lifeseek.org Preparing a Power Generation

29Mar/110

America the ‘Mixed’ Family (Family Part 2)

March 2011: Featured Post

On a monthly basis, lifeseek.org will be featuring a thought-provoking essay that is designed to stimulate healthy dialogue and a collective resolve to seek the face of God for answers of some of the most pressing issues of our age. Your participation and feedback is very important to us and we encourage you to leave your comments, facebook or tweet this post after reading.


The future culture of the American family:

Futurama

Futurama

What our families look like in the future is indicative of what the American culture will look like for generations to come.  This ranges from the fully functional/traditional nuclear family to the autonomy of “mixed families” that we see as a result of divorce, wedlock, or adoption.  America faces a great dilemma if it is to maintain any sense of identity.  One of the biggest issues that influences the future of America's culture, is how it looks after children have been victims of social ills such as parental abuse, child abuse, separation, and divorce.  America's fix-all cure for children left stranded by the vices of the cruelty of our culture is adoption or foster care.

Traditional Adoption:

Nuclear Family

Nuclear Family

The pitfalls that plague most forms of adoptions are preparing, and planning, the adopting family with the correct information such as behavioral, medical, and sociological issues pertaining to the adoptee.  These issues are not directly circumvented  by the child being adopted, rather it is to make sure that the adopting family has the proper education, and understanding, of the potential growing-pains that surround, and influence, the child being adopted.
Given the climactic change of culture in America, adoption agencies currently have a plethora of options pertaining to child placement, and types of family assignments allotted for healthy child growth.  Same-sex families are one of the options that adoption agency's have available to find a good/stable home.

“According to data of the LGBT [Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transsexuals] civil rights organization, the first wave of the baby boom in same-sex marriages swept across America in the 1980s, when methods of artificial insemination became available to lesbians.  Same-sex families began to adopt children legally in the 1990s.  The population census conducted in the United States in 2000 revealed that 34 percent of lesbian couples and 22 percent of gay (male) couples were bringing up children to the age of eighteen.  According to some data, between 16,000 and 6 million children are being brought up in same-sex families in the United States; according to other data, there are 1.5 million lesbian mothers and 1 million homosexual fathers in the United States.  About 6 million children have one parent who is a homosexual” [1]

Same-Sex Adoption:

gay adoption

gay adoption

There are many who view gay adoption as perverted, unfit, and immoral.  These are people who fear what the country will turn into if it is not the ideals or culture that raised them.  Organizations like “Family Research Council” claim that “there's a connection between homosexuality and pedophilia.”  [2] People who have conservative views in America usually have a hard time accepting social change; even though it's inevitable.  The “American Psychological Association” (APA) has researched the sexual orientation of children that were raised by same-sex couples and issued a policy statement confirming that "there is no reliable evidence that homosexual orientation per se impairs psychological functioning.  Second, beliefs that lesbian and gay adults are not fit parents have no empirical foundation."  [3] It is obvious that child-rearing has little or nothing to do with whether or not  gay parents can provide a fit home for children in need of adoption.  The APA also states "Research suggests that sexual identities (including gender identity, gender-role behavior, and sexual orientation) develop in much the same ways among children of lesbian mothers as they do among children of heterosexual parents." [4]

Social and cultural norms isn't the biggest hindrance as-to whether same-sex couples can adopt.  The greatest obstacle thus far for most issues concerning the LGBT (“lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” or GLBT) community in America is the Law.  The law has effected the LGBT community disallowing them the common freedoms given to all tax paying citizens such as marriage, divorce, and health care.  The law is deliberately pragmatic knowing that once adjusted, its sovereignty is applied to every citizen of the country.

Gay parenting:

Questions about same-sex parenting are usually pertaining to whether or not someone is allowed to adopt biological children of a same-sex partners (from a previous marriage), or if same-sex couples can jointly adopt children that have no biological relation to ether of the couple.  The legality of issues like these have produced a multitude of results that vary from state to state.  In every case of adoption in America the the welfare of the child is of the utmost concern.  Until marriage laws amongst the homosexual community stabilize nationally, it will be hard to determine what happens to the well being of an adopted child if same-sex couples separate or divorce.

Same-sex marriages are currently authorized in at least six states (New Hampshire, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine) so the same-sex parenting laws in those states have quietly matured same-sex parenting laws.  The legal rights of same-sex parenting will grow as more states make previsions for the legality of same-sex marriages.

