"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one." - Charles Mackay
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
On black fathers....From EUR....
We've all witnessed a young Black boy gone bad, shaking our heads, wondering where the child's father could be and whether the father's absence could be the cause of the child's difficulties. However, we should give that same focus to the difficulties experienced by young Black girls as well.
Our community father is missing in action.

For many young Black boys in previous generations who were growing up without fathers, there were Black fathers in the neighborhoods who were unafraid to tell them what they needed to be doing and standing up to them when they were acting like damned fools. They, along with teachers and coaches, could discipline children without fear of reprisal from a permissive society gone mad.

Our metaphysical father was not only in the community and in the schools, but metaphysically present in fatherless homes.

There were metaphysical fathers in the politicians, activists, religious icons and average working men who stood as shining examples for all to see and embrace.

If we say that our fathers are not in the homes, then where is our metaphysical father today?

Bill Cosby is not our metaphysical father. He is America's favorite father and sent the "lower economic people" the message that he didn't like them very much. Like a deadbeat absentee father, he was not present when the child was growing and struggling, yet he stepped in after the fact to criticize the grown son, while still failing to offer any real assistance to balance the criticizing.

Jesse Jackson is not our metaphysical father. A bastard of the Civil Rights Movement, Jackson has no idea what he is supposed to be, and the end result is foolishness and obsolescence.

Neither athletes nor entertainers are metaphysical fathers. Magic Johnson has recently been putting in good effort, but he is no Mohammed Ali and Russell Simmons looks silly acting like a community activist after harming and/or ignoring the community for decades.

For some silly Negroes, the white man is the metaphysical father. The mannerisms, speech and elitist thought patterns of racist whites govern these Negroes who may as well call George Bush, Jerry Falwell or the Pope "Daddy." Adopting the thinking of the most racist white man who pretends not to be racist, these deluded Negroes believe they are progressive simply because they are divergent from the masses of Blacks who either recall or still feel a heavy racist boot on their asses. Black sons and daughters of the white metaphysical father see no racism and believe that those who call racism out are "whining" and employing excuses for weakness, even though the children of the white metaphysical father often move ahead on the backs of generations of “whiners."

Because the Black metaphysical father is missing, many of us overcompensate, undercompensate, decompensate or simply fail to grow.

We can see the results of the missing metaphysical father when we see today's younger generation enamored with a over-glamorized pimp/thug lifestyle they have never lead. We see the results when we see women who have had only poor relationships with men, sit in circles with each other to define what a "good" man should be. And we see those results when we see grown men avoid being too manly, afraid to toe the line because too many people will chastise a man for being a man.

The absentee metaphysical father is so elusive that many of us--men and women--have no idea what a man is supposed to be. So we act foolish and accept foolishness, often aligning ourselves with men who are nearly women--not homosexuals, but virtual asexuals--effeminate and retiring, looking for direction and needing to be controlled. These are the men who date strong women and allow themselves to be dominated and controlled, leading to bizarre relationships that can neither be neither duplicated nor sustained.

White society is also suffering from an abundance of fatherless homes. The difference is that they can still look around and see their metaphysical father in the White House, in the boardroom and appearing to be orchestrating all things important in society.

The Black metaphysical father is hard to find, and many are simply absent.

These things having been said, there are still Black fathers in our midst. In addition, there are fathering men among us who are clear about what is best for the women and children in our lives, even if they are not our wives and offspring.

My brothers and my closest friends are metaphysical fathers, going out of their way to be good examples of the best of our previous generation no matter what the cost.

Denzel Washington, Chuck D and now, Will Smith are metaphysical fathers in entertainment, standing strong and true to beautiful images of Black male strength, no matter what the cost.

Cornell West, Naim Akbar and Michael Eric Dyson are metaphysical fathers of intellect, standing strong and true to the beauty of the Black psyche, no matter what the cost.

Kwame Kilpatrick and Barack Obama are metaphysical fathers in politics.

