Today at 7:15 PM  I’ll be on “The Daily Drum” which broadcasts locally in Washington DC on WHUR 96.3 & nationally on H.U.R. Voices Sirius XM Channel 141 to have a conversation on “ Why Are So Many Black Men Single.” If you have time, please check me out.

Reflecting on Personal Experience

Before going on the show, I wanted to share some thoughts on why I feel my stance on the issue is sometimes much different than other Black folks, even some Black men.

Resonating Statement

It was a few years ago, I was having a heated debate with a friend about her choice to stop dating Black men. She was well within her rights, but I felt her decision was coming from a place of frustration and anger. She royally roasted everything about Black men, however, in all of what she said, she said one thing that has resonated with me until today.

“Black men do not associate committed relationships or marriage with a sign of maturity.”

That stung. It was the first time I had ever thought about the situation that way before. I don’t know if I’ve put that quote in a post or comment before, but I’m going to expand on it for just a moment. We can talk about the disparities in numbers between Black women and men. Of course, there are tons of women for Black men to date and it renders needing to pick one useless. I don’t know, I don’t agree with that all the time, and it’s a played-out answer. However, when examining the issue of why so many Black men are single, this perspective adds a nuanced layer to the conversation.

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A Cultural Shift

We can talk about how Black women have eliminated a need for Black men. That’s a valid point. There are several ways of looking at that situation. In some ways, women these days, in general, are more focused on independence than they’ve ever been. In other ways, Black women have long been put in positions to take care of their family and well-being because of missing Black men in the household. We’ll leave that at that. We can talk about the statistics around divorce, which to me, reveals that it’s merely an issue of maturity. Fear of divorce is a cowardly action. Why would you fear there was something that you could not achieve like a successful marriage? Is your excuse that marriages aren’t easy? Right, but neither is being a Black man in America. I’d argue that one is a whole lot harder than the other.

Somewhere along the way as Black men, we stopped viewing marriage as a sign of maturity. We didn’t see it as a necessary step in adulthood. We could say, “I’m a grown-ass man” without ever having any type of outlook on the type of wife we wanted or if we would ever make finding her a priority. We found ways to make it completely normal to put off committed relationships for years until some of us reached an age where it wasn’t even a viable option. Not to say that Black men are the only ones who do this. I would counter by saying that despite the fact other races do not marry, those men are well aware of their pariah status. Black men on the other hand have no remorse for being nowhere near marriage in their thirties, forties, or fifties.

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Rethinking Singlehood

As long as Black men can fulfill the personal achievements and goals that they’ve set forth for themselves, it’s fine to be single. If we can achieve wealth and notoriety through professional and personal success, then it’s fine to be single. But where is our desire for virtue? Virtue is not something that can be achieved through wealth or popularity. It’s a long-standing relationship with your character and integrity. It’s a pursuit of a legacy. It’s knowing that as a man, you did an awesome job.

Most of us will enter the highest earning years in our late thirties or forties and shortly thereafter, for most of us, that will fade. However, the pursuit of virtue and a legacy doesn’t come from corporate America. In addition to personal achievements, it comes from doing more. Working hard at being a great husband, a great father, a leader in his family, and leaving an imprint on humanity. That’s why I think that the pursuit of marriage is very important for Black men. It’s not optional or a choice that everyone has to make for themselves. If you tried and failed, fine. At least, you had enough sense enough to know that it would take more to be regarded as a great man than personal achievements.

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That’s why when someone asks me, why are so many Black men single? It’s not a huge debate for me. It’s simple; because most Black men haven’t figured out how to associate a committed relationship with a sign of maturity. That’s my take.

– Dr. J