Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

1984 and more: how important is spreading the (right) seeds?

ghetto_baby_stroller

two things immediately came to mind when hearing about the chicago high school where one out of every seven female students are pregnant

1. between this and the derrion albert story, i probably should have added “raising a child in chicago” to my list of things every grown man is scared to death of.

2. a conversation i had while visiting with my parents last weekend to wash clothes, go grocery shopping in their freezer, and see how they were doing. it began with the usual pseudo serious ribbing about not settling down or having a family yet that mothers are prone to have with their handsome sons. my dad then interrupted us with some silly non sequitor about one of the women he supervises. apparently this person’s daughter just celebrated her 22nd birthday and already has five children, and, from the way the mother talks about the daughters situation to my dad, each of the kids probably just should have been named “no chance”.

the convo then went in a different direction, as my mom lamented the fact that neither i nor any of my close friends have any children yet, but these fertile hoodrats are popping out kids by the bushel. basically, how will black america prosper if people like you (educated, no records or missing teeth) are waiting longer and longer to maybe get married and maybe have one child while d-block and chardonnay are producing a new seed every 14 months?

although she was half-joking, she brings up a valid point. as much as we love creating blogs, stores selling 8 dollar cupcakes, and internet p*rn, our main purpose here is to procreate and continue the species. if this trend continues, we (the very smart brothas and sistas) will basically make ourselves extinct, or at least so overrun by swarms of oddly-named hood spawn that extinction wouldn’t seem like such a bad idea

anyway, very smart brothas and sistas, how do you feel about this?

do you think that “people like us” are obligated to start having more children, or is this too eerily similar to the “selective engineering” that hitler was in favor of?

and, although this would never, ever, happen, in your heart of hearts, would you be opposed to some 1984 type sh*t? (forcibily enacting the reproductive limitation or mass sterilization of all the d-blocks and chardonnay’s?)

—the champ

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't.

  • http://ThinkPrettySmart.typepad.com Ms. Smart

    If Flirtisha’s kids have no chance anyway, aren’t they going to kill each other off?? If the statistics are right, the kids won’t be able to ‘read good’, the boys will go to jail, and the girls will have a rack of kids too. Maybe one kid from each clan will make it out and become a productive member of society. Save for that one kid, the cycle will continue, right? If we get one ‘winner’ kid out of each flock, it should make up for those of us who are careful breeders.

    Also, has your mother been talking to my mother??

    • A-Town Genius

      @Ms. Smart,

      I think all of our mothers must frequent a similar blog called vsb moms or something. I get those same questions at least bi-monthly.

      • Wanjiru

        @A-Town Genius,
        And in addition to the vsm blog, please don’t forget the mailing list now that they’re computer literate as well. I hope my moms never figures out twitter as there goes the last bastion of the childless.

      • Wanjiru

        @A-Town Genius,
        And in addition to the vsm blog, please don’t forget the mailing list now that they’re computer literate as well. I hope my moms never figures out twitter as there goes the last bastion of the childless.

    • A-Town Genius

      @Ms. Smart,

      I think all of our mothers must frequent a similar blog called vsb moms or something. I get those same questions at least bi-monthly.

    • http://www.myspace.com/sanen85 SaneN85

      @Ms. Smart, If we really think about it, a large chunk of these men and women (and not just the black ones) continue to reproduce because it is made easier for them by having government resources so readily available and not regulated very well. If they start to outnumber us hard-working, tax-paying citizens, they will begin to cut off the very source that has made it easy to live the life they do. This would (hopefully) inspire those to make changes within themselves and the problem should self-correct. At least, I damn sure hope it does.

      • http://stickwithyocat.blogspot.com/ V.E.G.

        @SaneN85,

        “it is made easier for them by having government resources so readily available and not regulated very well.”

        I don’t know if you recall but, in 1996 , then President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act which basically required welfare recipients to begin work after 2 years of receiving benefits and placed a lifetime limit of five years on benefits.

        Sure, folks can get food stamps and housing vouchers – but that’s just not for people with kids. A single person with no children and no income can get those, too.

        The resources you speak of just aren’t there anymore, not in the same way. If someone is not working and having a boat load of kids, they are struggling and receiving very little in way of federal support.

        And it’s highly regulated. You miss a meeting with a caseworker and you are cut off.

        • http://www.myspace.com/sanen85 SaneN85

          @V.E.G., The Act signed by Bill Clinton definitely made a huge difference, but I have two sisters who have been state supported for upwards of 5 years. One of them has 3 kids and the other has four. One of them has had 2x the number of abortions than she has children and neither are on any birth control of any kind. One of them lives comfortably and the other lives well beyond comfortably. They also support the men that they are currently with.

