Redefining Emotional Vulnerability in Black Fathers
Recently, I came across a LinkedIn post that talks about normalizing “loving on our [Black] sons” and positive masculinity. In addition, the Psychotherapist posted a photo of her 16-year-old son crawling into his father’s arm and falling asleep. I didn’t see an issue with the image or the message behind it; however, the comments were in SHAMBLES. So many people supported the post’s powerful message, while others were uncomfortable seeing this 16-year-old teenager nestled against his father. I wish I could say I didn’t know the answer, but as a Black woman, I understand the lack of emotional vulnerability portrayed by my own family.
We aren’t sure if this young man had a bad day at school or in general, yet to others, there was no excuse for this moment. But what was so unusual about this photo? Why is it hard for us to display this type of affection? Especially to our sons. Simple. Our ideology of “masculinity” is intertwined in Western Culture that a man (of any color) must act and be a certain way – strong, tough, dominant, and more; Machoism. So much so that Black men don’t have the space or capacity to be emotionally vulnerable.
A great example of someone like this is American rapper Boosie. He admitted last Spring how he paid women to sleep with his underage son to prevent him from becoming gay. In Boosie’s eyes, he was “making a man” out of his son. Extremely problematic, right? Unfortunately, you would not believe how many people didn’t see anything wrong with what happened. And they are the same ones who would have an issue with the LinkedIn post. Imagine if all Black fathers took the “Boosie” route.
We must help redefine emotional vulnerability in Black fathers. We should want our boys to know how to express themselves and not be ashamed to do so. That is one way we can break generational curses and form healthy relationships. What are your thoughts on Black fathers expressing more vulnerability? Comment below.