February 5, 2010

Confronting the lie of Black inferiority TOWARD A RENAISSANCE FOR THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN FAMILY: CONFRONTING THE LIE OF BLACK INFERIORITY 


By Enola G. Aird

I. THE HARDEST QUESTION

How do we extinguish—once and for all—the lie of black inferiority that continues to undermine the ability of black people to love themselves and to love each other? That, in my view, is the hardest question regarding law, religion, and the African-American family that will have to be faced over the next twenty-five years.

Like all families in the United States today, black families are facing profound challenges.  Marriage rates are low.  Divorce rates and the rates of births to unmarried women are high.  These and other disturbing trends are especially pronounced in the black community. African-American families, in addition, carry the weight of unique challenges that are grounded in the past, but still reverberate today. The black family has been under siege for centuries. Black people in the United States endured more than two hundred years of family-crushing enslavement and another hundred years of humiliation under Jim Crow. Even with the dramatic changes brought about by the movement for civil rights, continuing racial and economic discrimination (and, until recently, family-dividing welfare policies) have put black and white families on vastly unequal footings.

 

In spite of these difficulties, an amazing number of black people have managed to succeed. But the constant assaults have worn many families down.