          This is just the two in my immediate family, I also know many people who have not worked in years and continue to have children while staying on state assistance. I also see this same kind of scenario at the state supported health clinic I work at.

          I am aware of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act which basically required welfare recipients to begin work after 2 years of receiving benefits and placed a lifetime limit of five years on benefits. On paper this is how it should work, but with my personal experience, it has done little good for those abusing the system.

          Now, I am not saying that only those with children are on assistance. Nor am I saying that all those using assistance are abusing it. But, I think it’s hard to say that when some are considering their latest unexpected pregnancy, that these resources don’t play a factor. I’ve seen it personally too many times to count. I’m just basing my opinion off of what I see everyday in my community. I cannot comment on what goes on in other communities, but it sounds as if you have a different experience.
          Disclaimer: I am not in any way against state assistance, as I said I work at a clinic supported by the state. I was also heavily supported by state assistance growing up, first in foster care, and then with my disabled mother. Obviously, there is a great need for it.

          • http://stickwithyocat.blogspot.com/ V.E.G.

            @SaneN85,

            I dig. But I think we need to move away from the idea of the ‘welfare queen’ jacking the system. Your sisters are obviously getting over in a big way but that is not at all the norm, anymore.

            Now, if you add in SSI benefits and all that, then we have a very different story. Some very ‘normal’ folks are getting disability payments from the government and are living kinda large on them. But that wasn’t covered under the 1996 act.

          • http://stickwithyocat.blogspot.com/ V.E.G.

            @SaneN85,

            I dig. But I think we need to move away from the idea of the ‘welfare queen’ jacking the system. Your sisters are obviously getting over in a big way but that is not at all the norm, anymore.

            Now, if you add in SSI benefits and all that, then we have a very different story. Some very ‘normal’ folks are getting disability payments from the government and are living kinda large on them. But that wasn’t covered under the 1996 act.

          • http://stickwithyocat.blogspot.com/ V.E.G.

            @SaneN85,

            “One of them has had 2x the number of abortions than she has children and neither are on any birth control of any kind. ”

            Chile, some of my very educated friends have had multiple abortions. So we can’t pin this behavior on the uneducated/hood.

          • http://stickwithyocat.blogspot.com/ V.E.G.

            @SaneN85,

            “One of them has had 2x the number of abortions than she has children and neither are on any birth control of any kind. ”

            Chile, some of my very educated friends have had multiple abortions. So we can’t pin this behavior on the uneducated/hood.

          • http://www.museacdonline.com pgh muse

            @SaneN85 and VEG, Your sisters are obviously getting over in a big way but that is not at all the norm, anymore.

            I know a few women who don’t work and have a bunch of kids and I always wonder how they are still doing this considering the time limit…

          • http://www.museacdonline.com pgh muse

            @SaneN85 and VEG, Your sisters are obviously getting over in a big way but that is not at all the norm, anymore.

            I know a few women who don’t work and have a bunch of kids and I always wonder how they are still doing this considering the time limit…

        • http://www.myspace.com/sanen85 SaneN85

          @V.E.G., The Act signed by Bill Clinton definitely made a huge difference, but I have two sisters who have been state supported for upwards of 5 years. One of them has 3 kids and the other has four. One of them has had 2x the number of abortions than she has children and neither are on any birth control of any kind. One of them lives comfortably and the other lives well beyond comfortably. They also support the men that they are currently with.

          This is just the two in my immediate family, I also know many people who have not worked in years and continue to have children while staying on state assistance. I also see this same kind of scenario at the state supported health clinic I work at.

          I am aware of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act which basically required welfare recipients to begin work after 2 years of receiving benefits and placed a lifetime limit of five years on benefits. On paper this is how it should work, but with my personal experience, it has done little good for those abusing the system.

          Now, I am not saying that only those with children are on assistance. Nor am I saying that all those using assistance are abusing it. But, I think it’s hard to say that when some are considering their latest unexpected pregnancy, that these resources don’t play a factor. I’ve seen it personally too many times to count. I’m just basing my opinion off of what I see everyday in my community. I cannot comment on what goes on in other communities, but it sounds as if you have a different experience.
          Disclaimer: I am not in any way against state assistance, as I said I work at a clinic supported by the state. I was also heavily supported by state assistance growing up, first in foster care, and then with my disabled mother. Obviously, there is a great need for it.

      • http://stickwithyocat.blogspot.com/ V.E.G.

