We’ve laid out this whole issue in terms of the struggles that people actually go through when it comes to not having a father in a home. We’ve talked about what it means when you have a husband who is not handling his business when it – when it comes to domestic violence, the impact on the wife, the impact on the children, the impact on future relationships.
But the most important thing that I think we have to confront is that what we are describing today: 70 percent of kids being born out of wedlock, fewer African-Americans getting married; you have a higher number of Black women who are going to college versus Black men who are in college, and they’re saying, “Who am I going to marry later?” – all of this is absolutely preventable. But it’s not going to start in the White House. It’s not going to start in governors’ mansions. It’s not going to start with the county government or the city council. It’s actually going to start exactly where we are.
I’ve often made it clear that if we’re going to have a strong America, a strong Black America, it is going to require African-Americans all across this country and various states to be strong just where they are. And strong states mean strong cities. Strong cities mean strong neighborhoods. Strong neighborhoods mean strong blocks. Strong blocks mean strong streets. Strong streets mean strong houses. And that means that somebody in that house has to say, “This is how we’re going to operate.” And what that means is that if you impregnate a child at an early age, you’re going to take care of that child. If you don’t know what it requires, then you are going to be paired with somebody who can show you the way.
What it also means is that we have to stop demonizing men, stop trivializing men and acting as if they’re absolutely clueless. For me, I appreciate my mother and my father, but let’s be clear. There is no relationship that exists between a son and a father, and when you have that image, it carries you forth.
We can change all of this if we are serious about it. That means uncles must also challenge their own, challenge their brothers and saying, “What are you doing?” challenge their sisters. We can change this. And understand. The future of Black America depends on this. Celebrate those men handling their business. Chastise and support those men not handling their business. But do understand. If we do not confront this problem right now, today, the future for Black America is bleak.
So, the question you have to ask [is], “What exactly am I doing right now to be a difference maker?”
And I say if you’re serious, where you live, in your house, on your street, on your block, in your neighborhood, in your city, in your state, in this country – I say you put your work boots on and put your hardhat on, and it’s time for you to get to work.