Sunday, February 07, 2010

No More!

It has been a minute and I am here to vent. Lots of new developments in my life, including a new baby...except, it is not my baby. It belongs to a younger family member. And thus, another child enters the world as a statistic.

(In my best Florida Evans impression--I am screaming Dayum, Dayum DAYUM as an imaginary punch bowl smashes at my feet.)

I am fine with the fact of this new addition because babies are blessings. As a married woman with no children of my own, I KNOW that babies are blessings, so my disappointment (disgruntlement, envy, whatever you want to label it) is with the circumstances.

But dang-nabit, I followed the rules. I went to school and stayed out of trouble. I met a nice man and together we built a decent life. I've never done drugs and I was once a deaconess in the church. Yes, I am having a Job moment...but this isn't really about me. This is my rant on what has become the status quo within the black community.

White children have parents. Latinos and Asians have families. Black children are bargaining chips and future reality show participants.

Sure children are born out of wedlock across the ethnic spectrum. And sometimes things don't work out, and families break up. Life happens. But when I read articles about how celebrity baby mamas have to get along or how a certain celebrity baby daddy is demanding a paternity test, I just shake my head. When did this isht become the norm? Whatever happened to shame?

No, your child isn't the reason why you should be ashamed--your behavior is. You should hold your head in shame when you learn that you've been knocked up by a man who already has children by other women. You should hold your head in shame when you become a father after a casual sexual encounter with a woman whose name you barely remember. You should be ashamed when you realize that you could have been exposed to any number of sexually transmitted diseases. You ought to be ashamed that you had to lug your newborn infant to court in order to establish custody, child support and a visitation schedule. You ought to be too ashamed to show your face in public if your paternity was confirmed on national television by Maury Povich.

Yet, the only people who seemed to have any shame are those of us without the drama. Like my single unmarried, childless girlfriends whose lives have now become the subject of countless articles lamenting their inability to find suitable mates. Or the childless married couples who are emotionally and financially extorted into paying for the right to become parents while every other fertile Myrtle pops children out like rabbits. Was it some cosmic joke that the responsible folks ended up with the short end of the stick?

Frankly, I am at a loss for words although certain apocalyptic terms seem applicable--epidemic, catastrophic, and damned come to mind. Is there a such thing as a normal black family anymore (or was the Cosby Show really fiction)? Has no one heard about the permanent damage inflicted by the absence of black fathers and/or positive male role models? And what about the example set by black single mothers whose poor choices contribute to this perpetual cycle of broken families? Is it just a terrible coincidence that family dysfunction is passed on to future generations just like genetic disorders?

Children deserve to come into the world with as little baggage as possible since it is through living that we acquire all of the stuff that comes to characterize who we are and how the world perceives us. It used to be that racism hampered our kids' ability to get a decent start in life as skin color was regarded as an uncompromising liability. But nowadays we load our children down with duffle bags of drama so by the time they reach kindergarten, it is no wonder that so many of them have already given up.

I am disillusioned because I guess I assumed that in the Age of Obama, folks might be inspired by their example of a loving black family and mimic those values for a change. Guess not...but I can still HOPE.