These words come from a man who has seen too many Black men grow up to become irresponsible, self-absorbed, excessively entitled, weak men, largely because they were coddled at home. This does not always happen at the hands of a single mother, but it almost always occurs due to parents who do not understand their role in raising intelligent and responsible human beings.
Let’s be clear: If you raise your son to be a boy, he’s going to remain a boy. Typically, strong male role models make it easier to build manhood; mothers cannot usually do it alone.
This is a comedic exaggeration, but perhaps we can think while we laugh. And before we get into the tired diatribe about this being some kind of assault on single Black mothers, understand that if I hate single Black mothers, that means I hate my late grandmother.
My own mother was a 17-year old single mom until she married my second father three years after I was born. And it was her commitment to raising me with more discipline than my male friends that guided me away from the same gutters, prison cells, and rehab clinics that many of them occupy to this day.
So, if you want your son to grow up to be a horrible father and husband for somebody else, here are a few things you can do:
1. Never make him accountable. If he goes to jail, mortgage your house to pay for the attorney. If he gets fired from his fourth job in a row, of course it’s because he’s Black. Anything that goes wrong in his life, explain to him why none of it is ever his fault. Make a long list of excuses for everything he does. If he gets in trouble at school, it’s the teacher’s fault. If he has an angry outburst and attacks someone, it’s because he had too much sugar. Remember: Nothing that he ever does wrong, to anyone, at any time, is ever his fault. Jesus will make him better eventually.
2. Allow him to be lazy. Clean his room for him, wash his clothes, don’t make him do any chores. Don’t make him work for anything….EVER. When he’s 32-years old, let him live in your basement and spend the day in his drawz smoking weed and playing Xbox. He’ll get that record deal eventually.
3. Don’t ever force him to manage his money. Buy him a lot of really expensive material possessions, like $250 Air Jordans and don’t make him work for any of that money. If he wrecks the new car you bought him, just buy him another one. Don’t talk to him about saving, investing or being a good provider. If he wants that 14th tattoo on his neck, go ahead and give it to him.
4. Congratulate him for being a “playa.” Let him treat his girlfriends like garbage without your saying a word. When he tells you that he got a fourth girl pregnant, just congratulate him and agree to watch the kids while his baby mama is at the club.
When the third baby’s mama asks you about the other girls coming to the house, lie for him so as not to blow his cover. The world is his oyster, and he has a right to sow his oats without any semblance of responsibility. Don’t forget to save money to pay his child support for him so he can be free to make more kids without the burden of those gold-digging newborn babies.
5. Don’t make him get an education. If he brings home straight Ds on his report card, just remember that he’s the best player on the basketball team. Go buy him something nice to make him feel better, since those bad grades are going to hurt his self-esteem.
6. Coddle him. He’s your baby after all, even if he is 6’3”, 250 pounds. Never throw him out to the wolves; he won’t make it. Never force him to stand on his own two feet; he might break a toe nail. He doesn’t have to be a man for anybody; he’ll always be your baby. If his wife comes around and complains that he’s cheating on her, beating her, or not taking care of his kids, explain to her that he was your man from the very beginning, and he always will be. They should just leave your baby alone.
Overly sensitive single mothers may take this (admittedly exaggerated) article to be an attack on them. Instead, it is a clarion call for mothers to realize the importance of their role in building a nation.
If we build weak men, then we have weak families. Weak families lead to weak communities and White America has its foot on our collective neck. I argue that Black men should be at the forefront of those fighting to stand strong against oppression, but too many of our men have not been raised to be leaders.
The first teacher
The mother is the first teacher and the most influential person in the life of nearly any child. If she becomes so fixated on the high of oxytocin that comes from the love of a child, she may fall short in her role of shaping that boy to become the leader of someone else’s household.
Had my mother and grandmother failed to do their jobs and not provided a strong male role model for me (since my biological father had other things to do), I wouldn’t be the man that I am today. Instead, I would still be my mother’s baby.
Most of us know men who fit into this role, and we must realize that manhood must be taught. A single mother truly believing that she can raise a boy to be a man is as misguided as my thinking that I can teach my daughters the subtleties of womanhood.
It’s time to put an end to the nonsense.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a professor of finance at Syracuse University. Read his columns and weblog at www.boycewatkins.com.