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Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Myth of the Meritocracy and the resurgence of Social Darwinists

Meritocracy: A system in which the talented are chosen and moved ahead on the basis of their achievement.

Today in America we are witnessing a struggle between the left and the right that has as its basic dichotomy the belief that America is, indeed, and in some cases has been, a meritocracy. I presume those espousing the latter, that America has always been a meritocracy,  flunked American History.

On the right the rhetoric is about personal freedoms, independence, hard work being rewarded, that those who are successful are successful due to their own work and skill and intelligence and wise decision making. On the left the rhetoric is about unearned privilege–something the righties would maintain is an oxymoron, oppression, deprivation of opportunity and social justice.

When confronted with statistics about inequities like the ones below the position of those who call themselves conservatives would be a shrug. So what, the people who are not doing well do not deserve to do well, they are flawed, they have something wrong with them. The position of the liberals or progressives would be that people are not that different. If some are doing worse in certain demographic groups there must be some flaw in the system that is putting them at a disadvantage.

“Higher unemployment rates for Blacks and Hispanics occur across all major age and sex groups. In 2009,the rates for Black adult men and women (age 20and older) were 16.3 and 11.5 percent, respectively, compared with 11.6 and 10.6 percent for Hispanic adult men and women, respectively. In comparison, the unemployment rates were 8.8 percent for White adult men and 6.8 percent for White adult women. The unemployment rates for Asian adult men and women were somewhat lower”. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsrace2009.pdfer, at 7.5 and 6.2 percent, respectively.

If white folks get more jobs, the conservatives would tell you, it is because white folks work harder, and make better decisions.  Some would admit to believing white folks are also smarter, but that is not a socially acceptable view to express. Liberals would point to the statistic and tell you that white people, who control virtually all systems in America, tend to hire people who look like them, mentor people who look like them and promote people who look like them.

“Many Americans believe we now live in a meritocratic society in which everyone has an equal opportunity for success regardless of race or sex. Half of the white respondents to a 2001 national survey believed that blacks enjoyed comparable or superior access to jobs. Female employment in traditionally male fields is viewed as evidence that sex discrimination is no longer an obstacle to women’s success in the workplace. Facts, however, tell a different story. As of 2005, women were making seventy-seven cents for every dollar made by men. Equally qualified employees with African American–sounding names have a more difficult time obtaining interviews than employees with white-sounding names. Our society remains occupationally segregated. In a word, it is unequal.” HARVARD LAW REVIEW [Vol. 121:2156

So, if my mother named me Shanikwa, which she had every right to do, I may not get an interview for a job because the people doing the hiring do not like black people or black people with names like Shanikwa. Did I have anything to do with the selection of my name? Did I have anything to do with establishing the cultural bias and prejudice that would eliminate me from consideration based on my name, not my qualifications? Is that an example of a meritocracy?

The election of Barak Obama was seized upon by the new Social Darwinists as proof that race and racism are no longer barriers to people of color, that all bias was over except for a few aberrant, toothless white people from Snake’s Navel Arkansas or some similar backwater. But bias and prejudice are with us and very, very common. The wonderful job done by the Social Darwinist of portraying people who speak out against injustice  as whiners, slackers, and people who want “special rights”, has convince people, many whom were already halfway there, that there is nothing standing in the way of success besides one’s own lack of a work ethic and good decision making.

I would like to ask the new SDs, what bad decision or lack of work ethic is shown by a 4 year old in Appalachia whose parents cannot supply him with nutritious food or adequate health care?  When you start behind in a country run by Social Darwinist you are only going to get further behind because they are surely not going to do anything to help you gain ground. I am afraid that at the base of many of the SDs is the feeling that the more people fail the better things will be for them and their advantaged family and friends. Why should they help make their own potential competition stronger?

