Today I learned that CNN will air a special report this week called Black in America, hosted by Soledad O'Brien. The first part, "The Black Woman & Family", premieres on Wednesday, followed by "The Black Man" on Thursday.
I would like to note that neither CNN nor Ms. O'Brien contacted me for this special. Last time I checked, I was still black and in America. Maybe they'll give me a ring-a-ding next year.
I really liked the Black in America celebrity interviews given by Vanessa Williams and Whoopi Goldberg (featured above). However, I did not appreciate what Bishop T. D. Jakes had to say. I had to transcribe his words myself. Apparently CNN does not realize that not everyone can watch videos on their computer. Also, not everyone is a member of the hearing community. Transcripts would be helpful.
Many, many men are in a dilemma today where they're really trying hard to understand their own worth and their self-esteem. Uh, the woman is excelling educationally and academically and economically often beyond the man. I think cuts to the core of your self-esteem, and men are struggling to find their relevancy in the family today, in a way that we did not experience in the 60s.
And I think years out from now we are going to see huge fallout because there are no fathers in our homes. Fallout in terms of the inability to sustain relationships as adults because you don't understand male language, how men communicate. Well-meaning people trying to hold a relationship together, but don't understand the uniquenesses, and the unique nuances that exist between men and women.
We now think in this generation "men are optional", "fathers are optional", "because I can afford a child, I don't need a man." We don't understand that the contribution goes beyond the paycheck. And I think the emotional fallout is going to be very, very destructive in years to come.
Looky here, Mr. Jakes. Just because I have continued to excel "educationally and academically" does not mean that other people, i.e. men, cannot do the same. Education is not a zero-sum game. I can't horde all the education and prevent other people from getting it. It's not my fault that men supposedly have poor self-esteem because they are "struggling to find their relevancy in the family today". What kind of farkakte logic is that? If these men you are talking about choose to leave their family because they chose not to get an education and therefore cannot provide the kind of paycheck that their educated female partner can, how is that my problem? Why should I be responsible for men who aren't even trying to do something with their lives? I have my own self-esteem issues. As D. L. Hughley says in his celebrity interview, those men need to get out of their own way.
Additionally, most of my closest childhood friends and I did not have fathers. Mine didn't leave voluntarily; he died. His contribution to our family was indeed much more than a paycheck. But when he left, we did get along without him. My mother didn't need a man, and she could afford me. My friends and I didn't need male placeholders in our lives. We needed parents who cared about us, and that is what we had. We turned out very well, often better than some of our peers who had grown up with their two original heterosexual parents.
Furthermore, not every black woman wants to have a child with a man. Not every black person wants to have a child. Not every black woman wants to be with a man, and not every black man wants to be with a woman. Not every black man deserts his family. Overall, I am tired of hearing these same arguments posed as the problem with the black community. As if there aren't white deadbeat dads or Asian deadbeat dads. As if the problems in Latino communities could be solved if only Latinas showed more appreciation for trifling men. I don't think so.
The rest of the special looks enlightening though. Sheryl Lee Ralph (at 2:26) seems like a fun lady. I have nappy roots, too! I'm not happy about it, though others are. My hair doesn't make those fun ringlets. It just grows out angry. Argh.