A very popular phrase among African Americans, especially those with Southern roots is “what happens in this house stays in this house.” Discretion is key in most black families. This is the phrase that is a precursor, or close relative to another dangerous saying in the black community “snitches get stitches”.
In some ways this is a great phrase. When it comes to friendships, romantic relationships etc, what goes on in your relationship stays in your relationship. That is so important to remember. You don’t need to blab to your girlfriends about how that fool ain’t no good or even that he the, he the best, best you ever had. Why? Because a relationship is between the 2 people that are in it and when you have problems, issues, or concerns the person that you need to talk to first is the person that is in that relationship with you.Yes ladies, even all the good things about your man you don't have to tell it on the mountain top, some of these
hoes that smile in your face but have a knife in their hand waiting for you to turn your back so they can stab you women aren't your friends, that's another post for another time.
That's the positive that we can take from this phrase. Let's talk about the other dangerous side of it.
On the other hand as children many people were told to keep their mouths shut on issues and situations that needed to be discussed with someone outside the home. If Uncle Junebug was making advances towards you, many young black girls were told to keep it in the family, if they told anyone at all. Dads alcohol and gambling problems were to be kept in this house. Moms black eyes and bruises were to be kept in this house. Why?
Black people have traditionally kept their homes and children well groomed and neat. I know ya’ll remember seeing kids at church and school with greased faces. As a child I was told that when I went out in public I was a reflection of my parents and family in general. If I was out doin’ the fool or wearing ill fitting clothes that was viewed a negative reflection on my family, “her mama must not have combed her hair today” or “she don’t have no home trainin’!” comments would surely have been directed towards me if I didn’t look and act my best.
Now if I went out and told “family business” to other people that didn’t reflect on my family in a positive light, that wouldn’t have been tolerated. Great shame is brought upon a family that “allows” a child to be molested in the home or where domestic violence is an issue. No one wants their family to be shamed and as a child most are concerned with no getting in trouble when they get home. Let’s face it some things that happen in life need to be told. It’s okay to reach out for help from someone you trust and dare I say if some things are troubling your soul, get some therapy. (Gasp)
We got to do better.