In their book The Meritocracy Myth Stephen J. McNamee and  Robert K. Miller, Jr.   from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington , say: “According to the ideology of the American Dream, America is the land of limitless opportunity in which individuals can go as far as their own merit takes them. According to this ideology, you get out of the system what you put into it. Getting ahead is ostensibly based on individual merit, which is generally viewed as a combination of factors including innate abilities, working hard, having the right attitude, and having high moral character and integrity. Americans not only tend to think that is how the system should work, but most Americans also think that is how the system does work (Huber and Form 1973, Kluegel and Smith 1986, Ladd 1994).  We challenge this assertion in two ways. First, we suggest that while merit does indeed affect who ends up with what, the impact of merit on economic outcomes is vastly overestimated by the ideology of the American Dream. Second, we identify a variety of non-merit factors that suppress, neutralize, or even negate the effects of merit and create barriers to individual mobility”

So hard work does not necessarily mean success and there are other barriers that mean you might not even get to try hard work. Charlotte Hill in her article ” The Myth of the American Meritocracy” puts it this way: “Of course, the solution usually proposed by the critics of social welfare is simple: the poor just need to work harder. The underlying message is that if you’re rich, you deserve it, and if you’re poor, well, you must have failed somewhere along the line. So you were born into a poor family in a segregated neighborhood, where “white flight” decreased the number of tax dollars in your neighborhood, sinking your schools into further disrepair? Better pick yourself up by your own bootstraps.I am the first to agree that hard work is an essential component of financial success. But as a 2008 Working Poor Families Project report states, “Adults in low-income working families worked on average 2,552 hours per year in 2006, the equivalent of almost one and a quarter full-time workers.” In short, a lack of hard work simply isn’t the issue: unequal opportunity is.” http://news.change.org/stories/the-myth-of-the-american-meritocracy

So, according to Hill sometimes poor people work more hours than rich people. Who knew?

Fred McKissick puts it this way :”Exactly how can we be in post-racial America when nearly 40 percent of black children under the age of 5 live at or below the poverty line?How are we in post-racial America when the level of school segregation for Hispanics is the highest in the forty years and segregation of blacks is back to levels not seen since the late 1960s?How are we in post-racial America when the gaps in wealth, income, education and health care have widened over the last eight years?In 2006, 20.3 percent of blacks were not covered by health insurance, compared to only 10.8 percent of whites. For Hispanics, a whopping 34.1 percent of were not covered.In 2007, the unemployment rate for blacks was twice as high as that for whites.We are all Americans, but the pain of poverty is disproportionately cracking the backs of minorities.There are those who insist that the gap in wealth, income, health care and education is due to an inherent culture of victimization. If people of color only worked harder, they’d be fine, we are told.But it’s a flawed premise. This economy has never provided enough jobs for everyone. The funding of education gives a leg up to those who grow up in wealthy districts. Lack of health insurance is a necessity for those without the means. And institutional racism persists.” http://www.progressive.org/mp/mckissack110508.html

The myth of the meritocracy is particularly strong, not only as it relates to work and its rewards, but to the way one becomes qualified for work–education.

In 2008 according to source: NYTimes http: // economix. blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/02/graduation-rates-by-state-and-race/ , 61.5% of blacks who began high school graduated, 63.5% of Hispanics, 64.2% of Indians, 81% of whites and 91% of Asians. Now, there are really only two ways to explain this disparity: 1) Asians are simply intellectually superior to all the other groups or 2) There are variables in American education and society that give advantage to some students that are not available to others. If you are a conservative you will probably choose 1, if you are a liberal you will definitely choose 2. If American education is a meritocracy ( trust me I have been an educator for more than 40 years, it is NOT) then there should not be a racial disparity unless there is something wrong with the race. Social Darwinists believe the cream rises to the top. So the kids who are successful in academic achievement are superior.

What the SDs might not know ( or might not care about if they did) is that poor schools have less resources than rich schools, that that translates to less well prepared teachers–students in rural and inner city schools have less than a 50% chance of being taught Math by someone who majored in it; more turnover in the faculty and staff;fewer curricular offerings–most rural and many inner city schools do not offer higher level math and science, and worse infrastructure–read inadequate labs and outdated books. Can we actually hold kids accountable for knowledge they have never had the chance to be exposed to, let alone learn?

