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"What I'm saying is as a young single mother, your life is not over because you have a child. If anything, having Zion has helped push me to work harder, be a stronger woman, because I want her to have the best. I do feel that my life has not been a fairy tale but I am blessed that I have come through the everyday struggle."- Fantasia Barrino


Along with Fantasia, we can count Brandy, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and others who never report their marital status among the many African American stars who can be described as famous "baby mamas" (single mothers). What's the deal? Better yet, what's the problem? Who is at fault for the growing number of illegitimate children being born outside of marriage? Should we offer courses early in school (the earlier the better) that will teach young children to suppress their sexual instincts until marriage??? Where do you think this dilemma is heading (accidentally-conceived children being raised without a supportive mom and dad inside one home)?

The following article comments on Fantasia's so-called "Baby Mama Anthem" in honor of "Baby Mamas":

Granted my generation has some flaws, but doesn't every generation? Some members of the previous generation (about ages 45 and up) are a little too hard o­n us when it comes to what we like as far as music and how we express ourselves. According to them, our music is junk and what they had was real music. However, their parents most likely thought the same thing about their music, so the cycle continues.

I said that to say this: American Idol winner, Fantasia Barrino, has been catching a lot of negative feedback from her song entitled "Baby Mama." I was reading an article from the Federal Observer (an Arizona based publication) entitled "American Idle-The New American Dream" written by Chuck Muth.

He criticized everything about Fantasia from her bad grammar to being a neglectful parent. He particularly complained about this line from the song, "I see you get that support check in the mail. Ya open it and you're like ˜What the hell?' You say, ˜This ain't even half of day care.' Sayin' to yourself ˜This here ain't fair.' To all my girls who don't get no help. Who gotta do everything by yourself."

In reference to this line Muth stated, "It's hard to know where to begin here. Although the fact that Fantasia ain't got no good English tends to confirm the notion that she, indeed, dropped out of school WAY too early." He goes o­n to say, "I'm assuming, and not without reason, that the "support check" Fantasia refers to is from Uncle Sam and not the baby's father.......But think about what Fantasia laments with regard to the paucity of her government check.

That it won't cover the cost of food? Clothing? A roof over head? Medical care? No, that it doesn't cover even half the cost of paying someone else to raise HER child during the day. Fantasia apparently believes that being an absentee parent is not o­nly a good thing, but an entitlement as well."

When I read this obnoxious comment from Charles Muth, I couldn't help but think, "What is this guy so bitter about?" He completely over-analyzed the song. First of all, in reference to her dropping out of school, Fantasia is, in fact currently working o­n obtaining her high school diploma.
Second, nowhere in her lyrics does Fantasia mention getting help from the government.

She was referring to a child support check from the child's father that barely covers the cost of taking care of a child. And as far as the money not covering half the cost of daycare, has he overlooked the line in the song where she refers to women who are going to school, working jobs, and paying their own bills? She can't take her child to work with her every day. Therefore she must pay for her child to attend daycare while she works to make a better life for her and her child.

A weekly columnist for The Birmingham Times, Hollis Wormsby, wrote an article last week entitled, "I'm tired of all these baby mama songs." In his article he states that young stars need to understand the role their music plays in helping to shape the values and hopes of our young people. I agree with that comment. But if he is referring to the "Baby Mama" song by Fantasia, then that is exactly what she is doing.

She is shaping the hope of these young mothers to believe in themselves and to move forward with their lives. That is proven in the line from the song where she says, "We can go anywhere, we can do anything. I know we can make it if we dream." By no means is she condoning premarital sex. It is reality and it is happening. We cannot brand them with a scarlet letter o­n their forehead, throw them in a closet and pretend that this isn't happening.

Those days are over. Wormsby goes o­n to say, "I think amongst the ills of songs like Fantasia's "Baby Mama" are that they celebrate something that isn't really a victory." A child is a victory. The act itself may have been a mistake, but the child is a blessing and so is being a mother. Now let me reiterate that I am not confirming teenage pregnancy, but we shouldn't make these young women feel any less because they made a mistake. If they are working to take care of their child and being responsible for their actions we must commend them for trying to make a way. And these are the type of women that Fantasia is referring to in her song. -Adrienne Donnell at ADonnell@birminghamtimes.com
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I'm surprised no one from Faux, er Fox News haven't jumped on this. Bill O'Reilly gets his "checks" from the guy who owns the network that airs American Idol and The Swan and other shows that he detests.

I don't have the answer, but there should be a way for diminish illegitimacy by stop rewarding men for being irresponsible for their actions, under the guise of "keeping it real."
quote:
Originally posted by Huey:
I don't have the answer, but there should be a way to diminish illegitimacy by not rewarding men for being irresponsible for their actions, under the guise of "keeping it real."


So you align yourself with those folks who feel that its men's fault for the this dilemma? I'm not shooting down your perspective, I'm just asking. It couldn't possibly have anything to do with the lack of selectiveness on the part of the woman?
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Originally posted by Rowe:
quote:
Originally posted by Huey:
I don't have the answer, but there should be a way to diminish illegitimacy by not rewarding men for being irresponsible for their actions, under the guise of "keeping it real."


So you align yourself with those folks who feel that its men's fault for the this dilemma? I'm not shooting down your perspective, I'm just asking. It couldn't possibly have anything to do with the lack of selectiveness on the part of the woman?


