Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Black women carry the pain of black men in ways that deserves attention

Photograph courtesy of the blog

I listened as a 61 year-old grandmother wept after witnessing the arrest of her grandson.  It was the second time authorities entered her house to take him away.

“I wish they didn’t have to handcuff him with me there,” she said as the thoughts forced her to consider so much more.
She talked about her son who is serving a sentence for possession of marijuana.  He violated the terms of his probation after starting a new business.  He was headed in the right direction when old mistakes took him away.

“He has three strikes,” she told me.  “Each was a minor charge, but when they added them all up he’s forced to serve time.”
She asked me not to share her name. Maybe it’s the frustration that comes after witnessing both her son and grandson go back to prison.  Maybe it’s hard to bare the guilt lodged so deep that it’s hard to say the rest.

“They both have so much to offer,” you could hear the shouts coming from that place beyond the surface.  “I don’t understand.”
No one does.

What is happening to black men?  Why are so many trapped in the criminal justice system?
The cries of black men are being heard as America processes the days following the George Zimmerman verdict.  Divergent views regarding the relevancy of race has opened wounds once marked with band aids used to soothe America’s need for unity.

Some criticized President Barack Obama for sharing how it feels to walk in a black man’s body.  Some condemned him for waiting too long to speak.  Others are hostile that he simply spoke.
Shouldn’t black men keep those feelings to themselves?

Something is wrong.  It’s the truth that few will refute.  At issue is who to blame for the vast list of maladies that make black men America’s biggest problem.
That’s how it feels to be a black man - like we keep getting in the way.  Maybe that’s why so much energy has gone into putting so many black men in prison.

Has anyone heard the tears of the countless black women in search of answers?  What went wrong with my son?  What did I do wrong?  What can I do to change things?
Sadly, no one has the answers.  All we have are questions with massive commentary and blame.

I listened to a mother and grandmother cry over her children.  She talked about her son’s father and the father of her daughter’s son.  Both men have spent time in prison. It’s a story too many have shared.
Glenda Jones has witnessed the death of cousins due to gun violence.   One of her teenage cousins was shot in the head.  Many friends have been killed. 

“It all makes we think about taking up arms to fight with them,” Jones, the owner of Sincerely Yours Salon, said after being asked to express her emotions related to watching so many black men go to prison.
Jones talked about the war against black men.  After crying and praying, Jones says it’s time to fight back.

Is Jones alone?  Are black women fed up with the attacks against the men they love so much?
Is it a war, or has the black community imploded? 

The death of Trayvon and the Zimmerman verdict unearths things too agonizing to be limited to words on a page.  These are matters assembled from generations of disillusionment.  It all comes after watching so many go off to prison and more killed due to hustling in the streets.  It comes from witnessing the power of hypocrisy and claiming ownership of things much deeper than a few mistakes.
It comes after becoming fed up with asking why.

What is wrong with the black man?
“You feel heartbroken because of the murder of children we bore from our womb and being stripped of the protection of the men we look for in our black men who are not there,” said Deborah Dalton, executive assistant to Dr. Robert C. Scott, Senior Pastor at the Central Baptist Church in St. Louis, MO.

Dalton talked about the lonely feeling that comes after enduring so many deaths and incarcerations.  How do you stop the pain of women standing in wait of son’s becoming the men they can adore? What happens when the smiles of black women fades each time they watch another relative go to prison?
America needs to pause to listen to black men as they tell their stories.  As we affirm the witness of their pain, don’t forget the grandmothers, mothers, aunts, daughters, nieces and cousins who carry more than they are able to share.

They often cry alone at night.
Black women are carrying loads of pain.

Listen. Just listen

1 comment:

  1. "Are black women fed up with the attacks against the men they love so much?"

    No, Black women are fed up with the attacks coming FROM the men they love so much, as well as the general insults and attacks Black women get daily from other groups in the U.S.