Thursday, November 02, 2006

Enough of this selfishness: Time for black men to act like men

WOW! Did just the title alone make you sit up straight in your chair? This is an article written by Mary Mitchell, a columnist for the Chicago SunTimes. I have included it below in it's entirety. Please read and then let's discuss!

Black man, it is time to get married. No more pathetic excuses about not being ready, or not being able to get along, or not having a good enough career.

In the old days, when a man got another man's daughter pregnant, the father would march the expectant father down the aisle at the end of a shotgun. We don't believe in forcing couples to get married these days.

And look what's happened.

At the rate black men -- many of them fathers -- are not marrying, the entire race may be at risk.

Here are the simple facts, according to credible research:

African Americans are significantly less likely to marry than are whites. Only 50 percent of African Americans born between 1960 and 1969 were married by the age of 30 (compared with 78 percent of whites).

African Americans have higher rates of divorce than do other racial and ethnic groups.

And because of lower marriage rates and higher divorce rates, African-American women are about half as likely as white women to be married at any one time.

But marriage is no longer a moral issue.

It is an economic one.

According to research found on the Web site for National Healthy Marriage Resource Center, "marriage is clearly linked to economic, psychological and social benefits."

African Americans who are married have more money and higher-status jobs than unmarried African Americans, and the economic benefits of marriage for blacks may be more important than they are for whites," researchers found.

This is not a lot of right-wing mumbo jumbo.

In fact, the next time a politician starts downplaying this problem, notice the wedding ring on his finger. Just about every high-profile civic leader today is or was married, and made the effort to raise his children in a two-parent family.

That goes for the political rock star, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, too.

But when was the last time any black leader made a pitch for marriage? More of them have defended same-sex marriage than have pointed out that the lack of marriage is destroying the black community from the inside out.

This is not a ghetto problem.

There are a lot of educated black women who should have been at the altar a long time ago. Instead, they settled for the challenges that come with raising children alone.

It wasn't always this way.

In 1970, African-American and white marriage rates were statistically comparable, says Edward Laumann, professor of sociology at the University of Chicago and author of "The Sexual Organization of the City," a landmark study that looked at sexual behavior in black Chicago neighborhoods.

"Over the next 10-year period, the rates just dropped like a rock," he said. The causes for that drop included "stagflation," he said.

"Inflation was going up and the economy was stagnant in areas like Chicago, and one argument is that this hit the black male population very hard. So their ability to take on the role of principal breadwinner was compromised. At the same time, there was a fairly big rise in the incarceration rate of black males and an increase of males who had felony convictions, which lessened the willingness of another party to marry them," said Laumann.

While that explanation makes some sense, it doesn't account for the educated black men in their 30s and 40s who have children out of wedlock and are still juggling other relationships. These men aren't committing, either.
"Black men are more permissible about extra-marital relations and about two-timing women and that sort of thing. They now are in a buyer's market and they can demand a price," Laumann said.

Their price is pretty high.

Black women are waiting longer and longer to walk down the aisle. By the time some get there, they have already had one or two children. If the children are by different fathers, these women's lives are further complicated.

Common sense should have told us there would be consequences for this selfish behavior.

By now, so many blacks have ignored the warnings about the harm caused by the absence of black fathers that those consequences are now overtaking communities in the form of high dropout rates and senseless violence.

Black man, this is not an attack. It is a black woman's plea.

We are tired of seeing our daughters travail in such sorrow. We are tired of watching our grandchildren cling to fragile family ties. And by now, we are clear:

Politicians can't fix this problem. Preachers can't fix it.

There's only one real way to ensure that a black child has the best chance to succeed in this life.

Black man, marry your baby's mother.


Still with me? Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:51 AM

    I agree there is a problem. However, getting pregnant should not be the only reason to marry. Sometimes we get caught fooling around with Mr or Miss Right now and not the right one. If you chose to have the child it should still be a joint venture. I do not understand how someone can walk away from achild. Especially when that child is yours.

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  2. Noteworthy2:24 PM

    This is a little close to home for me. Im a single mother who has constantly been asked and even wondered on occassion when will I get married?!
    What is wrong with this picture?
    Well, personally my attitude is sure one day it will happen. The real question is do I want it to happen? Now a days and Im keeping it real here folks. Marriage is just another dependent someone else to give of yourself to whom your not sure is capable of giving in return and if they do is it really what you want that is if you know what you want.
    To some degree we all grow up with this perfect picture of the right way to live life.
    Graduate keep your virginity go to college, get a career going and find yourself "THE" husband.
    well... We all know in most cases it doesn't work out that way.
    Even as a single mom I dont blame myself or the cocreator of my seed for my situation looking back it was and still is the best decision I could have made. Can I be man or teach how to be man. NOPE and I dont want to try either, but I can take it upon myself to expose my child to every resource I think would be a key component is life skills. Some not all, Black men havent been black men for some time now but that is not where WOMAN's responsibility ends.
    Stronger than most and filled with hope. Peace & Blessings

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  3. Nikki Woods3:10 PM

    anonymous: you are so right. thanks for stopping by.

    noteworthy: Come on with the come on! Very well said. I enjoy reading your comments.

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