Well yes, actually the lack of selectiveness on the woman's part is another reason. They're two reasons.

I'm not aligning with anyone I just don't think it's not solely the fault of one gender over another, but the baby's mamas wouldn't be pregnant in the first place if weren't for the baby's daddies.

And at the same time, many (young and a few older) women mistake irresponsibility and ignorance as a male trait, and yet somehow the more of a jerk that guy is, the more they want him unfortunately. From my experience, it seems that the type those girls hate are also the ones they like to date (and procreate).
quote:
Originally posted by Huey:
From my experience, it seems that the type those girls hate are also the ones they like to date (and procreate).


Okay, listen. Huey, now I mean no disrespect for what's about to be said. I'm sure you're a very nice guy, but this preoccupation of yours strikes me as a little odd. The idea of women being attracted to "thugs" is not only a reoccuring topic that stays at the front of your mind, but I find it absolutely amazing how you are able to somehow work it into every discussion of which you are apart. Huey, at some point, baby you are going to have to start considering how you might be contributing to consistent rejection rather than displacing your feelings of frustation onto the opposite sex. I know you can do it!
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What inspired me to begin this topic, besides reading the article on Fantasia Barrino was that I was recently approached by a student who told me that her mother and father are getting married. Entertaining her discussion, I replied, "That's nice, you must be so excited." The child goes on to tell me that she has just had a baby sister. I respond, "Wow, now you can be the big sister and help out your mom!" The child then replies, "No I can't because I already got an older brother and sister." At this point, I'm thinking what the hell is going on? Why the decision to have sex until you have kids with someone, then, later, much later on decide that you finally want to marry?
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quote:
Originally posted by Rowe:
... Is this a new trend or something? Is having a man's baby the new "boyfriend test" or something. Women: WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET A CLUE???? If a man has not married you after 3, 4, 5, 6 years!, certainly giving him kids is not going to make him want you any more. Stop letting men knock you up, with no benefits and no security. The only person that's going to get it worse in the end is YOU with having to track him down and his child support payments. We have got to stop being stuck on stupid.


IMHO, it is not right to sit and judge others on their actions, w/o knowing the reason for those actions.

In this day and age, there are many options for the prevention of pregnancy. Many are affordable, but yet our young sisters are still getting pregnant. Why is this?

I think that there are some other issues at play - many of these young sisters did not have fathers who were a meaningful part of their lives, that has got to wreak havok on a young girls self esteem. As author Joan Morgan says:
    "...your father is the first man you love..."
Under those circumstances, if your relationship with your father is messed up, many times your relationships with other men will be messed as well. Self esteem plays a huge role in the growth and development of young people in general, but I think more so with young girls/women. A young girl/woman with low or no self esteem will do almost anything to be accepted... including not using protection and/or having someone's baby.

So yes, it is easy to judge and say that someone is "stuck on stupid", it much harder to show them how not to be.
quote:
Originally posted by AudioGuy:
A young girl/woman with low or no self esteem will do almost anything to be accepted... including not using protection and/or having someone's baby.


This is true AudioGuy, and as a teacher, I am certainly aware of how poor socialization and a dysfunctional family can impact the lives of young people in terms of their academic and social development. However, my arguments are not directed toward this group. My contention is specifically directed towards people like the parents of the student who approached me, both of whom acted irresponsibly. To have, not one, not two, but FOUR children before getting married, talk about Johnny Come Lately. I'm reminded of a true story that I read in a book on Dating and Relationships that described the experience of one college educated woman who went through the most heart-breaking situation. The story described a young woman (names were not provided) who met a handsome and distinguished guy in school who was also pursuing a degree at the same University. After falling in love, the couple decided to live together, off campus. For four consecutive years (the entire length of time they were in college), the woman prepared her boyfriend's meals, cleaned the apartment, maintained the bills, ran errands for him, and even did some of his homework, all with hope of one day becoming his wife after graduating (which he promised they would do). Well graduation came around, both of them acquired their degrees, and she subsequently approached her boyfriend about his promise. When the woman approached him about his promise of getting married, he sharply replied, "There's no way I could ever bring a girl like you home to my parents." Afterwards, the young man packed up his belongings from the apartment and went back home to find work. The point is, women have got to wise up, particularly black women, about what is taking place. Whether you are 5 or 50 years old, raised with a good father or not, if you let someone take advantage of you, they will. Why make sacrifices for someone who did nothing to deserve it? Let a person earn your unconditional love before you decide to give it all away.
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What about the age-old concept of trapping a man into marriage by having a baby? In my day, that was the number one reason for having a child out of wedlock. Followed closely by the ill-conceived notion of "wanting a baby" of their own. Not so amazingly, that wanting a baby thing wore off after about the first 7-8 months and the actually responsibility of caring for something everyday for the next 18-40 years became a reality ... and the being able to go out and party and do one's own thing was put to a screeching halt!!! Alas, it was too late by then, though, wasn't it!! Confused

Trapping a man into marriage used to be much easier ... because it actually used to be successful. As the days have gone by, that doesn't work anymore, either. However, the fantasy lives on. Most women are territorial when it comes to relationships ... and "by any means necessary" takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to getting and keeping the man they think they want.

