Nothing but a Man is an independent drama film produced in America in 1964 directed by Michael Roemer and featuring Abbey Lincoln and Ivan Dixon for starring purposes. The film presents the story of an African American, Duff Anderson, who is an employee at the railroad during the 1960s. he faces difficulty while he strives to ensure he earns respect as he lives in Birmingham town, Alabama, in which racism is significantly practiced. According to Dixon (29-35) due to discrimination at the workplace, he is also facing a hard time in establishing and maintaining his family due to the various forms of oppression that originate from the environment in which he lives. These and other related problems have been the major issues making marriage among African Americans as represented by the case of Anderson. This reflects how men are depicted with respect to their marriage issues. African American men, therefore, have a challenging task in marriage due to issues of discrimination as America has allowed racism to thrive.
Effects of Racial Discrimination on the Marriage
African Americans do not have well-paying jobs which can enable them to support their families; as a result, they find it difficult to maintain their marriage. Duff does not have an alternative hence decides to take a job at the sawmill which is low paying with an aim of being stable enough to set up a family. His plans, however, appear almost impossible when problems begin happening which work towards preventing him from achieving his goals in marriage (Edin, Maria & Joanna 1007-1012). At the workplace, he is expected to comply with the discriminative and the oppressive rules of the white man in which they are expected to appear as if they love and are friendly to them despite their humiliating behaviors to the African Americans. His unwillingness to follow the white blindly further increases the level of discrimination and this has a significant effect on his pay. He is consequently unable to provide adequately for his family needs and this makes him risk having a stable family.
The effort that Duff makes towards unifying the African American so that truth dawns on them leads him to a very critical situation which led to his dismissal. Duff has an outstanding behavior among his peers and is reluctant towards bowing to the obnoxious and or patronizing treatment towards them. The willingness of Duff to help his fellow African Americans at the mills is; however, received with further oppression. Some of his peers emerge rather traitors and reports him to their boss who fires him. He is finally unable to maintain the family as he is finally having no income. This implies that African Americans are less likely to marry, take the shortest time in marriage and are most likely not to marry compared to their white counterparts.
Marriage for Sex
African Americans consider marriage as an opportunity to have partnered with who they have sex. According to Dixon (36), African Americans believe that marriage is meant for sex and this role is more important to them than any other benefit that they draw from the union. In the film Duff is featured jokingly his wife with whom he has a relation that almost no one is opposing; he informs his wife that he may not be willing to have a long term relationship which may lead to permanent marriage. His in-laws are also against the relationship between her daughter and Duff and mention that he is only after cohabiting with his daughter. This even makes him argue that Duff is not worthy of having his daughter in marriage. Edin et al. (1007-1012) added that marriage is only a social union in which African Americans get the opportunity to have sex. It, therefore, follows that the African American men face considerable oppressions and have marriage as an opportunity to console themselves through sex.
African American Attitude towards Marriage
African Americans have some significant forms of attitude towards marriage and the related factors which have considerable effects on their marriage journey. African Americans are normally troubled with respect to the implications that marriage may have in their lives (Dixon 40). Moreover, they are concerned about the kinds of individuals, based on their behaviors and origins, who they can willingly marry. Duff, in the film, is not fully decided whether to have Jossie as his wife following the oppressive remarks that his father has made towards his ability and his perceived unworthiness to take care of her daughter. This makes Duff become significantly lose interest in marriage; he develops a poor attitude towards marriage by considering more problematic. Moreover, as soon as he marries Josie, problems begin and his job loss occurs in the course of his marriage. He finds easy to quit from the marriage and informs his wife that their relations have ended temporarily. He believes that marriage is only a phenomenon which is meant to frustrate his life.
Terry'sCollection. Nothing But A Man. 2017, https://youtu.be/kbNKQwoDrHA. Accessed 19 Feb 2019.
Dixon, Patricia. "Marriage Among African Americans: What Does The Research Reveal?". Journal Of African American Studies, vol 13, no. 1, 2008, pp. 29-46. Springer Nature, doi:10.1007/s12111-008-9062-5. Accessed 19 Feb 2019.
Edin, Kathryn et al. "A Peek Inside The Black Box: What Marriage Means For Poor Unmarried Parents". Journal Of Marriage And Family, 2004, pp. 1007-1014., Accessed 19 Feb 2019.
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