[ Guest Blog] The Demise Of The Black Household [Written By Shandell C.]

The Evans family from Good Times. Bern Nadette Stanis is second from left.

In this day and age, being a single parent is the new “normal.” Marriage has been a declining institution among all Americans and this decline is even more evident within the Black community. In 2014, only 29% of African Americans were married compared to 48% of all Americans. Half or 50% of African Americans have never been married compared to 33% of all Americans (Blackdemographics.com). We live in a society that casts out single parents as if they are invisible and unwanted. Statistics from 2015 show that 84% of the women in America are single mothers and 16% of the men in America are single fathers. According to U.S. Census Bureau,3 out of about 12 million single parent families in 2015, more than 80% were headed by single mothers. Today 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 — a total of about 17.4 million — are being raised without a father4 and nearly half (45%) live below the poverty line (Singlemothersguide.com). Why is being a single mother stigmatized? Before technology and media, women were taking care of children alone while men would go hunting for food, clothing, and to trade goods with other countries or communities. Women would be left for extensive periods of time to raise their families alone.

So why does society feel that it’s ok to oppress a single parent? I am going to offer my blunt but honest opinion and it may seem offensive, but facts are facts. Firstly, the African Americas household is no longer a strong front. It is broken, tattered, and in need of some major fixing. I grew up with a father who worked to make sure that we had food on the table and clothes on our backs. My mother had nothing more to do but to make sure that we were all taken care of and that our home was always taken care of. My father would say to me “a man is supposed to work to provide for his family and the woman is supposed to take care of the household.” Now in 2017, the regular man doesn’t want a woman to take care of home, they want everything to be 50% or more. Women and men are not seeing the reasons for relationships and marriage; some of them come into relationships just strictly looking for security. This is where love is missed and the problems began.

If you live in a household where nothing but bills and money is discussed, then when do you have time for pure love? This generation does not have the mentality to make a house a home, they settle because society says that’s what you’re supposed to do. Find the first person who is interested in you and settle without courting and falling in love! We don’t date anymore; we text and communicate through social media. Most me have it embedded in their heads that they don’t have to take care of their responsibilities. If a woman decides to keep a child then it all falls in her hands and the man can just go about his life. What happened to the days where, if a woman becomes pregnant then the man steps up to the plate and does what he must for his family? It’s so normal now in the black household for a woman to bear all responsibility for the family because this new generation of men is too infatuated with themselves that they can’t see the bigger picture.

No, I’m not just going to sit and bash the black man. There are a lot of women who only mess with a man so that they can get pregnant and reap the benefits. Some women gain a lot of financial security by having babies. They have child support, food stamps, medical assistance, TANF etc. Some women just don’t want to do anything but collect a check from the state and sit back while the child suffers because the father is not in their lives. Another problem is that it’s so much easier to walk away than to fight for something. We would rather get on social media and bash each other when things go bad, then to be face to face and trying to work out the issues. Communication in the black home is nonexistent. It has become ok to break up with someone or to argue about your issues through text messages. There is no more compromise. Let’s be honest, how many relationships have you been in where you broke up through text without attempting to compromise or find the underlying issue?

So how do we expect to raise a family if we can’t even communicate?  From the jump, the black family was picked apart.Of course, our ancestors tried to instill in us the strength of a family. As the world evolves, the demise of love continues. Television and media show our kids that it’s okay to be the second woman, it’s ok to be promiscuous, and it’s ok to lower your standards. Radio is teaching our sons that it’s ok to disrespect women, it’s ok to womanize, and its ok to not take responsibility. Put that together and you have babies with no family values, no structure, and no love.  My advice for this generation of men and women is to take a good look at yourself and ask “Do I want my children to be like me or do I want them to be better than me?” If you know better then you will do better.