Marriage is For White People

weddingIn 2006, The Washington Post published an op-ed essay by writer Joy Jones with the provocative headline “Marriage Is for White People.” The headline didn’t reflect Jones’ views; it repeated what one of her students told her when she taught a career exploration class for a predominantly black group of sixth-graders.

If you look at the statistics on marriage, you’d be inclined to agree. While 62 percent of white adults and 60 percent of Latino adults are married, only 41 percent of black adults are. Even worse, more than 70 percent of African American children are born outside of marriage.

The familial structure in the African American community has been severely damaged. It has gotten to the point that a mother is considered essential in a family, but a father is optional or expendable. I have several friends and family members who are parents and are either divorced or have never been married. It breaks my heart every time one of my single friends shares the good news of her pregnancy with me. While I want to be happy for her, all I can think about is the difficulties she will face as a single parent and the struggles the child will have without a father present.

Life without two parents in the household is tough. My parents divorced when I was young and my mother struggled to raise my sister and me by herself. However, my mother always taught us that marriage was a worthy pursuit even if hers didn’t work out. She proved her point by remarrying when I was a teenager and has been married ever since.

I have since realized that my mother was right. According to a 2002 study sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, married men and women tend to have lower mortality, less risky behavior, more monitoring of health, more compliance with medical regimens, higher sexual frequency, more satisfaction with their sexual lives, more savings and higher wages.

These facts have encouraged people like Maryann Reid, organizer of Marry Your Baby Daddy Day, to make marriage more common in the black community and throughout America.

“Most of our couples [getting married] are Black, because it is our community that has the highest out of wedlock rate of all groups,” Reid said. “However, the crippling family structure in this country is just not a Black issue, but a national one.”

While it true that the institution of marriage is under severe stress, I can emphatically say that marriage is not for white people. It’s for all people. I represent the 41% of black Americans who are married. My wife and I have enjoyed nearly 12 years of matrimony. And there are many more happily married couples just like us.

Stay Strong,

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About the author
Frederick J. Goodall is the founder of Mocha Dad - a parenting website focused on fatherhood. He is passionate about parenting and helping men to be great dads, husbands, and role models. You can contact him at fjgoodall@mochadad.com or on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mochadad
  1. Wow…startling statistics.

    I’ve personally seen many marriages – of all colors – crumble around me, especially during the stress of our current economic times. It’s sad to see and while I appreciate a couple’s choice to part ways, I remain firm that marriage is better for me & my kids (even on those days when it’s not all glittery and rosy – marriage takes some serious effort sometimes!). Thanks for the enlightening post.

  2. Wow…startling statistics.

    I’ve personally seen many marriages – of all colors – crumble around me, especially during the stress of our current economic times. It’s sad to see and while I appreciate a couple’s choice to part ways, I remain firm that marriage is better for me & my kids (even on those days when it’s not all glittery and rosy – marriage takes some serious effort sometimes!). Thanks for the enlightening post.

  3. Thank you so much posting this!!! Sadly I made an unwise choice of having sex before marriage and ended up getting pregnant!! I’ve only got 8weeks left until my son arrives in this world. Me and his father are not together and won’t be. But i want him to know who his father is no matter what our relationship. One reason which to me is most important is his father is black and i’m white. If i don’t allow a father son relationship I’m afraid he’ll grow up hating black people or at least black men. I know of several interacial children that have that feeling. Thank God i have a beautiful black woman at my church who has told me repeatedly that she wants to adpote me as her daughter and be a grandmother to my son!! Anyways i know you didn’t ask to hear my entire story but i just saw your posting and had to say thank you!!

  4. Thank you so much posting this!!! Sadly I made an unwise choice of having sex before marriage and ended up getting pregnant!! I’ve only got 8weeks left until my son arrives in this world. Me and his father are not together and won’t be. But i want him to know who his father is no matter what our relationship. One reason which to me is most important is his father is black and i’m white. If i don’t allow a father son relationship I’m afraid he’ll grow up hating black people or at least black men. I know of several interacial children that have that feeling. Thank God i have a beautiful black woman at my church who has told me repeatedly that she wants to adpote me as her daughter and be a grandmother to my son!! Anyways i know you didn’t ask to hear my entire story but i just saw your posting and had to say thank you!!

  5. Well said. Marriage is a rewarding institution for everyone. Unfortunately I have experienced a lot of what you described in the African American community in my youth. I played sports forever and can still name all the black friends that I took home from practice every day. My dad coached many of the same kids in youth baseball. I can only name 2 from all those years that lived with both their Mom and Dad. I hope all the efforts of people like Maryanne Reid can help improve this situation.

  6. Well said. Marriage is a rewarding institution for everyone. Unfortunately I have experienced a lot of what you described in the African American community in my youth. I played sports forever and can still name all the black friends that I took home from practice every day. My dad coached many of the same kids in youth baseball. I can only name 2 from all those years that lived with both their Mom and Dad. I hope all the efforts of people like Maryanne Reid can help improve this situation.

  7. Informative and interesting post. Thanks for sharing the information and your point of view. I assume you’re familiar with the work of Jeffrey Canada (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoffrey_Canada). Though not focused on marriage per se, he has very interesting things to say about trying to change self-destructive cultural norms in the black community of Harlem. It was eye opening for me to realize that what seems like common sense to some may be truly a foreign concept to others just a few blocks away. Thanks again.

  8. Informative and interesting post. Thanks for sharing the information and your point of view. I assume you’re familiar with the work of Jeffrey Canada (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoffrey_Canada). Though not focused on marriage per se, he has very interesting things to say about trying to change self-destructive cultural norms in the black community of Harlem. It was eye opening for me to realize that what seems like common sense to some may be truly a foreign concept to others just a few blocks away. Thanks again.

  9. Possibly Young and Dumb -

    My friend and I had a conversation about marriage yesterday. We have the same sentiment: it may or may not happen and it seems quite unlikely but children would be a welcome “surprise.”

    I want to get married but only three of the women in my immediate family are. The rest are single moms (my mom included). I think if I saw more married couples, I’d be convinced that it’s a reality. Right now it seems like something to chalk up to luck and wishful thinking. I’m not talking about a wedding. I’m talking about a lifelong crush and friend, which feels like the stuff of dreams.

