Love & Relationships

Published on October 9th, 2011 | by thevyne


The “Vulnerability Factor”

If you’ve read one report on un-wed black women you’ve read them all. Honestly how much more can be explored on the subject of why black women appear to not be getting wed at the same rate as our Caucasian sisters? That’s usually the first thought that comes to my mind every time I see a new article released on this subject.  I was having dinner at Nobu57 in the big apple with a dear friend and Vyne reader, “JustDRob”, and somehow we got on the subject of being single and all those statistics about black women not marrying.  After a couple bowls of delectable rock shrimp, “JustDRob” arrived at a perspective I hadn’t yet considered on the whole “why so many black women are un-wed” thing…and that is, “the vulnerability factor.”

For the most part, the opinions on why black women aren’t getting married seem to swing back and forth between black women not being open enough to dating men of other races or black women being too dominant.  Both of those perspectives are hard to buy into when many of us can look around at our fabulous friends who are both open to dating any race and not raving “angry black women” on their brooms ready to snap off at the littlest annoyance from a man.

I recently read a statistic about the shifting demographics in the black population, specifically that in the past 10 years there have been significant gains in the areas of income and education to the tune of more than a 30% increase in the number of black households making $75K a year. What was most interesting about the statistic is that they attributed the shift to black women. Somewhere in the same article was more commentary about how black women are not getting married.

So in considering these statistics and even the historical significance of our past, it’s clear that black women are a “get it done” group of women. When we want to pursue education, we pursue it with full gusto, attaining degree on top of degree. When we decide we want to pursue a career in corporate America, we maneuver, network and deliver results until we’re carrying titles of “Vice President of this” and “Senior Vice President of that.” When we’re ready to step out on our own as entrepreneurs, we do the legwork and step out there on faith. When we want something, we proclaim it, let everyone know we’re going after it and we relentlessly pursue it until we’ve reached the goal.

So why is it that when we know we want a relationship, a good many of us are less inclined to proclaim it and go after it with the same gusto as we do an education or a career? Could it be the “vulnerability factor”? Loosely defined it’s the notion that admitting the need/desire for a relationship, proclaiming it outside of just talking with our friends, inherently makes us vulnerable. Vulnerable to disappointment, rejection and probing questions from others wondering why such a “beautiful, smart woman as yourself is single” when you don’t want to be. Is that it? Are we not making gains in the “wedding statistics” because to proclaim the desire for a relationship and go after it in a planned, deliberate way as we would our career and education, somehow feels like a vulnerable place for us to be in?

If the vulnerability factor is indeed the hill we have to climb and get over, it will no doubt be an emotional climb, riddled with challenging experiences from our past, thoughts of self-doubt and much needed reprogramming about how it’s okay to openly want and pursue a relationship in our lives. One thing is for sure, if ever there were a group of women built for that steep climb… it’s for sure black women. Wonder if articles will be written about our marital stats after we make it over…time will tell I guess.




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One Response to The “Vulnerability Factor”

  1. K. Brown says:

    Excellent article. I am with you when you said, “. One thing is for sure, if ever there were a group of women built for that steep climb… it’s for sure black women. Wonder if articles will be written about our marital stats after we make it over…time will tell I guess.” We always and consistenly prove the status quo wrong. When we were thought of just being “The Help” we proved so many wrong and continue to excel in all areas. I am sure, given enough time, the status quo will eventually say, “Black women: why are they the only group that does not stay single long.” You can never make everyone happy.

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