The large number of black men missing from the home have taken the blame for the disconnect in the black community for years now. It seems as though black women, for whatever reason, were left with the burden of trying to formulate a structural foundation. They were left to bear the burden of trying to play mom and dad while still making sure that there was food on the table . Whether it is because black men are in jail or have willingly left the household, statistically speaking, there is a disparity with the number of fathers in the home. I am not here to bash black men and I don’t think that that the black man is to blame for all of the issues within our community, it is just one avenue to explore. I am more concerned with the effect that the lack of role models and structure in the black community will have on generations to follow.
I have recently spent more time analyzing this issue because my schools is located in a predominately black community. Every day I see the struggle of black woman and children in the community. Whether they are rushing to gather their children to get to work and school or they are walking their child to school, there is something to be said for the strength and gusto of the black woman. I even see the black women in my department leave work during their lunch break to go and pick up their children to bring them back to work with them after school. After 5pm my school hallways are filled with the children of these hard working mothers. It is no surprise that whenever musicians are asked to credit their success to something, it is always to the strong presence of their mothers.
We often forget that these hard working black mothers are also women. For all of the stability and love that these mothers provide for their children, they need the same support and care in return. Who is there to do that for them? Even looking at my own mother, I see that she has her moments where she sits and stares off into space. I always wonder what’s on her mind, then a sense of loneliness fills the room. I often feel sad because I know she wants a companion. Every woman longs for a companion to share her life with and to help them support her family. All of the women in my family are single mothers and I often marvel at the fact that they do everything on their own, sometimes with absolutely no help from the fathers of their children. The plight of the black mother is nothing to take lightly. The fact that the single- mother household is increasingly becoming the norm, is a problem.
This struggle trickles down to the younger generations. What message are little girls and boys getting by watching their mothers and fathers struggle? The little girls learn either to carry the same strength as their mothers or they have such a great desire not to end up alone like their mothers that they end up in less than satisfactory relationships. The boys grow up to be men that really have no guidance or direction as to who they should be and what their responsibilities as men are. Even looking at my own family, I can’t say that any of the young males in my family know what it means to be a real man. I would want my own brother to be a strong black man with a foundation and morals but advice coming from the mouth of his sister doesn’t leave the same impression on him if it were to come from my father.
That being said, who is to be the examples of strength and solidarity for our younger generations? Nobody wants to see this cycle continue, sowho is going to teach our young men and women? In a world where any of our black sons, cousins and brothers could have been Trayvon Martin, the need for role models and teachers to the younger generations is imperative. I believe that to have a strong community there needs to be balance and support. In one of my many college electives classes we explored the concept of family and the role it played in different racial societies. For example, in Asian communities family is the root and the core of everything. The children are raised in a supportive environment because the structure is there before they are even born. The children are molded by a family unit so that when they enter into the real world they have a sense of who they are and what goals they should reach for. I would want similar objectives for my own community. I don’t presume to know all the answers to solve all the problems with one article, for I myself fall into the category of a statistic (coming from a single parent home). I am tired of looking at other races flourish while I am watching my own people repeat the same cycle. I am not sure what can bring the much needed change, or what role I can play in it, I just know that it is imperative that something is done.
Rachel Louissaint is a graduate student and a blogger. Check out her own blog Ebonymaiden.com or follow her on twitter at @Ebony_Maiden.
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