Black Women's Health and Happiness

Insights into physical, mental, and spiritual health for women of color.

The Psyche of Modern-Day Young Black Men Part 2: Effect on Black Women and Family Structure

The Black male crisis has lots to do with Black women's health

In Part 1 you read of there being a lack of Black men in college, especially compared to the number of Black women, the social disparity becomes obvious. As more and more Black women pursue college and grad schools, they find themselves with fewer suitable, accomplished, or career-minded, marriage-worthy Black men to have as mates.

All below is an excerpt from the "Where is the Love?" chapter of the book Living Well, Despite Catchin' Hell, which addresses the educational divide, social disparity, health challenges, and entertains interracial dating options for Black women:

What does the crisis with young Black boys have to do with women's health? A lot! It is part of the hell Black women yet experience; and more Black women will experience more of it because they will not have husbands and responsible fathers for their children. Unless they lookoutside their race, they won't have healthy men as partners, or good male role models for their sons. There will be an even greater burden to maintain a household. They will face health challenges beyond any which we experience today. All of this puts a great amount of strain on Black women's health–psychological, emotional and physical.

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

Too many Black women will see their sons die at early ages due to improper health care, and indiscriminate sexual practices that affect their health, and violence. They will see more Black men be unemployed, underemployed, uninsured, homeless or in go-nowhere jobs ... and don't we have enough of that already? Sadly, if "brothers" aren't making millions singing trash, they are parading on the street in "saggin'" pants, grabbing their crotch and calling people "bitches and hos." It is detrimental to the race that the youngest generations of our Black community succumb to such debauchery and debasing ways of thought and conduct. I hurt for the future of the Black family, but I choose to believe the tide can change ... one day.

Some institutions are making efforts to affect the minds and presentation of Black men and women, although there is much work to be done and the journey is winding, long, and not always well-received.

Hampton University and Bennett College–two HBCUs–enforced dress code policies for their students, and in late 2009, Morehouse College in Atlanta followed suit and instituted a dress code for the students on its all-male campus. The policy received a great deal of press in Atlanta and across the nation because its policy included eleven key points, including "no caps, do rags and/or hoods at indoor venues; no sunglasses worn in class or at formal programs; no sagging pants on campus, and no clothing with derogatory or lewd messages–in word or image." But the code that received the greatest attention was "no wearing of clothing usually worn by women."

Postings to the blog accompanying the local paper's articles were fast and furious. Some complained, "This is America; we can wear what we like." Some members of the homosexual community felt it was an anti-gay move, and many took offense. But most posters responded positively, and many alumni posted comments praising the move, stating it's an effort to get back to a better image of the school.

What stood out to me and others is the fact that "no wearing of women's clothing" had to be specified in the policy. This indicated that this is a significant problem at that institution (likely at others, as well) ... and in the mindset of too many of today's young Black males.

Men such as Martin Luther King, Jr, neurosurgeon, Dr. Benjamin Carson, astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Connecticut educator Steven Perry and many others have shown what Black men can do ... even against the toughest, most formidable odds. Sadly, many of today's youth don't even know, feel, or relate to the struggles of those who have gone on before.

Today's youth have it made, and they don't even realize it. Nor do they understand the obstacles and dangers our forefathers faced to get Blacks to this point. Today's young Black people have more opportunities and greater access than any of the generations that have gone on before. They are not getting chased by police dogs, nor being nearly-drowned with fire hoses. They can eat wherever they want, and sit at the front of the bus. They can be presidents of corporations, or president of the United States. Educational opportunities abound in a land of plenty. The possibilities are endless. One can only imagine how much more potential lies within these young men and women. All hands on deck.

There is untapped potential in Black boys, girls, men and women everywhere; I believe it. I know it! But it's going to take a complete 180 degree turn-around in the psyche and focus of young men ... and also young Black girls. A subchapter entitled "The Crisis with Young Black Girls" is found in Living Well. And be sure to see Part One of this topic.

Living Well, Despite Catchin' Hell, a book about health, sex and happiness, with a foreword by Pauletta Washington, musician and wife of Academy Award winner, Denzel Washington; and endorsed by psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere and others. The book includes current comparative data for Black, White, Hispanic, Asian and Native American women. The first book in 8 years addressing Black women's health; also addresses the effects of negative stereotypes. (print and eBook).

Copyright © 2012 Dr. Melody T. McCloud. All rights reserved. Any excerpts reproduced from this article should include a hyperlink to this--my original post on Psychology Today, with author credit. Feel free to post the link to this, and any of my PT posts, to your social network pages. Follow me here at PT (mostly); and now (I've finally joined the fray) on Twitter: @DrMelodyMcCloud.

Melodies of the Heart: Poems of Life & Love (eBook with erotic love poems, poems about being Black in America and more)

Medical Bloopers! Amusing & Amazing Stories of Health Care Workers (foreword by Dr. Neil Shulman, author of Doc Hollywood). (a little levity, now as an eBook)

Melody T. McCloud, M.D., is an obstetrician-gynecologist and the author of First Do No Harm: How to Heal Your Relationships Using the Wisdom of Professional Caregivers.

more...

Subscribe to Black Women's Health and Happiness

Current Issue

Just Say It

When and how should we open up to loved ones?