Black Lives: Illusion. Teenage Motherhood, Single Parenthood and the Child Poverty Trap
In this episode, fillmmakers explode a number of myths about the high prevalence of single parent families in African American communities. They begin by exploring the the personal histories of a Black single mother and a teen father.
The single mother they interview is a qualified nurses aide, who can only work a limited number of hours without losing her government subsidized food stamps, health care and childcare. A single mother of two, she is presently separated from her husband and pregnant with her third child. Her mother, also a single parent, always worked long hours at two or more jobs, which meant that Miracle rarely saw her. Most of Miracle’s income goes to cover car expenses. She currently lives in a shelter because she lost her job (and her apartment) when her car broke down and she couldn’t transport her kids to childcare in time to get to work.
Jimmy, who became a father at 17, is separated from his five-year-old’s mother. He supports his daughter by selling drugs because past criminal convictions disqualify him from pursuing formal employment.
This segment also includes an interview with an African American who reminds us that African American single parenthood dates back to slavery. She believes it’s ludicrous to condemn 14-year-old fathers, who are only children themselves, for not assuming parental responsibilities.