Have Black Women Given Up on Black Men?
By Ronald Yates
Many of the sisters I talk to are frustrated and some are downright angry. They say they have had enough with the games, the broken promises and being left to raise children alone. Where are all the good Black men, those like their fathers and grandfathers who stood by their families no matter how difficult the times were. Nowadays brothers don’t want to commit. They know how difficult it is for sisters to find a suitable man. Most can, basically, run from one woman to another without committing or making promises they have no intentions of keeping.
For some sisters the prospect of finding a “good man” is no longer a consideration. Many feel all hope is lost; but should it be? While I can recite a litany of reasons to explain the shortcomings of Black men, the reality is we don’t need explanations. What we desperately need are solutions. If we cannot figure it out what will be the long-term effect on us as a people? Could we possibly face a drastic reduction in our numbers or could the consequences of our failure to address and resolve this growing challenge be much worse? Could Black people in this country go the way of the Arawak Nation and face extinction? For nearly two decades Black people have been losing ground when it comes to live births. We were once the number two so-called minority in this country. Today we have fallen to number three behind our Hispanic brothers and sisters and our birth rates continue to fall. Could part of the problem be the lack of trust Black women have in Black men? Black women have decided not to bring children into an uncertain world and not to raise their children without a father. Coupled with contraception measures, aimed at communities of color, the reality is our survival may be in grave danger.
For Black people how do we begin the healing process, how do we undo the damage that has been done over the course of more than 400 years? Where do we start? The big question is are we willing to, collectively, do the work? We owe it to our ancestors and generations to come to break the cycle, to begin to come together to build relationships, families and communities just as we did in the years following the end of chattel slavery. Within forty years of leaving the plantation system we had established a number of thriving communities. Since that time, we have done little in the way of building, in fact we seem more prone to destruction. But if our ancestors found the strength then that same strength resides within us. We are our ancestors and they are us. The first steps won’t be easy, it will be painful, but the scab has to be pulled off. Black men and women must have and continue the difficult conversations. And we must do so without malice and the setting aside of ego.
In the African tradition there is no distinction between men and women. There is no greater or lesser. These are dysfunctional Eurocentric concepts that we have adopted that have served to erode our fragile psyches and relationships. We need to return to our traditional ways. If the truth be told American customs, mostly based on European conditioning and dictates, have proven to be a major disaster for the majority of us. After four centuries of fighting and dying for America, we have little to show for our efforts. The reality is we have never been fully accepted as Americans. We are essentially a people living in occupied territory, operating under a different set of rules. The only hope we have is us saving us. We have no friends, no allies, no powerful special interests backing us; and at the end of the day, all we have… and have ever had is us!