The Black Family Needs Alternatives, Not Finger Wagging


This week, yet another inflammatory article about the so-called demise of the black family made its way across my Facebook timeline. Per usual, single mothers had an accusatory finger pointed at them and the author had statistics galore about out-of-wedlock births. Yawn. I’m sure we’re all aware of the the famed stat that says 72 percent of black children are born out of wedlock. It was in there too. Again, yawn.
At this point, I don’t have the energy to get upset about these stories anymore. It’s a waste of time and energy.  My only response to this article and its thousands of siblings is now what? The “problem” has been stated over and over yet little has been done to remedy it outside of telling folks to marry their baby mama or baby daddy. If that wasn’t bad enough, Don Lemon opened his damn mouth again. The wannabe pundit used the death of Adrian Peterson’s son to dump on single moms by claiming this wouldn’t have happened if the child was born in wedlock. Outside of the horrible timing and lack of respect, Lemon’s statement mirrored the logic of the aforementioned article.
Y’all, I’m tired. Tired of the soapboxing and suggestion that a figurative band-aid can stop the black community from bleeding out. We have been hearing the same statistics and speeches for years and very little solutions. Don Lemon and other members of the respectable negro club need to find a corner and occupy it.
Instead of preaching about mommies and daddies not being married, we should work towards making sure these families are healthy. Suggesting marriage will cure issues like abuse, educational disparities and the prison industrial complex is irresponsible especially since this country has a divorce rate of 50 percent or more. Instead of pushing people to the court house,  here are a few alternatives:
Encourage co-parenting.
Many people assume 70 percent of black children being born out of wedlock means fathers are completely absent. There are probably scores of fathers doing what they have to do for their kids but they are rendered invisible because we focus on cherry picked statistics. I have heard very little about the value of co-parenting in the narratives surrounding the black family. A child can have two competent parents without them having to be in a romantic relationship. If we taught more parents how to be a team, a lot of baby mama drama could be avoided.

Stop promoting heteronormative families as the only acceptable families.
Straight people aren’t the only ones having kids nor are they better parents because they’re straight. There is research that suggest children thrive in families with queer parents. Sadly, many of these people are not able to legally get married so they technically contribute to that out-of-wedlock statistic if they’re black.

Help Single Parents, Don’t Demonize Them
We assume single parenthood itself is the cause of disruption when in reality a lot of single parent families also deal with issues like poverty, educational disparities and a host of other issues. Perhaps we could address those issues and provide resources to these families so the children of single parents can thrive. And for the love of god, stop promoting the welfare queen stereotype. It aint cute and it’s racist.

Those are my suggestions. Where are yours?



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