The Financial Facts Behind Black Divorce
By Ryan Velez
Los Angeles-based attorney Antonio Moore has been a longtime writer and contributor to various sources, primarily on the subjects of financial inequality in the African-American community. In a recent video posted to EURWeb, he has tackled a complex but deeply rooted issue in the community: Black divorce. Moore starts with a rather disturbing figure: that 70% of Black women’s first marriages will end in divorce. While many are quick to point the finger when it comes to what is going on, Moore says that it is important to try and set aside your personal feelings regarding divorce (whether it is yours or in general) and look at the hard data behind the Black community and see if it plays a role.
To set the stage, Moore starts by pointing to the 40% unemployment rate among Black men, and the fact that many men are bringing a chronic history of unemployment to the table. What is important to recognize, in his eyes, is that this figure is not about a simple “black men aren’t trying enough” mode of view. Instead, this points to a severe societal issue with its roots all the way back in the Jim Crow era and beyond. Even those that are employed are generally in the bottom 1% in terms of net worth in the U.S. Whether the couple struggles together or the woman tries to pick up the slack, financially, many marriages start off in a tense spot from the beginning.
Part of this is because Moore says that marriage is more than just the romantic pairing of two individuals. Some may find this concerning but revisiting the classical, practical view of marriage as the joining of two families and their wealth is very telling. It has become more and more prevalent the role that inheritance is playing in the racial wealth gap, and many Black people are working their hardest, sometimes even to their detriment, to try and climb out of the relatively low percentile the majority of people are in. When entering a marriage, many Black people may be focusing on their potential financially together, but the discussion over what they do not have never happens. In this sense, the relationship is starting on a falsehood, and many counselors could tell you how problematic that could be.
Moore concludes the video by imploring Black America to try and take the moment to try and sit down and rather than blaming each other for relationship issues, take the time to educate themselves on some of the data behind this. This isn’t to say that people cannot learn and educate themselves on a personal level, but a more rounded perspective on what marriage means and their own history can allow for overall healthier relationships.