[Blendon] pointed to studies in which black women are more concerned with the financial stability of their partners than Latinas or white women. And because black women are outpacing black men on a host of metrics that might determine their financial prospects—black women are more likely to attend and graduate college and receive advanced degrees—Blendon says they may be less likely to see much financial upside in pairing up, compared with black men.
We’ve written about the “decline of men” before, and sadly, all the troubling statics on male education and employment are magnified in the black community. While 58 percent of bachelor’s degrees went to women in 2009-10, black women were awarded nearly two-thirds of the bachelor’s degrees attained by blacks that same year. Black women also earned 71 percent of master’s degrees and 65 percent of doctorates awarded to all African Americans. As for employment, blacks are the only racial or ethnic group “for whom women represent a larger share of the employed than do men,” at 58.3 percent, according to the Department of Labor.Meanwhile, as the excellent study “Knot Yet” revealed, most black women are not waiting for marriage to have children. Instead, 80 percent of first births to black women are out of wedlock, a number that spikes to 87 percent among those without a college degree. Overall, 86 percent of black households are run by single parents, most of them women.America’s long and difficult racial history has left a host of problems that affect both women and men among blacks, but it’s increasingly clear that black male kids and young men are particularly vulnerable and at-risk today. Evidently schools need to think more about how to create a more welcoming space for males; a clear national priority should be training more young black men to be K-12 teachers and creating conditions in the profession that can attract and hold them.But what’s needed most of all is a serious commitment by more American men of all races to reach out to fatherless boys and provide the care, guidance and role models boys and adolescents need to become mature and capable young men. As the black middle class flees the imploding blue cities and joins the rest of the middle class in the burbs, the cultural and social isolation of inner city youth gets worse. We would like to see both black and white churches in the burbs reach out to inner city churches and community organizations to create opportunities for relationships that transcend class and race.As we’ve noted before on this blog, when women are doing less well than men on a set of important social indicators, there’s a lot of talk about how society is failing and how deep-seated biases that must be corrected are at work. The under-performance of black men is dramatic and devastating; the suffering, the waste and the harm done is immense. There is no comparably large group of people in our society so seriously affected by so many destructive social forces; America’s response is nowhere near equal to the importance and urgency of the challenge.[Proposal image courtesy of Shutterstock]