Punching Down on Single Moms: A Black American Pastime
For every single mother, there's an absent father, but the latter is often excused from duty.
Before I delve into the topic, let's get a few things straight. First, yes, I do realize that Black Americans aren't the only community that punches down on single moms. And yes, I also recognize that there are single mothers in every community who may be getting treated better or worse on an individual level.
However, I want to speak specifically on the pathology within the community that lends itself to the constant finger-pointing in every Black single mother's direction while letting absent fathers go scott-free. As a woman raised by a (married) single mom who went on to become a "single mother" herself, I have some things to say.
What’s a single mother?
OK, so if we take this term literally, single mothers are unmarried moms. And according to the Census Bureau, over half of Black women are unwed, and depending on which sources you choose to believe, around 70% of Black children are said to be born and/or raised by single mothers. So, yes, I know that this conversation is much more complex than this. However, most of the Black community doesn't seem to think so.
This is one of the most black-and-white topics in our community — if you're not married, you're single, and if you're a single woman with children, you're a single mother. Nobody cares if you have a boyfriend or fiance, are newly divorced, widowed, or have any other intimate relationship. But, if you're unwed with children, you're a single mother and, thus, are to blame for all the ills of the community.
Oh, and you should also know that you don't deserve love, fun, or even a career. Nope! What you deserve is to sit in the corner and lament over having a child with the wrong person for the rest of your life.
A running gag…
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