I feel like I am piggy backing off a couple of posts I have read and commented on (check out email@example.com and VSB) but I feel like since it keeps coming up I need to just go ahead and get ALL the thoughts I have on the subject out of me.
While I don’t know how long said debate has been going on, I do know that many people have spoken out about the number of single parent homes in the black community. Sure, it’s a problem. Sure, we need to get the number down. I think it’s safe to say that anyone who has had his or her say about the topic would agree with those two points. Who is to blame for this problem? Well, this is where the disagreement abounds.
Many people get up and talk about how Black men have to buckle down, be more responsible, that their wayward sperm is the reason we have this problem in the first place. Others argue that women are just as responsible as men are. Black women need to be more aware of who they are sleeping with, make sure that they use protection. I say, I don’t think this is really a “who is to blame” problem, as much as it is one of our (many) social ills. I don’t think we gain any ground by grossly blaming Black men or Black women.
I’m going to try to keep this to the point…but I might not. If you just want the fine points, read the first couple sentences of each of the next paragraphs (and know you are the reason they say “if you want to hide something from (darker skinned folk), put it in a book”).
The circumstances for each child’s conception (in the case of a will be single mother) are different. People point the finger at women for not being on top of birth control, but how crazy is that?! Sure, a woman can take birth control, but do you have any idea what the side effects of birth control are? All life changing/threatening (stroke, blood clots, heart attack amongst them). Besides that, there was a time when taking birth control/measures to make sure you stayed “unpregnant” (yup) made you a hoe. That time was NOT too long ago, and since this is not only a single parent generation but also a generation where children are raised by their grandparents, birth control (of any kind) MAY be taboo in some households. Let’s also keep in mind if you don’t TAKE birth control as directed, it won’t always do what it’s supposed to do. For all of you who “sometimes” take birth control on time, know that you are playing Russian roulette with your ovaries. (When you start missing 2 and 3 pills in a cycle, you NEED to use a back up form of birth control…reading is fundamental). The only way that you can be 100% baby proof is abstinence, because condoms break (and I hear that it feels different to men when they are on and off, so if they joint broke and you STILL sprayed your love lotion kind sir, that bet you take could turn out to be too rich for your blood.)
I don’t feel like I can make a blanket statement and say the moral fiber of this country, has changed, but I can say there is a generational difference in how people deal with women getting pregnant in “less that respectable” circumstances. Way back when (certainly before my time) they sent the girl child away to some family members, and when she came back someone’s family had a new addition. That addition could be in the form of an arranged adoption (that wasn’t done through the county) to that girl’s family or to some other family who’d had difficulty with conception. Abortion was an option, but a shameful, less talked about one. Hell, for some people abortion is STILL a shameful option. When a woman is faced with the choice between killing a child and taking responsibility for her actions, many women are choosing to be mothers. Some of them are single because they assume the father will do “the right thing” like she did, while others never plan to include him at all (on their independent woman ish). Some of them are single because the man WAS doing right, then he stopped. Maybe he stopped because he wasn’t wrapped too tight in the first place. Maybe he didn’t feel like he was ready to be a father (because he didn’t know how to). Maybe he was just too damn selfish to give up his life. Whatever the case, long gone are the days of shotgun marriages and @ss whooping to make a wayward man do the right thing. Families aren’t quite structured the same way anymore for all of that, and women aren’t as open to that option (whether it was because they felt they had to be or not). It’s not about being respectable or shaming the family name anymore, it’s about doing for self, being independent. Where unexpected pregnancies used to be a family problem, they are now a personal problem.
We often talk about the power of the P***Y. While it certainly is REAL, it’s not as powerful as people think it is. Still, “the snapper” is reputed to tame wild men (for those who don’t know, “the snapper” is the ultimate in P***Y, like the best ever). Some women talk about having it (cue Amil in Can I get a) while men might talk about getting it, and if either do so where a child’s ears can hear, are likely set up for failure. I’d even go so far as to say an adult hearing another adult or one’s self saying it is also set up for failure, especially if he or she believes it. Men say “aint no P***Y like new”, so what makes ANYONE think that the P***Y alone is going to make anyone stay?! Sure, it might be a perk to a relationship, but if that’s all that one has to offer, well, every woman walking around has one of those. Still, some women fail themselves by trying to hook a man with that bait. You better be bringing something else to the table (and I don’t mean anything sexual). If there isn’t anyone in your life to tell you what you have is precious, you might not see a problem in giving it to people who haven’t proven themselves worthy or realize there is a difference in doing the grown up because you WANT to and doing it because you feel like you HAVE to so you can keep a man.
So whose fault is it? Everybody can take a piece of that pie. I can’t say I think the answer is important….because the blame game won’t help solve the problem.