Closing Your Legs, Wagging Your Fingers.

In her book, Private Lives, Proper Relations: Regulating Black Intimacy, Candice M. Jenkins writes extensively about “the salvific wish,” — “a desire to protect African American culture and persons against pathologizing stereotypes of sexuality and domesticity… a concern with heteronormative propriety that has dominated the black cultural imaginary and representations of black middle-class life in the twentieth century.”  We see this play out all the time. Consider how often the Huxtables are invoked as templates of an idealized black family, or how Obama’s election kicked off a wave of commentary about how the First Family might prompt more people to marry the parents of their children.

The No Wedding No Womb event,  in which dozens of bloggers wrote essays lamenting the high number of black children born out of wedlock, is just the latest example of such. Because there are so many different writers involved, it’s hard to really summarize all of the nuance. But the official website is heavy on assertion — there are lots of suggestions that x has led directly to y as if those things are self-evidently true — a lot of which sounds unsettlingly like David Banner‘s notorious quip that positive societal change was predicated on black women closing their legs.

There are reasons besides the push’s barely masked antifeminism to be ambivalent about this whole endeavor. The movement has the stunty feel of holding funerals for “nigger” or stomping on hip-hop CDs (‘member those?) with explicit lyrics; it’s taken a tricky issue and reduced it to a bunch of folks being showily indignant. As with those media events, the organizers seem to believe that they’re forcing folks to have important but uncomfortable discussions about some pressing social issue. (Let’s leave aside for a moment the fact that these things always spark soul-crushingly stupid discussions.) As Monica said on the podcast a few weeks ago, “culture” is a complex system of responses to a certain environment, of which personal choice is only a part. You can’t really change broad social trends by appealing to people’s feelings; you have to actually change the conditions that inform the calculus by which people make the decisions they make. It’s annoying to have to even say this, but keeping black men out of jail or bringing up high school graduation rates or whatever might actually require more complex solutions than getting enough people to wag their fingers really, really hard.

One last point before I return to blogging silence. We should lament that these conversations are always framed as conversations about “black issues.” Every trend that disproportionately affects black folks in the aggregate does not affect all black folks everywhere, nor does it play out in the lives of  all the affected black folks in the same ways. I’m not interested in being the arbiter of who gets to weigh in on which conversations, but it’s worth remembering that growing up in a two-parent, middle class Seattle home doesn’t mean that a person’s Negritude grants  some special insight about the forces that shape the lives of folks who live in the projects of East New York.

Note: The organizer of the NWNW event ran this entire post on her website without my permission. When confronted about the reproduction  (via Twitter, since I could not find another way to get in touch with her), she responded that this post contained the NWNW logo, and that by using it here I was effectively doing the same thing. She didn’t see the difference between a logo meant for dissemination throughout the blogosphere and wholesale reproduction of someone else’s work. She has since modified the post on her site, although she has also deleted her part of the Twitter exchange.



Gene "G.D." Demby is the founder and editor of PostBourgie. In his day job, he blogs and reports on race and ethnicity for NPR's Code Switch team.
  • I wish that all conversations about the “problems” of single parenting could be shelved so that we could start talking about the real problems, which are mostly about the complete lack of social and governmental support for people who are poor, uneducated, addicted, and/or traumatized/mentally ill. It’s not having kids while young or single that’s the problem; it’s that people who are living in fucked-up situations or who are themselves fucked up really need lots and lots of help if the kids are going to have a chance to “overcome” their parent’s disadvantages.

  • April

    I guess the proper Internet thing is to say, “This.” Wholeheartedly agree with every point.

  • I think y’all are confusing “no wedding no womb” with “no wedding no sex.” And I wouldn’t be surprised if that is what many of the conservative participants of “no wedding no womb” did but that is not the point of the movement at all.

    I am a sex-positive feminist and I support no wedding no womb.

    • I think y’all are confusing “no wedding no womb” with “no wedding no sex.”

      Do point out where I’ve done this. Thanks.

