Written by Penelope Farthing
Well folks, I’m back, but only for a little while. I have been experiencing some major burnout around the typical topics I write about, and have retreated for over a month to refocus and contemplate how long I’ll be writing for this platform. I love writing, but the joy has vanished of late. However, today’s topic moved me to write again, since it’s truly on some nonsense. I do love some nonsense.
Internet personality Kayla Nicole, 18, has been catching heat lately as a result of a tweet that she posted, shared below.
70% of African American children are born out of wedlock… please break the cycle of making bastards 😒. Make marrying a traditional belief again
— Nicole Tv (@kaylanicolejo) February 16, 2020
Long story short, I agree with her. But let’s talk about why. Strap in folks, this is going to be a long one.
The biggest grievance that people had with this tweet was her use of the word bastard. The historical definition of the word is classed as archaic and derogatory by Google and refers to an illegitimate child born of parents not married to each other. The word choice was harsh, yes. But I have a feeling that even if she chose any other designation to refer to a child born out of wedlock, there would still be much anger and contention. But since we always need kid gloves when addressing decades of dysfunction, we have to be soft and delicate with our language. Yes, the children are innocent and have no reason to be called out their names. But to dismiss her entire point because of her ill-chosen word is not well reasoned. Which brings me to my next point:
Of course Twitter was quick to don their Fake Outrage, and baby mamas and now adults who were born out of wedlock sprang into action to say how wrong she was for using the hurtful term. Maybe it’s the cynic in me, or the burnout I’ve had these last few months when it comes to black issues, but my first thought when I saw this start to unfold was “well don’t have the illegitimate child and they won’t get called a bastard…”. Children are cruel and so are adults, so one way to prevent at least one nasty name getting lobbed at them is ensuring you are married when you bring forth new life. If you don’t want your child getting called a bastard by some stranger on the internet, then do what you can to make sure that the child you bring into this world will not be open to such commentary in the first place.
Most (72%) black American children are born out of wedlock (source: the table on page 8). Furthermore, 67% of black children live in a single parent household. Gentle reminder: numbers do not care about your feelings or your anecdotes. With all the many studies that have shown the advantages that children born to a healthy two-parent household, why has Nicole’s simple tweet been met with such anger and righteous indignation? Not because most black people do things this way makes it right. Not because you flourished in spite of not having both parents in the home, rather than because you had both, means that this outcome is the norm. I personally wholeheartedly agree with Nicole and I hope the young black girls and teens in her audience take this message to heart so they don’t end up a negative statistic.
You know what another theme in these Outrage-a-thons is? To be incredibly obtuse and intellectually dishonest about the points being made. Let’s think back to 2018, when people were up in arms about Target and American Greetings selling a card featuring a black couple wishing Happy Father’s Day to the baby daddy of the family. That card represents the reality of most black children on Father’s Day, if they are even close enough to send a card at all. So why then was it so outrageous to the point where a major retailer pulled this totally accurate card? We cannot cry foul when card makers seek to cater to our demographic, and get mad when someone tries to challenge the behaviors that lead to it! Meanwhile a few years before that, we sang along to a song called “That’s Just My Baby Daddy”! So, let me ask, which is it? Are we mad that she’s pointed this trend out or not? Do we want to do better or not?
All the while, the term bastard baby maker has been floating around for the better part of a decade on certain black male platforms. I am yet to see this amount of outrage. Why is this?
As is the norm when a common dysfunction of the black community is brought out from under the rug, there were deflections aplenty. So many so that I had to split this section up into subsequent smaller ones!
For people who love to argue like we do, we are really bad at it. I know Twitter is not high discourse, but very few people could mount a counterargument against Nicole’s point. Reaction memes are par for the course, and I’m not surprised. But the amount of “delete this” and “shut up” and of course, blaming the beloved catch-all of white supremacy, just made me wonder if people actually read and internalized her tweet, or merely looked at it for a reason to get mad and do nothing. And you know what? I have to deal with my own feelings against people like this. Not everyone will understand, and not everyone can be helped. This is what Kendall refers to as the reprobate mind, and I’m pretty over trying to reach them.
The permanent underclass is here, and it will not be hard to identify who the most likely mothers of them will be, if the comment section is any indication.
