I foresee Blue Ivy Carter’s 1st birthday on January 7, 2013 being recognized as an international holiday by Beyoncé and Jay-Z fans everywhere. Her birth was one of the most anticipated so far in the 21st century. As the daughter of music royalty, Blue Ivy will probably never know what it feels like to want or need for anything. She is to America as Kate Middleton is to England (even though Kate has Blue Ivy beat by a few years): a princess.
Rarely is so much uproar caused by the birth of a child, and it is even rarer for a black child to create such a frenzy. A hospital ward was closed off just for her arrival, her name trended worldwide on Twitter after it was announced, and she was showered with obscenely expensive gifts, including a $600,000 gold rocking horse. Imagine if the births of all black babies were heralded as precious events… what would that be like?
In America, black children are viewed as less valuable than children of other races, as evidenced by the fact that it costs thousands more to adopt a non-black child in this country. Our society especially turns its nose down on babies born to unwed black mothers, as well as black mothers living in poverty. When their children come into the world, their births are not regarded as cause for celebration. Nobody rushes to clothe and feed these babies, and their mothers are chastised for seeking government assistance. It’s easy for us to forget that the reason these women may have become pregnant is because of lack of access to reproductive healthcare, along with lack of sexual health education in schools, which can both be attributed to our government’s shortcomings.
Black babies are born into poverty and indifference each and every day. What if we celebrated the births of all of them? Instead of shaking our heads at black families with inadequate resources to properly care for their child, what if we offered them empowerment and uplifting? Black children would surely fare better if our communities ascribed to the adage “it takes a village to raise a child.” The whole world is rooting for Blue Ivy, but there are millions of other black babies who need us to conspire for their success. Let’s treat every black baby like they have the potential for greatness.