Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Single Mothers of New Orleans

It Sucks Being Black Sometimes

I am off on another tangent here that will tick people off but bear with me until the end. There is a method to my madness.

I am sick and tired of the media images that I keep seeing coming out of New Orleans and elsewhere that depict the 'American Family' and how it is suffering.

In the past few weeks I have seen news story after news story showing black mothers with their 3 to 6 children (all under 10 years of age) lamenting about their loss, and how their 'babies ain't got no food or shoes'.

On a local news channel last week I got so see an Hispanic mother whining about the State not paying for her daughters eye cancer surgery because it was 'experimental' and not covered by publicly funded state health care. The mother didn't speak English and had to complain through an interpreter.

Needless to say, that the fathers of this little sea of humanity were no where to be found. They are all single women that have managed to have multiple births (possibly through multiple fathers) and they are lamenting their situation now that they have run into difficult times.

Now, I realize that a lot of these women had little choice in the matter. The sad truth about today's society is that women in low economic classes don't have much opportunity outside of childbirth and are often the victims of domestic violence or rape. They are often denied the 'choice' of having a child and the type of man they end up with. So we can't necessarily blame the women for the plight that they are in. We have to give them kudos for at least caring for the children and not abandoning them.

What has me upset here is the way in which the media feasts on these images and uses them to perpetuate the norm. The media is not about information; it is about imagery and normalcy. Here in Phoenix, Arizona, the morning news shows morning traffic backed up for miles and commute times of 45 minutes to travel 10 miles and speak of it in terms of, "Wow, I-17 sure is backed up this morning, consider an alternate route to work."

It is the same with these single mothers. "Oh, well, mommy got knocked up and daddy ain't around no more, so let's all pitch in and help poor Tonisha and her 6 kids."

Where is the media responsibility to show that this is incorrect? I don't see the media reporting on all the affluent 'nuclear' black families (with fathers) in New Orleans that saved their money and planned for the disaster. They aren't holding these people up as examples to be followed. They show the poor down trodden and say 'What a shame'. Where is the media pressure on fathers to be responsible? None of these news stories even asked the mothers about the children's fathers or if they were helping out or doing anything. It was just 'assumed' that the biological fathers weren't around and accepted as a norm. Instead of eliciting sympathy from the American Public in Minnesota or Arizona, why isn't the media tracking down the deadbeat dads and saying to them, "YOUR kids are starving. You remember Tonisha? The woman you 'popped' five years ago....she had your baby."

Instead of showing the interstate backed up for miles every morning, where is the social responsibility and editorial content to say, "Why the hell isn't government looking into alternate transportation systems?" Instead, they are telling us to 'put up with it and be happy' instead of telling us to 'get angry and think different'.

The media is becoming the Prozac of modern society. It is perpetuating a norm that is neither healthy nor beneficial for society. They are glossing over or ignoring the issues that make up the fundamental problems in the modern world. Instead of acting to change the norm, they are 'teaching' us to 'react' to the consequences.

This is nuts!!!