In the historically significant novel, The Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison described the existence of an unnamed invisible black man in a way that had never been explored in American literature.
According to Wikepedia “The protagonist explains that light is an intellectual necessity for him since ‘the truth is the light and light is the truth.’ From this underground perspective, the narrator attempts to make sense out of his life, experiences, and position in American society.”
It is from this and recent media events that I am inspired to write about “The Invisible Family”.
Granted I recognize and appreciate that the definition of “black family” is bigger than typically referenced by mainstream standards. Grandmas and Grandpas raise grandones, Aunties and Uncles adopt nieces and nephews, Single Moms and Single Dads can definitely raise spectacular kids. I also realize that mainstream media is not obligated to explore the existence of the two parent African American families who love, nurture, protect and support the dreams of their children. I also understand that there are many historical and factual statistics that support the belief that the black family is in a state of crisis. But and still…I truly feel that my family, my friends’ families, my colleagues’ families and my classmates’ families are INVISIBLE. We are invisible because we know that we exist and yet everything around us says we do not. We make noise and no one hears. We wave and no one waves back. We graduate scholars and no one cares. We mind our own business but we are forced to be lumped into a category of dysfunctional statistics and studies simply because we are invisible.
My central theme is that the negative media images would lead a person outside of the U.S. to believe that the “2 parent happy black family living a fulfilled life” is invisible or nonexistent. My argument is that there are plenty of everyday examples outside of the “rich and famous”. For example, have you ever found it a difficult task to get a local media rep to come out and interview your family when it was hosting a reunion, or your church was having a revival, or a black greek organization’s community service event was going on….but let someone’s child throw a rock and hit a car…you see countless face to face interviews with the whole family across your screen.
Watch any 5:00 news interview-
News reporter: “Grandma, why do you think Raheem did such a thing?”
Grandma: “I sho don know, sho don know…tragedeee sho a shame”
Interviewer: “Oh and you…You are the child’s uncle correct?”
And you know how the rest goes.
My observation is that the good things we do are so-called boring events. Yet, every bad thing is news worthy. There are numerous examples of positive black families and family friendly and focused events going on in each of our communities. We know about them because many of us have either organized or been a part of them. We have to sometimes SPEND budgeted money just to publicize our own good deeds to ourselves (ex. black owned newspapers and magazines). Wouldn’t it be really nice if the local media published articles that we could cut and clip for our family scrapbooks? Or am I the only black woman who keeps such a thing these days? Am I the only mother who cares?
If our black family’s good deeds were to get as much airtime in mainstream media as the so-called “newsworthy events”… I believe that it would be easier for Hollywood to see our actresses and actors in better roles, toy manufacturers would find it easier to produce brown dolls and action figures, music executives would find it easier to fund positive lyrics, and the beat goes on. Most importantly, black children will find it easier to aspire, dream and achieve their dreams and then to one day start a family and not just have a baby.
“Education! Important GEAR for LIFE” is the HBCU kidz, Inc. call to action to try to connect with other like minded parents.
www.BlackParentConnect.com is a 21st century vehicle that can help us find one another and stay in touch with one another using technology.
“We get stronger as we link!”…it is important don’t U think?