I look around me, at my black girlfriends. Beautiful, smart, well educated, loving, kind women – alone, and not happy to be alone. In 2010, 45.2% of black women reported that they had never married. This compares to 30.7% across other races. (Source: Blackdemographics.com).

Whereas 14% of black men marry women of other races, only 6% of black women have a white, Hispanic or Asian husband. This is something of a puzzle.

The reasons why black women don’t marry black men famously include the high rate of incarceration of young black males – suitable men simply may not be available. Black women may have bad images of men altogether, finding them unreliable and un-trustworthy, and so may not be even looking for marriage, preferring to go it alone.

And speaking of suitability, black women seeking a black partner of equivalent education level hit some hard statistics – many more black women than black men obtain a college education. In 2010, 1,037,000 black men were in college, and 841,000 were in prison. Again in 2010, 71% of Masters degrees conferred on black people were earned by women – leaving just 29% for the men.

This still doesn’t answer the question, why, of all racial groups, are black women so unlikely to marry out of their racial group? So I sked around my friends who are black, female and unattached, and here is what I found out.

  • Low self image. Amazingly to me, my black women friends tend to believe that white guys prefer blonde and skinny to auburn and curvaceous. I guess that they may be hesitant to respond when a white man shows interest, or not even pick up the signals, because they just feel they can’t possibly be attractive to someone who isn’t black. (How wrong they are!)
  • Hair. Black women just can’t win with their hair, as demonstrated so tellingly in the Chris Rock movie “Good Hair”. They feel self conscious, and even though they agree that black men detest all the messing around with straighteners, ironing, weaves, wigs and the rest, at least they “get it” – ‘cos their mothers did the same. White guys just might not understand why you can’t run your fingers through a weave. (And knowing some of those gals, they might not live to tell the tale if they did!)
  • Background and education. Caucasians simply have more opportunity to get educated, get a good job and get wealthy than black people. Because people tend to date with people of similar background and class, there just aren’t as many opportunities for a nice, but maybe less wealthy or educated black woman, to find an equally nice white man.
  • My black women friends say that white guys just don’t ask them out. This may well be because of the above mentioned lack of confidence and lack of seeing the signals that a date might be on the cards. Because I know for sure that at least one of my white male friends (let’s call him James) has a serious crush on my lovely and talented black girlfriend (let’s call her Tifara). (If you guys are reading this – sort yourselves out!)
  • Black women tell me that they are very attracted to black men, less so to white men. A casual ask around amongst black women friends reveals that they admire black men the most when it comes to looks and sex appeal. That is a hard obstacle to overcome! Sure, I like to date an attractive looking man, of whatever race, but I noticed that my black girlfriends seemed more fixated on looks, style, swagger and the idea of a guy being arm candy.

So, what’s the answer? I just hate to see people being lonely and alone when they don’t have to be. Maybe black girls need to have a bit more confidence in themselves. Maybe they need to look behind the superficial appearance of the average white guy and see the loving heart beating in the possibly unappealing looking chest!