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.

Lucas questioned:

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

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  • KC

    Let’s be honest with ourselves – the vast majority of single-mother black women are not that way by choice, but rather through circumstance.

  • Girl

    damidwif, I’ll judge whatever I want and what the hell do you know of what I say about men? who says Im against vasectomies? Alot of men should be eunuchs as far as Im concerned. So because one relationship doesnt work, that means we should have a OOW baby result from every relationship we’re in?

    Funny how black folk foam at the mouth bringing up The Lord when it comes to homosexuality/transgenders/abortion but when it comes to them having bastards all over the place with no fathers around then they get defensive and yarn dust about judging. Spare me the BS.

    Tired of the pitiful excuses making those of us who do have common sense look bad.

    Some marriages dont last. so bloody what? An ex-wife gets more respect over a bbaymama all day EVERYDAY esp in the eyes of the law. But keep playing yourselves and ranting about “but angelina isnt married either! waaah!”

    • Isis

      lmaoooo ur funny but I agree!!!

  • C in Cleveland

    I’m completely convinced of the benefits of marriage, so there’s no need to sway me. Only one poster really brought the next point home. I remember this issue being addressed in a Sociology of Afr. Am. Culture class from my freshman year. At the time, I felt indignant about the moral and socioecon. consequences of OOW births. Thinking of the problem culturally has greater significance than assessing fault. There’s two main factors that come to mind, the latter is probably the perpetual result of the first. I’ll admit that this assmt is limited to the simplest of terms and most apparent among low-income to working class folks.

    The pairing between black women and eligible black men is terribly disproportionate, so who will bw marry? We already know the reasons eligible black men are unavailable, so I won’t waste typing. Bw continue to date bm, even less elig. bm, resulting in pregnancies. They’re not going to stop dating just because fewer men are available. Because the imbalance is already understood, there’s less of an urgency to pursue marriage. Plus the men are not in a position to support the woman or child, so the incentive for marriage is diminished. For many bw, the prospect of marriage is unrealistic. Not because they’re unworthy of marriage, but simply the numbers are too skewed.

    As a result, bw are much more likely to accept lesser circumstances, because the pickings are slim. The cycle continues as everyone adjusts to the imbalance. Nothing new here, but I think this cultural perspective removes the condemnation without excusing the dysfunction.

  • I’m utterly disgusted at the malicious and cattiness between the women on these comments. You have got to be kidding me. I am a people person and I am always more indulged in the comments of an article than the actually article. Its a first hand look at where the topic is headed. But good god I am embarrassed after reading through. What I look for is insight but I discovered more of condescending tones on their insight of the conversation.

    I think you ladies should re-valuate the subject at hand instead of attacking one another’s beliefs and opinions. That of course is the inevitable but still besides the point.