Shonda Rhimes provoked the emotions of the nation once again with one of her latest episodes of Scandal entitled “Lawn Chair”, only this time the scandal didn’t involve political corrupt action or a series of heated sex scenes between Olivia and Fitz. The episode brought to prime time the harsh realities that our nation, and more specifically the Black community, has recently faced regarding police brutality, excessive force, the lives of young black men that have been lost, and the racial tension created as a result. I typically do not watch Scandal, yet as I scrolled through my Twitter feed, I could not ignore the many tweets about the “Ferguson” type episode. As I watched for myself, I must admit that I was overcome with many different emotions, yet what caught my attention most was the resilience and determination of the father, Clarence Parker. His stance led me to ponder what would’ve happened if the fathers of the fallen kings whose lives have been taken would have done the same thing.
When my oldest son was still in his mother’s womb, I spoke to him daily, promising like Mr. Parker, to protect him as best as I could. I told him that as long as he lives I would be there for him, to be present in his joys and pains, his victories and defeats. Now as my wife and I prepare to welcome our second son, I feel heightened pressure to ensure my sons are not undue victims of violence, police brutality, and other ills of life. In light of the latest Scandal episode, there are three things I believe happen when black fathers vow to protect their sons.
1. When black fathers protect their sons, their image is not compromised.
I believe that much of the violence that our young black men and boys encounter is due to the stereotype that our sons are thugs, criminals, vandals, and delinquents. Music, movies and other entertainment reinforce this image, displaying pant sagging, snapback wearing ingrates who disrespect authority and wreak havoc on inner city communities. When fathers vow to protect their sons, their image is restored. Fathers who protect their sons teach them how to act with class, how to dress, how to respect women and authorities, and more importantly, that they are kings and royalty, not thugs and niggas. The image of the son is elevated when fathers protect their sons because sons are following the example set by the father himself, one of respectability, integrity, and service.
2. When black fathers protect their sons, sons thrive.
Many of our successful black men credit their hard working mothers who made countless sacrifices and served as father and mother. We honor these mothers who were able to put their sons in a position for success, yet I believe that when fathers are present, more of our sons would have a greater trajectory to soar into greatness. The protection of fathers allow for the space sons need to know that their worth is not in the streets but in the school, not on the block but in the books, and not in the number of girls they have but the number of shots they put up in the gym… or any other areas of interest! Our sons would not quit when times get tough because the protective father would have set the example that quitters never prosper. Sons would thrive because fathers have cleared the path for them to be all they can be.
3. When black fathers protect their sons, sons live.
As I stated in above, the image of the son is elevated when fathers protect them. When the son’s image is elevated, he no longer becomes a target for hatred, violence and police brutality. The value of his life is appreciated and his life is not in jeopardy. I believe when fathers protect their sons, we will have more sons living and less of them dying. Our sons will be seen as assets to their communities and not threats, they will be valued for their contributions to society not devalued by their behavior. When black fathers protect their sons, they live long lives, raise families and repeat the cycle of protection instead of dying young, leaving sons, and repeating the cycle of destruction. When fathers protect their sons, sons live!
Mr. Parker was unable to keep his son alive but he was able to get justice. His commitment to protecting is son transcended his son’s living, ensuring that his son’s image was not compromised by the corrupt actions of the police. His stance to protect his son, cover him, and stand for him allowed the world to see, even if it was just a TV drama, what can happen when black fathers protect their sons!