Thursday, April 7, 2011

That's Just My Babies' Daddies.

I've always contended that stats-by-damned, the whole "baby daddy" phenomenon that plagues the Black community isn't nearly as new of a development as some might have you believe. It's fun to over romanticize the past and paint a pretty picture of a time long ago when black folks courted, got married, had babies, stayed together, and there was no such thing as autotune. Yes, the "out of wedlock" birth stats we hear are harrowing, but lets not pretend this sh*t is new. It isn't. Everyone knows about that grandfather, or great uncle, or next door neighbor who had another family "on the other side of the tracks". We didn't just magically get this screwed up overnight.

[Editor's Aside: Damn, that Maury Povich is so disingenuous. Pretending to care about those kids. BTW, how mad are these chicks, really? They almost seem to be bragging about having gotten knocked up by THE BABY DADDY OF CHAMPAIGN ILLINOIS!!! And since we're on the subject, "TayShaun" really is a splendid name. It's just great.]

That said, it would be naive to pretend that folks casually going half on a baby is advancing the cause. It isn't. No, kids born to single mothers aren't condemned to a life of poverty and crime by default, but reality is that not having a stable home life does make life a bit more daunting. I don't personally think marriage (and this comes from a guy who loves being married) is the cure to all that ails black folks, but I also don't think having 7 kids by 9 women was part of Dr. King's Dream either.

[Editor's Aside: I know I've run this joke into the ground, but true story. I have a frat brother who's had a baby by a Delta, a Sigma Gamma Rho, and a Zeta. This dude is one AKA away from batting the Pan Hellenic cycle! {rimshot!}]

I only have two kids, both (of course) by the same woman. Kids are not only expensive, they're also very demanding of time. I mean, very. If you're trying to do this parenting thing right, you're probably gonna find yourself stretched thin at times. Correction: all the time. I can barely give attention to two kids that are in the same house. I couldn't imagine having another child in the next county over. And another in the next state over. In short, eventually you'll reach the point of diminishing returns where no kid gets enough attention. And 20 years later, that kid becomes Waka Flocka Flames at best, and prolly does 5-7 for knocking off a liquor store at worst. Alls I'm saying is, this parenting thing isn't easy, and it's probably even harder when you and the mother don't get along.

And yes, that was a flimsy personal segue into (yet!) another "Ominous Black Stats" story. Cue the music and brace yourselves.
One in five of all American moms have kids who have different birth fathers, a new study shows. And when researchers look only at moms with two or more kids, that figure is even higher: 28 percent have kids with at least two different men.

Dorius’ study, which was presented Friday at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, examined data from nearly 4,000 U.S. women who had been interviewed more than 20 times over a 27-year period.

This phenomenon is important to study, Dorius says, because there are consequences to both the mom and her children. Women with children from multiple fathers tend to be disadvantaged compared to other moms. Further, this type of family structure can lead to a lot more stress for everyone involved, in part because the women need to juggle the demands and needs of more than one dad.

Dorius found that a multiple-father type of family structure was more common among minority women, with 59 percent of African-American mothers, 35 percent of Hispanic mothers and 22 percent of white mothers reporting children with more than one father.
Okay, let's be honest here: there are plenty of fingers to point, but I'm going to resist the urge and hope you will too. Blaming others hasn't fixed anything yet, and probably won't anytime soon.

Reality is, anytime you have unprotected sex, the possibility of an unexpected kid is there. I don't know that this study reinforces some notion that black women are looser, or that institutional racism locks black men out of the job market giving them more idle time to sow their baby batter, or that Negroes simply have a genetic predisposition to going raw. I don't know, and don't care to steer the discussion there. I hope you won't either.

My question will probably throw you for a loop, but answer it anyway.

Question: Be honest with yourself - is it fair to judge the lifestyle choices of women (and men) with multiple kids by multiple partners when everyone's "gone raw" a few (ok, maybe many) times in life? If anyone's to blame here, wouldn't it be condom manufacturers for making such an uncomfortable product?

blog comments powered by Disqus

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.