How Did We Get Here? (Part Two)
Societal Factors in the Divide of Black Men and Women
Unemployment Rates are shown to be higher for Black men than Black women. The reverse is true for White men and women where the unemployment rate is higher among women compared to men.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports unemployment rates for Black men and women 16 years of age and over as 12.1% and 10.9%, respectively for the year 2020. Unemployment rates for Black men and women 20 years and over for the same year are 11.6% and 10.4%, respectively.
Even more interesting is the fact that unemployment rates for Blacks remain nearly double the rates of unemployment for Whites regardless of sex. This a trend that has persisted over 57 years.
Based on statistics, more Black women than Black men are in the workforce. For Black women who are the sole provider for children within the household, unemployed/absent fathers create additional challenges. This absence (not attributed to death or incarceration) and lack of contribution to the child’s welfare adds to a festering resentment that mothers may possess because the husband/father has abandoned the family. And as Black single mothers exercise more independence without support from Black fathers, positive perceptions of Black men diminish.
The average cost of raising a child is an estimated $233,610, which includes food, transportation, healthcare, clothing, housing, and other miscellaneous obligations (Lino, 2020). It takes two.
It seems that women are evolving intellectually at a faster rate than Black men.
· In 1996 it was reported that “Black women made up nearly 63 percent of all African Americans enrolled in higher education” (“In Higher Education”, 1997).
· For the 2015-2016 academic year, “associate degrees were awarded to 67% of Black women and 33% of Black men, and 64% of Black women and 36% of Black men obtained bachelor’s degrees” (“Degrees Conferred”, n. d.).
· Of all associate degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions for the 2017-2018 academic year, 13.9% and 10.8% were awarded to Black women and men, respectively.
· Of all bachelor’s degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions for the 2017-2018 academic year, 11.4% and 8.9% were awarded to Black women and men, respectively.
· Of all master’s degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions for the 2017-2018 academic year, 14.9% and 11.2% were awarded to Black women and men, respectively.
· Of all doctor’s degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions for the 2017-2018 academic year, 10.4% and 6.9% were awarded to Black women and men, respectively.
Understand that oftentimes, the acquisition of education causes an individual to reassess his or her needs. Attitudes, interests, and values change. However, in no way should a person’s education be a justification for being disrespectful.
Black men, step your game up!
Yes, the bar seems to be high for us, but we are built to overcome obstacles and defy statistics.
Media and Entertainment
For decades, many of us have listened to mainstream music that severely degrades and/or poorly portrays the sexes. If the music and related videography are not referring to a particular sex in a derogatory manner, then women are portrayed as purchasable, sexualized objects. When people buy into this imagery, they are conveying positive receptivity to the phenomena.
It is not inconceivable that men become viewed as sources of money and women, erotic fantasies.
Repercussions of Lifestyle and Decisions
A bad experience paints an often negative and generalized depiction of men. When the embittered woman encounters the next man, she compares him to the first regardless of whether he is of the same caliber as her previous partner. This tendency to categorize all men as “bad” based on a prior experience, sets the tone for future interactions—most of which will be negative. Men are aggressive by nature and an aggressively negative woman will generate conflict between herself and a man. Constantly will the door revolve.
Men who make poor choices regarding women, may also develop negative perceptions and attitudes regarding the opposite sex. In the same manner that women generalize men, so do some men unfairly judge women. If you have to compensate a woman to secure and maintain her affections, what do you think will eventually happen?
Deciding to become intimately involved with someone based on superficial characteristics can create problems. Did you overlook honesty, integrity, loyalty, dedication, responsibility and consistency? All of these characteristics are the fundamentals of healthy, progressive, and sustainable relationships.
And rather than take responsibility and learn from making the bad decision, some individuals project all of their issues onto the former spouse/partner. Some of them get on social media and trash the opposite sex, telling only part of the story. It is an immature mentality.
How can a man who is not supporting children sired elsewhere be a good father to yours?
A woman who is only with you for money is not going to commit long term.
Why are you expecting fidelity from someone who was unfaithful in previous relationships?
You really want to conceive a child with someone who does not consider you as a life-long partner?
“These men are about games.” Sound familiar?
All men are not about games. But you might be drawn to those who are about games. Tell the truth and shame the devil.
To avoid making the same mistakes in the future, evaluate what went wrong. The next person you meet, give them a chance to show themselves without going all in. For some of you this means not coming out of the pockets or having sex. Take time to learn a person and observe their character. Character always presents itself.
Closing the Gap
I am a firm believer that it all starts in the home. That which transpires within the home indirectly affects the community. Black men and women must come together and put aside their differences. We must make better choices. It seems like we are the only race that tears each other down. We must demonstrate more respect and positive regard for each other.
Instead of referring to a woman as a “B----” or "H--", practice addressing her by something pleasant (e.g., Ma’am or Ms.).
Instead of looking at a man as a cash cow, practice envisioning how you can add value instead of taking away or being a dead weight.
Don't let your past darken your future. Your past should only be referenced for wisdom.
In the end, treating others like you want to be treated is the best way to go. If you demonstrate a positive regard for others as you expect to experience in return, you will find a healthier flow of dialogue.
Black women, as you continue to succeed, do not forget about us Black men. Help open the doors of opportunity and reach back. For the Black community to elevate and prosper, both men and women must work together.
Associate's degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions, by race/ethnicity and sex of student: Selected years, 1976-77 through 2017-18. (2019). Retrieved June 13, 2021 from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d19/tables/dt19_321.20.asp.
Bachelor's degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions, by race/ethnicity and sex of student: Selected years, 1976-77 through 2017-18. (2019). Retrieved June 13, 2021 from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d19/tables/dt19_322.20.asp.
Degrees Conferred by Race and Sex. (n. d.). Retrieved June 13, 2021 from https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=72.
Doctor's degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions, by race/ethnicity and sex of student: Selected years, 1976-77 through 2017-18. (2019). Retrieved June 13, 2021 from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d19/tables/dt19_324.20.asp.
In Higher Education Black Women are far Outpacing Black Men. (1997). Retrieved June 13, 2021 from https://www.jstor.org/stable/2963239#:~:text=Ph.,The%20discrepancy%20in%20educational%20at%3F.
Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey. (2021). Retrieved June 12, 2021 from Rise in Independence.
Lino, M. (2020). The Cost of Raising a Child. Retrieved June 13, 2021 from https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2017/01/13/cost-raising-child.
Master's degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions, by race/ethnicity and sex of student: Selected years, 1976-77 through 2017-18. (2019). Retrieved June 13, 2021 from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d19/tables/dt19_323.20.asp.