Sacrificing Manhood to Embrace Victimhood


by Michael Sharp
(Michael Sharp, a member of the national Advisory Council of the African-American leadership group Project 21, is a freelance writer and hydrogen plant operator in Freemont, Ohio.)
A New Visions Commentary paper published April 1997 by The National Center for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Court, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002, 202/543-4110, Fax (202) 543-5975, E-Mail [email protected], Web http://www.nationalcenter.org. Reprints permitted provided source is credited.

When I became 15, my family life was turned upside-down. My parents divorced.

After the divorce my sister and I remained in the custody of my mother. Everything remained basically the same. We stayed in the same house, went to the same school, played with the same toys and lived the same style of living that we had become accustomed to. The only significant change was the absence of my father. I have to admit at first it was fun. The discipline wasn't as strict anymore, and my sister and I could watch what we wanted on television. It was a virtual paradise -- for a while. Even though the money was better than it had been, thanks to Uncle Sam and my Dad's support, things began to change. Subtly at first. Then drastically.

My loving, caring Mother gradually morphed into something else right before my very eyes and took my sister with her. Without my father, my mother lost her sense of balance and just careened out of control. This is not to say that my father was cool and calm throughout all of these proceedings, it's just that he was more grounded. Even though my mother benefited monetarily from the divorce -- she got the house, the car, the welfare, the foodstamps, the tax breaks -- she in the interim lost her soul and morally we all suffered. Physically my mother is a strong woman and initially morally she was strong as well. Her one fatal flaw was that she didn't, or couldn't, think. She and her family were raised by a strong religious family who refused to practice independent thought and frowned on anyone who did. This become a dangerous combination: God and ignorance. This is a combination many black families fall victim to. Accepting another person's view on anything, be it religious or anything else, without question, is just an invitation for corruption. The reason why "black unity" has become an oxymoron because we concern ourselves too much with teaching our people what to think instead of how to think.

Imagine, if you will, being a headstrong testosterone-filled teenager who knows he was put here on earth to be a man but now has no guidance because his father is gone. Add to this situation that now you are being raised by a headstrong woman who doesn't even slightly understand the concept of manhood. In all fairness, I have to ask, how many women really do?

My father, on the other hand, lost everything from a financial standpoint yet he still continued to do what he could do to support us. Even though he received the short end of the stick because of a manipulative wife he quietly showed me what a true man is made of. He withstood all the slings and arrows that my mother had to offer. From the turning of his children against him (yes, me too), to the gossip she perpetuated, to the outright lies she spewed, he still remained a man of integrity.

When nature was my friend, I was omnipotent. God endowed me with the gift to control my surroundings in such a way that not only benefited me but others as well. He gifted me with manhood. Before I could fully comprehend this ability, I lost it. As a boy on the brink of manhood Ihad my anchor ripped from beneath me. I was a boy who loved his mama, sister, and eventually his niece who was to be born out of wedlock (in my opinion because of the lack of a father figure), and would do everything in his power to protect them. But by being exposed to and believing in the victimhood philosophy, I lost my powers, my passion.

In my efforts to please my mom I became enmeshed in the half-truths, near-truths and untruths of my mom's now liberal philosophies that were based on her emotions and selfish disposition rather than truths and facts. I too lost my way and I was too ignorant to know it. I found out the hard way what happens when you practice demagoguery, you can fly oh so high but when reality sets in you will come crashing down at warp speed.

Victimhood is as diametrically opposed to manhood as present day politics is to free thinking. When you raise a son to believe that he is a victim and is entitled to the privileges of being an American, you are in essence raising a punk.

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Note: New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.