Just got a call from a good brother of mine who I haven’t spoken to in years. He told me his daughters weren’t speaking to him. I said, “Hmm. Let me guess. You got divorced and they sided with your ex-wife.”
He said (hesitantly), “Yes.” I then guessed a number of other things that happened before and since the divorce. He was raised without a father. Yep. Learned to demonize his father growing up. Yep. Never got his father’s side of the story. Yep. Mother was blameless. Yep. His ex was sweet, nurturing, and supportive until she got pregnant and they got married (in that order). Yep. Sexual alienation after she got the pregnancy she wanted. Yep. Poor treatment in the relationship but an expectation that he serve her as a standard of being a “good man.” Yep. Her happiness as a measure of his manhood. Yep. Frustration out of nowhere that was always his fault yet he never knew why. Yep. He took the blame and secretly punished himself because that’s what he was taught to do. Yep. Started working more often to attempt to fix her concerns with financial stability. Yep. No matter how much (or little) he earned it never changed anything. Yep. Kids started acting differently leading up to her unexpected push for a divorce and eventually alienated him. Yep. Family court judgment in her favor. Yep. Result? A family she couldn’t create without you but expelled you from when convenient, right? Yep. Dead-on accurate. He was like, “How’d you know?” 🤦🏾♂️
Let’s just say the next hour was a crash course on Black men’s responses to this game played against them for the last 6 decades or so. In a 1.5 hour long conversation he went from depressed to purposefully focused.
People wonder why I started advocating for Black men as fervently as I do. It’s because I started noticing patterns in our experiences that seemed to always lead to the same conclusions. Social alienation, debilitating self-blame, depression, John Henryism, familial exclusion (esp emotionally), abandonment, pragmatic objectification (he was used as a utility), intense disrespect as a norm of treatment, emotional and physical abuse we learned to ignore, marriage/family counselors (mostly female) who only explored accountability for men, etc. Over and over the same story. Yet no movies…books…magazines…or classes in school that explain any of it, but plenty of discourse that blamed Black men.