If you have a poor k-12 experience your chances of getting into a good college are virtually nil. Kids do not pick their schools. Is it really a meritocracy when someone can afford to send their kid to Cary Academy, an elite high school in my hometown and that child gets to “compete” with a kid from a rural district where no Calculus or foreign languages or Physics is offered? Is that  meritocracy??Only if everyone’s parents have the same opportunities to make enough money to spend $20,000 a year on high school.

I will close with a quote from one of my favorite authors, Malcolm Gladwell in his fabulous book Outliers.

“People don’t rise from nothing. We do owe something to parentage and patronage. The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard  and make sense of the world in ways other cannot.” (p.19)

I do have some pity for the Social Darwinists, the world they inhabit is one of isolation and beleaguered outrage. How dare “those people” want some of what I have? I am better than they are, that is obvious. Look at my car!”  Because I believe in karma I cannot help but believe they will find out some day, in this world or the next that no man is an island, and attempting to achieve your success like, to quote Dubois, crabs in a barrel climbing up on the backs of your fellow man will leave you not at the top of the barrel morally, but at the bottom of it.

 

Internalized Racism: Hating the skin you are in

In the early 20th century there was a booming business in creams, lotions and nostrums to lighten the skin. One of the earliest millionaires in America Madame C. J.Walker made her fortune selling chemicals door to door, that would straighten your hair. Products to make your hair straight are still profitable in America.  In the 1960’s experiments with black children, asking them to pick the “pretty” doll between two dolls, one white, one black, were conducted. They almost always chose the white doll. This experiment was repeated fairly recently with not too different results.

Now, the news comes from Asia that people, including some children are having plastic surgery to change their eyes and the shape of their face to look “more western.” That is, of course, a euphemism. What they mean is to look more white. I am western, but I do doubt they are having their faces changed to look more like me or my daughter or my other relatives, at least those who are not white.

What kind of world have we created that would make a child look at his or her racial features and decide they are ugly enough that he or she is willing to try chemicals and even surgery to look more like what she or he has been taught is beautiful? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we all know that. However, since the late 19th century there has been a massive global attempt to define beauty as white only as surely as the bus waiting rooms and fountains of the pre Civil Rights Movement South.

I watched a television program recently where a woman who was fairly obviously a prostitute, and a well worn one at that, had asked a man for money, which he supplied. When the producers of the show asked him why he gave her the money he laughed and said, “She’s a blonde, that explains it all.” This woman had to be in her late fifties, her face was lined and creased with wrinkles ( not that an aged faced means you are not capable of being beautiful, at least I hope not, but she was NOT beautiful) , her “blonde” hair had obviously been obtained with the help of Clairol, her clothing was shabby and her demeanor was coarse. But, to him, evidently the fact that she was able to represent at least that iconic paragon of beauty, THE BLONDE , was enough for him to shell out about $700 of his hard earned cash.

Perhaps it my ethnicity that keeps me from understanding why anyone would think that the color of your hair has to do with beauty. Black people pretty much have brown or black hair, although we do have a fair number of blondes due to our rich genetic stew, and we can, of course, dye our hair, like most blondes do. However, I can no more think of sorting people as beautiful or not beautiful  because they have a certain color hair than I could because they have a certain color of skin. There are beautiful people of every color, with every color hair and every kind of feature, and there are ugly people in every one of those categories as well.

But what is ugly to me might not be ugly to someone else and vice versa. What is ugly to me is a 12 year old girl wanting to have plastic surgery because her Asian eyes are ugly to her. That is ugly.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around: reminders of a transformative era, lessons for today

Tonight on PBS there was an American Experience called “Soundtrack for a Revolution.” It was about the Civil Rights movement and the role that songs, most of them adaptations of black spirituals, played in the movement. One of the commentators made a very important point. Black America has had to depend on an oral tradition for our culture.

