This morning one of my friends from back in college sent me a link to this article: Black Women are Spending Too Much Time and Effort Going to School, They Should Be Spending That Time Trying to Get Married – by Jamila Akil
READ THE ARTICLE ( http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/black-women-spending-time-effort-school-spending-time-married/ )then come back here and read my response.
This is my response:
As a single, black, educated woman in her mid twenties I was immediately aroused by the title of this article.
The main points (that I feel) the author seems to be making are:
- Although more black women are enrolling in college, they are second to last (before black men) in college completion rates.
- Some black women seek numerous degrees to compensate for not being married
- Earning a bachelors is beneficial to black women because it helps them earn more, lower unemployment rates, and learn networking skills.
- Black women seeking miscellaneous graduate degrees later in life won’t boost their chances of being promoted where they are currently employed. It only places them deeper in debt and working harder to catch up.
- [According to some reports] the people drowning in debt are either single parents or people who had gone back to school later in life to obtain another degree. Message to black women: chasing degrees < chasing a husband & a family life
- Instead of focusing on finding a husband who can share the responsibilities of raising children and managing finances, black women chase degree after degree in hopes to reach financial freedom on their own.
Point #1 – Haven’t done much research on this but from witnessing this happen to many of my friends who got pregnant or fell on hard times and couldn’t pay tuition; I can see how this may be accurate. By including this info the author is basically trying to say by enrolling in college and not completing, you’re still responsible for paying back loans, etc; so don’t enroll if you’re not serious or don’t have a clue of what you want to do with your degree. I can somewhat agree with this because while yes, traditional college/university is not for everyone (ie/ some musicians, factory workers, etc) not everyone knows what they want to do when they step onto that campus. Shoot, I can vouch! I was dead set on pursuing a medical degree since the 7th grade and that lasted until my first semester of college when I nearly flunked out by taking Chemistry, Biology, and 2 Chem Labs when I passed Advanced Placement Bio with a C in high school. Via electives and some good soul searching, I changed my entire pathway by the end of my sophomore year; just in time to get into my core classes. This point could be worded differently as not to generalize the issue.
Point #2 – I think it’s very fair to say that this point is valid. I know PLENTY of women who throw themselves into their work to compensate for being single. Unfortunately, even I teeter on the verge of being one of those women. I was able to get out of a terribly draining relationship about 3 years ago, and to keep myself from dating again too quickly, I decided to go into overdrive towards working on accomplishing my life goals. After all, you can do more while you’re single than you could EVER do married/in a relationship; reason being, you only have yourself to answer to and don’t have to take anyone else’s feelings or schedule into account. Now 3 years later, I find that while I am making progress in my career, I am SO busy I find it hard to find time to spend time with family and friends…let alone get back out on the DATING CIRCUIT! I understand that if you’re not married, you have NO CHOICE but to support yourself, but the key thing is to not get so career oriented that you feel like you ‘don’t need a man’. PSST you are lying to yourself and to God if you say you don’t NEED a man. We are designed as women to be one with man and men with women. The only one who obtained perfection being single was Jesus Christ the Savior and regardless if you are of the Christian faith or not, it’s evident to see when you look around that humans need one another in some way or another. Regardless if it’s the bus driver to driving your kids to school or the bathroom of the attendant cleaning up the restroom in a swanky restaurant, or even the electrical guy who operates the traffic lights in your city…WE NEED ONE ANOTHER. So for anyone to live, let alone a woman, as if they don’t need a soul; that’s bologna – defiant, oblivious, stale, moldy bologna. Work because that’s what you love to do; not because you’re trying to fill some other void. It won’t work.
Point #3 – Like I stated before, a college degree is not for everyone; however, I do feel that everyone deserves the right to have the college EXPERIENCE. There is no other place on earth like college where you have the opportunity to interact and work with people from varied backgrounds. The jocks, the Goths, the poetry kids, the ‘artsy creatives’, the sluts, the Greeks, the Afro-Centrics, the nerds, the kids of mixed raced and other ethnicities – you’ll meet some of EVERYBODY in college. If you only interacted with all black kids or all white kids or kids who lived in your neighborhood; the college experience forces you to get out there and shake it up a bit. This point is valid. College can enhance a black woman’s appeal. Professionally and romantically.
