Friday, September 24, 2010

No Wedding No Womb: LeBron James and His Would Be Daddy

Have you  ever read a story and thought that you would never get your bottom lip off the ground?  Well, prepare yourself for a shocker.  According to TMZ, 55-year-old Leicester Bryce Stovell is suing Lebron for 4 million dollars.
Stovell is seeking $4 million from LeBron and his mother -- claiming fraud, defamation and misrepresentation.

In the new docs, Stovell alleges Gloria falsified the 2007 test -- which showed a "0% probability of paternity" -- and he wants a second, more carefully supervised test.

And then there's this: Stovell wants $$$ because he lost "gifts of money" that he would have received from LeBron had the test proven paternity.
That right there is the definition of a trifling ass man.   Far too often men throw away their kids because they don't want the burden and expense of raising them, but when these same children turn around and achieve something, they are the first one with their hand out. To them, these celebrity children are nothing more than a paycheck for a lucky cum shot. If he is the father, he was an absent one and he expects to be rewarded for that.

Many Black bloggers recently participated in an online event entitled No Wedding No Womb, in an effort to discuss the high rate of unwed pregnancies in the Black community.  Faith of Acts of Faith wrote quite eloquently about the role of Black men:

As long as people (read that as males) continue to talk around the problems and refuse to adequately address the choices that have resulted in these problems there are no “save the community” solutions forthcoming. The only ones who will resolve the male abandonment (and racialized misogyny) problem are other males. The ones who get it can’t make the masses step in line either because this has gone on too long. This is about pulling a few conscious people out of the Matrix. As we see by the overwhelming majority of people attempting to address this are women (who are themselves a small minority subgroup) most will continue to ignore, obfuscate and watch the house burn down.
While I believe that the onus of this movement once again places the responsibility on women to bring about social change through the exercise of restraint, the idea that Black men need to own their responsiblities and stop making babies that they don't intend to raise, is something that resonates with me. This idea is very firmly based in the age old idea that women should control and deny sex to men because men cannot act responsibility.  It allows men a pass on their behaviour and makes women responsible for decisions that should be made as a couple.  Lebron's would be father did not feel ashamed to file this law suite because absentee fathers are something that has become normalized and we have for far too long not held men accountable for their actions. 

The relationship between Black women and Black men is complicated by the shared oppression of racism and the desire of Black men to have the same social power as White men to oppress women.  The problem with creating marriage as the solution, is that it does not address that marriage  does not necessarily guarantee a life long commitment and it most certainly does not insure fidelity.  What would have changed about this situation had Gloria James married Leicester Bryce Stovell?

The traditional family is authoritarian and necessarily sexist. The family is where children first learn coercive power and hierarchy, yet this is the model that is being suggested as the cure for the issues that currently plague  Black community.  It is highly more likely that humans were meant for serial monogamy rather than a lifetime commitment and therefore; the construction of the nuclear family would be counter to our natural (if such a thing exists) inclinations.   Though the nuclear family model may feel comfortable because that is what we know, it would be a step backward for women. 

Men like Stovell need to be held accountable for their actions.  This means that as a community we must begin to send the message that you should not make any babies, if you are not man enough to raise them.  Whether or not the biological father lives in the home with the mother, he has a role to play and that message must be affirmed.  As a Canadian, I know that our system is far more generous than the American one when it comes to social support but that does not mean that there isn't room for improvement.  Instead of holding onto a false model that was based in the ownership of women's bodies we need to demand a new model that works for the lives we lead.  Not only must Black men be held accountable for their children, the government must increase the support single mothers.

Womnen have proven leadership skills and together we have awesome spending power.  It is time that we begin to demand compensation.  Poverty should not be the price for parenting, when we know that society is dependent upon the free labour of women in the private sphere to support the public sphere.  There will be those that will see this as a handout, because we have learned to devalue women's labour but it is time that we begin to demand payment for our contributions.  The very idea that we should delay motherhood because of the irresponsibility of men is ridiculous.  What we need is revolution and it begins with demanding the support networks we need to ensure housing, medical care and subsistence.  Women have long used their status as mothers to fight for social change and considering the degree of crises that we are currently under, it seems to me that the time to agitate for a woman centered change is now.

Trifling men like Leicester Bryce Stovell are not going to change.  They are going to continue to be predatory because that is what a patriarchal system has trained them to be.  In any situation of exploitation, the marginalized must maintain and to some degree consent to their own oppression.  This is specifically why I believe that it is time to stop fixating on outdated patriarchal models for solution and create something that is not only woman friendly but pro woman.  If Black men are not prepared to be fathers we must be the parent that our children can rely on.