In my last post, I talked about making space for my father. (You can read it here.)

Today, I want to take it a step further, and talk about making space for Black Men.

Let’s be real—we are QUICK to villainize them. “We” meaning society, yes. There is no doubt
That society has empowered masculinity—toxic masculinity—that has crushed so many things
and people. But we do it as Black Women, too. #ownit

Think about this for a minute:

We know Ike beat Tina’s a#$, but do we throw away the records? We know that Beyonce’s father
cheated on her mother, but do we discount that he raised two girls who are killing the game? We
know that Venus and Serena Williams’ dad was point blank crazy, but look at what he produced!

Now, don’t confuse what I’m saying here. I am in no way excusing domestic violence, or
adultery, or anything else.

I’m saying that we have amazing women who had their fathers in their lives, and they have done
something exquisite. And we don’t ever credit the dads for any of it. We remember the s%#t they
don’t do right. The media circulates all the bad things, and we focus on that.

We never count the fathers who stayed. We never count the fathers who have full custody of
their kids, or the ones who work three jobs to send their kid to school, but because they were so
frickin’ TIRED, they couldn’t be “good” dads.

You know what I’m saying here? We don’t talk about that. We don’t talk about how it was a
Black Man—Garrett Morgan—who invented the gas mask. We don’t celebrate that. All we see is
Black Men getting shot or going to jail. We don’t see the ones who hold it down on a daily basis,
who take the hit for us.

We don’t see them, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there.

It doesn’t mean that there are some Black Men in our lives who have been rolling hard for and with us, and that we just didn’t see it, because what we remember is the alcohol or the beatings or the abandonment.

We remember the hurt.

And I’m not saying that hurt isn’t real. It is there. And it should be there, because it made you
who you are.

But do we discredit the entire human being for being flawed? Do we?

This is a real question for me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below, so we can bear witness.

15 Responses to “Making Space for Black Men”

Comments List

  1. <a href='http://ejishere2.com' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>EJ</a>

    Yes I agree we do tend to villainize black men when we should be their level of peace instead of talking about everything they did wrong instead Of celebrating their efforts
    Reply
  2. Stephanie Williams

    I am in agreement that we need to highlight more of the positive as putting light on the negative leaves the good on the shadows. And we miss great things like the 300 black men who graduated college posted on LinkedIn. We must channel the hurt and remember black men are hurting to. Hurt people hurt people.
    Reply
    • Dr. Venus

      Dear Stephanie, I love your response. "... remember black men are hurting." I don't think we account of their hurts. Thank you for your wisdom. Ashe, Dr. V
      Reply
  3. Emme Giallo

    What a wonderful way to way to give special thanks to our African men and to do it publicly. We are the only the men and women in the world who have denounced each other collectively to the world - a symptom of our pain. What you have done Venus is a bold step toward the healing of that pain. Cheers to you.
    Reply
  4. Wanda Lee-Stevens

    I hear you on making space for our men. If we don't, who will? They need us. We need them. I do think however we need to stop thanking them for staying (taking care of their offspring), as I feel that sets the bar is too low. They are kings and before that princes and before that God gifts to a new beginning, a new branch of humanity. They have to remember that and own it. Be the Kings of their individual nations (without dominance) but with enrollment, empowerment, and unconditional love and responsibility. They need to restore the roar of their manliness and not rely on black women to do it. We didn't give the roar to them, God did. We didn't take it away. We can't give it back. It is between them and God. I do see the ones that are doing it everyday, handling their business. They are in my household, my extended family, my community of friends and my co-workers. I see them everyday. And I know I am blessed for having that upfront and in-person contact and experience. My life is richer for it. Where I can see what is missing from their lives is the genuine appreciation for just being, taking a risk, standing in the face of cynicism, despair, and deathly threats everyday of their lives. A burden no human should have as a daily threat given that we are a "civilized" society. We (women) set the bar too high for just acknowledging them for their presence, their light and their hard work. We can take a stand to do more of that. That is within our power. Beyond that, I do not know what the answer is accept to continue to acknowledge and thank them. And I thank you Dr. V, for taking the stand that you do for them as well. God bless!
    Reply
    • Dr. Venus

