Remember when CNN did "Black In America" and everyone was like, "Man, that blew chunks" and everyone specifically complained about the feature on black women and this "marry your baby daddy program?"
Well, they're still going strong to hitch unwed black mothers to their recalcitrant boyfriends.
Reports show that the growing number of out-of-wedlock births and an increase in unmarried households have forced a new dialog about relationships in America according to Marry Your Baby Daddy Day™ founder and St. Martins Press author Maryann Reid.
She and her team are already planning for Marry Your Baby Daddy Day™ 2009, a mass wedding of 10 unwed couples w/children to strengthen 2 parent homes and stabilize communities. Applications are being accepted early to announce the 10 selected NYC area couples on Valentine's Day 2009. On September 24, 2009, 10 couples will get married in NYC, but others across the nation won't be left out.
"We are gathering licensed MYBDD™ partners in different cities in order to hold a simultaneous wedding on the same day," Reid says. "It's as important for us to help a couple in Sacramento as it is to marry ten in New York City. We have a growing national database of moms and dads who want to marry each other that we share with a licensed MYBDD™ partner in their area."
The press release (which popped up in my inbox) goes on to say the program has married 40 "baby mamas and daddies."
I don't know how to feel about all this. On one hand, I'm a big fan of marriage. On the other, there is just something unseemly about the term "baby mama" or "baby daddy." Maybe I simply wish there were more family planning/sex education programs available for young black boys and girls so they can learn to avoid these pratfalls. I wish there was more focus on after school programs, mentorship and scholarship. I know wanting to go to college and have a career kept me from getting prematurely knocked up.
Is it just me? Maybe this is a really meaningful gesture, but I feel like it's a band-aid on a gaping wound. It is the embrace of ignorance -- encouraged by everyone and everything from black popular culture to some churches -- is endemic throughout black culture and is the No. 1 culprit to all asshat behavior of black people.
Just as it was at the end of slavery it remains true today. Education has and will always be the key.
So marriage is great, but if you don't have the educational tools to earn a decent wage, support a family and the maturity to deal what did this program really create?
The creator of the event Reid ends her press release with this answer to critics:
(Reid) is often questioned about whether it's right for these couples to marry because they have children together.
"Are they not supposed to get married? That's what I want to know," Reid says, as she stresses that many of the couples have been together at least 5 years. "We don't have to sell anything, our couples come to us. It shows we are making a difference and impacting lives in wholesome and relevant ways."
Blogger AverageBro wrote about what he saw as the more positive aspects of this program when it was mentioned on "Black In America" back in July.