America's cutting-edge culture:

No more Ordinary Family

No more Ordinary Family

Same-sex marriages and, same-sex adoptions, are clearly examples of the “signs of the times” in America’s cutting-edge culture.  The divorce rate in this country has plummeted contributing to the decline of the “traditional family model” and the rise of the “mixed family model.”  The greatest example of the future America's family can be seen through the lens of adoption agencies across the country and the welfare of our children.  The family issues concerning future generations has nothing to do with the lifestyles (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transvestite ) of individuals, but it has everything to do with the commitment structures shaped by the promises that we have attempted to maintain-- the failure of these commitments has resulted in the demise of the American family and thus the collapse of the American identity.


[1] SOLODNIKOV, V. V., and A. M. CHKANIKOVA. "Children in Same-Sex Marriages." Russian Social Science Review 51.3 (2010): 38-59. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 28 Nov. 2010

[2] “Washington Update” Family Research Council. http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=WU10H07

[3] Paige, R. U. (2005). Proceedings of the American Psychological Association, Incorporated, for the legislative year 2004. Minutes of the meeting of the Council of Representatives July 28 & 30, 2004, Honolulu, HI. Retrieved November 18, 2004, from the World Wide Web http://www.apa.org/governance/. (To be published in Volume 60, Issue Number 5 of the American Psychologist.)

[4] Ibid.


Questions to ponder:

1. Should Gay's be allowed to ADOPT?

2. How do you view a healthy Family?

3. How do you view the FUTURE of American Culture?

4. Are you concerned about the Foster Care system in America?


Dwayne Ghant is a Sr. Software developer at Temple University, who has been doing software development for the past 12 years.  My career has very little to do with who I am internally; that's the part of me that always evolving.  And yes, I'm a Christian who fervently loves our Father through Jesus Christ.  I am also the co-founder of lifeseek.org.  As our culture continues to evolve, ever so rapidly, there has to be a united expression or an organization that is willing to capture the essence of post-modern Christendom - and write about it!  It is our intention to write about a myriad of issues pertaining to ethics, culture, society, and religion.  We won’t always focus on “Christianity”; instead we will focus on how to observe things through the wisdom of God!  Enough about me.  We really hope you enjoy our blogs.

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1Dec/104

Family, Culture, and the Future of Society (Family part 1)

December 2010: Featured Post

On a monthly basis, lifeseek.org will be featuring a thought-provoking essay that is designed to stimulate healthy dialogue and a collective resolve to seek the face of God for answers of some of the most pressing issues of our age.  Your participation and feedback is very important to us and we encourage you to leave your comments, facebook or tweet this post after reading.


Nuclear Family

Nuclear Family

The social relationships of humans are imperative to the structure of civilizations and its governance.  By exploring the relational structure of “family” we can gather a great understanding of how dynamic relational structures in family evolved over time.  For centuries the “family institution” has been noted for is sustainability, organizational structure, and its social influence amongst other cultural groupings.  Exploring the American “nuclear family,” and how its evolved, can assist how we understand the family of today’s post modern era and the family of tomorrow’s pseudo-modern era.

The term “nuclear family” dates back to 1947 according to Merriam Webster [1]. It’s a term used in our modern society to describe the very structure of a family (which has been around for thousands of years).  This term is also used to distinguish the household of a traditional family consisting of a father, mother, and children living in the same home.

The American “nuclear family” is traditionally noted for its consanguinity, affinity, and co-residence. A traditional family is usually defined as an organization that’s socially structure for blood-related relatives and is also the primary institution for children.  The “family institution” will be a child’s first social interaction between people, community, and culture.  We naturally form our understanding about traditions, morals, honor, and principles from our personal “family units.”  It’s generally understood that the traditional family structure is the “de facto” of how people organize and arrange other successful structures in the American culture such as businesses, companies, corporations, and organizations.

Rosie the Riveter

Rosie the Riveter

This traditional structure of family in America was challenged, and potentially changed, by the advent of World War II (WWII).  Aside from the economic challenges and depravity of American’s, because of this war, WWII participated in changing the gender roles in the American culture.  For the first time in this country’s modern era, women were assigned the same labor intensive work that men were assigned to after the men began leaving for war.  “The CIO unions were progressive in dealing with gender discrimination in wartime industry, which now employed many more women workers in nontraditional jobs. Unions that had represented large numbers of women workers before the war, such as the UE and the Food and Tobacco Workers, had fairly good records of fighting discrimination against women. Most union leaders saw women as temporary wartime replacements for the men in the armed forces. It was important that the wages of these women be kept high so that the veterans would get high wages.”[2] This country’s history shows the first instance in which women workers were justified doing the jobs of men.  This would change the fabric of family in America; furthermore, it would add strain that was appended to the traditional family structure and began to erode the principles, morals, and culture of the family “American-modeled’ institution.