If they initially knew what they wanted in the first place, they would probably discover that it was not that particular man. But then for that to happen, we would all have to obtain 30-40 years of knowledge at the age of 16!! Pretty much an impossibility.

Marriage is no longer the cake. It is the icing at best. Moral decline has seen to that. And I personally would put none of my money on the possibility of turning back the clock on that one.

Having 3-4 babies is secondary to having the man. It has been like that for at least a generation now. That's just the way it is.
There are more "Baby-Mamas" than wives because women are deviously selfish. They make the "self-less" acts of childbearing become there haven for love and comfort. Irregardless to how uncomfortable it will be for the child to grow up without two parents, and the love that's divided in half because of the womans decision to conceive.

I love my mother to death. But eight kids with no father figure? Being the oldest of that eight, I was as close to a "father" figure or "man" in the house that my brothers or sisters would get. Except for the occasional "boyfriends" that would linger around for months or years on end. My youngest brother is 2 and my mother is forty. Hopefully she doesn't find this post and promptly put me in my place.
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
Trapping a man into marriage used to be much easier ... because it actually used to be successful. As the days have gone by, that doesn't work anymore, either. However, the fantasy lives on.


Great points, but let's be clear about something. Shall we? Having a child is not something that just "happens" to men. You speak about them as if they are victims of some viscious attack. Men are just as much responsible for having a child out of wedlock as women. They know when they are not wearing protection and they know when they are approaching orgasm. Trusting that the woman you're about to have sex with is on the pill is not only stupid because it greatly increases your chances of contracting a disease, but its foolish because the pill is not a reliable method of birth control.
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Originally posted by HeruStar:
There are more "Baby-Mamas" than wives because women are deviously selfish. They make the "self-less" acts of childbearing become there haven for love and comfort.


I'm not quite sure what to make of this statement. However, considering your background, I can understand how you have come to develop this perception of women. I do appreciate your decision to share your experience with us because it only supports what I've been saying all along about the poor decision making on the part of some folks.
quote:
Originally posted by Rowe:
...specifically directed towards people like the parents of the student who approached me, both of whom acted irresponsibly. To have, not one, not two, but FOUR children before getting married...
If they are getting married, how is she being taken advantage of? Is there some "baby mama drama" that you have neglected to include? Was he just sitting around while she did all the work? The fact that they had 4 kids and stayed together is an accomplishment unto itself.
quote:
a true story that I read in a book on Dating and Relationships that described the experience of one college educated woman who went through the most heart-breaking situation...
You did not offer anything about the woman's background - was she raised by both parents? In 4 yrs of living together she never met his parents?

I guess my point was, and in fact is, that women who are taken advantage of are not necessarily stupid. There are a variety of reasons why women "didn't see it coming" - deception, upbringing, naivete are just a few.

Not everyone can be as "brilliant"Razz as you.
quote:
If they are getting married, how is she being taken advantage of?


Growing Up, Being Realistic, and Dealing with Reality

AudioGuy, you're missing the point of this discussion. What we should be questioning is why didn't the couple marry after the first child, the second, or the third? Why after FOUR CHILDREN is the couple just beginning to consider making a solid committment. "Playing house" when its just the two of you is one thing, but involving the lives of innocent children is something different. The fact that it took the guy four babies later to finally propose is indicative of two revealing points: 1) he's marrying her out of paternal obligation or 2) she's worked on his ass long enough that he's finally ready to give in to making a committment. There is NO question in my mind that if it were up to her, they would have married a looooooooong time ago. And I suppose that's what's really bothering me about this topic: Men's, particularly black men's, problem with making committments. A man should be embarressed if he has children by a woman he's not married to. He should be embarressed!!!! So should the woman be embarressed, rather than "honored" in a song. Another thing that men need to realize is that most of you all do not look like Denzel Washingtion (e.g., you're overweight, short on grooming and sophistication, lacking poise and etiquette, etc.), so unless you hit the lottery or become the next top-performing athelete, don't expect glamorous models to come knocking on your doors asking for your hand in marriage. Its never going to happen. Therefore, rather than wait, in vain, for Halle Berry to come along and propose to you, why not build a community by marrying the mothers of your children, real women, who have loved and supported you unconditionally, and not because you make six figures as an executive, got a rap deal, or you can dripple a ball. Perhaps if we had more forward-thinking, real men, who understood this, we wouldn't have so many baby-mamas in the first place.
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marriage is no longer encouraged in the Black society. Being a single mom is now a sign of strength to many ghetto minded types. I disagree with this viewpoint, but it is very difficult for one person to change society. A weird reality of this 'lifestyle' is that you can't say 'congratulations' to a single mom when her pregnancy is announced. Very, very sad
quote:
Originally posted by RadioRaheem:
marriage is no longer encouraged in the Black society. Being a single mom is now a sign of strength to many ghetto minded types. I disagree with this viewpoint, but it is very difficult for one person to change society. A weird reality of this 'lifestyle' is that you can't say 'congratulations' to a single mom when her pregnancy is announced. Very, very sad


Must be the last days. Chris Rock once said a black man "got more respect coming out of jail than graduating from college."
quote:
Originally posted by Rowe:
Are Women Stuck On Stupid?

