Friday, May 14, 2010

A Core Belief of Mine

Watch the video, it talks about a core belief of mine.

There, but for the grace of God, go I.

Wesley Moore decided to write a book about another young man who shared the same name as him, who grew up in his neighborhood and who didn't have a father. He wrote about the young man because while Wesley Moore was a college football player and Rhodes Scholar, Wes Moore was a Baltimore drug dealer and convicted cop killer.

Wesley wanted to see how the other Wes took such a different route in life. What he learned was what all intelligent black men should eventually learn. He found that the other Wes's life could have been his own if not for a few key divergences and decisions. He learned that the line between good and evil is tiny, just like the margin of error for black men.

And then, Clifford Harris, aka TI, reinforces that thought. Check out the interview with Larry King when you get a chance.



Darth Whitey said...

His story was featured on PBS's Newshour last week, great interview. I found it very interesting as well.

I agree with him, it's all about expectations. It was never a question in my house whether I would go to college or not, anything less would have been unacceptable. Early encouragement and validation lead to accumulated advantage. Think you're a self-made man? Think again. You seized the opportunity laid in front of your feet (to your credit,) but there's nothing special about you.

And so the tragedy of absent black fathers continues to wreak havoc.

Imhotep said...

Darth said "And so the tragedy of absent black fathers continues to wreak havoc."

The Wes Moore who wrote the book, what havoc did his fatherless home create? I’ll say that white hegemony wreak way more havoc on Black people, than a fatherless home ever could.

For the record, It's my belief that this notion that an absent father dooms a child's future is pure bullshit. It's a slap in the face of many single mothers who have raised a successful and productive child. Heck, Wes Moore is a shining example of what a single mom can accomplish, in my reality there are many Wes Moore’s.

I'm sure you and others, will trot out various academic studies to support your position on the negative effects of a single parent home. To be honest, I’ve very little respect for studies conducted by white institutions regarding the daily lives of Black folks. Those studies tend to down play the impact of race, and rarely if ever address the disparity between black and white children from single parent household. You know, stuff like high school drop-out rates, incarceration rates, unemployment rates, wage differential, etc.

White folks, liberal and conservative alike (and some Black folks) like to lament the absence of the Black father, to me this is merely a convenient avenue for white folks to perpetuate their myth about those irresponsible Blacks, while removing any focus from the inherent racist system that help create the fatherless home, and deals a harsher penalty to a Black single parent family, than it does to a white family.

Darth, so you know, the white racist structure which we all function under, does not distinguish between Black people from single parent families, and those with both parents. Black people regardless of household structure are routinely marginalized and dehumanized to the benefit of white people. So, to me as a Black person, the endemic racist culture that permeates american life is of much greater concern, than the absence of one parent in the home.

Darth Whitey said...

Imhotep, there's something inherently intuitive that if a child lacks a positive male role-model then he faces an uphill battle to grow up to be a responsible adult. Even if there's no father in the house then at least perhaps the neighbors have responsible fathers or they have other male relatives.

I grew up in a middle class family surrounded by men who went to work every day and had children at home. I didn't see adult men hanging out on corners or what not, and that benefited me greatly.

I agree that things are stacked against black people in any case, but seems to me that the point about absent fathers stands anyway, to make things worse.

CNu said...

DW is truth.

The absence of fathers in the home is a crowning achievement in the 40 year long cultural war on Black men - engendered by the two-pronged rebellions of cultural Black nationalism and popular revolt in the vietnam-era military.

What Black men were standing up for 40 years ago was and is the real line separating good from evil. By comparison, this Wes Moore/TI stuff is just armchair, bourgeois conversation...,

Imhotep said...

Darth said “there's something inherently intuitive that if a child lacks a positive male role-model then he faces an uphill battle to grow up to be a responsible adult.”

If you’re a proponent of a patriarchal society, then I guess you have to believe in the power of the male in the home. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be room for the loving and supportive male in or around the home. But where I believe your patriarchal leanings come into play, is that you place more importance on the absent father, than you do on the mother who is present. I’ll submit to you that a home with a single mom who is loving, supportive and responsible will yield a productive child more times than not. I have to believe that there are people in your circle, even family members who grew up without a father, and they turned out well, due in part or in whole to the strength of the mother. Love, guidance and support can come from any person, they does not have to come from a human with testicles.

