Let’s be real: Sloppy parents hurt us more than George Zimmerman ever could

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by Dr. Boyce Watkins

I wanted to share a very quick thought about a conversation I had this morning.

Someone got mad at me for saying this, but I stand by it till the end: Men who have lots of kids with lots of women damage the black community as much or more than George Zimmerman (we were talking about Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who has 12 kids with 8 women). And yes, this also goes for the women who keep on sleeping with them.

What I found to be really funny is that someone then emailed me and seriously said, “He has 12 kids, but that’s not as bad as the other guy who had 21 kids by 18 different women.”  I laughed to myself because the best way to subtly encourage ridiculous behavior is to lower the bar and compare ourselves to the lowest common denominator (“Yea, I buy my baby diapers once a month, but some never buy anything for their kids, so I’m doing pretty good”).

My point is that if you’re going to howl and complain about the George Zimmermans of the world (which we should), we should also be howling and complaining about the things that happen in our own community.  Too often, black people are fooled into being so focused on non-black enemies that we often forget about the black people who hate us just as much. 

We can forgive, build and learn from self-destructive behavior.  This is not a witch hunt against men like Cromartie and the women they sleep with.    But it is NOT acceptable to act as if it’s no big deal and that kids aren’t suffering as a result of bad choices that we make. Millions of children are lost today because their parents were hellbent on instant gratification. Then those of us who care end up spending our lives looking out for other people’s children.

Again, I don’t advocate being angry at people who make this mistake, since many of them didn’t know any better. But we can’t just overlook this problem and pretend that it doesn’t exist.  We’re not meant to procreate like dogs, having babies everywhere and then abandoning them to die, or mating with whoever looks good without thinking about the potential consequences.  We are better than that.

Let’s be honest:  If you have no plan for your kids and keep bringing them into the world without preparation, then you have effectively decided that you want them to suffer in life. 

There really isn’t much else to say about that.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a professor at Syracuse University and author of the book, “Financial Lovemaking 101:  Merging Assets with Your Partner in Ways that Feel Good.”  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.