This is a follow-up of sorts to the hackneyed response of quite a few entrenched obfuscators of the efforts initiated with No Wedding No Womb. There was a lot of attention generated. Now it has to be utilized as best it can. That depends on the focus of individuals. I expect to see a coordinated response by December from those who most vigorously disagreed with the means by which some of us sought to address the fatherlessness that has nearly saturated the black community with solutions of their own. This campaign was organized in about two months because the groundwork has been laid by many concerned black women who’ve discussed our mistreatment from Zora Neale Hurston to the BWE bloggers. If those objectionists are sincere in their desire to see change then they must follow through.
Another thing I observed was what I considered the free reign by which some of the opposition are allowed to sow seeds of confusion and deny the seriousness of this problem, but then again I am notoriously protective of the messages dispensed at this forum, who has access and how I respond. After nearly three years of being immersed in shifting awareness, watching motivations unfold and of course having differences of opinion setting boundaries is important when it comes to execution. As long as it works it doesn’t matter how things are implemented but messages can be as fragile as seeds planted in shallow dirt.
Some were rather obviously trying to tear down any awareness that might be raised (and should be dealt with accordingly) but these are the usual agents who move between sticking their heads in the sand to outright hostility at the idea of accountability. As one blogger aptly suggested, we can focus on those that want us to stay on the Titanic (denying the iceberg exists, denying the ship’s been damaged, denying the ship is sinking) but WE can get on the lifeboats .
Since I’m so fond of the Matrix film I’ll again refer to Neo’s first training sessions where Morpheus instructs him that everyone still in the Matrix is too entrenched in the system as is. They are a danger to anyone who’s gotten out. It was the height of disresepct to black women that others (like one non-black male blogger who tried to play different factions of us against each other) felt free to invade our space and lecture us on how to address our concerns. The fact that he was invited to throw rocks deeply concerns me. I have to question the effectiveness of any campaign for good that allows known enemies to walk right on in through the front door and be offered cookies to boot. There are as always lessons to be learned when we take steps to do social good.
Which brings me to the allegations against Atlanta prophet–for-profits minister Eddie Long. He’s being accused of sexually abusing young male congregants. So far four have courageous stepped forward and it’s speculated that as many as thirty more are waiting in the wings. I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if there were young women who’d been violated as well. Anything is possible. It doesn’t appear there will be a criminal trial because many of the young males were over 16 and Georgia changed the age of consent (AFTER the Genarlow Wilson case remember him?). That’s some serious pedophile activity to find loopholes to skirt the law when seeking out victims but that’s what PREDATORS do! So a settlement may be pending.
What I’ve found to be of parallel interest is how similar the reaction to these allegations are to those who have a problem with stating the obvious. A fractured family structure means a community operates at a diminished capacity. With such precarious economic trends and societial upheaval driving a car with two wheels missing won’t get you very far.
People have run the gamut by using the bible to justify doing nothing (we can’t judge) to denying any such abuse could even be remotely possible (as if) to blaming external forces (white racism). The commonality between both sets of deniers and obfuscators (some of whom are the same) is how the negative impact of fatherlessness is being ignored thus jepopardizing the safety of the innocent.
When people say they don’t understand how this came to be they’re disconnecting at some level. A simple cut can be examined, cleaned and heal on it’s own if it’s appropriately responded to. Gangrene requires shift action: removal of the infected limb. It no longer matters why or how. It needs to be accurately identified and should not be allowed to continue spreading its poison. No one can talk gangrene out of being deadly by saying it’s not. How can one discuss the abandonment by males that has morphed into generational cycles of fatherlessness without assessing that MALES HAVE CHOSEN TO ABANDON THEM? If this was about rampant motherlessness we’d need to address them directly. This is a patriarchal society and the buck stops with the males. The expectation of males to assume real leadership (not deference without proof of skill and accountability) is such a foreign concept to many their focus will likely stay misdirected.
Whatever the outcome of this particular situation with Long is, the fact remains proecting children has not been the priority en masse for a very long time. CNN anchor Don Lemon bravely revealed his childhood abuse by a male authority figure while covering this story. He was responding to one of the congregants’ blind support of Long by pointed out the specific grooming language used when predators hone in on their prey. While inserting himself into the narrative could have been distracting he handled it with aplomb. Lemon most certainly is not the only survivor of those who prey on the most vulnerable and I hope others will come forward.
