A lot of my writing paints a bleak picture of the black man’s current condition. He is bombarded with the cruelties of a racist society, which translates into inferior access to education, higher likelihood of incarceration, inadequate health care, and inevitably poverty and shorter life expectancy (approximately 65 years compared to a white man's 75 year life expectancy). It seems he has been abused by all of the social institutions that are supposed to protect him. To top it all off, the media has a field day with him! He is portrayed as an oversexed, hyper-masculine misogynist who neglects all of his responsibilities in order to pursue a lecherous and hedonistic lifestyle. He is that “down low brother” (as if other races of men have not engaged in the same deplorable behavior), he is the drug dealer, the hustler, the baller, the exploiter, the white-woman luster. Unfortunately, many of these things are true, even if they are exaggerated greatly by our media for the purposes of destroying the black race.
Yet, amidst the ashes of the damaged and pathological brothers who masochistically oppress themselves even as they are being oppressed, there remains a remnant of brothers who defy all of the stereotypes and negative images. These men stay loyal to their woman and children and work tirelessly to maintain the black family. These men are the subjects of this post. Nothing negative that I’ve written or stated against the black man on this blog or any other public forum refers to these particular men.
One such man is my father, who could have, like his brethren, chosen to neglect my brother and I, especially after his relationship with my mother ended. Yet, he continued to work multiple jobs in order to provide us with the things that we wanted and needed. He loves black people, and he loves black women. He is conscientious about the things occurring in the black community, supports the black community and the black church, has never been locked up, votes, and has not succumbed to the many vices in the black community. My father is by no stretch of the imagination perfect. He and I have had many fights, arguments, and issue throughout the years, but even during those times I’ve never doubted whether he loved my brother and I. In fact, even though I am well pass the age where any one would expect him to take care of me, he continues to offer support. The most recent example of this occurred in the last few weeks when I was unable to afford the thousands of dollars necessary for an unexpected and extensive dental treatment. My dad is NOT rich, but he put himself in debt and assumed the financial risk so that I would not have to struggle to incur them. (On my meager salary every tooth in my mouth would have rotted before I was able save up enough money to have them treated!) Growing up my brother and I were the only children in the family who had a father active in our lives. In fact, the majority of the black people I knew (and know now) have had no such luxury. Their fathers abandoned them years ago and never returned. I realized that I am exceedingly and divinely blessed. Because of my Dad, despite the many sad excuses for men that I have encountered, I believe that there is still a vestige of good-ole-fashion strong black brothers!
The problem with the black community is that there are too many status quo black men and not enough of the good-ole-fashion strong brothers (see notes for details). Those in the first group are practically innumerable, while the latter group (what our community is in dire need of) wanes dramatically as time presses on. The result: we have a surplus of damaged and un-reparable-babydaddy-hustler types that mar our community and make being black a shameful thing! We (myself included) spend so much time marching for, speaking out against, researching, incarcerating, and enabling the pathological one’s that we forget to appreciate and nurture the good ones. And so to those men, wherever they are, whoever they are, and however little remain, I say thank you. You make me proud to be black!
*Just a footnote, that when I talk about the black man I am mainly talking about African American men! Black men in other countries/cultures would be ostracized for behaving the way the typically African American male behaves!
*There used to be a time (about 30 or 40 years ago) when the good black men outnumbered the garbage ones and because of that our families were stronger than white families. Black marriages were even less likely to end in divorce than that of whites. So even when the white family was struggling, we remained resilient. Our strong families produced a thriving black community, compared with today’s declining one. Remember a community is only as strong as its members and its members are only as strong as their families, thus the family is the backbone of any society. The black man's absence has severely devastated the black family and subsequently the entire African American population.