associate and myself went like this:

Brother A: had an argument with his woman and stepped outside to breeze out and catch a smoke. When he tried to get back in the woman had locked him out. After banging on the door and not getting a response, he decided to kick the door in. That’s when she called the police and had a court order filed against him returning to the house.

Brother B: Was arguing with his woman and in the middle of the argument she decide to pick up the phone and call her friends to tell them about their argument. He took the phone away from her and she called the police and had him barred from entering the home, because she was scared for her safety.

Brother C: in a heated argument with his woman was told in no uncertain term (you don’t have to speak Jamaican to over stand this) “come out ta mi face wit’ yuh pussy breath bwoy!”  Of course the responding slap across the face for that insult didn’t help his cause and not only is that man barred from entering the house he is currently paying a mortgage on, but he is filled with so much bitterness at the turn of events that he has contemplated burning down the house. Forget about his children and his nice government job…and his freedom if he ever gave into that impulse.

Finally there is Brother D: Realizing one late night that his wife all of a sudden was getting dressed to go out partying he demanded that she not go out but blocked her from doing so. He was arrested for forcible confinement and assault.

Now of course this is my associates’ account of his friends account and on the surface you could be contrarian and argue that these are classic cases of men trying to control women, but I ask you. If you as a woman, after entering into a relationship with a man, decide that you are going to make an arbitrary decision without consulting him, decide that you don’t have to listen to him, care about his feelings or concerns and willingly choose to involve the PO-LICE into the equation without remorse, or second thought… then tell me again why you are in the relationship?

This brings me back to this thing called love. Really, what is the purpose of it? This author has long been formulating an opinion on a few specific ideas around relationship and has willingly expressed them far and wide, and to hell with the critics.

For one, I don’t believe in dating…the term dating and the follow up concept around that. Dating sets the stage for the future psychological slotting of roles in a man-woman relationship. Each of us is put into an often unattainable position of acting out roles we are not prepared for, don’t wish to be part of and don’t ever over stand.

Boy takes girl on a date

Boy and girl are expected to present themselves in a certain way that impresses the other in mode of dress, comportment and mode of transportation to conform to modern societal norms.

Boy is more often expected and conditioned to pay for the date, be in control of his passions and be gentlemanly at the end of the date.

Girl is expected to act demure and is conditioned to expect boy to pay for the date and be a gentleman at the end.

Note: Because of the trend in dating today, woman will insist that they don’t need a man to pay their way, but often will not refuse the offer. Men, given the option of going… Dutch on the date either feel insulted or feel even more insulted if she actually insists on paying for her and him (some cats will take advantage of that all day and night) Are you confused so far?

Now many cats have found out that woman will often get them to spend money on them and drop them like a sack of cement. If they guy is cute and have a nice body/potential she may give up the punanny and then in a fit of guilt/remorse/anger, wonder why he is either sticking around/not sticking around or why hasn’t he made further commitment (if they continue to have sex). Modern cats have become embolden and have demanded she give him sex BEFORE or DURING the date and when charged with being a lout will site cases of women who use men and drop them after they are done taking their money. True or not true it is what it is.

Secondly, falling indicates a loss of equilibrium, a sense of not being in physical, emotional or even cognitive control of your senses and body. Falling in love is all of that, or at least indicates that and people are perfectly fine with it.  They say that’s part of love. Yet no one takes about STANDING in love, GROWING into love, MATURING into love. People don’t talk about this because it is “romantic”, yet its very essence denotes a rational approach to a complex something called intimate or personal relationship.

To this author many of us confuse the mature melding of two separates into a complementary one. Like a gift basket filled with precious gifts such as respect, support, friendship, over standing, communication, intimacy, sacrifice, sharing, caring, commonality, mutuality, mutual goal setting and endurance. This is all wrapped up in pretty flowery wrapping paper called love. Too many African men and women today have the wrapping paper and a gift basket short of many of the little gifts that should be there.  But where did we learn this from?

