A Post Mother’s Day Reflection of Single-Parenthood In the Black Community By A 2-Parent Raised Black Man

May 15, 2012 § 3 Comments

With 70% (a decline of 4% from last year, according to the Center for Disease and Control, p.8) of Black babies being born out of wedlock, I decided to comment on what Mother’s Day in the Black community means to me. Many will dismiss my commentary,  of course, and my insight is limited due to the fact I’m a man who was board and raised in a two parent household but the reader should look past that and understand the more important point I’m attempting to convey. Lastly, with these statistics at hand, I’m not short of friends and their firsthand accounts of being raised without a father.

How can one ignore the fact more than half of Black woman bear illegitimate children? Well, I can’t and I’m obliged to hold this statistic at its forefront whenever necessary. The socio-economic and psychological effects of a single-parent household affects us all, in more ways than one.

Assuming the father doesn’t pay child support, and two-thirds don’t according to several studies I’ve found, and the mother is unable to solely provide for her new family, she is forced to rely on her greater family, church and private organizations, government benefits or illegal means to provide for her family.

Indeed–single-mother households affect us all.

In regards to the social and psychological effects, several studies have discovered not having children before marriage or age 21 is one of the three things that keep people out of poverty (with the other two being completing high school and having a job, any job; of course, these are not absolute, as we can all find individuals who defy the general rules). So, upon birth the child is already disadvantaged, a step behind society, according to statistics, in reaching success. In 2010, 28% of Blacks were in poverty, double that of the nation’s average.

Another aspect that can be looked at is the simple fact the children have no male figure to guide them in the ways only a man can. No matter how well of a mother the single-mother may be, she can not and is not supposed to take the place of a man and his supposed duties.

A daughter can be be taught how a real man is to treat them–that is, like a princess–as opposed to looking for “fatherly love” in places where there is none. This leads to promiscuity On social-networking sites, you see females thriving for attention and recognition from the opposite sex; or in person you see females with boyfriends who you know is no good but “holds them down” (whatever that means).

Father absence also leads to the girl not being interested in marriage because all she knows, and sees around her with other family and friends, are dysfunctional marriages and/or families, as if marriage and family can only be dysfunctional.

What type of effects does a new man in the house every week or year(s) have on the child, especially the daughter? Perhaps, since the mother is exhibiting the behavior, that switching mates are fine. What of the relationship between the son and the new man?

Think of the film Baby Boy (I know it’s a movie but bare with me for these scenarios are not exclusive to movie screens). When Jody and his mother’s Juanita boyfriend, Mel, are constantly in conflict and in one scene Juanita was left to choose between the two after a physical altercation.

Furthermore, imagine if Baby Boy was a kid, say 15 or 16 years old. Would Juanita, or Jody’s teenage ego for that matter, allow Mel to discipline him should he get into trouble at school or with the law? The answer is up in the air but I’m assured this would further spark conflict; and if left unhanded, would leave Jody to act with, what economist call, no “moral hazard.”

Moral hazard also applies to the government benefits a teenage mother receives

With a baby bringing on new expenses, the single-mother may resort to means she might have not otherwise taken: acts against her morals, government benefits, more work hours or school for a better future–who knows. I’d like to focus on on the government benefits the single-mother receives after bearing illegitimate children.

The above graph shows single-parent homes accounted for the majority of welfare (or TANF) recipients., until recently.

Those who advocate since it’s the woman’s body and she has the right to it, she can do as she pleases and the government should just leave her body alone, usually advocate, after giving birth, society should pitch in–by government force–and help her care for the child. Despite the false cries from individuals that there is a “war on the poor,” there are an array of government programs and services served to help those in need: child care grants, housing grants, child tax credits, EITC, TANF, Medicaid, free lunch programs, section 8 housing, furniture vouchers, WIC, to name several of the 128 welfare programs (1).

The Department of Health and Human Studies offer comprehensive studies which display what age group and ethnicity/race bears children and whether or not the mother is married or unmarried. In 1970, the percentage of all births to unwed married women for Blacks was 37%; then 1980 it was 56%; then 1990 it was 66%. As the facts indicate, the percentage has gotten higher and higher.

A friend of mine recently remarked her Facebook newsfeed  look more like a “baby shower” than a social networking site. Such words couldn’t be truer.

