Posts Tagged ‘black men in prison

31
Aug
10

Is Single Motherhood a Wise Option?

I stumbled upon this article today, and several things came to mind. Not the least of which was, “Really? Haven’t I been seeing articles like this since second grade when I was using the newspaper as my finger painting canvas?” Sigh.

The article, like many before it, offers statistics on how poorly many blacks are doing achieving the “American Dream.” According to a study done by a Harvard professor, male incarceration, lack of educational opportunities and single-parent households are factors that have led to or are a result of our community’s troubles. According to the scholar, 70% of black children are born to single mothers.

A second study, this one from the Educational Testing Services’ “Black-White Achievement Gap,” is quoted in the article and suggests that “increasing marriage rates and getting fathers back into the business of nurturing children” is one way to improve the chances of young people in our communities.

The studies’ findings made me wonder: for the SIS who is more interested in Baby Right than Mr. Right, is planning to have a child out of wedlock a wise choice?

I am not “over the hill,” but even at my youthful age, I’ve been asked whether I’ve considered having children on my own. Just last year my younger cousin, an HBCU undergraduate, not-so-subtly hinted that it was time for me to pop him out some new kinfolk. I responded that I’d like to be married first. His comeback: “That’s antiquated.”

I know several successful and healthy adults who are products of single-parent homes. So, while the study results included in the aforementioned article are depressing, there is living proof that one person – especially with the help of extended family – can do a fantastic job rearing a child.

However, as one close friend of mine consistently tells me, “It’s hard.” She remembers her mom’s struggles and doesn’t recommend it.

So, there you have the SIS’s dilemma.

Should she miss out on motherhood just because there’s no marriage? Does she forge ahead and have a child on her own when she’s ready, or is that the selfish decision, realizing that her child might face more struggles and disadvantages being raised in a single-parent home?

Some suggest adoption is the answer for the SIS, but this option doesn’t solve for the single-parent household issue. If both parents raising a child is the Holy Grail, then adoption still falls short of that ideal.

Honestly, my biological clock is ticking very softly. Having children is not something I spend lots of time thinking about, but I don’t doubt there will come a time when the alarm sounds, and I think I’ll hear the bells loud and clear whether I’m married or still single.

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19
May
10

Is Your Boyfriend Behind Bars?

I don’t buy into all the “there are no good black men” drama. I know several upstanding brothers out here. However, when a friend sent me this article about how the mass incarceration of black men hurts black women, I couldn’t deny that there are also quite a few “good” black men behind bars.

Did that raise an eyebrow? How could a brother be both “good” and incarcerated? Granted, he may not be  a “good catch” — at least not anymore — but I wholeheartedly believe there are men in jail who might have been productive members of society if they hadn’t made dumb decisions in their youth. And who isn’t guilty of that?

When I read the article, my mind went straight to my relatives. I have three male cousins, just around my age, who have been locked up for the majority of their lives. They went into jail as teenagers. They haven’t come out.

Yes, they made some wrong choices, but could they have been great assets to their communities, great husbands and great fathers? I think they could have. Maybe I’m biased, but I remember funny, charming, handsome, intelligent adolescents who had promising futures.

Then, I remember hearing they were imprisoned.

As much as that’s a personal tragedy for my family, I think it most definitely affects society as a whole. To bring it to the SIS perspective, maybe one of my cousins – had he the opportunity – would have been introduced to one of my girlfriends at a family function and fallen madly in love with her. Maybe they’d be off somewhere making a home and raising future generations.

Hey, it could have happened. We’ll never know.

Is there an actual correlation between the number of men in jail and the number of single women? If so, does it have more to do with the absence of available men to date or the fact that incarcerated fathers aren’t around to be good examples of manhood for their daughters?

Again, I have mostly questions and no answers, but it’s a topic my many single, female cousins and I discuss when we’re gathered at a family function lacking male companionship in a way that’s much deeper than not having a date.




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