Last week the web was on fire after a survey on marriage and family was released. The survey, which was conducted by the Pew Research Center and Time Magazine, was based on interviews with 2,691 adults done by cell phone or landline during the month of October. An Associated Press article that was picked up nationwide blasted, "4 Out of 10 Americans Say Marriage Is Obsolete."
Not only am I against the stance that marriage is becoming obsolete, but also I believe that marriage is more necessary than ever, especially in our minority communities. With the decline of the nuclear family, we've also witnessed the decline of our local communities. Boys growing up without fathers in the home are left equating manhood to what they see on BET and MTV. Children growing up without strong, positive examples of healthy relationships in their own homes learn through trial and error if they learn at all. The stance that we've maintained since launching BlackandMarriedWithKids.com is that marriage may not be for everyone but that it needs to be an option. With further reckless reporting like we've seen over the past 24 hours, that option will dwindle unless we stand up to the attack.
Unlike the majority of the media outlets that ran the AP story, I decided to take a deeper look at the Pew study and even launched our own. Before you jump to the fact that a survey on our site would be flawed I conclude that the Pew Survey is as well. The following passage comes from the actual Pew report:
In an effort to capture the experiences and attitudes of those living in both traditional and less traditional family arrangements, the survey included oversamples of three key groups: (1) adults who are divorced or separated and have at least one child younger than age 18; (2) adults who are living with a partner and have at least one child younger than age 18; (3) adults who have never been married and are not currently living with a partner and have at least one child younger than age 18.
What this tells us is that they oversampled using divorcees with kids, couples that cohabitate with kids and single parents. Could any of these groups have an adverse view on marriage?
What I found after taking a closer look at the numbers was that there were some good things about marriage in that report that didn't surface in any media reports. I personally believe that this reckless reporting is one of the primary reasons that young people in some of our communities have given up hope when it comes to marriage.
Below are some key points that I pulled from that same Pew Research Center study along with headlines that I've created in case mainstream media feels like they'd like to revisit the topic to get the story straight. (Essence)