It has not gone without my notice, the organization Black Lives Matter Foundation has chosen for whatever reason to exclude a critical person necessary in the formation of children and development of an egalitarian just society. I and my father have been excluded from participation and progress.
An Analysis of Black Lives Matter Foundation Inc.
In the commitments expressed by the Black Lives Matter Foundation Inc., as those commitments relate to family, why are there no mentions of fathers? Black Lives Matter Foundation Inc., expresses in the context of families the following:
“We make our spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. We dismantle the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” so that they can mother in private even as they participate in public justice work” (source: https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/).
“We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable” (source: https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/).
In the initial analysis, there are repeated mentions of “we make space…” for different members of the Black community, yet no mention of fathers. Individuals whose presence is critical to the perpetuation of future individuals to create what BLM Network terms as a “beloved community.” (This is a conception thoroughly developed by Reverend Dr. Martin L. King Jr.)
Allow me to address a few elephants in the room. One must distinguish between the organization Black Lives Matter Foundation Inc., which by its own explanation is a global organization of member chapters. The organization is a 509 (a) (2) which received its status from the Internal Revenue Service in 2015. The phrase “Black Lives Matter” represents an ontological assertion of value, dignity, and worth regarding the quality of being for persons with “black” skin or who have phenotypical traits which are assigned to a particular group of people. It is important to note the acceptance and advocacy of the latter formulation does not necessitate support and agreement with the former.
In an interview with Jared Ball of The Real News Network, Patrisee Cullors one of the three founders of the Black Lives Matter Foundation responds to a critique by Jalil Abdul Muntaqim a former member of the Black Liberation Army concerning the lack of ideological direction within the foundation. Miss Cullors responds to the critique,
“The first thing, I think, is that we actually do have an ideological frame. Myself and Alicia in particular are trained organizers. We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories. And I think that what we really tried to do is build a movement that could be utilized by many, many black folk” (July 22, 2015).
There is a contradiction which exists regarding the aims of the Black Lives Matter Foundation and the founders of the Marxist ideology formulated by Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Frederich Engels (1820-1895), specifically concerning persons of African descent. Marxism as an ideology asserts a universality which presents the inclusion of people in the participation and the benefits of labor, yet excludes non-White persons. According to Moore (1974), Marxism uses the “West as the yardstick, Marxism-Leninism measures the rest of the world…and finds it wanting. What was strictly European and temporal becomes “universal” and “definitive” (Moore, 1974, p.125). Marx reflects in the text The Poverty of Philosophy (1846-1847) concerning slavery. On slavery, Marx summarized the slavery of Blacks particularly in America, as a critical and valuable economic variable in the relationship to world commerce. He further observed slavery as critical to restrain patriarchal tribalism and sustain a progressive modern society such as America. Mr. Engels doubles down on slavery by stating, “without slavery of antiquity, no modern socialism” (Engels, 1969, p.216).
Moore (1974) argues in the presence of a slaveholding nation-America-the common knowledge about the origins of those slaves and the conditions of slavery, Marx and Engels position was dictated by one overriding factor, there correct appreciation of the material benefits accruing to the Aryan nations from there enterprise of world conquest” (p.145). The Marxist ideology embraced and asserted by the Black Lives Matter Foundation demonstrates a poor framework to support advancement for individuals in particular and for those who ascent to a particular perspective of Blackness in general.
The Importance of Fathers
After reviewing the commitments of the Black Lives Matter Foundation in general and specifically to family, I find no place in the proposed“beloved community” the organization is committed to establishing. There is an irony within this situation an organization which presents itself as informed by Marxist principles of universalism and solidarity and catalyzed by the death of a Black male, chooses to exclude a person such as myself from this supposed universal and beloved community.
I understand in the last decades the reality of fatherhood has come under assault by hyper-Feminism and a strong pendulum swing towards diminishing the presence and impact of men. The commitment in various spheres to marginalize and in some cases silence the voice and limit the influence of males under some notion of justice has had the negative affect of creating injustice in the lives of males. How strange it is we are calling for justice for Black Americans while simultaneously creating an injustice against Black Males who are fathers.
Fathers are important. We are necessary for the procreation of the next generation. The next generation who will make the community of men, women, and children who would populate these beloved communities of BLM Foundation. Why are fathers important in general and Black fathers important specifically?
The Presence of Fathers
Briefly, a 2013 CDC study was conducted and investigated father involvement with children between 2006-2010. The study involved a national sampling of 10,403 men. The results of the study reported fathers who were in residence with children had greater participation than those fathers who lived outside of the residence (Jones & Mosher, 2013). The study considered activities such as having meals, recreation with children, hygiene, communication about the day, and extracurricular activities. According to Jones and Mosher (2013) fathers who were married or cohabiting with children self-reported as doing “a good job” as a father, 45% and 41% respectively, in contrast to married and cohabiting fathers who did not live with children. These fathers self-reported 28% and 24% respectively. Now when we dig into Black males (N = 2,449) 86% of these men reported doing a “good job/a very good job” as fathers, whereas those who did not live with one or more of his children reported doing a “good job/a very good job” at 56.4%.
Two take aways. One there is an impact on the dignity and self-worth of a father who lives with his children and taking the opportunities to have an active role in the formation of those children. Second, we can see the impact such nearness has on Black fathers. There are more Black fathers who are living with and caring for their children than well-meaning advocates would have us to believe. If one could offer rhetoric and passion offering as a solution communal influence in the place of fatherly presence and influence, Marxist ideology serves an appropriate framework. Yet when this same framework has roots in ethnic superiority what type of community would actually appear?
The Agency of Fathers
For Marxist ideology, the dissolution of the family of which we are all familiar requires the dissolution of capitalism and private property (Marx & Engels, 1848). The Black Lives Matter Foundation has wedded itself to a way of thinking, which to create its “beloved community,” necessitates a fundamental change of societal and economic elements which will include the family.
Speaking directly to my friends who are categorized as Black males in our society. I applaud our progress. I applaud the involvement of fathers who are married, non-married, and live elsewhere, who are actively involved in the lives of children. You are maintaining a responsibility which will be emulated in your own children at a future point. The facts demonstrate our presence is critical to our own formation and the formation of our children. Therefore, it is my strong encouragement to each of you, assert “black lives matter.” Assert this slogan as a means to maintain and catalyze other Black males to be actively involved in the lives of children. Critique and when necessary resist any ideology which diminishes your agency as a human being and restricts your present active involvement in those who will carry on your legacy.
Our progress depends on you.
Jones, J., & Mosher W.D., (2013). Fathers’ Involvement with there children: United States, 2006-2010. National Health Statistics Reports; No. 71, p.1-21.
Marx, K., & Engels, F., (1884). The Communist Manifesto. (Arcturus: London).
Moore, Carlos. (1974). Were Marx and Engels White Racists?: THE PROLET-ARYAN OUTLOOK OF MARXISM. Berkeley Journal of Sociology, 19, 125-156. Retrieved August 12, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/41035216.
Engels, Frederick (1820-1895), Anti-Duhring, (Lawrence and Wishart, London, 1969), p.216, 5th Print.