My father propelled me toward clouds. My stomach dropped. A slight breeze caught my sun-kissed cheeks. My mom wailed. My protruding eyes found their way back into the holes in my face. Ponytails whipped behind me like a tousled midnight cape – and he caught me.That kindergarten moment taught me the safety of a fatherly embrace. As a child, I never realized the rarity of the fuzzy brown biceps on which I regularly nestled.
According to www.singleblackparents.com, 63 percent of African-American households are parented solo.
British news provider Metro reports that about half of Black Brits are raised by one parent.
The majority of single Black households are headed by women.
By grace I do not represent this majority. While I respect anyone who accomplishes as substantial a feat as is effective childrearing, I have a different respect for those who go it alone.
With that said, what kept us sexual, but stagnant? Don’t our families deserve traditional wholeness? Or at least the opportunity to try?
I’ve heard older people claim that Black family dysfunction was birthed with the onslaught of desegregation. I am unsure if we can associate one event with this current, unfortunate racial disparity.
To avoid succumbing to na’veté, we must understand the systematic dismantlement of our familial structures – initially the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and now the imprisonment of Black male youth.
Rather than hanging our heads dejectedly, it is vital that we outwit the numbers. Realistic talk about relationships, expectations, birth control methods and plans for the future can aid us in ditching typical traps.
As can a little avoidance of wrong place, wrong time set-ups, but that’s for another day.
Though I’m not here to preach, I celebrate my history and the history of other Black families (got Obamas?) who found a way to make it work.
My parents met in Grambling, had me, jumped the broom, and are in the process of raising my three younger siblings, while lending me a helping hand. Their relationship isn’t free of tarnish. It’s not always evenly divided financially or emotionally, but it’s viable. They make their union work for their God, each other and their offspring.
Something about spending my formative years in the presence of the positive black men in my family spoon fed me confidence. I don’t seek male validation because I have a biological bevy of support.
Every day I’m grateful for this.
I’m grateful for the passionate debates that colored my mother’s face red and sent my father to his office in solitude. I’m most grateful for the decrescendo effect of their apologies before they settled into the living room writing papers, e-mailing and haphazardly watching Ti-Vo together.
During a time when Black love isn’t exactly numerically thriving, I appreciate my parents’ quirky love. I appreciate my father being my Dad – more than a sperm donor or occasional stipend. I thank God every day for the way he threw me into the heavens and never let me fall.