Thursday, February 17, 2011

Positive Images of Black Families (2)

In yesterday's post, "Where Are the Positive Images of Black Families?", I talked about the film "Happily Ever After", which features couples talking about their experience of marriage.

The couples in the film make the point that many young Black people today have not experienced positive Black marriage and family life, and thus do not even believe it is possible for them to have happy marriages.

They see the Obamas as a positive role model, and state that if you can see that something is possible, you can aspire to it.

The film was screened by Black History Studies, whom we interviewed on Saturday on What U Need to Know. Click here to listen.

One sista in the audience pointed out that the benefits system in the UK works against married couples. If you need to claim benefits, you will receive more as a single person than as a married couple on benefits.

We have a similar legacy in the United States. In the '60s, I recall that if there was a man in the home, the family could not claim welfare benefits. So the man of the house would hide under the bed or in the closet when the welfare lady came round to check and see if there was a man present.

Many Black men were not in a position to be able earn enough to support their families. Yet they still remained in the household as a positive presence, providing moral and emotional support to their partners and being role models for their children.

One of the men in "Happily Ever After" decribes how he and his ex-partner continued to support and provide for each other and for their children after their marriage had ended. He said he had never lived more than a mile away from his chidren.

Even during slavery, parents travelled long distances under cover of night, just to have a few moments to spend with their children.

Nowadays, many times the woman does not even know where her ex-partner is living. The children don't know where their father is.

The State has systematically broken down Black families. In the UK, this problem is by no means limited to the Black community.

But to see the lengths to which white racist oppressors will go to split up Black families, see The End of the Dialogue.

Yesterday, I emphasised the need to have positive images in Black literature, film, and every art form.

The couples in "Happily Ever After" talked about the Huxtables, the family in the Cosby Show. The film states that before the Obamas, the only positive image of Black families widely available was fictional.

It was not the only positive image, but it was certainly one of the most widely available.

If children do not see positive images of Black marriages and families, they may grow up believing that it's not possible to have one.

Images are very powerful. For more about the power of visualization, see You Are Magnificent. See also Success Strategies for Black People.

I stated yesterday that this is one reason why it is vital for us to learn about Black history. It is vital for us to know about Black achievers, past and present, and about those who have challenged injustice and oppression.

If you have not seen "Happily Ever After", I urge you to see it.

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