Obamas Set an Example for Marriage

Article excerpt

The Obamas are members of a minority: They are a black married couple.

Wed 16 years in October, President Elect Barack and Michelle Obama conceived their two daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, after the wedding. While traditional couplehood is losing popularity, it has all but disappeared in black America, where more than 70 percent of children are born outside marriage.

In 2006, The Washington Post published an op-ed essay by writer Joy Jones with the provocative headline, "Marriage is for White People." The headline didnt reflect Jones views; it repeated what a student said when Jones taught a class in Washington, D.C.

"I think Ill invite some couples in to talk about being married and rearing children," she told the class. "Oh, no, objected one student. Were not interested in the part about marriage. Only about how to be good fathers. And thats when the other boy chimed in ... Marriage is for white people."

That sixth-grader was reflecting his environment, which may not have included many black married couples. While 62 percent of white adults and 60 percent of Latino adults are married, 41 percent of black adults are.

Heres hoping the Obamas presence on the national stage will erase that sixth-graders notion. Marriage ought to be an equal-opportunity institution.

"I was really excited when I saw the Obama family on the (TV) screen (on Nov. 4) because I meet so many young African-Americans who, frankly, have never seen an intact family like this," said Leah Ward Sears, chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court and board member of the Institute for American Values, which promotes marriage. …