Anyone who has followed me for any significant amount of time is fully cognizant of the fact that I am immensely passionate about empowering my people, and though my passion for my people encompasses addressing all of the enigmatic issues that are currently plaguing our people, there are certain areas in which I have invested myself with the focus of empowering my people in these specific areas, which include the mis-education and exploitation of our youth, black group economics practiced vertically and the restoration of the black family nucleus. This article will focus on the importance of restoring the black family to a point of functionality.
The current reality surrounding the black collective in America emphatically answers the question posed by Eleanor Holmes in her article, “Restoring the Traditional Black Family:” What would society be like if the family found it difficult to perform its most basic functions? What Eleanor Holmes was addressing in her 1985 article was the challenges associated with a black family that was literally breaking down, primarily through self-destruction that was externally agitated by the subtle machinations initiated by the white power structure in a systematic manner.
During the time that this article was written, the divorce rate in America was hovering around 50 percent and the number of single parent households was on the rise. Here we are 30 years later and the situation has been exacerbated by a number of different factors, but the bottom line is that the black family is in crisis. Blacks lead the nation in divorce rates. Black men have the highest rate of marrying outside of our race. Only one in four black women will ever be married. This means that the number of single-parent households will only increase as more black women embrace the fallible paradigm that they don’t need a man.
While highlighting this fallibility of the erroneous paradigm, it is important to understand that the black woman did not arrive at this position of hostility and indifference toward the black man on her own. She had a significant amount of help. It began with white slave masters who purposely turned her against her mate by ravaging her in front of him, revealing his inability to protect or provide for her. This ushered in contempt and distrust. Even 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation advised the black woman that she was free, the system was telling her that she had a new oppressor, the black man. She was offered solace in corporate America and refuge in social programs offered by the Government, such as welfare, AFDC, Section 8 housing and more. She could experience this pseudo-liberation and independence, but she would have to dismiss the man. This was not that hard to do with the already strained history between the black man and the black woman.
To exacerbate the matter, black men were losing jobs at an alarming rate as jobs were being shipped overseas, so black women saw very little value in his presence at the time.
Now, the black man was not without culpability in the breakdown of the black family nucleus, for many black men found it to be an acceptable course of action to procreate and then abandon their progeny. They assumed it to be appropriate to superficially engage the heart and emotions of the black woman with no intention of committing to a long-term relationship.
Even when the black man and the black woman did enter into the institution of marriage, they often found that their selfish nature would not allow them to invest in the marriage in lieu of self-preservation.
This ever-widening gulf between the black man and the black woman is about far more than lifelong companionship, for the black family is the institution through which the power of life is passed on to the subsequent generation. The black family is that secure environment in which our children are to be nurtured into a healthy understanding and awareness of “self.” It is where they develop their self-image and their sense of self-worth. Without a wholesome family environment, our children lack balance, and they suffer emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. They lack the capacity to effectively go out and compete.
Another alarming issue among blacks is that the birthrate has dropped dramatically, and this is important because the birthrate is indicative of the group’s ability to sustain its current representation among the general population.
It is important to point out that many of the struggles of the black family, such as divorce, single parent households and more, are actually an exaggerated microcosm of the larger struggle to hold together the family nucleus in America. No group, including whites, has been able to escape the cultural assault on the traditional family; however, due to specific issues that are unique to the black collective, the disintegration of the family has had a much more emphasized toll on blacks.
The lack of economic potency limits the mobility of any person or group, and it is substantially more difficult to overcome the economic hurdle standing alone, or attempting to split incomes between homes.
One factor that has served to exacerbate the issues that are plaguing the black family has been the unwillingness to admit that there is a problem. For many blacks, the destruction of the family is a powerful reminder of the nefarious attack of racism on the black family and the black experience in general. Instead of seeing the discussions about the black family as an opportunity to address the enigmatic issues that we are facing the possibility of healing long-standing wounds, many blacks view it as an insult and they fight vehemently against it.
The problem with the current state of the black family is that the consequences and repercussions associated with this reality, only seem to drive a wedge deeper between the black man and the black woman. A significant amount of the discussions surrounding the issue are nothing more than finger-pointing contests. There is no attempt to resolve the issues, only a desire to play the victim. Unfortunately, blacks have become perpetual victims, and playing the victim card is almost second nature. Owning our own mess is a little too uncomfortable for the vast majority of us. It is simply easier to blame others for our failures, than it is to admit that we played a significant role in the causation of our current predicament.
How do we begin the healing process? I believe it begins with men who understand the responsibility of leadership. We have no shortage of men who want to declare themselves to be leaders, kings and rulers, but very few understand the immense responsibility associated with these titles. As black men, we must be willing to love a woman free of the deadness of her contempt for us. We must be willing to brazen the minefield of her hostility in order to excavate and discard each and every mine, being prepared to engage her hostility with patience and honorable intent. We must see our women as our most valuable asset, and we must look to protect them from the destructive forces in this world that will leave them barren in their spiritual womb. We must nurture them with our love and protection, so that they can use their spiritual womb to house, incubate and birth our visions.
Our women, must be willing to allow the men to operate in their design, with opposition and hostility. They must be willing to trust the men to lead, provide and protect. It is important for our women to understand that respect and affirmation are a man’s greatest yearning, and they must become determined to not be the source of the black man’s destruction.
It is clear, without the restoration of the black family nucleus, without the apprehension of the knowledge that there can be no advancement of the black collective without the black family, we are ultimately doomed to continue our descent into the abyss of unbridled oppression and self-inflicted devastation. The healing has to start now.
Article by Dr Rick Wallace