February 19, 2013 at 4:29 pm #8154
Elon James WhiteKey Master
Go.February 19, 2013 at 5:12 pm #8155
The ideology of black families as dysfunctional goes back to slavery. The idea black women not having the ability to be maternal was a rationale to sell children and sexual exploit black woman. Mammy rarely had children when she did they were holy terrors. Black men as sexual studs with no parental feelings also supported the capitalism of slavery. The Moynihan report that Dacia mentioned stated that overly aggressive black mothers who emasculated black men was the main reason for family dysfunction. One of the solutions he came up with was to get black men in the military during the height of the Vietnam War.
Here are some excerpts:
A fundamental fact of Negro American family life is the often reversed roles of husband and wife.
Robert O. Blood, Jr. and Donald M. Wolfe, in a study of Detroit families, note that “Negro husbands have unusually low power,” and while this is characteristic of all low income families, the pattern pervades the Negro social structure: “the cumulative result of discrimination in jobs…, the segregated housing, and the poor schooling of Negro men.” In 44 percent of the Negro families studied, the wife was dominant, as against 20 percent of white wives. “Whereas the majority of white families are equalitarian, the largest percentage of Negro families are dominated by the wife.”
The matriarchal pattern of so many Negro families reinforces itself over the generations. This process begins with education. Although the gap appears to be closing at the moment, for a long while, Negro females were better educated than Negro males, and this remains true today for the Negro population as a whole.
There is another special quality about military service for Negro men: it is an utterly masculine world. Given the strains of the disorganized and matrifocal family life in which so many Negro youth come of age, the Armed Forces are a dramatic and desperately needed change: a world away from women, a world run by strong men of unquestioned authority, where discipline, if harsh, is nonetheless orderly and predictable, and where rewards, if limited, are granted on the basis of performance.
If you want to read the whole thing: http://www.blackpast.org/?q=primary/moynihan-report-1965February 19, 2013 at 5:45 pm #8158
Dacia Mitchell | Managing EditorKey Master
Thanks for posting that @FridayFoster, I think it’s important to acknowledge the long history of black pathology in this country, so when anyone with authority says that black men need to step up, the intent is lost and the content is recontextualized into a narrative of black pathology.February 19, 2013 at 6:15 pm #8160
So do you guys feel that it’s an unnecessary anecdote? That’s sort of what I’m collecting from the podcast and the black pathology narrative or am I understanding the problem with his statement wrong?February 19, 2013 at 8:51 pm #8181
The academic arguments don’t really resonate with me and I think falls short of what Barack was trying to do. He wasn’t speaking to academics, he was speaking to everyday folks. I agree with Baratunde that talking bad about absentee fathers does not mean we are putting down single mothers. I mean, can us men not be held accountable for how our actions can lead to violence in the community?
Are we not to promote strong families anymore as a positive thing. I mean it’s not the ONLY thing – as Dacia said, plenty of screwed up people came from proper (on paper) families – but it’s something.February 19, 2013 at 9:37 pm #8189
Elon James WhiteKey Master
But it’s not simply about promoting strong families. As much as Obama attempted to side step this pitfall he did imply what would be a good family and that was very much a “Traditional” model. As the POTUS this becomes slightly problematic. I’m all about strong families and strong fathers but there are problematic implications. I agree that academic conversations around this doesn’t resonate on the ground where it’s going down but there is an argument that can be made about how words and the larger narrative that’s created because of the words affects society.February 19, 2013 at 9:55 pm #8190
Yea, but no matter the new spin, there’s strong historic precedent for the “Traditional” model and it’s success not so much for the new spin of what everyone thinks it should be in this new and enlightened America. I always find these types of discussions humorous because everyone tries to ignore historic precedent and fit what should be done in some new mold, especially the academics which I agree, their arguments don’t resonate…
It’s simple, remove all all the nuanced nonsense and ask yourself this, what was successful prior to the 60′s and all that encompassed that movement at the time when there was a stronger than now familial unit, growth in the AA Community where King, Malcolm and others were leaders and could move the masses and now when Little Wayne is the closet thing you have to a leader who can move the masses….
An analysis of that is all you need for answers….February 19, 2013 at 10:05 pm #8191
Oh and for the record, because I couldn’t figure out how to edit the above post…any individual that suggests that a Black man should join the military and become cannon fodder for any administrations war agenda to learn to become a man, should be rejected out of hand nevermind being quoted for any reason….February 19, 2013 at 11:26 pm #8192
I understand President Obama’s point of view, but a family being together without changes in a hostile environment won’t help anyone. There are economic and gun issues that need to be addressed, which is why people requested President Obama to speak in Chicago. A healthy family structure is essential to develop proper community, but the nuclear family is an antiquated ideal. Improving economics in downtrodding areas would help the family much better than speeches, regardless, if the parents are together. Marvellous oration about missing fathers will receive applauds, but it won’t change the blight of urban areas riddled with gun violence and poverty.February 20, 2013 at 1:46 am #8195
I got Melissa’s point – it certainly IS problematic to put only one particular combination of a family unit up on a pedestal. The implication that having only one female parent is not good enough to keep kids away from violence is something that I will forever battle as single mom of two sons. I certainly can name at least five people very close to me who would probably be much happier if one of their parents had just stopped coming around to be a destructive force. It’s quality, not quantity.
BUT – her framing also struck me the wrong way. There was a part of me reacting to her tweet as Baratunde said – she went right for a more inflammatory angle (pseudo accusing the President of putting DOWN single moms as insufficient vs attempting to push on wayward dads). And I do admit (sadly) to cringing whenever she starts talking about “daddy issues”. It’s possibly an irrational reaction on MY part, but I find that label to also be a way of kindling a fire.
I just don’t know if it is fair to expect Obama to be so finely tuned to all these nuances. I honestly had never taken statements like that so strongly before. Sure, now that folks like MHP have discussed it I am more acutely aware, but what if O just has never been informed how those lines can be interpreted in that manner?
Also – I pretty much cosign everything Wayne wroteFebruary 20, 2013 at 6:19 am #8196
I completely agree Wayne, but I don’t think Obama has ever said that family is the only thing that matters. This was one remark (and others he’s made before) within a context of four years of attempted legislation to help struggling folks in the country.
Also, I’ve worked with youth for a while. If I can’t speak to a group of young men about the importance of men and family, then I guess I’m more disconnected from Melissa’s point than I thought. I understand that I’m not the president and don’t have to appeal to everyone with my statements, but is he supposed to include the nuance of ” … not just men, also homosexual couples (that he already made supportive statements on), also trans partners, also … etc” every time he makes a statement?February 20, 2013 at 12:56 pm #8203
my post was eatenFebruary 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm #8219
Twib sent me an email with your reply Coqui so I added it for you below:
Coqui Negra wrote:
I really don’t get the controversy. How is mentioning that fathers are important a bad thing? POTUS immediately mentioned all other family structures and supported them, singling out the heroic job he thinks single mothers do. The truth be told, it takes a village…and the real problem I see in the new millenium is the lack of intact communities more than the lack of nuclear families. Even though, I think there is nothing wrong with nuclear families. Somehow in all the discussion about what can be done or has been done on the strength of a single parent household or grandparents raising us, we’ve somehow given short shrift to healthy nuclear families. they aren’t a bad thing. So far they are still the best way to pass on wealth to future generations in this society. I don’t know but I would liek raising a child…how about you?February 21, 2013 at 11:37 pm #8364
Wayne: I understand your point but I think you can only start with what you can control. You can’t control the vast amount of space that interact with on a daily basis, the most control you will have is in your principal residence and, to some degree, the people who live in said residence.
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