If you are one of the millions of fans obsessed with the hit TV show #Power then you already know who and why Tariq needs a "whoopin" as we say in the South. Every Sunday, fans yell at their tv screens as we see him causing all types of mischief and showing absolutely no respect to his father. You can pretty much expect to see memes and posts all over social media every week calling for him to be beaten or even murdered for his defiant behavior. Michael Rainey Jr. is such a phenomenal actor he has fans actually hating him in real life for his shenanigans on the show. Signs of a true villain!
Don't get me wrong he is definitely reckless and has given me a few anxiety attacks on a Sunday as well. I mean I'll admit that one side of me may or may not have cheered when he got beat up by Vincent.
Yet, the therapist side of me feels very differently, I recognize that #TariqStPatrick represents so many African American males in this country. Society has labeled them as thugs and criminals but not once have we taken into account how we have failed them and never allowed them to heal from those wounds of trauma. If you have actually been watching the show from Season 1 through 6, then you can remember the multiple situations and how they lead to his current behavior. But if you are #TeamGhost, it may be hard for you to see how a privileged silver spoon raised kid turned into a defiant delinquent.
So let's break down a few of these life altering incidents, shall we.
1. Father suddenly moves out of the house
2. Forced to meet sidechick his father now lives with.
3. Gets kidnapped by dirty cops and criminals
4. His friend Sean gets killed.
5. His father gets arrested.
6. Finds out truth about his father( drug dealer/murderer)
7. Forced to use drugs and commit crimes.
8. WITNESSED HIS TWIN SISTER GET MURDERED
9. Forced to snitch on his mentor then watch him get murdered.
10. oh yea, he MURDERS a COP!
At no point in any of these seasons, has his father taken the time to actually have a HONEST conversation with him about what he has gone through. I mean it's kind of hard to prioritize your kid's emotions when you are running a criminal organization and trying to prevent your federal agent side chic from turning you into the police, right? Ghost did what many parents due by "protecting" their children from the truth. Unfortunately, his failure to have a man- to- man conversation with his son just further confirmed all of the rumors that had been planted in Tariq's head and further led him to developing stockholm syndrome.
But let's not put all the blame on his father because his mother has been pretty negligent as well. Her efforts to keep up appearances and hold her marriage together to secure her financial status, caused her to ignore numerous red flags with her son. Her last questionable parenting tactic was when she decided to bring Tariq in as her business partner in her own sloppy criminal enterprise. While some agreed with her tactics many of us wanted to shake her or thump her on the forehead!
Although there are various parenting styles and for most of us it is simply trial and error, at what point do we recognize that our current techniques are not effective? At what point are we open to try something different? Most times it occurs when it is too late. We try to connect with our youth once they have lost all respect for us or they have been completely influenced by negative peers, like Tariq. Do we ever consider seeking professional help for our children when they have experienced trauma? In my career as a therapist, most parents have waited until a crisis occurred before they attempted to seek therapy.
By now many of you are rolling your eyes because we love to hate Tariq and we don't want to give him any passes! But what about Travis, Rico, or Daquan? We know the St. Patrick's are a fictional family, but Tariq's behaviors have been seen time and time again in our communities. Many of us know of a kid who started off "on the right track" or looked good on paper but still ended up getting snatched up by the streets. So as parents, aunts, uncles, mentors, what can we do? Let's start by removing this stigma of men don't cry. We have to allow our boys the space to process more emotions than anger. BLACK men need to be able to heal from their heartbreaks, betrayals, grief, loneliness, and trauma without being judged. Our youth are expected to witness violence on Sunday and return to school and behave on Monday. This hyper-masculinity that we force on our black boys is literally killing them and our communities.
According to recent studies, African American youth are at least 10 times as likely to be held in juvenile placements as are white youth: We know the system is set up for us to fail already but overlooking our trauma and not regulating our true emotions is actively contributing to our incarceration.
Now of course us dedicated fans have no control over what Tariq's future will hold. Unfortunately we have to wait until 2020 to find out how this outrageous, yet addictive series will end. But we can possible determine the outcome of another black male in our life.
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