    I know a lot of married people but I wasn’t raised in a marriage so that may be why it seems fabled. The harsh reality: a baby daddy seems more obtainable than a husband. Plus, with current cultural standards, or lack thereof, I’d settle for a baby daddy, shamelessly-especially as I get closer to 30 and further away from 20. And that’s so sad.

    What’s sadder than that: I’m familiar with the rules of maintaining a healthy relationship with a baby daddy. My father was one, I’ve heard the stories and often been a mediator (or babysitter-on-standby). Aside from feed him and that other F, I don’t know much about having a husband. (Luckily, I’m a quick-study.)

  10. Possibly Young and Dumb -

    My friend and I had a conversation about marriage yesterday. We have the same sentiment: it may or may not happen and it seems quite unlikely but children would be a welcome “surprise.”

    I want to get married but only three of the women in my immediate family are. The rest are single moms (my mom included). I think if I saw more married couples, I’d be convinced that it’s a reality. Right now it seems like something to chalk up to luck and wishful thinking. I’m not talking about a wedding. I’m talking about a lifelong crush and friend, which feels like the stuff of dreams.

    I know a lot of married people but I wasn’t raised in a marriage so that may be why it seems fabled. The harsh reality: a baby daddy seems more obtainable than a husband. Plus, with current cultural standards, or lack thereof, I’d settle for a baby daddy, shamelessly-especially as I get closer to 30 and further away from 20. And that’s so sad.

    What’s sadder than that: I’m familiar with the rules of maintaining a healthy relationship with a baby daddy. My father was one, I’ve heard the stories and often been a mediator (or babysitter-on-standby). Aside from feed him and that other F, I don’t know much about having a husband. (Luckily, I’m a quick-study.)

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  12. It sounds like your mother did an amazing job raising you! My husband left when I was 3 months pregnant. I’ve been so blessed to have a wonderful family to fall back on. I pray daily that despite the circumstances I’ll be able to give my son a strong and positive view of marriage. I strongly desire to raise him to be a man of excellent character. Reading about your success is very encouraging.

  13. It sounds like your mother did an amazing job raising you! My husband left when I was 3 months pregnant. I’ve been so blessed to have a wonderful family to fall back on. I pray daily that despite the circumstances I’ll be able to give my son a strong and positive view of marriage. I strongly desire to raise him to be a man of excellent character. Reading about your success is very encouraging.

  14. This was a wonderful post! And so necessary. I don’t know how I would raise my son alone! He is only a baby now, but as he gets older I know my husband is going to play an increasingly monumental role in his life. What do I know about teaching a boy to be a man? Shoot, I grew up with 3 sisters and NO brothers… my son wouldn’t stand a chance. *smile* But seriously though, two parent households are so important… and it seems that every other race gets it but “us.” lol @ “Marry Your Baby Daddy. The title sounds funny, but what a neat idea for an organization. I love that!

    Thanks for this!

    @SweetWifey on Twitter

  15. This was a wonderful post! And so necessary. I don’t know how I would raise my son alone! He is only a baby now, but as he gets older I know my husband is going to play an increasingly monumental role in his life. What do I know about teaching a boy to be a man? Shoot, I grew up with 3 sisters and NO brothers… my son wouldn’t stand a chance. *smile* But seriously though, two parent households are so important… and it seems that every other race gets it but “us.” lol @ “Marry Your Baby Daddy. The title sounds funny, but what a neat idea for an organization. I love that!

    Thanks for this!

    @SweetWifey on Twitter

  16. Wow..thought provoking as usual. I had a baby out of wedlock, I was 23. My daughters father abandoned us. I met a wonderful man when she was just 4 months. I wasn’t looking for anyone when he asked me out. I was just glad it would be a date I didn’t have to pay for..smiling. I dated him for 3 years. He was the only father she ever knew. I never had other men around her, I never let him spend the night at our apartment. We were together a whole year before she called him “Daddy.” We’ve been married for almost 8 years, together for almost 11. He adopted my daughter shortly after giving birth to our twins. He’s an amazing father.

    Like many, I did not grow up in a home with two parents. I don’t even know who my biological father is, my mom had me at 15. So I’m still learning how to be a wife. Just like I had to learn how to be a mother. I can tell you the journey is worth it. It ain’t all peaches and cream, but it is worth it. Marriage is a lot of hard work. It’s easy to walk away. It takes courage, devotion, and love to stay and make it work. So to all those who think marriage is a fable or a fairy tale, please know that it is very real, attainable, and worth it.

  17. Wow..thought provoking as usual. I had a baby out of wedlock, I was 23. My daughters father abandoned us. I met a wonderful man when she was just 4 months. I wasn’t looking for anyone when he asked me out. I was just glad it would be a date I didn’t have to pay for..smiling. I dated him for 3 years. He was the only father she ever knew. I never had other men around her, I never let him spend the night at our apartment. We were together a whole year before she called him “Daddy.” We’ve been married for almost 8 years, together for almost 11. He adopted my daughter shortly after giving birth to our twins. He’s an amazing father.

    Like many, I did not grow up in a home with two parents. I don’t even know who my biological father is, my mom had me at 15. So I’m still learning how to be a wife. Just like I had to learn how to be a mother. I can tell you the journey is worth it. It ain’t all peaches and cream, but it is worth it. Marriage is a lot of hard work. It’s easy to walk away. It takes courage, devotion, and love to stay and make it work. So to all those who think marriage is a fable or a fairy tale, please know that it is very real, attainable, and worth it.

  18. Whoa, you had me worried there for a second. I thought I might have married my wife because I was genetically predesposed to it. . .

    Great post, man. I come from a divorced family, and it does pose challenges but we have to teach our kids to learn from them. From watching my family I learned what not to do and what kind of woman to be with. Your mom was dead on, marriage doesn’t always work but if you’re going to raise a family its the way to go.

  19. Whoa, you had me worried there for a second. I thought I might have married my wife because I was genetically predesposed to it. . .

    Great post, man. I come from a divorced family, and it does pose challenges but we have to teach our kids to learn from them. From watching my family I learned what not to do and what kind of woman to be with. Your mom was dead on, marriage doesn’t always work but if you’re going to raise a family its the way to go.

  20. Wow what a lot of interesting discussion. I have to admit I fall on the white side of this coin and reading this my experience is in fact different. I do think that a lot of young people have this attitude. Recently a girl at the high school told me how she didn’t believe in monogamy and many kids agreed with her. She cited her family experience as the reason. Another great reason for me to tough out and work through the rough spots in marriage.