Each time a baby is born out of wedlock, Black culture is damaged, in the sense that it affirms the stigma. But it is only damaged in that sense because, surely, Black culture celebrates and praises single-mother through the arts and social-networking. It is not only Black culture that puts up with it but pop culture, too. Teen Mom, MTV’s highest rating show at the time bringing in over 2 million for its debut and 3 million for final episode of season, according the B&C, and 16 & Pregnant have a bad cultural effect, I believe, and further normalize illegitimacy.

No one is requesting that pregnant teens hide in the corner during pregnancy but to be presented a prime-time TV show is unacceptable.

Urban music also perpetuates that a woman, most likely one that solely heads the household, is strong and independent. One song that comes to mind is “Baby Mama,” Fantasia Barrino’s single off her debut album. The song praises the single-mother just for being strong and said it was “now-a-days it like a badge of honor” to be a baby mama. She even went further and made the point that single-mothers are “the backbone (of the hood).” She’s right–single-mothers are the backbone of the hood and that’s a horrible thing. The hood is a horrid place full of fatherless boys that fight in schools, homeless beggars and low property value. Sure it’s tough being a single-mother in any environment but the correct direction to take is not to create baby mama anthems.

What kind of society do Black people want where a child is 1, her mother is 18, her mother is less than 40, and her mother is 60? Where will the guidance on how to be a virtuous lady come from? If it takes a village is to raise a child, surely the village must not be filled with kids raising kids.

If we continue to overlook the growing epidemic of illegitimacy, we are only normalizing unfortunate behavior, financially draining society, preparing our generation for failure and eliminating the Black family–society’s first and most important institution. For a more productive and efficient, successful and stable Black community, we have to place higher values on sex. If we aren’t teaching our children, siblings and other close females about sex, someone else, first hand experience (and then it may be too late), surely, the TV screen will. Which would you prefer? We musn’t rely on the schools or politicians to help us.

It’s imperative we do better Black people and stop pardoning this behavior.

(1) For a more in depth study of the 128 welfare programs, view Michael D. Tanner’s, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, policy study “The American Welfare State: How We Spend Nearly $1 Trillion a Year Fighting Poverty–And Fail” and presentation on the same topic.

I invite you to join the conversation and subscribe to Minds Alike, follow me @BAdetiba, or e-mail me at BabAdetiba@gmail.com

Advertisements

Tagged: , , , ,

§ 3 Responses to A Post Mother’s Day Reflection of Single-Parenthood In the Black Community By A 2-Parent Raised Black Man

  • Taylor says:

    So First I’m going to address the issue of suggesting a single parent household is problematic because it isnt and then I’m going to move to the issue of child support and black mens failure to pay it because I do think child support is important but who is to blame for the lack of it???? Hang in there this is going to take a minute……..

    You said: “Another aspect that can be looked at is the simple fact the children have no male figure to guide them in the ways only a man can. No matter how well of a mother the single-mother may be, she can not and is not supposed to take the place of a man and his supposed duties.”

    —→This is a very strong statement with no real evidence. What study proves a man’s guidance is somehow any different than a woman’s? How can you even generalize father’s guidance versus a mother’s guidance? I also question where you get the idea that women are not “Supposed to take the place of a man” though I have an idea where you may have gotten that from(the bible). lol Sounds alot like you are reinforcing gender roles in this one by assigning females a particular place and males another and suggesting they must occupy those positions because any fluidity is problematic.

    You said: “What kind of society do Black people want where a child is 1, her mother is 18, her mother is less than 40, and her mother is 60? Where will the guidance on how to be a virtuous lady come from?”

    -→ Come on man. A virtuous lady? What does that even mean? And that’s not how socialization works. The family isn’t the only agent that teaches us sex-gender roles (which I am against anyway but for sake of argument). Rest assure if our mothers don’t teach us, this patriarchal society and the people in it will make sure we know our “place”. You also said “No one is requesting that pregnant teens hide in the corner during pregnancy but to be presented a prime-time TV show is unacceptable.” Look not to hard on the teenage parents, lets keep in mind one of the most prized women in the world had Jesus when she was 13. He turned out fine. Lol Prime-Time Tv show not acceptable but most important woman in the bible is okay? Interesting.

    You Said: “A daughter can be be taught how a real man is to treat them–that is, like a princess–as opposed to looking for “fatherly love” in places where there is none. This leads to promiscuity On social-networking sites, you see females thriving for attention and recognition from the opposite sex; or in person you see females with boyfriends who you know is no good but “holds them down” (whatever that means).”

