As I’m sure all mothers do, I worry about my daughters. Like everyone, my concerns range from their physical health to their happiness and emotional well-being.
By far, my biggest concerns are for their future.
I worry what we are teaching my daughters. Am I doing my part to teach them how to choose a partner that won’t abandon them when they get pregnant, or at the first sign of trouble? Or will my actions, my mistakes, result in their making the same errors in judgment that I did?
Beyond that, what are the boys that will someday be men- and possibly their husbands- currently being taught? Are they being raised in abusive homes? Are their fathers present in their lives? Are these young men being taught to treat my daughters as Queens, with all the respect they deserve?
Unfortunately, it is a very real concern that my babies may wind up in some very painful, destructive life-relationships. The have several “risk factors”- they are the product of divorce, they have witnessed their father’s varying degrees of abusive behavior, they have seen me struggle and freak out as a single mother- and have witnessed more of my own mistakes than they ever should have. In addition, as beautiful black-women-in-training, they have the weight of a broken, wounded society on their shoulders. Not only will they have the responsibility of thriving in an unforgiving and unfair world, but they will ultimately be charged with selecting a man to share their journey with.
The men they will have to choose from are young boys right now, who by and large were born into unmarried homes- currently, that number is over 70% in black families. Boys who are being raised by over-stressed single mothers, and likely- MOST likely- have no fathers around to help with the load (according to the numbers, more than half). Boys who, like my daughters, struggle each and every day, next to their mothers, seeing a scary side of the world that they never should have had to experience.
My daughters are part of a generation in which black men are more likely to be shot than they are to graduate high school. This generation is one in which 10% of black males, aged 25-29 are incarcerated.
I love my heritage, I love my daughters’ heritage, and I love that as black women they will be among the most beautiful, gifted, strongest people on earth. I would never dream of changing their race if given the chance- only their circumstances- circumstances that both myself and this society allowed to become theirs. While I will love and accept my daughters no less, should they choose non-black men as their partners, I would be so proud if they were to choose a wonderful, loving black man. Studies show they’re likely to marry within their race… and that is one statistic that I am not disappointed to read. I love all people, and have the blood of no less than three races coursing through my own body. If my children choose to marry outside or their race, I pray that such a decision would be a matter of the heart, and not because all of these sobering statistics proved true, and they had little, if any, choice.
For them, for my daughters and your sons, we all need to do our part, and start fixing this.
*special thanks to Roland S. Martin, CNN.com for providing the numbers