The reasons vary, ranging from sheer preference to uncontrollable variables like stereotypes and Western beauty ideals as well as different life goals.
A viral video making the rounds on TikTok is yet another dismal reminder that college-educated Black women have a harder time making a love connection than their white counterparts.
According to Insider, white females in the video are showing off their engagement rings at graduation, a phenomenon that is commonplace at Southern colleges and universities and is known as “ring by spring” or earning a “MRS degree.”
Still, young Black women, like most people, desire to marry someone with a similar education level. It is what a 2015 Brookings Institute report termed “assortative mating” and Black college-educated females experience the lowest rate of this for several reasons, including the fact that they are the least likely to marry outside of their ethnic group. The report noted that 23% of Black women between the ages of 25 and 35 have at least a bachelor’s degree compared with only 16% of Black men of the same age.
Another impediment is insufficient support systems. For instance, those enrolled at predominantly white institutions (PWIs) are in spaces that don’t automatically establish a welcoming environment for students open to pursuing love outside of their ethnic group.
Lauryn Craine, a recent alumna of Missouri Valley College, engaged in both intra- and inter-racial relationships while she was a student. She recalled several occasions when she casually dated men who claimed they weren’t looking for anything serious only to discover that they would later become involved in a relationship with a non-Black woman. “They pretty much only wanted sex when it came to me,” said Craine, according to Insider, pointing out that many of her mostly white roommates quickly became involved in relationships.
Kierra Grayson, a consultant who completed her undergraduate studies at Cornell University, described another experience not uncommon to Black women at PWIs. Although the 26-year-old didn’t date anyone outside of her race, she believed that the environment of a predominately white institution forced Black women to compete with nonBlack women and Black women from exclusively affluent backgrounds.
Black women also continue to be associated with hypersexual stereotypes and the idea that they are unworthy of commitment. These and other uncontrollable variables, including Western-dominant beauty standards, play into the experience of singlehood among Black female college graduates, regardless of whether they’re focused on dating or marriage.
“These white supremacist initiatives throughout history paint Black women as aggressive or hypersexual on the one end, but also non-feminine on the other hand,” said Celeste Currington, a professor and co-author of “The Dating Divide.”
“Blackness, particularly gendered blackness, was not framed as something that is beautiful, that can be desirable. And this impacts people’s experiences.”
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