There is currently a lie being circulated in the black community.
That lie has touched almost every African American person in America.
If you’re not careful, not diligent and not focused, you can become a victim of that lie too.
So many have already fallen – are you strong enough to withstand the lie?
I don’t know where the notion started, but this lie I speak of is that it’s normal to be a ‘baby mama’.
Having children out of wedlock is not a new phenomenon for black people. We can look back to slavery and say, “white people did this and that.” At that time we were considered property, and no thought was given as to how separating our families would affect us mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
We can even say this is some plot to destroy the black family, that the government just wants more prison labor, or more people on welfare that are dependent on the system. But I don’t buy it.
I also don’t buy that black women are emasculating, that we want to take control, that we push black men away. 72% of African American children have been born out of wedlock, and its time that we stop making excuses and pointing fingers. Its time we start pulling black men on the carpet for their role in this tragedy that’s affecting our families.
No Wedding, No Womb
Today I blog as part of No Wedding No Womb, an online community that takes a stand against the rampant out of wedlock birthrate in the black community. NWNW calls for BOTH men and women to put the needs of children first, and advocates that couples abstain from having children until they are emotionally, physically and financially able to care for them. TOGETHER.
We’re not advocating for abortions or adoption. We’re advocating that women protect their bodies and their futures by deciding whether they want to be single mothers, not letting things ‘just happen’.
My post today is not in any way adding to the notion that a child born out of wedlock is a woman’s ‘fault’. Like I said, excuse time is over. Along with 70% of black children being born of single mothers, only 5% of them live in a household with both parents.
There was a story a few years back of African American children who exclaimed, “marriage is for white people!” I can see how they would believe that – they only know what they see. And they see the rampant normalization of a child growing up with only one parent. And the overwhelming likelihood is, that one parent is their mother.
Is this really the society we want to create?
Do we want to teach our children that legal, social, spiritual commitment is not an option for them?
Do we want them to grow up and watch their mothers struggle to raise them?
Do we want to doom them to the negative connotations and harsh realities of life as children raised without fathers?
Some of those harsh realities are that:
- children born out of wedlock are 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
- 14 times more likely to commit rape
- 9 times more likely to drop out of high school
- 10 times more likely to abuse drugs
- and 20 times more likely to end up in prison than children living with both parents
Protect Your Most Precious Asset – Yourself
All throughout the dark days of slavery and Jim Crow laws, the one thing that was revered was the black family. After honoring God, there was nothing that was more precious and more sacred.
Where did we go wrong?
We used to laugh and joke at the caricatures that appeared on the Maury Povich show – the woman who didn’t know who her child’s father was, and the man who danced with glee across the stage at the words, “YOU are not the father!”
But women with multiple partners and shiftless men are not today’s single parents. Today’s single parents are the men and women with MBAs, who drive luxury cars and are fiscally responsible.
Somehow we’ve developed the idea that as long as you can afford to have children, its okay to do so. We’ve stopped analyzing how growing up with only one parent affects a child. We allow ourselves to get ‘caught up’ in our situations and never think about the consequences of our actions.
So many of my generation grew up without our dads. My father died when I was 11 so I have the unique perspective of being raised in a family and then being raised by a single mom. I never questioned if my dad loved me, why I never met him, why I never saw him or why he abandoned us. Yet I still felt the void of his absence. To this day, there is an unanswerable question in my mind and a yearning for the other half of the person that made me. I can’t imagine the pain of that yearning if my father were alive but chose not to raise me.
But it seems we’ve literally stopped thinking. We enter into relationships, we hope for marriage and we assume that if we’re together long enough, we’ll eventually get married. Men tell us things like they’re too ‘big’ for condoms, or they like to feel ‘everything’ and they’re unnatural, or the comfort of a long-term relationship lulls us into laziness. We silently accept it, because all of these things have become normal.
None of this matters to a man who doesn’t want to own up to his responsibilities. By default the responsibility and the struggle of single parenthood falls on the mother.
How To Have A Different Life
This is not to blame single mothers. This is to emancipate childless women from a fate we’ve been brainwashed to believe is inevitable for us.
We don’t have to be ‘baby mamas’ if we don’t fall for the lie.
We don’t have to let our dreams, goals and our future fall by the wayside as our lives are suddenly devote to someone else. We don’t have to condemn our children to grow up yearning for more, not having the family they deserve.
Sure, there are ‘good men’ out there (yes I know that there are single fathers in every race). But those good men, along with countless family members and friends, have stood by silently and allowed countless other men to walk away from their children. Where’s the accountability? Where’s the outrage? Where’s the voice of reason?
Be that voice of reason for yourself. If you’re not married, don’t have children. It’s that simple for you.
I’ve seen my mother struggle to raise me alone. I’ve seen friends and family struggle to raise their kids alone. Struggle is not just about money. You and your future children deserve more than weekend visits and child support checks. You deserve a man who wants a family, who works hard to provide for you and who works together with you as one family unit.
You deserve that – that is your right – and you don’t have to buy into any notions that having less than that is your lot in life.