Mainstream United States culture has not accepted birth out of wedlock. According to mainstream United States culture, if somebody has children out of wedlock, is must have been a mistake. The best ‘solutions’ to this ‘problem’ are marriage, adoption, or abortion … because raising a child out of wedlock simply will not do. And of course, according to mainstream United States culture, the only people who actually raise children out of wedlock are poor people, particularly if they are black, who cannot control themselves and are too shameless to ‘solve’ the ‘problem’ – hello classicism and racism!
There are of course some seeds of truth in this view, though I think it is more due to culture shaping reality than reality shaping culture. The majority of people in the United States who have children out of wedlock probably were not intending to have a child, though I suspect a significant proportion do intend to have a child. However, if having children out of wedlock were more socially acceptable, then more people would choose to have their children out of wedlock – that’s what happening in certain European countries. And black people do seem to have more children out of wedlock … but based on what I have seen and heard, this seems to be at least partially because they have a culture which, to some extent, accepts bearing children out of wedlock – some black people choose to have children out of wedlock by choice, not by mistake. In my experience (and opinion), black people tend to have more sensible views on birth out of wedlock than other people in the United States.
Of course, I haven’t seen Hollywood telling the stories of the black people who choose to have children out of wedlock – in fact, I do not see Hollywood telling any stories at all about people who choose to have children out of wedlock, let alone stories of families which raise children out of wedlock being happy or, dare I suggest, healthier than many families where the parents are married.
The idea that middle class, white people who choose to have children out of wedlock is so far outside of mainstream United States views that, since people can (usually) figure out pretty quickly that I am white and middle-class, I have trouble convincing them that my parents have never married. This is also so far outside of mainstream Taiwanese views that I have trouble convincing them too. And I have never read, heard, or seen any story about the child of a landlady and her tenant, even though, as the child of a landlady and her tenant, I know it happens.
This is, of course, wonderful, but that’s the subject of a different post.
In the mean time, if you know of any stories about the child of a landlady and her tenant, drop me a line.