Black “marriage activists” will gather in cities around America this Sunday, March 27, to celebrate the ninth annual “Black Marriage Day.” Sponsored by the Wedded Bliss Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting “teens, couples and singles create healthy relationships and healthy marriages,” Black Marriage Day, as you can probably guess, has the goal of promoting marriage amongst the African-American community, which has for years struggled with single-parent households (specifically, single-mother households).
According to the latest Pew Research Center data, nearly three quarters of black women giving birth in 2008 were unwed, more than any other ethnic group and nearly double what the number was just a few decades ago.
Children raised in single-mother homes struggle to find male role models in their lives. They’re also more likely to suffer from mental and emotional problems than their counterparts raised in two-parent homes. The result is that children raised by single mothers go on to struggle in school, commit more crime, and go to prison more often.
While a slew of other factors contribute to the African-American community’s troubles, it’s still not very hard to see that children are better off when brought up with two parents.
That all being said, Robert Reddick, author of A New Look at Black Families and a professor at the University of Texas-Austin argues that, due to the problems it has had keeping relationships together, the black community has adopted “alternate family forms” in a way others haven’t.
“Alternate family forms for black families have been in existence for quite some time now,” he told NPR on Thursday, “so there are a number of functional healthy two-parent sort of units raising children that aren't married. So it's not stigmatized to the level it may be in other communities for African-Americans.”
In the end, the choice is up to you. As long as you keep in mind that it’s always better for your children to be raised by two parents, how you go about making that work should be your decision, marriage or no.
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