A new research from Yale University is going right to the heart of an issue that is all too familiar in the African American community. That educated and successful Black women are finding it difficult to meet “Mr. Right.”
The research which has become the subject of many discussions in the media about the stability of the Black family in the Barack Obama era shows that few Black women with post-graduate degrees are getting married and having children.
“In the past nearly four decades, Black women have made great gains in higher education rates, yet these gains appear to have come increasingly at the expense of marriage and family,” said Hannah Brueckner, professor of sociology at Yale University and one of the authors of the research. “Both White and Black highly educated women have increasingly delayed childbirth and remain childless, but the increase is stronger for Black women.”
This new study produced by Yale University Center for Research on Inequalities and the Life Course, directed by Brueckner, has been described as the first of its kind for reviewing long-term trends in marriage among highly educated Black women.
According to the study, Black women who were born after 1950 were twice as likely as their White counterparts to never have been married by age 45, and twice as likely to be divorced, widowed or separated.
“Highly educated Black women have increasingly fewer options when it comes to potential mates,” Brueckner said. “They are less likely than Black men to marry outside their race, and compared to Whites and Black men, they are least likely to marry a college-educated spouse.”
Some highly educated and successful Black men have gone outside of their race to find their soul mates.
Vivid examples can be found in Julian Bond, veteran civil rights leader and chairman of the National NAACP, entertainer/activist Harry Belafonte, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Anan, basketball great Charles Barkley and golf superstar Tiger Woods, who all married White women.
Because of the limited pool of available intelligent and accomplished Black men, some Detroiters are responding to the Yale report with cautious optimism.
“I think that Black women should explore other options (opposite sex), just as many Blacks have done throughout history. Love is not defined in terms of Black and Black, but perhaps, in terms of Latino, Asian, White, etc,” said Kimberly Hill, 37, a political consultant, lecturer and former aide to Congressman John Conyers.
Hill said Black women are faced with so many socioeconomic challenges that sometimes provide unintended roadblocks in developing relationships.
“For jobs that have traditionally been held by White men, there is almost an unbearable amount of pressure to perform exceptionally. Consequently, women are often forced to choose between career advancement or love,” Hill said.
“It is very possible to become so engrossed in the mundane functions of a career position that you lose sight of your outside interests, thus hindering your chances of finding love.”
However, Hill believes the dilemma facing Black women can be addressed.