"World War II subjected the nation's families to severe strain. During the war, one-sixth of the nation's families suffered prolonged separation from sons or fathers. Five million "war widows" had to cook, clean, launder, and care for children alone. Wartime migration added to familial strain, as more than fifteen million civilians moved in search of new jobs. Wartime families faced a severe shortage of adequate housing and a lack of child-care facilities. These stresses contributed to a dramatic upsurge in the postwar divorce rate and to severe problems of child welfare, including tens of thousands of unsupervised "latchkey" children and high rates of juvenile delinquency, venereal disease, and truancy." [3]

It wasn’t until after WWII that Americans would try to re-establish the nuclear family model.  After WWII there was a economic serge that assisted in producing what we culturally called the “baby boomer” generation (1943 - 1960).  Though this resurgence of the economy influenced the baby boomer generation it wouldn’t be enough to re-establish the “nuclear family” model that help establish the American society.  After WWII the “baseline” family model would be changed in America to include the extended family (grandparents, uncles, nephews, cousins).  Currently, in our post modern society, we support roughly nine other dynamic family structures ranging from single parents to adoption.

During the 1970’s, non-nuclear family households increased 73 percent while nuclear family households increased only 13 percent (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1980).   This shows evidence of the changes that the American family model made from the “baby boomer” generation (1943 - 1960) to the current “baby buster” generation (1965-1976).  These changes would later influence and give birth to what we know today as individualism.

“With these changes have come substantial changes in attitudes toward family life. For example, recent surveys show increasing acceptance of divorce, permanent singleness and childlessness (Thornton and Freedman, 1982). Changes in attitudes are normally explained by changes in the social structure. However, it is also possible that these effects are reinforced for individuals by their own experiences, causing further shifts in their family-related attitudes and behavior” [4]

individualism

individualism

The centrality of family has drastically changed from what used to be a societal norm.  These changes have affected gender roles, sex, individual lifestyles, and morals in American culture.  Individualism is primarily the model that our society currently uses to correlate our unique identities to a principle, or ethics, which, we suspect, should sustain relational integrity of our society.  Essentially individualism is the idea that people’s “individual” morals can generate empirical values that should be shared (or tolerated) in the same society.  This is the ideal that will that incubate the very future of the family model.  The questions that may arise are “what could the future family possible look like?” or “How can the future of family be observed?”

British scholar Dr. Alan Kirby has formulated a term that named the era that succeeds the post modern era called “pseudo-modernism.” Pseudo-Modernism is a term to describe a superficial age where technology like the internet, mass media, and interactive television tries to give meaning and definitions towards something that “substance-less.”

Pseudo-modernism’s “typical intellectual states” are furthermore described as being “ignorance, fanaticism and anxiety” and it is said to produce a “trance-like state” in those participating in it. The net result of this media-induced shallowness and instantaneous participation in trivial events is a “silent autism” superseding “the neurosis of modernism and the narcissism of postmodernism.“ Kirby sees no aesthetically valuable works coming out of “pseudo-modernism.” [5]

The future uncertainty is usually a catalyst for reform.  There’s a good chance that the future of the family (no matter its dynamic) will be a reformed version of the “nuclear family.”  This newly formed model of the future family will influence society (just like the family models of the past).  In the culture of this new family model it’s likely not to be language, or ethnic, specific but will have more of a global construct that will enable new global communities across continents worldwide.

Is there a difference between "BLOOD relative" and FRIEND ?

What is the FUTURE of the American Family?

Is having a "Family" crucial to your FAITH?



[1]  "Nuclear family." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2010. Merriam-Webster Online. 25 Sept. 2010 http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nuclear%20family

[2]  “United States home front during World War II” Wikipedia. 2010. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. . 25 Sept 2010 < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_home_front_during_World_War_II >

[3]  "Family Structures," Encyclopedia of American Social History. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, Reproduced in the History Resource Center, Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group. Archived at: http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/HistRC Document No. BT2313027032 (1993)

[4]  Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations Among Young Adults Linda J. Waite, Frances Kobrin Goldscheider, Christina Witsberger, American Sociological Review Vol. 51, No. 4 (Aug., 1986), pp. 541-554 Published by: American Sociological Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095586

[5] “Post-postmodernism” Wikipedia. 2010. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. . 25 Sept 2010 < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-postmodernism >


Dwayne Ghant is a Sr. Software developer at Temple University, who has been doing software development for the past 12 years.  My career has very little to do with who I am internally; that's the part of me that always evolving.  And yes, I'm a Christian who fervently loves our Father through Jesus Christ.  I am also the co-founder of lifeseek.org.  As our culture continues to evolve, ever so rapidly, there has to be a united expression or an organization that is willing to capture the essence of post-modern Christendom - and write about it!  It is our intention to write about a myriad of issues pertaining to ethics, culture, society, and religion.  We won’t always focus on “Christianity”; instead we will focus on how to observe things through the wisdom of God!  Enough about me.  We really hope you enjoy our blogs.

