University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Making Case Teaching
Audrey Edwards’ essay “Making the Case for Teaching our Boys to… ‘Bring Me Home a Black Girl’” explains the ideas and reasons behind the need to impress upon black men the importance of marrying within the race. It presents a strongly ethnocentric view of the marital situation, citing this as an important step in the preservation of the black race and culture. The essay considers the influence of the media over the minds of black people, identifying the dominance of its white images.
It identifies areas in which this influence has led to the erosion of the black family and community through interracial marriages that dilute the black-content of the unions’ offspring. The essay also cites examples of successful and educated members of the African American community that adhere to the idea of marrying within the race as a method of fortifying it financially and ensuring its continued prosperity. In making these points, Edwards uses a number of discursive techniques to strengthen her argument and make her case more understandable and cogent to her audience.
The subject of the essay is the marital choices of black men of this era. The author seeks to make a point that black men should choose marital partners from within the black race. Audrey Edwards begins by demonstrating with clarity how she has impressed it upon her step-son that marrying a black woman is the way to please her. She expresses the opinion that the training up of the black man should include lessons on how to marry just as much as it includes lessons on attitude. She writes that it is a “mother’s role in imparting to male children what’s expected when it comes to marriage” (Edwards, par. 3).
Her idea is that active parenting should be able to combat the problem currently being faced of black men marrying outside of the race. With constant authoritative reminders of what is expected of them regarding marriage, it is the author’s opinion that parents can inculcate in black people’s minds how unthinkable it should be to engage in inter-racial marriage. The audience to which this essay is directed is a predominantly black one. It directly comprises black fathers and mothers as well as black sons, as Edwards considers that “the issue might be addressed by something as simple and basic as child rearing” (par.
4). The essay, therefore, speaks to these parents on how to go about letting their sons know precisely where to go to choose a mate. It also seeks to convince those black parents who need convincing that they should take a stand in promoting black marriage within their households and communities. Yet the essay’s audience is also indirectly made up of yet-to-be married black men and women who have the potential to be produce and rear the next generation of black children. These potential parents have the opportunity to make right and wrong choices concerning their mates.
The author desires to focus their attention on black members of the opposite sex and to deter them from choosing outside their race. Finally, the author’s message is intended to be filtered down even to small children, as she seeks to promote the bombardment of these children with positive images of black persons within homes and other places where they spend their time. The persona of the essay is its author who, as a black woman, has witnessed the migration of black men from the black race and their gravitation toward white women as life partners.
This she has considered to be an affront to black women in general and specifically to herself, who has no ammunition against an Anglo-centric media that promotes white women as beautiful and black women as the opposite. This persona takes the point of view also of a mother, who considers it her responsibility to contribute to the reversal of this problem by teaching her son values that would deter him from acting in the same way toward black women.
The purpose of the essay is to provide cogent arguments to persons of authority that would induce them to promote the purity of the black race and dissuade black men from marrying outside of the race. Edwards’ describes the essay as one that seeks to promote the adage, “Bring me home a black girl,” as one that has become somewhat of a commandment in the black community. She writes, “It’s one of those commandments Ugo has heard from me most of his life, right up there with ‘Don’t do drugs,’ ‘Finish school’ and ‘Use a condom’ (Edwards, par. 2).
The article is meant to convince parents and authority figures that they have to be clear to young black men regarding what is required of them. Edwards continues, “Oh, we may ask vague, cursory questions about the women they bring home: Can she cook? What work does she do? Who are her people? But rarely do we come right out and make the case for marrying Black” (par. 4). The author’s purpose is to change this by becoming open and vocal about the necessity to maintain the sanctity of the ethnocentric union. The ethos of this particular piece derives from the persona of the author as a mother and professional.
However, the author also draws upon the testimonials of several other successful, educated, and well-respected persons within the Black community who share her views. She gains testimonies from such persons as professors, successful Black business owners, and media personnel. One such testimonial that increases the ethical appeal of the argument comes from a professor at Howard University (Maxwell Manning), who strengthens the ethos of Edwards’ case by citing academic and anthropological ideas that favor her case. The logos or logical appeal of the essay can be found in Edwards’ use of examples and credible statistics collected by the U.
S. Census Bureau to demonstrate precisely how the marriage of black men to white women has been eroding the Black community. She records that “the number of Black men marrying White women has increased tenfold in the last 40 years, up from 25,000 in 1960 to 268,000 today. That’s more than double the number of Black women who marry White men” (Edwards, par. 5). The logos of this is to be found in the fact that any thinking person that reads this would be able to understand the precise implications of this phenomenon.
More black women are left with no one to marry when higher levels of black men than women seek partners outside the race. Edwards also uses such data to indicate the early age at which black children start becoming affected by the media in such a way that is detrimental to their self image. She writes, “But according to experts, by age 7, Black children have already been bombarded by media images that can negatively shape how they view themselves and the partners you’d think they would naturally be drawn to” (par. 12).
Her reference to the testimony of experts lends logical credibility to her ideas and makes them more convincing. One authoritative testimony comes from the professor Maxwell Manning from Howard University. Edwards quotes him as saying, “If you look at strong cultures, like the Jews, you’ll find they have a high rate of marrying within their group. That’s how they remain strong” (Edwards, par. 9). This idea strengthens the ethos of the case for marrying within the Black community as a method of preserving its strength.
Edwards also cites the magazine publisher and his wife who “made it clear to [their] boys that they were not to bring home any White girls” (par. 3). Another authoritative testimony comes from Valerie Williams, a marketing executive who thinks it undesirable for her son to marry someone who considers him inferior (par 16). The testimony above by Maxwell Manning also takes the form of an analogy. Here, a comparison is drawn between the effort to reduce intermarriage in the Black community and the efforts at keeping the Jewish community untainted and strong.
This comparison is made for the sake of presenting the case for black ethnocentrism as having as much credibility as that which is enjoyed by the Jewish community. It also helps in pointing out the legitimacy, importance and non-racist aspect of lobbying for the preservation of the Black race. The essay by Audrey Edwards exists for the purpose of defending the promotion of black men marrying black women. The author identifies the problem that exists in which black women are denied marriage partners because black men frequently turn to white women. The impact of this, which the author presents, weighs heavily on the future of the black race.
With racial intermarriage comes mixed-race children; and the more of these that take place, the fewer black children will be present to perpetuate the black race. The author uses several devices to make her point. She utilizes ethical components and logical arguments, as well as analogies and authoritative testimonials in order to make her case a cogent one. Work Cited Edwards, Audrey. “Making the Case for Teaching our Boys to… ‘Bring Me Home a Black Girl. ’” Essence. November, 2002. Available: http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m1264/is_7_33/ai_94384284/pg_1