Did You Fall For This Lie?

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.

11 thoughts on “Did You Fall For This Lie?

  1. Thank you! This post is phenomenal!!! Call me stubborn but I say all the time – just because something is real does not mean I have to accept it as MY reality!!!!

    So I even if its a fact that “72% of African American children have been born out of wedlock” it doesn’t have to become my reality to birth a child out of wedlock.

    I make my own rules :-)

    And thanks SOOO MUCH for the link love. It will be coming back your way soon!!!
    Reading Has Purpose recently posted: The Universe Is Inviting You In by Matthew C Horne

    1. I’m not calling you stubborn because you know what you want and you’re not settling! Me either!! That’s not stubborn at all, that’s not bending our standards to fit the situation.

      People get bent out of shape with me too and honestly I felt like people would get bent out of shape when I posted this today. But we’re all adults, and my grandma used to say ‘right is right’! Its time we stopped sweeping issues under the rug and bring ’em out.

      And you’re welcome for the link love, thanks for reading and commenting as often as you do!

  2. People always get really bent out of shape when I say this, but:

    1. If you are not married, you are NOT in a “committed” relationship.
    2. Premarital sex is the bedrock of social ills in the Black community.

    If we would stop flagrantly endorsing premarital sex, we wouldn’t have this issue of the “baby momma” epidemic. The issues and problems which stem from this are too numerous to count.

    You can’t complain that men don’t want to get married when you give them more incentive NOT to. It’s a sacrifice for BOTH parties to be responsible married, and have children the right way. When you have a culture that fosters men being held to no standards/expectations, how can you be surprised that they walk away when anything is expected of them?

    1. Milah I’m soooo feeling your comment!!

      This video was floating around Facebook sometime last year, and I LOVED it… and some people I shared it with didn’t agree… and the vlogger says exactly what we’re saying:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7BENaDDZlw

      Your comment is the essence of what No Wedding No Womb is about. Let’s start holding men accountable and standing firm on our expectations and standards.

  3. So how do we get at the core of these issues? Because blaming and finger poiinting is not effective, we’ve been doing this same stuff for decades now. It’s ineffective, we have to get to the core i.e. educating, mentoring, etc. The key is to guide them, to get a hold of them when it matters most. Not lecturing an adult who makes choices/decisions based on where they are in their own journey, that’s counterproductive.

    1. I agree with you Tracy, I think the key here is taking a different approach to educating our girls about their options. I don’t believe that abstinence is a good way to go about it. Kids see sex on regular TV, hear it in songs, see it in videos, and talk about it amongst themselves. So I don’t think its realistic to tell kids not to have sex when its always on front street.

      What worked for me, and other women I know, was to always remember what my value was. I had it in my mind from very young that I was going to college, that I was smart, gonna be someone one day etc, and it would be a huge letdown to my family and friends, and most importantly myself, if I got pregnant before college. And having grown up in a home with both parents until 11, I knew that the option existed for me to have children in a marriage, not just on my own.

      Ultimately I think each woman has to BELIEVE that she has a choice and can choose not to have children out of wedlock. If a person believes that something is normal or inevitable, then it becomes normal or inevitable.

  4. Great post! In being a single mother I often find I am irritated when people say, “it’s ok not to have a husband/father in the home because you are strong and will make it through”. Bottom line it is not ok and I think part of the issue is we make to many excuses for people and hold no one accountable for their actions or inactions.

    1. What’s funny is, it was something you wrote a few years back that made me think about how much of a struggle it is to be a single parent. I want to say it was on Sisternet, but I’m not sure… but you complained about how no one really wants to hear that you’re tired, as a single mom people just expect you to suck it up. And I really didn’t like that – even the strongest person in the world needs a reprieve sometimes. You can’t carry everything alone all the time. And unfortunately our community does not adequately address that. Single moms get a collective ‘oh well’, when dads are not held accountable, like you said.

    2. Yes, THIS. I’m in this predicament myself, and I wouldn’t wish this **unnecessary struggle** on my imaginary worst enemy! (Don’t even get me started on the tired.) Anyway, I try to steer the young’uns (read: anyone under 30, though I’m 32–lol) away from this dead end every chance I get…which is why I’ve finally made up my mind to start up my blog within a month.

      What part of “dude, this is not normal”* and/or “don’t end up like me [my mantra throughout the blogosphere–and in general–regarding this mattter]” aren’t folks comprehending?! *i don’t care if one was raised by a single [unwed] mother in/amidst an ENTIRE STATE’S WORTH–CT, say, for illustrative purposes–of struggling single mothers…this statement still applies.

      Thanks.

    3. I ain’t ‘gon lie. As a single mom, I get so tired of having to do things by myself all the doggone time. I’m just plain tired.

      As much as I love my son, If I could do it all over again…

  5. What I have been mulling over…and still don’t have an answer to…is, how can these messages be crafted to elicit a large-scale change of behavior on the part of black men? Both men and women need to get the message, but I think more effort needs to be focused on men (by men, I will add) because (in my, I’m sure, politically incorrect opinion) they are the bigger perpetuators in this scenario. If they didn’t chase after women for everything but marriage, and stopped keeping it in their pants ONLY when it comes to marriage, out of wedlock births would drop to virtually zero, virtually immediately.

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