Friday, September 24, 2010

You Know That Ain’t Yo Real Daddy

Secrets camouflaged as an attempt to protect children continue to plague the black community. It was common for a pregnant teenager to be sent to the South to have their babies. If that wasn’t weird enough sometimes an aunt or even the grandmother would take on the role of the new baby’s mother. Sometimes these babies grow up believing that their birth mother is their cousin or even their sister. I never understood this plan. I have concluded that the adults convinced themselves that they were protecting the children involved but in actuality they were only protecting themselves. They only cared about what others would have thought. This fear based, ego driven thought process is just one of the types of secrets kept in the black family. I’m sure these lies (because that’s what they are) are rampant in other cultures, but I can only speak of what I have seen and experienced.

I have to admit the Bishop Eddie Long scandal has sparked and awakened some deep-seeded opinions in the matter of black family secrets. This man allegedly coerced you parishioners in performing sex acts with/on him.  His church, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, has over 25,000 members. I think I have read comments from each of his 25,000 supporters. They begin like this: “Let’s be slow to judge” or my personal favorite, “No weapon formed against me shall…” Some of these people are probably quick to give their opinion about the Real House Wives of ______, though. I’m sure they have an opinion about Kim Kardashian's love life and I’m sure that they just can’t understand why Sister Jackson left Brother Jackson, because he is a good man.
My sliding patio door, 2008

Those matters are none of our business. The care and protection of children IS our business, but some reserve comment because they have to protect their pastor. If indeed he is guilty, he is not alone. There are several other people, including his wife and the plaintiffs’ mother’s, who probably should be held accountable. I’m sure there are church staff members who provided a protective fence around “Bisshup” that allowed him to prey on these children.

I find it very disgusting the care taken to protect adults at such a very high cost. How many molesting uncles and mama boyfriends are we going to protect? How many more mothers are going to turn their heads as their husbands touch their children? We have generations of children who were never able to trust the persons who should have an innate urge to protect them, their parents.

How many times must a child find out that his real daddy is “Uncle” Joe from next door at a very inopportune time from a very inappropriate person? Who wants to hear “That’s not your real daddy” from the neighborhood kids at the local playground?

You can help break this stronghold of surreptitious behavior in the black community. Start in your own family. Refuse to keep any damaging secrets especially the ones that harm children. I’m not asking you to blurt out all you know but encourage discussion and openness in your family. Respect children’s right to know and strive to protect them from physical, emotional, spiritual and mental harm.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Our Boys

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico 2010
Our angry, emotionally void boys, sigh - How did they get this way? Let’s peek in at the Johnson’s front yard on the corner of Main and Elmwood streets.  Seven-year-old Johnny falls out of a tree. His mom and dad run to his assistance.  Little Johnny is in pain and as a result he cries, because this is how humans are designed, right?  His mom tries to soothe him and comfort him. His dad tells mom to stop treating him like a baby and suggests that Johnny should “man-up”.

We’ve got to stop passing these so called manhood guidelines down from generation to generation. We’ve got to allow our boys to act natural - to remain creative, to remain intuitive, and to remain expressive.  We’ve got to stop labeling such behaviors as “gay” and anyway if your child IS gay, what’s the big deal? We’ve got to say no to society’s standards in order to protect our boys. This allows our boys to grow up to be their own individual version of a man.

Of course, personalities are more complex than this little blog can address, but I believe we must take a moment to recognize that sometimes our boys’ greatest challenge is overcoming adult’s fears. Our boys are growing up angry, emotionally unavailable, unable to empathize and unable to communicate their feelings. Take the pledge today to abandon those irrational and unhealthy rules on what constitutes a man. Let’s hear it for Our Boys!