By now, Orlando Shaw and the 14 women who gave birth to his 22 children probably have Harriet Tubman turning over in her grave.

That’s because Shaw and his baby mamas are doing what abolitionists like Tubman tried to help other slaves escape from being forced to do: To become nothing more than breeders – and reinforce racist notions that black people are more animalistic than human.

“Durin’ slavery there was stockmen [males used for breeding],” recalled Maggie Stenhouse, a former slave, in the book “African-American Studies: Voices of African-American Women in Slavery”.

“They was weighed and tested. A man would rent the stockman and put him in a room with some young women he wanted to raise children from.”

Today, though, the stockmen have been replaced by men like Shaw, who recently made headlines when he was hauled into court in Nashville for failing to pay child support. The only difference is that now, the system that once viewed them as chattel now treats them as expendable.

Instead of working on a plantation, Shaw will likely wind up doing some measure of free labor if he is ultimately incarcerated for not paying child support. Desmond Hatchett, another Tennessee man who made headlines last year for fathering 24 children with numerous women, already sits in prison for his failure to pay child support.

And what’s sad is that they – nor their baby’s mamas – have not a clue as to how bad that is.

A recent television news story about Shaw included a chart that broke down the $7,000 a month that the state will have to pay to care for Shaw’s offspring. But what was really cringe-inducing was the way in which the white reporter treated him like an imbecile.

Even worse is that it didn’t seem to bother him.

Shaw: “Well, I wanted 50 kids.”

Reporter: “Well, you’re almost halfway there.”

People can be heard laughing in the background at that answer; at how the reporter, instead of asking a question that attempted to get at a serious answer as to what circumstances led Shaw to have so many children without having the means to care for them, only egged him on in his cluelessness.

It got worse.

“I was young and ambitious and I love women. You can’t knock a man for loving women,” was Shaw’s answer.

Spoken like a stockman – defining “ambition” through his ability to impregnate women.

Tubman probably tossed mightily over that response.

In any case, what’s happening with black men like Shaw and Hatchett, and the mothers of their children, is disturbing.

On one level, it’s disturbing because for some reason, black men like them have decided that the only way to assert their manhood in a society that they feel devalued in is to have a lot of children they can’t afford.

We need to start asking why that is.

It’s also sad that the mothers of these children see no problem in having children with irresponsible men – and putting themselves in a position in which they will have to rely on a social service system that will only enable them to survive and not thrive – if that.

Just like during slavery.

And while the old plantation is gone, new ones are springing up to profit off children produced by the Shaws and Hatchetts of this country.

The people who run private prisons are counting on children who grow up in poverty, mostly because of little support from fathers like Shaw and Hatchett, to fill those cells by falling into criminality and dysfunction. They’re counting on them to fill minimum-wage jobs that won’t give them a decent chance of getting ahead.

This is the kind of fate that no black person ought to be settling for; to being reduced to an object of ridicule by being a throwback to the days when they were treated as breeders and nothing else.

People like Tubman fought so that black people could avoid being reduced to that. It’s sad that nearly 150 years later, some black people still believe that’s all they have to offer.

Tonyaa Weathersbee is an award-winning columnist based in Jacksonville, Fla. Follow her @tonyaajw. Or like her on Facebook at

19 thoughts on “Orlando Shaw Needs a History Lesson – Along With a Box of Condoms

    • The Infamous Ridiculous on said:

      It is not about how many women this fool can bed. It is about being responsible. He and these women need to use condoms. He probably wound not have gotten them pregnant in most instances if they had required him to use a condom and they also used some form of birth control each time. You can have as many babies as you want to, but make sure that it is YOU who provide for them. Both parents are responsible for providing for their children. People are sick and tired of having their tax dollars do this for them. Lord knows nobody wants to see the children suffer. That is a given, but it is not fair that people can just lay on their a double s and make baby after baby and expect others to take care of them. There is nothing wrong with being on welfare. It was designed to help people get on their feet. We all can be down on our luck due to a job loss, health issue, etc. However, there is something seriously wrong when people use welfare as a way of life. You have generations of people in the same family who are or have been on welfare. There is something with this picture. This cycle needs to end. Use our tax dollars to create programs to educate people about protected sex, life counseling and prepare them with career training…something to end the abuses of the system. At some point this fool’s kids may hook up with each other and commit incest without knowing it because they probably don’t know all of their other siblings. This is pathetic, sad, sickening and reckless. I will pray for the kids. I hope they end up having decent lives.