I only knew of this gal from her reaction photos. I didn’t know her name or her platform until this popped off. So I also found out that she bought her boyfriend a rather expensive vehicle. I admit I didn’t dive into this because in the grand scheme of things, this purchase is irrelevant. A bad idea, absolutely, but irrelevant just the same. A car can be returned to sender. You can take it apart for parts and turn a profit. This cannot be done to a baby. While I disagree with buying men you’re not married big ticket items, it’s still miles (pun intended) better than giving him a human child carrying half his DNA. Also of note is that the messenger is 18 years old, folks. She has been out of high school for about 10 minutes. She will learn these lessons as she grows, but it is a lot easier to recover from a stupid purchase than an out-of-season birth.
Apparently Nicole’s dad has been in jail for over a decade. Once again, so? He is a bum and she, as the daughter of a bum with no father-figure in her life, has seen first-hand the struggles associated with being raised by what I assume is a single mother. Who better to voice the downside to single parenthood than someone who has lived that experience? Isn’t the goal of parenting to teach the next generation lessons that ensure they do not face the same pitfalls as you might have?
The people who scream the loudest that marriage is just a piece of paper seem to fail to realize that all important documents are also just pieces of paper. Money is arguably one of the most valuable pieces of paper out there. So much so that people are catching jail time for faking it. Try applying for loans, grants, or practically anything without a birth certificate, also a piece of paper. People are swimming with sharks and risking life and limb for the chance to get a piece of paper that grants them citizenship someplace else. Want to go to the Maldives next week? Good luck boarding that flight without the paper in your passport that identifies you. That diploma you busted your ass for four years to get? Also a piece of paper. Did your rich uncle Joe pass away recently? My sincerest condolences. Just a quick question, is your name on the will though, a piece of paper that spells out what you stand to inherit?
But people are really doing their damndest for claims to all those pieces of paper, aren’t they?
Marriage, the so-called piece of paper, is a legal document that signifies a commitment to you. Not because you don’t value that piece of paper, and not because other people devalue it by cheating or breaking their vows, means it is not still a valuable thing. Marriage is not necessarily a goal to aspire to either, mind you. If you want it, great. Pick a winner and do your thing. And if you’re not about that wife life, also great! You live your fabulous life endowed with the freedoms associated with not being married. That’s not the point I am trying to make.
If he can’t, doesn’t or won’t take that step, what makes you so sure he’ll commit to the kids? Black women have been duped, bamboozled and tricked into believing this lie about marriage, which has led us right where we are now. Buying into this belief only keeps black women as single mothers and allows black males to repeat the cycle, creating another broken household somewhere else and shirking the responsibilities as they go.
Not to mention, that piece of paper offers a lot more protection than the alternative. Celebrity deaths from 2019 alone should illustrate the importance of pieces of paper, especially when it comes to wealth-building. The same wealth-building we talk a lot about, but can’t quite seem to do. Perhaps this attitude toward marriage is a key reason why. In the eyes of the law, a baby mama is not the same as a widow.
Once again, people show how much they deify white people by saying white people do this too. Are they the standard for black people or not? And why when we compare ourselves to them, do we seek to only compare the negatives, as if to justify our own foolish actions?
I saw statistics about out of wedlock births in majority-white nations being used as a reference. And while the numbers are true, the additional layer of nuance needed for this was noticeably absent. While the parents in those countries are unwed, they at least still live together, which is not the common outcome of unwed black parents. What benefits result from having only one parent in the home? In the black community, the majority of single parent homes are led by the mother. I do not want to hear about nor do I even care that your father raised four kids on his own because your mom ran off. Hooray for him, but it is a nonfactor. Single fathers in the black community are the rare exception not the rule and to say otherwise is delusion and lies. White people do a whole lot of other stuff, but the comparisons are only drawn as a means to legitimize (pun again intended) our own dysfunction. Wanting the best possible scenario for black children is the very opposite of being anti-black. Studies have shown that children born in wedlock fare better and face less problems than the alternative. It is not anti-black for black people to demand better of each other so that the future generation is positioned for success.
Here I am, two hours and two thousand words later. I will put a pin in this post here for now, and part two will be posted tomorrow. What are your thoughts so far on Nicole’s bold declaration? Is there a viewpoint you’d like covered in the concluding post? Do share in the comments below.
Disclaimer: This blog was written by me, Penelope, and my ideas are not necessarily reflective of Christelyn Karazin or other writers on this platform.