Tuesday, September 22, 2009
About Our Children Segment On Depression & Violence
So I have some good news and some bad news for you. I was watching the 2-hour panel discussion "About Our Children" with political analyst Michelle Bernard featuring Dr. Bill Cosby. Yes there were various "experts" bandied about to discuss the disadvantaged. Yes there were solutions proposed that seemed a bit preposterous because they had to be publicly stated. Some things cover certain basic behaviors that should be present to begin with - but obviously are NOT there - hence the blighted circumstances. There were certain moments that had to be encapsulated they were so on point.
During this segment three parents were featured who'd overcome substance abuse, domestic violence and depression. I will include that in a separate blog post to discuss. This is the panel follow-up which merited its own discussion. Please watch before reading my response.
What did you think? I've read Terrie Williams' book Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting and it's excellent. I especially appreciated her comment about how certain black folks (of the "Christian" religious persuasion) tend to equate praying or speaking to a religious figure at their church as an adequate response to resolving emotional problems. I don't think it can be overstated that far too many black women (as the majority who attend these churches as well as give their time and money) use religious totems unsuccessfully as a panacea to resolving conflicts that would best be served by speaking to a qualified professional. Of course I don't expect these male church "leaders" to steer people in the right direction either because it benefits these institutions to keep people confused but subservient. I have no love lost for the religious fakery.
The other moment in this conversation that stood out was Alvin Poussaint's interruption of Terrie Williams. One I thought it was rude (but typical) for him to exert his male privilege by talking over her when she was on a roll. I really would have liked to have heard her finish her thoughts but whatever she was going to say got lost in the aftermath. Then he proceeds to tell a small portion of the "story" by mentioning how depressed so many black men are. Yes he was correct with his stats but he didn't tell the complete truth. It was another example of excuse-making in my opinion. Whether someone is depressed, suicidal or a sociopath is of no difference to me when they a) have not acknowledged it and sought immediate help b) these boys (they're not even making it as far as 18) wreck havoc on the lives of scores of black women (and other black men) as they lash out.
We can go read any number of posts at What About Our Daughters as the victims of these "depressed and angry" men are given perhaps their only voice in any media format. As many as half of the ten perps who committed to heinous kidnap, rape and attempted murder of a mother and son at the Dunbar Village housing complex were under 18 at the time. We can go down a list and find many cases of the depraved acts and even more depraved minds of these (would-be criminals). So while I empathize with the clinical analysis if Poussaint is that alarmed he and Cosby should be hosting their own Town Hall meetings urging immediate action and offering a means to provide a service for these "poor young black men".
Let's face it: many black men are on a collision course with death and destruction. If it's reached epidemic proportions as he suggests why aren't they doing anything significant about it? That is the role of men: to protect and provide. Let these black men step up and take over and police the behavior of these wayward males. Let the sperm donors who sired them take responsibility and stop leaving their care solely in the hands of women who've been abandoned and are lacking vital resources. Let them hold others accountable and get the help they need.