        @SaneN85,

        “it is made easier for them by having government resources so readily available and not regulated very well.”

        I don’t know if you recall but, in 1996 , then President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act which basically required welfare recipients to begin work after 2 years of receiving benefits and placed a lifetime limit of five years on benefits.

        Sure, folks can get food stamps and housing vouchers – but that’s just not for people with kids. A single person with no children and no income can get those, too.

        The resources you speak of just aren’t there anymore, not in the same way. If someone is not working and having a boat load of kids, they are struggling and receiving very little in way of federal support.

        And it’s highly regulated. You miss a meeting with a caseworker and you are cut off.

      • http://ThinkPrettySmart.typepad.com Ms. Smart

        @SaneN85, I made a similar comment over on Sista Tolja’s blog yesterday. That school where there are over 100 knocked up/teen moms are building a nursery across the street from the school. WTF? they could pay off my student loans with that money! I went to school, didn’t get pregnant, and contribute to society. I don’t get anything–not even free health care!

      • http://ThinkPrettySmart.typepad.com Ms. Smart

        @SaneN85, I made a similar comment over on Sista Tolja’s blog yesterday. That school where there are over 100 knocked up/teen moms are building a nursery across the street from the school. WTF? they could pay off my student loans with that money! I went to school, didn’t get pregnant, and contribute to society. I don’t get anything–not even free health care!

    • http://www.myspace.com/sanen85 SaneN85

      @Ms. Smart, If we really think about it, a large chunk of these men and women (and not just the black ones) continue to reproduce because it is made easier for them by having government resources so readily available and not regulated very well. If they start to outnumber us hard-working, tax-paying citizens, they will begin to cut off the very source that has made it easy to live the life they do. This would (hopefully) inspire those to make changes within themselves and the problem should self-correct. At least, I damn sure hope it does.

    • http://twitter.com/WuDaMan WuDaMan

      @Ms. Smart,
      I think all our mothers have an internal Grandmother biological clock. I’m just glad I’m not the oldest (i.e. I have a scape goat).

      • http://presidentialtelevisionandfilm.ning.com Monk

        @WuDaMan,

        Lucky you. Even though I am the oldest and my younger sister has already popped out a booger monster, I still get asked the “questions” from my mom.

      • http://presidentialtelevisionandfilm.ning.com Monk

        @WuDaMan,

        Lucky you. Even though I am the oldest and my younger sister has already popped out a booger monster, I still get asked the “questions” from my mom.

      • Me fail english?

        @WuDaMan,

        Well what’s my father’s excuse? He’s been ready for me to have kids since I was like 16! (His mom had him when she was 17).

        • http://twitter.com/olivya23 olivya23

          @Me fail english?,

          16? For real?!

          • Me fail english?

            @olivya23,

            Yeah. He was engaged to my mother when he was 16 and one of my sisters got married at 18 so it wouldnt be that weird in my family. Plus he didnt know that I was still a virgin at 16! Hahaha.

          • Me fail english?

            @olivya23,

            Yeah. He was engaged to my mother when he was 16 and one of my sisters got married at 18 so it wouldnt be that weird in my family. Plus he didnt know that I was still a virgin at 16! Hahaha.

        • http://twitter.com/olivya23 olivya23

          @Me fail english?,

          16? For real?!

        • http://twitter.com/WuDaMan WuDaMan

          @Me fail english?, bwuahahahaha men have clocks too. Lo siento Me Fail! Lo siento

        • http://twitter.com/WuDaMan WuDaMan

          @Me fail english?, bwuahahahaha men have clocks too. Lo siento Me Fail! Lo siento

      • Me fail english?

        @WuDaMan,

        Well what’s my father’s excuse? He’s been ready for me to have kids since I was like 16! (His mom had him when she was 17).

    • http://twitter.com/WuDaMan WuDaMan

      @Ms. Smart,
      I think all our mothers have an internal Grandmother biological clock. I’m just glad I’m not the oldest (i.e. I have a scape goat).

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Ms. Smart,

      Also, has your mother been talking to my mother??

      probably. like a-town said, there’s no reason why they could have their own very smart mother blogs

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Ms. Smart,

      Also, has your mother been talking to my mother??

      probably. like a-town said, there’s no reason why they could have their own very smart mother blogs

  • http://ThinkPrettySmart.typepad.com Ms. Smart

    If Flirtisha’s kids have no chance anyway, aren’t they going to kill each other off?? If the statistics are right, the kids won’t be able to ‘read good’, the boys will go to jail, and the girls will have a rack of kids too. Maybe one kid from each clan will make it out and become a productive member of society. Save for that one kid, the cycle will continue, right? If we get one ‘winner’ kid out of each flock, it should make up for those of us who are careful breeders.

