Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Unhealthy Relationships: Black Women & their Sons

Last evening I was in a conversation and someone I really care about made a profound point to me. She made a brief observation regarding the treatment Black women give to their son(s) when the father of her son(s) is no longer in their lives and how the circumstance affects the treatment the mother gives to her daughters, if she has any. The father of the son(s) is usually alive but has no interest in being with the mother and shows very little interest, if any in being actively involved with the child(ren). The father comes around when he needs something and knows he can easily manipulate the mother into giving him what he desires and once he receives what he wants, he's out of the door again. He's playing with the mother's feelings with respect to her wanting to have some kind of meaningful relationship with him. Once the father takes off the focus moves to the son(s). The mother does not want another man to leave her so the son is accepted to take the father's place and no matter what the son does, he will never be the outcast. He can smoke weed and do other drugs, not look for work, do a poor job in school(if he attends), be arrested numerous times, bring home tons of babies, and the mother will accept him more often than not. The "boys will be boys" attitude will take hold and all sorts of apologetics and acrobatics will be used to excuse his behavior/actions.

The daughter(s) are treated by the mother as though they are in competition with her. The mother will find the daughter(s) just to start shit with them about petty nonsense. The mother will not come to the aid of the daughter(s) no matter the circumstance and if the daughter(s) are trying to make something of themselves, the mother takes those acts as personal slights against her and will resort to inactivity, among other things, to make her daughter(s) quest to be as miserable as possible. If the daughter(s) end up pregnant and she's not financially ready(other relevant factors too) to carry the pregnancy to term and the mother finds out, she will not let her forget it. If the daughter(s) have an abortion, it must be done in secret while the son(s) can openly not provide for the child(ren) he helps make. The mother will do everything she can to help him take care of his responsibilities but the daughter(s), no matter what she decides to do with the pregnancy is on her own.

I see this kind of shit in my own family. My father, uncles, cousins are nothing but seed planters. Their interest is only to make babies and not be fathers. They have taken on the roles of their manipulative fathers and extort money, food, cars, etc from their own mother's and the mothers of their children. The daughters in my family and my own younger sisters are continuously bashed and berated by their own mother's, especially if the daughter has one indiscretion. It does not matter if the daughter graduated from college, obtained a solid career, or has her own shit, the mother will always be right there to remind her of the time she fucked up. The son is talked about as if he is the only child that matters despite his actions. My own father, convicted felon & murderer(he denies this but I examined the evidence and he's guilty but has the majority of the family convinced he was railroaded. He simply was not.) and the presentation of his actions to me by all of the women in the family, especially his mother. Around age 15 they decided to tell me the "truth". He was presented as this tragic figure who loved his family and would do anything for us. This man, who was on the FBI's most wanted list in the late 1980's broke free from custody(details are very sketchy as to how he got away) went on the run with my mother, myself(age 4) and my 2 sisters(ages 3 and 1). His mother put her career and her life in jeopardy to hide us. She was charged with obstruction of justice. She liquidated her assets out of guilt and shame for her son and she even devised a plan to get all of us out of the country. His actions were paraded around as loving. How the hell is that love? He put all of us in danger but that was overlooked because he "loved" all of us and would do anything for us. The one thing he did not do(and he had enablers) was not be a man and take care of his responsibilities. My father's grandmother blames his mother for his predicament and his mother accepted the blame such that my father can easily gouge her for money.

Black folk don't want to talk about the mistreatment of daughters at the hand of their own mother. Black folk don't want to tell the truth and say a lot of Black men are sorry as hell and do not take responsibility for their actions and there are tons of enablers. Black folk don't want to talk about the mother's who are so afraid of being lonely and they have children that they bring any kind of man they can find around their kids. The man is usually some sorry ass excuse of a human being and is only using the woman as a temporary fix to his current problem. The man mistreats the kids(in some cases killing the kids), smokes around them, improperly nourishes them(if at all), sexually abuses the kids and sometimes the mother knows of the abuse and chooses not to do anything about it because the man will be punished and she will be lonely all over again. We're too busy thinking God is going to handle it and everything will be all right. We're too busy thinking that simply because someone is a parent that they automatically and necessarily deserve respect and is above reproach. We're too busy thinking that we must forgive and allow those people who do considerable harm to remain in our lives because those are the only family we will ever have. Actions matter and a simple biological connection does not mean there should be some kind of blind allegiance.

Some Black women do not recognize the enormous power they have when it comes to picking the father of their child(ren), if they want kids. If you know the dude has no job, no means of support, has kids already but has to have the courts garnish his wages, why the fuck would you want to pro-create with him? He held you around your waist and told you that he wanted you to have his baby? Notice he didn't say I want to be a father and start a family with you. He intends to use you as an incubator and I don't give a damn how much he claims to love you as his Black queen.

If the behavior/actions described above happens in other communities, then it happens. In no way do I want to suggest this kind of thing is exclusive. Nor is this any kind of indictment against those Black folk who take care of what they do, when they do it, at the time they do it. A lot of Black folks behavior needs to change for the better. Repeating the same destructive cycles and accepting the same kind of reckless actions helps no one. Trying to blame everybody else except the person(s) we see looking back at us when we are in front of the mirror does not help us either. Making excuses, having fucked up priorities, and being hostile to personal responsibility is not a good way to handle problems. Simply knowing better does not get the job done well. Plenty of Black folk know better but they have no desire to do better. Being quiet about what I described is no longer acceptable.





2 comments:

  1. As a black woman in my early 20's I can totally relate to this. Growing up I was placed with 2x the responsibility than the men in my family. I was also the youngest and I never understood and to this day still don't understand why. I would have to cut the grass while my cousins who were older than me would sit inside and play video games all day. I would have to clean while they did nothing. It was truly baffling. If I have kids my children will have equal responsibility.

    Thanks for this post.

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    1. I'm glad you were able to relate to it and I appreciate the comment. I have heard a lot of stories of similar make-up which suggest at least some Black mothers have an unyielding allegiance to their son(s) no matter what he does. My grandmother struggles with that with respect to her own son.

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