    —→ I think this is an oversimplification of why women are promiscuous on social networks and date men who society perceives to be no good. Perhaps her life experience has provided her with a different perspective of whats important in a relationship and what defines a good man. Perhaps she feels its liberating to do what she wishes with her body even when it goes against what society says. Furthermore, I think there is some patriarchy present in suggesting there is something wrong with being a promiscuous woman. I find it very problematic that we try and tell individuals what to do with their bodies. Sexual freedom my man. Liberation.

    You said: “Father absence also leads to the girl not being interested in marriage because all she knows, and sees around her with other family and friends, are dysfunctional marriages and/or families, as if marriage and family can only be dysfunctional.”

    —→Another oversimplification of why a girl wouldnt be interested in marriage. I think the suggested causation is where the logical fallacy lies. Though im sure there are many girls who arent interested in marriage and also didnt have fathers present, I think there also exist plenty of girls who had fathers present and still arent interested in marriage. So im not sure a father being present solves that “issue”. There exist a spectrum of reasons why girls arent interested in marriage. I think its problematic to suggest father absences lead to that and also problematic to suggest there is an issue with women not being interested in marriage. I see no wrong in a woman choosing not to participate in an institution historically used to oppress women. Just my thought.

    You said: “Perhaps, since the mother is exhibiting the behavior, that switching mates are fine.”

    –→Switching mates isnt fine? hmmmm…..and why isn’t it fine?

    You said: “She’s right–single-mothers are the backbone of the hood and that’s a horrible thing. The hood is a horrid place full of fatherless boys that fight in schools, homeless beggars and low property value.”

    –→ Wow. It’s a terrible thing that independent women are the backbone of the hood? Offensive as hell. Mainly because the second sentence in that statement then goes on to imply it is a horrible thing for a boy to grow up fatherless as if having a father is necessary for success. so I guess Lesbian couples shouldn’t have boys huh? They’d do a terrible job of raising a son? Once again your analysis is off. The hood is filled with boys that fight in schools, homeless beggars, and low property value because of racial stereotypes reinforced through society and the media along with racial discrimination that makes sure communities of color stay poor. How can you even imply that the hood is the way it is because there aren’t any men present? Wow.

    – The rest of the article attacks single parent households from a economic stand point. I’ll say if we are looking towards building the perfect familial structure based on staying out of poverty and off welfare then two-parent households aren’t what we should be advocating. The most economically effective familial structure would be polyandry. Financially speaking, the more people, the more income so single and two parent households are ruled out. The only two popular structures left are one man multiple women, or one woman and multiple men. Because men make more on average than women do, having multiple men and one woman would maximize the potential income of the family. Polyandry will not only have less people on welfare than single parent households but also less than two parent households. So by this theory that the government should have a say in how families are organized based on who is a less of a burden on the state then Polyandry is the answer. Furthermore, if there are multiple men this lessens the chances they know exactly who the father is of each child so all of the men will care for all of the children as if they are his own (works perfectly for the Bonobos). And with multiple men in the household there will be plenty of male guidance to go around to make sure all the boys become “real” men. (Got a Scholarly article by Melvyn C. Goldstein that support my claims of the economic benefits of polyandry if youd like to read it)

    Going to move to my second focus now that I’ve showed the issues with your assessment of single parent households as a problem….

    You said: “I’d like to focus on on the government benefits the single-mother receives after bearing illegitimate children.” & “Assuming the father doesn’t pay child support, and two-thirds don’t according to several studies I’ve found”

    —→ First off in order to really get down to the issue lets look at two other huge factors in why 2/3 of black men dont pay childsupport. Tina L clark notes in her post “Deadbeats or just Deadbroke” “The unemployment rate for black men has risen to 16% in this recession.The recession overall has hit men much harder than women so far 4 out of every 5 jobs lost has been held by a male worker. Black men lead the unemployment surge, over a third of black men in the labor market are unemployed. One recent study called African Americans’ economic situation a “Silent economic depression” in which soaring levels of unemployment imposes significant social costs on black families and entire communities.” Also is it not true that black men are locked up at higher rates than many other races? They made up 40% of the prison population in 2008 but but only about 6% of the total U.S population. So what happens when black men are forced away from there families because of a unjust judicial system known for racial profiling and targeting our men? With more black men in prison than enslaved in 1850( You can find all the stats on this in Michelle Alexanders book The New Jim Crow) is it possible that incarceration could prove an important factor in why black men aren’t paying child support and away from their families? Hmmm…..

