- “Black Man Fathers 34 Children With 17 Different Women”
- “Man who fathered THIRTY kids with 11 different women says he needs a break from child support”
- “Man who fathered 23 children with 14 women sent to prison after missing more than $500,000 in child support payments”
Tragically, these headlines are not fictional . The problem of absent fathers is caused not only by the sexual mores now prevalent and the vanishing nuclear family, but by children having children.
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart” (Col. 3: 21).
The availability of contraception increased the number of teenage girls having sex, and pushed back the age at which girls became sexually active.
Lack of information about sex and birth control became less an issue, as high schools worked the subjects into their curriculum. Unfortunately, that did not address the real obstacle.
Condoms are readily available for purchase. But girls can be dissuaded from insisting they be used. The next girl will not be so difficult, they are told by their partners. In a world where sexting is a casual pastime, that argument carries some weight.
Needless to say, inner city high schools now come equipped with nurseries, while not books.
If nothing else, the AIDS epidemic should have frightened men into using condoms. Instead, in the inner city they began having sex with girls as young as 9 or 10 years of age. Since these girls were virgins (unlikely to be infected by HIV), the dilemma was neatly, if callously, resolved.
The well-being of the young girls in question did not enter the picture. Their desire to be loved actually set the trap into which they fell.
Impoverished, overlooked, and neglected, these girls suddenly basked in the attention of men anywhere from 5 to 20 years their senior. Willing victims of statutory rape join their numbers everyday.
Unprotected sex is the passport to gifts and status. Pregnancy is an achievement. A baby will provide unconditional love. So these children think, assuming they think at all.
Their naïve hopes are soon enough dashed. Rarely does the “honeymoon” period last beyond the pregnancy. Babies cry. They have to be fed, have to be changed. And diapers cost money. So do cribs, strollers, car seats, safety gates, and the rest.
Abortion is often used as a belated form of birth control, when romance sours. Grandmothers (when they are available) can wind up raising these babies .
Meanwhile, “fathers” who may be 15 y.o., themselves, move on to the next girl. She has to promise to be sexually exclusive, at least while he remains interested — the inner city version of faithful. That he might be faithful does not even cross his mind.
The babies that result may never know all their siblings. The girls left behind retain the honorific of “baby mama”.
And the baby daddies? A surprising 2015 study found that disadvantaged fathers who do not pay child support may still contribute as much as $60 per month to a child’s upkeep via food, clothing, baby supplies, and school expenses .
Men prefer buying tangible things for their children. Such provision strengthens the bond between father and child.
According to sociologist Kathryn Edin, who has done extensive research on deadbeat dads: “We need to respect what these guys are doing, linking love and provision in a way that’s meaningful to the child .”
A Legacy of Slavery? Not Likely
The impact of slavery on the black family has been hotly disputed over the years.
Some have argued that slavery gave rise to a matriarchal family structure, with feckless males on the periphery. This view has been challenged, both as racist and unfounded .
After the Civil War, the legal right to marry was among the rights granted to (and cherished by) former slaves . A variety of laws were passed during Reconstruction legitimizing slave marriages, and the children born to enslaved parents.
Unknown numbers of newly freed slaves sought to locate the family members sold away from them during decades of bondage. Some trekked the backroads, in their effort to do this. Others ran newspaper “Information Wanted” ads.
A trove of such ads has recently been discovered in the archives of Philadelphia’s historic Bethel AME Church, testimony to the strength of family bonds, despite the ravages of slavery .
When these efforts failed, freed slaves established kinship bonds where no blood relationships existed. Children were passed from household to household of an extended family, as economic pressures dictated.
Self-centered as the men fathering children without means of support may seem, these men desperately want to leave evidence of their existence.
They want to be more than a stain on the sidewalk after a shooting, but see no other way of making their mark. No other way of giving purpose to their lives.
That desire is as much the force driving them as self-indulgence.
 Downtrend, “Black Man Fathers 34 Children With 17 Different Women” by Brian Anderson, 9/6/14, http://downtrend.com/71superb/black-man-fathers-34-children-with-17-different-women.
 Daily Mail, “Man who fathered THIRTY kids with 11 different women says he needs a break from child support”, 5/18/12, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2146545/Man-fathered-30-kids-11-different-women-says-needs-break–child-support.html.
 Michigan News (MLive), “Man who fathered 23 children with 14 women sent to prison after missing more than $500,000 in child support payments” by Barton Deiters, 9/24/10, http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2010/09/man_who_fathered_23_children_w.html.
 National Center for Biotechnology Information, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, “ ‘Children’ Having Children” by Stefanie Mollborn, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3219505/.
 Wiley Online Library: Journal of Marriage and Family, “How Much In-Kind Support Do Low-Income Nonresident Fathers Provide? A Mixed Method Analysis” by Jennifer Kane, Timothy Nelson, and Kathryn Edin, 2/28/15, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jomf.12188/abstract.
 Time, “How Deadbeat are Deadbeat Dads, Really?” by Belinda Luscombe, 6/15/15, http://time.com/3921605/deadbeat-dads/.
 New York Times, “The Black Family in Slavery And Freedom, 1750‐1925; Were black families split and demoralized by slavery? No, says a new and crucial study” by Richard Sennett, 10/17/76, http://www.nytimes.com/1976/10/17/archives/the-black-family-in-slavery-and-freedom-17501925-were-black.html?_r=0.
 Kansas University ScholarWorks, Mid-American Review of Sociology, Vol. VIII, No. 2: 23-41, “The Myth of the Black Matriarchy Under Slavery” by Mike Meacham (1983), https://kuscholarworks.ku.edu/bitstream/handle/1808/4950/MARSV8N2A2.pdf;jsessionid=6FCCA302BEF039077B310DDEA0B00A7A?sequence=.
 Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities, “Becoming a Citizen: Reconstruction Era Regulation of African American Marriages” by Katherine Franke (Summer 1999).
 CBS News, “ ‘Information Wanted’: Freed slaves’ heartbreaking ads tell personal stories of slavery” by Vladimir Duthiers, 4/18/17, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/information-wanted-freed-slaves-heartbreaking-ads-tell-personal-stories-of-slavery/.
This series will conclude next week with Absent, Part 4 – “Gangsta” Culture
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