The thirty-five undergraduates who enrolled in the first offering of “Introduction to Black Gender Studies” were an especially brave group. Most were in their early twenties, with African American women forming a sizable minority. The class also reflected the diversity of social class, sexualities, ethnicity, and religion characteristic of a large, urban university. As the course evolved and the students became more comfortable with one another, discussions became more candid. One class session in particular stands out in my mind. On that day, I asked the following questions: “Do your parents want you to marry? If so, what kind of partner do they want for you?” Student responses were revealing. No one identified the assumption that underlay the questions, namely, that getting married constitutes a deep-seated social norm. Virtually everyone agreed that their parents would like them to marry; yet, African American women in particular did not hold out much hope that they would find suitable partners. Their responses suggested that they had considered these questions more thoroughly than either African American men or White students: “a decent Black man,” “a man with a job,” and “a good Christian man,” Black women responded, making the gender and race of their preferred partners crystal clear. After hearing the women’s answers, African American men offered similar responses: “marry a Black woman,” “don’t disrespect your mother,” “marry within the race,” and “marry a woman who can make something of her-self,” they responded in virtual unanimity. Initially puzzled by the race-specific nature of Black students’ responses, White students came to see how “White” served as a silent qualifier for their own beliefs. They too were expected to marry within their race and choose partners of the opposite gender. No one mentioned sexuality until an “out” White lesbian student broke the ice. When she quipped, “My parents would be happy if I brought home any man!” everyone laughed.