On The Perils of Having a Single Black Mother

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Photo courtesy of Madamenoire.com

Are children of black single mothers less likely to thrive today? Yes, if you would ask someone who has no connection to a household with a black single mother or the U.S. Census. Being raised by a single black mother provides a unique environment for growth. Not only was my mother a black single mother but also a teenager, she had me at the young age of 14. Whoa if I wasn’t a statistic waiting to happen. 

America has labeled black single-parent-homes as a terrible, unhappy, poverty stricken household and the mother married has a great one. That wasn’t the case for me. Society hasn’t caught up with the changes in family structure. I am honest to admit there are some negative outcomes that can be related to black single mother homes but I think there is a bigger picture to address. It’s convenient to blame the single black mother. There are some advantages to living with both parents; I just don’t think living without one is a huge “threat”.  To even use the word threat to describe living with a black single mother is hilarious to me. My experience was unique, there were some days when I questioned the dynamics of my household and some very happy days were I couldn’t imagine any one person (being my father) could significantly enhances that feeling. Being raised by a single black mother has intensified my independence, which some close friends could argue is my downfall. My mother singleness has insinuated independency.  Men held little value in my mother’s life. Manly duties around the house were done by us. “You don’t need a man, Ebony” is a statement I heard my mother say daily. From this perspective, yes being raised by a single black mother is harmful. There wasn’t much room for public service in my household. My mother still doesn’t quite understand why I am pursuing my education in Nonprofit Management. I don’t think my mother has ever volunteered at a shelter or did any community service. Even though we were not participating in community service, she never failed to teach us ideals and values you gained from public service.

by Ebony Wiggins

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3 Comments

  1. Korbin Miles

     /  March 20, 2014

    HELLO! I really connect with this piece. I grew up with a single mother as well and I believe that growing up with that experience has shaped me to be a good person and a hard worker. I have two sisters, my mother did everything by herself. I am lucky to have grown up with supportive grandparents and aunts who have also been there. Growing up with a single mother is by no means a threat to a child. I believe what is threatening is growing up in a household with parents that hate each other. Children thrive in an environment that is full of love and respect. When a single parent gives their all in order to provide or their children, I don’t think there can be a better sense of love then that.

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  2. Danielle Palmer

     /  March 20, 2014

    There are so many social and economic barriers that truly make it hard for woman of color to have the nuclear family that is so desired. But, with that being said, just because a household is run by just a black mother does not mean a child cannot thrive. I do believe that it creates additional hinderances that could negatively effect the child but having a black single mother raise you can be just as rewarding as having both mom and dad. The issues do not start with the single, black bother; there are bigger issues to address.

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  3. Kelsey Evans

     /  April 4, 2014

    I grew up in a single-parent household for most of my life, but I still had a relationship with my father. The independence that my mother taught me was not rooted in the belief that men were not valued, which I think is something that hurt women often do [insert Jill Scott’s The Fact Is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McMsaLb8Fgw%5D. I knew that both of parents loved me but they could not co-exist and raise children. Period. Both of my parents are important to me, but they each play a different role in my life. I suppose the single-parent argument is subjective in every case, but we need to get rid of the notion that all children who grow up in these homes are doomed for failure. Success should not be standardized according to statistics and social norms.

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