      • young_

        You sort of come across as doing that when you describe the NWNW movement as “just the latest example” of the “salvanic wish” and equate it with moral puritanism, no? I’m sure that’s a large part of some folks’ motivation (just like it was a long time ago, for DuBois and other prominent voices), but it seems awfully convenient to frame it as a primarily moral movement, especially when some of them have gone out of their way to condone responsible, premarital sex.

        • again, where have i done this?

          • young_

            I’m no good with internet coding, so I’m just going to cut and paste the first sentences of your first two paragraphs(I took the “such” in the second one to refer back to the first– I apologize if I’ve misinterpreted somehow):

            In her book, Private Lives, Proper Relations: Regulating Black Intimacy, Candice M. Jenkins writes extensively about “the salvific wish,” — “a desire to protect African American culture and persons against pathologizing stereotypes of sexuality and domesticity has been expressed as a salvific wish, a concern with heteronormative propriety that has dominated the black cultural imaginary and representations of black middle-class life in the twentieth century.”


            The No Wedding No Womb event, in which dozens of bloggers wrote essays lamenting the high number of black children born out of wedlock, is just the latest example of such.

        • quadmoniker

          Who are they to condone anything? I think that’s the big point you’re missing. Condone actually sorta means moral policing: “Accept and allow (behavior that is considered morally wrong or offensive) to continue.”

          I’m not sure that you’re reading the quote from Jenkin’s correctly — since she’s arguing that prejudices about sexuality and domesticity are behind the move to enforce bourgeois norms — but, that aside, this hasn’t so far been a “movement” in which I see people handing out condoms and advocating expanded access to family planning services.

          • young_

            It doesn’t seem like you’ve understood my point, so I probably should have been way more clear. There are plenty of legitimate, non-moralistic reasons why people want to reduce the rate of single pregnancies in the black community, and these have been repeatedly raised by many of the NWNW bloggers.

            For example, the best available social science evidence, although *far* from conclusive, suggests that children raised in households with two parents have better outcomes than those who do not. And I assume that the hardships of single-parenthood, especially for families without means, are so obvious as to not even warrant discussion here.

            Therefore, reducing the efforts of NWNW to some puritanical urge to enforce “bourgeois” norms seems baseless and overly-dismissive.
            The fact that they are not anti-non-marital sex further undermines that interpretation of their efforts.

            In a perfect world, growing up in a poor or working-class single-parent household would not be a disadvantage. In that perfect world, we could eradicate racism, ensure that all families received equally excellent childcare and educational opportunities and all lived in safe, crime-free communities surrounded by supportive neighbors and exemplary role models. Because we don’t live in that world though, I can’t understand why it is such an inherently bad or anti-progressive thing to publicize the possible risks and disadvantages of single-parenthood and to advocate that people avoid it if possible.

            • quadmoniker

              Because, again, that’s not what this nwnw thing is doing. No one’s saying single-parenthood is great and easy; you’re arguing with a strawman. G.D’s post objects to the language and the way it’s being done. You’re right that bloggers might have differing viewpoints, but the moralistic lanuage starts with the title.

            • I agree with you that it’s absolutely possible to argue this on non-moralistic grounds. Now if only the NWNW organizer — who among other things, retweeted some noxious pushback against Ta-Nehisi Coates’s take on their movement criticizing him for not marrying his partner — would do that.

              (Sample post: “Sisters, Why Are You Throwing Away Your Value?”)

              • young_

                @GD- Fair enough. I erred in giving some of the NWNW folks the benefit of the doubt early on. Having read more material, I’ve become less and less impressed.

            • If you want to solve the problem of poverty among Black mothers and kids, the answer is pretty damned simple – put more money in the pockets of African American women.

              There are a bunch of different ways to do that – job creation programs targeted at working class and poor women in the ghettos, affirmative action programs that open up good paying male dominated jobs to women who’d be otherwise working poverty level pink collar jobs and, of course, higher welfare benefits.

              Those would work if reducing poverty among African American women and kids is the goal.

              If the goal is to shame Black women into marrying the men they had kids with, even if those men are abusive, or unemployed, or are already married or in a long term relationship, or bisexual, or in the state prison or are otherwise just not good husband material, then this whole “No Wedding No Womb” foolery is a good approach.

