Sometimes uncomfortable things need to be said. Such is the case with this ad. While the terms are harsh, the statistics tell the stark truth: most black American children are raised without a father in the home.
This ad is appearing all around LA. Having seen one at a bus stop near my home, I nodded and said to myself, “that’s right.” Will these ads make a difference in the fatherless rate of black children? Time will tell. However, have the feelings of some black Americans become so tender that no one can say anything about trending detrimental behavior, behavior that hurts their progeny more than anyone else? Dean and Glenn Sacks say yes, but I think that they are viewing the ad from the perspective of divorced, non-custodial fathers. (In fairness, the ad seems to slant that way.) La Shawn and I know differently and say so in Dean’s comments. The large-scale fatherless problem in the black community doesn't stem from child custody battles in the wake of divorce. It stems from the parents never having been married in the first place. And, in my view, it's the black woman's problem.
Black men have been hammered hard in print regarding this problem, but the other half of the equation is more damning: why are so many black women choosing to reproduce without giving their children a legitimate, responsible father? Two reasons: 1) the wrong lessons of feminism have been internalized by black woman and, 2) the government has made it easy for such women to survive without the benefit of having a man around.
“A man will only do what you allow him to do,” opines my great-aunt. Let’s face it. In American society, women control how the course of a relationship will run, barring nutcase men. (And even with most of them, a woman can steer clear. There’s usually an early warning sign.) Only the most self-controlled of men will refrain from…taking advantage, should an…opportunity be presented to him. And when the conception occurs and the product is presented nine months later, there is no stigma attached to the man or woman. The well-employed woman can financially provide for herself and progeny—with grandparents, baby-sitters and/or daycare taking up the slack; the shiftless woman can get “aid,” supported by those who had no part in the conception. The man is free to go out and, possibly, produce more little mouths to feed.
“I don’t need no man to raise my baby!” How many times have I heard that mantra? Well, girlfriend, you may not need a man, but your child most assuredly does, be it girl or boy. Black women notoriously display a certain amount of independence, yours truly included. (One may accurately term much of it as bravado.) However, no one is independent of the consequences of his/her choices. When the prospect of a new life looms on the horizon, created by choice—and outside of rape, when a woman has sex with a man, she has made a choice that can lead to the (pro)creation of a life—it is no longer just about that woman. It is no longer just about that man. Both have made the choice to take the chance that a new life may be created, promises of birth control being consumed and use of condoms notwithstanding. And that new life doesn’t care about her “independence”; it doesn’t care about his “freedom.”
This state of affairs has many rippling effects, most of which are well-documented. Here’s another one: the reason, I suspect, that there are so many good, competent, smart black women--who have not procreated--that are not married is this: when so many other black women are giving up the milk without strings (remember that 70% statistic), why should a man buy the “cow” when another “cow” will give up the milk gratis?
I’m not going to sit here and pontificate as if I’ve always been the perfect angel in this regard. Some lessons have to be drilled into one’s head by beating it against a brick wall; others, however, are learned by observing patterns, if you’re attentive enough to be looking. I know too many black women who are short-sighted enough to lay down with crooks, bums with nine other kids, or other unacceptable donors of DNA, and produce children. Or they will pick out some seemingly more acceptable guy, sleep with him, reproduce and expect him to “pay up.” Failing to realize that the world no longer revolves around them, failing to observe how their own actions contributed to reality, they then have the nerve to opine that there are “no good black men” out there. (What *good* man wants to have anything to do with such a woman?) Too many cannot comprehend that they have placed this responsibility in their own lives. Not Grandpa and Grandma’s life, not the tax-payers’ lives, but their own. Are these women stupid? No (well, not most of them). They’ve merely been indoctrinated with the mindset that the world owes them something for doing what humans have done from the beginning.
Should bastardy regain the stigma that it once had? Yes, but not for the child. In this age, the parents of that child are the ones who should be stigmatized.*
I contend that when black women en masse step up to the plate of real independence; of the responsibility that goes along with the right to reproduce, our male counterparts will do so also. That plate is met with the crossing of the knees.
* Some might make the argument that my screed makes the case for abortion-on-demand. Religious considerations aside—and I am against abortion for those reasons, as well--I would disagree because it implies that humans, on a large scale, are so incapable of self-control that abortion is a necessary out for such conditions. Dogs in heat have to rut. Humans don’t.