May 23, 2010 @ 2:02 pm | By TheFeministGriote | 1 Comment
The institution of the Black Family is a very contentious debate within the Black community. Everyone has an opinion about the why, who, what, when, where, and how a Black woman should procreate. White America weighs in with their bleak and staggering statistics on Black single headed family homes and as members of society we are all guilty of judging women who have a plethora of kids with various men. I am not here to advocate for reckless and unplanned pregnancies, but I am here to challenge our collective consciousness and understand why are we so harsh on single Black mothers?
Slavery forever changed the dynamics of family for Black people. African families were dismantled and Africans who shared the same languages were purposely separated from one another. Therefore, enslaved Africans were forced to build a different form of family. It means that a household was often time without a father or a mother was mothering children that she did not biologically birth. We all have peers that were raised by grandmothers and aunts and who had no real consistent male figures in their household. I am a product of a two parent household and I think it is a great thing when it is possible, but all hope is not lost if a child is without a father. Society makes it seem that every fatherless Black girl is a potential welfare queen and that every fatherless Black male child is a future drug lord.
Parenting and mothering is not only relegated to the natural parents of a child. The problem with the Black institution of family is not solely the growing number of absentee fathers in the home, the problem is that the Black community has stopped being the extension of family. As Black people we are the progenitors of the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child”. What happened to the Black village? Neighbors are not neighborly and aunts, uncles, and god parents are not actively participating in the responsibility of being extensions of the parents. If the communities, churches, and extended families would rally behind single mothers then it would lessen the damaging affect that plagues Black children who are from a single parent household.
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