  21. Wow what a lot of interesting discussion. I have to admit I fall on the white side of this coin and reading this my experience is in fact different. I do think that a lot of young people have this attitude. Recently a girl at the high school told me how she didn’t believe in monogamy and many kids agreed with her. She cited her family experience as the reason. Another great reason for me to tough out and work through the rough spots in marriage.

  22. Hi, just dropping in for the first time:) Very good post! My husband and I have been married for 12 years this June and statically now I have hope:) His parents have been married for like 52 years now going on 53 and every question I have I ask them.

  23. Hi, just dropping in for the first time:) Very good post! My husband and I have been married for 12 years this June and statically now I have hope:) His parents have been married for like 52 years now going on 53 and every question I have I ask them.

  24. The #1 most important factor in a marriage is COMMUNICATION everything is based off of that and God of course, if you dont have it It wont WORK! Period! Any Race!

  25. The #1 most important factor in a marriage is COMMUNICATION everything is based off of that and God of course, if you dont have it It wont WORK! Period! Any Race!

  26. Agreed. My mom divorced twice when I was little and I’ve been married once before (no children). I recommend early intervention and mandatory education for all high school students on marriage and parenting, finances and nutrition and exercise. And then again for those who attend college.

    Personal responsibility 101 is what we can teach our own children as well.

  27. Agreed. My mom divorced twice when I was little and I’ve been married once before (no children). I recommend early intervention and mandatory education for all high school students on marriage and parenting, finances and nutrition and exercise. And then again for those who attend college.

    Personal responsibility 101 is what we can teach our own children as well.

  28. Fabulous post Mocha Dad!
    There is a saying that “Marriage Takes Three.” A Man and a Woman with God as the center.
    I try to remember that. I think it’s important and there is a huge lack of faith in America. Sorry, that’s a whole nother topic. :)
    Blessings,
    Molly

  29. Fabulous post Mocha Dad!
    There is a saying that “Marriage Takes Three.” A Man and a Woman with God as the center.
    I try to remember that. I think it’s important and there is a huge lack of faith in America. Sorry, that’s a whole nother topic. :)
    Blessings,
    Molly

  30. Great post Mocha Dad- I really appreciate your insight. I hope that as people (not skin color) we (as people) can see that marriage (a mother and a father) is a healthy decision to raise children and better ourselves as people. There is a disparity of black families and I thank you for doing your part. It is refreshing to see a MAN stepping up and making a decision to make himself a good husband, father, and role model.

    Have you picked up the book by Lauren Winner yet (REALSEX, the naked truth about chastity)? I know you would enjoy it and considering your recent Alcohol talk- you know the SEX talk is right around the corner if not on the same street! I just received the next book Mudhouse Sabbath-can’t wait to start reading it!

  31. Great post Mocha Dad- I really appreciate your insight. I hope that as people (not skin color) we (as people) can see that marriage (a mother and a father) is a healthy decision to raise children and better ourselves as people. There is a disparity of black families and I thank you for doing your part. It is refreshing to see a MAN stepping up and making a decision to make himself a good husband, father, and role model.

    Have you picked up the book by Lauren Winner yet (REALSEX, the naked truth about chastity)? I know you would enjoy it and considering your recent Alcohol talk- you know the SEX talk is right around the corner if not on the same street! I just received the next book Mudhouse Sabbath-can’t wait to start reading it!

  32. Hey! I’m white! I knew I made the right choice by getting married! :)

    I completely agree that marriage is the best environment for raising kids. Of course, there are extreme circumstances that could cause a relationship to fail, but too many people take the easy way out too quickly.

    Startling statistics, Mocha! Thank you for continuing to raise our awareness!

  33. Hey! I’m white! I knew I made the right choice by getting married! :)

    I completely agree that marriage is the best environment for raising kids. Of course, there are extreme circumstances that could cause a relationship to fail, but too many people take the easy way out too quickly.

    Startling statistics, Mocha! Thank you for continuing to raise our awareness!

  34. Stats like that make me sad. They say black women’s chances of getting married go down even more if they are educated.. I hope there is hope for me, that I can join that 40%

  35. Stats like that make me sad. They say black women’s chances of getting married go down even more if they are educated.. I hope there is hope for me, that I can join that 40%

  36. Great post! As a happily married wife and mother, I definitely agree that “Marriage is for Black People”. It’s still somewhat sad that my family is the exception (not the norm) in our (primarily Black) Harlem neighborhood. Hopefully, the tide will change!

  37. Great post! As a happily married wife and mother, I definitely agree that “Marriage is for Black People”. It’s still somewhat sad that my family is the exception (not the norm) in our (primarily Black) Harlem neighborhood. Hopefully, the tide will change!

  38. Very interesting stats! I think it is getting harder and harder each year for people to get and stay married. Sure, we’ve had our hard times, but hubby and I will be celebrating our 29th anniversary in a few weeks!

    Blog Hopping by…

  39. Very interesting stats! I think it is getting harder and harder each year for people to get and stay married. Sure, we’ve had our hard times, but hubby and I will be celebrating our 29th anniversary in a few weeks!

    Blog Hopping by…

  40. Mocha Dad! BusyDad linked both of your, er, links on the bloghoppers page to your twitter page. I think a strongly-worded DM reprimand is in order.

    I agree with you, marriage IS for all people. :)

    Bloghopping! (but you’re in my reader so of course I’ll be back daily. LOL)

  41. Mocha Dad! BusyDad linked both of your, er, links on the bloghoppers page to your twitter page. I think a strongly-worded DM reprimand is in order.

    I agree with you, marriage IS for all people. :)

    Bloghopping! (but you’re in my reader so of course I’ll be back daily. LOL)

  42. my husband is a teacher in a predominately white, lower class city. and from grades 7-12, a HUGE percentage of girls…white girls…are getting pregnant, dropping out of school, and raising their child. while the dad (again, white) is off impregnating the last girls bff.
    i don’t argue the statistics. but i’m here to tell you…pretty soon, marriage isn’t going to be for anyone anymore.
    it’s so sad. and these kids perpetuate what they know. which means our future generations…are so screwed!

  43. my husband is a teacher in a predominately white, lower class city. and from grades 7-12, a HUGE percentage of girls…white girls…are getting pregnant, dropping out of school, and raising their child. while the dad (again, white) is off impregnating the last girls bff.
    i don’t argue the statistics. but i’m here to tell you…pretty soon, marriage isn’t going to be for anyone anymore.
    it’s so sad. and these kids perpetuate what they know. which means our future generations…are so screwed!

