I asked a friend who needs to be anonymous to respond to the article I mentioned, and here’s what she wrote:
The interesting thing about being, Black, single, Christian…and a woman is that there are too many of us. I know far too many single sisters–women who’d like to be married, start a family–live as an “us,”–perfectly good, respectable women. This article seems to put the blame on the Black church. I, however, believe that a myriad of factors have negatively impacted the Black women’s ability to find a mate. And yes, their role in the church can be a small part of that.
I’ve found that we tend to stay in church from sun up to sun down–volunteering, hanging out with the Singles’ Ministry, attending all of the church outings and functions–never getting out and about and certainly too ashamed to tell our church-going friends and family we’d like to be “fixed-up” with a good fella (to do so might mean we have no faith that God will send us a mate).
All things considered, we must not forget the disproportionate number of African American men in prison–or the number of African American men who are not committed to settling down and starting a family. There is, in the Black community, a greater number of women with HIV and AIDS. These women may be ashamed to tell a mate or potential spouse about their status, and therefore, never marry. Let’s not forget about the disproportionate number of Black women who are already moms–and have a hard time finding a mate who might choose to accept that responsibility or the number of sisters who don’t want a brother who has been married before or already has children.
The point is, when it comes to the reasons why we aren’t married, the reasons why can vary considerably. I do think African American women need to be mindful of the necessity to have a life outside of church–not abandoning one’s faith, just..living (independent of the people with whom one worships). It’s easy to blame the preacher or the church for the plight of single Black women. It is, however, much more challenging to take all of the evidence to court and acknowledge that perhaps most Black Christian women are unmarried because we have not given men outside of our race an opportunity, haven’t let go of certain “fairy tales” about the “knight in shining armor”, or haven’t settled into singleness well enough to know that a man is not savior..he is, instead, a friend, a partner–a companion.
Or, perhaps we haven’t acknowledged the beauty, value and worth of a “regular guy.” We sometimes have a list of things a man has to be, and never acknowledge the good and Godly characteristics he already possesses. The other day a sister and friend who happens to be White sent me a text message that read, “I’ve decided to stop looking for a knight in shining armor. I’ve decided that maybe a regular guy in tin foil might be okay.” Black, White, Latina (no matter what race she may be)–a woman who thinks a “regular guy” is okay just may be on to something.