Photo Credit: Lee Ferris/AP
Forgive me if I don’t muster up the requisite amount of sympathy for Mr. Jean Pierre, the grieving father of the three children who drowned in the Hudson with their mother, 25-year-old LaShanda Armstrong. Don’t get me wrong…as a mother of four kids myself, I’d be a basket case if I lost a single one of them.
But you know what? I suckled those four children until they were a year old. I ran to the doctor when they were sick. I volunteer at their school. I wash their clothes. Train them and sacrifice every single day for them.
It’s hard to muster the empathy I’d usually have for a parent who lost his entire progeny in one car dive into a murky river, but honestly I can’t.
Not because he was a deadbeat. Or a cheater. Or allegedly abusive. Those parents are allowed to love and grieve for their children too.
But when I read the New York Daily News that Pierre was trying to cherry-pick which of Armstrong’s family members were allowed to attend the funeral, a little vomit came up in my mouth. If baby-daddy is trying to pass along blame to folks, he’d better take a close look at what he did and didn’t do that might have contributed to this tragedy. No one, I mean, NOT ONE of Armstrong’s family members should have been excluded from paying their respects to children that they also loved, and perhaps cared for while Pierre was out chasing tail.
Apparently I’m on the right track, because a poll the NY Daily News showed 70% of readers thought Pierre is being an a$$.
“He’s carrying on so [much] in there, screaming and hollering. The guilt is filling him up,” said Gwendolyn Green, a cousin of Armstrong who was barred from entering the funeral at the whim of Pierre.
But I think this quote pretty much sums it up for me:
“Treat the mother right! Don’t abuse! Pay child support! You’re supposed to take care of people when they’re alive!” said Green.
Christelyn D. Karazin is a health writer and the co-author of Swirling: How to Date, Mate and Relate Mixing Race Culture and Creed (to be released February 2012), and runs a blog, www.beyondblackwhite.com, dedicated to women of color who are interested and or involved in interracial and intercultural relationships. She is also the founder and organizer of “No Wedding, No Womb,” an initiative to find solutions to the 72 percent out-of-wedlock rate in the black community.