Saturday, October 17, 2009

Regarding Tyson: Confessions On National TV Is Not A Substitute For Therapy

I thought the Mike Tyson interview on Oprah earlier this week was a HAM. It's great for her and the ratings but ultimately how does this actually benefit any of us? I wasn't sure there'd be any benefit to watching it as I didn't need that episode to tell me Tyson has serious problems. Since she had him back on yesterday for Fridays Live I thought a discussion was warranted.

Here are some of my thoughts in no particular order:
  • He may be more self-aware but he's still a menace.
  • His limited education (and perhaps capacity for learning) is a huge impediment.
  • We can see yet again the result of letting a fatherless male child grow up in society without guidance.
  • Of course someone should have been concerned about Oprah's safety - he's made a career out of brutalizing men and is a convicted criminal (but she as a security detail).
  • Forgiveness and redemption are not to be doled out like candy. They must be earned and appreciated.
  • He's apologized to Evander Holyfield - again - but is he actually remorseful. Seriously?
  • What amends has he attempted to make to Desiree Washington for raping her and Robin Givens for beating her?
I would not be alone in a room with that man under any circumstance. He seems rather volatile and ready to go off at any second. I still sense his rage and his insecurities just beneath the surface. Who are these women that line up to have sex with this man and have children with him? You cannot convince me money is not a huge incentive. His current wife's denial was even called out by Oprah during the first interview.

Despite his sorrow, his increasing self-awareness and his public display what has he actually learned and how has he changed? Crying relieves stress and looks really good on television. It doesn't guarantee a fundamental shift in one's core. Despite his numerous points of dysfunction he mentions he learned how to treat women from watching pimps. Pimps are criminals who exploit women. At what point did he ever ask himself why he chose to model his actions based on the dregs and predators of society? Do I even need to mention that he was obviously influenced by the rather typical rejection of certain black women by mostly African-American males for one who falls in the lighter-skinned long hair category? There's a rather distinct pattern here.

Finally, I conclude this entire interview is one that belonged on a therapist's couch not a television talk show host's. Ditto for the dad in the audience that said he could relate to the loss of his child from watching Tyson. Some may feel as if they've seen a whole new side that "explains" him better. I have to ask why it would take such an interview that scratches the surface and should be a beginning point for personal transformation for someone to figure out the man has had emotional problems? Many of us have things we must work through but don't substitute the confessional aspects of sharing your dysfunction with the entire world for the real work of intensive therapy.

Nor do we choose to take it out on others we perceive as being weaker or less likely to be protected. Did you get the part where he said he doesn't want the details of what happened to his 4 year-old daughter because he'll "blame" someone?! There was a definite implied threat behind that statement. Someone who's actually changed doesn't constantly revert back to destructive and violent patterns. So as far as I'm concerned he hasn't changed at all. Not where it really counts. Don't spread the message that African-Americans are such a damaged people. Which also brings me to another question for these men (like the dad featured) who have children out of wedlock: if you care so much why aren't you providing an intact family structure for them by marrying the mother of your children?

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Renee said...

I didn't catch the second interview but I saw the first one. I remember tweeting that I did not buy all of the tears and I am a changed man and people were telling me to lighten up. The man has shown the world on SEVERAL occasions exactly who he is and to think differently because of a few tears is ridiculous.

On another note, I don't think that you have to marry the mother of your child to be a good father. As long as you are committed to being an active participant in that childs life that is what is the most important thing. Children need to know that they are loved and supported. Marriage does not mean a damn thing at the end of the day. If two people do not love each other and they stay in a relationship they risk setting a terrible role model for their children.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Renee: Yes Tyson has shown who he is and we'd be best to pay attention. As for the marriage situation, again I am speaking of what's best for the entire collective of specifically AA black women not of one's individual choices. Since they are the ones raising kids alone at as much as 80% or more and are also not married - and not because they choose not to but because the men they've had children with have refused or are otherwise incapable of providing for and protecting them let's not confuse the issue. This is always about evaluating situations for what will be most beneficial and making wise choices.

tertiaryanna said...

"At what point did he ever ask himself why he chose to model his actions based on the dregs and predators of society?"

Faith, this could be a whole 'nother post. I think that it's such an important thing for anyone to ask themseves: who do people choose as role models and why? Especially when those role models don't have healthy, positive lives or relationships.

@ Renee
"Marriage does not mean a damn thing at the end of the day. If two people do not love each other and they stay in a relationship they risk setting a terrible role model for their children."

The thing is, they are in a relationship, regardless of whether or not they're married. There are still joint decisions to be made, joint values to share and goals that each parent has for the child. As long as they have that child between them, there will always be some connection. The question is, will it be constant, daily, reciprocal, self-reinforcing and a good model for adult male-female partnership? Will both parents be able to combine their strengths to better establish a solid future for their mutual children and grandchildren?

Individually, as Faith said, people have their choices to make, and for some people, it's far better to be parted than to stay together in an unhealthy situation.

But it's not fair to say that as an institution, marriage is unimportant to the family's stability or the stability of the greater community. There is a lot of ground between unhealthy marriage and no marriage at all.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

tertiaryanna: I'll think about the role model angle. Of course you could blog about it as well. I'd love to get your thoughts on it and link back here.

There are plenty of LGBTs who'd of course disagree on marriage being meaningless. That was what Prop 8 was fighting for. I think there are times we might be more invested in upholding our choices above all else than in remembering to indicate our choices as ours alone under a particular set of circumstances that won't apply across the board to everyone.

Anonymous said...

"He may be more self-aware but he's still a menace."

People who are self aware and haven't done any healing work are very dangerous. They basically have learned a few tips and tricks that make them more effective predators. Trust I have come across a few. :)

I have learned they know what to say or not say - as to arouse suspicion. They have learned maybe even a few superficial actions to showcase, but beneath the surface its all hollow.

They are even more dangerous as they now can see more in themselves and others and they have the ability to mimic compassionate behaviors.

@ Renee

Why so extreme? Why always single and ok vs married and unhappy?

Marriage means much. It confers many legal rights and protections to the mother and all offspring involved.

I have to tip my hat to Khadija on this one- how can a man physically protect his children if he is not there?

tertiaryanna said...

Faith, I posted to my blog before I saw your comment here, but I'll rework my thoughts into a second, public post that you are welcome to use.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Aphrodite: well if tyson has another public incident we'll know why.

Tertiaryanna: no rush I thought you offered good insight.