Black men & Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Today, many folks are wearing red to raise awareness about domestic violence. A little while ago, I posted a commentary on witnessing some physical abuse and feeling powerless. Well, my good friend and colleague Jewel Woods offers a great personal reflection and conversation starter entitled “Stop the Hammer.”
Men sometimes use intoxication as an excuse for unacceptable behavior. We do know that alcohol often acts as an uninhibitor that gives people the courage to do things they may not while sober. Whenever I talk with black men about the role of alcohol in abuse, I remind them of how white lynch mobs would frequently get drunk to make it easier for them to unleash violence on black bodies and black communities. Drinking is never a reason for committing acts of violence, whether it is against minorities or women.
Men often offer other explanations: “She pushed my buttons,” “I lost control,” or, worse, “it wasn’t that bad.” Men need tools and insights to be able to avoid those traps. It is essential that we start talking to our boys about violence. Like the age-old adage, “to a hammer, everything looks like a nail,” violence can become the signature tool in a man’s toolbox and is used to try and fix every problem.
Jewel’s piece got me thinking about continuing to challenge each other (Black men) to take different approach to our lives and to everyday therapy. If we always need a good ol’ social lubricant like Maker’s Mark, we’ll probably miss the mark when it comes to holding each other accountable.