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24Sep/104

Black Girl Lost

September 2010: Featured Post

On a monthly basis, lifeseek.org will be featuring a thought-provoking essay that is designed to stimulate healthy dialogue and a collective resolve to seek the face of God for answers of some of the most pressing issues of our age. Your participation and feedback is very important to us and we encourage you to leave your comments, facebook or tweet this post after reading.

Dislaimer: This post contains some mature content.

[Click Image For Video]

Innocent Exploration...

Its really hard for me to watch this video on the surface, and not be drastically unmoved by the facade of happiness and youthful “exploration” that is shown by Montana Fishburne. In case you didn’t know, Montana Fishburne, is the daughter of actor Laurence Fishburne. You know Morpheus from The Matrix? She currently has the Internet buzzing about her recently released sex tape. Being a father to a daughter, I could not even begin to feel the disappointment, shame and hurt that Laurence Fishburne is experiencing.

As parents, this is not the career path that you envision for your little girl, and what’s so ironic about this whole thing is according to Montana, she had a “privileged” life of travel, choice education and just about anything she wanted.  She even said although her mom and actor father divorced while she was at the tender age of 2 she still had a “good” relationship with her father.

In most cases, statistics show that most women who enter into the porn industry come from abusive situations and bad experiences in their childhood or some form of male neglect. However, as I was diving in to the research, neglect did not surface as an issue in Montana’s life.

Why Porn?

So this made me ask, was it the divorce of her parents that affected young Montana? Or was it the lack of attention from her father, as he was away pursuing his acting career? How is it that her lost of virginity can turn into an all-out fascination to use her talents in an industry that has a reputation for swallowing young girls up. Why not pursue thespian aspirations as an alternative route? I mean your father is Laurence Fishburne, right?

Was this an issue of survival? According to Haley Volpintesta, a Chicago-based human rights advocate with 10 years experience working with youth impacted by the sex trade, the juvenile and criminal justice systems document that while many young women are coerced into prostitution, many others engage in survival sex. That is to say that they are in the practice of trading sex for basic needs like food and shelter, even in the Unites States of America.

"They may see their involvement in the sex trade as temporary, until they can figure out how to get their needs met in other ways," she says.

It was reported that her father was starting to take some of her privileges away, such as her car and other things, but this in no way threatened her well-being or prevented her from getting her basic needs met.

The New Role Models

So what was it? A case of innocent rebellion? Whatever prompted her actions, the bottom line is that this episode of exploration has made its course into the mainstream and into the homes of millions of Americans. Whether you have a sister, step-daughter, niece, friend, or a daughter between the ages of 13-18, this will have an interesting affect on them.

If you don’t believe me, check out Montana’s recent tweets,

“Aw this little 13 year old girl came up to me talking about I'm her favorite celebrity and she is going to make a sex-tape when she turns 18...”

“It's too late fools. Me and @ihatekatstacks are the next generation's ROLE MODELS. You had your chance and decided to go to college smh hoes”

Although, I’m not blaming Montana for the ills of the world, it should be noted that when the media magnifies her intentions, it does have a direct or indirect influence on the rest of us.

It especially presents a challenge for parents that already have a tough time dealing with their teenage son or daughter that hide in the crevices of their room chatting with their friends online. This challenge is especially significant in a time when there is a power struggle for influence over the minds of teenagers. In the case of Montana, her dad being a famous actor and probably being away from home because of his work, is not much different than most American families now. In this day and age, it is likely that one or both parents must work to earn a half decent living. Given this dynamic, it is easy to understand the tensions between parent and child.


The Father-Daughter Relationship

There are a number of factors that affect the bond between father and daughter. The daily grind of family life and employment can affect the strength of this important bond. According to studies, “men still spend an average of 15 more hours a week at work and commuting than their employed wives do, and American fathers spend about 70 more hours each year at work than do men in other industrialized countries. Dads still don’t have as much time as moms to be with kids.” In the same study, it was found that “father absence was an overriding risk factor for early sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy. Conversely, father presence was a major protective factor against early sexual outcomes, even if other factors were present. Girls who have poor relationships with their dads tend to seek attention from other males at earlier ages and often this will involve a sexual relationship.”

