This week, MamiVerse published part 2 of my “how I came to be a single parent” story (if you haven’t read it, I recommend it… because… well, yeah). In reading it and other stories, it dawned on me that people may have commented on it or the first part of my story, so like any blogger would, I got all excited and bounced on over to part 1 to see a nice little buncha comments! Yayyy!!
Then I read them.
Crestfallen is a good word for my initial reaction, but that feeling was quickly overtaken by that incredulous bewilderment I get when I watch the Republican Primary debates. The ignorance in this one virtually anonymous troll’s comments was staggering. You can scroll on down and read them here. However, these are a few of my favorite excerpts:
http://washingtonexaminer.com/editorials/2009/06/hispanics-pay-price-illegitimate-births Way to empower the Latino community, girls… ‘While 69 percent of first-generation and 73 percent of second-generation Hispanic children live with their married parents, that percentage falls to just 52 percent by the third generation.’
Yes, “tr.” Way to empower the Latino community. First and foremost, let me address those statistics. 48% of Hispanic children do not live with their married parents. Divorce rates in the US are hovering around 50%. These statistics do not specify whether or not these children are raised by parents who were never married or whether they are children who are raised by single parents by way of divorce. Furthermore, this is the Washington Examiner we’re talking about here. Their reputation precedes them when it comes to spinning issues such as these. This article also states “Since the number of babies born to Hispanic woman [sic] in the U.S. now surpasses the total number of Hispanic immigrants, the decline in the well-being of the third generation should be a matter of great public concern. It is a recipe for expanding poverty and all the misery and social dysfunction that goes with it.” Notice that they say “babies born to Hispanic [women],” not “babies born to single Hispanic women.” Maybe it’s that the editor wasn’t paying attention here, but I have my doubts that that’s what we’re really dealing with. By my reading, this article isn’t just pinpointing the issues of single parenting in the Latino community, but that the Latino community’s expansion in general is an issue.
Furthermore, this article fails to mention that Latinos are NOT the largest ethnic group as far as single-parent homes are concerned. In fact, they are not even the fastest growing ethnic group of single-parent homes.
All in all, my take on the article? Yes, it’s troubling that the growth of single-parent homes in the Latino community is troubling, but the single-parent homes are on the rise across the board. Propagandizing these statistics only furthers the growth of anti-Latino sentiments throughout the United States, because let’s not kid ourselves. The “Ill-legal Workers” ads are not targeted at Canadians.
There should be a stigma attached to people like you, I wish it was greater than it is. Illegitimacy and single parenthood are big contributing factors to the high dropout rate and generally low educational attainment among hispanics in the US. No guy who has his life and education sorted out will go near a girl in your predicament, and as a consequence your child will suffer from a lack of a sucessful [sic] male role model. Single motherhood is creating the hispanic underclass of the next generation.
Sigh. So much to dive in on here. I put an excerpt of this on my Facebook as soon as I saw it, and the response was overwhelming and incredible, and I can’t thank everyone enough for the support. And the thing is, I really do understand where “tr” is coming from. This is a quality of life issue that does affect the Latino community, and by no means am I saying that being a single-parent is ideal. The thing is, it’s not something I’m ashamed of, either, and it’s not something I should be shamed and stigmatized for.
The comment was on part 1, which doesn’t really discuss Cam’s dad’s involvement in his life, so the unfounded statement that Cameron won’t have a male role model is something I’d assume to be a blind assumption. That said, it’s incredibly ignorant to think that my child wouldn’t have sufficient role models in his life. Not only do I have a very large family who loves Cameron dearly and takes a very active role in his life, but so does his dad. I’m a proud mom, Cameron’s dad is a proud dad, and the fact that we’re not married doesn’t mean we’re lesser parents. No, it’s not easy, but we have an incredible support system, which is, in my humble opinion, the part that really matters. To quote myself, because I think I said it pretty well if I do say so myself (I know, that was really confusing, but I think you get it), “shaming and stigmatizing only exacerbates those kinds of problems and isolates the people who are in the midst of these situations, and many of them are not fortunate enough to have the support system that I do. By isolating them, they feel too ashamed to reach out for the help that is available, and that’s when their children’s chances of success begin to dwindle.”
Finally, the word “illegitimate.” This. Nothing that this person said truly got to me, but this. This offends me. Calling my child illegitimate makes him sounds like he’s not as human as other children. It makes him sound like he’s not as important as other people, or that he’s not valid. It’s shameful and archaic to use the word illegitimate in reference to a child that had no choice in the matter.
“Not every child born out-of-wedlock is doomed to failure ” Yeah, and not every drunk driver kills someone so I guess that you single moms should give that a shot as well..
Yeah, let’s get drunk, drive around town, and see if we could get a kid into the broken foster care system, because we all know that would be better than being raised by a parent who isn’t married.
Disadvantage isn’t inherent to children born out of wedlock. I mean, Barack Obama was raised by a single mother, for God’s sake. He’s the leader of the free world. All politics aside, I think his mom did pretty well by him, wouldn’t you say?
All in all, I think “tr” missed the boat on what MamiVerse is all about: “Universal empowerment for Latina moms & families.” Empowerment. I am an empowered single mother because that’s what I chose. I chose to raise my son in two happy homes. I made the difficult choice to keep my son. I made the choice to become a mommy. To try to isolate children of single parent homes, and to cut me and other moms LIKE me down is not what a community is about. I love the MamiVerse community, and this in no way changes that. I just hope that the people who are not like this bitter, sad person who is so full of hate continue to fill the community with their love, thoughts and support.