Unlike some more recent, voluntary immigrants we could not choose to keep our native tongue, native religion or native customs. We were stripped of them in the process called “curing”, which was wiping out the culture of black slaves so that they would not be able to talk to each other in a language the owner did not understand, and so that they would not have hostilities with fellow slaves from other countries or cultures.

That helps explain the dependence on music and spoken word that is so much a part of black culture. It also explains why so many non-blacks find us boisterous, loud, bombastic.  My assistant has a laugh that you can hear all down the hall. From time to time I have had some people, some white, some black–well physically black anyway, tell me ” she is really loud, you all are having too much fun.”

I wonder how it is possible to have too much fun? Both she and I play music, not loud, just music, she also plays the harp and has a great singing voice, so sometimes at lunchtime she practices her harp and sometimes she sings. I cannot sing, but I have my light jazz playing. One day about three years ago I realized that I never hear music coming out of anybody else’s office. I began to wonder if I should maybe not play my music. I turned it off.  That same day one of the facilities workers, a black man, stuck his head in my assistant’s door and asked her if I was there.

She said yes, he asked “where is the music? I always love to come over here to work because she plays such good music.” I went back to having Boney James, Michael Franks, Bob James, and all the other light jazz icons play their sweet songs anytime I am in the office and do not have someone visiting me.

Music is important to my culture. It is not as important to me as it is to my husband, kids and grandkids. They are all music fanatics. They listen to a wide and eclectic variety of music, my oldest granddaughter likes Drake and Elvis in equal measure and my youngest granddaughter had us on the floor singing and dancing to Dynamite at Christmas time.

The songs in the special brought the importance of song to my people back to me. The iconic “We shall overcome”, although moving was not my favorite. My favorite is “Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around” and “And before I’ll be a slave I’ll be buried in my grave and go home to my Lord and be free.”

The songs of protest remind me that some of my black ancestors did not have choices. They had to do what they were told or risk death. I have choices. I might have to suffer if I take an unpopular stand, but I will not suffer any fate close to what they did. If I do not stand up for what is right I am betraying all the people, black and white and other colors who got beaten and raped and maimed and killed so that I have that right.

People, sometimes well intentioned people, sometimes people who are not my friends, wonder aloud and ask me why I cannot just be quiet in the face of injustice, especially if it is not directed at me. They seem genuinely puzzled as to why I am “being difficult.” I truly cannot answer them why. I remember as a small child having a sense of outrage when people did things I thought were unfair. I think it is how you are wired from birth. My mother must have eaten something odd when she was pregnant with me.

I protested in high school and college. My family and I went down to the jail and claimed Antioch students who were arrested for protesting first at the barber shop in Yellow Springs where the barber would not cut black folks’ hair, and then at Geyer’s Restaurant for not serving black folks. We occupied the administration building at CSU to protest the Vietnam War, I marched for voting rights and I sang with my friends and my classmates. Perhaps growing up in the Civil Rights Era made its mark on me. It taught me better than anything else that just because what you are doing is unpopular does not mean it is wrong and that people in authority are not always right. It also made me believe that it is not okay to grumble and let things slide as long as the target is not you. I am not sure what caused me to be the way I am.

All I know is that as long as I can I ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around.

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Why having a Ph.D is fun

I conducted a workshop, well actually it was more like a lecture and discussion than a workshop. for the sworn officers–read police–at my campus. There were about 17 individuals, one black woman, two black men, the rest all white men. We had a good time discussing cultural filters and how they impact our interactions with other people. We also talked about dominator and excluded identities, race, gender, socio-economic status, age, and finally education.

Some of the more lively discussion was during the education segment of the session. There was considerable opinion about the arrogance of Ph.D.s on campus. This is a normal part of the diversity classes. I often am told how Ph.Ds on campus want you to call them doctor all the time and how they get offended if you do not. The prevailing wisdom seems to be that folks holding a doctorate think they are better than people who do not. I am certain that that is true for some folks, but I think most people who have a doctorate have enough sense to realize the main reason most of us have doctorates is we like school and had enough money to hang around classrooms longer than most folks.

