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  • Writer's pictureTyGrayEL

Fatherless By Design

As some of you know, my son was featured on the TV One series "Save My Son". As a man who has raised eight children, only four of which are biological (giving me some expertise) I thought it might help some black/African American fathers to take the following into consideration... Racism/White Supremacy has a clever devastating effect on fatherhood with respect to the black man in America. We are accused of shirking and skirting our responsibilities as dads as if we have some kind of genetic predisposition against fatherhood. The fact is that ‘all’ human beings have an innate desire to nurture, protect and raise what springs from their loins, that’s just human nature. However due to racism/white supremacy declaring that Black/African Americans are three=fifths human, the public, including ourselves, have bought in to this blatant, willful and malicious lie. They (they being those who prosper from it) have done this through clever manipulation of our thought processes. No consideration is given to the conditions and treatment that led up to our present state of fatherhood where a woeful 7 out of ten black households don't have a father in them. No one talks about the fact that this absence is by "DESIGN". Few consider that, for hundreds of years, as soon as a black child was born they were separated from their fathers deliberately.

We forget that black fatherhood was violently discouraged and infidelity encouraged for the purpose of birthing more enslaved Africans. Few review the social implications of being born on a breeding plantation or more importantly being a "STUD" on a breeding plantation where your sole purpose (according to the Slave Master) is to mount and sire black Wenches to create more slaves. Few remember that slave-masters would disrespect and dehumanize the father of a black boy to the boy’s face, thereby discrediting and spiritually castrating any and all authority he might have as a father. Society has conveniently forgotten that black men weren't even allowed to marry, much less preside as FATHER over a household. Few reflect on the fact that we, as do all humans, emulate behavior. Black men are castigated and vilified for being inept baby-makers but we forget that he was ‘trained’ to be that way. Few remember the ‘Man-Laws’ of the 1950's that declared a black father was not allowed in the household where a mother was on public assistance.

We need to face the fact that it was forced enslavement that put her on public assistance and forced estrangement that ran the father out of the house in the first place. Growing up in America’s first all black publicly assisted housing project (Langston Terrace) in Washington DC, I remember clearly the social worker looking up under my mother's bed and in the closet for any sign of my father's presence. If she had found any evidence of his presence the assistance check would be cut off.

We also don’t consider how manipulative the media has been in bombarding us with images of lazy and shiftless black men who are under educated and therefore under privileged. Few consider that these behaviors are inherited from more than 300 years of trained, coached, guided, pointed and directed, manipulation. Because all human beings live either up or down to the expectations of those who have power over them. James Baldwin said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." America must face the fact that its Black/African American population has been Fatherless By Design. Negative images of black people have shaped the thoughts and actions of this society. Being constantly bombarded with these images, over and over, again and again, for more than 300 years has influenced the behavior of black men in America today. These descriptions, pictures and images have led them to low self-esteem, crime, violence, substance abuse, sexual promiscuity and fatherlessness. We have to vigilantly combat the whole idea of white supremacy because it is debilitating. We must recognize that we are not inferior to anyone. The only thing superior to us is the Great God of this universe. We must learn to love ourselves and appreciate who we are.

These considerations prompted me to write… "Fatherless By Design" They were by no means accidents Every slavery/Jim Crow incident Was designed to keep black families apart Cause as long as we’re divided Someone else will always decide it And we’re left behind before we even start Let’s look at the implications And results in situations Of having no father around With no model or instruction We’re left to our own destruction With no guidance we rarely get off the ground

Being fatherless by design Black boys are left behind We’re role-model and mentor depleted With no pattern for our minds And no way to interpret signs We start the game mentally defeated With no father to teach us truth And no blueprint advising youth The result is exactly what’s expected That’s hurting people, hurting people With generation after generation

Neglected Having very few examples And seldom seeing samples It’s a miracle we still exist at all Yet, a testament to our resolve That we will this problem solve And proof we rise each time we fall Yes, we have been fatherless by design But now has come the time For black men to wake up ‘cross this nation It’s time to take the reigns Of our future once again And design ourselves a better situation So ‘Man Up’ and BE a good Father


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