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What do tennis star Serena Williams, U. Kamala Harris and businesswoman Mellody Hobson have in common? But despite these real-world examples of interracial relationships, a Pew Research Center report found that black women are the least likely group of women to marry, especially outside of their own race. Despite this, Judice said race was not an important factor for most of the people she interviewed for the book.
Black women are the only group of women in America who cannot take for granted that if they seek marriage to a black man that there will be an ample supply of available men from which to choose. It is almost like the plight of black women looking for eligible partners is the elephant in the room.
Between issues related to skin color, hair texture, and low self-esteem, it is more difficult for black women to talk about it publicly to draw attention to the problem. I am tired of meeting so many women who have suffered in silence and simply given up on having someone love them for who they are. I am writing this book because I have seen first-hand the sadness many black women live with who have never experienced a fulfilling romantic relationship. To be sure, many of these women lead productive and fulfilling lives without ever marrying, some even decide to have children without husbands, but a common thread I have observed among many is a wistfulness for a part of life which has been denied to them…a part of life all other groups of women take for granted.
I have set out in this book to explore the lives of black women who have chosen to cross the racial divide in their quest for personal happiness. Black girls growing up today face a very different reality as illustrated by a few daunting statistics. First, the of black females begin to out black males by age 16; for whites, this does not happen until approximately age Second, black men are more than twice as likely as black women to marry outside of the race, black women are the least likely group of women to marry outside of the race.
Third, for every college educated black females, there are approximately thirty-five to forty comparably educated black males. These statistics underscore a sobering reality that set the parameters for this book. I became interested in the dating and marriage prospects of young black women thirty years ago. Living in Evanston, Illinois, I met numerous middle to upper middle class black families residing in several North Shore communities.
These couples supplied their children with the privileges that their social and economic status afforded while living in predominantly white suburban areas. Recognizing that their children might feel somewhat isolated living in predominantly white suburbs, many of these families ed black social groups or black churches to expose their children to a broader African American culture.
What happened to many of these children as they entered their teen and early adulthood years differed based on gender. On the other hand, young black females, while they may have had strong friendships with white females, were not as likely to have equal s of white male friendships.
Moreover, for some black females, as the dating years began, former friendships with white females began to fade. In sum, the social experiences of this group of black males and females took dramatically different routes as the teen years ended. Fast forward to the late 20s and early 30s for this group of young African Americans and the following had occurred.
Some in this group were involved in relationships, but it was only the black males who were engaged or had married. Most of their black female counterparts were single, and often voiced concern, and were the subject of conversation particularly among their mothers. Now in their late 40s, it is not surprising that many of the black males eventually married outside of the race or were involved in long term relationships and had children, while their black female counterparts either remained single or married much later in life late 30s to early 40s.
Only one of the black males who married outside of the race was married to a woman that came from a lower socioeconomic background and none married women who had children from relationships. Numerous conversations with middle class black families living in similar circumstances around the country confirmed my observations, although in more recent times, some of the distinctions in dating and marriage patterns that I initially observed have begun to diminish.
The primary purpose of this book is to tell the stories of black women who are dating, married to, or divorced from white males. Recognizing that the marriage pattern of black women who are married to white men represents the smallest of interracially married couples, and the most extreme end of the marriage spectrum, it is my hope that presenting their stories will cause more black women to intentionally seek to broaden their idea of suitable dating and marriage partners.
Second, this book gives voice to white men who are dating, married to, or divorced from black women. Their stories and perspectives provide balance to those of the women. Finally, the stories in this book are limited to the dating and marriage lives of heterosexual middle class African American women and white men who cross the racial divide in their quest to achieve personal happiness. Additionally, I interviewed ten black women who are divorced from their white husbands. Sixty personal interviews were conducted for this book.
The majority of interviews were with black women who are currently married to white men; half of whom were interviewed with their husbands. Eleven interviews were with women who were dating white males or who had been in relationships with white men, and four were with white males exclusively without their black girlfriends or wives. The majority of participants were between the ages of 21 and 55 and were interviewed in through It is my hope that the stories found within these s will be thought-provoking and provide insight on what it means to interracially date or marry.
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As a Black woman married to a white man, I know love does not exempt us from unconscious biases