The following is mostly based on “Relationship Wrecks”, chapter two of Tom Burrell’s “Brainwashed” (2010):
Why does black love in America seem to fail so much? Can anything be done about it?
While the white media does play up whatever troubles black people have and make them seem worse than they are, the bare facts are true:
- high rates of children being born to single mothers as compared to other Americans,
- high rates of domestic violence,
- high rates of people who have never been married.
Blacks also have high rates of poverty but that alone is not whole reason for the breakdown in marriage and family. While it is true, for example, that black men are more likely to beat their wives or girlfriends when they are out of work, Irish and Jewish families in America, no matter how poor, never experienced such high rates of brokenness.
Slavemasters destroyed the black family. On purpose. Unlike Jews and the Irish:
- Blacks were bred and sold like animals.
- Black men had no way to protect or support their families. They could not stop their wives and daughters from being raped, their sons from being sold off, themselves from being whipped, mutilated or killed.
- Black women learned to have little faith in black men and to look to white men for help.
As slaves black men and women had their worthlessness pounded into their heads.
- Disrespect – putting each other down, looking down on and mistrusting each other. As slaves they could not put faith in each other.
- The beat-down – hurting each other in mind, body, spirit and heart. Something blacks grew to accept as slaves. Something black men copied from white slavemasters, their only powerful image of manhood. From white men they learned to see black women as something to control and possess, not love, respect and protect.
- Expectation of unfaithfulness – grew out of an unquestioned belief in black male and female unworthiness.
- Icing – shutting down your heart and keeping your distance, even from your partner, to limit any further pain.
It has become a vicious circle that has lasted down to our day, made worse by welfare and mass incarceration in the late 1900s. Absent fathers and overprotective mothers reproduce the same unhealthy relationships in their sons and daughters. Internalized racism helps to keep these ideas in place with the help of the image of blacks pushed by the likes of Maury Povich, black comedians and others.
What to do?
Since negative propaganda got us to this point, I maintain that positive propaganda will be the key to our resolution. Fortunately for us, there are many positives examples in the past and present that we can resurrect, emulate and, if necessary, expand.
There is not just the examples of successful black relationships and families, but helpful counter-propaganda, such as:
- “Be a Father to Your Child: Real Talk from Black Men on Family, Love and Fatherhood” (2008), April Silver, editor
- “NO! The Rape Documentary“, a documentary film by Aishah Shahidah Simmons