By James Morgan

For some reason in today’s society people have forgotten about Black love. Fortunately President and First Lady Obama are keeping the image of a positive, successful Black marriage in the forefront of today’s media. However, to remove the stigma that has become attached to Black marriages, what needs to occur is a rethinking about how Black parents educate their children about love, sex and relationships.

One thing that I have found increasingly shocking as I have gotten older is the amount of neglect a topic such as sex receives in modern-day Black American households. Far too often young people like myself find ourselves without proper guidance and education about matters of the heart. Oftentimes parents leave the onus to the child or the school to educate children on sex and relationships and this, I believe is partly to blame for the high rates of both the unmarried and divorced in the Black community.

I believe that the responsibility should fall on parents to educate their children about their own beliefs about sex so that the young person is clear on the parents stance but also able to ask questions for the purpose of education. In my own teenage years many of the questions I had about intimacy were forced to be answered through osmosis, and although society has normalized this I do not believe it is the best method of education for young people.

In 2008 there was nearly a double-digit increase in all STD’s, except for gonorrhea according to Avert.Org, a non-profit HIV/AIDS charity. I wonder how many of these cases could have been prevented with simple education? I realized the importance of sexual education when I was a student at Marist High School, located in Bayonne, New Jersey. Being a Catholic school, the school supports a pro-abstinence policy which in and of itself does no harm in my view. However, being the optimist that I am, I believe that educated people will ultimately make the best decisions for themselves and for the broader society, at least in most instances.

As I go on some of my old high school friends Facebook profiles, I am in shock at how many of them are now parents or expecting a new child. Again I ask, how many of those pregnancies could have been prevented with simple education of the person? This writing is in no way intended to demean the teaching method of my alma mater’s teaching philosophy, I am just asking the question. In episode 507 of the popular Comedy Central series “South Park” the small, fictitious Colorado town is once again up in arms because the question of sexual education is being literally fought over by the parents, teachers and of course the children of the town. Ultimately it is decided that schools and the broader community should play a secondary role in the sexual education of the young people and I believe that this is what would be best for Black America.

As uncomfortable as it may be for some parents and children I believe that having candid, open conversations about sex and matters of the heart would lead to less unplanned pregnancies as well as the restoration of marriage as a cornerstone, normative institution in Black America, and not just a spectacle when successful.