Perhaps I'll get better responses if I share what inspired me to begin this topic, besides reading the article on Fantasia Barrino and the radio program. This is a really interesting story. I was recently approached by a student (Just a warning: PARENTS, YOUR KIDS TELL ALL YOUR BUSINESS) who told me very excitedly that her "Mom and Dad are getting married." Entertaining her discussion, I responded, "Oh, that is very nice, you must be so excited." The child goes on to tell me that she has just had a baby sister. I respond, "Wow, you really have something to be excited about, that's great, now you can be the big sister and help out your mom!" The child then says, "No, I can't, because I have an older brother and sister." I later discover that my cousin, who has four boys with her current boyfriend, have decided to marry. When I asked her what prompted the two of them to make the decision, she says, "Because we wanted to make it offical."

Okay, at this point, I'm thinking what the hell is going on here? How ghetto is it to fuck until you have ten kids with someone, then, later, much later on, decide that you want to marry this person, as if having children with someone is not serious enough? Is this a new trend or something? Is having a man's baby the new "boyfriend test" where women can see how "good he is with the kids first," then marry him? Women: WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET A CLUE? If a man has not married you after 3, 4, 5, 6 years, certainly giving him kids is not going to make him want you any more! We have got to stop letting men knock us up, with no benefits, and no interest in marrying us (unless he becomes paternally obligated). I mean, why would you agree to marry someone whose only incentive for marrying you is the kids he's given you? Are black women satisfied and/or comfortable with just being some man's "baby-mama?" I guess my major question is:

Why would a woman allow a relationship to drag on long enough for her to get pregnant by someone that she is not married to? The moment a woman acknowledges when a man is full of shit and is clearly not interested in marrying her, she should immediately, if not instaneously, end the relationship and move on to more respectable prospects.


I don't know where to start with this because it's really classist and sexist. One, single mothers come from all economic backgrounds. Not just poor women who live in the ghetto. The majority of women in this country who are single mothers are white women, most of which do not live in the ghetto. Let's take the blame off of these "poor young black women who want to trap men". When in reality teenage pregnancy stats in America are down and have been drifting so since I was born in the 80s. In reality women are deciding that they do not want to marry men but would still choose to mother children for a plethora of reasons.

I don't think it has anything to do with simply being a black woman and settling for that. If anything, I think black and white women may be coming to the idea that marriage is an outdated concept. Women are not solely beings to bear children and men are not solely beings to marry and bear those children with.

The whole statement above is assuming that a woman would want to get married. I have college educated friends with degrees who do not want to get married and have waited unti after establishing their careers to have children. They have no desire at all to marry the men they are in relationships with. Does that mean they are stupid? No. Does it mean they don't value themselves? No. It simply means that out of the options they choose not to marry and I respect them for that.

Women don't simply get pregnant to keep men. They become pregnant because they want to become pregnant, sometimes. They become pregnant because they choose to become pregnant. It's not simply the fault of women being less selective (which brings up the idea that all of us want to be married and need to be married to be complete), it's that women have the choice of whether to marry or not and it is acceptable to be unmarried.
quote:
Originally posted by RadioRaheem:
marriage is no longer encouraged in the Black society. Being a single mom is now a sign of strength to many ghetto minded types. I disagree with this viewpoint, but it is very difficult for one person to change society. A weird reality of this 'lifestyle' is that you can't say 'congratulations' to a single mom when her pregnancy is announced. Very, very sad


Ghetto minded types? You mean like single middle class white women who make up the majority of single mothers? Or do you really mean the racist and classist idea of single black women living in the ghetto as the only single mothers in the world.

I'm not ghetto minded and I hate the idea that black people could be this classist against each other. Marriage isn't encouraged in most of American society, it's not just blacks. Maybe we need to actually go back to what marriage was all about? Marriage was about ownership of women, it was about building a family with a man as the head of the household in the dominant position. In America women couldn't own property, work, collect paychecks all the things that considered the man's job. Now they can, and with that freedom comes the ability to make decisions and choices, ones that maybe you don't agree with but that women in America are making and they aren't simply black women.

You can say congratulations to a single mom when her child is born, if you choose not to then that's a decision you've made. My mother loved me and cherished me. I was raised by a single mother and if you want to understand why women are single we'd better start looking at domestic abuse rates, education, economic backgrounds, and sexual assault statistics. All of these things go together and correspond with each other.
quote:
Originally posted by Rowe:
[QUOTE] And I suppose that's what's really bothering me about this topic: Men's, particularly black men's, problem with making committments. A man should be embarressed if he has children by a woman he's not married to. He should be embarressed!!!! So should the woman be embarressed, rather than "honored" in a song.


And this is where we disagree. What is shameful exactly about having a child out of wedlock? I suppose if you subscribe to Christian culture that would be one of the viewpoints. But children are not punishments to be seen as embarressments after you've been sexual involved. That's childish. The mature thing to do would be to take responsibility for the children that you've had.

I don't think there's a fear of committment in our community, I simply think that people do not want to be married. It is not the end of the world. Some men and women will choose to build relationships and be legally recongized while others will not. I respect both those who will and those who won't.

Simply because a woman has a child out of wedlock does not mean that a father won't be involved or that a father is absentee. It simply means she is not married to the father of her child.

