The endless cycle seems to unfold decade after decade. The child who you see being yelled at, impaled with fingernails, or dragged by the t-shirt collar on the sidewalk too often grows up to have a child as a youngster. As I watched the TiVo-ed 20/20 from last Friday entitled "Babyland." I earlier observed two African American teens walking side by side sharing a pint served up by a local mom and pop grocer. This afternoon another African American teen drove his bicycle on the sidewalk while cooking up a joint. What is known is that teens are more likely to get pregnant, when they are depressed. Seems like common sense.
Will those two teens find feasible fur this evening on Ridge Boulevard? Will she be a tween or teen ingenue? Will she be assaulted or inviting? Will her pastor push her to post-partum? In what type of condition will the fetus be born? What life will the infant lead? For how long? How much will hospitals financially bear before they go bankrupt? We know that fewer abusive mothers part with their kids unless DCFS intervenes. For those of us who have witnessed a DCFS baby farm, we also know that some foster parents (not all) abuse the privilege and also abuse the kids. How will this evening 'eventually end?'
Tonight, the inebriated teen boys cavort in front of 7241 N. Ridge at 10:30p.m. They may look for hispanic pelo de gatito. Perhaps, they are looking for an excuse to release some adrenalin with more proof than the police care to smell in one night. Maybe, there is hope that the metal love seat gets full antes de huele mal. Then, the opportunity to walk, put an arm around her, and pull out a few of those lifestyle condoms that may be tucked inside a jean pocket. More often, kids seem not to appreciate two words: "child support."
The cycle must be broken! Someone should begins to take control at Gale or Sullivan High School, among other places. Kids should not have kids. This is a cycle that breeds poverty, not privilege. For every second generation kid of a kid who makes it, there must be at least 500 who really don't. Where do those kids go?
Are the babies abused due to ignorance, end up ill, and on a stainless steel shelf at St. Francis or Childrens Memorial? Do they eventually end up at Audi Home or CCJ? Do they end up bleeding on a sidewalk, selling crack in tiny ziplocs, flipping burgers, or packing crates? Will they end up with some overwhelming student loan from some questionably uncompetitive college whose degree is as valuable as the mentality that leaves it? Where do the United Negro College Fund Scholarships go? Where could the funds go?
The rhetoric simultaneously struggles with reality; there are unmet needs in Rogers Park. Yes, there are kids with desires. They need our attention. The children of children need long term mentors in public places to fill the void. Short term 'feel good solutions' melt in less than one year and a spring thaw. I appreciate that I experience the spring thaw, myself.
It is easy to criticize those who push childbirth, when there are no mentors presenting all solutions to challenged youth. For those suburbanites who push these kids to postpartum; the pius also parade around and ignore why there is poverty. It may seem lofty to push an orthodox pro-life/abstenance agenda, but there are consequences for poorly planned parenthood.
Many of the lofty encourage, but refuse to welcome enough teen families in Glencoe, among other North Shore communities. Such shunning perpetuates a system of will nots. That system puts its full weight on urban neighborhoods. Premature teen pregnancies can cost urban hospitals upwards of $500,000 or more. Many pregnant kids are African Americans or Hispanics. Perhaps, the suburbs can only deal with about three to five percent African American before each fear real estate depreciation and white flight. Segregating poverty is no solution.
I appreciate scattered site housing as long as it is scattered across metropolitan Chicago, not simply concentrated in urban Chicago and Evanston. Affordable housing concentrated in urban Chicago and other appropriate solutions weighs down on the children of children. This also perpetuates a dense population of ignorance in need of attention and role models.
The suburbs should look to programs like One Milwaukee for guidance. One Milwaukee should advocate for more scatter site housing in its Milwaukee suburbs. Volunteer support must welcome the ignorant and stigmatized. I can only wish that the teenagers drinking the pint had packs of Lifestyles in their jeans. Usually, they don't.