Is The Church Keeping Black Women Single?
In a recent Yale University study, it was reported that 42% of Black women in America are single, roughly double the amount of their Caucasian counterparts. Of course, with such staggering numbers, there is a need to explain this phenomenon. While it may seem logical to blame this large single group of women on men who have a tendency to date outside their race (or the age old argument that there are no good men left), one woman has a different approach: Blame the Black Church.
Relationship expert and advice columnist Deborrah Cooper has said that church gives Black women unrealistically high standards for potential suitors. For instance, these women are looking for men who go to church multiple times a week, knows Scripture, etc. She argues this greatly narrows the playing field for these women to actually find a man.
Furthermore, she argues the church indoctrinates Black women to wait on the Lord to send them the man of their dreams instead of pursuing that man more aggressively. On a more logical note, she says many women can’t find a man because they spend too much time in church while men are in other places (such as bars, clubs, sporting events, etc.).
Her most controversial notion, however, is that Black churches have a tendency to put the pastor on a pedestal, causing many women to look at the person—usually a male—in this role with a type of reverence and devotion which stifles their relationships with men. This may seem like a rather bold claim on the surface, but when one thinks about it in terms of examples such as this billboard for embattled bishop Eddie Long‘s church (which seems to exalt Long himself, not the Savior he claims to represent), it seems to have some merit.
In fact, considering the fact Black women have long been considered the “backbone” or driving force of the church, doesn’t it make sense the church would depend on single women to keep things going? Marriage and children would likely lead to less time and reduced roles for many of the women in the church, not to mention smaller contributions when the collection is taken up. Married women would not be beneficial to the church’s causes.
It should also be noted Cooper’s quite scathing criticisms of the church and Black women seem to hold a great deal of bias in them and should be taken for what they are—opinions. Before they could be validated, the number of single Black women who regularly attend church might be a statistic worth determining. Other than that, men and women of all races have to realize that ideals (concerning suitors ,as well as spiritual leaders) are not reality, and thus we may need to meet people where they are and consider their potential instead of waiting for the “perfect” mate to come along.