              And by “good” I mean misogynist.

              The bottom line is, Black single moms need society’s assistance and concern.

              They don’t need to be lectured on how they are bad women just because they didn’t marry the man who got them pregnant.

              Fox News does a good enough job of that – they don’t need upper class Blacks helping them!

  • exactly.rightly.on.point.

  • young_

    By the way, cultural tendencies can be quite sticky in that they initially develop as a reaction to particular social environments and constraints before eventually becoming internalized and self-perpetuating. However, I’m not sure why that means that people can’t be encouraged to modify their behavior through appeals to reason or emotion. Culture does not make particular behaviors inevitable or unavoidable– it just makes them more likely to occur and more difficult to address.

  • Downtowndiva

    I am always confused by posts such as the one on this website. The idea of discussing and taking steps to reduce Out of wedlock birth has little to do with morality, policing sexuality or even marriage per se. It’s a actually practical step to reduce poverty. T

    The only single parent homes that fair well are those where the mother has 1) consistent outside support or 2) the means hire such support. Most single mothers are poor or if she’s middle class a few paychecks from poverty. Moreover, while she’s working overtime to take care of the children, who’s monitoring them–their eating, their homework, their friends. Two “concerned and engaged” parents, married or not, better than one.

    Personal responsibility seems to be a dirty phrase. Bottomline in terms of importance, whether you are female or male you shouldn’t have children that you can’t afford to take care of. There is no government policy that will EVER be enacted that will counterbalance instability in a child’s home.

    People get sidetracked with “marriage,” when in truth it’s about creating children with a partner where you both are committed, for the long-term, to your own advancement and that of your offspring.

    Whether the stats are 68% or 72% OWB who gives a damn? The reality is that the vast majority of Black children are floundering and negroes are having pseudo-intellectual conversations about sexuality policing, patriarchy and reproductive rights.

    Marriage isn’t a cure-all for anything. Black folks learning how to form stable relationships and raise children within them however is a damn good start to ending poverty and raising the prospects of all Black children.

    • April

      I’ll respond with an abbreviated version of what I posted on the NWNW site: the NWNW movement contains an underlying assumption that black women don’t see the inherent value in stable relationships and that their sexual practices are somehow aberrant from the “good,” “common-sense” practices of white folks. You assert here that black people are basically at the remedial stage of Relationships 101:

      Black folks learning how to form stable relationships and raise children within them however is a damn good start to ending poverty and raising the prospects of all Black children.

      Could you please provide support for this argument? I’m all for “personal responsibility,” but until someone comes up with proof that black people somehow have much less of it than everyone else, then simply telling them not to be dysfunctional isn’t really going to do anything.

    • How is the group taking steps to reduce out of wedlock births? What are they advocating other than marriage? It’s right there in the title. If people are getting “sidetracked” with marriage, it’s because the whole damn thing is called “No Wedding, No Womb.”

      Moreover, you’re arguing with points no one has made. No one has said the life of a single mother isn’t difficult.

    • If you read the CDC’s report which is where most of the information NWNW is using seems to be coming from (e.g. 72% out of wed lock and the fact that single mothers are more likely to be poor) it says EXPLICITLY that women who are poor as single mothers were typically poor before. In other words, being a single mother isn’t likely to make you poor, but being poor is more likely to make you poorer if you have a child.

      I think that’s something that’s important to note. Regardless of whether women have babies or not, the underlying issues of poverty such as living wage and education reform must be solved before any real change can happen.

    • How exactly do you “end poverty” by shaming low income women into marrying the unemployed fathers of their children? It seems like you’d just be shuffling the poverty around into a form that the more bougie oriented in our community might find more socially acceptable

      Basically, if the Respectable Negroes behind NWNW got their way, and poor Black women married the fathers of their kids (no matter how unsuitable for marriage they may be) we’d be making Black poverty look more like Mexican immigrant poverty.

      Is that really a step up?

      If you care about helping poor Black moms, the solution is more money, more jobs and better paying jobs for working class and poor Black women, not trying to revive a dying social institution that, quiet as it’s kept, is also in decline among working class Whites and US born Latinos as well.

