Sardonic Sistah Says

Observations… Ruminations… Ponderances… & Rants from Another Perspective

Will the Black Family Make a Comeback in 09?

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One of my favorite sites to hit up are Black Celeb Kids.  It’s one of the best places to get an innocuous gossip fix although it’s really just gratuitous pics of adorable black children sometimes with their parents (who can be either black or white).

Which leads me to wonder if the black family will make a comeback in the New Year?

Black women were doing the single mother thing when solo mothering wasn’t cool.  Now that a lot of other women are doing it (generally older with biological clocks ticking like a time bomb) being an unwed mother isn’t all that unique.

I think we should drag the black family out of the closet, dust it off, and wear it out like it’s the new hotness.  If anybody can bring back marriage and family with style and panache its black people. 

Many are hoping that with a high profile black family like the Obamas it just might happen.  Unlike the Bushes, they will have young children in the White House.  They could be the leading example of a 21st century family who also happens to be black.

“Across all races and income levels … the Obamas are seen as the American Dream,” said Patricia Stone Motes, a family researcher at Clemson’s Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life. 

Reality television is also providing examples, albeit hyperbolic ones.  On Discovery Health they have the Harris family with Chris and Diamond heading a family of seven children (one 12 year old and six five year olds).  And on Bravo the Real Housewives of Atlanta was their highest rated  in the Housewives series (I’m kind of coming around to NeNe, although of the wives she’s the most interesting.  She reallymakes the show.)

But will seeing black families on television and in entertainment magazines be enough to push black folks into jumping the broom in mass numbers?

Over 50 years ago the idea of black people being married wasn’t so odd.  For a short period of time in the 1950s African Americans had the highest rate of marriage.

Fast forward to the 21st century and black women are the least likely to get married and 70% of black children are born out of wedlock.

Things looked so bad to author Maryann Reid that a few years ago she began a nonprofit organization called “Marry Your Baby Daddy Day.”  On September 10, 2009, she plans to foot the bill for 10 couples to get married.

Ms. Reid disdains the idea that black men aren’t interested in marriage, citing the large number of calls from black men when they learned of the free wedding.  “I’ve come to believe they just don’t have the encouragement to get married,” Reid wrote in the Christian Science Monitor 24 April 2006.

Black women are also leery of jumping the broom.  A young divorcee with children tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the definition of marriage has changed for the better.  Women are no longer encouraged to stay in unhealthy marriages and can focus on education and careers before settling down.  Or they can have kids without husbands. 

 “I’m happy. I’m not married, but I’m a happy woman,” she said.

If the black family unit with two parents added is to make a comeback then it has to be revamped for the benefit of all involved, not just the children.  Both the women and men need to come together to decide what type of families they want to create before they begin creating them.


Written by rentec

7 January, 2009 at 12:38 am

One Response

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  1. 2010 marks the 45th anniversary of the publication of The Moynihan Report, a controversial document analyzing the conditions of black families in America. The goal of the report was to communicate ways in which our nation can achieve “the establishment of a stable Negro family structure.” In light of this blog, how have we accomplished or failed to accomplish better conditions and resources for black families? What should we be doing to help bring back the idea of family to the black community?

    Tonight on Basic Black, our panelists will examine the state of black families over the past nearly half-century since The Moynihan Report. Join us tonight at 7:30 on WGBH (Channel 2) or online at, where you can also tell us your thoughts on our live chat.


    3 June, 2010 at 2:33 pm

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