I am married. I've been married for four years. Marriage isn't the answer to societal problems, it's not even one of the answers because as we can see 50% of all marriages in the US will end in divorce. So what will the big difference bring about if they are married? The majority of single mothers on welfare are divorced women (which doesn't mean the men aren't in there lives). Marriage isn't a magic. It doesn't clear up all the problems people have.

Single mothers aren't the problem. There have been single mothers since the beginning of time. After ever large war we have had, there have been single mothers raising children and probably just as proud as we are. We didn't collapse as a society then and we certainly aren't going to collapse as one now simply because of single mothers.
quote:
I was raised by a single mother and if you want to understand why women are single we'd better start looking at domestic abuse rates, education, economic backgrounds, and sexual assault statistics. All of these things go together and correspond with each other.


This is why I don't buy that more people are simply choosing to not get married. The abundance of single-parent households seems to be a side-effect of something gone wrong in a community (not necessarily with the woman).
The question is complex and no one can provide all of the reasons. A few other sides of the coin ...

Divorce: Many single parents start out married, but the marriage fails for whatever reason. Remaining married may not be in the best interest of the parents or the child. The child continues to receive excellent parenting from both parents, but they no longer live in a loveless or indifferent environment.

Government: A single woman with children can rent a home for a few dollars a month, have medical insurance that covers 100% of family expenses, social service and other agencies pay the utilities, food stamps feed the family, and she receives a check once a month that is almost 100% disposable income. As an added bonus for working for a few months out of the year and remaining in poverty, The IRS kicks in over $4,300.00 at tax time. Poverty can be a lucrative lifestyle.

Parenting: Some single parents have no conception of commitment, responsibility, spirituality, or accountability. "Parenting" is provided by loving, and compassionate teachers (hat's off to you), who do the best they can to instill some basic values. Without parental support, the child has no firm foundation on which to stand.

Choice: There are educated, professional business executives who desire to be mothers but do not desire to be wives. She elects the alternatives of artificial insemination or adoption to have the child she so desires.

There are as many answers to this question as there are single parents. And for the record ... being a wife is not everyone's cup of tea.
quote:
Originally posted by Lux_Vicioux:
What is shameful exactly about having a child out of wedlock? I suppose if you subscribe to Christian culture that would be one of the viewpoints. But children are not punishments to be seen as embarressments after you've been sexual involved.


To begin, Christians are not the only group who have structured their communities around communal and marital relationsips. Some of the earliest human beings have sought out marital relationships because they quickly and wisely realized that two people can accomplish alot more than just one individual acting alone. Thus, a wife, husband, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc., all of these community members are needed and share important roles in maintaining a thriving community. Additionally, bonds established between men and women for the purposes of creating families should not be viewed as worthless simply because Americans have problems relating to one other. America does not represent the world. Americans are also plagued by contridicatory and conflicting values which negatively affect their ability to function as a community. This is how it is possible for America's leaders to invest unprecedented amounts of money into America's military efforts all the while acknowledging that a growing number of American children cannot read. They would rather solve the rest of the world's problems than acknowledge and confront the problems that are unique to white Americans, including problems relating to one another in communal rather than competitive and indvidualistic ways. You are also incorrect in your reference to marriage as a method of subugation against women. Perhaps in some patriarchal cultures this can be argued. However, history has uncovered social systems that were clearly matriarchal and where women stood to gain more from participating in a marriage than the men. Inside these social systems, married women are more valued than single women. They enjoy a higher status and all of the preferential treatment that is issued as result of ascending to a higher status. Married women become highly esteemed members of the community. Community members, especially younger women, count on them to represent and maintain the morale of the community. They go to them for advice, spiritual guidance, and assistance in solving problems that are unique to women. It is also important to note that unlike women in industrial societies who become less vauled with age, women in indigenous societies' value to the community seems to increase with age.

quote:
Simply because a woman has a child out of wedlock does not mean that a father won't be involved or that a father is absentee.


Either you are incredibly niave or you're a male poster considering the kinds of arguments you've made thus far. In more cases than we would like Lux, the father IS absentee. A man who has a child out of wedlock is usually the first to go. And even after the baby is born and he initially wants to be there for the mother, he's half-assing it by not consistently paying child support or comes around for visitation only when he wants to have sex with the mother. Why do you think child support cases are through the roof? And what do you think the endless complaints by single mothers are about? Do you think these women are complaining because its fun??? That's precisely why having children out of wedlock is is generally viewed as unfavorable, because it is unfavorable. The father is usually a no-show or a half-show and the child is less likely to get the benefits of consistent financial, emotional, and social support that every child needs and definitely deserves. A woman (or man) who thinks that they can raise a child all by themselves and the child is not missing out on the benefits of having regular interaction with both parents is a fool. A fool who is bent on dressing up a problem rather than acknowledging exactly what it is: a problem.
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i have some problems with the institution of marriage in the first place. i'm not AGAINST it, i am saying i think that there are PROBLEMS with it.

first of all, MARRIAGE in and of itself DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN THAT A FAMILY IS HEALTHY AND SOUND financially or emotionally.

it is my belief that in western society, the institution of marriage tends to promote subordination of women and children (two of the weakest groups in western social structure).

just b/c there is a "husband" and "wife" present in a household that does not necessarily mean they are PRESENT, ACTIVE or RESPONSIBLE in their roles, in each other's lives or in the lives of their children.

i SUPPORT healthy families and relationships. being a part of a family PHYSICALLY while terrorizing your spouse and/or your children does not mean you are a "family man or woman".

maybe the subject should be 'Why are there more "Missing Fathers" Than Husbands?'
quote:
Originally posted by EllaBrown:
just b/c there is a "husband" and "wife" present in a household that does not necessarily mean they are PRESENT, ACTIVE or RESPONSIBLE in their roles.


