07. April 2021 · 4 comments · Categories: General

The Daughter Unit read the linked story with appalled interest, and also reported that many of the early comments speculated that the meltdownee was the child of a single parent. Which blithe assumption annoyed the Daughter Unit no end, as she is the child of a single parent, and thank you very much, is a civil and well-mannered person. (I myself speculate without knowing anything more than the linked story, that the meltdownee was likely a child raised in a child-care environment and accustomed to tattling to an authority-figure upon the slightest provocation.)

The whole matter of single-parenting also reminded me of my own resentment at the casual assumption that children of a single parent were automatically doomed to an unsuccessful life – sons to dreary lives of criminality and daughters to equally dreary lives of promiscuity and poverty … because it simply isn’t that straightforward. Success or failure in adult life isn’t just based on a single circumstance. It’s a whole medley of circumstances, some of which are plusses and some of which are minuses. It’s not the single individual circumstance, it’s the whole accumulation of circumstances and the inimitable character of the child, which now and again upsets all the minuses anyway.

So this my theory – it’s an adding up of the pluses and minuses. A two-parent family is a plus. A single parent family is a minus. But … A functional, responsible, and discipline-inclined parent is a plus. A dysfunctional, substance-addicted, or abusive parent or parents – serious minus. A parent who reads to their child and encourages academic effort – a plus. A parent or parents of any class who basically leaves their child to be essentially raised by someone else – a minus. Residence in a middle-class or better zip-code; a plus. Residence and schooling in what our English friends term a “sink estate” – a minus. Parents with jobs of any sort which they take seriously and to which they apply themselves with a whole heart – a plus. Parents who are lifetime and irredeemable recipients of what our English friends refer to as “the dole” – a minus. Parents who skate by on an income from borderline criminality – another minus. Strong religious background – of any denomination – is a plus. None at all – a minus. Any sort of strong and supportive extended community or kin-network is a plus. Ethnic status – sorry, I might have to be blunt here: some ethnic status; black or Native American (as what used to be called Indian) is a minus. Others are a plus: straight Anglo, Oriental (as in Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, and Indian – dot, not feather) and Jewish are a plus point.

Essentially, a white, upper-class child with a pair of dysfunctional, distant, and substance-addicted parents, absent a strong kin/clan/religious network might very well rack up more minus points than the child of a single-parent minority from a sink neighborhood, if that single parent has a strong kin-based and/or religious network and is fearlessly dedicated to reading to the kidlet.

Comment as you see fit. Chicagoboyz is down with a malware issue, so I am posting here on my original website. 


  1. Celia,

    Damn, girl! You’re set to be in the same boat as John Derbyshire, i.e., pilloried for telling the truth. Remember, in Wokeland (2021 America) the truth is no defense to libel.

  2. Being the male child of a single mother is a “minus.” I was one until my mother remarried. I was very fortunate that my stepfather treated me as his own son. I attribute most of the success I have had in life to his presence in my home while growing up.

  3. Parents with jobs of any sort which they take seriously and to which they apply themselves with a whole heart – a plus.
    Yes. Even a job that keeps a single parent from the child for long hours, leaving them to be raised by others, if handled with diligence because they are taking care of their family in a proper fashion, can be a plus. It’s a minus to be away, but setting a good example of hard work to care for others (including the child) is a significant plus.

    some ethnic status;
    Really, it’s cultural status. Thomas Sowell (in Black Rednecks, White Liberals) discusses the cultural differences between post-Civil War southern blacks and many of their contemporaries in the north. Back in the day when we could still use accurate words, we spoke of “ghetto blacks” as against other blacks. It’s not that for some blacks their race/ethnicity is a factor, so much as the blacks (and everyone else) who adopts the redneck/ghetto culture grab hold of a great many of those minuses you identify above this sentence, and more beside.

    For some of those cultures – like Native Americans – their culture is very strongly linked to their identity, and can be crippling because of that. (I know loads of Native Americans who do not participate in those crippling aspects, but way too many do.)

    And a BIG minus you left out: Progressive mal-education. If the parent(s) don’t have a strong cultural counter-point to that, it’s a minus large enough to potentially override everything else they might do. That includes primary, secondary, and post-secondary education.