Monday, August 4, 2014

A Thing About Families

I returned last night from an epic road trip from St. Louis to Detroit.

It was my husband's family reunion.

They have been meeting together for 28 years.

The generations have expanded and grown, new faces, some have transitioned, others have grayed.  They have added branches previously unknown and continue to show the most love, care, and attention to their young people.

I was the inlaw, that put me in a wonderful position to absorb and observe.

For all the many, many years that I have been in this proud black family, it never ceases to amaze me how nurturing the men in the family are to the youth in the family.  It is a sight to see these fathers with their sons and daughters, some married, some widowed or divorced, some never married, all proud fathers.  There are men who have raised their children to adulthood with college graduates as the fruit of their labor.  They have grandchildren and some are raising other men's children.

It was the sight that struck me that the media never captures - these proud, tall, dark men all being fully present with their children.  All of them.

The ones without fathers were seen imparting wisdom to the children in a way that only an uncle can do.

I watched these men respect and honor the women in their lives.  They carried suitcases, brought drinks, held doors, and genuinely cherished the queens.

As I let the sun stream in through my bedroom patio and the day is greeting my children, their children, I had a thought about the power of the family. It is often the simple things that the rest of the country misses in their effort to create a false narrative about black men.  It was in this weekend in Detroit, watching these men that we wrote a different script. This family that has traced it's continuous heritage back to 1820.  This literate family, this connected family.  This family with the proud patriarch and matriarch that made sure their children had clothes, land, and education - even when one of the elders had to go to 11th grade twice because the racism of Jim Crow Mississippi refused to let a black person matriculate.

These black men are not the stereotype on the news media.  Yes, they partied, they danced, they even shared  cocktails with the other men, but they were not the caricature portrayed on the evening news.  They are men.  They are family men.  They are Americans. And This American Family is like a whole lot of Black American families.

And I am proud to be married to one.

1 comment:

  1. All too easy for people to go with the stereotype, but the reality is different, more complicated, not just monochrome grey. And there's so much prejudice, in so many different, subtle ways, based on where people live, what they wear, their jobs (or lack of them), skin colour, religion (or lack of it)... that's what makes it so important to share the stories that challenge that narrow-mindedness!


Thoughtful dialogue is appreciated.