The New Baby Daddy - Revised and Revisited
I originally wrote and posted this blog entry way back on December 20, 2016 on https://www.loveawake.com ; it was one of the very first blogs I had ever written. It has since been archived but, you can still read the discussion at the above link. However, I believe that now is a more than appropriate time to revisit this issue.
Over the past few years, I have noticed a disturbing trend: the cultural normalization of the destruction of the black family and the proliferation of baby mamas and daddies.
At this time, we are beyond the point of critical mass- more than 70% of all black children are born out of wedlock- this is a fully fledged epidemic that we cannot continue to normalize and make excuses for. This "trend" has now gone beyond the ghetto and has now become normalized in the AA community- a rite of passage in many ways.
African Americans in the United States are less likely than whites to marry or enter into stable relationships. The destruction of the black nuclear family and the diminishing importance of marriage in our community is the cause of crime, high dropout rates, and deviant behavior. Children need to see responsible parents and responsible behavior modeled in the home.
To be perfectly honest, as a black woman I am tired of black men and women having babies with marriage and family as an afterthought. I am also tired of seeing us dismissing and/or diminishing the importance of having a father in the home. The bottom line is, if you are not ready to be in a committed relationship with another person you are also not ready for the 18 year commitment of raising a child. Yes, a baby is a blessing- but doesn't that blessing deserve the absolute best?
It is especially ironic to me that the people who say that growing up in a single parent home "isn't that bad" are often those who grew up in single parent homes themselves. Maybe those people think it's "not that bad" because they never had the benefit of experiencing life with two parents.
Don't try to be dismissive and explain this situation away either. I don't want to hear about how the current president of the United States is the product of an out of wedlock pregnancy- as if that somehow excuses the current situation and makes everything "okay;" in an Antoine Dodson voice- are you serious homeboy? Moreover, I'm also uninterested in hearing "well white people do it too!" I really don't want to hear about Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and their child army or, how Tom Cruise knocked Katie up before marrying her, as part of the contract. We as AAs are not in a position to compare ourselves. We never have been we've always operated from a disadvantage.
What is the message we are sending to our youth about family, morals, and values?
We teach boys that marriage has no value in our community. That manhood is defined by how many babies you can make. That having a commitment to another person is meaningless. Boys learn that they do not have to take responsibility for the children they help create.
In turn we teach girls that a child can be used as leverage for the next 18 years. It tells girls that they are to solely bare all burdens. The term "baby's mama," often jokingly used, strips women and girls of their value and dignity in our community; it further objectifies women teaching girls that they are good enough for sex and to impregnate, but not good enough to marry (after all, marriage is for white women, right).
The results of illegitimacy in society are obvious. The majority of men in prison and in gangs come from a home with an absentee father, or where they have never met their father, or where the father is present but abusive. Children who do not have a solid relationship with their father have problems with intimacy and authority. They also have difficulty getting and staying married and maintaining employment. How can young adults be responsible and emotionally secure when they didn't ever witness it at home?
The rate of child abuse in single-parent families is nearly twice the rate of child abuse in two parent households. Even after controlling for variables like the mother's education level, race, and family income boys who grow up outside of intact marriages are on average more than twice as likely to end up in jail. Moreover teens in single parent families are more likely to use illegal drugs. Children born out of wedlock also have significantly poorer math and reading scores and lower levels of academic performance.
I encourage all of us to stop making excuses and think about the precedent we are setting for future generations. Think about the family situation you were raised in. Was it positive? Was it a situation you would want another person to experience? If the answer to this question is no, then maybe you should think about the situation you are about to create for your child.
Finally, do not have children with people you are not ready to commit to. If you can honestly say that you are not ready to be married than you should recognize that you are also not ready to be a parent. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby.
This isn't just a blog post, this is a movement. Please log onto No wedding, No womb for more information and to read other perspectives.