“This surprising characteristic of strong father-daughter relationships was not duplicated between mothers and daughters.”

So with the increased absence of the father, whether it is by overworking or just plain absenteeism, what messages does this send little girls who are looking for the approval of a male figure? In particular, what about little black girls? Drawing on research from several books she authored on the topics of the Father-daughter relationship, professor of adolescent psychology and woman's studies at Wake Forest University, Linda Nielsen, states that 70% of all black children are born out of wedlock. Most of the time all we hear about absent black fathers is the negative impact on young black men.  What about the impact on black daughters?  The emphasis is on the boys, and how much they need their fathers, but the highest rate of AIDS infections right now in our country is among teenage girls.

Why is this? My assumption is these girls are  dating guys and having sex too early. Most likely the girls are coming from a poorer family where the father is not present leading to girls at the ages of 12 and 13 engaging in unprotected sex with multiple partners. Oftentimes their partners are drug users and alot older than them. The fact that these men are usually older shows that the girl consciously or unconsciously is looking to fill that father void. It seems that there is a strong connection between the increase in Aids related infections amongst black young women and the issue of absentee fathers.

Who Is To Blame?

When they do not see their father presently active in their lives it induces a counter-intuitive reaction for the young girls need for male affirmation and begins a process where the little girl is searching for this affirmation elsewhere.  It also could be a case of mere rebellion. Montana gives a hint of the fruit of her rebellion from the reactions of an absent father:

Don’t blame me...blame yourself! If you spent more time on Twitter than with your kids this week.#YouToBlame

So who is to blame? Parents? Society? The girls? I think the blame is placed on those who are not willing to take responsibility for the little girls in their life that are trying to find their way. Nas, had a prophetic song on his second album, It Was Written called Black Girl Lost and tapped into the conscience of this girl:

Diamonds all shinin, lookin all fine

Pretty little face, get a little high

Young girl stugglin, tryin to survive

Mother of the Earth, she made you and I

Just tired of playin the same ol' games

Messin with my mind, emotional thangs

And there goes.. a black girl.. lost


We want to hear your thoughts and experiences:

  • Were you a “Black Girl Lost” and now are found? Did you have any positive male role models to help you get on track?
  • As a man, do you have any “Black Girl Lost” in your life, how can you begin helping her get back on track?

[Editors Note: According to multiple sources on the Internet,  Montana Fishburne recently admitted herself into a mental facility  in Southern California and Montana will be there at least 30 days. Sources say part of Montana’s stay will be devoted to anger issues, but she’ll also undergo diagnostic tests to determine if there are underlying behavioral or mental issues. Please keep her in  your prayers.]


Tremayne Tatem, currently resides
in  Allentown, PA with wife
and two children.Graduate of Temple
University, in Philadelphia,PA and
co-founder of lifeseek.org. Tremayne
spent almost a decade in the Christian
entertainment circles as a rapper and
on the business side of things. Tremayne
has passion for communicating where
culure and Christianity collide to
find the love and wisdom of God. You
can find him blogging his thoughts
at lifeseek.org and tremaynetatem.com.
[1]E Online. "Montana Fishburne Talks Porn Career." August 2010.http://www.eonline.com/videos/v56743_montana-fishburne-talks-porn-career.html
[2] Huffington Post, "Montana Fishburne: I'm A Role Model",August 2010.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/13/montana-fishburne-im-a-ro_n_681286.html
[3]Linda Nielsen,vison.org:Insights and New Horizons, "The Lost Relationship:Fathers and Daughters",Fall 2007 http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/article.aspx?id=3136
[4]Gina Step, Vision.org:Insights and New Horizons, "Like Father, Like...Daughter?", July 2007 http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/article.aspx?id=3438

[5]Desiree Gordon, "The Absense of Black Fathers In The Home.", November 2008. http://www.helium.com/items/1096000-absent-black-fathers

Tremayne Tatem, currently resides in  Allentown, PA with wife and two children. Graduate of Temple  University, in Philadelphia,PA and co-founder of lifeseek.org. Tremayne spent almost a decade in the Christian entertainment circles as a rapper and on the business side of things. Tremayne has passion for communicating where culture and Christianity intersect; to identify how the love and wisdom of God is seen in both worlds.You can find him blogging his thoughts at lifeseek.org and tremaynetatem.com.

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