Darth said “I grew up in a middle class family surrounded by men who went to work every day and had children at home. I didn't see adult men hanging out on corners or what not, and that benefited me greatly.”……… Ok, good for you, but I’m not sure I can draw anything conclusive from your statement. Surely, both of us know people who grew up seeing some people hanging out on the street corner, and was not influenced by that in the least. I got to believe that you went to school with kids from a two parent home, and some of these kids ended up in some sort of fucked-up situation, dysfunctional or doing time.

Big Man did a post where he talked about the hierarchy that we place in our lives, seem like for you the absent father is high on your list, for me racism trumps the absent father. This absent father meme is just another on the long list of manufactured complaints that whites have against Black people to justify their hatred and racism towards Black folks.

CNu said...

the facts delineating collective Black performance over the 20th century - correlated with a higher percentage presence of fathers in the home - militate very strongly against your beliefs imhotep.

daniel patrick moynihan had it right 40 + years ago even before the low-intensity war on Black men got underway after 1970.

but, as I've expressed to Big Man previously, there's no profit to be had from aligning folks' beliefs with the underlying relevant facts.

please carry on with whatever magical thinking makes you feel better...,

Darth Whitey said...

Imhotep... I only mention the absence of black fathers because it is a disproportionately large problem in the black community (not because black men are inherently irresponsible, but surely due to a number of racism related factors, such as lower opportunity leading to the shame of not being able to provide, etc.)

But nevertheless that's the case, I'm not saying its effects are unique to the black community, it's not a "manufactured reason" to hate, I don't hate, just trying to understand the cycle of accumulated disadvantage black folks face. And I think that not having a father around makes the kids of those fathers "desensitized" to not sticking around, the stigma has gone away.

And yes of course single parent mothers are heroic, I know it, but their heroism alone cannot make up for the lack of a father.

Imhotep said...

CNu, I guess the magical thinking of Patrick Moynihan make you feel better, but if he’d care to open his eyes he would see that the war on Black men has never been low intensity and it sure as hell did not start after 1970. Only a white man would refer to an attack against the Black family as low intensity. One wonders if he’d refer to a similar attack against whites men as low intensity. Regardless, low intensity , high intensity the devastating results on the Black family are the same, and the disruption of individual lives are no less devastating.

It’s ironic that you quote Moynihan, yet you completely ignore the inherent racism in this “low intensity attack” preferring to pace the onus on the Black man, while giving the white man his get out of jail free card.

If your contention is that Moynihan was right, and the “low intensity war’ was effective, then why are you castigating Black men? Should you not be castigating the racism behind the war? I await your magical thinking.

CNu said...

DW is still truth.

Imhotep - you're lost and that's too bad...., better luck next life.

Redbonegirl97 said...

Ah, this blog never fails to intrigue me.

Peace, Love and Chocolate

Big Man said...

Thanks for the discussion folks.


No doubt white folks use the "absent black father" as a convenient excuse to avoid dealing with the effects of racism, I can't dispute that at all.

But, since my thoughts on life are always influenced by the Bible, I really do believe that the absence of fathers plays a huge role in the continuing problems in the black community. And, while I can't say that it's more important than racism, since racism is a huge reason why black men have left their families, I can't deny that a two parent home is the optimal situation for raising children.

Black single women have done an admirable job in raising the many productive children they have raised. I don't believe the absence of a father automatically dooms a child to failure. But, I don't think you can deny that it makes life much harder. I've talked to too many cats who have lamented the fact that their fathers weren't around, or that they didn't have any close older men to guide and lead them to believe this is not a huge problem.

I still believe in the biblical model for child rearing that entails two parents working in concert. I know we differ on that topic, but hey, that's the spice of life.

Thanks again everybody for the discussion.

Tit for Tat said...

As a "White" man who lacked a father I concur with DW's idea. My mother did a hell of a job but unfortunately she was playing with only half a deck. To think otherwise ignores the fact that men and women are different biologically. So, as great as my mom was she lacked the biology to relate to me as a Male. I for one sorely missed the Patriarch from my family. :(

Raving Black Lunatic