    By providing those services the government is not aiding women who had illegitimate children the government is paying black mothers and children that are more susceptible to poverty when they arent receiving sufficient, or any child support for that matter, because black men are not given equal employment opportunities or are locked up due to racial discrimination which one could argue the government has or have played a large role in.

    Overall this article is entirely problematic. Besides all of the issues I have pointed out above I have a couple questions for you….

    Throughout the article you associate single parent households with absent fathers, Lack of financial support with lack of fatherly guidance, and two parent households with male presence and babies not being born out of wedlock.

    Are there no men who are separated from their baby’s mother but still active in the childs life?

    Are there no men who arent able to offer financial help but plenty of emotional and physical support?

    Is it not possible to have a two parent households (think about the homos here) and still be lacking a father’s presence?

    Is it not possible to have a two parent household and the two parents still have an illegitimate child because they chose not to get married?

    Wasn’t one of the “greatest” white men, one of our founding fathers illegitimate?
    And wasn’t one of the “worst” white men, a serial killer, Mr. Jeffrey Dohmer legitimate and also raised in a two parent household? There are so many things that go into making a successful child I think its foolish to focus on this. I think if we really want to repair black families and help nurture black children we should instead focus our energy on fighting racism, patriarchy, and the Amerikkan government because these are the true evils destructing the black family and population.

    • Mr. Bab says:

      Taylor, you know I love your comments and insight, especially on the gender roles. Hopefully, I answer your questions in full. You should invite Eric and I to some dinner again too.

      Ok this whole prime time TV and the Bible connection mess…

      I’m not really “assigning” gender roles but speaking on common sense and 2nd hand experience. Think of a fisher teaching a hunter how to hunt; I akin that to a woman teaching a kid how to be a man. A woman can only teach a kid how “to be a man (and let’s agree on what a man is supposed to be),” as her position (and insight) is limited solely b/c of her sex.

      A virtuous lady is simple. Chaste–refraining from sexual intercourse. And you’re so defensive and assumptive. It’s not “knowing your place,” like society and males are wagging their fingers at you, but advising you to be virtuous, not only for societal reasons but for the said reasons in the post. Socio-economic, mental, etc.

      Of course many things can explain promiscuity, and your example of rebellion is an excellent one. To wave off not having a father in the house would be foolish. Mine is also a great one. A father telling his daughter “I love you” before some thug does better. Specifically, my sister (now married with 2 kids) always says that it made a difference my dad said she was beautiful, special, etc. while growing up that no man could tell her otherwise, and she need not one to confirm her specialty and beauty.

      And patriarchy has nothing to do with disapproving of promiscuity. Promiscuous males are a bad thing too. Something is wrong w/having multiple sex partners for health reasons; economic and social reasons, should the couple give birth; and the other “dangers” of this act.

      Again, many things can explain a woman’s disinterest in marriage–a 2 parent dysfunctional household being one of them.

      The hood is the way it is for many reasons and fatherless homes is certainly one of them for the said reasons of a lack of guidance, disciplining, single income household, gang entrance for acceptance etc.

      Oh yeah, Black unemployment been double that of the nation’s for more than 20 yrs. And hell yes, imprisonment serves as a great factor for black men being unable to pay. Being that half of those in prison are for non-violent drug charges (and mind you, I’m strongly against the silly war on drugs policy), the war on drugs contribute to this.

      1st question, yes of course. 2. Yes, of course. 3. Yes, homo or no homo, two parent homes don’t ensure a male figure. 4. When I say two parent homes, I’m assuming the couple are married.

      And I agree the government is one of the biggest factors affecting the black family. From the war on drugs to the war on poverty; from them meddling in education to max and min price and waging.

      Overall, I never claim two parent homes ensure a perfect, successful child. In fact, in the 5th paragraph I wrap up that claim. Also, the govt has made strides toward “equality,” such as the EEOC in ’65, Fair Housing Act, Obama signed the equal pay in ’08, Affirmative Action, etc. Blacks commit crimes and homicide at a higher rate than Whites, BUT we are more likely to be either put to death or convicted more severely for the same crimes as Whites.

      I do agree the judicial system is racially biased and I ask (and we’ll never agree of course) why do we find ourselves in the courts?

      Thanks for commenting!

  • […] stop allowing babies of all colors to be born disadvantaged, behind the curve. There are several socio-economic and financial burdens placed on this child, the family and society as a whole when he child is born outside of […]

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading A Post Mother’s Day Reflection of Single-Parenthood In the Black Community By A 2-Parent Raised Black Man at Beneath Everything.

meta

%d bloggers like this: