Dear Ms. McFadden / Ms. Davis:
This letter is in response to your December 26, 2009 ABC News Nightline story, Why Are 42% Of Black Successful Women Are Single?
I find it absolutely disturbing and appalling that you ran such a one-sided story about the plight of single, successful black women, and their inability to find a black man to marry.
This story is flawed on numerous fronts:
1. Ms. Davis failed to define success.  Does a person who has a career, owns a home, and drives a decent automobile make them successful?  Or, are they simply living the American Dream?
Furthermore, when does success in one or more particular areas of life guarantee anything?
2. You outlined a number of  statistics about black men that may correlate, directly or indirectly, to the alleged plight of black women.  You failed, however, to outline key statistics pertaining to black women.
Example, “In 2005, 69.5 percent of all births to unmarried non-Hispanic black women.”  – Source : Child Trends Data Bank.  “In 2006, 71.5 percent of all births to unmarried non-Hispanic black women.” – Source CDC.
Even with the slightest decrease in percentages of births to unmarried non-Hispanic black women between 2006 and 2009, that still equates to roughly 7 out of 10 black women who fall squarely within the demographic of women you interviewed being an unmarried mother.  In the case of your article, that means that  3 of the 4 women interviewed potentially have children.
I’m curious to know how consideration of such facts might have shaped the context of your report.
3. We are currently facing record unemployment due to the worst economic times in recent memory.  It is no secret that tough economic times affect black men almost twice as hard than the average American, 17% vs 10%.
It is unacceptable that you would use such a statistic as a contributing factor toward the plight of black women.
4. You consulted with “Comedian turned Relationship guru, Steve Harvey” about the alleged problem.  What qualifies Mr. Harvey as an authority on the subject of relationships, specifically the relationship between black men and women, other than one book?
There are qualified, experienced, professional relationship experts, who I am certain are authorities on the subject, and can lend some legitimate insight into this issue and its root causes.
Additionally, Mr. Harvey contradicts himself during the interview.  He states, “Admittedly, the selection of men is slim.”  He then says “There are still a lot of good men out there who are being overlooked.”  Well, which is it?  Is the selection slim?  Or are black men being overlooked?

Based on the statements by some of the women interviewed, it appears that black men are being overlooked.  Jakene Ashford stated that she used to have a height requirement of 6’5 for a man she would consider.  How many years passed before she was finally willing to consider a man she could “see eye-to-eye” with“?

The average height for American men is 5’8″.  It’s reasonable to assume that with a height requirement of 6’5″, Ms. Ashford was either looking for an exceptionally unique man in terms of stature, or an athlete.  The likelihood of her meeting such a man would indeed greatly diminish her probability of success.
5. The subject then turned toward the topic of the “Back-pocket Girl“.  Melinda Watson and Chato Waters both admitted to not being in an “exclusive” relationship since college, and in over a decade, respectively.  My impression is that the plights of these women are attributed to engaging in and accepting situations that were less than what they truly desired; not a limited number of black men.  Yet, Ms. Watson and Ms. Waters maintain that they will not settle; how ironic.
6. Mr. Harvey then contradicts himself once more by suggesting that the four ladies consider looking for an older man.  Why would he not reinforce his view that “There are still a lot of good men out there that are being overlooked“?  Why would he not assess these women and their requirements, and evaluate that against what he maintains about black men?
What Mr. Harvey did was sell out the demographic of black men he defended as being overlooked, earlier in the segment, in favor of his own demographic of black men.  And you Ms. McFadden and Ms. Davis, accepted his commentary about the present state of affairs as authoritative.
7. No effort was made to refute the claims these women were making, or provide evidence of the existence of the black men they desire.  I happen to be a single black man who is gainfully employed, educated with both a Bachelors and Masters degree from two of the finest institutions of higher learning in the world, and have never been incarcerated.  Yet, I am often overlooked by women of my own race.
I am just one of many black men who resemble this profile. We are doctors, lawyers, writers, teachers, scientists, entrepreneurs and President of these United States of America.
This ABC Nightline segment over this alleged issue is absolutely disgraceful and irresponsible. The content of your report is one-sided, severely lacking in substance, perspective and concrete facts.  Above all, it does nothing but further erode the image of black men.   For far too long black men have had to contend with countless gross negative stereotypes and misperceptions.   This particular stereotype about black men, no thanks to you, rests at the pinnacle.  I would expect such reporting from Black Entertainment Television (BET), not a respected news organization such as ABC News.  I wonder what Peter Jennings might think if he were still alive.
It was less than one year ago that the first black US President took office.  It is extremely evident, that even with such a milestone for this country and its people, that very little has changed.
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Mark Wyche

I am founder of Forgotten Gent. Formerly an eCommerce and Digital Marketing pro in the corporate arena, I am now a photographer, storyteller, aspiring race car driver and world traveler. Follow the stories about my travels.

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