March 12, 2010
The Soul of AmericaBy Kevin Jackson
There is a rule that nobody talks about your mama! Yet today, blacks unwittingly do what we would never allow anybody to do -- talk our mothers down. It happens every time somebody talks America down.
If American women in general are the heart of America, then black women are certainly its soul. Aside from running the household for many white women back in the mid-1900s, black women were the confidantes of the ladies of the house for whom many of them worked as servants, caretakers, nannies, and maids.
In these roles, black women were privy to and entrusted with the most critical information. The white women of yesteryear told our mothers and grandmothers their deepest, darkest secrets, things they may not share with anyone -- not even their own mothers. Black women were in many cases these women's closest friends and staunchest allies.
I watched this type of relationship develop between my grandmother and Betty, the woman of the family for whom she worked. That relationship was most evident when Betty's granddaughter Ramona was killed in a tragic accident on the ranch where I grew up.
I recall how my grandmother made the phone call to Betty to explain that the welds had failed on the seats mounted on one of the hunting vehicles. Ramona and her boyfriend -- seated outside, riding essentially on the hood of the vehicle -- had been run over. The young man was killed instantly; Ramona died shortly thereafter.
Betty flew in on her private jet to the small airstrip outside of Brady, where a sheriff's vehicle waited to bring her to the ranch. I was told that my grandmother held Betty in her arms, comforting her, when Betty whispered to my grandmother, "I don't know what I would do without you. You're my best friend." Such scenarios played out in many homes all across America back then.
Black women of yore taught respect in their homes. Children were raised to understand that the world is watching, so you must behave. We were constantly reminded of those who came before us, like Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, and many other black "firsts." Our decorum was patterned after such black gentlemen. It started with how one greeted one's elders.
Black women taught black children to show deference to elders, no matter their color, by calling them "Sir" or "Ma'am." To do so to whites was not to kowtow, but to show them that no matter how you treat us, we will always take the high ground. We would be better than they, though many white children called black men and women "boy" or "girl"...or worse.
I recall the first time I heard one of my white friends -- age eleven -- curse his father for telling him to hurry up. I was amazed that his father didn't "knocked him into next week," because I could picture the back of my grandmother's hand approaching my face like a slow-motion dollyshot had I said what my friend said. I assure you that I would have only been able to picture it in my mind's eye, because it would have happened too quickly for me to see the shot with the naked eye!
Black women of that generation raised two families: theirs and the children of the families for whom they worked. Because of this, black women raised many of the white leaders of today, male and female. Black women taught young white children lessons of life, things that white parents were unable to teach. There was something about white children seeing black women's work ethic that made them listen to our women.
Black women kept their families nuclear. In 1950, 78 percent of black families had two parents (married couple), and only 18 percent were single-parent (female householder, no husband present) homes. By 1991, only 48 percent of black families were dual-parent homes, while 46 percent were single-mother homes. In the decade since 1991, both statistics have gotten dramatically worse.
Back then, black women raised men, not boys! Sons had responsibilities and were accountable, and mothers cautioned against unchaste women. Men picked women who reminded them of their mothers, and with rare exception, men knew where all their children were. Men supported their families until the day they died.
Black women of that era taught independence and scoffed at the idea of welfare. They raised young ladies, not promiscuous girls. Education was stressed, and blacks in prison were the exception, not the rule.
Here's the wrap:
Liberals will argue that the lives of blacks since the 1950s have improved dramatically, and financially, life certainly has improved for blacks. However, it had nothing to do with liberal Democrats; it was due to the policies of Republicans! With Republican policies in place, blacks were headed for what could be described only as the Black Renaissance. The 1950s black person was trusted, and believe it or not, he was one of the most respected people of the time.
Had blacks not bought into the policies of the Democrats like FDR and LBJ, I contend that they would have proportionate representation in things like business ownership, homeownership, getting our fair share -- and it would be without government handouts or interference, and instead based on merit. That conclusion was just a matter of time.
Kevin Jackson is author of the Amazon best-selling book, The BIG Black Lie, as well as The Black Sphere blog. Kevin is a regular guest on The Glenn Beck Show, and can be heard every Thursday on Allman in the Morning at 97.1 FM Fox News radio.