Now, almost 20 years later, another political figure makes the same argument. Last week, Mike Huckabee, once and perhaps future Presidential candidate, spoke out against Natalie Portman, the actress who appeared on the Oscar red carpet pregnant and unmarried. Huckabee said it was "problematic," and that her situation gave a "distorted image" of single parenthood because "Most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can't get a job, and if it weren't for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care."
Really? Melissa Harris-Perry talks about her experience as a single parent and says:
In fact, my lived experiences of single parenting are more representative of the unmarried mom experience than Huckabee’s fantasy of starving children fed by the state. Data from a 2009 report on unmarried parents show that 80% of custodial single mothers are gainfully employed and fewer than 10% are recipients of Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF). Poverty rates are certainly much higher among single parents. Nearly 27% live below the poverty line. But this number does not approach the “most” which Huckabee claims. These data show that although they are more often poor, most single mothers work despite the obvious difficulties of working while raising children without a spouse. They further show that our government actually does very little to support these women. These moms are hardly cash-sucking drains on national or state economies.So, as a single mother, I have a question for Mike Huckabee -- why are we still scapegoating single mothers after all these years?