Having been born and raised in another country (Botswana), I often have a different perspective of my life as a Black woman living in America. I grew up in a society that is almost the polar opposite of American society. I grew up in a country where the most loved, respected and respectable person in society was the Black man. This gives me a very unique perspective in that I am able to see how a community of Black people can function when the women and children and even the men are not bombarded with images, news and “statistics” that all emphatically state that the Black man is the greatest threat to their lives. Let me be clear, I am not saying that Botswana is somehow “better” than America or that I , a Motswana (a person from Botswana), am somehow “better”, than an American Black man or woman. I am just offering a different perspective.
Having lived in America for about a decade and a half, I have grown to understand how important it is to always think for myself and to seek understanding in matters that are heavily overlaid with confusion, manipulation and ulterior motives. There is only one outcome in a community that does not hold their men in high regard: it will fall apart and it will devastate every member of its community.
I just listened to a speech by Louis Farrakhan in which he talked about The Willie Lynch letter/theory-The Making Of a Slave. In my first exposure to Farrakhan, years ago, I dismissed him as being a “radical” and an “instigator”. Sadly, I am now becoming increasingly aware that my judgment was made hastily and made because of a lack of knowledge and understanding of the complexity of being Black in America.
I still don’t entirely agree with everything Farrakhan says, but sadly, I don’t believe that he is wrong when he says that we can still see the devastation of Willie Lynch’s work in our communities today. All you have to do is interview Black women and find out what they think of Black men and then ask Black men what they think about Black women. They will all say a variety of things, but what I have observed is a thread of mistrust, contempt, judgments, frustration, suspicion, paranoia and so on. Of course, not ALL black women or ALL Black men feel the same way about each other and some may speak in direct contradiction to what I am saying. That being said, even if they said that everybody loved everybody else and everything was perfect, we can still look at the state of Black communities across the country. There are more little Black boys and girls growing up in homes without both parents than there are those who have the safety and security of both of their parents. Even among those who have both of their parents, there are many who are still exposed to unhealthy and dysfunctional ways of living. The devastation can be seen in so many ways; just take a trip to your local jail house and tell me what you see. Take a trip to an “urban” public school and tell me what you see. I could go on, but I think you see where this is going.
The only way that this unfortunate set of circumstances, to put it mildly, will begin to change is when we, Black women and black men begin to show up as Heroes. Our heroes are not the next President or the next policy or even the next pastor. It is each and every one of us.
A hero is a man or woman who can see his community’s restoration even before it happens-that is called Vision. Heroes are visionaries.
A hero is a man or woman who is willing to set aside their “happiness”(an ambiguous and false state that can elude a person for the rest of their life) for the sake of their husband or wife and children and community.
A hero is a man or woman who is selfless in their conduct because he or she knows that in serving his or her spouse, children and members of the community, s/he cannot go without. That is a basic law of the universe-what you sow, you will reap.
Let’s stop pointing fingers, even when we have just cause, but instead step up and be responsible and accountable-that is heroism. Let’s start with loving our children, even before they are conceived, by behaving responsibly so that when they are conceived, they have a better chance at a normal, healthy and functional family life.
This is not about me sitting on my high horse and wagging a finger at others; it is actually quite the opposite. Every day, I have to make a conscious decision to do the right thing because it is so much easier to just do what I feel is right for ME. How easy it would be to not have to “work” at building a marriage. How easy it would be to blame anyone or anything for my lack of action or lack of accomplishment of my goals. I believe that there are systems in place that do not serve “us” and I believe in doing my part to effect change. I do not, however, believe that I can afford the luxury of just talking about all the “odds” that are stacked against me and then use that as a reason to give up. I don’t believe that I should behave irresponsibly and then wash my sins away with “the blood of Jesus”.
Please. Let’s start being the heroes. Let’s start the process of restoration. Let’s be accountable and responsible. Let’s start holding each other accountable-not just blaming and judging. Let’s start showing more compassion for each other without enabling each other. Let’s start challenging the systems that do not serve “us”. Please.
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Seven Life Changing Habits; How I Changed My Life from Mediocre to Magnificent & How You Can Too!