LOSE THE DEFEATIST ATTITUDE

Some people are really lousy parents. And??? What the hell does that have to do with me and my goals. Am I going to let other people's hangups with relationships discourage me from pursuing a satisfying marriage and family? Some people eat excessively and consequently die from fatal heart attacks. Am I going to allow their death to keep me from eating? The probability of students from innercities dropping out of their first year of college is significantly higher than students coming from affluent communities. Was I going to let this statistic deter me from attending college and later graduate school? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding NO!!! I'm always telling my students that other people's failures is not the standard by which you determine and/or judge how your life will be. I tell them not to ever allow other people's failures to negatively impact your goals and future. Perservere and maintain a positive attitude even if everyone around you appears to be failing from failures.

The points you've made are true, its not guaranteed that all marriages will be happy. However, a child being united with his mother and father is better than the alternative (e.g., having one parent or no parent at all). How do I know this. As a teacher, I have had more opportunities than I would like to witness the behavioral and emotional differences between those students being parented by a mother and father and those being raised in single parent homes. The differences in attitude, behavior, and interests are as opposing as night and day. Everything from aggressiveness, learning disabilities, anti-social behaviors, attention deficit/hyperactivity (ADD, ADHD), anger and hostility aimed at adult figures (because family members continually dissappoint the child), overly sensitive, possessive (from fear of losing someone again), frustrated and depressed (from watching the mother struggle and not being able to do anything about it), lethargic, uninterested in school, apathetic towards the feelings of fellow classmates, you name it, the source of these student's problems, in most cases, can be traced back to a missing parent (usually the father). Fellow teachers, principals, school psychologists, and other school personnel have made the very same observations. No child should have to go through all this shit, plus go to school. And any woman who decides to put an innocent child through this is a SELFISH bitch. Life is not about you just "having some kids" so you can "play mommy" and "comb your baby's hair." Being a parent is SERIOUS BUSINESS that a mother simply cannot do alone. Period.
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Speaking from personal experience, I've told a few boyfriends that if I got pregnant I could have the baby all by myself and I wouldn't tell them. Having seen my mother, grand mother, and close family friend females survive single parenting, I thought I could do it to. And then... I grew up. I saw how my environment negatively shaped my expectations of a man, that how unhealthy that was. I realized that apart from physical intamacy, a man - a black man - has a lot to bring to the table. I don't need to be super woman, trying to do it on my own. Today, my boydfriend and I do want to get married, and when God blesses me with a child, I want that child to have a father. Every child deserves the love and support of two parents.

When I saw the title of this post it took be back to a poem in which I wrote, "There are too many mother's and too few wives." I'd like to share it with you all...

Reflection
I looked at myself and in an instant I thought ...
You epitomize every stereotypical female I see to the T
Want to be down with every G
Talking sh.. ˜bout what you don't see
Why you playing cause you can't play me
Showing all that a.. to the heads that pass
But you don't pass
You get an "F" for that theft
Stealing people's attention while you fail to mention
Though you're jiggy on the skin
You ain't worth half that sh.. within
What you expect some respect for acting so demeaning
Your presence losing all its meaning and its worth
If you think those jerks give a f.. about a PH. D.
When all they see is your a.. and your thighs
You think they care about those batting eyes
I don't think so silly ho did you know
It's easy to be revealing
But in concealing you make them yearn for your prize
There are too many mothers and too few wives
For you to be somebody's sexual object
Weekend pet
Never forget
Self is your true and only worth
Self is your true and only worth
Ashes to Ashes
Dust to Dust
Live as you may
Die as you must

Excerpt of Touched By Boys, Loved By Men: a collection of short poems and spoken word by LaShanda Henry

blackoutloud 4 ever
I didn't real all the posts thoroughly. It didn't seem anyone was answering the question.

Without cynicism, a 'root answer' has to be more 'babies' are having intercourse.

There is more intercourse, because our technology has made it 'safer.'

The pill changed the world.

AND...the parents of today are the 'free-lovers' of yesterday.

AND...the 'Don't tell ME what to do attitude.'

PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:
I didn't real all the posts thoroughly. It didn't seem anyone was answering the question.

Without cynicism, a 'root answer' has to be more 'babies' are having intercourse.

There is more intercourse, because our technology has made it 'safer.'

The pill changed the world.

AND...the parents of today are the 'free-lovers' of yesterday.

AND...the 'Don't tell ME what to do attitude.'

PEACE

Jim Chester

Jim,
I think that this phenomenon has very little to do with the "technology". Also, did that many black folk really invest in the "free love" movement.

Actually, I think that blackoutloud and wifeymaterial did answer the question. If folk would avail themselves of the technology (the pill, condoms, and other forms of contraception, particularly in combination) there would be fewer baby-mama's and daddy's.