  1. How is he any different from the extreme Mormon Sects out west. They do the exact same thing. One man, with more than one woman and children by them all living off the government. Please read “Under the Banner of Heaven”. Same thing, just white folks.

  2. Darlene on said:

    That is so sad. If this man had devoted the same energy into education as he is getting and keeping his di** wet he’d be a genius and would not resort to repeatedly debasing himself and others. I actually don’t have a problem with social programs helping people that need them. However, to conduct your life with such gross negligence and recklessness is unacceptable. The true victims here are this man’s children. Unfortunately, for those who are trying to live life w/ correctness and integrity, we are brushed with the stroke as those who don’t. There is no “content of character” if you are seen as not having one. People of color, despite who actually are don’t received the same benefit- of- the doubt as whites which only provides them justification to perpetuate prejudice and racism.

  3. Its a said case. No one wins, literally. I just hope that the kids at least get a chance to bond with their father. Mr. Shaw is really immature and should keep his penis in his pants because he’s doing more damage then he thinks. I speak about absent fathers in my book, The Courage To Believe. My father had a few kids and couldn’t be there for all of us so I have no idea how Orlando and these other guys plan on being there for their kids. Why didn’t these women force these men to wear condoms? Did they not know that they were baby momma 5, 10 or 14? Seriously!?!

  4. FIFTY AND PHUNE on said:

    I have always asked myself why are women attracted to men like this. Are they trying to be THE ONE to say I got him as if they will parade him around like a trophy. I get PISSED when I look at Maury showing a wall of 4 kid by 4 different women and all the kids are the same age and they are screaming back and forth saying “you are the father”. He is sitting there casing someone in the audience he can hit before he goes home. Ladies some men are not attainable and we need to learn that lesson. It is what it is. If a man comes to me talking about he has 3 or more kids I tell him to keep walking.

  5. The thing that really pisses me off is that my tax dollars are going to take care of all the baby mamas, and their kids. Enough already. I’m so tired of welfare queens!!!

  6. This is some stupid S, and I’m totally embarrassed, and disappointed that TJMS decided to showcase this nonsense. Obviously this man is an ignoramus, and by posting the story TJMS is fanning the fire. Can’t blame this story on the white man folks

  7. Yolanda Powell on said:

    I dont think that pointing out faults of the ‘white’ reporter had anything to do with this story. It was this ignoramus of a black man who even gave the reporter a story in the first place. Please dont forget that the only people to bare the blame for this non-sense to even be a story is this man his multiple “baby mamas.” This is just disgusting!

    • I actually think the writer has a point about calling out the reporter who makes light of it. When it comes to the media, they just treat the situation as if it’s something that should only be expected of black people, especially poor ones—i.e. because they’re naturally lazy, stupid, etc. (and of course they’ll never say that aloud). This man should have been told off, women should be warned away from him and from the circumstances he represents, and while that may seem like common sense to you or I, usually the men and women that allow themselves to get like this live under circumstances where it actually isn’t considered that bad and they have come think that they actually can’t and shouldn’t try to do better and that no one really cares.

    • brown on said:

      @ Yolanda, the sad thing he is not the only one. There are hundreds(maybe thousands) of men like him. I work for Dept of Social Service and I see this everyday. The woman can tell you some of the other “babies mama’s”. We as a race(both men and women) need to stop making excuses for this type of behavior. This is rediculous

  8. Ivan Cohen on said:

    Orlando Shaw needs a history lesson and a vasectomy. It is obvious from the interview Tonyaa mentioned, homeboy is absolutely clueless as to what he has done. He is also two fries short of a happy meal. If a remake of John Steinbeck’s novel of Mice and Men is presented as a movie, Orlando can play the part of Lenny. He even makes Simple Simon an academic scholar. Newsflash, Orlando you are not going to get in the Guinness book of records for how many women you impregnated. You are not an Arab shriek and those women were not a part of your harem. Who do you think you are? Lee Cross? Studs Lonigan? You are none of the above….just a walking genital organ with no brain.

    • Tami on said:

      Many times a person can be M.R. without appearing to be. I have an uncle who is and if he met 14 women who were willing to have sex with him, I may have had 22 cousins by him. The bottom line is that there are people who are incapacitated mentally. It would be nice to see his school records, or to have had the reporter to explore that.

      • jhuff on said:

        And so the state of the black race continues to decline because of excuses for F”+kup behavier
        should we look into Zemmerman’s school records or how about Castro up in ohio?
        No the time for Bu@%$%it non judgmental excuses for bad behavier has past.

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