Black Marriage Day 2011 - Official Web Site
I don't know anything about the people behind the "Black Marriage Day 2011" and their agenda.
Upon going to their web site and seeing their reference to the new documentary movie "Men Ain't Boys" I was comforted. You see - I watched the promotional trailer to the movie previously and agreed with these particular people and the transparency/integrity of their movement. Thus the "Black Marriage Day 2011" receives a bit of transitive trust from "Men Ain't Boys" in my book.
As I have argued recently with regards to those who make the case that by denying "Same Sex Marriage" to people who choose to our society is oppressing and discriminating against two consenting adults - they should have their entire package inspected with a primary focus on what they are doing to get the "unwilling heterosexuals" to commit to long term married relationship so that they too can be allowed to "benefit" from this institution that we apparently both agree has value. Surely their children and the greater community would benefit from this initiative.
I was made aware of the "Black Marriage Day 2011" after listening to the same audio from NPR that the article in "The Root.com" had referenced in its story.
From The Root.com
NPR is reporting that marriage activists in hundreds of communities around the country will gather to celebrate the 9th Annual Black Marriage Day on Sunday, March 27, 2011. The day aims to strengthen and promote marriage in the black community. There has been a sharp decline in marriage overall in recent years. The Pew Research Center reports that in 2008, 72 percent of black women giving birth were unmarried. That's more than in any other ethnic group and almost double the amount from 40 years ago.
NPR's Jennifer Lunden interviewed Richard Reddick, co-author of A New Look at Black Families, about marriage in the African-American community. During the interview Reddick, who is also a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, discusses the economic factors that affect black marriage and "alternate family forms" in the black community. Reddick says, "Alternate family forms for black families have been in existence for quite some time now, so there are a number of functional healthy two-parent sort of units raising children that aren't married. So it's not stigmatized to the level it may be in other communities for African Americans."
In terms of economics, Reddick says that unemployment and education affect black marriages. "So that means that oftentimes you want to get your -- you want to wait till your partner has the stability and an income level where you feel like you can go it together and there isn't this huge differential." He also talks about the fact that black households are more egalitarian and share responsibilities and decision making, so there is an increased need to be on an equal footing.
As I listened to the analysis of the guest on the NPR show, Richard Reddick, Asst Professor of Education Administration at University of Texas Austin - I was troubled with his analysis. I was made to question his agenda.
Not that my own marriage is a reference for all others but - the argument that people are waiting to get married because they seek to first obtain their education is 100% counter to my experience. A few years ago my wife - a working mother of two was able to obtain a master's degree for NO OTHER REASON THAN the fact that we are married and I, a resident father, was able to pick up the slack on child care while she attended to her studies. The fact that I shoulder the balance of the financial burden for the house no doubt assists her greatly as well.
I did not hear Pro Reddick put forth the notion that two people engaged in a long term relationship can pair together to act as a tag team - synergizing something greater than what they can do on their own. Instead I heard a series of attempted "normalizations" of the present decisions made by Black people to hold off on marriage or not do it at all. Reddick was forthcoming on a list of reasons why Blacks are not marrying at sufficient rates:
- The Permanency of the decision to marry - with a high price to pay for an exit
- The prevailing national economic malaise has dampened the financial benefit of marriage (???)
- Seeking to put one's one financial house in order prior to marrying
- Desire to pursue education prior to committing to marriage
- The Black community is more accepting of "Alternative Family Forms" beyond the traditional female and male married father of the children
I can't accept this man's arguments.
I can think of no better time to apply the old adage "People Over Profits", turning away from the corporate target and directing this message to the individuals within our community who need to heed it the most as a guide of their choices.
Two people who produce children - residing in two separate homes are forced to pay double for:
- Property Taxes
In addition the added need for child care and/or the transportation costs necessary to bring the children to the residence of the non-custodial parent only adds to these costs.
I am of the opinion that Reddick does not want to challenge or be critical of the prevailing "status quo". He is loathed to talk about the COSTS that are generated by this growing acceptance of out of wedlock births of children. Beyond the economic costs are the negative impacts that I heard detailed on the "Too Much Truth" radio show from WAOK AM about 3 weeks ago. Various callers detailed the hurt they suffered by feeling constantly disappointed by their non-resident parent (their father mostly). The broken promises in picking them up for a day together. The lack of financial support. The failure to acknowledge their birthday or other important holidays.
I get the sense that Reddick is present to pitch the "new diversity" that is present within the realm of marriage within the Black community, promoting this diversity as a positive and liberating attribute while being silent on the negative residual effects.
If we review one of the many conversations in which the thought of the "Ozzie and Harriett" marriage that is the "White Conservative Norm" is panned as unworkable for Blacks to be bound to we see the same type of rationale that is expressed by Reddick. They like he are more interested in affirming the heightened tolerance that is present within the Black community than they are to take OWNERSHIP of the need for enforcement of strong, committed and long term "Black male/female" relationships.
I am exposed to a group of women who are friends or family of my wife as they talk about their travails in the dating game. I hear frustration at their ability to find eligible Black male suitors as they seek marriage and the creation of a family. They as individuals cannot "raise the room temperature" of the environment which they operate within. Only the community at large can agree to impose a new reference standard on the subject of "Healthy Relationship Outcomes" and the intended effects on our children. The benefits of this change will not be immediate but any change today will deliver our people into the state of consciousness that they are inculcated into some 30 to 50 years from now.