Thursday

Single Moms: How Much Do You Owe the Black Man?

UPDATED!!!

Okay Kimberly Sears Allers,

I've been trying to hold my breath on a few things, because it hurts me how women are so divided on "the issues"...and you are a Sista blogger...but I feel like I'm about to burst after I caught wind of your latest piece, Single Moms: It's Black Father's Week.

I happened upon your site last year sometime and came across a piece that had something to do with child custody or visitation--which were issues that I didn't even know Black families were dealing with [in the family court system]. There was a response piece written by a Brotha, in which he was saying that Sista's were pushing the men away [from raising their children]. I was completely floored by both articles. However, in solidarity, I didn't comment on them.

And then you surprised me with your Mother's Day post:

"Maybe it was wrong of me to expect that after seven years of marriage, two children and a no-drama-from-me divorce, that the wasband could have at least sent a “thanks for keeping my kids alive bi-otch” text message on Mother’s Day. Or given the kids $20 toward their own Mother’s Day efforts.

Given the skimpy or non-existent child support, the inconsistent visitation and my continued efforts to make sure he stays involved in the children’s life, I think a small thank you would have been in order."
(I tried to leave a comment but you have Blogger's embedded comments below post, which is faulty, so it doesn't function for me.)

I thought the post provided a bit a humor, but more so, I felt really sad for you because it seems like you, and many other Black women, go all out of your way while this "man," your babydaddy and ex-husband, has utter disrespect for you AND your children. And I am so tired of our women doing this. There is no U-N-I-T-Y if you're the only one doing.

Check out the comment by a reader of your post:
Even though the marriage is over and we are not currently in a relationship, I am taking care of my kids and helping him with his two boys also. With that said, I didn't get any kind of acknowlegement from him.
WHAT? WHAT? These men are practically shitting on us and yet we continue to be there for them? What does this say about us? Why do we feel the need to hold the family together to the exclusion of our own needs?

I continue to watch Black women try for years to salvage relationships....lowering our standards...having no standards. Many a man interested in a relationship with his kids only if he is still tappin that ass. Many a man being with a woman that's "got her own," and another woman, and another woman...and he ain't got shit...not even good enough to provide babysitting while we hold down the fort. Our Black men have been using us as stepping stones as they continue to embrace the Eurocentric racist, classist, sexist ideas that permeate our society. We always come last.

*

On to your current piece:

I must first say that I had no idea that there was a special week for Black fathers. I have no problem with honoring fathers--men who are doing great things, not just what is expected.

But you begin your article with some very problematic material:
Remembering the importance of black fathers is so important in our community, where black women are disproportionately single parents. According to census data, 45.4% of black homes are headed by a single female, compared to 13.7% for whites and 22.3% for Latinas. Other studies show that black children are eight times more likely than white children to live with an unwed mother.
Must we remember Black fathers because Black women are single parents? Something about that doesn't quite seem right.

Does "headed by a single female" truly mean that there is no father in the household?

What is the real problem with a home headed by a single female? Can't we honor different family structures, or must we be obligated to uphold dominant standards which have sought to restrict us since slavery?

Isn't the problem poverty and access to resources?

The basis of your article is what you state here:
If you're one of these single moms, like I am, I want to talk to you about the importance of keeping your "wasband" in the picture.
I know you have good intentions with this statement, however, as we Black women continue to get the shortest end of the stick in society, this is mistake. You are emphasizing that we women should take care of this situation when it should be the exact opposite. If a father wants to be a father, he is going to do so and it will be evidenced by his actions.

What we are doing is treating the Black man like a baby (Baby Boy...LOL), crippling him, enabling him. We can offer encouragement, but as soon as we began doing the work, we end up having to continue to do the work for him. In the end, we are still blamed, and he still escapes responsibility.

You write:
I've seen too many black single moms let off a triumphant, "My child doesn't need his father." "Her father doesn't deserve to see her." And it just isn't true. And we should never want that to be our truth.
I understand what you are saying, however we should respect a mother's tolerance and her ability to know when enough is enough. And mothers are very patient people. Why should a mother put her energy into forcing a relationship when that same energy can be used to do something else for her child? You mention the many things that you do to keep a relationship between your children and their father and it seems rather exhausting. Involving the father should relieve some of these burdens...but at the end of the day, you are still a single mother, and not many single mothers have that much to give of themselves, especially when poverty is a factor.

I know you said you do it for the kids...and I respect anyone who goes with the flow and let's their children form their own conclusions...but what does it teach them about relationships? You said your daughter, who is older, already sees her father for what he is, however, your own actions may confuse her at some point. How will she treat men? How far will she let things go for the greater good but possibly at a cost to her self-esteem?

And your son, who is younger, is still "giddy" about daddy. What does this teach him about what is acceptable in a relationship? How will women have to accommodate him as he ages and possibly views this as the standard?

Raise our daughters, love our sons?

Regarding your friend who is also a single mother, you write this:
But outside of a child being in some sort of physical or emotional danger, there isn't much reason, in my opinion, to keep children away from their dads.
However, your friend cites, according to you, "character issues" and "lack of responsibility--both of which can be emotionally dangerous to children. Your friend is trying to stave this off. Mothers are instinctively protective of their children so that children not only live, but thrive. And there is always the possibility that she is not telling you the entire story. http://www.dvinstitute.org/media/publications/FactSheet.IDVAAC_AAPCFV-Community%20Insights.pdf

Unfortunately, the quote you included from your mother, is just another outdated, woman-blaming, patriarchy-constructed utterance,
"Well, you picked him and you slept with him."
Which would be akin to,
You wore that outfit, so you wanted to be raped.
*

If you have never read anything that I have written about, please try to understand the viewpoint from which I am speaking. White men are exploiting our Black families for their own personal gain and to continue to hold ALL women down. We usually use the music industry as our main example http://race.eserver.org/misogyny.html, but it runs on a larger scale than that--It's called the "Responsible Fatherhood Initiatives."

When it comes to raising strong, confident black children and revitalizing our communities -- we need for everyone to play their parts, act responsibly, support one another, and respect differences.



I found this article, Black fathers missing in action and had to present it. Excerpt:
I know I have talked about this before. I will keep harping. Black fathers -- for that matter, all fathers--need to step up, raise their children. If you are separated from the mother, go see your children regularly.
Well, not so much an excerpt because he really didn't write much else. But this is part of the problem: "Go see your children?" "Regularly?" Kids are not routine doctor's appointments!!!



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