Getting a Ph.D. is fun. I highly recommend it for virtually anyone. I do admit I like it when people call me Dr., it makes me feel special. My mother was the secretary of the president of Wilberforce University when I was growing up and I was in awe of all the Dr This and Dr. That folks who came in and out of her office.I thought they were the most dignified, impressive people I had ever encountered. My father worshiped education, and one of my main regrets is that he died before I got my doctorate, he would have been so proud.

But you do not get a Ph.D. to be admired or to be made to feel special or important. You get a Ph.D. because there is a topic that engages you enough that you want to study it for four to five years, write about it, and add to the body of knowledge, at least a little bit, about the subject. At least that is why you should get a doctorate.

It is indulgent, there is no question about that. But, it is a fabulous opportunity. People who did not have a good school experience and do not think they like learning as a result probably would have a hard time understanding this, but if someone would pay for it I would still be in school working on a second or third Ph.D. Exploring a topic, attacking it like you are Sherlock Holmes on the trail of Moriarity, or Poirot trying to find out who committed a crime is exhilarating, especially when you find your culprit, or at least collect enough evidence to make a credible case.

My dissertation is on the achievement gap. I wanted to know why black kids are doing so badly in most cases in our public schools. I had my suspicions, chief among them that the teaching force has become overwhelmingly white, frequently made up of women who have never known a black person well, know nothing about black history or black culture and are subject to all of the stereotypes and misconceptions about blacks that exist in our society. So, I began my studies with that in mind, my final paper is entitled” Lessons in Black and White: White teacher questioning practices of Black and White Students. ” Fortunately for me my huge data set indicated that the white teachers observed were questioning black students far less than white students and when the questions were complex rather than simple they asked the white kids twice as many questions as the black kids. This, although my research was done in an urban, predominantly black district.

So I zoomed in on my problem–black kids not achieving academically as well as white kids, collected my data–hundreds of classroom observation hours–read the literature and wrote my paper. What is not to love? I was studying something I felt was interesting and important. All of my papers were about some aspect of the achievement gap, something that had puzzled me since it seems to be exacerbated following integration. Wasn’t integration supposed to make more opportunities possible for people of color, not fewer?

My point is this, if you are not interested in the achievement gap, or education or race, there is something that grabs your interest to the point that you research it ( you are researching if you are reading books, articles, watching television programs, discussing with others, research is widely misunderstood!) and you engage with it. Unless you are a truly rare individual you also draw certain conclusions based on your research. If you like it and it engages you then you can get a Ph.D. in it, at least almost always you can.

I always told my college classes to follow their bliss. Whatever you would do for free is what you want to do for a living. I like to read, study, write, talk about what I know or think I know. That is what I have always gotten paid to do. So, I have rarely felt like I was at work.It is what I would do for free. The only times I have had a negative experience has been when people dumber than me were my boss–or thought they were, and that was not about work, it was about annoyance of having to deal with them.  (Okay that sounds dreadful, but I try to tell the truth here!)

My best selling points for getting a Ph.D. are these; 1) you decide what to study 2) you become the expert quickly, after all it is your topic 3) there is nowhere else as an adult you can engage in thought and study and discussion for hours and be doing what you are supposed to be doing ( unless you already have a doctorate and are teaching).

I often tell people that when I was in my studies in an ethics class we once spent two hours discussing whether or not the universe is cloud-like or clock-like and how much I enjoyed it. People have one of two reactions, they sigh with envy or they start to sidle away, sure I am some variety of dangerous lunatic. But, let me ask you this, when else as an adult can you engage in such a discussion and be doing what you are supposed to be doing? Think about exercising your mind simply for exercise, not because you are required to come up with the solution to a problem, just engage in exploration of the question, formulate your answer and defend it.

