A Matter of Life & Death
by Robert Booker
“Stop crying, that’s for girls. Be a man! Stop acting like a girl. Don’t be a sissy. Tough it out. You’re the man of the house now. You’ve got to learn to play through your pain. This is where the men are separated from the boys. Focus and concentration will help you endure… and on… and on… and on!”
Young Black male children are taught at an early age, their being as significant creatures of God’s planet is centered around gender specific machismo whose primary attributes deny emotion and feeling. Black male children are taught to deny, defeat, and conquer their feelings in order to properly prepare for their ascendancy to power. More often than not, these initial attitudes and values are passed on to young Black males by Black women called… mothers.
These “momma’s rules of order” are followed up and supported by fathers, uncles, grandfathers, coaches, teachers, preachers, friends, families, neighbors, videos, movies, radios, billboards, magazines, newspapers and just about any other communication medium available to person-kind. These values are taught 10 fold more times in the Black community than other ones. Maybe that’s what our mommas and grandmommas think we (Black males) need to survive and become responsible… in our families and the general society.
The problem with all of that is “momma’s rules of order” don’t teach Black males how to take care of and become responsible for the most crucial aspect of our ability to meet any and all goals and values – our bodies. Good health and body maintenance are values often overlooked and de-emphasized as critical requirements of teaching us life’s survival skills.
Just about any physician or dentist practicing in the Black community will attest to their business being 75-85% female. Black women take care of themselves and their children, but only young Black females are taught these values are important for them to adopt as critical aspects of their future survival. Black females are taught they will someday become wives and mothers and as such, must learn how to “take care” of their husbands and children. There is a huge disconnect on passing these values on to young Black male children, however.
Ironically, many social scientists say that only 15% of all children being born today in Black families are born of a married man and woman. Most families are headed by women in our communities, and women provide the lion’s share of training, discipline, care and values.
Sadly, most men are not taught, and do not view nurturing, caring and feeling as part of our life’s evolvement, relevant to our own circumstances… even when it directly affects us and our children. Why is this important and what’s the point?It’s about responsibility and awakening.
During the last 4 years of my life, I’ve faced hypertension, heart disease, type2diabetes and most recently, prostrate cancer. Above and beyond my own selfish fears and concerns about life and death, I’ve had to face the stark reality of being unable to take care of myself, and adequately provide for the people I love if I’m not here.
Frankly, if I had been less macho, eaten healthier, drank less alcohol, never consumed tobacco (pipes or cigars), watched my chemical intake, exercised properly and listened to my physicians and other health care providers – many of my personal challenges would never have manifested themselves. As the old folks used to say, it’s a shame youth is wasted on the young.
Oh well, guess what? It ain’t too late for any of us. Who’s to blame? Everybody and nobody! Who cares anyway? I have opportunity, so I have hope. So do the rest of my brothers. We must think and live healthy, responsible lives, for ourselves and future generations of Africans in America. Schedule a check up with your doctor and visit a nutritionist. They can help develop a strategic plan for living the rest of your life.
Robert Booker is a self syndicated, independent conservative opinion columnist and former newspaper publisher writing on African American public policy issues. Robert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 484-798-9054.