Recently a study was released that stated more than 42% of African-American women were single and unmarried. To make matters even worse, the study also gave statistical data that many black women had a slim chance of ever marrying due to the shortage of available African-American men. Now being that I am one of those women included in the study data (you know...black, single, never married, and pushing 40) this information can be rather disturbing and disheartening. Like so many other women that were noted in the study, I truly desire to find my soul-mate and become happily married. But also like many of my sisters, I have consistently had to face the harsh reality that "there are FAR more of us actually ready and available for marriage" than our male counterparts. Are we really shocked by the study?
Since my college days, I have always heard the (16:1, 13:1, 10:1, etc.) ratio of black women to black men in black urban centers like Atlanta, DC, Baltimore and Chicago. There were several brothers that I knew who claimed to have chosen certain HBCU colleges based on the "high ratio" of the sisters on the various campuses. Matter of fact, people have advertised parties, special events and night clubs based on the abundance of women. Even the infamous FREAKNIK attracted hundreds of young brothers to Atlanta because of the high sister ratio. (If you're under 25, you're probably not familiar with the Freaknik...but if you consider the name...well..... you get the point)
Unfortunately, most single sisters know that "it's hard out here for a sister". The study all but confirms that our men are facing extremely challenging circumstances. We also know that the impact of this reality poses a special and serious hardship for our entire community. Our families are suffering as a result. However, we have lived in this country long enough to know that if black people were to base our faith and hopes on some statistical study there would have never been a Prince inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame (if you really know me, you know why I choose Prince), nor would Oprah be the richest woman in America, nor would Barack Hussien Obama be the President of the United States! Quite frankly, the stats in this country don't support those accomplishments and are never in our favor. However, somehow WE keep beating the dire prognosis. So what can we learn from this?
The fact of the matter is that our whole existence as black people in America has been based on perseverance, faith and resilience. The shortage of available black men is a bitter pill to swallow. Yet marriages are still being planned, babies are still being born and folks just keep on falling in love. We will make it through. I don't know the solution to increasing the number of available black men in my generation. The truth of the matter is that it's probably too late. We can't make a "magic number of men" appear that should have been raised, prepared and nurtured more than 30-40 years ago! But we can help future numbers. Below are 3 quick pick "Tosha Thoughts" that may help us turn things around to collectively increase the number of men for our daughters.
#1. Parents please raise your sons to honor family, love themselves and respect our women.
Special Note ONLY for the sister in the love triangle right now: Even if that chick is getting on your very last nerve...just don't call her a h*, b#%@h, skank or any other degrading names in front of Lil Man. Just Don't Do It! Take a deep breath, get a massage at Kimochi Spa and get your nails done. You will feel better... I promise you!
#2. Brothers, stop talking about those boys on the corner don't want to be anybody.
Besides, how do you know that? Have you asked "any of them" anything lately? It amazes me on how many "so-called successful" brothers will easily write off and marginalize young men in our community. So Bro, help out the sisters and mentor a young man. Your daughters and future grand-daughters will appreciate it; they need you to seed into some male child other than your own son.
#3. Sisters, stop being ONE of his many women.
Y'all know most of our men are not paying attention to a study. Stop letting them know how desperate we can get. I don't think they would even know that the male-female ratio was so high if ALL of the sisters took a "Support for the Sisterhood Oath" that stated: "I will solemnly swear that I will not participate in any love relationship involving more than two people including all marriages and committed relationships. I also declare that after six months of any type of courtship, the man will have to make his intentions to marry me be known or face the consequences of never seeing me again. Additionally, I also promise to participate in any collective nation-wide "love shut-down" actions that the sisters feel are reasonably necessary to get our men back in line."
Seriously sisters, as much as I love the brothers (and Lord knows I do...the way they walk, that bass in the voice, the glistening sweat from basketball, the way they smell, the way they think....Denzel....Dwayne Wade.....WHAT?!!? I love the BROTHERS!) yet my desire for companionship and true love is actually greater. Of course, I am believing in God that my husband will be a brother and that we will squeeze a little chocolate girl child (to be named Princess) on this earth while I'm still on the fertility clock. However, I have opened my spirit and mind to ask the universe to lead me to a beautiful man that will enjoy and share the rest of this beautiful life journey with me. I am no longer debating loyalty to race vs. relationship or form vs. substance. I know the substance of what I want. The benefit of age is wisdom..and I finally know the evidence of a GOOD MAN! Most importantly, I am no longer going to make my companionship decisions based on my fear vs. my faith. I choose faith. I truly believe that God is moving me closer to my love supreme.
Soooo sisters, while I appreciate Beyonce's Single Ladies theme song, I ain't trying to keep singing that tune much longer! As I pondered on this topic, I did the math and realized that there are currently more than 6 billion people in the world! Let's say only a little less than half of them are men, another large portion are too young, another portion simply aren't available, and another portion "JUST AIN'T RIGHT"....well that still leaves us with at least 1-2 billion male choices. As for me, I just need MY ONE. That's it...just one!
Sisters, so what is our fate? Fact is this is a new reality that means we are faced with a new set of circumstances and new choices. However, sisters are the masters of being resilient, adaptable,and full of faith. Maybe more faith is required of us during these circumstances. Perhaps we need to believe more, invest more, seek more, heal more and work more to bring the kind of love we want into our lives. And the Brothers are going to have to STEP-UP and work a little extra hard as well. For the sake of love....I am willing to do the work... because I desire the mutual reward. As the scripture says, "To whom much is given; much is required."
So c'mon girl, don't get discouraged by some depressing study. Somebody is always studying us and trying to tell us our fate. God is good because he's given us the power to determine our OWN fate! Sisters, let's shift, adjust and get ready for the ride.
AT THE END OF THE DAY........ it only takes ONE! I AM A SOLDIER OF LOVE.