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Most of us have seen the scenario more times than we can count: A woman in the grocery store with two kids in the basket, with no wedding band and no man in sight She might even be pregnant at the time, leading you to wonder how she is going to provide for those kids by herself.
In the black community, the single parent issue has taken our community by storm. Over 70% of all African American children come from single parent households, and many children suffer as a result. Is this a problem? If it is, what can be done to resolve it?
We asked members of the Your Black World blogging team to chime in, their reactions are below. You can give your take on the issue in the comments section as well:
My observation has been that our generation does not seem to value commitment the way that prior generations did. We seem to think in terms of our individual well-being rather than keeping the family unit together. I believe that if we restored a sense of value to family and the well-being of our children, we would start to see less children grow up in single parent homes.
Relationships have ceased to be relationships. They are mere exchanges. Men and women are now in it for what they can get out of it. For some women, that’s become as simple as extra money needed for stability. For some men, that’s as simple as having one’s s****l needs satisfied. That’s good Wild Kingdom stuff, but it in no way leads to a lasting and loving relationship. There is no tie that binds, just “What can you do for me?” and “What have you done for me, lately?”So, of course, both parties eventually go their own way. “On to the next one” inevitable leaves single mothers to go it alone.
There are so many single black mothers in America because a large majority of black women have deduced their value to their v*gina. It’s my belief that the mass incarceration of black men has led to a mass panic among black women to “s****h up” a decent black man as soon as they can by having his baby.
There are many reasons why there are so many single mothers, from the change in the family nucleus in America to the lack-there-of in black families. One observation is that the black american family never really had a chance. From slavery to mass incarceration, men have been continually removed from the nucleus, making the single black mother a common and visible family dynamic. With years of that as the visible set up, the two-parent family becomes much less of a social expectation. The single mother design is so prominent that there are fewer visible instances where having a father around is better.
Then from that, who is teaching black youth how to build a stable relationship, commit to a marriage and then have children? Unwed and divorced parents must find it difficult to explain to their children why waiting until marriage a difficult task. Abstinence is taught as such a surreal accomplishment and is often pushed aside, or altered, for longer conversations on prevention. So if it really isn’t clear that having s*x is a choice, then how are they supposed to value it as a decision?
Young men and women will wait for “the right person” but not for their husband, have s*x, and then struggle with the consequences of having children. The man then feeling as if his decision to have s*x wasn’t truly that, a conscious decision made by two consenting partners sharing equal responsibility, feels no obligation to his partner or his child. He then leaves creating another single female parent nucleus.
There are black single mothers because black men are not stepping up to the plate. Meaning that most of them have not taken the initiative to better themselves so how could they possibly provide for a household? Rather than wait for a man to get it together, black women have no choice but to keep it moving and take up the slack, so that their children will not be without. The other side is, that those men that are doing the right thing are often denied access to their children because the mother will try and use the children as pawns in order to get back at the father.