  • All of the bloggers writing NWNW posts may not be in it to shame Black women for out of wedlock sex or for otherwise having “loose morals,” but some definitely are. That’s not even the most offensive part to me, though. I think it’s pretty presumptuous to hold marriage out as the gateway to prosperity, social responsibility and your contribution to “black culture” and society as a whole. I’m sure we could all sit around and talk about people who partner, choose not to marry, and have really good lives. The NWNW “movement” ignores those who dont’ see marriage as an option for their lives. Not to mention it’s terribly heteronormative.
    I just hate these “movements” anyway *shrug*

  • Kjen

    These types of “dialogue provoking” campaigns are as much for the creators of the campaign as it is for the people whose actions they are trying to change. Its a way for them to blow off steam (most people are genuinely frustrated), but not having any deeper under standing of the issue, pretty much all they can do is talk and lecture others.


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  • damidwif

    Damn. This is the most intelligent thread I’ve seen thus far on the manner.

    Kjen–totally on point

    “For example, the best available social science evidence, although *far* from conclusive, suggests that children raised in households with two parents have better outcomes than those who do not.”

    Young, be careful with this. Social science research attempts to conform society by nature of those who are performing the research and those who are “studied.”

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  • Reader

    It seems to me that a lot of the people who are agreeing with your post haven’t actually been on the NWNW site and read the essays for themselves. These are essays from black people, some of whom fall into the single mother category, speaking out about what the feel is the underlying factor as to why so many Black Americans live in poverty. In no way is having safe sex anti-feminist. At the very least its pro-feminist since one of the items that helped with the momentum of the feminist movement was the invention of birth control. It may not be as black and white to say that broken families has lead to the state of Black America, but it can be inferred that there is a correlation between dysfunctional family units and the current state of Black America.

    • Look, the cause of the present widespread Black poverty was the mass layoffs of Black men from unionized factory jobs in the 1980’s.

      It had nothing to do with unwed motherhood or morality or anything like that.

      Corporate America made a business decision that Black men were too militant to have in the unionized labor force and the corporations were better off relying on rural White labor and/or sweatshop labor in Mexico and other third world countries.

      Not surprisingly, shortly after these mass layoffs went into effect, you see a decline in Black marriage rates – and in the Black birthrate.

      This is an economic question, not a moral one, and shaming poor people into getting married isn’t going to magically recreate those high paying union jobs that were taken away from Black workers 30 years ago!

  • Reader

    Please excuse the typos!

  • Look, the custom of traditional patriarchal marriage is breaking down all over the western world and has been for decades. This is seen most dramatically among the working classes and the poor. Since African Americans are disproportionately working class and poor – and as a group we have the highest female labor force participation rate of any population on the planet – of course we’re going to have a very low and rapidly falling marriage rate.

    Why is this a problem?

    Marriage at it’s heart is a sexist and patriarchal custom anyway, first of all – if women have the freedom not to marry and are still able to support themselves (via jobs or welfare) why exactly is that so terrible?

    Anyway, why should a woman have to marry a dude just because she had a kid with him?

    Maybe we should trust her judgment that he wasn’t husband material, and leave it at that!

    If the issue is childhood poverty then we need better social programs, higher welfare benefits, more jobs for young mothers, government funded daycare and affirmative action so women can get higher paying “mens jobs” they are currently locked out of.

    I care about lifting kids out of poverty – I really don’t give a damn if the mothers and fathers of those babies are legally married.

  • renee

    What I find amazing is that you would condemn a group for telling black women to get married then have sex because it reduces the problems caused by single parenting, and in the same blog you have people who want to take more money out of my pocket, to pay for the children those women would not have had, if they listened to the NWNW advice.

    How about this, I will keep my eyes off your womb (and all other body parts) if you keep your hand out of my pocket.

    • Look, you’re going to pay taxes irregardless.

      What would you rather pay for – higher welfare benefits for poor African American women and kids, or more missiles and bombs to be dropped on Afghanistan?

      I know what I’d rather pay for – what about you, Renee?

