Dedicated to single mothers and the black men who dare to love them….
Since last year, I fell back from many of the conversations that have been raging on in cyberspace about the #NWNW (No Wedding, No Womb) movement. However, I have been noticing a growing and yet disturbing trend. BLACK MEN are joining the chorus of people that blame single mothers for the woes within black America. There is no word in the English language that can truly express what I truly think of them, but the term ‘cowards’ whispers throughout in my mind. Knowing that these type of cowards may not read this post beyond the first paragraph. I will speak directly towards them.
“Cowards, instead of being examples and reminders of the same cowardly men that abandoned them, become the type of men that single mothers can use as examples of types of men that they would want their sons to grow to become and that they would love to see their daughters marry. Yes, even black men like yourselves are both the cause and the cure for this cowardly epidemic.”
Now that the cowards have been addressed, brethren let us speak, as men.
Last Month, the United States Census Bureau released their data on the poverty rate in the United States. Buried deep within this data were some startling figures that many of us may have overlooked that speaks right to the heart the issue with my brethren. Overall more than twenty seven percent (27.4%) of all black families live beneath the poverty threshold. However, when we look at single mother households, the figures are even more frightening. More than a third, (36.8%) of all black female led households live 100% below the poverty threshold. Adding to that misery, the data revealed that more than half (53.3%) of the black children living in those black female households are living 100% below the poverty threshold. However, on the flip side, only 19.7% of single black men live in poverty. For those that would like to see the figures for themselves, click here.
Black men, men lie, women lie but numbers don’t. More than a third of single mothers and more than half of their children are suffering because of our selfishness. No, the answer is not simply to drop everything and run to the chapel marry the mother of your child, We are not there, yet. The answer is much deeper and more complex than that. It first requires some self reflection, that should foster our self accountability.
How We as Black Men Caused this Crisis…
1) We Abandoned Our Women. We are simply not present in the lives of our children. ‘Why’ is no longer important or an acceptable excuse. Within female led households, we as black men left behind so many burdens that they now have to bare on our behalf and in our absence, that having a conversation about whose fault it is pointless and cowardly. Many of those women who we blame for the collapse of our households are now responsible for the daily sheltering, feeding, healing and raising our children. Buying Jordans and dropping off diapers and chump change won’t keep the lights on and it is not equal to an equal share of the burden. Not only did we leave behind financial burdens but psychological ones as well. The views that our children will have about the role of a black man within a family structure will be warped because of our absence. These warped psychological views will ultimately fester in boys who may one day sleep with many women without the intention of ever establishing a committed relationship with them and little girls who think such conduct is just what black men do. Our absence and neglect has not only created a crisis now but in the future may create more of the same.
2) We Don’t Check other Black Men. Though the media may say otherwise, all black men aren’t deadbeat daddies’. Even though they may not be married to the mother of their child, not all ‘baby daddies’ are deadbeats. But, there are far too many black deadbeat baby daddies in our communities. They are not just the guys that you heard about. They are our brothers, uncles, cousins, friends, neighbors, and dare I say it, pastors, whom we know are deadbeat daddies but when we see them, we don’t even mention this evil.We don’t say a word as we watch spend reckless money on other women, living ‘the good life’ while their children live in squalor. When the subject of providing for their own children does comes up, they have a million and one lame excuses why they won’t. Black men, because we have tolerated such behavior, we have made this moral wrong socially acceptable. In doing so, we have also added such behavior to the already warped definition of manhood amongst our children. It must stop. We need to create an atmosphere where these men are made aware of their cowardly, unacceptable lifestyle.
3) We Demonize Single Mothers. While there are plenty of songs and movies that do this overtly, many of us have demonized single black mothers in a very subtle way. We refuse to date black women with children. Many of us have ran away when a black woman mentions that she has children. This has even fosters a notion among some black women that they have to hide the fact that they have children, so that they wont ‘scare away’ black men when they are dating. (Note to women any man that is ran away when you mention that you have children wasn’t a man in the first place. If he runs, keep it moving.) This is our fault, not theirs. We have let the stereotypes of black single mothers having baby daddy issues cloud our view of a growing crop of beautiful, educated black women. Once again, think of the message that is being passed to the little black boys and girls watching this.
How We as Black Men Will Cure to this Crisis...
1) By Establishing a Daily Presence as a Man in our Homes. Please do not confuse ‘presence’ with ‘existence.’ Married or not, physically existing in a home but helping to build a solid foundation for which that household can be nurtured and grow is just as damaging as not being there at all. Being ‘present’ implies that, you, as a man, are adding in the building of that household, actively engaged in the raising of the children and ultimately showing the child what it means to be a man in a household, by protecting, providing and supporting to that household on a daily basis. That image alone is powerful. That image becomes the ideal. Not only in your household but in other households in your community. Beyond marriage and establishing more committed relationships, we need to recommit to rebuilding our households first by being physically present in them. When we rebuild our households, we rebuild our communities.
2) By Exposing, Confronting and Ultimately Ostracizing our “Deadbeat’ Brethren. Staying out of their business is no longer a luxury that we can afford. That child that they have neglected may one day become a blithe on our communities. If not at the level of becoming a criminal but at the lower level of one day having children with even more warped definitions of manhood that they have that will influence our children. Because it may be our problem in the future, it is indeed our problem now. So after we correct our own relationships with our own children, we need to reach out the brother next to us and influence him to do the same. But don’t just criticize and chastise him, show him how to be a man. It’s not only the children who need black male mentors and role models but there are grown men who need them as well.
3) Establishing Long Term Committed Relationships with Black Women. I know that this is the No Wedding, No Womb movement but marriage aside, we have to begin to ask ourselves if we are truly committed to the women that we are dating. Even married men cheat. So marriage is not a shield for monogamy but true commitment is. We need to begin dating with the mentality that we are seeking a long term commitments. When we do this our view of dating changes. Our view of women changes. It is then when we go from chasing aesthetics or social stature, to seeking compatibility. Magically, the type of women that we seek to date evolves and having random sex with strangers is no longer the goal or even satisfying. This We need to look deeper into our women. Look at her, find out who she is and discover if she is the one that you would want to build your household and raise your children. This will create a positive ripple effect in your life and ultimately throughout our communities. Know what happens to our communities when we as black men date with the aspirations of becoming faithful husbands and loving fathers? More of us become faithful husbands and loving fathers. That is my only hope for us.
There will be many black men who will dismiss this post as hateful and divisive. However, I have confidence that there will be more than a few of my brothers who will understand. They will share this post on their facebook pages and retweet the link very often. They will read this to the boys in their mentoring programs, on their sports teams and even on their block. A few of us may even read this aloud to their children. I love you all but this is bigger than you.
I wrote this with the direct intention to touch the heart of the deadbeat baby daddy who, instead of calling, will get in his car and go see his abandoned child. When he hugs that child, I will feel it then I will know that I have not written in vain.
Please, feel free share this post on your blogs. Follow me on Twitter @Brandale2221. For booking contact me directly at Brandale2221@gmail.com. My book “Me & My Broke: Neighbor” is available on Amazon and my forthcoming book, “Poverty is like Giant Sinkhole” will be available this winter.