Thursday, April 9, 2009

What's Missing?

So I just read on that The National Center for Health Statistics reported that in 2007, 40% of women between the ages of 15-44 had babies out of wedlock. 28% of them are White, 51% of them are Hispanic, and 72% were Black women. Some of this numbers, however, are women who chose to have kids without a husband and lesbian couples. I'm not sure what percentage that is, but I'm sure it's not a very large one. As a statistic myself, it wasn't the stats that surprised me. It was the fact that there are women who say they didn't NEED a man to take care of them and their children, that they could do it all on their own. Now, I agree that marriage is not for everyone and marriage does not always constitute a happy home, but for a woman to think she doesn't need a man to raise her children, is ABSURD!

I've heard people say, "A woman can't teach a boy how to be man." Well, in my opinion, a woman also can't teach a girl about unconditional love and respect from a man. Sons and daughters need their fathers. Just because a woman has two degrees, is making six figures, owns her own luxury car, home and business, does not mean that she should be raising children alone. Granted, there are fathers who don't want to be in their children's life and are just no-good in general. But ladies, don't believe that there is not a man out there willing to be that father figure for your child[ren]. It's selfish to think that a man is not needed to raise children. So what if you don't like your child's father? Does that give you the right to keep them away from each other? Unless, that father is a damaging feature in your child's life, it's unfair to deny him his parental rights to his child.

There are some Black women who have this mentality that they don't need a Black man and they can do bad by themselves. In my opinion, this mentality is a result (indirect or direct) of slavery and the psychological damage its had on us. Now, I know there are people who think that slavery has nothing to do with how Black women view Black men, but unfortunately, that's the case. Due to the constant degradation of the Black man's ego, dignity, and pride, Black men never were able to fully grasp the position of head of household, which in turn, forced Black women to step up and assume the role of caretaker, provider, and nurturer. Now, unfortunately, more Black women have taken on the role of shattering the Black man's ego.

Ladies, our men need our support and encouragement. Without it, we can't have that strong family structure that is so desperately needed in our communities. Men, you have to start taking responsibility for your children and not allow egos and pride to interfere with how you raise your kids. Also, even if the father of your children is not in their lives, it's important to have a positive male influence in his place. Our children depend on it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

No Black History MONTH (?)

Once a year, we dedicate February to the accomplishments and achievements of American-Americans. Once a year, we put on our Black History programs and sing the National Black Anthem. Once a year, there are TV specials aired to showcase Black people in all their glory. But once a year is not enough.

This has been a discussion for quite sometime, however different reasons have been expressed as to why some feel that Black History Month should be done away with. Some people say that there's no WHITE history month, so why is there a BLACK history month? To that, I say, EVERYDAY we're taught white history. And how dare those people think that our history is not as important as so-called "white" history. When I was in the 10th grade, my World History teacher told us that we would skip the chapter on Africa and come back to it in February, during Black History Month. The first thing that ran through my mind was, "OK. Why do we have to wait until February to read about Africa? This is a World History class." February came, but the chapter on Africa was never discussed. As I look back on it now, it angers me that not only did that teacher choose to downplay the history of Africa, he also believed that that history should be taught exclusive to February, or Black History Month. Black History is History, and should be treated as such.

Even still, there are some folks who think that Black History Month has become trivialized and watered down. It has become a month that focuses on who invented the hot comb and the traffic light, Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, riding on the back on the bus, and Black firsts. They feel as if Black History Month has turned into some mundane, inconsequential affair that devalues the historic significance of our accomplishments. Debra J. Dickerson, author of The End Of Blackness, wrote in her article "Why I Loathe Black History Month, "Black History Month is far too much about the perfidy of whites and far too little about how blacks have faced up to the challenges, however monstrously unfair and difficult to surmount." She believes that for too long, we have allowed Black History Month to focus on the treacherous treatment of white America on Blacks and less on our abilities to surpass the many obstacles that have been put in front of us. Black History Month is not just about our past, but also about our present and our future.

Both of these arguments have been heard many times. Even more so, now that we have a Black President. I don't think that Black History Month should be done with, but I do think that we need more than just ONE month. Black History needs to be included in American History because our history is America's history. Many of our ancestors built this country, hell, even built the White House. So why should we settle for just one month out of the year to be educated on African-American accomplishments, successes and even missteps? So many people want to stop talking about race as if race is not evident. I know I'm Black. White people know they're white. So why act as if race doesn't exist? Not talking about it won't make it go away. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke about race relations yesterday and called America "a nation of cowards" when it comes to discussing and acknowledging race. Holder said, "One cannot truly understand America without understanding the historical experience of Black people in this nation." I couldn't agree more. What do you think?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Behind Anger=Change

My purpose for this blog is better understand, communicate and connect with others that share my similar interests and disinterests. To reach out to people who share the same passion for change and progression. Whether that be changing how the government treats us, how the media views us, or how we treat each other, the change is necessary. Malcolm X said, "...When [people] get angry, they bring about a change." I wholeheartedly believe that until people realize that's there's nothing wrong with a little anger, we won't be able to be the driving force that accomplishes that change. There are steps that we can take to produce those changes. I believe the first step is to TALK about it. We have to have honest, open, and straightforward discussions on what's going on in our communities, our country, and our world.