On the other hand, young woman and men need to be equipped to make good choices. This is a huge task given intergenerational patterns of dysfunction relationships. In this respect, you are right. A few years back, I was in a convenience store and the young woman behind the counter was showing baby pictures. I came to find out that she was my age, 32. Then I found out that they were not her baby but her grand baby. Eek

This to my mind is the nature of the problem. We have to address these pathologies that exist in the community and we need to give people real options and the capacity to make healthful choices.
I think that this phenomenon has very little to do with the "technology". Also, did that many black folk really invest in the "free love" movement.---kresge

Don't overlook the effect of dependable birth control.

It took, or at least minimized, the risk of 'risky behavior'.

It minimized the risk of STD's.

It minimized the risk of pregnancy, and the attendant burdens of parenthood.

I was an aspiring 'rock star' when the pill hit the scene. Within weeks, it was almost unsafe to walk on stage.

Suddenly, married women were 'on the scene.'

Bigtime.

All of the social pathologies were free to be exercised almost with impugnity.

Free love was already in effect.

Now the pill??????

The practice of 'shacking up' went through the roof.

Then 'pot' hit the scene.

The bars went empty.

Beer sales hit the bottom.

We blame 'pathologies' because the treatment protocols are big, big business.


PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Originally posted by kresge:
If folk would avail themselves of the technology (the pill, condoms, and other forms of contraception, particularly in combination) there would be fewer baby-mama's and daddy's. On the other hand, young woman and men need to be equipped to make good choices.


I agree that both (with an emphasis on both) young men and women need to be equipped with better choices. However, who is to equip them when their parents have made similar choices at their ages??? And the issue, in my opinion, has little to do with the availability of "birth control" because its no secrect that white teens and white college students use the hell out of birth control as well, especially since they are heavy drinkers. Therefore, what (our) black youth require are incentives to make better choices, like a reliable future, confidence in their academic and intellectual competency, respect from the society, and support from the community, all of which black youth never get. When young people know they are living for a purpose, and more importantly, that their existence means something, they will make better choices. When you are given opportunities, love, and respect, you will behave as if you know you have a promising future to look forward to.
I almost wish I had read this before I posted my question, because this is a big issue for me. Unfortunately, I do not think that Fantasia's song was good or a good idea. It glamorizes the difficulty of single parenthood. Like Soldier from Destiny's Child, it make urban young women think that being pregnant somehow makes you important, gives you respect and status. Their songs never discuss the nasty side of baby daddy drama, he's in jail, you have to become a sex worker [stripper or worse] to make ends meet and you start the cycle of public assistance for your bad choices.

You will never be able to convince me that a 16 year old is going to be a better parent than a 28 or 32 year old. The 16 year old does not even know who she is yet, her emotions are not fully developed and her brain is overly influenced by hormones already, then add pregnancy. Yet this is the person we expect , to teach an infant who he or she is suppose to be, with what experience.

The problem is that these "Stars", like Madonna and Whitney back in the day, have the discretionary income to support a child alone, the urban mothers we are discussing do not have any resources let alone enough discretionary income to support the luxury of a child. Bill Cosby was right.

Our teenage girls need to learn that just because your mother had you and your siblings out of wedlock it does not mean that you must repeat the cycle. They need to learn that there is no shame in abortion for a mistaken pregnancy, sometimes it is the smart choice because by not having a baby you can grow up yourself. Have all the sex you want but don't bring another life into your nightmare because your body is capable of producing one. Abstinence does not work, we need to preach Birth control first, second, third and last.
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quote:
Originally posted by Nikcara:
They need to learn that there is no shame in abortion for a mistaken pregnancy, sometimes it is the smart choice because by not having a baby you can grow up yourself. Have all the sex you want but don't bring another life into your nightmare because your body is capable of producing one. Abstinence does not work, we need to preach Birth control first, second, third and last.


I completely disagree with your closing remarks. Children (as well as adults) should never be encouraged to "have all the sex and abortions they want." Not only is this behavior detrimental to your health and reproductive system, it cheapens the spirituality of intimacy and childbirth. Encouraging children to defer sexual gratification until marriage works when children are surrounded by adults who also honor life and the seriousness of intimacy. On the other hand, if you're one who lacks self-discipline and doesn't favor restraining yourself when sexual opportunities arise, then its probable that you won't expect anyone else to either. Afterall, people cannot impart principles to children that they themselves are unwilling to follow.
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Rowe, for the record, while I believe in free sex, I also believe in responsible sex. Unfortunately, we do not live this world: ie "Encouraging children to defer sexual gratification until marriage works when children are surrounded by adults who also honor life and the seriousness of intimacy." Our kids are growing up in a world that causes young women, who must have perfect bodies for the most part, to be half naked on videos while the guys in the same video are fully clothed. We live in a world where all the songs on the radio are about sex, " just in case I don't make it home tonight, let me make love to you for the last time" " just because I let you get some, doesn't make you the one, we ain't even in love" ........ the list could go on for days. Frankly I have stopped listening to most urban radio stations because I they promote is a lifestyle that is getting our kids of the fast road to a no where life. The children/teens I am discussing are not given information about not having sex because their parents show them that behavior. It is the cycle that is killing off the Black family and making Destiny's Child put some pregnant chick in the video Solider as if she is doing the right thing.

