Roy G. Whiz

Uh oh.  It’s a code red (black and green).  The bat signal is out.  bell hooks has started spelling her name in all CAPS.  Call up your elders, pray to your ancestors; conjure up your inner fairies, spirits, and goddesses.  Tyler Perry is turning your favorite play, excuse me, choreopoem into a movie.

Oh No He Didn't . . . Tyler Perry Gone Do What?

It was the news heard around the world, heard in every black café, posted on every Facebook mini feed, screamed in abject horror in every black theater class, whispered in body stealing tones in every black feminist mind that Tyler Perry also known as Medea also known as He Who Has Oprah’s Seal of Approval meaning it’s safe for white suburban soccer moms will direct, produce, and perhaps even star as the woman in red in a film adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.

When I heard the news a part of me laughed and said, “Seriously you’re kidding right. How can a black man who always portrays black women as prostitutes (i.e. Madea Goes to Jail), drug addicts (i.e. Diary of Angry Black Woman), controlling spouses (i.e. Why Did I get Married), abused women, psychopathic black mothers (i.e. Family Reunion), and emasculating black women (i.e. Daddy’s Girls) direct and produce a film about black women finding and owning their voices?” And of course, the answer to my question is that unless he works with Julie Dash or Aishah Simmons his work is doomed to silence black women.

Okay, I will admit I’m no saint. I’ve watched some of Tyler Perry’s movies because I can’t afford HBO so I watch TBS the home of all things Tyler Perry. And sometimes family gatherings entail a Tyler Perry’s Marathon where my great aunt proclaims in her best evangelist voice, “You can talk about my Jesus, and perhaps my momma, but nobody better talk about my Tyler Perry.” I say all this to say I’ve seen his movies to know their limitations. Meaning, I cannot fathom let alone imagine how Tyler Perry can cinematically enrich Shange’s play whose very origin was a critique of black male violence against black women.

Perhaps, he has not read the play therefore he’s unaware of this critique or perhaps he has read it and assumes that the character, Madea, can throw hot grits on all the violent black men in Shange’s play and that will end violence against black women. If it was only that easy then Quaker Grits would be in every domestic violence handbook around the world. So, once again I ask the question, how can Tyler Perry produce and direct a film that speaks to the souls of black women? And the simple answer is he can’t. To say the least, I am pissed. Furthermore, I find myself ruminating on how he will adapt my favorite line from the play, “I found God in myself and I loved her I loved her fiercely.” Perhaps, it will become Vickie Winans’ gospel song, “I found King Jesus and I don’t need nobody else.” Perhaps it will become, “I found da lorde in dis good black man and I loved him, I loved him fiercely.” Or, perhaps it will become, “I did not find enuf in myself as a colored girl so I committed suicide.” Yes, the last translation is wee bit dramatic, but given Tyler Perry’s track record it seems quite probable. So, for those who love the play, For Colored Girls what are your sentiments about Tyler Perry producing and directing the play?

So, I decided to end this blog with pictures from various performances of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Sucide When the Rainbow is Enuf to show how powerful this play is and how Tyler Perry cannot do it justice.

Who will Sing a Black Girl Song.

"Who will Sing a Black Girl Song."

Speaking Revelations

Speaking Revelations

Woman in Blue

Woman in Blue

1977 Performance of For Colored Girls

1977 Performance of For Colored Girls

My Reality of The Frankie and Neffe Show

Like many loyal fans of Keyshia Cole’s show, The Way It Is, I watched the premiere of Frankie and Neffe with bated breath hoping to see black reality drama at its finest. Of course, when people learn of my guilty pleasure many people are downright appalled that I, black feminist girl advocate Fallon, would want to watch these shows because of how they pathologize black mothers as absent, drug addicted, selfish, sexually promiscuous, and at the end of the day simply irresponsible. And my response is I watch these shows because in many ways Frankie and Neffe remind me more of my mother and sister than Claire Huxtable and Denise or Claire Huxtable and Rudy or Claire Huxtable and Vanessa. Furthermore, where else on television am I able to see a black mother and daughter tear into each other driven by their love for each other. Yes, sometime their love is explosive, like when Neffe is ready to fight Frankie’s new lover because he mistreats her and sometimes it is downright toxic like when Frankie becomes jealous and angry at the other women who have mothered Neffe and Keyshia because she was strung out on drugs for 20 years.

