When Obama announced the, My Brother’s Keeper Initiative I was so excited that finally someone is paying attention to the issues of Black boys, beyond shaking their heads at them for how their pants fit. (As if pulling their pants up will magically solve all their issues). But now it’s depressing and I had to return to blogging.
It appears that Luke Harris and 200 Black men are, in essence, confirming the stereotype and doing what Black men have always done, leave Black boys behind. These cats can’t stop trying to impress the ladies long enough to address the needs of Black boys.
This is from The Nation:
A few things from the article:
“What this amounts to, according to (Luke) Harris, is “the subsequent marginalization of the role of African-American women as actors in the racial justice movement…”
This is so untrue that I have to believe that Harris is being willfully dishonest. If you look at the Social Justice/activist community (NGO’s, CBO’s, nonprofits, etc.) you’ll see many more AF-Am women than Black men. So who exactly is keeping AF-Am women from their role as actors in the racial justice movement, someone standing in the door at the Innocence Project? What happen to “strong and independent”? Maybe they should check with Michelle Alexander and find out how she did it. Oh, just go do real work!
We’re told on CNN, Nightline, etc. how successful AF-Am women are and how they can’t find a man, etc. So if they feel marginalized can’t these “successful” women stop popping their collars long enough to start organizations?
“As Black men we believe if the nation chooses to “save” only Black males from a house on fire”
Again, willfully dishonest! There must be some parallel universe where America is “saving Black males only”! This statement is so asinine that anyone who spouts it is certifiable!
“The similarities between the My Brother’s Keeper initiative and the Million Man March in 1995”
Strategic hyperbole meant to push buttons. The Million Man March was not a federal program, my goodness! So you dismiss the existence of The White House counsel on girls but invoke the Million Man March from damn near 20yrs ago! The intellectual dishonesty is stunning!
“With better husbands and sons everything will just ‘click”
Well? Go into a Black church on Father’s Day or any meeting where Af-Am people gather and say “Black men need to take care of their kids” and the ovation would lead one to believe that it is the only solution.
A few tangential items:
On one of the Black List segments, maybe it was the one with Toni Morrison, not sure. But in it they showed how Af-Am women were directed to college and Af-Am men were directed towards manual labor. Af-Am men went along. Meanwhile, other boys were mentored by men/fathers on issue related to education, finance, business, etc., Af-Am boys were falling further behind because their fathers didn’t have the tools.
We had “take your daughters to work” and Af-Am men (no men) said anything and in fact were supportive.
We had a movie about the Tuskegee Airmen and even though it was a story about the men who put their lives on the line, the “controversy” was about the lack of any focus on Af-Am women.
We see “Black girls rock”, or “Black girls code” and all kind of programs and funding for young Black girls, it’s a wonderful thing. So I don’t understand this zero sum game that Harris and some Black women are playing?
So after witnessing for some time this, “even when it’s about you it’s about me” sentiment, the articles written, etc., the bottom line as far as I can see is this: Many Af-American women do not believe in the sovereignty of Af-American men. The essence is captured in the arrogant narcissistic delusional sentiment of “our men”. They believe that everything about Af-Am men should go through them, call it “Big Mama complex”. They seem to believe that the only reason Af-Am men exist on this planet is to affirm Af-Am women and if not the attitude is, you can go straight to hell.
Meanwhile they leverage, going back and forth between race and gender when it suits them. At a women’s event I see air kisses when they greet White women but soon as that woman is seen with a Black man suddenly she’s the “White bitch”. They lack integrity and or simply opportunistic. Case in point: during the 2008 primaries they played the gender card and were for Hillary at around 68% but when they saw Obama surged they shifted to race. The hypocrisy and lack of character is stunning!
Af-Am men you are a workhorse mule to be co-opted for their purposes or until they have no use for you. But that’s expected when someone believes they own you. Af-Am men may not voice this or realize it consciously, I think they feel it on a visceral level and it’s why the marriage rates are so low.
And as for the men of Luke Harris’ ilk, well you can always find men desperately seeking the approval of women who will think nothing of throwing other men/boys under the bus. Many of them didn’t have fathers, maybe weren’t very athletic and felt marginalized? And given the importance athletic ability (over smarts) in the Black Community it’s understandable. But arm-chair psyche aside, for whatever reason, they jump at the opportunity to channel their inner Kanye West to chase you off the stage to prove to the women how unlike other men they are. It’s the nice guy misogyny syndrome. I’d have thought that by junior year of college men would have caught on to this but apparently they never will. But the irony is, given his political persuasion, my guess is that he’s a progressive, there is a sort of “trickle-down” theory in what he’s advocating. Can’t go directly to the boys, go through mom, amusing!
Message to Harris, the AfAm Policy forum, and 200 men:
Lead, follow or get the hell out-of-the-way!
PS: If they derail this then I’m picking up Albert O. Hirschman‘s, “Exit voice and loyalty” as my guide and I’m done!