  44. Great article. Though I would argue that my experience in growing up in my Latino family, where I often witnessed spousal abuse, infidelity, and such made me doubt I ever wanted to get married, ever, enough so that I CHOSE to be a single mom at one point in time, now, older and wiser, I can appreciate the value of marriage, a good marriage. It falls onto us, this generation, to show our children how beautiful marriage can be, not just cause the bible said so, not just because we want to improve on statistics, but because they saw it in their lives through us, or someone just as close.

  45. Great article. Though I would argue that my experience in growing up in my Latino family, where I often witnessed spousal abuse, infidelity, and such made me doubt I ever wanted to get married, ever, enough so that I CHOSE to be a single mom at one point in time, now, older and wiser, I can appreciate the value of marriage, a good marriage. It falls onto us, this generation, to show our children how beautiful marriage can be, not just cause the bible said so, not just because we want to improve on statistics, but because they saw it in their lives through us, or someone just as close.

  46. Great post Mocha Dad. The statistics for marriage in general are sad indeed, and your post is very eye opening.
    I feel very lucky indeed to be in a stable marriage… yeah, it’s work, but it’s worth it… going on 16 years strong.

    Bloghopping, but I found you a little while ago via twitter.. so glad I did:)

  47. Great post Mocha Dad. The statistics for marriage in general are sad indeed, and your post is very eye opening.
    I feel very lucky indeed to be in a stable marriage… yeah, it’s work, but it’s worth it… going on 16 years strong.

    Bloghopping, but I found you a little while ago via twitter.. so glad I did:)

  48. Black, white or purple I think this is a FANTASTIC post. A committed relationship takes a lot of work, and our society is very disposable today. I’m hoping that all of us, regardless of race, creed or class, take stock and gain a fresh perspective on the merits of commitment.

  49. Black, white or purple I think this is a FANTASTIC post. A committed relationship takes a lot of work, and our society is very disposable today. I’m hoping that all of us, regardless of race, creed or class, take stock and gain a fresh perspective on the merits of commitment.

  50. Cheers to you from the Blog Hoppers circle…this is a post that will bring on some deep thoughts for me when I re-read it without my Blog Hoppers Blur going on. I’ll be back! In the meantime, nice to meet you. :-)

  51. Cheers to you from the Blog Hoppers circle…this is a post that will bring on some deep thoughts for me when I re-read it without my Blog Hoppers Blur going on. I’ll be back! In the meantime, nice to meet you. :-)

  52. i had my first child at almost 21 yrs old. i broke up w the father about 2 wks before i was supposed to marry him. i was 4 mos pregnant. even though i gave him a chance to be in our son’s life, he chose not to really be there. my son’s o.k. with it. he does not like his dad. i knew that we would not have worked out, and i didn’t want to get married just because i was pregnant. that almost never works out. i married my 1st husband and it didn’t work out, i’m on my 2nd. this is the last. no matter what happens. there are days when i wish i was single, too. lol

  53. i had my first child at almost 21 yrs old. i broke up w the father about 2 wks before i was supposed to marry him. i was 4 mos pregnant. even though i gave him a chance to be in our son’s life, he chose not to really be there. my son’s o.k. with it. he does not like his dad. i knew that we would not have worked out, and i didn’t want to get married just because i was pregnant. that almost never works out. i married my 1st husband and it didn’t work out, i’m on my 2nd. this is the last. no matter what happens. there are days when i wish i was single, too. lol

  54. That was good. One of the underlying causes, in my mind, is our society as a whole has stopped teaching our children personal responsibility. We teach them through school, peers, example and social media an “its all about me” attitude and do whatever feels good. This is not conclusive to the partnership, teamwork and sacrifices for another that is marriage. It’s why the divorce rate is so high, baby daddys say ‘not my problem’ and women who don’t think beyond “I’ll do this my way, I don’t need no man” instead of thinking about what is best for the child.

  55. That was good. One of the underlying causes, in my mind, is our society as a whole has stopped teaching our children personal responsibility. We teach them through school, peers, example and social media an “its all about me” attitude and do whatever feels good. This is not conclusive to the partnership, teamwork and sacrifices for another that is marriage. It’s why the divorce rate is so high, baby daddys say ‘not my problem’ and women who don’t think beyond “I’ll do this my way, I don’t need no man” instead of thinking about what is best for the child.

  56. I wonder what the statistics were when The Cosby Show was still on air. They aren’t putting strong black family heads on the television anymore. The President and his family are looking so foreign to the rest of mainstream America. I love watching CNN and seeing the anchors be “tickled pink” to see the president whisper to his wife or hold her hand or do something endearing to his daughters. I think to myself “Y’all need to stop watching MTV videos and thinking that all black men are walking around rapping and cursing out their women after they slap them and then inevitably impregnate them”. We as a culture also have to reclaim our attitudes toward each other also and not let them dictate to us our actions. Just because we don’t see a norm, doesn’t mean that God didn’t imbed the need for love, support, comfort from another human being. So the thought of some saying “I can never duplicate something good because I have never seen it” is not really true when you think about it. As babies we are all born good, we just have to search for it more when we are older and strive to remain just so. Amen to the marriage is for everyone line, Amen! It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it.

    My best, Lynn
    I talk too much! ;o)

  57. I wonder what the statistics were when The Cosby Show was still on air. They aren’t putting strong black family heads on the television anymore. The President and his family are looking so foreign to the rest of mainstream America. I love watching CNN and seeing the anchors be “tickled pink” to see the president whisper to his wife or hold her hand or do something endearing to his daughters. I think to myself “Y’all need to stop watching MTV videos and thinking that all black men are walking around rapping and cursing out their women after they slap them and then inevitably impregnate them”. We as a culture also have to reclaim our attitudes toward each other also and not let them dictate to us our actions. Just because we don’t see a norm, doesn’t mean that God didn’t imbed the need for love, support, comfort from another human being. So the thought of some saying “I can never duplicate something good because I have never seen it” is not really true when you think about it. As babies we are all born good, we just have to search for it more when we are older and strive to remain just so. Amen to the marriage is for everyone line, Amen! It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it.

    My best, Lynn
    I talk too much! ;o)

  58. I have to say, being married has been great for me :) There are too many kids growing up without knowing the benefits of a happily married(the key here is happily) family. We’ve grown selfish and impatient as a society. It makes lasting relationships difficult.