Also for the record, I believe in abstinence, it works fine when you are an adult because you are able to make the rational decision not to act on what your feelings are telling you in the moment. But I also strongly believe in birth control if you are not going to abstain. Birth control done correctly does more than prevent pregnancy, if it is a condom or spermicidal film, jelly or foam, it may prevent the transmission of disease that is really damaging to reproductive systems.

I do think that abortion is the right answer some times as well. Just because your body can produce a child does not mean you should have one. Child are precious and in this day and age expensive. I look at them as a luxury, it is a privilege to be able to imprint your values and moral on to another human being. Everybody talks about wanting a good kid, but to raise a good kid you have to be a good parent for that child to model after. If you are dogging out the other parent mother or father, if you show your child how to beg, sell drugs or steal, if your child has to go to bed hungry or in a dirty diaper because you are to lazy to cook or change the diaper do you really need a child? Why should a kid have to go through 18 years of abuse and then say hey I am just going to be a good person., does it happen, sure but how exceptional is that kid. I think it is a selfish act to have a child and you can't care for them mentally, emotionally, or financially. Bottomline, kids are a luxury that many are not ready to handle and should not be encourgaged to have them just because they got pregnant. Abortion is not always the best answer but for the teens I am discussing, I think it is a real option that is not fully explored.
quote:
Originally posted by Nikcara:
Rowe, for the record, while I believe in free sex, I also believe in responsible sex. Unfortunately, we do not live this world: ie "Encouraging children to defer sexual gratification until marriage works when children are surrounded by adults who also honor life and the seriousness of intimacy." Our kids are growing up in a world that causes young women, who must have perfect bodies for the most part, to be half naked on videos while the guys in the same video are fully clothed. We live in a world where all the songs on the radio are about sex, " just in case I don't make it home tonight, let me make love to you for the last time" " just because I let you get some, doesn't make you the one, we ain't even in love" ........ the list could go on for days. Frankly I have stopped listening to most urban radio stations because I they promote is a lifestyle that is getting our kids of the fast road to a no where life. The children/teens I am discussing are not given information about not having sex because their parents show them that behavior. It is the cycle that is killing off the Black family and making Destiny's Child put some pregnant chick in the video Solider as if she is doing the right thing.

Also for the record, I believe in abstinence, it works fine when you are an adult because you are able to make the rational decision not to act on what your feelings are telling you in the moment. But I also strongly believe in birth control if you are not going to abstain. Birth control done correctly does more than prevent pregnancy, if it is a condom or spermicidal film, jelly or foam, it may prevent the transmission of disease that is really damaging to reproductive systems.

I do think that abortion is the right answer some times as well. Just because your body can produce a child does not mean you should have one. Child are precious and in this day and age expensive. I look at them as a luxury, it is a privilege to be able to imprint your values and moral on to another human being. Everybody talks about wanting a good kid, but to raise a good kid you have to be a good parent for that child to model after. If you are dogging out the other parent mother or father, if you show your child how to beg, sell drugs or steal, if your child has to go to bed hungry or in a dirty diaper because you are to lazy to cook or change the diaper do you really need a child? Why should a kid have to go through 18 years of abuse and then say hey I am just going to be a good person., does it happen, sure but how exceptional is that kid. I think it is a selfish act to have a child and you can't care for them mentally, emotionally, or financially. Bottomline, kids are a luxury that many are not ready to handle and should not be encourgaged to have them just because they got pregnant. Abortion is not always the best answer but for the teens I am discussing, I think it is a real option that is not fully explored.


You know that the pregnant girl in the video is Beyonce's sister.
quote:
Originally posted by Nikcara:
Huey: Is she married to anybody? Is she just with her baby daddy in the video? Or was that just some random guy she was hugged up on?


That's her husband with her. But it was a shotgun wedding (she was 17 and pregnant when they got married in the Bahamas with her parents' consent). The husband does not live with her (he's living with some pro foootball player) and is completely out of the picture now. Now you're all caught up on the gossip. Big Grin

Even so, the lyrics for "Soldier" bother me more than the pregnant sister's presence. That song is pure ass.
quote:
Originally posted by Nikcara:
Our kids are growing up in a world that causes young women, who must have perfect bodies for the most part to be half naked on videos


Listen there will never be a time when everything in our world will go as you or I think it should. People will make uninformed decisions and people will make mistakes. That does not mean however that we should not have expecations and standards for children. In fact, if everyone felt the way you did about this issue: "Kids are going to do whatever the they want, its out of our control, so let them do it", the world would self-destruct by the time I complete this response. Despite what is seemingly "out of our control," it is still the responsibility of elder members of any society to make certain children learn to value the benefits of self-discipline and pursuing a purpose. To provide a great analogy, when a lionness has cubs, knowing her cubs life will be threatened at some period before they reach adulthood, she doesn't simply throw the cubs to the wolves to feed. She teaches her cubs crucial survival skills and defense mechinisms to ensure their success and survival. And this is a problem that is symptomatic of many black families. Black parents want their children to be successful, they want their children to aspire toward greatness, but they do not know how to construct a step-by-step plan of success for the child, outside of "put on a condom" and "stay away from drugs." These kinds of admonitions are not helping black children reach their fullest potential. Black children need a reason not to become premature parents. If you give black children more opportunities to live a purposeful life, then we wouldn't have to push abortions and birth-control down their throats!
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