The wife at home and the other woman on the outside. Is this type of behaviour one that is instilled into Black men right inside their very homes from an early age?
How many of you reading this article have encouraged your teenage son or some other teenage male, that it is perfectly within reason for them to date more than one female, using their youthful age as justification? Be honest.
There is a reason why I asked. I have interacted with friends and relatives with teenage boys, who without question, encourage this type of behaviour. This past week alone, I witnessed this same admonition directed towards a 17 year old male. Immediately, my instinct was to interject my thoughts on the advice given but on second thought, I refrained and reserved my thoughts for conversation with the adults.
My dedicating column inches to this issue is based on the sentiment that so often comes from our Black women, bemoaning the scarcity of a good' Black man. Statements often propagated speak towards Black men being perennial cheaters' and other such harsh references.
In this vein, so too I have often heard some teenage male's Mom advising him to seek, explore and experience multiple women and not let their young heart be caught up'. Great looking out Mom! To an extent I agree with what the Mother may be trying to bring across to her son, in that a teenager at seventeen perhaps does not fully grasp what real love is and should seek various experiences to see what it is they like in a woman as they grow older.
Perhaps I may have just shot myself in the foot with that previous thought as I also have a contentious bone with the parent who is advising her son along this path. The question I wish for you to consider is, can this repeated advice perhaps not be conceived as one of the possible origins of socialising our young black men into being non-committal towards women?
I may be going out on a limb here but is it acceptable that a teenager who has just started to date be given their parent's blessing to see different women? I asked a female parent who shares this thread of advice to her young son how she can expect to raise a young man, whom she would wish to be respectful towards women, yet telling him it is acceptable for him to go out with as many girls as possible?
For some young black men it can be said that their unfaithful tendencies towards women could possibly, amongst other factors, be attributed to learnt behaviour. Growing up, he sees it as socially acceptable to be with as many women as he can because it is the done thing. His parents sanction it and maybe too he sees most of the men around him involved in such behaviour.
So why then does that mother who gave that repeated advice become angry when her son, now an adult, develops a reputation for being a bit of a ladies man? Did she not encourage him to have as many women as possible whilst he was in that impressionable teenage phase? It is taught behaviour, instilled right there in the home.
There is the reverse argument that says once that teenager becomes an adult, he should have outgrown such behaviour. A useful argument no doubt but is it a wholesome one? In my view, it goes back to the age old nature versus nurture argument. Some parents instil in their teenage sons that such behaviour is fine, yet once they reach adulthood; they expect an automatic change of actions.
You may say, well, if that child grows up in a loving two-parent household where he sees his father being respectful and loving towards his mom, then surely he must learn and take something away from that sort of daily expression. Possibly. But let me throw in a ratchet. What if that same father is telling his son in chorus with his wife or girlfriend, not to be tied at such a young age with any one woman? There is possible confusion in the message directed towards that teenager. He sees the physical representation of commitment and love between his parents yet he also notices the psychological positioning against having one partner, a position that is admonished by his so madly in love parents. Which message does the young man adhere to as he blossoms into adulthood?
Photo Credit to Blog Talk Radio
Jeevan Robinson is Editor-in-Chief of MNI Alive. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org