Week 4 – Brooke Washington

Though every statistic from this week’s quote under investigation is based in truth, to someone who is not educated on the political and economic factors that yielded these results they can be very damaging and promote the idea that there is a hereditary inadequacy in African American families. The Race, Gender, and Class Paradigm is one of the best theoretical approaches when studying black families, because it encompasses many of the factors that contribute to the stats from this week’s quote. “Why Marriage Isn’t for Black Women” by Drayton is the personal account of a young, single black mother who fits into many of the suggesting framings of the quote even though she beat the odds in finding a partner that she loves. Unfortunately, in a world where black is seen as subpar by other races there still exists a hierarchy even within the black community based on race, class, and gender. The author explains the situation of one of her girlfriends where her husband cheated on her and conceived a child with another woman. The husband explained how he found the child conceived out of wed-lock to be more desirable, because it would be mixed. As we have discussed, the concept of race is a social construct. This fact proves to be true when it comes to individual’s ideas on what they find best for their future kids. That being said it is not rare for black men to find relations with black women undesirable, and vice versa, because they do not want a child who is perceived to be fully black regardless of their race. This can be seen as a product of white supremacy, and the Critical Race theory explains how racism and colorism are pervasive in the dominant culture.  

The class portion of the paradigm is evident in the way that the system works to marginalize the poor and especially lower-class people of color. Drayton describes her financial situation and compares her financial burden when she is single and if she got married. In every situation, marrying her partner who she loves would increase their debts by hundreds or thousands of dollars. The government institutions of healthcare and employment rates are designed in favor of whites, and the effects that this has on blacks is extremely damaging to the dynamic that would be most ideal in a perfect world. Being a single mother is trait that society frowns upon, yet when you look at the facts it is much more practical to remain unmarried because of the intersectional disadvantage’s blacks face in every aspect of their lives.  

The author of the article mentioned how her partner stated that all his male peers were “either dead or locked up” and the significance of that statement is evident in the amount of black men who are incarcerated or who have early deaths as a part of the violence crisis. Paired with race and class, being a man who is already on the unfavored side of the first two paradigms result in a much harsher reality when it comes to living in a racist society. Mix the three together and the results are even more crucial than when they do not exist together. The worst part of this article is that she overcame many of the obstacles that black couples face, and yet her reality was still not in favor of getting married due to economic disadvantages organized historically by those in power.