      • ralph kenol

        It doesn’t appear to me to be a good strategy to assume that there will be welfare benefits for poor African American women. I predict that as the country becomes more diverse, such benefits will be harder to get not easier. Lastly, there are some behaviors that are going to serve you better economically. They should be promoted.

        • Ralph, you seem to be blaming the victims of poverty (in this case, African American women and their kids) rather than challenging the system that creates poverty (American corporate capitalism).

          The problem is, there are no individual solutions to the social problems of poverty.

          As I said above, even if every Black single mother “married her baby daddy” all you would accomplish is to make Black poverty look like Latino immigrant poverty (poor married couples instead of poor single men and poor mothers with dependent children).

          Honestly, do you really see that as an improvement?

          Or is making the African American poor look more “respectable” more important than viable ideas that would actually reduce poverty by putting money in Black women’s pockets?

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  • ralph kenol

    The line of argument that many single black women were poor before they had children out of wedlock seem pretty pointless to me. What is the point there really? That since they were already poor they should continue behavior that maintains and perpetuates poverty? There also seems to be a strange detachment in the discussion. Almost as if none of us are actually living the reality of the 14-18 year old dysfunctional children causing havoc in our community? Denying the actual dysfunction of 70% odd percent out of wedlock births and a 50% male dropout rate in some communities is, well, dysfunctional. I guess what I am curious about is what some us have said and would say to our children. Here’s what I hope to say to my daughter: Don’t have sex with no bum ass people! Don’t have sex with anyone who you are not prepared to have involved in your life in you should become pregnant. Btw, it’s the same thing I will say to my son.

    • “Behavior” doesn’t cause poverty.

      Not having enough money does.

      People like you trying to make the poor look respectable by bullying and shaming them into archaic, patriarchal and dying institutions like marriage really don’t help matters much.

      Shame is not a good basis for good parenting or social change – nor is class baiting people as “bum ass”!

      • Eva

        Behavior does cause poverty. If I drink and take drugs and can’t work then I’ll be poor.

        However Gregory, you make a good point when you mention the loss of factory jobs in the 1980’s. What you did not mention is that black men were shut out of many trade unions, which not only shut them out, but their children as well, since many of these jobs are passed from parent to child. I think what you’re saying is that if black men don’t have jobs that can support their families, they won’t be “marriage material.”

        Perhaps what the discussion should be is why are so many women filled with such low self esteem that they would have children with men who have no future? Why have a baby with a man who already has two or three children by two or three different women? That’s my question.

        • this is wild simplistic:

          If I drink and take drugs and can’t work then I’ll be poor.

          a lot of people are taking a lot of liberties on causation. maybe they take drugs and drink because they’re poor?

          (it’s alos worth noting that studies show that Americans use drugs about proportionally to their place in the populations. That is, there’s no evidence that black people use more drugs than white people do. If it were as simple as drugs causing poverty, poverty would be proportional too. it isn’t.)

        • young_

          Cosigning Eva’s third paragraph.

          And although her example wasn’t great, yes, behavior does “cause” poverty, probabilistically, in that certain behaviors like discontinuing one’s education and dropping out of the workforce, for example, make it far more likely that a given individual will end up poor.

          • it’s hard to know even where to start here. dropping out of school may not make sense if you’re college-bound or middle class. but the arguments for the poor *not* doing so need to be much more compelling than the assertion that you’ll just be better off if you finish. students attending failing schools leave with reading and math skills wholly insufficient to the kind of jobs that would allow them to move out of poverty. What’s so annoying about this is that it assumes that people making these decisions aren’t adhering to a logic that makes sense for their lives. If you want people to opt to finish school or whatever, the benefits of doing that need to be clearly superior to the consequences of not doing so.

            the issue with the waiting until marriage to have kids also pretends that poor black women are likely to ever be married. should they just never have kids, since they’re likely to always be poor?

            again, this movement — which btw, has been limited to its founder yelling on twitter about her haters — seems long on “You should do this!” while not offering a compelling case for why that set of choices is a clear example. “don’t have kids out of wedlock, or you’re more likely to be poor!” well, if you’re already poor, it sorta sounds like having a kid effectively changes nothing.

            as has been said a million times, kids from single-parent homes are more likely to start off poor; they’re not poor because they came from single-parent homes.

