I Love Black People


When a man has 34 kids, do we blame men, women or both?

When a man has more kids than he could afford to provide for in a million lifetimes, what are the causes?  Some would point to a myriad of social factors, and even believe that there was no way for the man to control himself, given his upbringing.  Some go in the other direction and point solely toward personal responsibility and good choices as the catch all solution to every problem that he faces.  It’s obvious that if he’d chosen not to sleep with so many women unprotected, he wouldn’t be in the situation that he’s in today.

The answer probably lies in the middle.  Social factors may create conditions that lead to outcomes that are unfavorable, but by handing over the power to control our own destiny, we are rending ourselves even more powerless than we might have been in the first place.  Your circumstances may not be in your control, but you certainly get to decide how to respond, at least when it comes to who you choose to sleep with.

Then, there is a conversation about the women involved.  Since it takes both a man and a woman to make a child, some might say that it’s irresponsible for a woman to bring a child into the world with a father that is clearly incapable of raising the child himself.  These situations often lead to a nasty battle of the sexes, and the biggest losers in the war are the children who don’t have healthy parents.

Iyanla Vanzant recently tackled the issue with an episode of her show, “Fix My Life,” and it was a doozy.

In this article, Iyanla talks about the show, why she did it, and the social issues that arise when we study situations like this one.  Are simple things like using protection so foreign to some of us that we forget about the damage we are doing to children who never have a chance to have an involved father?

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It is no secret that there is an epidemic of children growing up without fathers. Although we have been more than willing to blame men for their role, we are not as vocal about the role women have played in the experience unless we are judging them.The Jay Williams story about one man, 34 children, 17 women and an opportunity for self-reflective healing is taking that conversation to another level.

We have been frustrated, almost frantic, about young people killing themselves and each other, about young men failing out of what appears to me as an inadequate educational system, and about young women taking their clothes off to make money to feed the children they have with young men who fail to step up to the plate. We have been pointing our fingers at this reason or that cause while making little progress toward a real understanding of the issues or a lasting solution. On the surface, the Jay Williams story has brought to light all the sordid details about one person’s seeming irresponsibility, lack of discipline and wanton disregard for other people. At a deeper level, I recognize this as what happens when we are not taught that we are valuable, worthy, powerful and important. I now understand that the Jay Williams story is all about self-value, self-respect and self-worth gone awry because of the lack of effective and meaningful conversations and much-needed instruction at every level of society.




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