In the professional matchmaking industry, one of the toughest markets to serve is the African American woman. Not only is it difficult to find matchmakers who will take women as clients, African American women are the most difficult to successfully match. The difficulty lies in the desire to be matched with their ideal partner; African American men of means who want to be with an African American women. It’s the biggest elephant in the room that not many in the industry want to seriously look at, talk about, or analyze.
So let’s look at it, talk about it, and analyze it.
When one hires a matchmaker, there are generally two reasons why. One, they don’t have the time or ability to search for an ideal mate. Taking the time to find quality available singles just to figure out if they fit their personal standards and lifestyle can take precious time they just don’t have. Two, they have personal insecurities, issues, or unrealistic expectations that prevent them from maintaining healthy, satisfying relationships. Either way, a matchmaker is thought of as a means to an end.
For heterosexual African American men who have more means than time, the value of a matchmaker is in the “inventory” of women they are not able to get on their own. I want to reiterate this. They hire matchmakers to find women they cannot find on their own. This type of African American man understands his value to African American women and believes that it does not take the efforts of a matchmaker to find one. The result is the overwhelming majority of African American male clients who specifically desire Non-African American mates. Statistics around interracial marriages seem to underscore that trend. According to the 2010 US Census, 24% of black male newlyweds married outside their race, compared with just 9% of black female newlyweds. Of those that married outside of their race, they tended to have higher educational attainment and income than do those who married within their own race.
You can see how this becomes an issue for African American female clients as well as any who are not clients, but want to be matched with one.
There are many beliefs as to why this is the case, but one of root problems is that for African American women, no matter their education level, financial status, career successes, or sparkling personality, our value as a potential mate is perceived to be the same. What does that mean? A black woman is a black woman is a black woman. Two-dimensional caricatures developed through generations of matriarchal family history, propaganda, and personal experience. For all of the efforts against the notion that all black people are the same, this has bypassed the black woman’s doorstep.
So how do we combat this? How do we raise our “stock” to be on the same playing field as our Caucasian, Latin, and Asian counterparts? We, as black women, have to begin stepping outside of our safety nets, and engage in human connections outside of the African American community. Before you say, “Here we go again, another person telling us to start dating outside our race”, stop it. It’s much deeper than dates.
Ask the next black woman beside you; outside of work, do you have any relationships with Non-African Americans? Are there any relationships that you have personally cultivated with anyone besides a black man or woman? 9 times out of 10, no matter if she is a lawyer or a short order cook, the answer will be the same. Our natural inclination is to reserve any real connection for those in the African American community, oftentimes leaving outsiders with no opportunity to form meaningful relationships.
Our male counterparts have been trained from an early age to build connections with many cultures, particularly through sports and/or professional dealings. It should be no surprise that consistent exposure to other cultures also open doors to romantic connections as well. On the other hand, we, as black women, tend to close ourselves off to others who do not look like us. This limits the amount of exposure others have to us, therefore reducing the desire to want to involve themselves personally and romantically to us.
It is high time other cultures have the pleasure of knowing and understanding black women. Instead of allowing Bravo, VH1, and social media define who we are as black women, let us pull back the iron curtain to what makes us interesting, and valuable. There are too many outstandingly beautiful, intelligent, and vivacious African American women to be given the “thanks, but no thanks” once over. It is time we step up and show others who we really are.
Reference: 2010 US Census: “Population by Race and Hispanic or Latino Origin, for All Ages and for 18 Years and Over, for the United States: 2000 and 2010”