“Don’t let the birth of your black daughter be the first time you respect a black woman”
My dad held me on a pedestal. In his eyes, I could do no wrong. I could tell that he cared for me by how present he was in my life. He was at every basketball game, every awards ceremony, every play, everything that was centered around his only daughter.
He respected me as an equal. He believed in my potential so much that many conversations were spent on talking about how much I was going to achieve and how successful I could be. My dad showed me how to be treated by a man, but he was flawed.
How he treated his daughter didn’t always transfer to how he treated women.
My dad was, for a lack of better words, a player. He was charming. Very charming. Growing up I noticed how women always gravitated towards him. Women. Plural.
When I was a teenager I witnessed my dad have several women rotating in and out of the house. Sometimes it seemed like he had a new friend for everyday of the week.
I don’t want to disclose all of his business (God rest his soul) but I witnessed him exhibit characteristics that he warned me about. The ain’t shit men I should avoid. For me, he was the perfect man. For women he courted (or whatever he was doing), he was exactly the type of man he didn’t want me to end up with.
He taught me to be strong and never fall for the type of man he was to other women. He taught my brothers that women were disposable.
The cognitive dissonance I experienced growing up caused me to rationalize the constant misogynoir I witnessed. Misogynoir from the hands of my father and brothers and close friends and other family members. It seemed all the men I knew were indoctrinated in the same poisoning patriarchal system.
I rationalized: “Maybe those women deserved to be played, but I’m different. I’m my father’s daughter.”
When he died I ended up with the exact type of guy my dad wouldn’t want me to end up with. Worse even. I had to realize I am not above any woman. I amevery woman. We all deserve to be treated better.
We are bombarded with images of black men holding guns with their daughter and her prom date. Black men are saying “Respect my daughter or I will end your life.” But are teaching their sons that is ok to be sexually irresponsible. Teaching their sons to be unemotional and detached when it comes to women and relationships.
You are teaching your daughters one thing, and telling your sons another, forgetting we have to meet up one day. Who will protect your daughter from someone’s son? A son that was brought up the same way you were. The same way you raised your son to be.
In Beyonce’s “Daddy Lessons” she explores how her dad taught her to be strong against men. In her chorus she repeats:
Her dad told her to “shoot.” Which is really reminiscent of images of daughters and their gun totting dad’s in prom photos.
Later she says:
Her father is preparing her to protect herself against men just like him. Like my father did for me. Like many fathers do for their daughters.
The problem with this message is that daughters that have a great relationship with their father want a man just like their father. Daddy’s girls are going through the world looking for men that can live up to the expectations set by their father. An expectation that can never be realized because not even our fathers lived up to the hype.
Don’t let the birth of your black daughter be the first time you respect a black woman cause her being your daughter won’t stop her from being affected by your sins.