Thursday, July 23, 2009

Black Marriage Promotion is a Great Thing

CNN's series "Black in America 2" tonight featured Nisa Muhammad, the promoter of Black Marriage Day. I honor her hands on work in boot camps all over the country to help black couples make or keep good marriages. Black Marriage Day is a worthwhile publicity stunt to push the discussion. African Americans have the lowest marriage rate of any ethnic group in the country.

I learned from the show that Muhammad was motivated by a story that is all too familiar for African Americans today. Her own parents divorced. She married, had five kids, and then divorced herself. She started her black marriage crusade as a single mother. Since then she has married, though she and her husband live in different cities. Muhammad is on the road much of the time.

The next Black Marriage Day is March 28, 2010. The difficulties that African Americans face are a national problem for all Americans. I believe that the low black marriage rate, especially for parents, is the single most important source of the gap between African Americans and other Americans. I think it is particularly important for white people to study and understand black marriage. We will include Black Marriage Day in our family class next spring.


peaches said...

What about Mexican marriage day? White marriage day? As long as we keep sorting people by color we will never heal as a nation. It saddens me the number of people in America that benefit by encouraging racial division in the guise of racial harmony.

Gruntled said...

African Americans have a different marriage pattern than other groups. That is just a fact at this moment in history. And it does seem to be the case that among poor African Americans, marriage seems to have passed a bad tipping point. Turning that trend around does require a race-specific approach at this moment in history.

peaches said...

You make my point exactly professor.

Each group in America has a different marriage pattern. We are condescending toward blacks in America. We tend to baby them. I don't believe it helps them.

Gruntled said...

Nisa Muhammad is not addressing "them," but us.

peaches said...

"Your" reponse is a good example of my point.

Anonymous said...


I actually think that we are doing ourselves a great disservice by trying to pretend that each and every race follows the same patterns in each and every aspect of their lives. At its most basic, race is a reflection of skin color. But, when we talk about "race", what we really mean is skin color bound inextricably with culture. Until we stop insisting that everyone is the same, we are stopping the race discussion dead in its tracks because we inhibit honest discussions about cultural differences.

Until we can start being honest in our examinations of both the benefits and shortcomings of all cultures, then healing of the nation that you hope for will never fully come about.

Anonymous said...

While I think that Nisa Muhammad is doing good work encouraging black couples to marry, I understand where Peaches is coming from.

My geographical area is composed of whites, latinos, asians, and blacks. I am continually struck by how the asians very simply blend in with American culture and just "get on with it"...excelling in the high schools, local universities, and workplaces, but many latinos and blacks are still trying to stir the "woe is me" pot.

Why the difference? I really do wonder.

Gruntled said...

We agree on the main point.

I think what Muhammad is doing is an example of just getting on with it - of trying to get the black marriage rate to be like the rest of the country.

Nisa Islam Muhammad said...

What is going on in the Black community in regards to marriage is not happening in any other community. Our rates are at the bottom. How an we address that the same way as those at the top? It doesn't work. Our unique condition requires a specific prescription. that's what I offer. The people who say treat everyone the same are not at the bottom looking up at the resources and access those at the top have for means to strengthen their marriage. Why has never been a black bachelor or bachelorette? We need something that addresses our needs and concerns.