The Cry of a Black Nation
As a race, blacks have come to a crossroads — a place in time in which a decision must be made. In a nation, such as America, where millions of immigrants fight to find refuge so that they may pursue dreams associated with this nation’s heritage, we as a people still struggle to find our footing in the country that the blood and sweat of our ancestors built. What can be even more frustrating is the fact that our people seem to be caught up in the vortex of desolation and despair.
We are facing some prodigious challenges as a collective people. Young black males are dropping out of high school at rates as high as 75 out of every 100 in some metropolitan areas. Young black girls are three times more likely to become pregnant before they graduate high school than their white counterparts. To exacerbate matters, in caparison to 1969 when more than 75 percent of all black couples were married and remained together, blacks have the highest divorce rate out of all major ethnic groups in America — with a current divorce rate of 48 percent.
It is clear that the black family nucleus has been systematically decimated by a system that is has been perpetuated against it for centuries. From the days of slavery when the black man was forced to breed and then sold away from his wife and progeny to the ruling by the federal government in the 1960s that stated that no federal subsidies would be provided to households in which an able-bodied male resided. This was during a time when many black men found it extremely difficult to find steady employment or to find employment that would provide a sufficient income to support their families.
I consistently work with inner-city children who are part of communities in which there is a 95 percent or higher female head of household ratio. This means that the children in these communities are being robbed of the vital nurturing and support that is inherent with a two parent household.
The IFS Syndrome
When I wrote The Invisible Father: Reversing the Curse of a Fatherless Generation more than eight years ago, I engaged a systematic epidemic that I called IFS — The Invisible Father Syndrome. IFS encompasses the collective results that are consequential to the black father being absent in the home. In a home in which the father is not present, the male child is more likely to assimilate effeminate characteristics from the present mother, and female children will develop a negative image of the black male which will fuel her contempt for him. The female progeny will also lack a sense of identity and self-worth as these qualities are inextricably intertwined to the direct relationship between father and daughter.
As these developmental issues go unaddressed, the female becomes more promiscuous as she begins to search for the love and confirmation that she never received from her father. The young male finds himself on a lonely island of dysfunctional paradigms through which he attempts to make sense of what he perceives to be his own manhood. Because he has not had any concrete examples by which to set a standard, he looks outside the home for validation and acceptance. Meanwhile, he lives in an oblivious state, in which he is totally unaware of the system that has been designed to capitalize on his developmental deficiencies. He has heard about or maybe even read the statistics that point to the fact that he is more likely to go to prison than to college; however, he does not have the coherent capacity associated with a mature and developed psyche to fully elucidate the meaning of those numbers. There is a good possibility that he has bought into the lie that the struggle is simply his lot in life.
This is the movie that continues to play over and over in the lives of far too many black children in this nation. We, as a people, must come together in solidarity to confront these issues. I was speaking with one of the female members of The Odyssey Project and she said something to me that was succinct, yet extremely profound. With great sincerity, she said, “the time is up for pointing the finger of blame. Men need to man up and women need to fall in behind our men.” Her assessment was not only right, it stands as the primary imperative to what has to happen for us to elevate ourselves in an aggregate manner.
As the blood of our young men continues to flow into the streets of inner-city neighborhoods, I can hear the cry of our people — a black nation — as we yearn for justice. I can hear the cry of our women as they plead for true male leadership. I can hear the cry of our young daughters as their hearts beg for the purity of their father’s love and assurance of who they are. I can hear the cries of our young men as they resist the seemingly implacable force of conformity to a white racist system. I see their sagging pants as a last ditch effort to resist total consumption by a foreign non-culture.
The time has come to rise up to face our destiny. We have built wealth for all others except ourselves. We have labored while the white man has amassed wealth and power through the sweat of our brow. It is now our turn to build wealth and power. It is now our turn to stand strong and bold. It is now our turn to raise our heads in ultimate confidence of who we are and where we come from. We come from the stock of kings and queens. There is royalty coursing through our veins. Even the dances that we have been taught and conditioned to believe are ratchet —whatever that means — are actually ancient cultural dances that are still celebrated by our brothers and sisters in Africa.
It is time to rise. It is time to shake off the dust of ignorance and the residue of subservience to put on the cloak of aristocracy and royalty. It is time to lay down the veil of self-hated so that we may slip on the armor of Kings. It is time to stare down our destiny with an inexorable passion to overcome. To all my beautiful sisters and powerful brothers, I simply say, “THE TIME IS NOW!” ~ Dr. Rick Wallace, Ph.D.