Aleasa Word shares how black women can support the emotional needs of black men.
Each day I see countless reminders of the massacre that is happening to the black man in our world. This massacre is not just from physical death but from emotional deaths as well. Our black men are dying from the inside out and it grieves me to no end. I must first say that I love black men. I was created by a black man, I raised one black man and am working on raising my second.
Today I read yet another article on the statistics as they relate to the homicide rate of black males from the ages of 15-34 noting what many of us already know – homicide is the leading cause of death for these men. It went on to quote yet another widely known statistic about the life expectancy being lower than other races. Sadly, the fact is, in reading this article it didn’t give me any information I wasn’t already aware of. It didn’t have any NEW numbers, let alone NEW hope that would have surprised me. These same statistics are regurgitated over and over again – day after day, year after year with no significant changes to the positive.
I’m sick and tired of crying over what is reported in the news. I’m sick and tired of breaking down every time a young black man is incarcerated. I’m sick and damn tired of being afraid for my two sons every day and having to constantly reiterate the extra level of caution they must take everywhere they go and in everything they do.
In the end if they aren’t killed first, the lifelong burden on the shoulders of our black men is astronomical. Just making it through school, battling bad neighborhoods, stereotypes from teachers and the public should be enough – but it’s not. Because so many are looked at as a threat, especially the darker their skin is, corporate America is still not as friendly to them as it is to others. Women of other cultures still cross the street to avoid even the most innocent black man or clutch their purses tighter in an elevator in spite of a man being suited up. Stress levels in these men cause high rates of hypertension, drug addiction, unchecked depression, and even add to weight gain and cancer rates.
It is still problematic that black men aren’t usually expected to be doctors, lawyers, scientists or professors. Other cultures in contrast groom their young men (usually without choice) to walk the path of education towards those careers from grade school. Questions I’d like to pose in relation are:
- Why does it seem that in America, the black culture is its own worst enemy when it comes to these
- Why are our sons and daughters in a frame of mind that makes them think it is not only okay but
normal to tease, isolate and bully their OWN peers for being smart and wanting to follow in the footsteps of professional people?
- Why aren’t we taking our kids to museums and watching discovery channel with them?
- Why is that boring to us when we say we want more for them?
- Why aren’t we seeking opportunities outside of our neighborhoods?
- Why aren’t we teaching our children to take pride in their appearance EVERY day instead of this
everything goes (straight to a path of destruction that is) in every scenario?
- Why are we not teaching our children there is a difference in behaviors at home, school, the workplace
and the community?
Is it because we don’t know any better, are lazy or so busy trying to get through the grunge of daily life that we are tired, frustrated and overwhelmed EVERY SINGLE DAY?
Whose responsibility is it to show our young men they not only should strive for more but can have more and be better at the more? Whose responsibility is it to nurture them emotionally when they are so filled with fear all they can do is live offensively every day? It is all of ours. It is the responsibility of women who are bashing men and telling them they “ain’t sh*t” while their own sons hear it and believe this to be true about themselves. It is the responsibility of our current men who are mistreating women and making their daughters think the only way to get love is to be the next trick on the pole for attention. It is also the responsibility of the person who feels they have made it in life but does not want to look back because it’s too painful to face realities we are uncomfortable with. And it is the responsibility of those who know right from wrong to NOT forget we must teach in order for people to learn.
We are still failing as a people in so many ways. Our sons are dying! They are afraid inside, sick inside and play hard on the outside until the inside eventually rots the outer flesh. I can’t take seeing our men this way, my men this way. In order for the black race or any race to survive we must create and nurture strong men. Men are supposed to be the survivalists providing and protecting the families. But who protects and provides for them? Who allows them to not be judged when they are in their most vulnerable state? Who tells them it is okay to ask for help, get it and then give back to the next man or woman?
I cannot nor will I even attempt to speak on behalf of other women. What I can say is I’m doing my best as a woman to raise effective, valuable, giving, caring, responsible men and include positive male mentors along the way. My past, like many other women may not have been rich with men who fit this description; however, that does not absolve me from the responsibility of helping my own sons to be great men for the betterment of the black race, the black family and mankind in general.
Originally appeared at Allergy Words