            • young_

              I don’t follow- are you saying that dropping out of school is economically-rational for poor people? If so, are you basing that on anything?

              I also don’t understand how having a baby “effectively changes nothing,” You (and Gregory) seem to be suggesting that being poor more or less dooms someone to remain poor indefinitely. If so, I think you guys are really underestimating the potential of individual agency and behavior to help some people achieve better or worse outcomes. Having a baby at a young age, without adequate support, makes life a lot more difficult and cements the disadvantage of many women, making it that much harder for them to escape poverty.

              BTW, I agree with your criticism that the NWNW “movement” has been poorly conceived and implemented and will remain ineffectual as long as it is centered around useless twitter/blog opinion pieces.

  • Danyaile H

    As an African American woman I am aware of the challenges our community continues to face. I believe it is important for individuals of my community to make a conscious effort to defy stereotypes of our culture, particularly those of African American women. I concede there are alarming rates of children born out of wedlock, single motherhood, as well born to teenagers/young adults. These three factors increase the likelihood of poverty; therefore (amongst several other reasons) it is crucial these issues are addressed.

    Despite my personal understanding and passion of reforms, I am completely outraged at the idea of this “No Wedding, No womb” event. I agree this is completely the wrong approach. I think this campaign will be ineffective and may cause more controversy than actual improvement. Afterall, in my private Catholic school, lessons of abstinence proved to be useless considering the constant and high rates of promiscuity in the school. My point is, whereas I understand the efforts, I strongly believe this “preaching to Black women” will be a waste of time, energy, and money. It may bring awareness to the issue but as you mentioned if we want to solve some of the “black issues”, high prison, false imprisonments, school dropout, discrimination and poverty rates might be a better place to begin.

    In addition, I do see this to be an antifeminist act. This is placing total responsibility of this out of wedlock children on women with no regard for the role the male plays in the situation. These women aren’t impregnating themselves…why are they the only ones to get the sermon about what to do with their legs?

    I like to believe our society has come a long way in terms of equality, and prejudice, however, I find this “No Wedding, No Womb” to be racist, sexist, and ridiculous. These are issues that need to be addressed but I suggest we go back to the drawing board for solutions. This simply is not the answer.

    • I agree with your opposition to NWNW – but I think your analysis on the cause of Black poverty is incorrect.

      AS I mentioned above, Black poverty begins to skyrocket in the 1980’s, around the time that major American corporations (Chrysler, US Steel, GE ect) began mass layoffs of their unionized factory workers that disproportionately affected Black men.

      This is also around the same time that we see the beginnings of the mass incarceration of Black men related the war on drugs.

      Suddenly, in every major US city, there are less good paying jobs for Black men – and more Black men in jail.

      Not surprisingly, shortly thereafter we see a fall in Black marriage rates, a fall in the Black birthrate (that nobody ever mentions) and a rice in the remaining Black babies being born to unmarried couples.

      This had nothing to do with a decline in African American morality and everything to do with a decline in African American incomes.

      This is a money question, not a morality question, sister!

      • young_

        Your arguments seem to rest on a series of false dichotomies. The fact that structural economic change increased urban poverty is not at all inconsistent with the fact that single-parenthood tends to perpetuate poverty and increases downward mobility. The fact that some people want to encourage women to be more conscious of the ramifications of their sexual decision-making is not at all inconsistent with arguing that the government and the rest of society should also provide poor people more money and resources. Your argument seems to assume that because there are structural and societal forces that are responsible for increasing black poverty and racial inequality, that it’s hopeless for people to adapt behavior that might be conducive to escaping from poverty (or helping their children escape).

        As I said in earlier comment to GD, I think that framing this stuff as some sort of a plot to advance bougie moral values is a fairly weak and unnecessary strawman.

        And as an aside, disproportionate percentages of black babies were born into single-parent households decades before the collapse of manufacturing and the mass incarceration of the 1980s (Moynihan and others were discussing it in the 1960s).

