Friday, March 07, 2008

You Know Its Hard Out Here For a Sista

The movie Hustle and Flow, which I thought was pretty good, made famous one of the most ludicrous choruses in history..."You know its hard out here for a pimp..." I can't think of it without bursting out laughing, although in the movie the sister who sang it, sang it with such emotion it kind of made you want to cry (almost). Turns out pimps don't have it so bad, it's much harder out here for a black teenage mother. Check it out:

"Black teen mothers who have depression after giving birth are at higher risk of a subsequent pregnancy than teen mothers who are not depressed, according to a study in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Reuters reports. For the study, Beth Barnet and colleagues at the University of Maryland School of Medicine looked at 245 mostly black females ages 12 to 18 who received prenatal care at five community centers. According to Reuters, the teenagers were mostly from low-income families. Teenage mothers are more than twice as likely as adult mothers to become depressed, Reuters reports. Further, previous research has shown that black teenage mothers have depression at twice the rate of white teen moms. According to Barnet, the racial disparity is likely associated with poverty. Barnet also said that exposure to violence and a drug culture are additional factors for disparities within the study group. The study found that 46% of the teenagers had symptoms of depression at the beginning of the study. Those who showed such symptoms of depression had a 40% higher risk of a subsequent pregnancy than teenagers who showed no signs of depression. According to Barnet, depression among teen mothers could cause feelings of fatigue and helplessness that then lead to less use of birth control. In addition, teen mothers with depression might "seek out intimacy with additional sexual relationships," Barnet said. Of all the teenagers in the study, 120 had another pregnancy within two years of giving birth. The average time span between the pregnancies was slightly more than 11 months, according to the study. Barnet said, "Teens having a subsequent pregnancy were more likely to be school dropouts; not use condoms consistently at follow-up; and report a relationship with their baby's father, who tended to be older." She added, "This study provides evidence that depression may be an important independent risk factor for rapid subsequent pregnancy in African-American adolescent mothers" (Conlon, Reuters, 3/3). Online An abstract of the study is available online."

Remember what I said about the movie Juno? I'll say it again, who's going to make the movie about black teenage mothers with depression? Not that I'm hating on Ellen Page, I've got nothing to but love for the young lady. I just want some equal screen time and truth telling for the young sisters out there. The positive thing is that this study makes the important link between mental health and an experience that is largely stigmatized in our society. There's more to the story than black "immorality", there's heartbreak and hopelessness that needs to be healed. Who is going to take that need seriously?

"O ye the elected representatives of the people in every land! Take ye counsel together, and let your concern be only for that which profiteth mankind, and bettereth the condition thereof, if ye be of them that scan heedfully. Regard the world as the human body which, though at its creation whole and perfect, hath been afflicted, through various causes, with grave disorders and maladies. Not for one day did it gain ease, nay its sickness waxed more severe, as it fell under the treatment of ignorant physicians, who gave full rein to their personal desires, and have erred grievously. And if, at one time, through the care of an able physician, a member of that body was healed, the rest remained afflicted as before. Thus informeth you the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. We behold it, in this day, at the mercy of rulers so drunk with pride that they cannot discern clearly their own best advantage, much less recognize a Revelation so bewildering and challenging as this. And whenever any one of them hath striven to improve its condition, his motive hath been his own gain, whether confessedly so or not; and the unworthiness of this motive hath limited his power to heal or cure."
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 254)