I was out for lunch one day with a friend of mine who has many hilarious and actually spot on opinions about dating and relationships. I always joke with him that if he’d let me put him on camera that we’d make millions because of the outlandish things he says. We’d get more hate mail, but more press than a little bit. He’d effectively become the most hated Black man in America in under ten minutes. Flat.
Mind you, I don’t ever actually think he’s wrong.
Anyway, one particular day last week, he asked me if I’d ever read the article where (much like everybody else – it’s from December 2009 so forgive my late pass) Attorney General Eric Holder called on Black fathers to take more responsibility for their children. It’s the same message Obama preached some months before and slightly rings true to what Bill Cosby said some years ago when he pissed off all of Black America and a few Samoans.
“Too many men in the black community have created children and left them to be raised by caring mothers. These women do a wonderful job, but we ask too much of them and too little of our men,” Holder told the congregation, which included members of his family, according to Newsday. “It should simply be unacceptable for a man to have a child and then not play an integral part in the raising and nurturing of the child.” – Eric Holder
Of course, as Black men, we hate hearing these statements over and over again. Mostly because it paints a very one sided picture. And of course, men and women ALWAYS applaud at these statements like its the first they’ve ever heard them. Keep in mind, neither of us disagree with the spirit of it, but its more about why Black men are constantly the punching bag for all of the problems in the Black community. Then my boy made an observation (I’m paraphrasing):
“How come you never hear anybody say, ‘Too many of our women in the Black community are letting any and every man get them pregnant. We have too many women sleeping with men recklessly and getting pregnant by men who have no business being fathers or boyfriends. We need to hold some of our women more responsible for their decisions.’”
Of course my response was, “well, you just can’t do that. It’s not women’s fault that these men leave them alone and without help after they get pregnant.”
But then I started thinking…why can’t you ever hold women accountable for the demise of the community the same way we continuously hold men accountable. It’s pretty much the party line that (many) men aren’t living up to their ends of the bargain. They get these women pregnant and roll out leaving another fatherless child to fend for his or herself through life with only a mother who can’t teach a boy how to be a man or a girl how to be loved by a man.
The truth is though, aside from the snide comments made about the baby mama with seven children on welfare, nobody ever does lay any blame on the women involved in those situations, almost as if its taboo. At least not publicly. Sure, behind closed doors we all think the women with all those children probably needed to be locked up in a room with a copy of O Magazine and Chicken Soup for The Soul, but pretty quickly we start talking about the fact that their daddy’s probably aren’t any good. It’s so easy we do it by default. From churches to public podiums, if there’s a conversation about the community and its problems, its pretty much starting with the lack of fathers in the home. Or the lack of a father presence, etc. Nobody EVER says, publicly, “While the fathers aren’t there somebody needs to figure out how to stop these women from sleeping around with all these men too. Lord almighty, we might not have a father problem if we didn’t have some of these girls giving it up without protection.”
The assumption is that evil men dupe all of these women into becoming mothers and are the reason every cat in hood doesn’t have a yacht. But how come the accountability doesn’t go both ways?
Riddle me that one Batman…should women be held accountable…at all? Public Blackness seems to indicate no. But I’m not sure that’s right.
Are women really always victims in these situation? Or do all the talking heads have it right?
-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka VITAMIN P aka 40 P aka TANGLE JIG P aka GO KING BEEF aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3