Saturday, April 13, 2024

Black Fathers Cry in the Dark.

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( Every black person we see killed, be it in the streets or in their homes, is someone’s child. As we are coming off Father’s Day there is a narrative that is often lost in the discussion of loss among our people. It is understood that the love of a mother is unmatched. We bear our babies in our body; ours is the first heartbeat they will ever hear. For many sistahs the process of labor & delivery is grueling and can every easily turn into a battle simply to stay alive. Given the process our babies are precious to us. The wailing of a mother losing her child regardless of their age is a gut-wrenching sound one would never forget. A person calling for their mother is a pleading we all now know can never be forgotten.  Regardless of what kind of mother she was we will stand and weep with a sistah. Her character as a woman will not be put on trial as she mourns her child…we simply will not stand for it. The bottom line is we will not hear of anyone trying to alter the narrative, her child should not be dead. The thing is there is a missing part of this picture…there is another grieving, crying, angry, and broken…it is the father.

Men do not carry babies, but they are just as much parent as a mother. They can nurture their children; they love their kids…and their children are dying. Our people being killed due to police brutality and racism affects all black parents. Just because the black father’s story is not being told doesn’t mean it does not exist. As he may be concerned about being stopped by the police and being executed…he fears the same for his children. When we see our people protesting let’s not allow the media to spin a one-sided narrative…black men, fathers, are marching alongside black mothers. We are not alone in this though the story is often told that we are alone, and some of us are now the perpetuators of that narrative. Far too often personal situations become a narrative for black fathers in general in a way that we won’t tolerate with mothers. We must balance that narrative for the betterment of our people and children.

Yes, black men should make no excuses for not being active fathers is in the lives of their children. It is also important to recognize that statistically (if you like numbers) black men are more present and active hands on in lives of their children than many other groups. That is important because it defies the narrative that they are simply absent.  With that being said, fathers should not have roadblocks that are mothers. Both situations are conversations for a different day because none of that really matters when they have lost a child. It is especially important that we as mothers do not gate keep loss and grief. Its not so much a conscious minded position. However, if we allow the role of fathers to be diminished, attacked, and we take part in such we will end up gatekeeping the loss of children. Men are usually excluded from these conversations at large. The bottom line is their seat at the table of this discussion must come through the bearer of life. We might not find this to be fair, but the attacks on black fatherhood have our men weeping in the dark. Every name we call came from a mother and father. We must deal with the murder of our people, our children, as one. Black women and men need each other in this space now more than ever. Fathers must come out of the dark…their cries as a parent need to heard, and their parental suffering will need healing just as much as our own.

My father deeply feared getting a phone call that something had happened to one of his children. You see he would have gladly killed for us without any thought of consequence. One day he got that dreaded call. Thank God the call was not fatal, but his son has been assaulted by racists…he had been beaten. My father cried, he was afraid, his health did not allow him to jump on a plane. He didn’t want to eat, and he could not sleep. He was in unspeakable anguish from the depths of his soul…and as hurt and enraged as my mother was she was praying the sheer rage seething in my father’s chest would not cause him to have a heart attack or stroke. Some of us have listened to the wailing of black men in ways that have torn our soul into pieces. Some of us have sat with them as they broke down over the loss of their children…children they lost in numerous ways. Once they left that small space, they had to bottle it up, because outside of a few souls all consideration for grief reserved for the mother.

There was an unspoken demand that they be strong for her, and don’t make this about them. She lost her baby…so did he. Far too often our men were left broken in that darkness. With the battles we are fighting right now we can’t stand together if everyone is not on their feet. It’s going to take all of us uniting to simple stay on our feet, and get through whatever lies ahead of us as we continue to battle for our humanity in this country.

Staff Writer; Christian Starr

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