Monday, December 23, 2013

Communal Attitudes are needed in the fight against single parenthood and dysfunctional families
By Rachel Miller-Bradshaw 
Very few reputable newspapers, newsmagazines and TV programs present day use their platform to tell the stories of the underrepresented or invisible individuals living and coping everyday with their impoverish circumstances.  The New York Times series "Invisible Child-Girl in the Shadows: Dasani’s Homeless Life" candidly and visually tells the story of a mature homeless young girl, living in a family of 10, who helps to care for her siblings while maintaining some sort of dignity living in a decrepit housing shelter in Brooklyn, New York.

Judging from the description aforementioned, one would immediately think that this young girl's circumstance derives from a single parenthood arrangement; however, this is not the case.  There is a father present-- though it is not the girl’s biological father, her stepfather legally married to her mother has been raising her from a very young age.
In this situation, Dasani’s parents have fallen victim to drugs, a negative influence that is all too often present and abused in poor communities.  Dasani’s mother once worked as a janitor and her stepfather was laid off from a shop where he was a barber.  Both are undergoing drug rehabilitation.

Many conservative idealists and organizations like the Heritage Foundation have diagnosed single parenthood as the sole reason many women and children suffer through poverty.  Their solution for this societal dilemma is simply for women to avoid out-of-wedlock births and opt for marriage.   Dasani’s story debunks this conservative ideology by just exposing the reality that lack of marital structures isn’t the only reason why women and children suffer socioeconomically.  Policies, racism, and the economy are also factors that play major roles as to why the Black Family in the United States and the American family structure as a whole, can be infiltrated. Marriage doesn’t always serve as an impenetrable buffer to life and society.

Past generations often talk about the days when they could knock on their neighbor’s door and borrow milk or eggs.  Not to mention, when someone’s child was out in public misbehaving any adult witnessing the bad behavior could discipline the child and then escort the child to his or her parents for further disciplining.   American society has lost its communal mindset, straying from the proverbs "it takes a village to raise a child", and "you are your brother’s keeper".  This new individualistic approach has hurt the people most in need of attention, upliftment, guidance and love, which are people that have lost their way or were disadvantaged and disenfranchised from the start.  With the continued budget cuts to social programs it is necessary that we become more intermutal for survival purposes.

Governmental dependence will not solve the familial breakdown continually damaging the structure.  Churches, more non-profits, politicians, community activists, and all Americans have to be more concerned about their fellow neighbor’s well being.  That way once another family is secure and escapes poverty their stability is invested back into community making it stronger.  Imagine going back to a time when we all knew our neighbors on a first name basis.

No comments:

Post a Comment