Another discussion we held was on whether or not people should lie. Sissela Bok the author of the book “On Lying” comes down strong against it. I personally would not want to live in a world where people did not lie. If someone deadly boring invites you to dinner would Bok have you say ” Oh hell no, I would rather eat razor blades than spend an evening with you” ? Or the ever popular ” does this dress make me look fat?”,  ” what do you think of my haircut?”, ” Isn’t my daughter the cutest thing?”

Trust me, lying keeps us a peaceful society. Anybody want to take the other position and discuss it for a couple of hours? 🙂

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Unwed Mothers: Having a baby by someone does not make them your fiance

I totally realize that I am a dinosaur, a relic from a time when we actually had community and that community and its approval or disapproval counted. In my era you did not get pregnant in high school because you were moral, chaste and good, you did not get pregnant in high school because you were terrified of what would happen to your reputation and that of your family.

Because we were not able to get birth control easily, not even condoms were readily available discreetly, the choices were not to have sex or to risk getting pregnant, thereby bringing disgrace on yourself and your family. It must be noted at this time that in the 1960’s, a less evolved time for gender roles, almost all of the disdain was heaped on the female if an unplanned pregnancy happened. Men were, it was held, just being men, or boys were being boys depending on the time frame.

It was their job to press the girls to have sex, but it was the responsibility of the “good” girls to say “no.” The irony is the girls who routinely had sex were savvy in the ways of not getting pregnant, so the few girls who actually did get pregnant in my high school class ( there may have been two out of a class of more than 400) were probably much closer to being good girls than a lot of their female classmates.

If anyone had told me forty years ago that having a baby without benefit of marriage ( in some cases it seems without benefit of introduction) would come to be viewed as business as usual in some circles I would have sworn they were crazy.

If we set aside all religious, moral and societal standards having a baby without a stable relationship with its father is still insanity. In this society people of virtually all classes are struggling. Getting pregnant in the 1960s usually meant the young man, if he was any kind of decent, would marry you. That did not mean the marriages were long and happy, but most generally they did occur. At least for the beginning of her child’s life the mother had a partner. Someone to hand her a bottle, hold the baby while she took a shower, make some money to help support the child.If he did marry you it was likely he could get a decent job at one of the factories to support the family. Manufacturing jobs no longer exist. If the male has no skills you have no source of income help.

Now it seems more than ever that far too often reproduction is left on the shoulders of the mother, especially if she is unwed. If the man decides he does not want to be a husband and a father he simply falls back on the 1960s tactic of swearing he is not the father. Unfortunately for him we now have Maury and DNA.  And, we have child support enforcement. So, in most cases if he has got a job he will be paying child support. But, a lot of the fathers do not seem to understand what a job is, and paying money, and generally not that much, is not the same as partnering in raising a child. It does not mean getting up with 4 AM feedings, driving the child to daycare, taking him to the park, bathing her, feeding her, reading books to him, taking her for walks and pointing out interesting things.

It means one person, the mother has to do everything, including work to earn money to have enough to live decently. If the mother cannot bridge the gap between what the father gives and a decent life, then the child will suffer, as will the mother. I cannot imagine having a child that you would love to give things to but being unable to buy them even the things other children take for granted.

So, with birth control available, with career paths open to women that I could have only dreamed of at their age, with all of the information about sex, conception, relationships, economics and family structure available at their fingertips why are women still getting pregnant who cannot afford to raise a child? Even more puzzling why are they sometimes having more than one?

And no, my Republican friends ( as if I had any) it is not to suckle more deeply at the public teat. The 1994 TANF act made having babies to get more money obsolete. As a matter of fact the amount of time you can collect welfare is limited.

So why do these women commit economic, emotional and psychological suicide by having babies without benefit of stable relationship, let alone a marriage license. A marriage license can mean a lot of things, some of them romantic, but most of all legal. The license not only implies to the world that you all knew each other well enough to know each other’s middle names, it also means you cared enough about the other person to make a public declaration of it. Even if the marriage only lasts two minutes after the kid is born, it makes things much tidier. Everyone having the same last name, for example.

