From The Grio — By Sophia A. Nelson All of us know the daunting statistic that 72 percent of black children in the U.S. are born out of wedlock. This crisis has become so stunning, that everyone from Bob Herbert of the New York Times to Bill Cosby, and President Barack Obama have lamented about the need for the black community to step up and do something to bring our families back together with one man, one woman and children joined together in matrimony as a family.
Some have gotten so outraged by the statistics, that this coming Tuesday, September 22, 2010 “100 bloggers” of note will join forces for a project titled “No Wedding, No Womb!” started by blogger and social activist Christelyn Karazin. The goal of this project or should I say movement is to force a dialogue in the black community about why this is happening and how we turn the corner on solutions that create a positive, loving and nurturing home for black children.
Although, I agree wholeheartedly with President Obama, Ms. Karazin and a host of others on this important issue; the truth of the matter is that it just isn’t that simple anymore. One of the issues that we must talk about in the open is the issue of the gap in the black community between the poor, working poor, middle class, and educated class because there is a stark contrast in why a teenage girl in say Camden, New Jersey has a baby out of wedlock versus why a woman in her early 40s, who is successful, independent, owns a home and is unmarried may chose to have a baby out of wedlock.
I also think we need to talk candidly about how many couples are now co-habitating (in and out of the church mind you) versus traditional marriage. These are the unspoken issues that we need to focus in on, because they lay the foundation for the new “family values” of the 21st Century.
Like it or not, we all know that there are simply more black women than black men in America. According to 2007-2008 Census Bureau stats there are approximately one million more marriageable black women than black men. When you add in college education and or a professional degree that number becomes more lopsided.
Black women have had to “redefine” the rules of the game when it comes to becoming mothers and building families. The sheer math, if you choose to exclusively date and mate with black males is not in our favor. This is critical to grasp, because many black women like me are either choosing to adopt, or use other means of becoming mothers on their own “out of wedlock” because the stigma of being a self-imposed single mom has lessened greatly. The rationale is: I can afford kids, I can get a nanny, I will have my family’s emotional support, and that of my girlfriends to get me through the tough times as a single mom. I have seen it with some of my friends and considered it all myself.