One of the most troubling issues facing African-American males today is the reality that the things we should shun and repudiate have become standard fare and cultural. Many African-American males fail to understand that not only do they matter, but also the choices that they make have a definite, often irreversible, impact upon those who rely upon us, particularly our family (wife, children, brothers, sisters, mothers, brothers, fathers, cousins, etc.).
It is not a secret that African-American males are viewed in a negative light by those within and without the race in regards to their assuming the traditional role of “head-of-household.” Unfortunately, it appears that African-American males are all too comfortable with the disintegration of their homes, family, and community due to infidelity.
Now I am certain that your natural tendency to defend African-American males for their part in this process; however, I ask that you quiet that natural knee-jerk reaction and consider the reality that this situation, meaning infidelity, has been embraced and promoted by many African-American males, and more than a few African-American females. Quite possibly, the most succinct sign that such individuals are not bothered by the downward spiral that African-American marriages and homes have been in for quite some time is found on the local airwaves of Houston, Texas, with their championing the song, Sidepiece; this recording is on The Louisiana Blues Brothers “Love on the Bayou” album. The reality that this recording situates itself within a long and storied tradition of African-American songs about infidelity and the destruction of homes makes it no more acceptable.
Sidepiece is particularly poignant because it begins with a father asking his child to put their mother on the phone, once she gets on the line, he relates that he “ain’t never coming back home.” He has apparently decided to leave his home, and by extension his children, in favor of “his sidepiece”. Although the demise of what is supposed to be sacred marriages and homes is nothing new, the recent tendency to champion such occurrences is in a word, despicable.
Quite possibly, the most disturbing aspect of this matter is that our community no longer shuns or disapproves the disintegration of marriage, apparently the “for better or worse” and “forsake all others” portion of marriage vows are little more than words that we ritualistically recite with little meaning. Quite possibly the greatest barometer of where we are as a people is found in the reality that Sidepiece is quite possibly the most requested song on the airwaves in Houston, Texas. And for that we should all be embarrassed and ashamed.
While in the throes of drinking, dancing, revelry, and celebration, African-American males rarely pause to consider the cost of acquiring a sidepiece and beginning the process that always leads to the damaging, if not destruction of the homes that African-American children are being raised within. And for me, that is an amazingly insane price to pay for a sidepiece that comes “a dime a dozen.”
James Thomas Jones III, Ph.D.
©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2015