Census, the statistically based system that informs government, financial and educational institutions, as well as individuals of the current state of the national population. The impact of the information has been referenced and or manipulated by media pundits, sociologists, anthropologists, and psychologists. My concern is not necessarily the pros and cons of a census, but how the pros and cons affect Black America as a whole.
I remember being told, as a child, that the idea of a strong and structured world starts with a strong and structured family. It struck a chord one afternoon on my day off from work as I stared with a blank face at the television. Watching an episode of Oprah, as she explained how 70% of black women are unmarried, and that it is very difficult to find a black man to marry. I remember thinking to myself, “Hmmm… there are at least 18 million black women in America. That would mean 12.6 million black women are unmarried.” . I continued watching as she explained that it was in reference to a 2005 census. I took a moment to think about my basic sociology course in high school. “A census is conducted every 10 years. So, how is there an accurate 2005 census? Did something change?” , I said to myself. The unfortunate answer is that nothing has changed, in more ways than one. I remember hearing about how the media used factual information and manipulated it to continue to oppress blacks in America during my parents childhood and adulthood. But, that is a thing of the past right?
To put this perspective I read the frequently asked questions on the census website. It reads as follows;
“The ACS is Part of the Decennial Census Program. It is a survey that is sent to a small percentage of our population on a rotating basis. These data previously were collected only in census years in conjunction with the decennial census. Since the ACS is conducted every year, rather than once every ten years, it will provide more current data throughout the decade.”
Basically, that “Census” , that media guru Oprah Winfrey elaborated on was actually nothing more than a survey conducted annually to a very small handful of the nation’s population ( a fraction of the amount of people used in an actual Census). Watching it the show further, Oprah informed her audience that , “the numbers don’t add up, there are more black women in America then there are men”. She went on to inform the crowd that ultimately black women will have to venture outside of their culture due to those numbers. I would agree, however, upon actually taking the time to read the census one would find out conflicting information.
I remember staring at the 2000 Census information titled, “We The People: Blacks in the United States”. It informed me of a few things. The first piece of information I gathered was the actual black population; 34,361,740 blacks in America, 16,284,366 male, and 18,077,374 female. The second piece of information I attained was the actual percentage of not only never married black women, but never married black men; 41.6 % male and 39.7% female. The third and final piece of information I attained was the age range for those who fell under the percentage of “never married”. The age range is 15 years of age and older. I wouldn’t be so bold as to say that Ms. Winfrey lied, however, she did bend the truth to push an agenda. She, unfortunately, is not the only person who is known for this. Fox News, ABC, CNN news reports, blogs, and magazines, seem to push an agenda that not only are there many unmarried black women in America, but it is because there aren’t enough single black men. The same Census used to express the issue is the same Census that is used to manipulate it.
I was watching an ABC news piece about successful black women finding it hard to find a husband. They also referenced the census saying that 40 % of black women haven’t ever been married. I couldn’t help but wonder, “I understand that many black women are unmarried and are finding it difficult to attain a husband. But, what happened to expressing the views of black men in America?”. As a single black man in America I found myself left out and being concerned with the current agenda that the media has for black men and women.
After taking a few short moments to check the “math” for myself I found out that not only were the media pundits wrong, but they were purposely doing it. The media is praised for it’s ability to attain information not only before the average person, but the amount of credible information that is presented tends to be in abundance. If I took just a few moments to check a government website to attain statistical information, why didn’t they? If the Census can be used to manipulate minorities to maintain disdain for each other, it can also be used to re-educate the masses to not fall for such negative ideals. If I had a dime for every time I heard , “Brothas just marry white girls, that’s why it’s so hard to find a good one”. That same Census told me a very interesting story. Only 7% of the married Black Men in America to women “other-than-black” (That means, Hispanic, Latinas, Asians, Mediterranean, and yes White). That means 93% of the Black men who are married are married to Black Women.
Unfortunately, the need to check the data being presented to you is taught in schools, but only in various math and physics courses. Therefore, the average person will not only listen to and believe what is being presented to them by the media, but will maintain an ideal based on the inaccurate unelaborated information they find. Luckily, the Census information is easily accessible.
If you wish to check my findings (but, then again, if you believed the crap the media tells you, you probably wont check anyway). Yes, it is important to find out why so many Black Women are never married. But, it is also important to find out why even more Black Men are never married as well.