MATRIMONY WON’T SAVE THE BLACK COMMUNITY!
There has been much talk about the decline of the black community, and many have put forth theories in terms of why the black community is experiencing a decline. One of the prominent theories being pushed in the media is the decline of the black nuclear family, and the fact that there are less married black men and women today. I’ve always been wary of attributing the decline of the black community to decreased reliance on traditional marriage, but it wasn’t until tonight that I truly began to think about the black community, it’s supposed decline, and the viewing of increased rates of heterosexual marriage as “the solution.”
In my opinion, it is true that there is something fueling the supposed decline of the black community, but I think we are off target when we attribute it to a decrease in traditional marriage within the black community. I would suggest that the black community has lost its “village mentality.” There’s an old African proverb that says, “it takes a village to raise a child,” and that is the type of village mentality that I think we have lost as a black community. I would suggest that we have lost an “all hands on deck” mentality when it comes to our people, and have it replaced it with an every person for themselves mentality.
What if we put greater emphasis on the “village” (its creation, maintenance, survival) than on marriage? I dont think the black community is declining becuase we’re no longer getting married, but rather becuase we have lost a village mentality. In my opinion, the “us” against the world mentality inherent in many marriages works against the black community. Take the imagined “single woman” crisis we are supposedly in. The solution isn’t finding them husbands, but rather supportive environments. With an emphasis on “villages” rather than marriages, single parents would have a community to turn to rather than a “savior” spouse. ”Those kids need a father” wouldn’t be an issue in a village where multiple male role models existed to offer support and guidance.
I think it’s entirely reasonable for concerned members of the black community to be worried about the direction the black community is going in, but I think we do ourselves a disservice when we look to traditional marriage as our pathway out of a decline in the black community.By returning to the village mentality we will begin the work of reforming our our community.