  59. I have to say, being married has been great for me :) There are too many kids growing up without knowing the benefits of a happily married(the key here is happily) family. We’ve grown selfish and impatient as a society. It makes lasting relationships difficult.

  60. (Jokingly) I knew I married Hank for a reason.

    (Seriously) I recently posted an article published by the Washington Post just days ago (http://www.hankandnelia.com/files/unwed_mothers.html) that discussed the upward trend of women of all races opting to have children without a husband and the “upward” was specifically attributed to older (as compared to teenagers) women in their 20s and 30s.

    I’d be interested in your opinion about how these choices impact men. One opinion I’ve heard (and it’s a controversial opinion), there doesn’t seem to be much backlash. More often than not, I haven’t seen men protesting against their roles as providers being supplanted. Men don’t seem motivated to pursue the fulfillment of fatherhood beyond dropping the initial seed.

    One could argue that the younger generation hasn’t had the example of fatherhood to know that it’s worthy of pursuit. But what of the older generation?

  61. (Jokingly) I knew I married Hank for a reason.

    (Seriously) I recently posted an article published by the Washington Post just days ago (http://www.hankandnelia.com/files/unwed_mothers.html) that discussed the upward trend of women of all races opting to have children without a husband and the “upward” was specifically attributed to older (as compared to teenagers) women in their 20s and 30s.

    I’d be interested in your opinion about how these choices impact men. One opinion I’ve heard (and it’s a controversial opinion), there doesn’t seem to be much backlash. More often than not, I haven’t seen men protesting against their roles as providers being supplanted. Men don’t seem motivated to pursue the fulfillment of fatherhood beyond dropping the initial seed.

    One could argue that the younger generation hasn’t had the example of fatherhood to know that it’s worthy of pursuit. But what of the older generation?

  62. Either my social group is going against the tide, or they’re the most progressive bunch you’ll ever meet. We’re friends with 4 black couples, all of them married, all of them church-going, all of them employed, all of them encouraging their kids to reach for the stars. I wonder how much of this poll is a stereotype?

    BTW, make sure to stop by my Silly Sunday Sweepstakes today…I’ve got a Big Fish Tale to tell!

  63. Either my social group is going against the tide, or they’re the most progressive bunch you’ll ever meet. We’re friends with 4 black couples, all of them married, all of them church-going, all of them employed, all of them encouraging their kids to reach for the stars. I wonder how much of this poll is a stereotype?

    BTW, make sure to stop by my Silly Sunday Sweepstakes today…I’ve got a Big Fish Tale to tell!

  64. Folks are missing the point. This is a global phenomenon. It only hits black people first here because we’re the miner’s canary. As women have more economic options, as men’s economic options diminish even as their relationship options increase, this is going to continue. It isn’t about culture, it isn’t about people not seeing good role models. This is a consequence of globalization and is a lot bigger than us.

    I called my blog blackfamilyblog, rather than say Black married blog, not because black and married with kids was taken (lol), but because we’ve got to get to a place where instead of telling people what they need to do (get married!!), we need to take people where they are and give them the resources they need to make their choices work. The ONLY reason why kids of two parents tend to do better in the US is because our safety net sucks. Other industrialized nations don’t have this issue.

  65. Folks are missing the point. This is a global phenomenon. It only hits black people first here because we’re the miner’s canary. As women have more economic options, as men’s economic options diminish even as their relationship options increase, this is going to continue. It isn’t about culture, it isn’t about people not seeing good role models. This is a consequence of globalization and is a lot bigger than us.

    I called my blog blackfamilyblog, rather than say Black married blog, not because black and married with kids was taken (lol), but because we’ve got to get to a place where instead of telling people what they need to do (get married!!), we need to take people where they are and give them the resources they need to make their choices work. The ONLY reason why kids of two parents tend to do better in the US is because our safety net sucks. Other industrialized nations don’t have this issue.

  66. Lester : Would you be willing to explain your take on the causal relationship between the increase in globalization and the increase in children being born out of wedlock?

    I didn’t get it.

  67. Lester : Would you be willing to explain your take on the causal relationship between the increase in globalization and the increase in children being born out of wedlock?

    I didn’t get it.

  68. Very interesting post. I am happily married and have to admit I didn’t see a lot of black marriages growing up. I never wanted to be married but wanted companionship. I felt that marriage was too serious and sacred to play with. Now that I am married I am happy and loving it and hope that I can show my kids (and those around me) that marriage is a good and positive experience.

  69. Very interesting post. I am happily married and have to admit I didn’t see a lot of black marriages growing up. I never wanted to be married but wanted companionship. I felt that marriage was too serious and sacred to play with. Now that I am married I am happy and loving it and hope that I can show my kids (and those around me) that marriage is a good and positive experience.

  70. Hello there,

    I honestly would like to see more black women expanding their marital options outside of all-black constructs and postponing pregnancy until AFTER a solid marriage has been established.

    It was sad to hear a black boy who was fatherless telling a reporter that “marriage is for white people” because in his environment NO ONE is married… NO ONE!! It is just terribly sad.

    Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about how many black women discount the need for paternal nuture for their children to the detriment of the children… it sure got quiet at my blog for a few days….

  71. i wrote a long version but deleted it. too academic.

    here’s the deal. the rate that we’re tripping on is a ratio between the rate of single mothers having kids, and the rate of married mothers having kids.

    there are two ways for the ratio to get worse. one is for an absolute increase in single mothers having kids.

    the other is for married women to stop having kids, or to have fewer kids.

    globalization influences both sides here.

    as firms move across the world selling, making, and distributing products, they reduce both the safety net and job security, even as they expect workers to work harder. my grandfather pretty much had the same job all his life. my dad worked in the same spot for over 30 years in the same plant.

    no one can say that anymore.

    so married folk are having fewer kids because they are expected to work more, and don’t have the job security they used to. on top of that there is no safety net. and the woman works. as a result instead of having three kids, many families are having two. i’ve got five kids and i’m like a dinosaur! lol

    another consequence of globalization is depressed (male working class) wages and employment. can’t get a plant job good enough to make middle class loot with a high school education. in cities like detroit the unemployment rate is around 20%. this of course increases crime. both these trends reduce the availability and viability of male partners. women aren’t going to stop having sex, and they are still interested in having kids, so they do so not looking to these men for support.

    there’s more stuff going on i haven’t touched. where i teach there are around 7 black women for every 1 black man (student wise). globalization creates more opportunities for female mobility. and this influences childbirth decisions as well.

    these are large scale political and economic forces i’m talking about, rather than cultural dynamics. i don’t believe that black people “don’t like marriage” or are somehow culturally backwards because of slavery or some other reason. i believe that the entire nation is going to look like black people do marriage wise because of the shifts in the economy that are just now starting to influence them.

