By Roy Douglas Malonson
“The breakdown of the Black community, in order to maintain slavery, began with the breakdown of the Black family. Men and women were not legally allowed to get married because you couldn’t have that kind of love. It might get in the way of the economics of slavery. Your children could be taken from you and literally sold down the river.”
– Kerry Washington
We MUST Understand the burden of integration was always on the Black family. Although White people underwent changes during integration, it was the Black community and family which truly suffered the most devastation. As it was, Blacks were forced to adapt and adjust to a new norm in the integrated society.
As it was, there was a time in American history when there was some things that Blacks wouldn’t do. Actions such as disrespecting parents, leaders and elders in the community was something that just did not occur in the Black culture, among countless other things. Back then, many of Us feared Our parents and elders in the community as if they were God. We were raised to not only respect our parents, but our neighbors, teachers, preachers and anyone else who had authority over us.
But, once we were integrated many of Us chose to adopt the personalities, trends and mentalities of Our counterparts. This was a catastrophe for Black America. Because even though integration had taken place, there was still an unspoken rule which made things, “Criminal For US” and “Justice for THEM”.
To that regard, there were those who felt since they were finally accepted in the new integrated society, they had a license to commit offenses like others. But just as soon as they decided to test the limits, they were met with a sad reality – some things just never really change.
Thinking on this subject in the spirit of Father’s Day, there were also standards that the Black man used to uphold. Now, don’t get me wrong… Absentee fathers and deadbeat daddies have always been a part of the Black culture. However, prior to integration a great sum of Black fathers took their roles’ in the family more seriously. Black men were better providers and headed the family and the community with dignity, respect and pride – values which have become a rare commodity these days.
Black men back in the day, were more committed to the Black woman. Quite frankly because looking at any other woman could have possibly been their ultimate demise. I could go on and on about the effects that integration had on the structure of the Black family. But unfortunately, space will not allow me to.
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