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Thursday, October 20, 2005

About.com's Race Relations Guide Discusses Out of Wedlock Births and the African American Community - Printer Friendly

About.com's Race Relations Guide Discusses Out of Wedlock Births and the African American Community Out-of-Wedlock Births and the African-American Community

From Susan Pizarro-Eckert,Your Guide to Race Relations.
Marriage and Parenting in the Black Community
Eugene Cane (an African American writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) tackles the tough social question regarding single parenting in the African-American community. An issue, which he believes has an impact on everything from crime to education to poverty.

"Why are there so many out-of-wedlock births in the African-American community?" He asks, and presents statistics indicating that nearly 70% of black babies are born out of wedlock - surely an incredible figure.

Interviews with 162 low-income white, African-American and Hispanic women in Philadelphia are summarized and synthesized by sociologists Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas in a book "Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage," published by the University of California Press.

"Contrary to popular opinion," write Edin and Kefalas, "most 'baby mamas' don't become single mothers because they no longer believe in marriage. The reason is instead attributed to the lack of qualified candidates for establishing a family.

June Perry, Executive Director of New Concept Self Development, a non-profit social service agency offering programs for low-income families, agrees that "Many black women don't have a large pool of candidates for marriage due to social realities." Reasons for the limited pool include lack of employment, incarceration rates, and the general reluctance of black women to marry outside their race are highlighted.

Even Bill Cosby (much to the embarassment and ire of some members of the black community) has confronted the black community and caused controversy, chastising young black men for "beating up your women because you can't find a job," blasting poor parenting in the ghettoes, heaping scorn on Ebonics, and lambasting aimless blacks for squandering the hard-won gains of the civil rights movement.

As for a solution...well, the book suggests that it may be a bit more complicated than asking black women to change their minds and seek to tie the knot.

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