Black parents must show more outward displays of affection to their children

The writer urges black parents to show more outward displays of affection to their children.
The writer urges black parents to show more outward displays of affection to their children.
Image: 123RF/HONGQI ZHANG

I was watching a local talk show recently where they talked about motherly love.

I found the show quite intriguing as the three hosts engaged on this topic on a personal tone.

Let me start by saying that two of the hosts were black and one coloured.

As these ladies reminisced about their motherly love, the one thing that stood out for me was that love is somewhat cultural.

All of them were talking about the same thing, but in different ways of expression.

One of the ladies confirmed that there is an existence of "black love".

She concluded that black parents love differently and this is inherent from one generation to another.

She said that black parents express love in the same way they received it from a young age.

This, then, becomes the manner in which they raise their children.

Of course this is subjective, but it's infrequent that parents would raise their children differently from how they were raised - maybe the financial factor could be the only difference.

This really hit home for me.

The other host further noted that black love is more routine-like; it ends with distant support and kind words, but never exerts physical connection such as hugging, caressing or even holding hands.

It is immensely limited and, quite frankly, this is not an ideal reality.

This limitation has actually affected a lot of family relationships, especially between mothers and their children.

This resonated perfectly with me because I have seen and observed how detached and unaffectionate love can be among black families and communities as a whole.

Seemingly, with all the agony that the black community endured from worldly wars of segregation, love and the expression of it took a back seat.

I guess there were other "significant" things to do rather than express love.

This has, unfortunately, been inherited and normalised to the extent that when black people express lots of love, it's declared surreal and strange.

The usual examples are typified when a father gives a son a handshake for a job well done without uttering a word; and, of course, a mother distantly comforting her children to keep strong as life was never promised to be easy.

Yes, words carry a lot of power and can heal tremendously, but sometimes physical contact is the best remedy and declaration of love.

Black love is not serving the black nation and needs to change; otherwise, black children will continue to carry it forward as if it's normal, but in the long run it is detrimental to family relations.

From today onwards, I sincerely plead with the black nation to portray public displays of affection everywhere until the world gets used to seeing them loving freely and affectionately without the need for withdrawal and limitation.

The "black love" ailment needs to perish and promptly so.

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