“More than half of all black children live in single-parent households, a number that has doubled — doubled — since we were children.” ~Barack Obama
On Father’s Day 2008, Barack Obama spoke to the congregation of Chicago Apostolic Church of God on the subject of the absence of men in the lives of their children, more specifically black children. Statistically speaking, roughly about 50% of black children grow up in single parent households, minus the father. Also statistics have shown that some of these children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.
“Any fool can make a child, it’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father”~Barack Obama
I’ve never been one to look at statistics on a large scale and I haven’t decided if that’s good or bad as of yet. Personally, sometimes I’d rather look at the smaller scale, when it comes how I grew up and how my friends & some family members were raised. I would have to say, percentage wise, 60% of my black friends were raised in single parent households, by their mothers. That is definitely higher than the 50% of the nationwide statistics. I can also say, hese friends/family members that were raised in single parents households do not fit into the negative statistics that are thrown upon black single-household families. These people range from teachers, principals, attorneys, federal government employees and even an award winning actor. But I guess, the bigger question to ask is, what made these households different from the ones the statistics are based upon?
“Of all the rocks we build our lives, we are most dependent upon the family. We are called to recognize how critical the father is to that foundation”~ Barack Obama
I’ve always believed that, if there is only one parental unit in the household, it doesn’t automatically make it less successful than having two. It brings back the whole Hilary Clinton saying, “It takes a village”. When my parents divorced, my father wasn’t always around, but I did have strong role models in my uncles who always treated my siblings & I as if we were their own children. Growing up in our neighborhood, everyone looked out for each others children. It wasn’t uncommon to get disciplined by the neighbor or have them drag you by the ear to your mother when they caught you doing something wrong. But nowadays, you don’t see that happening. God forbid someone attempts to discipline or correct the wrong doings of someone else’s child. It could turn into an all out war between the adults.
Where do we begin in promoting two parent households within the black community? Who do you feel is responsible for the reconstruction of the black family?
On my must see list this weekend, is a documentary that will discuss these issues and many others. On Sunday, February 8th at 8pm, MSNBC will present a Black History Month special documentary appropriately titled “A Father’s Promise”. It will include a cross-section of African-Americans, including Al Roker, Tiki Barber, Newark NJ Mayor Corey Booker; Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Princeton Professor of Politics & African-American Studies and many others. The round table discussion will hopefully shed light on the issues at hand, but also offer a healthy discourse on solutions.