A recent story detailed how 90 teenagers in Memphis are now pregnant. (http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheat-sheet/item/90-teens-pregnant-at-memphis-high-school/epidemic/) The day before the story broke a buddy and I were discussing the state of the Black family. All things being her, she could not understand having children outside of wedlock. All things being me I could not understand having children without the means to support the children. The difference between my buddy and I is, I am actually a mother.
I understand the trials and tribulations of being a single parent. I knew when I told my son’s father he had to go what I was getting by leaving him and not terminating the pregnancy. The differences between myself and these young ladies are I was grown, educated, and had the means to provided financially for a child. My mother always preached to my older sibling and I the pains of having children and no money. What I later discovered as a single parent is the emotional and physical toll having a child. Hiring nannies and other caretakers only serves to increase the guilt of not being there 100% for your child. Having money and education should not be the only consideration when having children.
I have to wonder what is going on in the lives of these young ladies for them to consider a pregnancy. I understand what the emotional toll living amongst the economic disparity that can be found in Memphis may have on the psychological development of these young ladies. I have seen the pressure they face from within their own families. I am not calling for a redistribution of wealth to mitigate the issue. I am calling for some action that will allow those at risk to be made aware of the other options available to them. Turning to sex should not be an option in their play book.
Although I have yet to meet these young ladies, I am sure at least 30 of the 90 are the children of teenage mothers. I am sure at least 15 are the granddaughters of a teenage parent. I am sure at least 85 come from homes where the value of education is not preached daily. I am sure at least 80 come from homes where cursing and beating are more of the norm than hugs and kisses. I am sure at least 60 have been taught that hugs and kisses have a price tag, I am not saying prostitution just there is a cost. “Got to make that money honey” and “I got to see some cash if you want to see some azz” are a part of life not just lyrics to a song.
When I decided to start blogging and to allow access to my blog, I knew that many of the things I would say might not be pleasant to hear. However, I know what I say needs to be said even if the only benefit is to allow a discussion that changes my viewpoint. We can no longer pretend that there is not a problem within the Black community. When we began to celebrate the degradation of the Black woman, we allowed for the ruination of our community.
I probably should stop now but I am emboldened by the fake alcohol I am sipping as I type this soapbox rant. My buddy tried to put the blame of the current state of the Black family on the number of Black males in jail. I would hear none of it. Black women in America since slavery have often had to rear their children without the father being in the picture. Study after study shows that children from lesbian households are well adjusted, positive, productive members of society (http://bit.ly/ezmYLB). The disproportionate number of Black males incarcerated is not the problem. Degradation of the Black woman is the problem.
I am a part of the generation that brought hip-hop to life. We jumped, bumped, hopped, and twisted to bitches and ho’s. After a period of time, we the females began to sing of “being that bitch” or “yeah, I a ho”. As we sung of being bitches and ho’s, the values that sustained the Black family during slavery, Jim Crowe, and the Civil Rights era began to crumble. If you wish to destroy a nation, oppress it women. Tupac, wrote in Keep Ya Heads Up, “… got our name from a woman, we got our game from a woman”. Jewish orthodoxy only accepts as Jews those children born of a Jewish woman. To look at the Near East today, one would not recognize it as the cradle of civilization. When a woman is uplifted so is her nation.
Iraq prior to Gulf War I was actually a star in the crown of Muslim countries. Although a Muslim, in name only, Saddam allowed women to obtain an education. Those educated women from Iraq are some of the world’s finest in academics, science, and medicine. Iraq prior to Gulf War I was actually a wealthy nation. Look at the continent of Africa, while across the board holding down its women from north to south and east to west, it has not made itself wealthy from the bounty of natural resources that exist within its borders. Countries where women are uplifted have become very wealthy from the resources of Africa( my computer relies on an African natural resource). I give these examples to point to how the Black community is its own worst enemy.
The KKK, CCSC(ask Haley Barbour), skin heads, and other “I hate Blacks” organizations combined can not do a tenth of what we do to ourselves. I love hip-hop music do not get me wrong. I understand the frustration given a voice by artist such as BoB, Kanye West, Mos Def, Common, NWA, Chuck D, Queen Latifah, Sister Souljah, etc…… What I do not love is how we only hear the frustration and not the solution. We are quick to become adherents of the “make a dollar” and “I got a dollar” religion preached by the corporate owned fake azz gangstas on rotation at your favorite Top 40 station.
We spent so much time since the 80’s attempting to assimilate into an American Dream that is not even lived by this country’s majority population that we forgot the origins of our values. The recoding artist “Mario” was arrested last year for putting his hands on his mother(http://bit.ly/helQzz) . The untold story is his mother is an addict. When women, regardless of ethnicity, forget to hold themselves to a standard, you will see a people in trouble. The solution to our problem lies not in money but in lifting up the Black woman from her current status of sexploitation.
Do not get me wrong, I am sexy as they days are long during an Artic Summer, but there is more to me than sex. I refuse to be typecast into either the 70’s exploitation black female or the 90’s video vixen. I carry myself as my grandmother taught to me. That does not mean I am perfect, it means I carry myself in a manner that is appropriate for whatever setting I find myself. I pass along values to my son. The values brought over to the United States by my Liberian great-great grandmother. These same values that brought my family out of slavery, Jim Crowe, and the Civil Rights era to be where they are today. My son’s friends think I am strict and over-protective. I tell my son it is good they are thinking and I refuse to see him be anything less than the positive, happy, healthy, and productive member of society he was born to be.