Of course, this is not to say that Frankie and Neffe are “perfect” models for talking about black mother-daughter relationships. But it is to say that their story is important even if it reifies dominant notions of black mothers because at the end of the day it’s my story. Unlike Frankie, my mother did not leave us for long periods of time to get high. But, she did spend a considerable amount of time psychologically not present and at times physically absent from us because she like the wife in the Selkie (Seal) Myth was never meant to live on land and wed. You see the Selkie is a mythical creature who lives in the sea. However, sometimes the Selkie would shed its seal skin to walk on land as a woman. Well, one day as she walked on the beach a fisherman stole her seal skin making her forget who she was and where she lived. So, to make a long story short she married the fisherman and had several children, it was not until she accidentally found her seal skin that she remembered who she was and where she belonged. I say all of this to say that my mother was created to swim in the sea. However, she like many women was tricked by the belief that one could live happily ever after on land by simply being a good black mother and a good black wife. Yes, living away from your home (i.e. the sea), your center, and your purpose could drive any woman crazy even the beloved and iconic Claire Huxtable.

So, Frankie and my mother are not that dissimilar meaning they are the causalities of an unjust system that privileges whiteness, wealth, maleness, and heterosexuality forcing them and their daughters into a type of land locked madness a madness that shapes how they love and struggle with each other. Ya know, I think Alice Walker understood this idea of land locked madness when she wrote the essay In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens. She states that our mothers were “driven to a numb and bleeding madness by the springs of creativity in them for which there was no release. They were creators who lived lives of spiritual waste, because they were so rich in spirituality—which is the basis of art—that the strain of enduring their unused and unwanted talent drove them insane.” And, by default shaped how they mothered their daughters. I say all of this not to render black mothers without agency as if systems of oppression are just acting upon them because there is always an element of choice.

But, I mention these systems—racism, patriarchy and heteronormativity—to shed light on why Frankie and my mother, Sandy, have trouble understanding why their daughters are angry with them and also angry with themselves. It hurts Neffe to see her mother, Frankie, used by men and it doubly hurts my older sister and me to see our mother at the mercy of some man because she needs his help financially. But the hurt goes both ways because our mothers are deeply wounded when we are closer to other women who have stepped into our lives to mother us when they were seeking short-lived freedoms to compensate for the soul enriching freedom that was stolen away when they took off or was forced to take off their Seal Skins to walk on man’s land.

At this point, many of you are thinking that this reality is only true for a certain class of black women. But, it’s also evident in Alice Walker’s and Rebecca Walker’s mother-daughter relationship. All one has to do is read Rebecca Walker’s Baby Love and see how even a mother’s adamant critique and rebel against patriarchy (i.e. resisting being land-locked) can also create difficulties when relating and loving her daughter. In many ways, this shows how pervasive and enduring patriarchy is that even a mother’s resistance of it can still create pain for both parties.

All in all, there are few shows on television now where I can see black mothers and daughters dealing with the difficulties of being in relationship with each other. It is the intensity of Neffe’s love for her mother that sears my heart. It is Frankie’s wavering desire for her daughters’ acceptance and forgiveness that makes me think of my mother. As much as I want to celebrate the happiness of our mother and daughter relationships I have to be conscientious of the hurt and pain that comes from living in a society that forces our mothers  to live their lives metaphorically on land when they are destined to swim in the sea.

Today in Pre-Race History: Mad Men as Race Men?

I like Mad Men. It’s a good show, well-written and -acted. All of that. I’m not turning myself into a Mad Men avatar like other fans, but I get the allure. (Besides, there’s no maid’s uniform.) The world of Mad Men is sleek, shiny, colorful; it totally messes up my “the only colors available in the olden days were black and white” argument. I probably think this way because I am, like, totally generation neon. As good as it is, MM is also very white–whiter than, say, a drinking game at your local frat house. But I value MM for what it is, which I suppose could be described as privileged white people being their privileged white selves.

Stopping (Constitutionally) Sanctioned Violence against Women of Color

On March 3rd, 2009, Aniysah was taken from her mother’s arms by New York’s Family Court System and placed in the care of Aniysah’s father who has a history of domestic violence offenses. Furthermore, there were no records verifying that she would be taken to a safe living environment or that she was enrolled in school. Questions about her health and well-being went unanswered. That was over 150 days ago. To date, Aniysah remains lost in the family court system. A system where black and brown children go missing every day. A system where black mothers like Aniysah’s are often left to fend for themselves in a brutal, dogged battle just to make sure their children are safe. On the surface, this case appears to be a simple custody dispute, however, if one digs deeper it is a story about the injustices of New York’s Family Court System and how it fails brown women and children daily and how it can be used to further terrorize and re-victimize survivors of domestic violence.

