The family is the genesis of all societies. It is the launching pad for many individuals and helps to prepare them for assimilating with wider society. Understanding the sub units and types of families gives us more clarity. It allows us to appreciate each person and the difficulties they overcome in life.
Every culture has its distinct rules by which a family is governed, and the African/Caribbean family is no exception. The Indians, Chinese, and Africans are some of the largest ethnic groups in the Caribbean and the rules vary.
The History of the Black Family
Let’s explore one common family type and a little known element of their history within the Americas and Caribbean.
Single Family Homes
Single-family homes are at a great disadvantage culturally, socio-economically, socially, financially, and psychologically as well as scholastically. That’s a lot of disadvantages down our ‘ally’ and it is a real handicap that many people do not overcome. Regardless, we must gain understanding to fight harder to dig ourselves out of from any disadvantages.
Single family homes in the black community usually are exposed to elevated levels of crime and violence, unemployment, incest, and discrimination. This essentially adds limitations to the mother’s ability to provide for her children. As such, single-parent families usually have high rates of absenteeism and dropouts, because children need to earn a living to help support the family.
The eldest child is usually expected to make this great sacrifice so that the younger children can eat and at least complete primary school. A responsibility that should be shouldered by the absent father.
Growing up in a single-family home robs a person of the fulsome benefits that a two-parent household can provide. This is discussed more in-depth in the book The Caribbean Family.
The absence of the father means added stress and demands on a mother. It means potential disadvantages in future relationships for a young girl. It means not having an example of how to be a husband and a father, for a young boy. That is the main reason, why there is a proliferation of single-family units in the Caribbean and the Americas. Because the example that is left, for boys, is that of an absent father; never seeing a man, in the home supporting his spouse. It leaves an indelible mark on the conscious, and subconscious minds of young children.
But where did this practice originate among black families?
THE WILLIE LYNCH SYNDROME
When you look back at the life, experiences, and history of the black Caribbean or black American people and want to know why we operate the way we do, the letter below explains it all.
Here in Jamaica, over 200 years after his death, the Willie Lynch syndrome is prevalent in our society. He drafted a devastating blueprint for the black family. One that has impacted us negatively behaviorally, psychologically, and in every other way possible.
However, the key to breaking this proliferating cycle is to gain knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. In the bible, Hosea 4:6, states “for lack of knowledge, my people perish.” Knowledge is power and that is why I included the letter here. So that you can reflect on its words and purpose and make a 180-degree turn, away from the path of destruction that he wanted for the black race.
Keep in mind, 2012 was 300 years since Willie, gave his speech; 2022 will make 310 years.
I greet you here on the bank of the James River in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and twelve. First, I shall thank you, the gentlemen of the Colony of Virginia, for bringing me here. I am here to help you solve some of your problems with slaves. Your invitation reached me on my modest plantation in the West Indies, where I have experimented with some of the newest, and still the oldest, methods for control of slaves. Ancient Rome would envy us if my program were implemented.
As our boat sailed south on the James River, named for our illustrious King, whose version of the Bible we cherish, I saw enough to know that your problem is not unique. While Rome used cords of wood as crosses for standing human bodies along its highways in great numbers, you are here using the tree and the rope on occasions. I caught the whiff of a dead slave hanging from a tree, a couple of miles back. You are not only losing valuable stock by hangings, but you are also having uprisings, slaves are running away, your crops are sometimes left in the fields too long for maximum profit, you suffer occasional fires, your animals are killed. Gentlemen, you know what your problems are; I do not need to elaborate. I am not here to enumerate your problems; I am here to introduce you to a method of solving them.
In my bag here, I have a full-proof method for controlling your black slaves. I guarantee every one of you that, if installed correctly, it will control the slaves for at least 300 hundred years. My method is simple. Any member of your family or your overseer can use it. I have outlined a number of differences among the slaves, and I take these differences and make them bigger. I use fear, distrust, and envy for control purposes. These methods have worked on my modest plantation in the West Indies, and it will work throughout the South. Take this simple little list of differences and think about them.
For more information on The Caribbean Family, get a copy of the book, which is available at online book retailers.
About the writer:
Denise N. Fyffe is a published author of over 40 books, for more than ten years and enjoys volunteering as a Counselor. She is a trainer, publisher, author, and writing mentor; helping others to achieve their dreams.
Check out her book The Caribbean Family
The family is the genesis of all societies. Every culture has its distinct rules by which a family is governed, and the Caribbean family is no exception. Those rules differ within each group; for the Indians, Chinese, and Africans. Making up most of the population in the Caribbean, African families have spawned several sub-units or types; some of which are unique to the African culture. This book explores each family type and their history within the Caribbean.
Available at all online book retailers and Amazon.com