“Once you have eliminated the probable, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
Five years ago on the Oprah Winfrey Network, the television show “Fix My Life” hosted by self-help guru Iyanla Vanzant, featured six Black men who sired some 78(!) Black children with 50 Black women(!!). Despite Iyanla’s serene assurances of “no heat, no judgment”, the spectacle had to be seen to be
believed – and generated lots of feedback and of course, drama – which is the lifeblood of Black women today.
For many, said episode of Iyanla’s show and the episodes to follow, were nothing short of shocking; for the denizens of the Black Manosphere however, not only was it all par for the course of modern day Black American life; it only confirmed what so many of us had long suspected – that there was a small pool of Black men who were not only having sex with a much larger pool of Black women – but they were making babies with them, too.
Known as the “80/20 Rule”, Iyanla’s show depicted an utterly unique, bizarre and profound aspect of Black American society that has been going on since the 1970s and reached a high point at the turn of the 21st century – that of the unprecendented explosion of out of wedlock births to Black women. And while the aforementioned “rule” has long been an established principle and talking point, there hasn’t been “smoking gun proof” – until now.
THE “80/20 RULE” DEFINED & EXPLAINED
Before we take a deep dive into the numbers, we need to get clear on what, exactly, IS the “80/20 Rule”. In my view, it is this: in a society where (Black) women’s sexual preferences, decisions and choices are freed up from tradition, social mores, culture and laws, while at the same time said preferences, decisions and choices are assisted by laws, culture, medical technology AND have the ability to be self-supporting economically, 80 percent of (Black)
women will gravitate toward the 20 percent of conspicuously sexually attractive (Black) men. Because Black women no longer “need a (non-select) man” in our Brave New World, they are free to choose only the most sexy select fuckboys with whom to mate – and as the Iyanla show reference above and the numbers will show below, quite a few Black women do. The 80/20 rule has been anecdotally observed in current day Black America for decades.
Of course, the 80/20 rule is a direct result of the SUCCESS of the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s and 70s, the “second wave” of the Women’s Movement of the same period, Roe v. Wade, The Pill and more. Before I go further, let me make clear my view that I do NOT think that “going back” or “turning back the clock” and so forth will make things better for either (Black) women OR (Black) men(!). For all the laments of my bros in the Black Manosphere about the seemingly out of control abortion rate, sky-high out of wedlock birthrate and incredible divorce/breakup rate in modern day Black America, the simple truth of the matter is that few of us Black men really wanna go back to a time when the price of knocking them boots was a shotgun wedding. To be sure, all of the movements, technological and social/legal developments of the 60s and 70s created as many problems as they solved. But on a whole range of measures, life has been better for Black people as a result.
The problem, as always, is that all things entail tradeoffs. The 80/20 rule, is one of them.
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THE “BLACK” 80/20 RULE EMPIRICALLY VERIFIED
Recently on my live talk radio show, my special guest, up and coming Black male YouTuber King Sigma and I noted something while reviewing some data from the excellent website, BlackDemographics.com. We found that as of the year 2013, only 33% of Black women who had children, did so while married. Moreover, only 26% of Black women are married – which works out to one in four, a number cited by noted Harvard scholar, Dr. Alvin Poussaint years prior. That means that the overwhelming majority of Black women who do have kids, are in fact baby mamas – again, per Black Demographics, SIXTY SEVEN PERCENT.
But wait, there’s more! According to both the US Census and the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA, not only are a majority of Black men single and childless, but the biggest cohort of confirmed bachelors over 40 are Black men(!). It raises the inevitable question in light of all we’ve learned thus far: EXACTLY WHO ARE THE BLACK MEN THAT ARE MAKING ALL THESE BABIES (OUT OF WEDLOCK) WITH BLACK WOMEN?
It isn’t hard to figure out: if roughly 52% of Black men are single and childless; and another roughly 30% of Black men are married; that leaves LESS THAN TWENTY PERCENT OF BLACK MEN WHO ARE MAKING ALL THE BABIES (OUT OF WEDLOCK) WITH BLACK WOMEN.
Which proves that the Black 80/20 Rule, is REAL. Q.E.D.!
SUMMARY & IMPLICATIONS
With the evidence having been presented and the matter empirically settled, we now have to ask: what does all of this have to do with a weekly dating column focused on the “non-select” Black man today? Well, it should by now be obvious: the so-called “select guys” have been on quite a tear over the past few decades having fun, loving and leaving Black women (or is it pumping and dumping them?) and leaving a trail of Black babies in their wake. And of course, the unspoken assumption – expectation – is that we non-select guys are supposed to pickup the pieces – wife up the baby mamas and “alpha widows” of these select fuckboys, which of course includes, as R&B crooner Joe puts it, doing “all the things your man won’t do” – “traditional courting”, being “understanding” of her travails and drama of dealing with said select fuckboys and again, taking on her brood. What is rarely mentioned, is exactly what do WE get out of the deal – and for good reason: because the unspoken assumption, is that since we’re “non-select”, we are to be happy that we got SOMETHING – right?
While there has been a lot of hay made by Black women in both the White mainstream and Black Vaginavision Media over the past three decades about a “eligible Black man shortage”, in truth, there is a very REAL eligible Black woman shortage – as the numbers above make clear. And the point of today’s column, aside from presenting the facts on the matter, is that NO NON-SELECT BLACK MAN HERE HAS TO TAKE A USED UP, STRESSED OUT AND PROBLEMATIC BABY MAMA. Indeed, if the choice comes down to the aforementioned and living out one’s days as a celibate, I for one will happily embrace the latter. And you should, too. as our greatest President, Abraham Lincoln, once famously said: “Better to be alone, than to keep bad company”.
Now adjourn your asses…
Mumia Obsidian Ali is a citizen journalist, podcaster, talk radio show host and newly minted dating coach. You can catch his daily live shows on Mixlr, and his podcasts on YouTube and Black Avenger TV, as well as his weekly dating coach column at the Negromanosphere website. He’s also a semi-professional pest.