I have long wanted to write a message that speaks to black men and family. I know this is a very polarizing and controversial subject, but it’s a crucial piece of the African American Diaspora. I think I can speak to this issue because, not unlike many African Americans, I have been touched by the consequences and the aftermath of not having my father in the home.
This guy abandoned me while I was in my mother’s worm as a teenage mother. I never met him until I was about ten and have only been in his presence for maybe two hours in my entire life. However, my grandfather was the man in my life who taught me how to be a man. His teachings resonate profoundly within my every waking moment and dare I say my spirit. I used his teachings to raise my son and to also teach my grandson. It is my passion for sharing the same knowledge with others, as they navigate the troubled waters of life.
We are, as a community in crisis, in terms of Black Men, fatherhood, and family. We need men who give of themselves to the benefit of others, raising children, empowering the community, carry themselves with dignity and respect, but more importantly to “represent”.
It is my sincere desire that we understand that there is a conditioning in our communities by those who control it. This is not an excuse, rather an explanation as to why these behaviors were never unlearned and have been passed down from generation to generation. Over my relatively short lifetime, I have been referred to as Colored, Negro, Afro-American, Black, and an African American, which were the polite terms assigned to make known that African Americans were not American citizens. We are, in essence, nothing more than a nation of people living in a nation without a nationality.
Images are and have been projected of black men falsely, most often, glorifying their role in society as thugs, gangstas, criminals, buffoons, clowns, being worthless, and hopeless have permeated for far too long. I know that many of you know this is not the case by and large. Nonetheless, when you open a newspaper or watch TV, this is how we are represented. The assassination of our manhood must end or at least diminished and only we can change it.
The absence of the strong, responsible black man holding it down, in the family and community, is destroying us as a people. I was taught a very significant lesson early in life, and reinforced every day of my life, by my Grandfather who said, “I raised you to be a man and as a man you don’t know what you might have to do but when the time comes you do it”. My interpretation of that daily message was preparation plus opportunity equals SUCCESS and that the difference between a man and a boy is the lessons he learns.
These platitudes are essential to the survival of our children and, frankly, our existence. There needs to be a man in the lives of these boys, and girls, because the father’s role is to be an example, a role model, to guide, direct, and pass on the wisdom he’s gained. For example, how can you expect your daughters to choose a man if she has no model to base a relationship on if the is nothing to gage one on?
Ladies, please stop thinking that you can make your son a man – you can’t. You can raise, teach and nurture him – but you cannot make him a man – because you are not one. It may not or does not have to be your man, but there has to be a man present in the lives of these children. Most of you are in church every Sunday but don’t understand the most basic rule of life.
Much respect to the ladies that are holding it down, I applaud you, I know what an enormous job that is, my mother did it, and I was no walk in the park. If it had not been for Granddaddy, I would be lost – dead or in jail. It does take a village to raise a child. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…