And, please, please understand America. Having a baby by someone does not automatically lift him or her to the status of fiance. Has the person asked you to marry him/her? Has a ring been exchanged? Are wedding plans in process? Plans that involve a wedding happening before the child enters school? If not he is NOT your fiance. He is your baby daddy, a totally meaningless term on so many levels.  I know it makes you feel better to claim this person who you have three kids by intends to marry you, but generally speaking  if y’all have not managed to go to city hall and get hitched after three visits to the labor room, it ain’t happening.

In addition being a “single mother” is not a badge of honor, nor does it mean that I, the president, your friends, the grocer, butcher, baker or candlestick maker, owe you one darn thing. I have seen women explain some failure on their part to do something they are supposed to, from providing a decent home for their children to participating in parent groups at schools by saying ” I am a single mother.” My question to them is, ” Did you know you were single when you had sex with that man and got pregnant?” If so, then single mother means irresponsible person. It is not the same thing as a woman whose husband has died, or who is single by no fault of her own.

Those of you who know me know that I am a serious feminist. I have mixed feelings about the institution of marriage, despite having been happily married for more than four decades. It still seems to me that women get the dirty end of the stick in marriage far too often, something that will be the subject of a future blog.

But, having raised three children, and been in the lives of several thousand more ( I taught 180 students a year for 18 years in public school and at least that many in ten years of college teaching), I know that the more people involved in meeting the needs of children the better. Since our communities have largely collapsed ( does your neighbor have a key to your house?), we need to have family units that have as many stable people in them as possible.

Part of being stable means having a JOB. I would personally like to see orphanages run by the state re-instituted so that people who should not  have had children, cannot support them sufficiently and have no idea how to raise and care for them could have their parental rights severed to save the child. In my universe a woman who continued to have babies she could not afford would not be forced to stop having babies, but she would not be allowed to pass her feeble minded lifestyle on to future generations by raising them herself.

Again, this is not about moral right or wrong, being against premarital sex or anything of the sort. It is about the economic and societal destruction that comes about from producing children without having a stable environment to raise them in.  One parent working is not going to make as much as two parents working, one parent raising kids is not going to be as vigilant and present as two parents. It is a matter of economics and child welfare, nothing else.

Here is a simple primer for you young women out there. I do not care if you have sex with everyone on the Eastern Seaboard, but do not get pregnant. Here is a checklist for you before you have a baby.

  • You have finished your education–high school diploma at least
  • You have begun a career that will support you and the baby
  • You know how much it costs to raise a baby ( $13,000 the first year, about $310,00 until he is 18 if you do not send him to college, which btw would make you a bad mother)
  • You know the man you are planning to get pregnant by will be around and do his part financially and otherwise.
  • The man in question has finished his education
  • The man in question has a job
  • The man in question has not been involved with the criminal justice system in any serious way
  • You have a support system of other women in case Prince Charming turns out to be a frog
  • You are ready to be a mother, which includes being there to do what you need to do for your child even when you do not want to do it.  In other words clubbing with the girls is a thing of the past for the most part
  • You understand that the relationship between mother and child is for 24/7 until one of you shuffles off this mortal coil.  My mother is 93 and still worries about me

There is nothing, nothing at all romantic about having a baby. They are noisy, messy, demanding and expensive. They will not improve your relationship with your man/boy, they will try it.

I enjoyed having and raising my kids, they are great human beings with good hearts, much intelligence and zany senses of humor. The fact we opt to spend a week together in a beach house each year and nobody ever hits anyone else is proof that we do like each other, at least most of the time. But having a baby mindlessly is one of the dumbest things a human being, particularly a female human being can do.

I look forward to the day when the only women who have babies without a stable partner are the celebrities who can afford to bridge the gaps left by a daddy, at least to some extent, with hired help!

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2011 in Uncategorized