In my work in sex addiction therapy, I come across men of all ethnic backgrounds struggling in this area. While the White sex addict may have just as many partners as the Black addict (some with over 200 partners while with their spouse), there is one major difference. Can you guess what it is? It’s the condom. The tendency is for white guys to act out sexually taking more precautions to use a condom while black clients ignore the need for contraception, thus perpetuating the trend of single-mothers left to fend for themselves.
What I see and hear are Black men steeped in their addiction having indiscriminate sex without protection only to suffer the consequences of being a father to numerous out-of-wedlock children with multiple mothers (aka “baby mommas).
Statistics show just over 70% of African-Americans births are out-of-wedlock compared to nearly 30% of Whites. In other words, the Black community is facing a continuing trend of having another generation of boys and girls being raised with limited adult supervision, role-modeling, or parental care. Without the necessary attachment of love, care, and connection from a father or father-figure, young Black men and women will remain stuck in a cultural cesspool of poverty, crime, and social and educational inequity.
One client shared of being one of nine children and having several step-fathers in his life which impacted his sense of relational safety. Also, the large family meant having difficulty garnering his mother’s attention while competing with other siblings. “I just wanted more of a mother-son relationship such as going out with my own and doing stuff with her. It just felt like her love with me was diluted and I wanted more time.”
Black fathers need to step up and start raising their families instead of abandoning their babies and leaving children feeling unwanted, neglected, and left to the vices of the streets. Black celebrities and other high profile African-American leaders need to send a strong message that songs, shows, and other forms of entertainment that cater to glorifying drugs, sex, and violence need to stop being marketed to young, impressionable youth (Black or otherwise). The following are lyrics from some of the top hip hop songs of 2012:
I got that hot bitch in my home
You know how many hot bitches I own?
Don’t let me get in my zone [x4]
New God Flow Lyrics by Kanye West Featuring Ghostface Killah & Pusha T)
[Verse 1: Pusha T]
I believe there’s a God above me
I’m just the god of everything else
I put holes in everything else
“New God Flow,” fuck everything else
Supreme dope dealer, write it in bold letters
They love a nigga’s spirit like Pac at the Coachella
They said Pusha ain’t fit with the umbrella
But I was good with the Yay as a wholesaler
I think it’s good that ‘Ye got a blow dealer
When I was growing up the music was a bit tamer but the themes still revolved around sex and money. The message (as I interpreted them as a boy), was that having multiple sexual partners was the means to feel strong, masculine, powerful and important. Song lyrics can leave an indelible and subliminal mark on a young mind. It took a lot of time to change my own distorted perceptions of women, relationships, and healthy sexuality based on what I absorbed in this context.
If we want to change the urban culture, we need to address the messages inundating the communities through music and pop culture. I was fortunate enough to have other Asian-American role models, sports programs, and churches that kept me off the streets and rebuffed the lure of gangs, drug-dealing, and violence. It’s time more African-Americans invest in their communities and show the younger generation how to be real men.
Sam Louie is a psychotherapist in private practice licensed in the state of Washington as a mental health counselor and sex offender treatment provider affiliate. Sam is a first generation Asian-American who grew up on the border of the Rainier Valley. Consequently, he is keenly aware of the role of multi-cultural sensitivity when working with minorities and Asian populations, especially when it intersects with compulsive/addictive behaviors. He received his master’s degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in marriage & family therapy from Azusa Pacific University in Southern California. Sam is also a lecturer at Northwest University on cultural and race issues to help foster better understanding, sensitivity, and awareness of issues related to Asian and ethnic cultures. Find out more about him at www.samlouiemft.com
Category: Men's Issues