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African Americans and Marriage

I ran across this article and its food for thought...read on, and tell me what you think.
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Can Marriage Stem African American Poverty?Study: Marriage benefits blacks economicallyBy Tamara E. Holmes

December 4, 2006 -- Marriage appears to contribute greatly to the economic status of African American families, according to a new study, The Consequences of Marriage for African Americans, but some black advocates disagree on whether marriage programs are effective methods of curbing poverty.

The study, commissioned by the Institute for American Values, a private nonprofit think tank that studies families, examines the consequences of marriage among African Americans in the last few decades. A recent panel discussion titled, "Marriage and the African-American Community" at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C., reviewed the study's findings.

"On virtually every indicator of economic well-being, married African Americans do better," says Linda Malone-Colon, one of the authors of the study and an assistant professor of psychology at Hampton University. "They earn more, they are less likely to suffer economic hardship and poverty, they have higher levels of occupational prestige, and they're more likely to own their own homes."

The findings add fuel to the debate on whether marriage incentives offered to low-income Americans are an effective way to fight poverty. In 2002, President Bush introduced the Healthy Marriage Initiative, funding programs designed to give married low-income Americans economic and emotional support.

The Center for Fathers, Families and Workforce Development in Baltimore offers a program designed to educate unmarried couples with children to move toward marriage.

"We introduce skills to them to help them to learn how to negotiate that relationship so the relationship doesn't disintegrate and the children don't fall … into poverty in a lot of cases," says Joseph T. Jones Jr., founder and president of the organization.

The program and the marriages it has helped produce have benefited young fathers served by his organization so much that Jones says he wants to see research examining the intersection of healthy marriage and employment.

However, not all advocates are as convinced that marriage promotion is the best way to attack poverty. Avis Jones-DeWeever, the director of Poverty, Education and Social Justice Programs at the Institute for Women's Policy Research, argues that spending government dollars on marriage promotion programs ignores all of the unmarried African Americans living in poverty.

According to the 2000 Census, only 44.9% of African American householders live with a spouse, compared to 80.6% of white Americans.

"Marriage-promotion programs are a diversion away from a true policy to attack poverty," says Jones-DeWeever. "The sooner we recognize that, the better off African Americans will be and the better off America will be." Jones-DeWeever argues that the reality is that for a large segment of the black population, particularly black women, marriage will not be an option. She says the programming should address ways to provide black women with access to programs that will allow them to be sustainable on their own.

While the study sparked a range of opinions on the economic value of marriage, Malone-Colon emphasized that the body of data on the subject is still very small.

Before too many conclusions are drawn, "we need more research," she says.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Hey Sassy,
This article was very informative and sort of discouraging at the same time. It's astonishing to see that our marriage rate is almost half of our white counterparts. I also agree that more programs are needed for our single mothers to help them gain access to economic success. We have so many social ills happening in our community that are centuries old. Black people we need to wake up and see just how far behind we are. What will they say about our generation? It seems like all of the work that was done in the past fourty or fifty years by our for Fathers is slowly but surely going down the drain. It saddens me to my core to see my people in a state of regress with all of the opportunities and luxuries that we have. Our grandparents could only dream about some of the things that we simply take for granted, LIKE THE RIGHT TO VOTE!!!! It's like we are dying and nobody else really cares....NOT EVEN US!

Peace & Love,
brutbrut
SassyScribe said…
That is true...we are dying and no one cares enough to do anything about it. But what can you do, when the majority of our households are starting off as single parents, babies raising babies basically...they never were married, they didn't love nor care for each other enough to marry prior to bringing another life into the situation. They don't value marriage because folks see it as a death sentence rather than a sharing and caring institution. What do we do when women my age have never married and probably won't. How do we get US to marry?
Anonymous said…
My wife stated to me that she had your same mindset about the possibility of Marriage prior to us getting together. She told me that she had pretty much resigned herself to being single for the rest of her life because she had two girls and no brotha would ever want to take on her burden or another missing Fathers responsibilies. Every dude that she had encountered prior to me just talked a good game, hit the drawers and then bounced. She is in her late thirties also. She was the type of Sistah that had it going on in her own eyes and lived the single life to the fullest, you know, hanging with the girls, shoppin', clubbin' and basically "doin' her" until she got pregnant again and decided that she wasn't going to kill another child over a meaningless relationship. She smiled big time on the outside and was a bit loud and obnoxious from the way that she and her family explains things to me, but yet she was so empty and hollow inside. She was always there to straighten out everybody elses crap but couldn't do the same for herself. Her family and friends leaned on her alot to take care of their love, emotional and whatever else problems while her mounting problems where slowly but surely piling up to the brink! She decided to start attending Church and getting her priorities straight with herself and her God. Our eyes connected during Church service abou a year or so later...and the rest as they say was history! LOL I definitely wasn't looking to hook up with anybody! I was happily single and living my life and doing my best to keep "ME" straight if you can feel me on this, but I saw a person that visably was turning her life around for the better and that was very attractive to me. Good men can see when a Sistah is trying to get it together and when they are "playing the game!" I saw myself wanting to be a part of her life. This may sound a bit sappy to a lot of people but it's the TRUTH! =) Nobody loves to club, party, hangout or whatever more than I do, but I can tell you that I never went to those places in search of a mate. I always went to those places to hangout and undwind. Yes, I Know there are plenty of crazy folks in churches, singles groups, book clubs, investment groups, upwardly mobile social gatherings,etc. The odds of being discovered by a serious Brotha are just simply better in those type of positive settings in my opinion. The question that one would have to ask themselves is where would I want my potential Husband to find me, and when he does find me, will I be able to take advantage of the opportunity because I have prepared myself for that special moment all of my life, or will I destroy the opportunity because I still haven't gotten my stuff together yet after all of these many, many, many fricken years?!?!? I'm sure that we can all think back on a few lost opportunities in our past. As a Brotha speaking I know that I can. I just shiver at the thought of all of the lost opportunities that I didn't even know about, you know_ They made themselves available to me but because I was trippin' for whatever reason, I couldn't even see the opportunity right before my eyes and they bounced! ____Just some more food for thought from an upwardly mobile, positive thinking brotha from around the way..

Peace & Love,
brutbrut
SassyScribe said…
This is so true...I don't/can't dwell on it anymore...I work on me! I am a continuing work in progress...I don't wait on or around for anyone to "make up their" minds about me. What you see is what you get...that is if you really look...

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