What is Wrong with African American Families?


Adam Corolla recently had a podcast episode with California Lieutenant Gov. Gavin Newsom that caused a little bit of controversy. The topic of success in America came up and Adam went on one of his famous rants, this time questioning why Blacks and Latinos can’t seem to “get it together”. He pointed out the fact that 70% of African American children are raised in single parent homes and also criticized Obama on his use of the phrase “It takes a hero to be a father.” Now I by all means don’t believe Adam Carolla is racist. He, much like the Three Stooges of Politics (Glenn, Bill & Rush) are characters that capitalize on situations such as these. While I agree there is a huge issue in the African American community when it comes to single parent households, one simply has to take a walk through history to understand how we got here.

Slavery saw the beginning of the demise of African American families. Many pregnant women would come off of the slave ship and a slave owner would cut the unborn fetus out of her belly to demoralize those watching. The men would be moved away from his wife and kids to separate slave houses to further demean and destroy his spirits. Anytime a woman would find a new mate and become pregnant, the slave masters would immediately ship the father of the baby to a different slave master. Where there is happiness there is hope and happiness & hope makes for a bad slave. The slave woman’s primary job was to continually get pregnant and to breed the next generation of slaves; never being given the moment to connect with her children. Problem number one..

Slavery ended in 1864 and the newly freed slaves attempted to get their lives back in order. Many would grow to become police officers, politicians and athletes (just do a quick Wikipedia search of the original Kentucky Derby winners). Then something happened within the Caucasian community. They decided that they could not work side by side with African Americans and thus started a not often mentioned increase in racial tension after the Reconstruction era ended. Ever wonder when segregation began? The problem is segregation means separate but not always equal. All of the wealth was still in the Caucasian community because African Americans hadn’t had enough time to fully develop their own businesses. African American fathers still needed to take care of their families, but there was no longer work in their communities. So he was often forced to hit the road, find work and send the money back home to his family. Problem number two..

Shortly after this, World War 1 & 2 arose and though African Americans were treated as second class citizens, government officials had no problem with them risking their lives to protect the political issues of America. Many veterans became hooked on drugs during their tours and came back home addicts. VA hospitals and other resources were put together to help the veterans, but things are still segregated at this time so the African American war veteran were sent home with no support and had to deal with his addictions alone. Problem number three..

The Civil Rights movement came about in 1964 and American finally tackled racial inequality, but never addressed the social, economic and psychological issues slavery and all the years leading up to 1964 caused head on. Instead we as a society have been taught to remember but never discuss Slavery or it’s ramifications, the increase in racial tension after the Reconstruction Era or the reason why the Civil Rights movement or organizations like the NAACP and Affirmative Action was put into place. Problem number four, five, six..

Introduce Ronald Reagan, the war on drugs and the Iran Contra scandal. It was well documented that CIA members were selling drugs in minority communities to fund the Nicaraguan Contras. Later on down the line when Hip Hop music reached a new level of success and was no longer deemed a fad, record labels learned that controversy sells. No longer where educated artists like Chuck D and Rakim pushed to the masses, instead anything with a gangsta and misogynistic tone was pumped to the record stores. After a generation or two of this many outside of the culture accepted that this was what Hip Hop was about. While politicians criticize Hip Hop music, one must realize that 100% of major labels are own by Caucasians and over 60% of the Hip Hop buying public is in itself Caucasian. Many of the younger artist come out and have no problem portraying a negative image within the public eye if it means a chance to get their family out of the hood and become rich. Problem number seven, eight, etc…

We as a society only look so deep into our past. Many suburban individuals who have no need to truly research African American history, because I mean c’mon they have their own month for God’s sake, simply brush over the consequences of the past few centuries and wonder, “What is wrong with Black people?” We as African Americans don’t help either, as many of us have no idea the history and lineage of our culture. Too many have been caught up in the materialism glorified by Hip Hop records. While Caucasian Americans have had since 1776 to “get it together”, African Americans have only been treated as equal since 1964.

While segregation is now illegal, many of those areas have yet to catch up economically and socially within the rest of the country. Just look at the problems in Chicago, roughly 500 people were murder in the year of 2012 alone, that is nearly 1.5 people per day, with 80% of them being African American. Instead of putting together agendas to help protect the citizens of Chicago, President Obama, a former community organizer in the city of Chicago shed tears for the victims of Sandy Hook. While the Sandy Hook massacre and the murder of 20 children is horrible, how come when white children are killed its an American problem, but when Black children are killed its a African American problem? Every last mass school shooting has been by some white kid on anti depression medicine, but I don’t see anyone asking what is wrong with today’s Caucasian teenager. No, it is an American problem that needs to be address either through blaming violent movies, video games, music or just give the kids more meds.

I think Bill Maher put it best during one of his shows last season when he said the racial problem in American can be compared to a marathon. All the black and white people lined up and the whites took off running first, and then after a mile looked back and said, “Ok, all the blacks can start running; and since one black person by the name of Barack Obama caught up and surpassed many Caucasians, people take that to mean that racism is no longer a factor in America.”

The problem within the African American community isn’t an African American problem, it is an American problem and until we realize and address where we can from, the repercussions of it and really come together on both sides, we as a nation will never grow and truly become equal. The problem is this issue doesn’t effect White America or the politicians who can make a difference. All they have to do is sit back on a podcast, point fingers and then go back home to their community. Within the African American community many just don’t care about the issues of yesteryear and are content with simply looking forward and ignoring the pile of dust we have all “swept under the rug.” How can I blame them though, I don’t have any solutions, I’m just am observer..

Check out Haterazzi’s podcast presentation on the problems hoodrats cause within the African American community.

For my African American history buff’s, this movie is a must watch.


2 thoughts on “What is Wrong with African American Families?

  1. Glen Ford at Black Agenda Report touches on many of the issues you discuss. Great post by the way.

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