Here at Document the Silence, one of our goals is to break the silence surrounding violence against women of color, particularly those who are poor and working class. Moreover, we want to raise awareness about how this violence informs and intersects with various aspects of our culture, including the media, and the legal system. Thus, we think it’s critical to point out that the “Where’s Aniysah” campaign is not only about the failings of the family court system but is also about domestic violence and how it has shaped the legal struggles of Aniysah and her mother, Angeline. As a survivor of domestic violence at the hands of Anyisah’s father, Angeline is a living testament to the “intimate” connections between experiences of abuse among women of color and the mistreatment they experience in the family court system. Because of the case is still pending we cannot list all the facts of the case in this email, but you can find all the facts on our website.

It’s time to hold the family court system accountable. Document the Silence asks that you join them in the “Where’s Aniysah?” campaign by posting information about this case on your blogs, online social networks and throughout your community (http://documentthesilence.wordpress.com). At the website you will also find a petition, and suggestions for what you can do to demand that justice is served on August 24, 2009. We especially encourage you to leave comments on the site expressing your support for Aniysah. Also, please feel free to forward this email.

If you are in the New York City area, please show your support for Angeline’s case by coming to her next family court hearing on August 24, 2009 at 11:00 am. The courthouse is located at:

Courtroom E-123, Annex Building
Justice Fernando M. Camacho
125-01 Queens Boulevard
Kew Gardens, NY 11415

If you can make it to Angeline’s next court hearing on August 24, 2009, please let us know by emailing us at: WheresAniysah_Campaign@yahoo.com

Thank you in advance for doing your part in breaking the silence surrounding injustices against women and children of color.

In solidarity,

Fallon S. Wilson, Document the Silence Organizer

The Problem with "America's Next Top Model"

A couple of months ago a good friend of mine asked me to accompany her to America’s Next Top Model auditions here in chicago.

shes a huge fan of the show, and can pretty much tell you everything you want to know about all 12 cycles. shes also always wanted to be a model… and since this cycle is focused on petite women (5’7″ and under)… it seemed like her perfect chance…

i tend to be pretty shy and private, so i’ve never had any desire to be a model at any point in my life. but… recently i’ve been working on being more adventurous and expanding beyond my own worldview… and i wanted to support her… so i decided to tag along…

Where's Aniysah? A Campaign to End Violence Against Women of Color

This week, I am going to feature a blog I wrote for Document the Silence which is a website I co-founded dedicated to ending violence against women of color. Right now, we are in the midst of mounting a national online media campaign todsc_0138 document how domestic violence and the family court system work in tandem to re-victimize women of color survivors. The title of the campaign is “Where’s Aniysah?” It is a campaign about the (in)justice system and how it fails brown women and children daily. Specifically, it is a story about a mother named Angeline and a daughter named Aniysah. The blog I wrote below gives more details about the case.

A Tragic Story of Continual Violence against Women of Color: Anyisah’s Mother’s Story, Angeline

Here at Document the Silence, one of our goals is to break the silence surrounding violence against women of color, particularly those who are poor and working class. Moreover, we want to raise awareness about how this violence informs and intersects with various aspects of our culture, including the media, politics dsc_03711and the legal system.  Thus, we think it’s critical to point out that the “Where’s Aniysah” campaign is not only about the failings of the family court system.  But, it’s also about domestic violence and how it has shaped the legal struggles of Aniysah and her mother, Angeline.  As a survivor of domestic violence at the hands of Anyisah’s father, Angeline’s story is a testament to the “intimate” connections between experiences of abuse among women of color and the mistreatment they experience in the family court system

As word continues to spread about this campaign, we’ve received two important questions about Aniysah’s story that, when considered, illuminate the ways that Anyisah’s father used the legal system to continue to terrorize and harass Angeline and Aniysah.

Many people have emailed us asking, “How did Anyisah end up in family court system?”

