No. 1302



After my column today I may be accused of being a “racist,” which I am certainly not. I want to talk with you about an important issue that no one is talking about, and that is the 72 percent unwed mother rate in the black community.
In an Associated Press article by Jesse Washington, dateline Houston, he pulls the cover back and talks about this issue that even in black churches no one talks about, but that is beginning to change. His information comes from Dr. Natalie Carroll, a black OB-GYN, who has a practice located inside a low-income apartment complex tucked between a gas station and the freeway.
Dr. Carroll reports that on a recent day she had 12 pregnant black women come for consultations. Some brought their children or their mothers. Only one brought a husband. She says, “The girls don’t think they have to get married. I tell them children deserve a mama and a daddy.” They really do, Carroll says from the desk of her office, which has cushioned pink and green armchairs, bars on the windows, and a wooden “Love” sign between two African figurines.
As the issue of black unwed parenthood inches into public discourse, Dr. Carroll is among the few speaking boldly about it. And as a black woman who has brought thousands of babies into the world, and who has sacrificed income to serve Houston’s poor, she is among the few to whom black women will actually listen. She says, “A mama can’t give it all, and neither can a daddy, not by themselves. A part of the reason is that you can only give that which you have. A mother cannot give all that a man can give. A truly involved father offers more fullness to a child’s life.” Statistics show just what that fullness means. Children of unwed mothers of any race are more likely to perform poorly in school, go to prison, use drugs, be poor as adults, and have their own children out of wedlock.
Now let me leave this issue for a moment and just talk with you from my heart. As we all know there has been a lot of unrest in our country, as the issues of fairness and equal justice have come to the forefront. We have made a lot of progress, but there is still a ways to go.
Here is my thought, and you may or may not agree: when we have far fewer unwed black mothers and more great black married couples (and yes, mixed marriages, too), we will begin to see the scales balance and more harmony in our society. At this point the focus will be on education, which is really the only way to lift an individual or a couple out of poverty and build great communities where there is harmony. This is part of the reason I spent 15 years of my life heading up a bookcase literacy project in my home community and, thanks to our committee, we have had great success.
If nothing more comes from this column than to have people start talking about the fact that blacks struggle with 72 percent unwed mothers rate, we will have made progress. Some of my best friends are African-American and I love them. I know they share my values and would also love to see young black girls take their time, have pride in who they are, get married and rear a great family. We already have some of that, but let’s work together to be an encourager, to the Glory of God because He loves everyone.
(Editor’s Note: Jim Davidson is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and Founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states making it one of the most successful in the history of American journalism.)