Black Voices

'72 Percent' Documentary Confronts The Black Community's Single-Parent 'Epidemic'

There is one number that is always mentioned in the discussion of black children born out of wedlock: 72 percent.

Estimations place the growing number of children born to unwed mothers in the 70th percentile of the black population in America. The documentary ‘72 Percent,’ “takes a hard look at the single mother phenomena in the African American community.”

The documentary aims to analyze “beyond catastrophic” statistics through a discussion of the effect of welfare policies, social norms and celebrity examples on this “disturbing epidemic.”

Director Jeremy Batchelor also follows the story of a single-mother who shares her perspective of the struggle to raise her three children without a father.

However, not everyone agrees with the premise of the moral decline "epidemic" argument. Critics argue the use of this statistic perpetuates an assumption that children born out of wedlock don't have fathers involved in their lives and ignores other reports concerning the black marriage rate. Ta-nehisi Coates has criticized this conversation and responded by breaking down the numbers:

As you can see the drop in the birthrate for unmarried black women is mirrored by an even steeper drop among married black women. Indeed, whereas at one point married black women were having more kids than married white women, they are now having less.

I point this out to show that the idea that the idea that, somehow, the black community has fallen into a morass of cultural pathology is convenient nostalgia. There is nothing "immoral" or "pathological" about deciding not to marry.

‘72 Percent’ can be purchased at the Moguldom Studios website, on Amazon or iTunes.