Answer:

  • Angeline separated from Aniysah’s father because he was physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive.  Angeline has documentation of his abuse and the court orders forcing him to take anti-battering classes. Judge Fernando Camacho issued an Order of Protection for the father to stay away from Angeline and Aniysah, May of 2005.
  • Even though Angeline separated from Aniysah’s father, he continued to harass and terrorize Angeline and Aniysah by fabricating lies to Child Protective Services (CPS) and filing for full custody of Aniysah. June 2005 – October 2006 Judge Morgenstern issued several Orders of Protection for the father to stay from Angeline.
  • Judge Morgenstern granted the father unsupervised visits on the weekend with Aniysah at the father’s mother’s house. However, just as the unsupervised weekend visits begin, Aniysah begins to display unusual behaviors. She told the social worker that someone named “grandpa” touched her inappropriately. Aniysah developed a rash between her legs and Angeline takes her daughter to the doctor and the doctor reports the rash to CPS as a possible issue of child abuse. At this point, the doctor at the emergency room reported on the possibility of Aniysah being abused while in her father’s care.

The second question people have asked us, “How and why was Anyisah taken from her mother, Angeline?”

Answer:

  • The law guardian appointed to the family’s case within the court system continued to make false accusations by suggesting that Angeline is fabricating lies about the father sexually abusing his daughter. However, Angeline has not once reported these accusations and the Child Protective Services’ reports as well as the emergency room reports show that Angeline never once accused the father. These reports were filed independently by the doctor and the social worker.
  • In response to the Law Guardian’s lies, unlawful actions, and inappropriate behaviors, Angeline wrote a letter to Judge Morgenstern explaining how the Law Guardian is fabricating lies as well as not following protocol and proper procedures for reporting on Anyisah’s care when she is with her father. Judge Morgenstern disregarded Angeline’s complaints and maintained that the law guardian was following procedure.
  • Without any legal recourse to protect Aniysah, Angeline moves with Aniysah to Utah, where Angeline’s mother lives, to protect Aniysah and herself. While in Utah, Angeline starts a new and renewed life for Aniysah and herself.
  • While Angeline is in Utah, Judge Morgenstern summons her to court.  However, she was never contacted in Utah. The papers were delivered to her old lawyer who she was no longer a client of. She documented proof that she informed the law guardian that the old lawyer no longer represented her beginning in August of 2006. Because Angeline did not show up to court, Judge Esther Morgenstern granted the father custody of Anyisah even though Judge Morgenstern knew the court file contained the returned notices showing that the mother had never been served.
  • Angeline’s 20 year-old son wanted to see his mother. Angeline came back to New York where she decided to have dinner with her son. While having dinner the cops come to arrest her and take Anyisah because of the warrant that was issued.
  • Because Angeline did not have any family in New York to provide care for Aniysah, the police officers were informed by Child Protective Services that they had to take Aniysah to the paternal grandmother’s home.
  • It has been 122 days since Angeline has seen Aniysah on March 3rd, 2009. She has only seen Aniysah on two occasions each one hour visits each costing of $125.00 each visit.  She has had no physical or phone contact with her daughter at all during the month of August.

Overall, Angeline’s story shows how domestic violence and being a woman of color in the family court system are “intimately” tied to the injustices women of color endure when trying to protect their children and themselves. In order to advocate for Angeline and Anyisah, we must see the complexities of her case and how Anyisah’s father could continue to harass and abuse Angeline and Anyisah through the court system. A court system that ignores black and brown women because it fundamentally sees poor and working class women of color as women who are incapable of making sound decisions about their lives and the lives of their children. This is a systemic problem.

With respect to Angeline’s case, the two judges who have chosen to ignore the facts of Angeline’s case and the law guardian who has been unethical in her testimonies are equally complicit in the abuse of Anyisah and Angeline. They, like Aniysah’s father, must be held accountable because they represent a legally sanctioned system of abuse. “Where’s Aniysah?” is a cry countless numbers of women of color cry daily when having to negotiate the terrains of domestic violence and terrains of the family court system. Where’s Aniysah . . . Where’s Aniysah . . . and how do we protect her and her mother from continual abuse.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AybEcaiR_DI

It’s time to hold the legal system accountable. Document the Silence asks that you join them in the “Where’s Aniysah?” campaign by posting information about this case on your blogs, online social networks and throughout your community. You can find out more about this campaign to stand against injustices against our children in the legal system by visiting the Document the Silence. There are additional facts and information about Anyisah’s case, and suggestions for what you can do to demand that justice is served on August 24.  We especially encourage you to leave comments on the site expressing your support for Aniysah and any details about what you plan to do to help.

The Meltdown: Judge Sotomayor . . . It’s Okay to Cry??