Point #4 – This point is not so black-and-white. Once again, it depends on a woman’s particular situation. If you’re a high school math teacher with 15 years of experience and your boss tells you that in order to become state certified or become an administrator you have to have your maters; then by golly you need to invest the money and get that degree! Ideally, the salary you will make once you’re promoted will end up paying you back the money you invested in school. The same goes for those who want to be surgeons. If you’re an RN, and want to become a surgical physician; you’ll need more schooling to get that extra pay rate. Now if you are a single mother of 2 working in HR at a bank, and currently paying back the $120,000 in loans you owe for your BA in Business, chances are a masters degree in Psychology with a concentration in Political Science is not going to help you get closer to that promotion to Chief HR Officer you so badly desire. Hard work ON THE JOB and networking will most likely land you that promotion before any degree will. Before going after a degree black women in particular need to think; will this really help me in the long run. If it’s not, you’ll basically be breaking your back and sacrificing potentially meeting the husband you’ve dreamt of all because you’re too tired to date juggling school, a job, kids, and trying to hustle back all of those additional accrued loans.
Point #5 – I can’t really speak on this point because everyone has whatever debt they have because of different reasons. Some people in these positions mentioned in the articles are actually debt free and have no problem getting out of debt; while some are just gargling above water. But as a single black woman myself; I do find myself weighing out what type of life I want to have. I call myself a “traditional progressive”. While I am all for women’s rights and independence, I have the deep desire to be somewhat of a traditional wife and mother. I have no problem with my husband making more than I do – I actually WANT to marry a man who brings home more than I do. To me, that will give me more time to take care of my home and wifely duties when I get home from working and I don’t have to depend on a nanny most times to take care of my kids. I want to be present as much as possible for my kids. I don’t want my assistant calling me telling me they took their first steps or have them come to me at age 30 asking me why wasn’t I there more. I want to have a career but will eventually lay it down when it comes to my family. I plan to work now while I’m single so that when I do settle down and get married; I don’t have to work as hard outside the home and take care of my family with minimal distractions.
Point #6 – I agree. This ties into her to the other points surrounding this similar message. There are some women who chase degree after degree in order to feel accomplished or to garner the ‘oohs’, ‘ahhhs’, and admiration of their peers. At the end of the day, a straight man doesn’t want to marry another man; he wants to feel needed, necessary, wanted. I’m not going to get into whether you as a black woman need ‘his’ money or need ‘him’ to kill spiders, or need ‘him’ to cut your grass; the point is, you need to let ‘him’ like you do sometimes. If you spend your time stacking all of these degrees on your mantle some men will be intimidated and immediately shut down any attempt to get court you. Some women, ESPECIALLY black, degree holding women, don’t understand this but I’ve had enough discussions and have listened in on enough panels to know that this is the way it is. Think about it this way:
Extremely attractive, holds a BA in Hospitality Management, spiritually mature, funny, caring, has one kid, and manages your local Best Western.
Attractive (hopefully haha), hold a BS in Political Science with a minor in Ethnic Studies, Masters in Political Science with a concentration in Finance, you’re currently going to school for yet another degree while you simultaneously work for Bank of America Corporate (doing whatever) and have no kids.
Poor guy would have to have nerves of steel to get past any hesitation that creeps up as hearing what you do. You’re thinking, ok, this is a pretty nice guy whose working his way up…but he’s thinking, here’s a woman who is accomplished and makes way more than me; I’m just gonna leave that alone. I’m not saying that that any secondary degree you hold is invalid, but come on, unless you’re working on becoming the CEO or COO of your company what are you taking out loans and busting your butt for? Richard Branson never completed high school and he is the CEO/Founder/Creator of Virgin – which over the years has expanded into the communications market, music industry, and transportation market.
To round my thoughts out and to a close, if you are a black woman in your 20s or older, I would encourage you to save this article to your FAVORITES tab or print it out and keep it in a notebook or drawer. Shoot, if you’re in high school and you can comprehend and appreciate this article I’d suggest that YOU do the same as well! It’s never to early to get a head start on your life. Learn from the prior generation so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes or missteps that [we] have.
Ps. Thanks Keesh and Ash for sharing this! You guys are so classy! ❤