        • Young – Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was an arch racist and misogynist. He blamed poor Black women for the poverty that capitalism, racism and sexism inflicted on them. I HOPE you don’t agree with that kind of bigotry!

          • young_

            I think you’re simplifying his views a little bit, lol. In any case, he didn’t invent the statistics he discussed– are you disputing them? Again, there’s a ton of social science evidence that strongly suggests that it is harder to escape or avoid poverty if you are a single woman raising children on your own than if you are not– do you disagree with that stuff too?

          • R.A.B.

            The Moynihan is…a lot of things, objectionable enough, but that is a mad simplistic rendering of dude’s thesis. And even in the most simplistic sense, it’d be significantly more accurate to say that Moynihan was blaming black men that it would be to say that he was blaming black women.

          • R.A.B.

            *The Moynihan report

  • bdsista

    @ Gregory, um those poor latino families were back in the day my parents and their friends. They were my grandparents who stayed married, raised children and worked where and when they could. Their children despite poverty, got an education, went to college, married, bought property, had children who got married, bought property and damn if the cycle of poverty was broken by education and homeownership. Being divorced, I can tell you unequivocally that dual income even a small bit, gives you option that I did not have despite six-figure income as a single Black woman. I am an educator and it reallly disturbs me to see 13 years olds dating 18-19 year olds when they cannot remember to turn in their homework and I KNOW they are sexually active and don’t have a damn clue. I liked the song and played it for my friends 14 yr old (13-14 is the age of sexual intervention if you want them to not get all crazy about boys in lieu of their studies) and she liked it as well. Way easier way to get the message out to the ipod generation than that lecture on the couch. Regardless of how you feel about marriage and some of us on here like it (and I’m a divorce atty as well) and can find our own happy place in a patriarchal sexist institution (um which America is btw), it just makes sense for young women to wait. The other side of the coin is the pressure young men put on young women to have sex, I got a teenager who is active and started at 15, so I know and I damn sure wish she had waited. But she is on birth control, so there will be NO grandchildren unless there is some kind of ceremony. Believe that! I am probably the minoriy voice on here, but I know I represent the views of a WHOLE lot of church going Black folk. No you can proceed to shred me and old-style views, but I can go into First Glendarden and sit amongst 3-5,000 folks twice on Sunday who think just like me.

  • renee

    The truth of the matter is, if you are poor you dont make it worse by having a baby out of wedlock. Also, if the man is not suitable for marriage, he is not suitable for sex, because the natural result of sex is a child. Therefore a man not suitable for marriage, or sex is also not suitable to be a father. Anyway you see it, the man is not suitable. Also, a woman who does not know this because her mother did not teach her, or because she refused to listen to her mother, is also not suitable to be a wife, a mother or have sex at all.

    Second point, no one said there aren’t causes of poverty outside of personal responsibility. I finished highschool (inspite of bad teachers, crumbling buildings and horrible textbooks) because I come from a family of highschool and college graduates and I did not have a choice in the matter. My mother would have kicked my ass. I went to college, but could not afford to finish, finding work was hard and I was poorer than poor, but I had my family to rely on because I did not burn my bridges by being a jerk to them. I went from unemployed to underemployed, to a part itme job making more than many black people make full time. I also went back to school and paid out of pocket and with grants, scholarships and loans. I will graduate in of May 2011. Not once did I make my situation worse by getting pregnant. To the contrarty, I kept my nose in my books, and I worked and saved.

    Work and constantly improving yourself is what destroys poverty. I am currently paying by credit card, (all but one payment left) to take a Kaplan Gmat course so that I am just as ready as the rich and/or white kids when I take the test. When I pass with a great score, I will get into a good business school with grants and scholarships – and become less poor. I also just got my real estate license and will be selling/renting real estate on the weekend. You know what that means? 8 to 10 hours every day working, and around 5 hours doing school related work every night. No time for watching t.v., listening to bump and girnd music and gangsta rap on the radio, or going out getting drunk, or high, or pregnant, or fighting with other chicks over worthless men.

    Hell yes my nose is in the sky, because I have put my hands to the plow – and its working.

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