The Marvalus View hipped me to an article on MSNBC.com which touted the openly affectionate and romantic image of Barack and Michelle Obama as the poster for healthy black relationships. With 70% of African American women living without a spouse, according to the article, the Obamas personify the image of black love that everyone is looking for and may inspire more love, including even possibly a baby boom.
I agree that there is a strong need for counter-cultural public images that portray black mothers as more than baby mamas and black men as other than knuckleheads, ruffnecks, or gangstas. In addition, I also feel that "you can't be what you don't see" and without knowing what a healthy relationship looks like makes it that much more difficult to achieve. However, we must understand that it is one thing to want what Barack and Michelle have but it is another thing to obtain what they have.
When we look at the President-elect and his wife, we see an apparently healthy relationship but we don't see the things beneath the surface that contribute to the relationship. Their healthy image is thus foundational only, and before we launch a "Take Back the Family, Love & Commitment" crusade there are at least two other issues that lie at the core and are indispensable in attaining a culture of healthy relationships.
First, the power of love starts within yourself. So a healthy relationship is impossible if both parties have not first learned to LOVE THEMSELVES or feels unloved or in need of love.
We see too many parents and even the church being overly critical and using putdowns or psychological abuse to control behavior. These mental games are linked to poor self-esteem, selfishness, love addictions, and even depression. Those moms who have been victims of putdown tactics sometimes even overcompensate by being totally uncritical of their own children, leaving them unequipped with the social skills to deal with their deficiencies when confronted by their peers or others in authority, so that they feel like rejects or failures. Men, who have internalized their unemployment, underemployment, or other insecurities resulting from the American post-slavery syndrome of self-hate will also need to have these demons exorcised in pursuit of a healthy relationship. But equally requisite and essential:
A healthy relationship requires MUTUAL RESPECT.
At the core of many of our relationship problems lies a struggle for control over our lives and attempts to control the lives of each other causing us to act against one another in unhealthy ways. Until we contemporize our definitions of manhood and womanhood or masculinity and femininity in order to see oppression of women in its true sense, we will fail to achieve healthy relationships.
Sadly to say, the church in its ancient patriarchal views has helped to negatively impact our relationships. The oppression of women may be the oldest injustice in human history. Yet this ancient, low societal view of women colored some of the compositions of the biblical writers and we have taken the controlling attitudes toward women that shaped the text as mandates rather than the opinions of the writers that the texts themselves and sound hermeneutics state them to be. Women are not scapegoats for all male failure and inability to handle responsibility. Women have more value than their ability to bear children. But you would think differently based upon the interpretation many have of the bible.
These views will have to give way to those that see men and women as being interdependent, mutually supportive, caring and respectful or a culture of healthy relationships will be unattainable.
He answered: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and Love your neighbor as yourself."
also see Ephphatha:Parents are Bad