      Hi Wanda, Thank you for sharing so profoundly. I appreciate you for walking with me into this new era... Sincerely, Dr. Venus
      Reply
  5. <a href='http://drfeliciaclark.coma' rel='external nofollow' class='url'>Felicia</a>

    Love this article. So relevant to Black women's wealth. How many of us work exhaustingly to be independent as a direct result of seeing our mothers/grandmothers dependent on a cheating and/or abusive man? My father was an incredible dad and gave us the best. Simoultaneously, he was a toxic husband, womanizer and sometimes a batterer. I am grateful that he was my father but he was a toxic husband. He lost his family for that and genuinely grew and matured after the damage had been done.. As humans we are all dependent at some point and it should be a healthy point. We have little dialogue on how to balance the good with the bad to find a healthy dependence. So I love the open dialogue. If it resonates with you, I suggest the following for dealing with a father or any male figure who is sometimes hero sometimes toxic abuser. 1) To survive...value your emotional labor equal to your physical labor (or greater since women are biologically equipped to nuture). Then decide if his heroism replenishes/restores then exceeds the emotional labor his toxicity consumes. If you start at a defeceit, obviously you will athrophy. If there is abundance, there will be gifts gotten the hard way (like the successful fathers you cite). 2) To grow...realize that doing number 1 means you are a participant in an abuse CYCLE that wil continue to roll along forever until YOU (not him) put cogs in the wheel. Cogs look like not engaging in the drama, releasing fear, loving them while placing limits on how they treat you. My example, my father commonly had fits of rage and fury that hijacked everyone's emotions. Everyone accepted it and coddeled eachother. I told him, I love you but I will not talk to you when you yell at me. Of course it escalted and I was villified. But, over years of a stalemate he did his best to control his temper with me. 3) To thrive...heal the part of you that connects with the abuse. You can love your dad as is but there just is no connection or emotional charge through the abuse. I connected with my dad through playing dominoes, holidays and intellectual activities. I loved him when he lost his business after the abuse takers left him. I had no energy to give him when he becomes abusive so he got no rush from being abusive towards me. More importantly, hurt people hurt people. My dad had a lifetime of hurt by age 14. I am grateful that he gave us way better than he had. I feel for him. But, I chose to break the CYCLE of abuse - not break the abuser.
    Reply
    • Dr. Venus

      Dear Dr. Felica, Thank you for sharing, so richly, your wisdom. It is a gift we cherish. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Dr. Venus
      Reply
  6. Cynthia

    Exactly Dr Venus! My husband is one of those fathers you speak so passionately about! He holds it down, despite all the opposition and degrading things people say about black men. He gets frustrated, but he somehow keeps his head up and do his own business and trains our daughter in basketball! He's extremely hard on our daughter, however she gets invited to nothing but the best camps for girls! I told him about you at the black business women rock, and he loves you and your content! Thank you for the encouragement and honor of our black men who are holding the family down! Cynthia 951 756 9015
    Reply
    • Dr. Venus

      Hi Cynthia, Thank you for sharing my word with your husband!! #imblushing Yay! Dr. Venus #themenwholoveusareallaround
      Reply
  7. Alice Williams

    As the mother of a son, it is so good to hear you talking about raising/lifting up the black male. Mothers over nurture them, fathers desert them, educational systems pipeline them, the Social Security systems pays the mother to label them, and society destroys them. In return, they are angry with everyone and end with awful therapist who convince them to hate their greatest cheerleaders (mothers and wives) or end up DEAD! Interestingly, we want a man in our lives, like their strength ( a least the ideal), value their support (emotionally and financially) , like the way they make us feel (emotionally and sexually), AND OUR CHILDREN NEED THEIR FATHERS! Help us Lord to get this RIGHT!
    Reply
    • Dr. Venus

      Hello Alice, This is a WORD!! I love how you laid this out. Thank you for affirming my this pull in my soul. I am being with a new distinction that is arising: the presence of absence of our fathers. It's still formulating. Your share helps me think through all this systemically. Thank you. Sincerely, Dr. V
      Reply

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