    Also, has your mother been talking to my mother??

  • Miss Patterson

    So, let me get this right, the Champ has all of his teeth?

    • SouthernGirl

      @Miss Patterson,

      and he’s handsome?!?!

      • SouthernSole

        @SouthernGirl,

        I thought he was a 3? Color me confused …

        • SouthernGirl

          @SouthernSole,

          lol. *pulls SouthernSole to the side* pj is the 3. champ is his egg shape headed partner in crime. mmmkay?

        • SouthernGirl

          @SouthernSole,

          lol. *pulls SouthernSole to the side* pj is the 3. champ is his egg shape headed partner in crime. mmmkay?

      • SouthernSole

        @SouthernGirl,

        I thought he was a 3? Color me confused …

    • SouthernGirl

      @Miss Patterson,

      and he’s handsome?!?!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Miss Patterson,

      right deez

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Miss Patterson,

      right deez

  • Miss Patterson

    So, let me get this right, the Champ has all of his teeth?

  • A-Town Genius

    I think that we all know if we are ready to have kids and if you rush and have kids before you’re ready it can lead to us making not very vsb-like decisions.

    • Me fail english?

      @A-Town Genius,

      Really? I think most parents weren’t “ready” when they found out they were pregnant. The VSB-ey among them just rose to the occasion.

      • miss t-lee

        @Me fail english?,
        I believe that if most of our parents would have waited until they were “ready” to have us, most of us wouldn’t be here right now…lol

      • miss t-lee

        @Me fail english?,
        I believe that if most of our parents would have waited until they were “ready” to have us, most of us wouldn’t be here right now…lol

      • http://twitter.com/Time4SumAkShone AkShone

        @Me fail english?,

        I agree, my mom had just turned 18 and my dad turned 21 two days after I was born.

        Niether of them were in a position for a kid, but they made it work along with a great family support system on both sides.

        I think in alot of these situations the family structure is broken so that support just isn’t there.

        • http://presidentialtelevisionandfilm.ning.com Monk

          @AkShone,

          Yep.

        • http://presidentialtelevisionandfilm.ning.com Monk

          @AkShone,

          Yep.

      • http://twitter.com/Time4SumAkShone AkShone

        @Me fail english?,

        I agree, my mom had just turned 18 and my dad turned 21 two days after I was born.

        Niether of them were in a position for a kid, but they made it work along with a great family support system on both sides.

        I think in alot of these situations the family structure is broken so that support just isn’t there.

      • A-Town Genius

        @Me fail english?,

        I was speaking more about planning to have kids. I know that we will all step and handle responsibility whenever it comes but if you’re not at a point in your life where you are able to comfortably support a child you shouldn’t plan to have one. If it just happens then it’s time to stand up and take care of your child.

        • Me fail english?

          @A-Town Genius,

          See my thing is I dont think it’s ever (or rarely is) a good time to plan to have a child. Its kinda like marriage in that, when is it a good time to break up half your ish? When is it ideal to spend sleepless nights and exhausting days wiping somebody’s ass? Giving up some large portion of your income for a college fund, doctor’s visits and piano lessons? Giving up damn near all your free time to stay home with Junior to make sure he doesnt burn down the house on a snow day? Being realistic, I dont think there will ever be a time I can “comfortably” do all of this. Unless you’re getting that Slim Helu bread, kids are always a major sacrifice.

          I think our generation overthinks what it means to be “ready”. I agree its smart to have the basics in line (a job with benefits, your own spot with a spare bedroom, etc. ). But by time a lot of folks are “ready” they’re damn near done with their child-bearing years anyhow.

          • A-Town Genius

            @Me fail english?,

            I never thought about it that way kind of makes sense. I just have known several couples who didn’t have a place of their own or even a job and they were trying to have kids. Definitely wasn’t the move

          • A-Town Genius

            @Me fail english?,

            I never thought about it that way kind of makes sense. I just have known several couples who didn’t have a place of their own or even a job and they were trying to have kids. Definitely wasn’t the move

        • Me fail english?

