Married to the Media

After watching the first episode of BET's new series 'Being Mary Jane', I saw my Facebook news-feed bombarded with quotes and beliefs about black marriage and love; I wanted to post my thoughts, but I had too much to say. Let me preface this post by saying that I am by no means a marriage and relationship expert, a sociologist or anything else with an –ologist attached to it; this is just What I'm Thinking... Relationships have been sensationalized by the media driven world we live in. Let’s be real, our beliefs are shaped by the things we surround ourselves with. If we spend the majority of our time watching television, visiting gossip websites and browsing social media we are going to be just as tainted as the garbage on the screens in front of us. The large majority of these media outlets tell us that, all the black men are either dead, in jail, worthless or gay. They tell us that being the side chick is an acceptable norm, hence: "hoes be winning". They tell us that love is always dressed in perfection and that forgiveness and compromise are signs of weakness. Don't get me wrong, there are media outlets that spread a positive message about love, but how many of them do you scroll by on a daily basis? Most nightly television shows that target young African American women glorify sex, money and power, and explicitly show a connection between them and love. Young women who watch these shows latch on to the idea that in order to have love, you must sacrifice your integrity. Call me crazy but in the late 80's and early 90's when shows like 'The Cosby Show', 'Family Matters', 'The Roc', and '227' were around African American marriage rates were higher. When African Americans tuned into shows where the cast looked like them, they could see a variety of shows that depicted mostly positive relationships among blacks. Tune in today, and we can be entertained by a host of reality shows and situational comedies that neither highlight black love and/or positive relationships. Yes, there are shows like, Let’s Stay Together, Meet the Browns and others that do show positive black relationships, but they are often criticized and called corny. We don’t watch them! The United States census shows that in 1986 44% of black women between the ages of 25-29 and 34% of black women between the ages of 30-34 were never married. These numbers are striking different from the 70% of black women between the ages of 25-29 and the 53% of black women between the ages of 30-34 who were never married in 2009. As ironic as it may seem, the decline in quality television definitely correlates to the decline of African American marriage. Some may say that it is not the fault of the media that black women are not getting married; the fault lies with them. However, the fault actually lies within the black culture. We allow these programs to be tweeted about, we allow these blogs to get these views, we post and make twerk videos, we watch the fights and we control the success of the content put out. The law of attraction says that “like attracts like.” The negativity we see becomes the negativity we think and attract. We think black people don’t get married, so we don’t. We think all the “good” black men are taken, so we don’t attract any. We must think better of ourselves as a people and become more socially responsible for our culture. This post is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this topic, and I am by no means blaming the state of black marriage on the media, there are numerous other factors to consider, but I hope I added to the conversation: it’s What I’m Thinking.


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