Perceptions of the Black Family: Will They Change?
While I was considering dedicating this post to Mrs. Obama’s fashions on Inauguration Day, I wanted to write about something else instead. I wanted to write about the implications of The Obamas as America’s First Family and how it will hopefully affect America’s perception of the black family in America. In case it wasn’t obvious in my previous post, I was channeling Toni Morrison’s most famous protagonist, Pecola Breedlove from The Bluest Eye (a must read!). I decided to write that post in that way because Pecola was a young black girl who often fantasized about having blue eyes because she thinks that having blue eyes are instant beautification. She also thought that having a family much like the white family her mother works for and devotes all of her love and affection towards would give her instant happiness, but the opposite happens.
Therefore, my previous post is a dedication to the fictional character in terms of context and content. With the Obamas in the White House, they to me represent a beautiful black family. Hopefully no longer should this formula hold up in the mind of a black child :
husband + wife + same house = white families
For so long, I have felt that the American black family has been depicted as entirely in shambles. The Obamas are an exception; not since the fictional Cosbys has a black family been given such positive attention.While it is true that majority of black children are raised in single parent homes, the fact of the matter is that there ARE black nuclear families out there. There are black families out there with a mother and father. This baby mama culture that we are conditioning our young children to believe has got to stop. And when I say that, I am not in any way disrespecting the many single parent moms out there, because I have several friends and family that fall into that category. I know that there are black women and men out there who didn’t ask for their situation to be that way. However, what I am saying is the black community needs to dispel this idea that teenage pregnancy, for example, is okay or that having children out of wedlock is okay. I feel like marriage is more taboo nowadays than having children out of wedlock. Am I the only one who feels this way????
And I guess this is the only conservative view I have, (maybe two), but I’ve seen the effects of not having two parents in the household- and it does affect the black family educationally, socially economically and even psychologically. According to Child Trends Data Bank, In 2006, only 35 percent of black children were living with two parents, compared with 84 percent of Asian children, 76 percent of non-Hispanic white children, and 66 percent of Hispanic children (source). THIS STATISTIC IS CRAZY!!
I also know that there are some women out there who have developed the, “I can do it all by myself” mentality after being forced (in some cases) into single motherhood, but the fact of the matter is, having a child raised in a loving two parent home is beneficial (emphasis on loving, because that’s crucial). Furthermore it is worth noting that I DO NOT believe that today’s social ills in the black community is based on the fact that majority of black families are headed by women. I can’t agree with that statement, however, what I do believe is every child is at an advantage when they are raised in a loving household with a mother and father who are married and equally contribute to the development of their child. This is my opinion, feel free to disagree, but I’m tired of seeing teenage girls with babies and no fathers around, in their lives and their babies lives too. So to make this long story short, I hope that the Obamas serve as in inspiration to my generation and the generation under me; that black nuclear families do exist and we must take accountability for our responsibilities.