  72. Hello there,

    I honestly would like to see more black women expanding their marital options outside of all-black constructs and postponing pregnancy until AFTER a solid marriage has been established.

    It was sad to hear a black boy who was fatherless telling a reporter that “marriage is for white people” because in his environment NO ONE is married… NO ONE!! It is just terribly sad.

    Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about how many black women discount the need for paternal nuture for their children to the detriment of the children… it sure got quiet at my blog for a few days….

  73. i wrote a long version but deleted it. too academic.

    here’s the deal. the rate that we’re tripping on is a ratio between the rate of single mothers having kids, and the rate of married mothers having kids.

    there are two ways for the ratio to get worse. one is for an absolute increase in single mothers having kids.

    the other is for married women to stop having kids, or to have fewer kids.

    globalization influences both sides here.

    as firms move across the world selling, making, and distributing products, they reduce both the safety net and job security, even as they expect workers to work harder. my grandfather pretty much had the same job all his life. my dad worked in the same spot for over 30 years in the same plant.

    no one can say that anymore.

    so married folk are having fewer kids because they are expected to work more, and don’t have the job security they used to. on top of that there is no safety net. and the woman works. as a result instead of having three kids, many families are having two. i’ve got five kids and i’m like a dinosaur! lol

    another consequence of globalization is depressed (male working class) wages and employment. can’t get a plant job good enough to make middle class loot with a high school education. in cities like detroit the unemployment rate is around 20%. this of course increases crime. both these trends reduce the availability and viability of male partners. women aren’t going to stop having sex, and they are still interested in having kids, so they do so not looking to these men for support.

    there’s more stuff going on i haven’t touched. where i teach there are around 7 black women for every 1 black man (student wise). globalization creates more opportunities for female mobility. and this influences childbirth decisions as well.

    these are large scale political and economic forces i’m talking about, rather than cultural dynamics. i don’t believe that black people “don’t like marriage” or are somehow culturally backwards because of slavery or some other reason. i believe that the entire nation is going to look like black people do marriage wise because of the shifts in the economy that are just now starting to influence them.

  74. Wooo….this title caught me off guard. I married my baby daddy, but not everyone should. I guess that means women need to be a bit more selective in who they bed with.

  75. Wooo….this title caught me off guard. I married my baby daddy, but not everyone should. I guess that means women need to be a bit more selective in who they bed with.

  76. This is a great piece on a subject that needs to be talked about. I commend you for talking about it and for your 12 year marriage. My husband and I have been married 11 years (ya, I’m white, but still – it’s an accomplishment regardless of race nowadays!) and I’d like to see other people, regardless of race, able to build a strong marriage too :-) Guess I’m forever the optimist! LOL

  77. This is a great piece on a subject that needs to be talked about. I commend you for talking about it and for your 12 year marriage. My husband and I have been married 11 years (ya, I’m white, but still – it’s an accomplishment regardless of race nowadays!) and I’d like to see other people, regardless of race, able to build a strong marriage too :-) Guess I’m forever the optimist! LOL

  78. In a place like LA it can sometimes feel like nobody is married. Some folks I know have created a married women’s support group and it has turned into it being mostly black women attending our weekly gatherings. We talk about ALOT about how to support each other because we feel like black married people are definitely an endangered species.

  79. In a place like LA it can sometimes feel like nobody is married. Some folks I know have created a married women’s support group and it has turned into it being mostly black women attending our weekly gatherings. We talk about ALOT about how to support each other because we feel like black married people are definitely an endangered species.

  80. Great post! I am one of those happily married people just like you 15 years and growing. I agree with marriage before children. My husband grew up being raised by grandmother. Mom and dad never married or parented for that matter. It is up to us to teach our children to break this percentage and raise it higher.

  81. Great post! I am one of those happily married people just like you 15 years and growing. I agree with marriage before children. My husband grew up being raised by grandmother. Mom and dad never married or parented for that matter. It is up to us to teach our children to break this percentage and raise it higher.

  82. MochaDad – Thanks so much for the read. The numbers are startling. That is for sure.

    I might be on the ‘vanilla latte’ side of things, but unmarried moms hit close to home in our family. My Beautiful Wife™ has two step sisters both unmarried with children either on the way, or here already. Its a difficult road for sure.

    Lots of prayers for single moms, that they may be great mothers, and that good men would find their ways into the kids lives. Plus prayers for married couples as well (congrats to you on 12 years!), we know that there are struggles for ‘full on’ families to ‘stay strong’ as well.

  83. MochaDad – Thanks so much for the read. The numbers are startling. That is for sure.

    I might be on the ‘vanilla latte’ side of things, but unmarried moms hit close to home in our family. My Beautiful Wife™ has two step sisters both unmarried with children either on the way, or here already. Its a difficult road for sure.

    Lots of prayers for single moms, that they may be great mothers, and that good men would find their ways into the kids lives. Plus prayers for married couples as well (congrats to you on 12 years!), we know that there are struggles for ‘full on’ families to ‘stay strong’ as well.

  84. I see the effects of divorce on my own daughter. While I did all I could to save my first marriage, it ended up being a blessing for me, but she is still paying the price and that breaks my heart. My ex (this was a clue!) asked me right before we got married if we ever divorced could we remain friends (we had been together for 9 years!). He was already looking at it like it was something he could get out of if someone better came along. So, that’s what he did…well in his point of view anyway!

    I am now happily remarried and we have 3 children together plus my daughter from my first marriage that my husband treats and loves as his own. The sad part is, while I know my daughter loves him and will appreciate all he does for her when she is grown, right now there is “something missing”, and it upsets her sometimes that her siblings get to live with both their mom and dad.

    My husband and I have the same views on marriage. It is a lifelong commitment. You take the good with the bad. You work through things. Marriage is hard work.

