I was getting my daily Jezebel fix this morning when I ran across their story chronicling the many Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie marriage rumors. It seems that Us Weekly recently reported that the couple would finally tie the knot this September. The story was quickly jumped on by several mainstream news outlets (i.e. the Los Angeles Times), however People magazine is reporting that the rumors are just that…rumors
Whenever I read about Brad and Angelina the story is always the same—they’re great people who do great humanitarian work around the world, they love their bustling brood, and they are committed to one another. The interesting thing about the Pitt-Jolie household, or rather how they’re viewed, is that no one makes a big deal about the fact that they are not married. Sure, the media keeps pining for a wedding, but no one has (to my knowledge) wondered aloud about why Angelina’s shaking up with Pitt without a “commitment.”
I often wonder how this couple—with all of their out of wedlock kids—would be viewed if they were Black.
I can see it now. Angelia would cease to be Brad’s partner, and she’d quickly become his “baby mama.” People would stop speculating on a wedding, and start wondering about how she could let that man keep getting her pregnant with out a ring.
Judging from the comments on this site and others, when sisters like Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Nia Long, and others who have had children within the confines of committed non-marriage relationships are discussed, the conversation isn’t about how wonderful it is that they’re raising their children in happy, committed homes. No, it’s about how “pathetic” these women are for continuing to have kids without a commitment. I mean, can’t they just keep their legs closed? Or so the thinking goes.
Last month, writer Demetria Lucas wondered the very same thing. In her piece, “Why are Unmarried Black Mothers Labeled ‘Baby Mamas?’” Lucas pointed out the disparities in how White celebrity unmarried mothers are treated and discussed compared to their Black counterparts.
I wonder what all the highfalutin faux-concern is really about. It’s not like we have any reason to believe any of them are unfit mothers or that we’ll end up paying for their “irresponsible” actions. As a matter of fact, we don’t have any personal investment in how their kids turn out. The outrage really isn’t even about morals. If it were, we’d also call non-Black women such as Angelina Jolie, and Kourtney Kardashian “baby mamas,” instead of humanitarian, and non-traditionalist. So what is this fanfare about?
I wonder the same thing. Why are we (Black folks) so quick to question the morals, values, and choices of Black women, but are slow to apply the same logic to others?
And before you even fix your fingers to respond, I know the counter argument already. Many will chime in and say that because 70% of Black children are born to unmarried moms (although this number doesn’t delineate who is, in fact,” single”) we have to hold these women accountable.
And to that I say, how is that working for you?
How is knocking down a woman, questioning her judgment and ability to make her own choices making a dint in that startling number?
The simple answer is…it isn’t. By placing unmarried White mothers on a pedestal, while simultaneous knocking Black mothers who make the same choices, we are perpetuating the idea that Black women are somehow loose, immoral women. The reality, however, is that we’re making the same choices and living the same life as everyone else.
What do you think, Clutchettes and Gents? What’s up with the double standards?
*Photo courtesy of FlynetPictures.com