This is why I focus on identifying the ways women and girls have been specifically indoctrinated to not put their interests first. The next generation cannot wait for the elders to discuss but fail at implementing viable, sustainable and enforceable solutions. Women are the community pillars, supporters of organizations, propping up churches and sacrificing for the greater good. Yet women are not protected. The behavior of the White House and the NAACP toward Shirley Sherrod should have made that clear by now. Women cannot wait on the black male collective and those who are black male (dysfunctionally) identified. Loyalty to self must come first.
Since it is men who are responsible for policing the behavior of other men and gangrene has set in, the best course of action is to arm women with knowledge – those who haven’t been corrupted, notice the discrepancies and aren’t confused about saving themselves. Communities that function well accept full responsibility for guiding and protecting each other.
Children who are left to fend for themselves are becoming corrupted at even younger ages than many would like to believe. Male children can quickly become part of problem when they become predators themselves. I’m pointing this out specifically because trends must be paid attention to not exceptions. If you go down a list of criminal activity and tie reported events the perpetrators are getting younger. The average person may not notice but those who work in law enforcement, child welfare or the court s are already aware of this.
The youngest Dunbar Village perpetrators were 14 and 15, the ring-leader of the gang-rapists of the 8 yo Liberian-born girl in Arizona was 14 (the other participants were 12 and younger), the kids in Florida who set a classmate on fire were 15 and 13 and there are more stories of crimes we could spend all day discussing. These youths were mostly abandoned fatherless children being raised by their mother alone. The pathologies are clear.
Thus nurturing girls becomes paramount. They may also cause some problems but they’re not terrorizing communities the way males are. What has been happening more frequently is they may directly harm their children. Elevating young girls lifts communities and entire nations from warring male factions bent on destruction.
When young girls know they have options they can make better choices. Saving girls is not a sport, a joke or an afterthought for me. The choices a girl and young woman makes can permanently alter the entire course of her life.
If the Black Church was focused on correctly using Scripture to instruct people to turn away from destructive behavior and to tune out all ungodly messages that currently permeates the media most consume (the BETs, following what the latest criminal/male rapper is doing, glorifying violence, coddling criminals, fighting white hegemony and making excuses for mediocrity) the lives of the majority population who attends (black women) would immediately and significantly IMPROVE.
Does it have to be stated that a religious “leader” who’s driving a Bentley has the wrong set of priorities? Will more people take a proactive stance in building a personal religious practice instead of checking their brains at the door and turning over their money? Will the selectively religious address the rampant OOW, HIV and never-married rates instead of jumping to condemn teh gays?
I will leave you with an excerpt from one of the best blog posts I’ve ever read from Sword Of Goliath host Bluebutterfly. Her essay, Jezebel Darling Who Lied To You still resonates with me more than one year after it was published and ties everything in this conversation together beautifully. Eddie Long and others of his ilk are modern-day Ahabs.
Every time you hear about wickedness in the Bible, who does the finger point at? Yep, Jezebel! Why is that? Ever wonder how and why Jezebel got herself that bad reputation. Certainly, she was not the only person who killed prophets, lied, cheated or did other evil. Why is Jezebel held out as the example of ultimate evil? I declare that there was at least one person worse than Jezebel: Her husband, the deadly Ahab!
Will this be about men? Yes! Will it be about all men? No. There is a particular breed of destructive male among us; He crosses all income, religious, and class lines.
One of the worst things that can happen to any woman is to get involved in any way with an Ahab. These are the men who will come in and finish the damage that a no-good daddy didn’t. Make no mistake, Ahabs are abusers; but their tactics are very different than that of the physical abuser. The average Ahab won’t have a criminal record or bad credit. The average Ahab won’t leave physical scars because you have to serve your purpose as his arm décor and deadly deceiver. The average Ahabs don’t have the obvious warning signs of an abuser.
The Ahabs are mind bending, heart breaking, and soul eroding opportunists. Ahabs can spot your low self-esteem in high heels from across the room. Ahabs can see beyond the make-up, weaves, highlights and fake skin tones. Ahabs can see the size 22 mind inside the size 2 mini. Ahabs can see all those things and will use them to their advantage.