Sunday, November 18, 2018

Are We Our Sister’s Keeper?

November 25, 2015 by  
Filed under Health, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( If there is one word that describes the present state of affairs between black men and women in America, it is ‘estrangement’. To be estranged is to “arouse especially mutual enmity or indifference in where there had formerly been love, affection or friendliness. Black women hold black men in contempt. Black men regard black women with suspicion.

In a poll conducted by Millennium Men of Color, only eighteen percent of men described the relationship between black men and women as “good”.

Have black men and women historically experienced high levels of love, affection and friendliness in America? Truthfully, we don’t know that answer to that question. There are no Pew Research polls dating back to slavery gauging the attitudes of the slave sexes toward relationship. What we do know, however, is that black families were more intact during slavery than during any other period of black history in America.

We know that when slave spouses were sold, most slave husbands © Copyright 2015 Corbis Corporationwent beyond the call of duty to reclaim their families. We know that in those instances where slave husbands were kept out of the private quarters of their wives by the slave master, those husbands did their best to keep their families together. Men took the lead.

Today, there are so many cultural indexes that constantly feed the mix of tension between the black sexes: love and marriage prospects are uneven, with only 83 potential mates for every 100 black women; career roadblocks exist for both of the sexes, resulting in alarmingly high unemployment rates for black men and women; health and wellness statistics suggest both of the sexes lead in negative health outcomes.

The bottom line is that both black men and women have our share of challenges of coping with the American experience.

So to whom must we turn for leadership? Are we our sister’s keeper? If not us, then who?

If we are to move from estrangement to redemption between the black sexes, black men must become healers, focus more on being helpful and reclaim the humanity of our relationships.


Brothers must become healers of our community and thus of our relationships. Healing begins with us. Hurt people hurt people. That means we must become healers of ourselves first. To heal is to restore wholeness. That must be our aim: to heal and to commit to the healing of our relationships. If we don’t, we are just recycling hurt. Steps we can take to induce self-healing include spending quality time alone; joining bible-centered men’s ministry; launching an exercise regimen and understanding what it is we want for our lives.

The writer David Hume captioned it best when he writes: It’s when we start working together that the real healing takes place. It’s when we start spilling our sweat, and not our blood.

Attitude#Two: Help

Black men must become helpful and not hurtful. Once healing begins, we can begin to help our relationships grow and at the same time work to overcome the distrust, resentment and enmity between the sexes. The aim here is not to ‘help’ black women (statistically, black women have lower depression and suicide rates than black men).

Rather, our goal should be to become ‘helpful’ to black interpersonal relationships. How? A helpful attitude could be very simple things like just lending a listening ear or opening a door for a woman. It’s also becoming involved in something bigger than us. Consider mentoring young black children and teens through your local church or community group. The one kid you mentor helps achieve a larger result.

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them. Dalai Lama

Attitude#Three: Humanize

Black men must take the lead in reclaiming the humanity of our relationship with the opposite sex. To humanize is to regain a sense of trust; to contribute to a kinder and gentler state of affairs; it’s to reverse the dehumanization that’s been our experience in this country. Our American experience has dehumanized us and that reality has turned us against one another. Evidence of our dehumanization towards one another includes not speaking, holding grudges, and refusing to let go of stereotypes about the black sexes. Let’s reclaim our humanity. Make it a goal today to pay a sister a cordial and respectful compliment. Respectfully challenge stereotypes which perpetuate ignorance.

Bishop Desmond Tutu was so right when he said: My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.

Are we our sister’s keeper? If not us, then who?

Staff Writer; W. Eric Croomes

One may also visit his personal website at;

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