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For a society that is mistrustful of sexually active, unmarried women and wedded to the superiority of male-led households, those numbers demonstrate unchecked aberrance and are used to confirm stereotypes about black women’s femininity and sexuality.This statistic is positioned as the reason for every social ill plaguing the black community and, once again, very likely the fault of black women.Opponents of single motherhood say they have black children’s best interests in mind and point to decades of research that indicates that children do best when they’re raised in healthy two-parent families.But, according to the Center for Law and Social Policy, research results related to the offspring of single-parent households are often oversimplified and exaggerated.Heidi Renée Lewis, thirty-three, says condemnation of single-parent families also unduly shames mothers trying to do their best. ’ My cousin said, ‘Well at least they’re both by the same man!She tells a story about attending a neighborhood outing with her oldest son and his father while she was pregnant with their second child. This one woman that I grew up with said to my cousin, ‘Oh my God! ’” Heidi’s cousin had three children with two fathers.People hate to feel ashamed.” Heidi’s parents were married when she was born. Our wedding anniversary is the same as the day we first got together.
But it was the eve of the 1980s crack epidemic, and Heidi’s father became addicted. Heidi always wanted to get married, in part to prove that she could do what her parents could not. ” If America were having an honest conversation about black motherhood, the screeds about the scourge of baby mamas would also note that birth rates among African American women are lower than ever before in recorded history and that part of the explanation for the high percentage of out-of-wedlock black babies lies with the fact that fewer black women are marrying and many of those women are deciding not to have children.
Most children in single-parent families grow up just fine, and it is still unclear how much of the disadvantages to children are caused by poverty or family structure or whether marriage itself makes the difference or the type of people who commonly marry.
Demonizing single black motherhood does not improve the lives of children.
More than 70 percent of black births happen outside marriage.
From Tea Party candidates to black clergy, folks will tell you that statistic is a sin and a shame.
Here again, the Moynihan Report and its support for the stereotypes of the Matriarch, Sapphire, and Jezebel play a role in ensuring that the public discussion of black motherhood is relentlessly negative.