Black matriarchy

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Black matriarchy is a term for the black American families mostly led by women. The term does not take into account the reasoning behind black male absence in the home.

First usage[edit]

The issue was first brought to national attention in 1965 by sociologist and later Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, in the Moynihan Report (also known as "The Negro Family: The Case For National Action".[1] Moynihan's report made the argument that the relative absence of nuclear families (those having both a father and mother present) in Black America would greatly hinder further Black socioeconomic progress.[1]


A study of 1880 family structure in Philadelphia shows that three-quarters of Black families were nuclear families, composed of two parents and children.[2] In New York City in 1925, 85 percent of kin-related Black households had two parents.[2] In 1940, the illegitimacy rate for Black children was 19 percent.[2]

When Moynihan warned in his 1965 report of the coming destruction of the Black family, the out-of-wedlock birthrate was 25 percent among Blacks.[1] By 1991, 68 percent of Black children were born outside of marriage.[3] In 2011, 72 percent of Black babies were born to unwed mothers.[4][5]

Cosby and Poussaint's criticism of the single-parent family[edit]

Bill Cosby has criticised the current state of Black families being dominated by single-parent situations. In a speech to the NAACP in 2004, Cosby said: "In the neighborhood that most of us grew up in, parenting is not going on". "You have the pile-up of these sweet beautiful things born by nature—raised by no one."[6]

In Cosby's 2007 book Come On People: On the Path from Victims to Victors, co-authored with psychiatrist Alvin Poussaint, Cosby and Poussaint write that "a house without a father is a challenge," and that "a neighborhood without fathers is a catastrophe."[6] Cosby and Poussaint write that mothers "have difficulty showing a son how to be a man," and that this presents a problem when there are no father figures around to show boys how to channel their natural aggressiveness in constructive ways.[6] Cosby and Poussaint also write, "We wonder if much of these kids' rage was born when their fathers abandoned them."[6]

Cosby and Poussaint state that verbal and emotional abuse of the children is prominent in the parenting style of Black single mothers, with serious developmental consequences for the children.[6] "Words like 'You're stupid,' 'You're an idiot,' 'I'm sorry you were born,' or 'You'll never amount to anything' can stick a dagger in a child's heart."[6]

"Single mothers angry with men, whether their current boyfriends or their children's fathers, regularly transfer their rage to their sons, since they're afraid to take it out on the adult males".[6] "If they hear their mom say, 'Black men ain't worth s—-,' the boys wonder whether that includes them. When their moms yell, 'You're no good, just like your father!' all the doubt goes away."[6]

Cosby and Poussaint write that this formative parenting environment in the Black single-parent family leads to a "wounded anger—of children toward parents, women toward men, men toward their mothers and women in general".[6]

Negativity in Black Matriarchy[edit]

Some will disagree with the idea of a Black Matriarchy because they see Black Matriarchy being used in a derogatory way. The author of the article "The Myth of the Black Matriarchy" argues that black women were seen in a threatening way and their position in the family has resulted in the psychological castration of the black male and has produced a variety of other negative effects. These negative effects include low educational achievements, personality disorders, juvenile delinquency, etc.[7]

Effects Of Absent Fathers[edit]

The father, in the family structure is the foundation of that family system. The father should provide stability to the family which keeps the family in order and functioning.[8] Its shown in a study by Don Lemon that about 67% of black children are living in a household without their father. Father's play an emotional role in families, and their absence can be detrimental to the development of their children. For young girls the absence of their fathers can influence how promiscuous the daughter is with her physical sexuality.[9] Also they may seek more attention from men and tend to have had more physical contact with boys than other girls their age.[9] Its been shown that boys without fathers tend to become gang affiliated more than those who have a two parent home.[8] In the oral survey the writer conducted with 25 black males ages 15 to 25 who had either been to jail, or on probation, or had a criminal record or had criminal charges 13 pending, it was found that 21 out of the 25 subjects were raised by a single mother. Seventeen of them said they thought if their fathers were there, it could have made a difference in their lives.[8]


See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c Daniel P. Moynihan, The Negro Family: The Case for National Action, Washington, D.C., Office of Policy Planning and Research, U.S. Department of Labor, 1965).
  2. ^ a b c Walter Williams, "Victimhood: Rhetoric or reality?", Jewish World Review, June 8, 2005.
  3. ^ National Review, April 4, 1994, p. 24.
  4. ^ Jesse Washington, "Blacks struggle with 72 percent unwed mothers rate", NBC News, July 11, 2010.
  5. ^ Jason L. Riley,"For Blacks, the Pyrrhic Victory of the Obama Era", Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Myron Magnet, "The Great African-American Awakening", City Journal, Summer 2008, volume 18, number 3.
  7. ^ STAPLES, ROBERT (1970-01-01). "THE MYTH OF THE BLACK MATRIARCHY". The Black Scholar. 1 (3/4): 8–16. 
  8. ^ a b c Booker, Edwards (Mar 1, 1996). "Absent black father 's effect on the blackmales' development". 
  9. ^ a b "Undergraduate Research Journal for the Human Sciences". Retrieved 2016-03-16. 


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