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Let's Talk About Black Marriage Statistics & Colorism

November 4, 2019

Here are a few statistics: 

 

  • 83% of black men who earn at least $100,000 marry black women. 

  • 85% of black male college graduates marry black women 

  • 88% of black men in general marry black women

    These are all statistics that the hoteps, broteps, and militant betty’s alike love to tote in the face of black women, especially dark skinned black women who dare complain about the less than ideal marriage prospects facing the modern black woman. Personally, I am not here to argue, or even rebuke these statistics, as I pretty much agree; At the end of the day people of all races tend to marry within their race, that’s just the xenophobic nature of humans.

 

However…Just because I think that these statistics generally ring true, there are a few things that I think black women, phenotypically black and dark-skinned women especially, should keep in mind. 

One of the biggest caveats to this statistic is that many, if not most biracial people who have a black parent, tend to identify as black. To put it bluntly, it appears that “blackness” seems to be the default dumping grounds for biracial results of interracial marriage or relations. So what does that mean for black women? Basically, that if biracial is seen as black, black men can then say that they are married to a black woman and continue to perpetuate erasure via the one drop rule.

It also adds an extra layer of gas lighting to the complaints of black women. If a phenotypically black woman looks up and observes that a lot of her black male counterparts are marrying women who look like Meghan Markle; black men will have an out stating that since these women have a black parent, they are black. It also skews the statistics because out of the 80% or so, how many of the women married to these black men are actually biracial? 

To that point, another issue with this statistic as it pertains specifically to dark skinned black women is what are the skin tones of the black women that make up these numbers? Well, just judging from the women the men in my family tended to marry, my father included, many of them are probably light. So this brings up the question; what do the statistics look like for dark-skinned black women? What is the percentage of black men, who are married to dark skinned black women?

Naturally, since the majority of black women in America are brown to dark-skinned, it is likely that still most black men who married are married to brown or dark-skinned women. However, as many dark-skinned black women are waking up and beginning their level up journey, how does this affect the socio-economic breakdown of the marriage statistics? Will this mean that the higher you go up the pay-scale, it’s mostly brown and dark-skinned phenotypically black women as the wives of successful black men, or will it be that the higher you climb, the less likely a black man will be married to black women who look that way. 

There is still mystery surrounding the marriage demographics of blacks in America and still much to be desired in terms of digging into the actual statistics.

I don’t have any answers to the questions posed above; but the point is that we should question it when they are thrown out to silence our legitimate complaints. 

Liv is a new blogger for DDS Magazine. She graduated University in 2018, with a degree in History & English Lit and in her free time is an avid creative writer, History & Fashion enthusiast, as well as a cat-mom to three kittens. When she is not creating, she works at a children's non-profit and enjoys spending her weekends doing Pilates, hiking, shopping and indulging in Sci-fi novels.   

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