          @A-Town Genius,

          See my thing is I dont think it’s ever (or rarely is) a good time to plan to have a child. Its kinda like marriage in that, when is it a good time to break up half your ish? When is it ideal to spend sleepless nights and exhausting days wiping somebody’s ass? Giving up some large portion of your income for a college fund, doctor’s visits and piano lessons? Giving up damn near all your free time to stay home with Junior to make sure he doesnt burn down the house on a snow day? Being realistic, I dont think there will ever be a time I can “comfortably” do all of this. Unless you’re getting that Slim Helu bread, kids are always a major sacrifice.

          I think our generation overthinks what it means to be “ready”. I agree its smart to have the basics in line (a job with benefits, your own spot with a spare bedroom, etc. ). But by time a lot of folks are “ready” they’re damn near done with their child-bearing years anyhow.

      • A-Town Genius

        @Me fail english?,

        I was speaking more about planning to have kids. I know that we will all step and handle responsibility whenever it comes but if you’re not at a point in your life where you are able to comfortably support a child you shouldn’t plan to have one. If it just happens then it’s time to stand up and take care of your child.

    • Me fail english?

      @A-Town Genius,

      Really? I think most parents weren’t “ready” when they found out they were pregnant. The VSB-ey among them just rose to the occasion.

  • A-Town Genius

    I think that we all know if we are ready to have kids and if you rush and have kids before you’re ready it can lead to us making not very vsb-like decisions.

  • http://www.Michelle-Huxtable.com Michelle Huxtable

    I don’t think we need to have more kids. Half the reason people with 14 kids might have some bad ones in the bunch is because the parents are spread too thin. They can’t give all of them the attention kids need. I’m not saying I’m in favor of 1984-ish reproduction limitations but it wouldn’t be the most horrible thing ever if people self-enforced that.

    • http://www.myspace.com/sanen85 SaneN85

      @Michelle Huxtable, I cosign this post.

    • http://www.myspace.com/sanen85 SaneN85

      @Michelle Huxtable, I cosign this post.

    • http://lmbao.org Dorian G.

      @Michelle Huxtable and SaneN85,

      Black women lost

      • Sanen85

        @Dorian G., Color me confused. Are you you referring to the mothers in Michelle’s post, or are you calling the two of us black women lost?

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @Sanen85,

          he’s probably referring to each, lol

          • SaneN85

            @The Champ,
            Refer deez.
            Yeah, I’m still working on that.

          • SaneN85

            @The Champ,
            Refer deez.
            Yeah, I’m still working on that.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          @Sanen85,

          he’s probably referring to each, lol

      • Sanen85

        @Dorian G., Color me confused. Are you you referring to the mothers in Michelle’s post, or are you calling the two of us black women lost?

    • http://lmbao.org Dorian G.

      @Michelle Huxtable and SaneN85,

      Black women lost

  • http://www.Michelle-Huxtable.com Michelle Huxtable

    I don’t think we need to have more kids. Half the reason people with 14 kids might have some bad ones in the bunch is because the parents are spread too thin. They can’t give all of them the attention kids need. I’m not saying I’m in favor of 1984-ish reproduction limitations but it wouldn’t be the most horrible thing ever if people self-enforced that.

  • http://singlesisterspeak.wordpress.com Jaci

    I think if you are ready to have kids then you should. This all sort of reeks of the ‘Talented Tenth’. If you’re a part of it you gotta procreate…then teach your kids what you know then make sure they continue it on…that way there will always be someone there to keep us from falling into foolishness again…

    But does that mean that the lesser kids won’t make good? Like is there room for growth and improvement…?

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Jaci,

      But does that mean that the lesser kids won’t make good? Like is there room for growth and improvement…?

      just like overit’s datebook, there’s always room and sh*t.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      @Jaci,

      But does that mean that the lesser kids won’t make good? Like is there room for growth and improvement…?

      just like overit’s datebook, there’s always room and sh*t.

    • Mr Blaze

      @Jaci,

      Being a part of the talented tenth prevents you from making the silly decision to have more kids than you can afford. The flip side of that coin states that you won’t even attempt to have ANY children until you think you have the right mate.

      “What is we gone do?”

    • Mr Blaze

      @Jaci,

      Being a part of the talented tenth prevents you from making the silly decision to have more kids than you can afford. The flip side of that coin states that you won’t even attempt to have ANY children until you think you have the right mate.

      “What is we gone do?”

  • http://singlesisterspeak.wordpress.com Jaci

    I think if you are ready to have kids then you should. This all sort of reeks of the ‘Talented Tenth’. If you’re a part of it you gotta procreate…then teach your kids what you know then make sure they continue it on…that way there will always be someone there to keep us from falling into foolishness again…

    But does that mean that the lesser kids won’t make good? Like is there room for growth and improvement…?

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