Surrounded by white men in suits. Cameras flickering then flashing. Hands laid flat upon table. Nodding pensively. Swinging pendulum of opinions “we are happy” to “we have many reservations.” Judge Sonia Sotomayor listens as senator after senator summarize their thoughts about her appointment to the highest court in the land . . . a court that is in desperate need of cultural diversity. Judge Sotomayor is a woman of color who worked her way through various obstacles to become a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She now stands upon the precipice of being the first Latino and third woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Given her speeches and public record, she seems to be committed to a more radical agenda for marginalized communities then most sitting Supreme Court Justices. Can you feel my excitement?

However, as the constitutional sanctioned witch hunt her senate appointment hearings commenced on Tuesday, Republican after Republican sought to second guess her judicial decisions, paint her as a racist, talk to her as if she was a simple child just learning about the Bill of Rights, and make her “cry” or as Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican) put it, “have a meltdown.” I find myself asking questions: What would happen if Judge Sotomayor cried? What would happen if she wept for all the lies Republican Senators spewed as they talked about the founding “fundamental” freedom to carry guns even though they used them to kill indigenous people, the quality of life even though they don’t fund policies that enrich the lives of children once they are here, the colorblind justice of judicial process which always favors white men, and the essential ethic of hard work even though it does not guarantee success for all? What if she like newly appointed Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, shed a tear or two on national television? How would we respond to a woman of color leader weeping in a public arena?

Would we respond as so many responded to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tears during the Democratic Primary races? Would we question her strength, her ability to lead? Would we say she’s being manipulative trying to garner sympathy? And the answer to the previous questions is yes, but with an added level of scrutiny because she is a woman of color. Given the intersectionality of racism and sexism, we often expect if not down right demand women of color—African-American or Latina—to be strong. Of course, this characterization is simplistic at best. However, there is much evidence to say that this idea of strength serves cultural, racist, sexist, and capitalistic agendas from using the image of the strong black woman to empower black women while denying them “help” to painting Chicanas as women who can endure harsh and exploitative work without US citizenship.

Growing up I was taught not to cry because my mother says, “There ain’t no point in crying over spilled milk chile . . . you got to do what you got to do and plus black women don’t cry we ain’t weak white women.” This idea of “you will always have” responsibility coupled with not being Miss Ann greatly shaped how I saw Judge Sotomayor confirmation hearings. I found myself yelling at the TV, “Please do not cry . . . Don’t let them see you sweat . . . You can do this keep it together . . . you’re strong, baby, you’re strong . . . if you got to cry do it in the bathroom on break.” Yes, even I would have a problem with her crying publicly which shows how pervasive sexist thoughts are about women in male public space. Of course, Judge Sotomayor did not cry even though her face showed a wee bit of discomfort as Republicans gave their opening remarks.

In general, it’s unfair that she cannot weep and not be considered a capable judge. It’s unfair that she cannot show any emotion for fear of being seen as “a feisty Latina.” In order to pass the racist and sexist litmus test she must be as Senator Tom Coburn (Republican) said, “very well-controlled.” However, what type of damage does this do? I think it reinforces the rules of a very unfair game where women, LGBTQ, and people of color constantly have to ignore, overlook, and sanction white male hetero-supremacy. This is not to say that crying is the ultimate evidence of feeling because it is not. However, what I am trying to say is that weeping should be taken as a sign of strength and not as a womanly sign of weakness. So, how radical would it be if she did cry . . . cried for the injustices of the appointment process . . . cried for her self as an act of self-care . . . cried because she really would like to call Senator Lindsey Graham every expletive under the sun (which I did as I watched him speak) . . . and cried because tears can only convey the totality of this experience in her life. And what if  her “melt-down” became the basis for redefining strength and leadership in male public political spaces . . . . oh how exciting and down right revolutionary crying can be!

Why I want(ed) to be a Disney Princess

 

Declaring possibilities!!

Declaring possibilities!!

What I find hard to process about the previous post about not wanting to be a Disney Princess is that the author belittles “traditional fairytales.” She [the author] claims that “they are limited and untrue for poor working class black girls like [herself].” She asserts that “Prince Charming does not come,” and “that happy endings are not promised especially when there is an intersection of various devalued social identities [i.e., when you area a poor, black, woman and etc you get no happy ending].”  What she fails to see is that all of these endeavors particularly for the Little Mermaid happened inside of Ariel taking action and living with a purpose.

