Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Brittney Cooper, PhD "All The Single Ladies"

My friend from college, Dr. Brittney Cooper, wrote a post on Race Talk re: the "black marriage dilemma", which is basically the argument that educated, professional black women are doomed for spinsterhood if they set their sites on marrying a black man. It's a topic that has been covered ad nauseum historically, but especially in the aftermath of the Barack Obama era (see here, here, and here).

Brittney's post is well-written and thoughtful (she's trained in feminist studies, so take that into account when you read it), and I appreciate how she calls out the tendency to blame black women for this situation, or that this is even a situation that is unique to black women. She also steers clear of the most common critique of her perspective: black male bashing. Instead, she holds our social systems at fault.
Many African American men have become hypersensitive to any level of critique about Black relationships because of the social and political assault on the Black male body and image. This has created a tendency among some Black men to refuse to acknowledge the validity of Black women’s point-of-view....Black women erroneously accept personal responsibility for what is ultimately a social problem, generations in the making...

...let’s seriously rethink our investments in a patriarchal gender role system that harms black families in multiple ways. Patriarchy makes women feel guilty for prioritizing careers alongside parenting and men feel less masculine for taking an active role in the home. It makes men feel insecure when women earn more money and causes women to overlook brothers who are good providers, perhaps not financially, but emotionally and parentally.
I don't necessarily think that marriage is the ultimate cause of self-actualization for women or men, but it's not my place to judge people who want it. If this is someone's goal in life, they shouldn't be blamed for trying to achieve other personally-fulfilling goals concurrently. There's someone for everyone, and I don't believe that people have to change who they are to find it.

(As a side note, congrats to Brittney for getting her article picked up on Huffington Post!)

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