“Marriage Rates Contribute to Wealth Gap for African-American Women”


This article highlights the growing concern of older black women entering retirement age with not as much or no assets at all compared to their white counterparts. Dr. Fenaba Addo stated that research has shown that for black women, the marriage rate dropped off drastically in the 50s and 60s. Since only 37% of black women were married by age 50, this was a major difference that “accounted for about eight to 10 percent of the wealth gap between races.” As a result, older black women of this age group will have to continue working well into their retirement years and will be dependent on government programs such as Medicare and Social Security while white women will have sufficient assets to enjoy their retirement. This article is a apart of Dr. Addo’s paper titled “Marriage, Marital History, and Black – White Wealth Differentials Among Older Women”.

I thought this topic was pretty interesting. Not so much for its content, but for the way it is framed. This sense of “crisis” that is aimed at black women and marriage is starting to seem more and more strategically formulated to me. My last blog post was in regards to the numbers and statistics of black women and marriage (or the lack thereof). Ever since that article, I have been skeptical and I have started reading certain articles with a heavy level of criticism; starting with this one. Therefore, this blog may be a bit more analytical than the others. Firstly, the author failed to go into detail about the data. Yes the study yielded the numbers, but the author failed to do a further analysis of why the study produced the statistics that it did. Why did the marriage rate between blacks drop drastically in the 50s and 60s? Why is there such a huge gap between black and white women in regards to housing value? “‘Marriage is not a cure-all, because white women benefit financially from marriage more than African-American women,’ Addo says.” Well, then why is it being insinuated that marriage would cure this disparity between the races? Perhaps I am over-analyzing this, but I don’t think that I am. Maybe Dr. Addo goes into more detail about my questions in her paper and this article in particular just isn’t doing it any justice. This causes me to pose another question: is that done on purpose? Readers who come across this article, skim it, and take in this information at face value may leave with a painted and fabricated picture. After reading this article, it is easy for people to walk away thinking “majority of older black women have it hard, they never get married, and they won’t be able to enjoy retirement; that sucks.” That is simply not okay. I reference my previous blog because that article has challenged me to think critically about this marriage crisis topic. Is this a strategically formulated topic that serves to loom over black women and make them think that they have no hope of love or marriage in their future? I am not knocking Dr. Addos full paper because I have not read it. However, I think it is articles like this one that keep black women scared and feeling hopeless. When information like this is circulated into the blogosphere, it is understandable how those who read it without a critical eye can ingest these statistics, numbers, and studies done by researchers and professionals and take them to be absolute truth. So it is easy for readers to say “well there is research done on it and statistics to back it up,” not realizing that these numbers can be framed in that light on purpose. Also, this continues to pressure black women into marriage for economical reasons: get married so you can have the hope of closing the wealth gap that exists between blacks and other women or find a husband to provide for you so the government doesn’t have to. This is another example of how society still has a major influence on and a hand over the mentality of blacks. In my opinion, this is yet another way that society is saying “Look black America! This is another thing that you are not good at and another category where whites have you beat.” And unfortunately, black women are eating it up; I too admittedly. This has been going on for centuries. My question is will it ever stop?


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