…to raising other folks’ children. I’ve been sitting on this one ever since I saw the CNN article about black women adopting as single parents. This commentary might be even more unpopular than the one about taking relationship advice from men. Probably not a smart move a week before my new book comes out, but hey, I’ve never been one to avoid controversy.
From time to time I get emails asking if in light of the dire marriage statistics for black women and even worse ones for children in foster care, if it’s a good idea to simply adopt a child. I always tell them, it depends on what you want. If all you want is a child, and not a husband, then by all means adopt as a single parent, with the understanding that you’ve greatly increased the likelihood that you will never get married.
I have to assume that black women have given up on the notion of marriage altogether. Nothing else could possibly explain why we would even consider doing something that will greatly decrease our prospects of finding sustainable relationships. Look, men are looking for playmates, not a problems. They want someone who’s going to make their lives easier, more fun and add value to it. Children are a liability mighty clouds of joy not an asset, especially when they’re not yours. Nobody but a fool goes out taking on ADDITIONAL liabilities mighty clouds of joy that they don’t have to. I’ll give it to you straight: your salad days are very brief. And nothing kills your looks like running around after a bunch of bad-ass children. Nature gives you your best looks when you’re young and fertile to help you attract a mate and perpetuate your gene pool, not for slaving over children that aren’t yours. Don’t waste the pretty, trust me, it’s all too brief. It’s one thing for a man to see a woman wearing herself out to perpetuate HIS gene pool. Quite another to see her doing the same for kids that aren’t even his, OR hers.
As I read the CNN article I came to a realization that someone at that network seriously has issues with black women. By doing the article that they did, they reinforced the notion of black women as unlovable creatures fit only to raise other folks’ children. What does that sound like to you? Sounds like a return to slavery to me, complete with brainwashing and propaganda to convince black women to take on even more bullshit that’s not our problem. I also shudder to think about all the black women out there who are struggling with a martyr complex thinking that this is a good route to take. In my opinion, not so much.
First, I worked in social services for years. I’ve seen plenty of black women worn out trying to raise other folks’ children. Some of those women were in my own family. Raising other folks’ children is significantly harder than raising your own. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. It simply is. I’m sure an anthropologist could explain why, but I’m here to tell you from experience that just being in the foster care system is enough to make a child crazy, and no matter what they’re always going to want their biological family. Call me a selfish bitch, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to feed a child for 18 years only to be told that they want to go find their ‘birth mother.’ Yes, it’s a shame, yes it’s a pity and I feel sorry for those children, but not sorry enough to bring them to my home and risk my own family and happiness.
I understand that the notion appeals to the matyrdom complex that so many black women labor under. We’ve been pushing our own needs aside for generations in the interest of maintaining the black community. Well guess what ladies, that black community so many of us are so invested in, doesn’t give a good hot rabbit’s foot about us. If you believe otherwise, just witness the reaction in the community to the atrocities that are visited on black women on a daily basis. Our rapists are given scholarships to Morehouse. Our civil right’s organizations, yeah, the same ones funded and carried by us march on behalf of those who commit crimes against humanity in our homes and murder our children. It’s well past time to stop drinking the goddamned Koolaid and start thinking about our own survival.
We have been conned with the notion that if somehow we manage to ‘save the race’ we’ll finally earn the love and respect we deserve. Uh no. You earn respect by putting your own needs first. When you spend all your time carrying water for others, they come to expect it as their due. They assume that you’re behaving this way because you’re less than they are and they treat you accordingly. Nobody loves a doormat, and that’s what black women become when we take on responsibilities that are not ours. Face the truth, most of the children in the system are the children of black men. Do you see them lined up trying to take on other folks’ children? Again, that would be no. Take a memo and behave accordingly.