I remember my grandma telling me how there was lack of transportation back in the day. Coming from a rural, predominately black community, she and most of her acquaintances had to walk to just about every destination in town. My grandma (and probably yours) always complain about how she doesn’t understand the generations descended after hers. “Oh my God, I just don’t understand you all”, she would preach, “A long time ago, we (her family) didn’t have cars like talkin’ about, but somehow, we always made it a point to visit one another. We just walked”.
Even though I dread the complaints about my generation, I must admit that my grandma has a valid point: things just aren’t how they used to be when it comes to black families. It’s something that is disappointing; black families are now missing the unity that was once prominent within our culture.
Why is there is a lack of unity black families? Let’s break it down real quick. There are in fact, many reasons that contribute to black family separations and one of them happens to be envy. It’s sad to say that jealousy seems to be a policy within African American families these days. Is it because your sister’s kids turned out better than yours? Was it because your cousin got to live in a fancy house all of his life, but you and your mama had to struggle? Whatever the case may be, black families must find a way to remove envy and replace it with the initial unity our ancestors fought for.
How could jealousy be eliminated within black families? The solution is quite simple: support. We need to start supporting each other more. Please don’t overdraft your bank account or anything like that; I’m only emphasizing that we need to be there emotionally for our family members. Emotional support is the foundation of unity; when we all unite; the bond will be sacred and powerful.
A prime example of this would be the Lyons. Yes, the fictional family of the television series Empire. The Lyons are portrayed as a dysfunctional family, lathered with soap opera drama, but no matter how messy things get between them, they manage to stick together. We could learn a thing or two from the first family of Empire about how impactful unity can be within black families. I can recall a quote from the show that emphasizes my point: “We’re family; we stick together. Why you think they call us Lyons?”
Family Will Always Be Family
Just like the Lyons, all families run into problems that may lead to the manifestation of jealousy. However, we can’t allow those feelings to divide our own “empires”. We need to remember that the foundation of family is unity; the root of unity is support. Instead of tearing each other down, we need to build each other up.
As a family, it is important to check on each other. You would be surprised at what your own family members are going through. How could we know what’s up when we don’t even bother to make a one-minute phone call to see if they’re alive? That cousin who lives in that big house in the suburbs could be battling with depression. That aunt and uncle that are still married by law, may not even sleep in the same room anymore. On the outside looking in, other people’s lives appear to be pure bliss, but nothing is what it seems.
That’s why it is so important for black families to emotionally support each other by just showing up. Unity is impossible without everyone’s participation. If you can go to a family reunion, THEN GO. Spend more holidays together. Make it a point to visit each other more often. The bond between black family members may not be exactly how they were during the earlier days of my grandma, but we can be the generation to revive the unity that once existed.
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