Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blaming Women's Lib for Black Single Mothers

This was really rich. Bill Cosby and Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint went on Meet the Press this morning to discuss their new book, Come On, People: On the Path from Victims to Victors.

TIM RUSSERT: What happened within the black community that we got to a point, since 1950, where 70 percent of the children are born with single parents? What happened?

DR. POUSSAINT: Well, I think all kinds of things. Some of it has to do with the fact that things changed for women with the women’s liberation movement. In the past, there was a stigma if you had—a big stigma if you had a child out of wedlock. That’s not true anymore for, for white women or black women. So a lot of the black women do not feel compelled to get married. And then the other issue is the availability of black men and whether they’re eligible to be married. You have so many black men incarcerated, so many black men unemployed, underemployed. In colleges now, black women outnumber black men two to one. And so the chances of hooking up in a marital relationship in the way our society works is more difficult. So I think that’s changed as well.

I find this just hilarious. First of all, feminism wasn't always exactly Black-friendly. The women's suffrage movement was more accurately the White women's suffrage movement -- Susan B. Anthony didn't want to go overboard with the equality. And Betty Friedan's discovery of the feminine mystique, a discovery that may very well be one of the greatest achievements of feminism, didn't apply to lower-class women of color who couldn't afford to stay home. Black women were left out of the women's movement, and some still feel that way.

Furthermore, did Dr. Poussaint imply that there's no stigma to having a child out of wedlock anymore? That's news to me! Single motherhood is still a stigma. This especially applies to women of color, since every little socially unacceptable thing that a brown woman does is attributed to her skin color. If a Black woman is strolling a child in the mall, you don't even have to check her left ring finger to see if she's married -- she's just another Black welfare 'ho draining the system. White women might get similar crap, but people usually give them the benefit of the doubt -- maybe she's a divorcee.

He is right about the women's movement letting us know that we don't have to get married. And we certainly don't have to marry the -- how did Dr. Poussaint put it? -- "incacerated, unemployed, and underemployed" dudes. But it seems like he believes this is a bad thing.

But what was that about Black men and women in college? According to him, because there are twice as many Black women as Black men in college, these women just won't be able to find a mate. Maybe, just maybe, women, even Black women, can marry whoever the fuck they want. Maybe Black women can marry, for example, a Hispanic guy. Maybe the Hispanic guy is in BSU. Maybe the Hispanic guy is President of BSU. Now how 'bout that. Perhaps such a phenomenon completely blows Dr. Poussaint's mind.

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