“He doesn’t see an issue w/ you Working Yourself to Premature Death & Depression because HIS MOTHER DID & he idolizes her…🖤“
The silent suffering of Black women is an unengaged enigma worth examining. The above statement was posted by a user of Facebook. I am very careful when sharing posts like this because my concern is that it will further fuel the gender war in the Black community. I admit that I don’t know the original author, but I do know the person who shared it and I know where she is coming from.
I have written and lectured on this dynamic and how it impacts the Black collective. We underestimate the presence of a highly functioning male in the home. There is this idea that a sufficient salary and the ability to multitask are adequate for rearing functioning children who become functioning adults. However, the proper rearing of both boys and girls requires the masculine energy of the father acting in his natural and ordained roles and the feminine energy of the mother doing the same.
When masculine and feminine energy is merged, it will sync and create synergy giving the unit more power than the individual. Additionally, we learn more through a process presented in Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory, which states we learn best from one another through observation, imitation, and modeling. No matter how successful a woman is from a material and academic sense, she cannot model manhood. This means that there will be a learning deficit for boys during their developmental years if the father or at least a consistent male role model is not present. They will be told by their mothers what men are supposed to, but they will not see it modeled for the purpose of emulation.
The boy will also see his mother overworking herself to make up for what is missing financially, emotionally, psychologically, and socially. The stress and anxiety associated with this type of overexertion will increase her risk of diseases, including cancer, heart disease, lupus, and more. The epigenetic influences will multiply the risk of developing cancer faster than smoking or exposure to other carcinogens (Read my work, Epigenetics and Psychology [I also have it outlined in my book, Born In Captivity: Psychopathology as a Legacy of Slavery]).
Because the single mother (sometimes even married mother) will be a central focus in his life, he will hold her in high regard and even idolize her in the way that most boys idolize their fathers. Because of the unique yet dysfunctional relationship, he will, without effort, seek out a mate like his mother and expect her to the same thing.
We have literally created a pseudo-culture that celebrates the suffering of our women. We have convinced many of our women that their strength lies in their ability and willingness to suffer in silence. Black women have the highest rate of untreated depression in the U.S. While they are more likely to report their depression than Black men, they will not seek treatment. It is as if they feel that going through it on their own is to be praised and to get treatment makes them weak.
The idea of Black girl magic has done more harm than good. I don’t see our women as magical, I see them as divine. However, their divinity is diminished when it is not protected and properly covered by Black men. To assume that our women are magical often causes them to be viewed outside of the scope of their humanity. They are expected to survive and overcome everything. This has to change.
This dynamic force permeates into other areas and orifices of the existence of Black women including their relationship with the healthcare industry. For so long, Black women have suffered in silence that when they complain now, they are not taken seriously — leading to an elevated mortality rate during birth. Black Mothers giving birth die at a rate three times that of White women, which is totally unacceptable in the most industrialized and technology-driven nation on the planet.
This short treatise is not meant to marginalize the plight of Black men. On the contrary — I am attempting to convey a cyclical reality that impacts males and females and hamstrings the Black collective. We are a race of people who have mastered the art of ignoring the elephant in the room. We do it with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s), including incest, childhood molestation, rape, domestic violence, alcoholism, divorce, and more.
Ignoring the dysfunctional relationships between mother and son where the mother is either overworking herself into an early grave, and normalizing the behavior, or she has tagged the son with adult male roles and titles like King, man-of-the-house, and even boyfriend, has created an entire generation of Black males who don’t know how to be men. And,being a man begins with protecting and covering our women.
We live in a social construct in which Black men have been commodified to the point that they are primarily viewed as a paycheck, which devalues the holistic impact that we have the capacity to bring to the table. This erroneous paradigm further devalues the impact of Black men when Black women outearn Black men as a collective group.
Through Black Men Lead, we are trying to close the gap as it pertains to properly socializing your Black males — preparing them to be suitable for our Black women. There is much work to be done. Unfortunately, there are men out there who expect their women to die early to prove their value and worth. Despite what religion and other nefarious cultural teachings present to us, there is no honor is suffering. And, while pain and discomfort are inevitable, suffering is a choice. The problem is that far too many are not aware that they have a choice.
It is not reasonable to believe that we can navigate through life without pain, discomfort, frustration, delay, and other challenges when we are a targeted race of people. What should be reasonable is the development of the knowledge that we have a better chance of overcoming our obstacles as a unit. Black men, love your women back to life. Black women, be his peace because that may be the only peace he experiences in a world that literally hates him.
We are not in competition with one another to see who has suffered most, we should be working with one another to alleviate the suffering. ~ Rick Wallace, Ph.D., Psy.D.
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