The Myth of the Black Kept Woman! Commodifying the Black man and the outcomes in the Black community.
While there is no verification that what is claimed in the original post actually happened, I have seen enough to use this as a point of reference. The Black Kept Woman has become a common topic of discussion on multitudinous social media platforms. This type of mindset focuses on the commodification of Black men and does support healing and growth within the Black community.
I hate when the commodification of the Black man comes front and center. Social media has only served to exacerbate this phenomenon.
The driving trend of Black women claiming to be kept and Black men claiming to wholly and completely keep a woman does not line up with the earnings data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Median Income by Race and Gender
- Asian Men ($1,542/wk) $80,184
- White Men ($1,129/wk) $58,708/yr
- Hispanic Men (845/wk) $43,940
- Black Men ($807/wk) $41,964
- Asian Women ($1,124/wk) $58,448
- White Women ($939/wk) $48,828
- Black Women ($802/wk) $41,704
- Hispanic Women (733/wk) $38,136
The first interesting statistic besides the apparent income disparity is this:
The women’s-to-men’s earnings ratio varied by race and ethnicity. White women earned 83.2 percent as much as their male counterparts, compared with 99.4 percent for Black women, 77.7 percent for Asian women, and 86.7 percent for Hispanic women.
At 99.4 percent, Black women earn almost equal to their male counterparts. This reality is not an accident or coincidental phenomenon. It creates the notion that “I don’t need a man” for Black women. Again, this notion is built on the commodification of the Black man — the notion that only recognizes Black men based on their earnings.
Notice that White women outearn Black men. With Black women being equal earners with Black men, the only major group Black men outearn is Hispanic women.
The first takeaway is that the idea that Black men can be measured by their ability to solely sustain a home in an economic environment in which almost everyone outearns them is ridiculous.
Second, even White men who earn significantly more than Black men are not experiencing the same demand. This is evidenced by data published by the U.S. Bureau of Vital Statistics. Only 25 percent of all households have a single income. Nearly 60 percent of homes have dual incomes. This includes white households. In fact, households with one child have 60 percent dual-income participation.
Third, the income disparity is decreasingly based on education and skill level, as matriculation of Black males to colleges and universities is consistently on the rise. What is revealed through a more in-depth anatomization of this data is that Black men must advocate for the concept of business ownership where they have more control over their income.
Fourth, the truth is that many Black men could solely sustain their homes if Black women were willing to live within the means of his income, which most are not. Consumerism has created a thirst to live like the jones and to compete with higher earners in spending. No amount of money will be enough if you insist on living at or above your means.
Finally, provision extends beyond finances. Men provide identity, protection, guidance, leadership, wisdom, and a sense of identity for their children and family in general — just to scratch the surface.
As men, when we allow ourselves to become commodified, we allow ourselves to be devalued and displaced in our communities.
* This is not advocating for deadbeat men or suggesting something is wrong with men covering all the bills. It simply points to the fact that the current reality concerning actual earnings does not align with the current social narrative.
The Black community is the only racial group where this is even a general discussion. The discussion changes as socioeconomic statuses change.