Letter from America with KENNETH MUFUKA
The third Sunday of this month is Fathers’ Day in the United States. For our African American brothers, the celebrations are half-hearted and go nowhere near the rambunctious memorials associated with the heroic “black mothers who father many a young man”.
The reasons are not difficult to fathom and the statistics are even gloomier. With 70% single black mothers, there are many less in-house fathers than missing
We will mention only a few in passing as our aim is to discuss the why and the how such a syndrome can be overcome.
While the US black population is only 11% of the total (320 million), 40% of the residents in US Federal prisons are people of colour. There is something wrong
In 1992 the renowned black psychologist, Dr Claude M Steele, Provost at Columbia University, wrote in the Atlantic Monthly about the massive failure rate of black students falling behind their white counterparts in their college studies.
“More than half of black college students fail to complete their degree work, for reasons that have nothing to do with innate ability or environmental
conditioning. The problem, is that they are undervalued, in ways that are sometimes subtle and sometimes not,” he wrote. The figures then, as now, reveal a
horrendous waste of resources. “Seventy percent of all black Americans at four-year colleges do at some point in their academic careers drop out.” (1)
(Atlantic Monthly, April 1992 p 69)
If Steele had separated black males from females, the picture would have been even more horrifying.
Black women are generally at par with their white student counterparts. More, black females are preferred (affirmative action) in employment than black males.
If Steele had looked at the school principals’ records of kids sent to the office for non-compliance, as former president Barack Obama did, he would have found
that 90% were black boys even where their numbers were minuscule.
In my small home town, just three weeks ago, police found 40 gun shells after what they codified as a “fire-fight” between two rival youth gangs. In another
“showdown”, 60 bullet shells were found.
Brother William Raspberry was an ambassador to South Africa where he became interested in wild-life studies. In his own words, he befriended a Makulu Muzungu, who had retired from Kruger National Park.
Makulu was requested to return to his former position as a horrible situation had arisen. The normally happy-go-lucky young male elephants had turned rogue,
romping, storming and killing hippos and other animals without cause.
Muzungu, after meticulous data collection, found that the bull elephants he had left were no longer in the herd.
They had been transferred to the Trans-Limpopo Park. He advised that they be returned urgently and within few weeks the park returned to its normal peaceful
President Donald Trump, whether from cost-effective consciousness or not, we do not know, expressed to Congress that the “three-strike, you are out” had the effect of sending young blacks to prolonged jail sentences — averaging 15 years at a time.
This law was passed by Bill Clinton’s Democrats in 1992.
Also, two felons — one black, one white — are often given vastly different sentences.
The gun violence is often blamed on the loose gun laws. There are two categories. There are people who have gone “postal” and those who, like Columbine boys,
shot up their school mates.
The Virginia Beach shooter, two weeks ago, was the only black shooter in a long line of killers who went postal.
The term postal came from shooters who once worked for the US Postal Service and thought that their jobs were terminated unfairly.
This feeling of “unfairness” applied to the Virginia shooter as well.
While there are procedures, the justice system has become labyrinthine, to the extent that the average court hearing takes two to three years.
The Columbine shooters, D Kleebold and his friend, built a vast armoury in the basement and recorded their feelings on video.
They were rich white kids who were attention-seeking and wanted 10 minutes on national television.
This fits Raspberry’s allegory of the missing makulu elephants.
The Conservatives, the Rifle Association, and Christian organisations fall on the side of what Progressives call rightwing irredeemable deplorable.
The deplorables, who generally support Trump, argue that without exception so far, the “gun shooters”, as they are called, have all been male.
The deplorables argue that the general trend by Progressives in destroying the manly exercises, rituals and all-male cohorts, such as Boy Scouts, all- male
hunting clubs, and the celebration of gay life, has removed those aspects of life that once gave outlet to the killer instinct in the male child.
Lord Baden Powell developed the idea of Boy Scouts while serving in Ghana.
Ghanaian rites of passage for boys, also replicated throughout Africa, were to channel the killer male instinct into socially useful rituals and
A rambunctious boy was allowed to expend his Goliath instincts in protecting his village from foraging monkeys bent on stealing food from his people’s
Gender fluidity removes the manly qualities of such heroic deeds, asserting that girls can be as fierce warriors as boys.
The final blow came with opening the leadership of Boy Scouts troops to gay team leaders, and co-mingling girls and boys.
There has been a general movement supposedly in favour of the girl child whereby all barriers to maleness are removed.
The California education system, the largest in the US, has introduced three-year kids to the idea that gender is fluid, and that they can choose the gender they like, later in life.
In early stages kids do not decide whether they are boys or girls.
The deplorables believe that by confusing nature, characteristics which were channelled by rituals into purposeful practices eventually find their way into
Progressives believe that all this is wrong diagnosis. The real enemy is the availability of guns to every Tom, Dick and Harry.
While it is true that the Second Amendment allows every US citizen to own a gun, all the violent gun shootings in the last 10 years have been done by people
who owned guns lawfully.
The Virginia Beach shooter had served in the US army for six years as an expert in tactical assignment.
While he had more than seven guns, complete with silencers and bum stocks (transforming his guns into semi-automatic guns), surely his previous assignment
would have given him some expertise.
The brother (we are discouraged from naming him as he requested some anonymity) was a loner. There is no known history of a father figure, or a family.
Black churches are coming up with innovative ways to curtail violence and non-compliance among black males.
The Baptist Brotherhood requires that each black male adopt a boy and mentor him into manhood from an early age of three.
The saint so assigned makes contact with the boy for a school lunch together at least once a month and takes the boy fishing and hunting.
All this makes good theory, and Raspberry would have approved. The problem I found with my two boys was that they were surrounded by too many women.
Master Tay had three grandmothers alive and six sisters and was the only boy in the family.
Master DeTrell had thee grandmothers also, his father had moved away, none of his grandfathers were known to me or to DeTrell.
The boys must return to the environment from which they came. Master DeTrell was on suspension because he called his white teacher “ugly”.
There was no reason for this action except an attempt to appear brave.
I have promised to take DeTrell to Zimbabwe where I will allow him to defend our food and camp from the fierce Vumba Mountain monkeys.
Raspberry’s solution of placing rambunctious young males seems to be on target, but difficult to implement in the face of all those empowered women interfering
with the wisdom and direction of the makulus.
There is no solution to male violence in sight.
But Africans can learn what Baden Powell and Raspberry learned — that young males need to blow off their rebellious spirits through ritualised violent games.