Monday, January 29, 2007

Black Men Doing Their Part in Their Community!

I have been conducting "The Men's Inquiry" for more than 10 years, providing a forum for men to discuss issues of importance to men One of the shortcomings to me of this "men's work" is that it has been made up of mostly white men and I wanted to see more diversity. It was with great humility and joy that I learned of Leroy McIntire and his work. This week, Thursday night, January 25, I drove from Raleigh to Laurinburg (100 + miles) to meet with Leroy and talk with a group of African American men who he brought together as a men's discussion team.

I met with some fine men in Laurinburg and hope they gained as much value from the interaction as I did. We shared the unique challenges of men but also the unique challenges of the White and Black cultures. My perception has been that the African American culture is characterized by very strong women who are often the core of the family and the strong role of the men is not always as clear. As we appreciate our history as a nation, we realize that there are many reasons for this condition.

I have heard many times from African American men, "I am black so what value would I have as a father except providing money." This attitude forces many young black boys to take on the 'father role' in their own family. Becoming the little man in the house can produce resentment towards older men. In addition many Black women sometimes don't have a lot of trust in the ability of a black man to provide for his family, take a leadership role, and be present as a father, due to many reasons. This is a problem for all of us and this creates a challenge for the men who truly want to take back their communities, be responsible for their families and be the leaders and the fathers they are meant to be. When joining together they are faced with simple resistance and suspicion "Why are the black men getting together without any women--What are they up to." The men I talked with were not a part of the problems--they were about realistic solutions.

What can be done to overcome the perceived resistance and suspicion? These men pointed out that more and more African American women are ready to support and give more trust to men having seen how the absence of strong fathers can help fill our prisons with their sons. These men are insightful and understand they have to address the unique situations in their own community and earn the community trust before they are able to move forward. They also have the courage to take the task on. I was so honored that they trusted me to partner with them in our mission to help men be better fathers, leaders, and partner; that I had to write this note today.

I look forward to the next time they allow me to learn with them in the pursuit of their calling. Please take a moment to see the website and if you see something you could do to help, please offer it! When I got to know Leroy he quickly became one of my hero's now I have 5 more men on the same path in Laurinburge NC. I want to publicly thank them for what they are taking on.

For when boys don't have enough father and mentoring support they tend to act out in society and that is a cost to all of us!

M.E.L.O's Web site:

Martin Brossman

From the Men's Inquiry blog: