the personal

by rantywoman

Economic and social vulnerability only exacerbate this tension: indeed, both models are rendered fragile by the strain of job insecurity and the privatization of risk. Among informants who were single (56), dating (21), or divorced (5), fear—of being deemed unworthy, of losing their selves, of betrayal, of failing and losing what little they have—dominated their experiences in the romantic sphere. For those who were married, the family became a constant battleground where they wrestled with these fears and their longing for solid, lasting ties. In an era when economic and social shocks such as job loss, illness, or disability are the responsibility of the individual alone, intimacy becomes yet another risk to bear, especially for black men and women who carry the additional burden of racism in both the labor and the dating market. The unpredictability, insecurity, and risks of everyday life come to haunt young people within their most intimate relationships, not only by shrinking their already limited pool of available social resources but also by disrupting their sense of security, destabilizing their life trajectories, and transforming commitment into yet another risky venture. Children remain the last bastion of commitment and stability— yet the social institutions in which young parents create families often work against their desire to anchor their lives in connection with others.