A passionate conversation erupted on Your Black World about baby mamas, baby daddies and sisters raising children without a father in the picture. People talked, and argued, about this. It is very important to critically examine these issues, but this was a conversation taken up on the wrong terms.
70% of Black children are being raised in single parent homes, most of them by single women who have never been married. That’s serious. But these numbers don’t exist in a vacuum.
The context for this is the disappearance of legitimate ways to maintain stable families in inner cities across the US. Outside that context, you end up approaching single women raising most Black children as a behavior problem of Black people. Then you prescribe Bill Cosby type solutions of Black people needing to get their acts together. This is blaming the victims for the problems created by the system that oppresses Black people.
Let’s ask the right questions here. Why are many Black children being raised without fathers in their lives? Why do so many of these children end up in poverty, with higher drop out rates? Why are they more likely to end up in prison? All this results from the way the capitalist system works, together with conscious policies put in place by the people who run this country, not from Black people’s behavior problems!
Chasing after profits, capitalists have moved factories and jobs to countries where workers can be worked harder for less pay in more dangerous conditions. This leaves inner city youth facing futures where jobs at living wages have just about disappeared. Even jobs at fast food places are scarce because older workers who have lost more stable jobs are increasingly taking them. And the educational system in these communities has been geared to fail our youth.
On top of this the criminal “injustice” system targets Black and Latino youth. With laws, police practices, judges and prosecutors who disproportionate arrest, convict and imprison our youth. These are the reasons for rising numbers of single parent households and of youth being raised in poverty and dropping out of school. Young Black women and men didn’t create these conditions. They didn’t leave millions of young people to grow up in the inner city without legitimate ways to maintain stable 2 parent!
In this context, condemning women for having children with men they don’t plan to marry comes down to blaming people for things that have been done to them. The same can be said for condemning “dead beat dads” for not supporting their kids. This amounts to accepting the oppression the system inflicts on Black people and shaming people for not denying segments of their humanity to fit into the limits this oppression puts on them.
Are millions of poor black people in the inner cities supposed to stop having sex because the system has no avenues for them to be able to support the children who might result from that very human activity? Good luck with that approach. And before anyone says they should practice safe sex, remember that conservative politicians are working to limit access to birth control and abortion.
We don’t have to accept the terms of the system, with baby mamas & baby daddies becoming the norm for parenting. And millions of children raised in poverty and facing high drop out rates with prison looming in too many of their futures.
Things don’t have to be this way. Thru revolution we can break out of sisters having to do whatever to raise children alone, brothers being unable to contribute much to their children because they’re out of work or locked down in prison. And break beyond shaming both for getting caught up in the trick bag the system has forced us into. We could open up a bright future for Black youth and everyone else too, and end all the horrors this system enforces on people here in this country and around the world—the attacks on women’s rights, the government spying, the wars for empire, the millions of children worldwide who die every year from disease and starvation. It will take revolution—nothing less to end all these horrors.
Revolution is possible. The leadership for it exists in Bob Avakian. The party he leads, the Revolutionary Communist Party, has developed the plan and strategic approach needed to get ready for revolution in a country like this. I have been involved in building a movement for revolution as a representative of this party.
This is the understanding that led me to join with Cornel West in 2011 to launch a campaign of civil disobedience to stop “Stop and Frisk” and to form the Stop Mass Incarceration Network to fight the slow genocide of mass incarceration. Our youth deserve better lives and a better future. They shouldn’t be raised in poverty, and facing futures of dropping out of school, unemployment, low wage jobs, prison and the like. Shaming people facing and responding to conditions they did not create isn’t the way to work on bringing that future about.
Young Black people do need to get out of what they’re into and get into something else. But that something else is fighting the powers that have enforced these miserable conditions on us, and on the majority of humanity. They need to join the fight to stop mass incarceration and the attacks on women’s rights to abortion and birth control. We need to challenge them to do this, but that challenge needs to recognize that the conditions they’re in aren’t their fault!
Carl Dix is a long time revolutionary leader. He can be contacted via Twitter at: @Carl_Dix; via Face book at: Carl.Dix. You can access his writings at: www.revcom.us.