How Do So Many Women End Up Becoming Unwed Single Mothers?
Alarmingly, two thirds of the Black children born in the state of Georgia are born to women who are not married. Regrettably, the statistics for other states are similar. Why is there such an alarming number of women ending up unwed single mothers? Yolanda Young, author of the memoir, On Our Way to Beautiful, answers this critical question. Would to God that every girl and woman would heed this crucial insight…
Poor Choices Create 'Baby Mamas'
Fantasia Barrino, last year's American Idol winner, has a song moving up the Billboard R&B chart that is becoming an anthem for single and unwed mothers.
The lyrics of Baby Mama bemoan this fate as unfair, yet promote it as a "badge of honor." There is little honor, though, in these congressional findings:
Nearly 24 million children (34%) live apart from their biological father.
Nearly 70% of black youths don't live with their father.
Forty percent of those same black youths have not seen their father in at least a year, and 50% have never visited their father's home.
Children not in contact with their father are five times more likely to live in poverty and twice as likely to commit crime, drop out of school and abuse drugs and alcohol.
Girls who grew up without a father are more likely to become pregnant during their teenage years.
The majority of violent criminals were raised without their fathers, according to numerous studies.
My most vivid memory of my father is seeing him shoot my mother when I was 4 years old. Thankfully, she survived. Her marriage, predictably, did not.
After being sentenced to probation, my father left the state; I had only sporadic contact with him thereafter. He seldom visited, phoned or paid child support. As such, the lasting impression of my parents became: father, proverbial bad guy, mean and violent; mother, innocent and long suffering.
But what strikes me most is not my father's pathology, but rather my mother's poor choices; a reality that society doesn't properly acknowledge or combat.
When she met him, my father was already a high-school dropout with a penchant for Jack Daniels. Age 18 and naive, she thought her love could change him.
Obviously, it didn't.
And though I had an army of "father figures," my mother's father and her seven brothers attended my graduations and cotillions, taught me to pedal and drive and bought me dainty dresses and birthstone rings; they could not fill the hole of the absentee father.
And though my mother remarried and changed her last name, mine, like my eyes, will forever be linked to my deadbeat dad's.
"When you learn better, you should do better," or so the saying goes.
Indeed, women should not selfishly allow the desire to procreate overshadow their ability to care for a child.
We must be committed to giving our children fathers who are responsible, supportive and present.
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Yolanda Young touches the hearts of ten million Americans through her nationally syndicated column, "On Our Way To Beautiful." The Howard University and Georgetown University Law Center graduate teaches Sunday School at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington, DC. Before leaving the practice of law to write full time, Yolanda worked for the National Football League Players' Association, the United States Senate and the Democratic National Committee. She received a small projects grant from the Washington, DC Arts Commission based on the literary promise of her book, On Our Way To Beautiful. In the summer months Yolanda finds refuge in baseball parks, and during the winter, anyplace warm.
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