The Cry Heard Around the World…He was the Best Father

It was the cry heard around the world when 11 year-old Paris Jackson said, “Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine . . . I just want to say I love him so much.” From coast to coast, eyes wept for her sorrow and tears trickled down faces as a poignant realization set in, Michael Jackson, the icon the alleged pedophile was a father. Not just a father of one child, but a father of three. Wow. All of this says that Michael Jackson celebrated Father’s Day. He made sure his children had a capable if not loving, nanny, Grace. He played games with them like dangle infant Blanket from the balcony. He even willed his children to his mother knowing she would love them unconditionally. Michael Jackson was a father. I know what many of you are thinking not another post about Michael Jackson. True, there are countless blogs and news articles about the King of Pop’s death. However this post is more about redefining masculinity than about Michael Jackson.

Holding constant the many allegations surrounding Michael Jackson’s indiscretions with children, I find myself ruminating if not secretly obsessing over the question of whether men can love, nurture, emote, and innocently embrace children without physically, sexually, and psychologically violating them. I know many people reading this blog would say “Yes, men can.” But before you answer this question, let me restructure the question: Do we believe that men can love, nurture, emote, and innocently embrace children without physically, sexually, and psychologically violating them? And I would venture to say if we are honest with ourselves, the answer would be variations of no’s and conditionalities “of yes, but . . .”

Perhaps, I should restructure the question even further: Do we see men loving, nurturing, emoting, and innocently embracing children without thinking to ourselves, “Something is wrong with that man, he must be mentally unstable, a pedophile, or gay?” Once again, if we are honest with ourselves and recognize how we internalize sexist thoughts, the answer to the question is quite evident. Given patriarchy, I believe it is difficult for us to believe that men can L-O-V-E children and greatly desire to be in their presence. We are okay with men providing material and financial support for their children (especially the government), but when men move into the territory of radical love we question their motive and their manhood. Well, what do you mean by radical love? I am glad you asked this question.

My feminist academic jargon definition would define it as men who challenge hegemonic definitions of masculinity and disown privileges garnered through proper masculine behaviors. However, my colored school teacher ethos would define it as men seeking to be unconventional in their approach to rearing children. They are the dads who “choose” to stay at home with their children while their partner labor outside the house. They are the fathers who endure years and years of therapy to deal with their emotional immaturities. They are the men who are unafraid to show affection, care, and love for all children irrespective of the child’s biology. As bell hooks states in Communion, these types of heterosexual men threaten the foundations of patriarchy because they show “that sexist, masculinist behaviors once believed to be innate not only is learned, but also can be unlearned.”

Perhaps, my obsession with this question of men loving children stem from my own absent and abusive father issues. Of all the heterosexual men I have encountered in my 26 years of life, I have only met one man who exudes this radical type of love. This is not to say that other men in my life are hopeless patriarchal barbarians because they are not, they like most men unquestionably enjoy the rewards of male privilege. This one man I know who’s seeking to exude this radical idea of love is a man married to a woman who’s well known for her feminist concerns and beliefs. One day as I sat in his study talking with him, he said, “Its taken him many years of therapy to understand the power and the need of emoting and that sensitivity is not weakness or unmanly and that men now-a-days lack initiation into embracing their emotions because everything around them tells them they are not suppose to emote and show love because if you do than you are not a man . . .  you are something else.” After hearing this and observing his care, concern, nurturing, and non-dominating love for his partner, child, and congregational children, I was left completely baffled asking the question, Can we [can I] believe that men can love, nurture, emote, and innocently embrace children and non-dominance in their intimate relationships? I don’t know, however, this one man makes me think that it may be plausible.

So, when 11 year-old Paris said she loved her father against the backdrop of the media’s desire to let it be know Michael Jackson was an alleged child molester, I caught myself asking the question, given how we are socialized to see men as the bread winners and non emoting patriarchs, can we fathom let alone conceive of the idea that Michael Jackson was simply a man who loved children in ways that women are allowed to love children. I can not count the many times I have laid in the bed with the child I was babysitting either to put them to sleep or to settle them down to rest. And let’s be honest about our sexist thinking, women are no more capable of radical love than men, but yet we trust women with the care of children.

Does all of this mean that I am saying Michael Jackson is innocent of his alleged crimes? No, because I do not know, but what I am saying is that it’s difficult for us to believe and to accept that men can love, nurture, emote, and innocently embrace children. It is far easier to believe that men like Michael Jackson are child molesters, gay, and mentally unstable than to believe that they are men who simply love because it goes against the very fiber of what we have been taught about men.  Yes, it was a cry heard around the world, “my daddy was the best father ever . . .”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-VbIFtW6so