Loni Love says that finding a good Black man to marry isn’t as simple as “leveling up” as Ciara’s Instagram post suggested. The Real co-host discussed the very limited dating pool available to Black women within the community and pointed to disproportionate incarceration rates as the root cause. Statistically-speaking, Love might have a point.
Ciara took a lot of heat for co-signing a sermon by Pastor John Gray where he said that far too many women want to get wifed-up but they are “walking in the spirit of girlfriend.” Gray made the declaration that if you “carry yourself like a wife, a husband will find you.” Ciara captioned her post “#LevelUp. Don’t settle.”
Love said that Black women have bigger obstacles to overcome beyond a change in attitude. The problem with mass incarceration has reached epidemic proportions and must be addressed immediately because Black men are being unfairly targeted. In other words, more Black women could get married if fewer Black men were in jail.
“Let’s tell the truth about why, I’m saying in the African-American community, why there is a shortage pool of available men. Why? Because of over incarceration, and the problem is, those are a lot of our brothers that we could be marrying,” Loni said. “If you’re growing up in say the projects, there are not a lot of men. And if those men are getting overly arrested, they can’t get a job, then that pool is limited. We have to fix the root problem, and the root problem is, why aren’t there enough available men so that women can get married?”
Love pointed out the hypocrisy of jailing men for misdemeanor possession of marijuana while weed dispensaries are opening up across in states where the drug has been made legal. She suggested that there is a different agenda where Black men are concerned. Ciara is in a different socioeconomic class who doesn’t necessarily have to deal with the same struggles as everyday working Black women.
“You lucked up because you’re a celebrity, he was able to find you and you were able to find him but I’m sitting over here in the projects or I’m working every day and I can’t find dudes,” Love continued. “Why? Because my dude is somewhere locked up! We need to start working on the facts, why are these brothers getting locked up so much? We need to work on this. Because if I have friends who are locked up over a $5 bag of weed, but now you got dispensaries where they can buy a $5 bag of weed, what is going on here?”
Now while those men may or may not be suitable mates for women looking to get married, the statistics about mass incarceration are too shocking to ignore. According to The Sentencing Project, Black people are locked up in state prisons over five times as often as Whites. In 12 states, over half of the prison population is Black with Maryland topping the list at 72 percent. And in 11 states, at least 1 in 20 adult Black men is behind bars.
Overall, the U.S. population is 13 percent Black while the prison population is 38 percent Black. Whether you agree with Ciara, Loni, both of them, or neither of them, the numbers don’t lie. We’d be crazy to think that this trend isn’t affecting the Black community.
Ashley Nellis, Ph. D published an excellent study this month via The Sentencing Project concerning "America's failed experiment with mass incarceration". Key finding reveal that Blacks are five times more likely to be imprisoned than whites, twelve states have a majority Black population and at least 1 in 20 of adult Black males in eleven states are in prison. There are approximately 1.3 million people in prison in this nation, the most in the world. Meanwhile, Blacks only make up around 13% of the United States' population. So yes, it is a national failure that involves such issues as sentencing discrepancies, unlawful searches, ineffectiveness of the 'War on Drugs', for-profit prisons and outdated policies that disproportionately affect people of color. New Jersey, Maryland, Vermont, Oklahoma and of course South Carolina have alarmed me the most statewise in this study. The more the public knows about these statistics, the closer we as a society can come to enacting change and pushing politicians to pass sentencing reform laws. You can read all of the findings of the study or download it in PDF form by following this link: http:goo.gl/RXX97T #racialdiscrimination #thesentencingproject #prisonculture #criminaljustice #massincarceration #prisonreform #warondrugs