Chapter 3

Marriage: Witches, Thornbacks, and Sapphires

I am fat,” says queer-identified divorcee Erica Johnson.* “When I walk into, say, a Banana Republic . . . well, I see those clothes, but I know that store is not about me. When I see those stories on the news about black women and marriage? Well, that’s not about me either.”1

African American women are half as likely to marry as their white counterparts,2 providing the foundation for a “black marriage crisis” and allegedly the eventual destruction of the black community. And if you trust the what’s-wrong-with-black-women-and-why-won’t-anyone-marry-them industrial complex, black women may not be pretty or chaste enough to merit wifedom. But most of all, the complex reminds us that black women ...

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