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That’s 0 per month that could have gone to expenses like these payments. I, like so many other educated black women, am a financial liability.
Not only did I leave college with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, but I have struggled for years to find full-time work, despite sending out resume after resume. Black women are twice as likely to be unemployed, compared to white women, according to the Bureau of Labor.
Many people reading this probably think that’s part of what the institution of marriage is all about: Taking on one another’s commitments and supporting each other through financial hardship.
Those people do not understand that this country’s institutions constantly fail black people.
I don’t want to get married and the reason why is complicated. In our time together, we’ve continually managed to gracefully overcome standard relationship issues, like establishing sexual boundaries and making time for one another despite hectic schedules.
“All of the guys I grew up with are either dead or locked up,” my partner once explained as we drove through the Jersey City neighborhood of his childhood. Even if black men overcome all this—if they survive, if they thrive—they do not want to marry a woman like me.
The new Pay As You Earn plan (revised in 2015), which determines student loan payment caps, helps single earners, but can drastically increase monthly payments for married couples.
As a single, lower-income mother, I qualify for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, which also covers my baby.
And while some would pin this on black women being more likely to work in fields with lower pay, that fails to acknowledge the reality of name-based hiring discrimination.
A field experiment, in which the same resume was sent to various employers, with only the name at the top changed, discovered a hard-to-swallow truth that black people have long known: “Emily” and “Greg” are simply more employable than “Lakisha” and “Jamal”—even if they all have the same credentials.