“Generation next.”

By Jason Tanamor

Back years ago, a family included your mother, who was married to your father, which may have included your brother and/or sister, or even multiple brothers and/or sisters.

Nowadays, a child can go through many father figures, sometimes many fathers if marriages become existent, not to mention multiple siblings, who may or may not share the same race, religion or hair or skin color.



Between 1960 and 1995, births to unmarried mothers went from 5.3% to 32%. This increase involved women of all ages and races. However, from age 15 to age 19, the percentage went from 14.8% in 1960 to an astonishing 75.5% in 1995, according to Ventura, S.J., Martin, J.A., Matthew, T.J., Clarke, S.C. Advance Report of Final Natality Statistics, 1994. Monthly Vital Statistics Report; Vol. 44, No. 11, Supp., Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics, 1996.

This seems to be the trend for the next generation. The generation that I’m a part of now. You see, when I was 19 years old, I became a father. I’m not with his mother anymore. My son will never have the chance to grow up in a normal household. I used to think this.

But now, having seen the tide shift to high divorce rates, one night stands and the occasional sperm bank visit, I think what’s going on today is normal.

An example: A friend of mine has five kids. Count ‘em five. With five different fathers. The two oldest are half African American/half Caucasian, two are full Caucasian, while one is half Caucasian/half Hispanic. Are you following me? The mother is in her mid twenties and is currently single and living in poverty.



My parents, on the other hand, have been married for (insert high number here) years. They, together, have raised three children, and are still happily married. Of course, they’re in their early sixties. My parents have never understood this generation, and if you ask my father, he doesn’t want to know about this generation. He’s still trapped in the 1960s.

I, however, have grown up in the midst of the transition. And from what I see, this is what I think is happening.

Back years ago, lives were determined by individual choices (okay, your parents’), whether right or wrong. Nowadays, lives are determined by pop stars, commercials and Fortune 500 companies. If MTV decides to air sex on its station, then kids think that this is what the new trend is. That’s why kids are walking around dressing like Beyonce and drinking Pepsi, because Pepsi has paid her lots of money to pull in the generation next crowd. Hence the slogan: Pepsi The choice of a new generation.

Nowadays, huge corporations are sponsoring events such as the Super Bowl, ball park stadiums, hit television shows, golf tours, concerts, and if we’re not careful, the generation next crowd.

I can only imagine: A commercial showing a single woman with five kids from five different fathers, each of whom has a father with a different nationality white, black, Mexican, Asian, etc. Enter a young man who just happens to have things in common with the woman music taste, movie taste, and sex.

These two have a child. Now, the woman has six children from six different fathers, none of which look like each other, much less look like the new daddy who chooses to stick around. This blended family, or generation next family, could be subject to corporate sponsorship. Say, Skittles Taste the rainbow. There would be a rainbow of flavors here.

So for those of you who are still trapped in normal household rules and etiquette and are trying to find good examples for your children, just remember, there are still good syndicated shows on television, including "Growing Pains," "Leave it to Beaver" and "Family Matters." Otherwise, pick up the phone and call Jerry Springer.

BYLINE:

Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous."

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