(ThyBlackMan.com) How do we honestly determine the value if an African American man – a real one? Slave society once determined his value by how many women he could impregnate. But then that same society which bread him to be promiscuous, also put him down because he was just that. Such was hundreds of years ago – or was it? So let’s look at the role, the image, the expectation and the stereotype of our African American brothers of today and who should be defining these things.
It is God who defines the value of any of His (Their) creations. The Elohim clearly state in the Bible “let US make man in OUR image”. Furthermore it is easily verifiable that the Garden of Eden neither existed in Europe nor Caucasian America. And it would be wise for each of us (especially African American women) to overstand that the roles, rights and responsibilities of the African American man come first and foremost from the Creator – not from the courts, the laws nor the constitution. Somehow this has been forgotten and our people have surrendered to man’s perceptions, rules and laws as the primary guides and definitions of who we are. The African American man’s identity has been lost and his role, authority, rights and responsibility right along with it. Once people forget who they are, they act like who they are not. Even worse, they act like who they are told they are by others with covert and overt agendas. A people who do not know their identity will fight to assume and keep the false identity forced upon them. Remember that when you look in the mirror.
The African American man with a clear head (not one full of weed), a strong sense of identity and a knowledge of self-worth is many things. And he has a tremendous value. He is the protector of his home, his wife and his children. He is (or should be) focused with a strong mind and a plan to succeed. He is courageous, motivated and driven to provide the best for his family. Not by someone else’s standards, but rather by defining success for himself.
The African American man is a provider. But too much has been focused on the provider role in our strong households while not nearly enough attention has been given to the other roles of the African American man. Consequently, if he is not able to provide, our people have mistakenly seen him as failing in manhood altogether. Not true at all. Yes there are lazy men, but there are also men who have lost their jobs in a recession, men who have lost everything in a divorce, men who have rightfully and wrongfully lost everything by going to prison, men who have come home lost, broken, damaged or disturbed after military service – and even men who are on their way back up with the help of a good woman “help meet”. So ladies, unless you are perfect and have it all together 100%, I caution you not to judge the man so harshly when he is not where YOU think he should be.
The African American man is the authority in his home. This right and role comes from God, not from the woman. Nor does it come from how well the man leads or pays the bills. He must, of course, strive to lead by example because he is a leader, not a ruler. In Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18 and I Peter 3:1, wives are told to submit to their husbands. In Ephesians 5:22 wives are told to submit to their husbands “as unto the Lord”. As a family and relationship counselor, I encourage wives not to twist Ephesians 5:22 as if it says “as your husband submits unto the Lord”. That is not what it says.
A good companion verse to Ephesians 5:22 is I Peter 3:1, which explains even more. There is something very interesting in I Peter 3:1 that is seldom quoted by pastors and even more disliked by women who claim to be godly. Here the wife is commanded by God to submit to her husband EVEN WHEN HE IS NOT OBEYING THE WORD OF GOD. It goes on to explain why and if you read the entire chapter, it makes a lot of sense. So before you ladies try to invalidate the verse, change the context or explain it away, READ It.
1 Peter 3 King James Version (KJV)
3 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
The African American man is the leader – in his home, his church, his community and his workplace. He is a leader, not a ruler. Therefore he should lead by example, carrying himself with dignity, self-respect, honor and integrity. He should watch his language, pull up his pants and be respectable – not just respectful. He should take the lead in the finances of his household, saving, spending wisely and sharing. He should always have a clear head to be used for wise, sound decisions – not a head filled with marijuana. That is beneath him.
The African American man is the disciplinarian. He has to be firm, strong and yet merciful and compassionate with his children. He can be a best friend to his children, but he (and they) must know where being a friend stops and being a parent starts. He must make this clearly early while his children are young so problems will not arise when they are older. But he must discipline fairly, with respect for his children – having them respect him because he is respectable, not having them fear him. Even if he is divorced, he must remain active in the lives of his children in every way possible. He must never abandon his own. And if he does, he must return, repair and rebuild.
So many of you say you are an African American man? Really? By whose standards? Our children need us. Our women need us. Our churches, mosques and communities need us. Our school systems need us as teachers and principals and role models and participants. Businesses need us. The political system needs us – even though many think it does not. We are the foundational pillars of the community. It is past time to stand up and be counted. Stop waiting on another Martin Luther King Jr. or praising heroes from long ago. Your leader is in the mirror. Your hero is in your reflection when you choose to accept the greatness of the image you were made after. Wake up and rise up. Then you will overstand why so many have spent so much time and effort to enslave us, pit us against each other and erase our identity. You will see the power within you and what the oppressors were afraid of all along.
Staff Writer; Marque-Anthony