Boys need fathers in their lives. I am making a plea to African-American fathers to be active participants in the lives of their sons; and for African-American women to assist these fathers in the transition of their reentering the lives of their sons.
Most every ill that plagues the Black male child is mostly related to fatherlessness. Having a father as a role model and teacher is critical for a male child. The male who understands this best is the male child whose father was present, and participated, in his life. Unfortunately, for many Black males, they have not had the experience of having a father role model. A male child who did not have his father present can not relate to the critical differences it makes, for he has no comparison to make. Therefore, it becomes easy for him, as an adult, to abandon his son; especially, when it becomes a challenge to be a part of his life.
In addition, I believe that we must revisit history as we examine the family structure of Blacks in America. An absentee father was the norm for the African-American family. Families were separated by force! Slavery severely impacted the lives of the Black family. Considering the fact that our physical exodus from slavery has only been 140 years, that’s not a long time, and we are still experiencing its effects.
Blacks were forced to produce offsprings, not for themselves, but for their master’s economic gain. Today, Blacks are not forced to produce babies; however, because of the residual effect of slavery on the Black family, their offsprings continue to be an economic product for the modern-day master called PRISON. Today, in 2005, Black males in prison are paid less for their labor than they were paid 140 years ago.
Black men were not socialized as other men, that is, to be accountable or responsible for his family. In order to understand why the Black man and Black woman are having such challenges in their relationships, you must understand how their experience and living conditions in America have impacted their lives and the lives of their family.
When a Black family needed assistance from Social Services programs, the father had to remove himself from the family in order for his wife and children to get assistance. Black men have a long way to go to get back to their African roots of being a provider and protector. Black men have come a long way, and they will get back to their God-Created-Nature, with the help of God, Almighty, and with the understanding of their past.
It is the responsibility of the father to help provide for his child. And providing entails more than financial provisions. I’m pleading with women, to not prevent the father from being a part of his son’s life because of the father’s inability to support financially. A male child needs his father in his life, and the woman only hurts her son(s) when she tries to prevent them from having a father-son relationship. The many ills of Black men are inevitably traced to their Fatherlessness.
Most Black men really want to be with their families and children. What they need is someone to be a father-like figure for them. A Black man needs guidance. Most of them are trying to be something or somebody that they have never seen or experienced, and must be taught that. The woman s ideal of what a man is supposed to be is distorted because she too has not experience a father in her life.
You see, a father is a role model for his son and a father gives definition to his daughter as to what a man is. A mother is a role model for her daughter and she gives definition to her son as to what a woman is. 70% of Black households are headed and ran by a female with the father most times being totally out of the picture. The sons and daughters are both confused about male/female responsibility.
Many men are not allowed to have relationships with their children. If these men are allowed to participate in their children s lives, it must be on the woman’s terms only. When it becomes unbearable, he leaves the woman and the child behind. The real victim is the child.
There are some things that a man needs to teach his son, such as: how to bathe and clean his genital area, how to shop for clothing, how to choose his friends, how to respect himself, how to drive an automobile, how to resolve conflicts, how to fight, how to avoid a fight, how to play sports. I am not casting blame on the Black woman. I am only pointing out the facts that are hindering the progress of the Black family. I believe that if we could get a perspective of the Black man, as related to who is who he was before coming to America and what America has made him become, then we would have a better understanding of our family dynamics and we can embrace each other and begin to value ourselves and our children again. Look for the follow-up article, “Why Black Men/Women Suffer Failed and Unhealthy Relationships.”
Copyright (c) 2007 Rosie Milligan