“The destruction of a nation begins in the homes of its families.”
-Scholar and Pan- Africanist Dr. Umar Johnson
The black family is the Black American’s most precious defense against white supremacy. So precious in fact, that the state of the black family correlates directly to the strength and magnitude of black power. In essence, there is no black power without the black family.
Not only is the black family a priceless form of defense, but it is also the magic bullet for black restoration and advancement; the penicillin of race relations. Yes it’s that important, so meditate on it if you have to. The black family is the Black American’s most precious defense against white supremacy. Let it be a law that governs your actions and interactions. If every black person in America, young and old really thought about what that simple sentence means and lived by it, Black America would never be the same.
Here’s the logic: it’s only from individual, strong black families that we have the black community, and only from the black community does true afro-authentic black power emerge. And from black power comes black empowerment, black businesses, black schools, black media, and the next Black Wall Street. All of these are cures to the pervasive disease that is white supremacy. But the root of it all is the black family; one mother, one father raising up their children with intention, under one roof.
The power, simplicity and truth of this statement struck me as I watched Dr. Umar Johnson’s June 2017 interview with The Breakfast Club, a morning radio show focused on modern day black, culture, music and experiences. I watched, mouth agape, eyes glued to the screen of my phone as Johnson articulately asserted that the black power base was the black family during a discussion about the state of Black America. This statement is painstakingly true, and we’ve all heard the old adage, “The truth will set you free”, but the truth is only as powerful as its reach. As a member of the black community and of a black family, it is my responsibility to spread this truth to my highest capability, because soaking up this ideology 50 years ago could have saved us from the severe degradation and decay of the black family that we have today. We’re living in a brutal reality that we, in some ways but not all, (we’ll get to that later) brought upon ourselves.
Black power is about, unity, community and intentionality and, in the context of the black community, each of those things springs from beneath a single roof of a single cohesive family. It starts at the dinner table, in the family room and, in the backyard, and before a child is even born. And just like the breakdown of the black family has brought the greater community to shambles, this antidote of the highest importance can also be used to soothe generations of a backsliding community and as a tool to build it back up.
Stop Pretending Broken Families are Okay
“Blacks ultimately need to help themselves”.
-Author and journalist Jason Riley
Don Lemon’s 2013 claim that, “more than 72 percent of children in the African American community are born out of wedlock”, sparked discourse in the black community. Coming from someone whose blackness had been challenged before, critics questioned the truth of his bold statement and whether or not it was an attack on black mothers. However, politifacts’ always faithful truth-o-meter swooped in with its blue and red bipartisan wings to fact check the validity of Lemon’s statements and, to the dismay of many, prove him… right.
According to the most recent, 2010 census, 73% of black children are born to unmarried mothers, a higher rate than any other ethnic group in America. This is absolutely NOT okay. It’s not okay because the list consequences children who grow up in a home without a father are likely to face is unfortunately and depressingly endless.
Let’s begin *sigh*. Children who grow up without fathers are four times more likely to be poor, more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, twice as likely to commit suicide, achieve lower grades in school, and more likely to drop out of high school. Fatherless kids are also more likely to commit a crime and get pregnant as a teen, possibly continuing the vicious cycle of out of wedlock births. The problems above are mirror images of the headline issues of the problems plaguing the black community. We know a major risk factor for these issues is single motherhood, so why not make an effort to initiate real change and prevent this pattern from enduring? This is all unfortunate evidence that when the black family breaks down or is incomplete (missing a father), black society breaks down too.
Such a simple preventative step could do wonders for our black children and black families and potentially rid black people of these damaging epidemic like issues; it’s called birth control. Or abstinence. Or heck, probably the most ideal option, just getting married. The bottom line is that it’s way too easy to end the problem of out of wedlock births in the black community. Doing so would help to eradicate a slew of problems ravaging black America like drug addiction, poverty and homelessness, along with setting the stage for a rooted black family to emerge.