Decency, who decides? Thoughts on 1 man, 10 ladies and 11 kids

Very few people realize that I am a preacher’s kid otherwise known as a PK. Jokes and stereotypes abound about PK’s and there probably is a bit of truth in them. The funny thing is my Dad spent most of my childhood spiritually searching, but never really straying far from his Southern Baptist roots. Often in his searching’s (yeah, I know, strange word, my blog, my language), I got to ride shotgun since my mother as the daughter of a lifetime agnostic wanted nothing to do with church. So even when I thought religion and spirituality played no role in my life, the reality is they did as evidenced by the fact that at 18 I ran off and got married.

People over the years have asked me why I got married at 18. Hell, even my own parents wanted to know the answer to that question and for the longest time, I had no answer that I could put into words.

The truth is at 18, I confused lust for love and despite the fact that at that time I didn’t see myself as “religious” I was raised to believe only “bad” girls could enjoy sex so rather than enjoy sex, I ran off and got married. Let me tell you, getting your toes curled is not a reason to get married…at all.

The reason that I am sharing this tale is that for the past several days while recovering from a nasty bug during my annual vacation (staycation) I heard about this upcoming show. The basic premise of “All My Babies’s Mamas” is you have a rapper, Shawty Lo (never heard of him) and he apparently lives with his 10 Baby Mamas and 11 kids all under the same roof. Let me translate that for you, you have a man who procreated with ten different women, he hasn’t married any of these gals and he has 11 kids. I can’t say that I will ever watch this show since I rarely watch TV but I will say that already people are talking.

Christelyn Karazin, author of Swirling, as well as a fellow blogger wrote a post about this show and well, folks were none too happy. Christelyn is the mastermind behind the No Wedding, No Womb campaign, a campaign to increase marriage rates in the Black community. While I respect the hell out of Christelyn’s drive and passion, as she knows, we don’t always see eye to eye on issues. Her most recent post is no exception.

Look, I am not saying a guy having 10 women and 11 kids is a great idea since I am not too sure there are many men that can handle the financial, emotional and mental responsibilities of all those humans. Even in the FLDS communities where polygamy is part of their religion, it is not unheard of for women to turn to using government entitlement programs because frankly most men in 2012 cannot afford to support that many humans no matter what the now defunct TV show Big Love would have us to believe.

However it troubles me when a woman is called a slut or referred to as not decent because she chooses to partner with a man who has other children or frankly other women. In a world that has increasingly decided to embrace different lifestyles, who is the judge of what is decent? Too many times the slut label is applied to any woman who chooses to live outside of the socially acceptable standard of get a man, get married and then get a baby. Yet in a world where half of all marriages fail, I wonder why are we still clinging to this old standard of what is acceptable? More importantly why does it bother us so much? Why is there is not an equally as offensive equivalent to baby mama’s when referring to men? Baby Mama is definitely used as a slur in most cases yet Baby Daddy simply doesn’t hold the same weight. More importantly as women and Black women, why the need to dehumanize our fellow beings with language such as brood mare? In many ways when we look down on one another, we are simply part of the problem and not the solution.

For middle and upper middle class African Americans we tend to expend a great deal of energy on how we will be perceived by the larger world yet at a certain point aren’t we entitled to simply be humans free to make our own choices? Let’s carry our own individual burdens and not the weight of the whole damn Black community on our backs.

As for me, if Shawty Lo and his ladies like it, I love it. I am not about to run out and become anyone’s baby’s mama but you can send a man my way, we might accept him into the family as a brother husband especially if he likes to shovel snow and fix things. I am pretty certain I can get the Man Unit to agree to that…or maybe not.