The millions of Black men who raise children who are not biologically theirs are metaphysical fathers, extending the African village by miles.
Brothers, if we expect our manchildren to grow into productive, strong men, we have to show them what that looks like and how to grow into an example we can live out for them. If we expect our female children of the community to grow unbound beyond the lack of influence from the metaphysical father, we have to provide that same example as fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins and community members.

It may not always feel good to be the example, but we have to exist. And it may not always feel good when metaphysical fathering is shown to us, but we have to accept it. Part of each man's contribution to the metaphysical father is to praise manly behavior and deride bad behavior--even when it appears in our own lives.

Darryl James is an award-winning author and is now a relationship coach, providing pragmatic advice for loving and living in today's world. James’ latest book, “Bridging The Black Gender Gap,” is the basis of his lectures and seminars. Previous installments of this column can now be viewed at www.bridgecolumn.com. James can be reached at djames@theblackgendergap.com.
 
posted by R J Noriega at 8:05 PM | Permalink |


3 Comments:


  • At 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Your point of view is too narrow and unfocused. What about all the girls growing up without fathers???? The high incidence of teen pregnancy in the black community points out how much girls need a male presence in their lives as well. If for no other reason to make better choices with regard to their own body and the mates they choose. If this doesn't happen, there will be hoards of boys and girls growing up in single parent homes without a male figure in their lives. Metaphysical fathers, what hogwash! And if there were such a thing, Michael Eric Dyson wouldn't be one of them. Bill Cosby is right! All this nonsense about attacking the most vulnerable. I challenge you to walk in my neighborhood and listen to what comes out of the mouths of these so-called victims. Not to mention their actions, which speak louder than words. People like you are part of the problem. You stroke the egos of people instead of encouraging them to pick a book, read and learn. I've heard worse insults hurled at African Americans from whites and somehow this doesn't offend them. What about the one: "if you want to hide something from black people, put it in a book." To me those are fighting words. But I don't see much fight in black people except when it comes to fighting other black people over trivialities. Cosby is not playing the dozens in his crusade. He, like me, is tired of seeing a generation of wasted lives. I remember a time when the question: "Where're you at?" was meant to mean where are you coming from, your point of view, etc. Not a grammatically incorrect sentence to determine geographical location. As Imamu Baraka once put it in a wonderful poem: "Things have come to that." It's an unspeakable tragedy how many don't even know who Baraka is. Self-education is the lesson Malcolm X taught us so well. It's totally doable. What about this is so hard for black people to grasp. Such a simple concept, if actively applied, would change our condition in a generation. Bill Cosby earned the right to say whatever he pleases. He donated MILLIONS to black colleges. What are your metaphysical fathers donating other than lip service? An individual cannot advance in life without being self-critical. A person must confront their shortcomings in order to overcome them. Self-esteem is a matter of doing. People who do things, contribute to their communities on whatever scale, feel good about themselves. If this generation is insulted by Cosby's comments and don't feel good about themselves, well it's really very hard to have self-esteem when you ain't into nothing but your designer sneakers, your acrylic nails and you spend day in and day out going from one fast food meal to the next and gossiping. Cosby hurt your feelings? Get over it! There are people way more powerful than him that do this every day of our lives. If you wan't to make a valuable contribution, then focus the argument and be part of the solution. Otherwise, get out of the way.

     
  • At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    And one more thing... How many of the so-called group of egos bruised by Cosby's remarks will read your blog and take time to comment?

    I rest my case!

     
  • At 6:53 AM, Blogger Brother Grimm

    I doubt you will read this argument again but him criticising the youth is not making his message any more realistic than if he was to tell them go "kill whitey" like the panthers. Self education is the key and i agree the peer group causes many problems but we are still under attack in insidious ways by the white community and we are too weak to protect ourselves. when Bill cosby continues the tradition of telling these kids they are dumb stupid and damn near animals this just reinforces those beliefs about self. No none of this verbatim helps anyone and the problem is too vast to simply give a quick fix too.

     

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