Representation Matters

Black families are rarely shown positively in American media. In fact, you would be challenged to find a complete Black family; father, mother and children portrayed in a positive manner. The Cosby Show was rare for its time and a much-needed representation of the Black family. This, however, appears to be the exception to the rule. It should be noted that people are free to fall in love with whom they choose. My attempt here is to shed light on this obvious agenda. The overwhelming majority of Black television shows feature dysfunctional family structures, engaging in womanizing, drug dealing, as well as a litany of illegal and immoral activities. These types of representations are eerily reminiscent of the Black exploitation films of the 70’s and 80’s. Meanwhile, the media attempt to socialize viewers to an alternative version of family is ongoing.

The American media inundates us with its examples of “family,” Black males with white females, Black females with White males and literally every combination you could think of except the most natural of all, the male and female combination responsible for the birth of humankind; the Black man and Black woman. This is deliberately done as part of the conspiracy to destroy the Black family.

Destruction of the Family Unit

The most basic principle of colonizing a people is to remove things that unite them spiritually, emotionally and physically. Specifically the removal of their spiritual belief system, their native language by forbidding its use under the threat of severe consequences. More importantly the destruction of the family unit. Traditionally African family structures are broad, so much so that it could not be adequately addressed in this article. It should be noted the basic principles include but are not limited to kinship and clan, children to include things as naming ceremonies. These ceremonies are extremely important; it marks the child’s official membership into the family unit. A feast is customary depending on the clan or society where customs vary widely throughout Africa. Africa was largely Matriarchal prior to European intervention, who introduced its Patriarchal system. Matrilineal traditions were important as were traditional marriage arranged or otherwise. Maintaining the continuity and integrity of family units were staples in African tradition. These very traditions including the family structure itself were systematically attacked, and continue to be so in the present day. “To completely decimate a people; you must eradicate the family unit and all vestiges of it” – unknown.

Efforts to Destabilize

Modern efforts to destabilize the African unit are no less sinister or deliberate. The Prison Industrial Complex is one of their many tools. According to the United Nations on Racial Disparities in the U.S. Criminal Justice System dated April 19, 2018: African Americans are more likely to be arrested, convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison sentences. African Americans are six times more likely to be incarcerated than their white counterparts are. Hispanics are three times as likely, compared to one of every seventeen white men. Racial disparities among women are less yet still prevalent. The Welfare system has been complicit as well. American welfare policy initiated programs aimed directly at poor Black families.

Welfare Reform

President Clinton signed the “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act” on August 23, 1996. It was intended as a welfare reform initiative. The New York Times reported that while the number of families receiving cash assistance fell from 12.3 million to 4.1 million, the child poverty rate for Black children increased significantly, This did not happen by chance. U.S. Welfare policies have been discriminatory from its’ very inception. The 1935 Social Security Act introduced by Franklin Roosevelt had two tiers; the first tier provided social income benefits to the surviving dependents of workers due to incapacitation or death and security for retired Americans. The second tier included AFDC. “Aid to Families with Dependent Children” which was renamed in 1962 by the Kennedy Administration; its original name was ADC. “Aid to Dependent Children”. These social programs did not fare well for Black Americans due to pervasive racial bias in employment. During this period Blacks usually worked menial jobs not directly connected to the formal workforce, they were paid in cash, by doing so were not allowed to pay into the social security system. Which also meant they were not eligible to receive any benefits, again the system had failed them or worked exactly as it was meant depending on whom you asked. The ADC programs as well were not favorable to Blacks. The criteria for eligibility was determined by the state, where white women were primarily the beneficiaries. The country continued to operate under a doctrine adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1896 “separate but equal”.

“The Man in the House Rule”

Black families were disadvantaged further during the 1950’s and 60’s, States instituted new residency requirements, most notable was the “man in the house rule”. This rule required state workers to call on and inspect the residence to determine if the father’s presence could be detected if evidence was found of a male presence; checks were discontinued and cases closed. In addition to social programs, the assault on Black families continued in many forms, Television media platforms have been by far the most impactful.

Social Engineering

The negative imagery of Black people are reinforced daily through the media narrative of Black women as sexual objects and promiscuous, Black men as aggressive and violent predators have permeated American media and society for generations. In recent history, the attempt to socialize and influence behavior is extremely noticeable. The overwhelming tendency is visual imagery of White males with every racial combination of women as to insinuate the White man as the preferred mate for all women, regardless of race. Secondly the promotion of the blended family, White male with the Black woman with biracial children. There is also a significant representation of LGBTQ couples. More so importantly and noticeably absent is the Black man and Black woman without which there can be no Black children and by default no Black Family by its very definition.

The Black family is under continuous attack, this explains why positive images of our families are rarely shown. Please do not fall prey to their social engineering. we must realign our values with Family, its continuity and integrity along with our spiritual connection is what ultimately define us as a people. Black families matter.

The Lion has learned to write: Bo Ajala