Root of the Problem (pt. 3)

For decades, single parenthood has been a serious problem in the black community. Only 30% of black children are born into two-parent homes, substantially less than that of any other ethnicity. That means about one in four black children won’t have the satisfaction of learning how to play one parent against the other to get what they want.

Something interesting found during a study done by the University of Minnesota, was that for 80 years, from 1880 to 1960, the proportion of black children living with a single parent held steady around 30 percent, “but in recent years, those figures have climbed to 63 percent.” We as black people have the most fragmented home structure which, in my humble opinion boils down to the lack of financial education within our community, coupled with the portrayed lifestyle we see so often in the popular media outlets we saturate ourselves with. Ultimately, these divided homes lead to problems with poverty, broken relationships, and eventually leaves our kids with scars that may never heal, furthering the generational backsliding. Sure, we could say that we’re only 50 years out from integrating with the rest of society, or that many of our parents are still learning to conform. Or we could blame our parents, unable to fully shake the memories of their segregated upbringing. All that aside, nationally known scholar Andrew Billingsley seems to explain this phenomenon best from this article:

“As early as the late 1950s, however, there were shrinking numbers of blue-collar jobs in central cities, where blacks were concentrated. In 1958, for example, black male unemployment became twice as high as white male unemployment for the first time in history. Unemployment, in turn, reduced men’s desirability and availability as marriage partners, Billingsley and others have argued. And at the same time, black institutions such as churches, schools, social and civic groups that helped sustain a sense of community were diluted by integration, black middle-class flight and social changes. The 1970s ushered in an era of growing acceptance of single parenthood, and welfare fueled the trend, they argue.”

Each of us are shaped by the unique experiences we endure throughout our lifetime, and I’m a strong believer in the notion that everyone, regardless of status, background, race or whatever other excuse has become standard these days; can better themselves, and come out on the other side of their situation. All it takes is one idea, one positive thought; to make up your mind and decide that you want to upgrade your circumstance, figure out what you want to do with your life and be pragmatic about the steps it will take to get you there.

Photo courtesy of: Kriku

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