    I think in our society as a whole the view of marriage is not as it should be. I don’t think people really think about the effects of divorce or single parent households on the children. I was a single mom, and it was tough, and I had a strong support system. Nothing can replace a home with both parents. However, sometimes it is for the best that parents go there separate ways. It’s not fair to the children to witness a loveless marriage or live in a war zone.

    Very provocative and educational post. Thanks so much for sharing.

  85. I see the effects of divorce on my own daughter. While I did all I could to save my first marriage, it ended up being a blessing for me, but she is still paying the price and that breaks my heart. My ex (this was a clue!) asked me right before we got married if we ever divorced could we remain friends (we had been together for 9 years!). He was already looking at it like it was something he could get out of if someone better came along. So, that’s what he did…well in his point of view anyway!

    I am now happily remarried and we have 3 children together plus my daughter from my first marriage that my husband treats and loves as his own. The sad part is, while I know my daughter loves him and will appreciate all he does for her when she is grown, right now there is “something missing”, and it upsets her sometimes that her siblings get to live with both their mom and dad.

    My husband and I have the same views on marriage. It is a lifelong commitment. You take the good with the bad. You work through things. Marriage is hard work.

    I think in our society as a whole the view of marriage is not as it should be. I don’t think people really think about the effects of divorce or single parent households on the children. I was a single mom, and it was tough, and I had a strong support system. Nothing can replace a home with both parents. However, sometimes it is for the best that parents go there separate ways. It’s not fair to the children to witness a loveless marriage or live in a war zone.

    Very provocative and educational post. Thanks so much for sharing.

  86. Lester : I’m certain my educational background allows me to, at the very least, access your “academic” response.

    While I understand your arguments regarding the impact of globalization, I haven’t been convinced that (a) community mores play a secondary role and (b) these community mores are principally influenced by the increasing integration of national economies. However, your arguments have more validity within the context of conscious “family” decision-making based solely upon financial considerations. Unfortunately, many of our youth in predominantly African-American communities are not conscious of their options, never mind a final decision.

    We do agree that more resources should be dedicated reactively, but I also believe that we’ve not dedicated adequate resources to address this “lack of consciousness” proactively.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond.

    Parenting Pink : Absolutely it is! Congratulations!

    Sweet N Sour : Do you think the issue is our collective modern view of marriage or a lack of a discipline approach specific to child rearing? It seems whenever I travel abroad to Europe, Americans are seen as sanctimonious with regards to the institution of marriage, but indiscriminate when it comes to maintaining the commitment of marriage. I haven’t any statistics, but it seems more couples in Europe are comfortable without documentation formalizing their marriage and I wonder if their children suffer for it.

  87. Lester : I’m certain my educational background allows me to, at the very least, access your “academic” response.

    While I understand your arguments regarding the impact of globalization, I haven’t been convinced that (a) community mores play a secondary role and (b) these community mores are principally influenced by the increasing integration of national economies. However, your arguments have more validity within the context of conscious “family” decision-making based solely upon financial considerations. Unfortunately, many of our youth in predominantly African-American communities are not conscious of their options, never mind a final decision.

    We do agree that more resources should be dedicated reactively, but I also believe that we’ve not dedicated adequate resources to address this “lack of consciousness” proactively.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond.

    Parenting Pink : Absolutely it is! Congratulations!

    Sweet N Sour : Do you think the issue is our collective modern view of marriage or a lack of a discipline approach specific to child rearing? It seems whenever I travel abroad to Europe, Americans are seen as sanctimonious with regards to the institution of marriage, but indiscriminate when it comes to maintaining the commitment of marriage. I haven’t any statistics, but it seems more couples in Europe are comfortable without documentation formalizing their marriage and I wonder if their children suffer for it.

  88. 41% of black americans are married? That’s a shock to me! I know I can’t talk about the USA, but in Holland I’m fearing it’s as low as uhmm….. what.. 5%? We have like one in ten kids who even has a dad hanging around somewhere, and I’m guessing not even half of those have one that’s married to their mother.

    Have you read the ‘willie lynch papers’ (you can google them) – I’m positive that this curse has its roots in slavery, where men were learned to ‘keep it quiet’ and women were learned ‘not to rely on a man and take care of yourself’ ….

    We’ve got father’s day coming up in a month or so, and it’s SUCH a hard time in church.. pastor wants to preach about fatherhood, but instead -every year- he just talks about how God is a father to us all, because ehmm.. in 80 people (at least 35 kids) we have exactly 5 (!) fathers in church, two of which represent the only 2 Dutch familes that attend.

    And I can’t see it, I break down when I watch these little fatherless boys on that day. I honestly start to cry when I watch some giving their father’s day present (which they made in sunday school) to their older brother, because he’s the only man in their lives..

    That said, I think the white people are rapidly following.. in Holland, one in TWO marriages ends in divorce now.. :S

    •  I was going to cite slavery too! I was thinking more though of how many families were ripped apart by slavery… children being sold away from their parents, couples split up, partners killed, and on and on. It’s not that women learned to be independent and not rely on a man (which is common across the board these days, and can be very positive). It’s that people’s ability to trust was systematically destroyed, people’s ability to maintain long-term relationships was totally out of their hands… and that can have ripple effects for a long time, on everyone.

  89. 41% of black americans are married? That’s a shock to me! I know I can’t talk about the USA, but in Holland I’m fearing it’s as low as uhmm….. what.. 5%? We have like one in ten kids who even has a dad hanging around somewhere, and I’m guessing not even half of those have one that’s married to their mother.

    Have you read the ‘willie lynch papers’ (you can google them) – I’m positive that this curse has its roots in slavery, where men were learned to ‘keep it quiet’ and women were learned ‘not to rely on a man and take care of yourself’ ….

    We’ve got father’s day coming up in a month or so, and it’s SUCH a hard time in church.. pastor wants to preach about fatherhood, but instead -every year- he just talks about how God is a father to us all, because ehmm.. in 80 people (at least 35 kids) we have exactly 5 (!) fathers in church, two of which represent the only 2 Dutch familes that attend.

    And I can’t see it, I break down when I watch these little fatherless boys on that day. I honestly start to cry when I watch some giving their father’s day present (which they made in sunday school) to their older brother, because he’s the only man in their lives..

    That said, I think the white people are rapidly following.. in Holland, one in TWO marriages ends in divorce now.. :S

  90. @Linda,
    Exactly 5 fathers, that’s disheartening.

