If I had a dollar for every time a single mother got blamed for the problems in the African American community, I'd be rich.
If I had two dollars for every time someone said a single mother's problems would be solved with the addition of a man to the household, I would be even richer.
With some inner-city black communities like Chicago in shambles, conversations often turn to blaming the stereotypical view of the black single mother--the black mother having numerous kids living on welfare. And it is true that 66% of African American families are single parent families, according the United States Census Bureau Data. However, unwed birth rates have declined for black and Hispanic women, according to the Center For Disease Control.
The choice for single mothers to better themselves through higher education has also increased.
According to a journal article in The Future of Children website,
The share of unmarried parents experiencing at least some form of post- secondary education has also increased significantly over the past few decades, though the change has been more notable among unmarried mothers than fathers.
The Institute for Women's Policy Research, operated out of George Washington University published a fact sheet in November 2014 that also shows single mothers' strive to better themselves through education. According to the fact sheet,
Over a quarter (26 percent) of all undergraduate students, or 4.8 million students, are raising dependent children.1 Women are disproportionately likely to be balancing college and parenthood, many without the support of a spouse or partner. Women make up 71 percent of all student parents, and roughly 2 million students, or 43 percent of the total student parent population, are single mothers. Single student fathers make up 11 percent of the student parent population.
So, don't believe the hype.
For years, single mothers have raised valuable and productive members of society: Tyler Perry, Halle Berry, Samuel L Jackson, and even President Obama. I have seen single black mothers in my life, sacrifice, gain trade certifications, get college degrees, and rise above the stigmatized view of single mothers in society. I have not observed it to be true that the norm in inner-cities is the "irresponsible black single mother."
There is a lot to consider when being in a two parent household. Every man (or woman) is not capable of being healthy for a child. This can be seen in the recent case where 9 year old Tyshawn Lee was caught in the crossfire of his parents' decisions.
Lack of education, domestic abuse, self-hatred, gang affiliation, drugs, and so much more is plaguing our communities. Telling single mothers to stop having babies by "no good men" is counterproductive and does not speak to the bigger issues of the community. It is a sort of guilt instilling and finger pointing that does nothing more than to tear a group of people down.
How long can we keep blaming single mothers' poor judgement for problems in inner-city black communities?
No matter the environment, a child needs to be nurtured, encouraged, guided and shown how to become a productive member of society. And single mothers have done this for decades. This does not devalue the place of a positive male role model, but the negative perception often perpetuated in society does disservice to the countless single mothers making do, sacrificing, achieving, and producing promising future leaders.