We were never as confused about who we are in a relationship than we do today. Why is this? Who made us like this?

This is a mini series that will attempt to get a handle on this complex thing call relationship–not love—between African women and men. Logically if there is an illness in a patient or society, one must not only be able to recognise the symptoms or effects, but be cognisance of the genesis of such malady.  African male female- relationship is a very ill thing and even though many of us profess and indeed still want to have a positive relationship with each other, we are often like two emotionally blind people feeling for each other in murky light. So we have to go back to first recognise the results of our present the problem, chart a course back to the  source of our problem, then compare the cause and effect with a more workable model…which our ancestors and people from older civilizations have been practising for many millenniums.

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4 thoughts on “What is love?

  1. Brother, this analysis is so deep, and so dope, that I will bookmark it and refer to it again and again. So many issues, so much politics, power struggle, ignorance, blindness, madness, euro-sickness! I hope you keep posting on your findings! We need to hack through the tangled madness that is this euro-culture we find ourselves in. Pull out our spiritual machetes and get to work!

    I’ve been contemplating the thing from the woman’s perspective. I have a couple of blog pieces that I havent published, that focus on female ego. Black women often dont realize that we have a eurocentric, masculinized female ego. I’ve been vibing on this for a while. Society doesn’t talk about the female ego, and I believe that many women dont even understand this about themselves.

    I see it in the sisters who go on courtroom tv shows and bash their trifling man, (a man who they didnt require marriage from as Sister Nomja speaks of). They are so aggressive and obnoxious. These women prowl for that man/candy that they put on their arm to make their sister-friends jealous, but they get mad if the man doesn’t conform and submit. And the sisters are bred to be that way.

    But the correlation is that brother who manipulates the mothering instinct in women, so as to have them buy toys for him. He’s that perpetual pre-teen, with a desire for the toys that society programs him to want: playstation, big truck, big car, Air Jordans, an allowance. He’s that feminized boy-man predator, seeking lover/mommas to pay for his desires. He’s bred to be that way.

    Here in the States, there are numerous court tv shows on every station that depict this sick male/female dynamic all day long. I won’t even speak about Jerry Springer, who has been on the air here for twenty years with his sick depictions of male/female relationships.

    I also see it in certain “educated” sisters. They have it real bad, because they are in the thick of it, being educated up to BAs, MAs and PhDs, in euro-academia.
    I see it as well in certain black feminist sisters, who base their understanding of woman’s rights in a eurocentric framework.

    That’s why I am so in love (yes, love) with Sister Nubia I who I highlight in my sidebar. She works on cutting through the madness and teaching others how to cut through it. She does her healing work with such a clarity and a sensitivity to the weakened mindstates of the people. She’s very careful how she words things so as not to offend, (because we are so easily offended, and once someone is offended, they are hard to teach and to reach.

    She also mentions that she doesn’t have a TV. We have to first make the revolutionary choice to eschew their media. This is not as difficult as one might think. We have the internet and free access to so much, that we can’t blame the white man if we continue to suckle at the teat of his poison milk media. We can just say no, and start doing intentional research. But that takes time and willingness to search for truth.



    1. That’s deep Anna I wait for this posting because we (men/women) need more conscious analysis from people like your self, sister Nojma and sister Nubia in order to even out the train wreck that is being promoted out there. Do you remember Sharazad Ali? When she came out with the Black man’s guide to understanding the black woman, she was torn apart by…knee-grow men more so than the women. In fact once women actually read her book they backed down off their high wooden horses. But the Knee-grow males, were given a blue print to become responsible and dropped the ball. In this society it is easier to half-step because of the low expectation expected of us as men. I love you and sister Nojma because you each are the Ying to my Yang and your insights help me to articulate with more clarity, humbleness and vulnerability. The latter, as a man in the west, is a tough jacket to wear though, but growth is the result of knowledge, so growth it will be…for us all.


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