My first post was pretty heavy, but that was to put into perspective what our main goal should be. We should always question this so-called "authority" and not allow them to give us incomplete answers and insufficient justice. It's important to remember our struggles (past and present) so that we don't lose focus on what we are fighting for everyday. Although today we have a Black President, that does not erase the years of racism and inequalities that we faced, still face, and will continue to face in the future. Let's be real. Racism isn't going anywhere anytime soon. It would be foolish of us to believe that. This country was BUILT on racism. The blood of our ancestors soak this soil because of racist, hate-filled views. It would be nice to live in an absolutely equal society where racism doesn't exist, but unfortunately, that's not the way of the world. However, we can make it so more people will become a little more racially sensitive and tolerant of one another. As I said, it starts with discussion. We should not be afraid to talk about race in front of "mixed" (i.e. other races) company. How will others know how we feel if we don't let them in on what's going on? So let's discuss...

Monday, January 19, 2009


I am angry. Did you know who Oscar Grant was? Did you know who Adolph Grimes III was? If not, this is part of why I am angry.

This year, on New Year’s Day, Oscar Grant was riding on the train after a New Year’s Eve celebration. Bay Area Rapid Transit officers got a report that there was an altercation on the train. Several young people were forced to exit the train. Some were handcuffed, some were not. 22 year old Oscar Grant was handcuffed and he was restrained by force. An officer pinned him to the ground, placing his knee on Grant’s neck. Another officer, Johannes Mehserle, shot Grant in the back. The bullet went through his back, ricocheted on the ground and through his lung, killing him. Angry yet?

22 year old Adolph Grimes was visiting his family on New Year’s Eve in New Orleans. He drove quickly to make it there by the countdown. His father said he made it with “a second to spare.” Three hours later, outside of his home, he was shot at 48 times and hit 14 times by 9 plainclothes undercover drug task force officers. The police say Grimes shot at them first. And if that’s true, what would they expect a man to do if he was being approached by 9 suspicious people at 3 in the morning in the nation’s murder capitol??

So this is why I am angry. Our men, and sometimes even our women, are being wiped out by the police and these so-called authority figures, and it seems as if no one cares. When it’s black on black crime, you know about it. It’s on the news, in the paper, and on the radio. When it’s police brutality, there’s a little blurb running under the headline news or a piece of an article in the paper. And then when we do know about it, we don’t tell anybody. We say, “Damn, that’s messed up,” and keep it moving, as if that’s just something that happens everyday. Cornell West said, “Who wants to be well-adjusted to injustice? What kind of human being do you want to be?” I don’t want us to be “well-adjusted” to these constant injustices. I don’t want us to think we can’t do anything about it. I don’t want us to feel like nothing can be done.

When I think about police brutality, I equate it to lynching. Police brutality is modern day lynching. Think about it. Men were lynched for no reason at all. Simply because of their skin color. Because they “fit the description.” Because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The people responsible for the lynching were protected by the law and the government. Is this not what is happening today? These officers are being put on paid leaves, asked to resign, not formally charged and/or are being acquitted. How long are we going to sit back and watch our people be brutalized, tortured, and murdered? How long will this vicious cycle continue? It’s been too long. If we don’t stand up now, we’ll never be safe.

So yes, I am angry. But what am I going to do about? I want to yell, scream, kick shit around, break windows, hit somebody. But what will that do? Not a damn thing. Maybe get me arrested or worse. So I’m going to talk about this. I want there to be discussions about this. I want to raise awareness about what’s happening to us. I want to PEACEFULLY PROTEST the injustices that are going on. Not riot, peacefully protest. There are people protesting the killings in Gaza. We need to protest the killings that are going on right here. So I’m writing this note to get people involved. If you have ideas on how we can make a difference, please share them. If you just want to talk, share that too. Obama talked about change and moral responsibility. Well it’s time we changed what we think we are morally responsible for. We are responsible for EACH OTHER. My son is four years old. In less than 10 years, he’ll be a teenager. I fear for him if he ever comes in contact with the police. And it shouldn't be that way. If I don’t do something now, in 10 years, those fears may be materialized. It’s a cycle that seems to just keep getting worse. Remember Rodney King? Almost twenty years later, we go from being beaten to be MURDERED. What will it be like another ten years from now??


“The revolution has always been in the hands of the young. The young always inherit the revolution.” –Huey P. Newton

“A fully functional multiracial society cannot be achieved without a sense of history and open, honest dialogue.” –Cornell West