BLACK MEN, WHITE MEN, ASIAN MEN, LATINO MEN, SAMOAN MEN, this is for all of you – your BOYS need you. Our boys need you to help them become the best men they can be. Take the time to care enough to spend some time. The programs available for wayward youth are plentiful. What about getting involved before the trouble begins? Teach them how to be consistent. Teach them how to honor their agreements. Teach them how to hold themselves accountable. Teach them how to identify, express, and understand the (often) confusing and conflicting feelings that are found on the road from adolescence to adulthood. (If you do not know how then take time to learn). Spend time engaging in activities and discussions that will foster self-reliance, respect for self, respect for others, and respect for the community in which they live. Help them understand the importance of respecting their mothers, grandmothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives, baby’s mama’s, children, peers, friends, family members and anyone with whom they come in contact. Rid them of the inappropriate illusions their lack of insight has created. Teach them to respect themselves, this country, its laws, its people, and society. In short, teach them how to be the best people they can be.
Women (of all races) are forced to find a way to help their man children navigate their way through adolescence and into adulthood. Statistics (rap videos and gang glorification as well) tell us WOMEN/SINGLE/DIVORCED parents have failed (and continue to) fail. (That’s right – I call it like I see it)! By nature we want to protect our boys, (molly coddle them as my father would say) but in truth we do them a grave disservice. Our maternal need to protect and keep them safe, robs our BOYS of the opportunity to learn and experience accountability, and responsibility. In short, our “girl-ness” (which is great in the proper perspective) takes away their opportunity to learn how to become MEN.
I too, have sons. I, like many other mothers out there have fallen victim to the idea that providing them with many things and opportunities would enable to them soar..to reach their maximum potential….to be good MEN! Men are not made by the things they have but rather by the things and opportunities they are able to create in spite of/because of/ and regardless of their circumstances. This would make those who came before us proud. The ancestors –for whom life as they knew changed forever- those – whose names are unknown but their sacrifices great – those who could only dream of the day when education, equality, and equal rights would become common place – those who lived, struggled, and died, believing that WE too deserved the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness – will then see the magnificent MEN/MAN that every boy is capable of becoming.
The DREAM, (that is so often referred to as Martin Luther King’s greatest speech), dies each day at our hands. Those who came before us could never have imagined the world we live in today. There are unlimited opportunities (ask anyone here from another country) to become whatever it is we can imagine. Yet many of US would rather blame the SYSTEM…blame SLAVERY….blame THE MAN for keeping us down, when in fact it is we, who hold ourselves back. How can it be, that the people upon whose backs this country was built, whose ancestors had the perseverance to stand firm for their beliefs in the face of certain death, and whose families were forever torn apart, hold themselves in such low regard? How can it be, that the same SYSTEM, the same MAN, we claim to have held us down for years, now represents the very entity that we look towards to HELP us straighten this out? BLACK MEN, is THE MAN, forcing you to abandon your families and children. BLACK WOMEN is the SYSTEM of SLAVERY causing you to degrade yourselves when you dress provocatively as you sing along to lyrics like “bitch better have my money?” We now exploit, degrade, and disrespect ourselves much worse than THE MAN, THE SYSTEM, or SLAVERY ever could have.
Gang violence, HIV rates, incarceration, and domestic violence now threaten to annihilate the black family. BLACK MEN, how can you expect that your sons will learn to be the men they need to, when you decided that you did not have to stick around to see them through to manhood. Women were equipped to rear women – that is just how it is. We were NOT created equally. God did not mean for us to be. That was part of HIS plan not mine. (Sit down equal rights women’s liberation activists I will get to you in another post!) Men bring something to their children’s experience that they need. MEN in general were not meant to be soft, sensitive, and emotional. If they were, they would have been born girls. There is a time and place for expressing emotion, but for Heaven’s sake, let boys be boys. I stand corrected. What we HAVE, is a society of boys, who were never taught to be men. The role models that we could once look upon – the next door neighbor who was a dentist or a doctor– the man down the street who would take the time to teach boys how to do “man things” like fix cars, fish, and subsequently turn the fish into a whale by the tales they tell – are all gone.
There are those of you that will hold fast to the following argument “A woman can teach a boy those things. A woman can do the same things as a man.” If that is your belief, then (as I say to those with whom I converse) DO THAT. Statistics and incarceration rates say otherwise, but hold fast to your belief. As more and more BLACK MEN are murdered because of gang violence –HOLDFAST; AS more of our youth are incarcerated – HOLDFAST; As women are left alone to rear children –HOLD FAST ; As HIV threatens to take the lives of this (and future ) generations –HOLDFAST. As pimps and prostitution are perpetuated – HOLDFAST; Hold fast to the ideals that leave our youth lacking the insight needed to understand the dynamics of what REAL MEN do, how they react , and what a testament to God’s glory REAL MEN are. Let our man/children redefine who they are by the standards that REAL MEN have now laid in place. This is in essence, teaching them to fish. For those to whom this does not apply (two parent families, men who have good relationships with their father, men who have good role models and mentors) I have but this to say: SHARE. Share your time, resources, models, and mentors….”no man is an island, entirely upon itself. Each man is a part of the continent, a piece of the main. The death of any man diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind. Therefore never send to know, for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” ©