    @Lester, I’ll have to agree with Nelia, I really don’t see a direct relationship with globalization and the decrease in marriage. I read about a correlation between the introduction of social welfare programs placing the government as a surrogate father and the impact of women entering the workforce on the institution of marriage. I think globalization is a far reach.

    ————–
    Hey Mocha Dad, cool site. I really do think some of these articles printed by major media outlets are a little bit sensationalized and exaggerated. The UK also has a very serious problem concerning the decreasing number of married couples and the increase of single mothers. And many of the reports do not highlight single black women.

  91. @Linda,
    Exactly 5 fathers, that’s disheartening.

    @Lester, I’ll have to agree with Nelia, I really don’t see a direct relationship with globalization and the decrease in marriage. I read about a correlation between the introduction of social welfare programs placing the government as a surrogate father and the impact of women entering the workforce on the institution of marriage. I think globalization is a far reach.

    ————–
    Hey Mocha Dad, cool site. I really do think some of these articles printed by major media outlets are a little bit sensationalized and exaggerated. The UK also has a very serious problem concerning the decreasing number of married couples and the increase of single mothers. And many of the reports do not highlight single black women.

  92. I’m curious to see marriage statistics of parents of mixed-race children. I was having an interesting conversation with one of my friends about this. We both have half black children, and we’re not married to, or even remotely with, their fathers. And anecdotally we don’t know any mixed race (specifically half black/half white) children whose parents are married.

  93. I’m curious to see marriage statistics of parents of mixed-race children. I was having an interesting conversation with one of my friends about this. We both have half black children, and we’re not married to, or even remotely with, their fathers. And anecdotally we don’t know any mixed race (specifically half black/half white) children whose parents are married.

  94. Nelia I wasn’t making any type of statement about your academic background. Only about my own–I’m not as bad as my counterparts, but all academics have the tendency to speak in academese.

    William Julius Wilson just wrote a book on this subject that I’m going to be discussing on the radio (today, Tuesday May 26) on wypr.org, and should be available via podcast.

  95. Nelia I wasn’t making any type of statement about your academic background. Only about my own–I’m not as bad as my counterparts, but all academics have the tendency to speak in academese.

    William Julius Wilson just wrote a book on this subject that I’m going to be discussing on the radio (today, Tuesday May 26) on wypr.org, and should be available via podcast.

  96. Because my husband is Black and I am White, we have been able to have several candid and enlightening conversations about marriage, its roots, race implications, etc. It has made me want to talk to my White friends and gain a better understanding on WHERE, exactly, White people stand on marriage, where they feel their beliefs about how it works and its importance came from, and more importantly…..do we have such differing outlooks (from other races) on roles in marriage, the stability of its very existence, and what we consider to be the “work” behind making one last.

    I think I might make this a little study of my own as the new year rolls around….

  97. Because my husband is Black and I am White, we have been able to have several candid and enlightening conversations about marriage, its roots, race implications, etc. It has made me want to talk to my White friends and gain a better understanding on WHERE, exactly, White people stand on marriage, where they feel their beliefs about how it works and its importance came from, and more importantly…..do we have such differing outlooks (from other races) on roles in marriage, the stability of its very existence, and what we consider to be the “work” behind making one last.

    I think I might make this a little study of my own as the new year rolls around….

  98. I don’t think that when it comes to marriage, it is all or nothing. Some couples choose not to marry – even couples with children. I am in such a couple. My partner and I are not married and we have a son (and hopefully more to come).

    I don’t believe that our relationship is any less stable or more threatened for not having had a ceremony or a marriage certificate. We don’t feel the need to make it official, legal, or public. Our son is no worse off for that choice. He is being raised with both parents in the household… who are in a loving, supportive relationship with each other.

  99. I don’t think that when it comes to marriage, it is all or nothing. Some couples choose not to marry – even couples with children. I am in such a couple. My partner and I are not married and we have a son (and hopefully more to come).

    I don’t believe that our relationship is any less stable or more threatened for not having had a ceremony or a marriage certificate. We don’t feel the need to make it official, legal, or public. Our son is no worse off for that choice. He is being raised with both parents in the household… who are in a loving, supportive relationship with each other.

  100. 2010 marks the 45th anniversary of the publication of The Moynihan Report, a controversial document analyzing the conditions of black families in America. The goal of the report was to communicate ways in which our nation can achieve “the establishment of a stable Negro family structure.” In light of this blog, how have we accomplished or failed to accomplish better conditions and resources for black families? How have ideas about marriage and about single mothers informed notions about family life in the black community?

    Tonight on Basic Black, our panelists will examine the state of black families over the past nearly half-century since The Moynihan Report. Join us tonight at 7:30 on WGBH (Channel 2) or online at http://www.basicblack.org, where you can also tell us your thoughts on our live chat.

  101. 2010 marks the 45th anniversary of the publication of The Moynihan Report, a controversial document analyzing the conditions of black families in America. The goal of the report was to communicate ways in which our nation can achieve “the establishment of a stable Negro family structure.” In light of this blog, how have we accomplished or failed to accomplish better conditions and resources for black families? How have ideas about marriage and about single mothers informed notions about family life in the black community?

    Tonight on Basic Black, our panelists will examine the state of black families over the past nearly half-century since The Moynihan Report. Join us tonight at 7:30 on WGBH (Channel 2) or online at http://www.basicblack.org, where you can also tell us your thoughts on our live chat.

  102. i’d be interested in hearing statistics about long term relationships, where the couple lives together and is “married” in every sense of the word except for the license.

  103. Thanks for all of the Info. I find that teen pregnancy is a huge contributing factor to marriage and like you said it’s a national issue. I am not married but I have a child with my Fiance. We are planning on getting married in October. When we first got togeather the thought of getting married and having a child wasn’t something we wanted. In fact I was told I could not have children. After two years we got a nice little surprise! Did she change our thoughts? Yes. She drew us even closer togeather and the Love has multiplied. I know he is the one I am supposed to spend the rest of my life with..

  104. Thomas Bainbridge -

    Thought you might get a kick out of this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/16/hln-is-marriage-for-white-people_n_966927.html.

  105. My husband and I were just discussing the article, and he made an interesting point. Even our legal system often sends the message that the mother is the most important parent in a child’s life.  I wonder what the statistics are on how many mothers gain primary custody of the children, as well as how many fathers fight for joint custody. [Interesting that I even used the phrase 'fathers fight for joint custody.'--as if the expectation is that a mother would get primary.]