Fear can cause you to question your worth and true purpose in life. When you are hit with enough obstacles you can be overtaken by fear, until you feel that there is no way out. No way to pursue your dreams, be that change or answer the call when you are needed.
We hear it everyday, “Somebody should do something about…” or “this generation needs a good leader”. I have found that in my generation there is hope for such remarks. Many of my peers are not only in agreement but actively pursuing leadership in different ways from leading marches for a trauma center on the south side of Chicago to working Obama’s campaign. I am inspired by the power that we have as youth but also cautious because power without direction can be fatal. I find myself examining my role in this climate of change.
A recent experience in a school caused me to look my responsibility in the face.
As I walked home yesterday from the market with my several bags of groceries and my godson in toe being harassed by young black men who probably could be my nephews, I finally understood why many Black men act the way they do. Why they are completely impervious to emotions. Why they can sleep with countless numbers of women and men and deny their sexuality. Why they have so much free time to harass me as I walk down the street (al. holding constant the double digit unemployment rate in the black community). Why they can walk away from raising their children. Yes, I know why they act the way they act. It’s pretty simple. They have no social responsibility and by extension no emotional responsibility.
A few years ago I had an internship at the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition, where one of my chief duties was to spend hours looking through microfilm for newspaper clippings that dramatized the racial climate in Philadelphia throughout the years.
One article that stood out was a poll of Philadelphians that asked, “How would you describe the state of racial equality in America today?” The vast majority of whites (something like 60-70%) answered “Good.”
The year was 1968.
These people had no idea how dire the state of race relations was in America at the time because all they could compare it to was a not-so-distant past marred by lynching, sharecropping and segregation. But today we can see quite clearly that things were bad. Racism was alive and well.
And that’s why race is such a tricky issue in America. Racism grows classier and more refined every day, but it never goes away. How else can we explain the American people tolerating the unprecedented disrespect, racism, obstruction and outright legislative terrorism being perpetrated by the GOP?
So, in the traditional way in which black people begin their stories, “What had happened was . . .”
I attended this event where one of my best male friends was hosting. Upon arriving my best male friend comes and says, pejoratively and with great amusement, “Your friend is over there,” hinting to a black woman who every time I see her she gives me what I can the “stank eye.” And, if you are a heterosexual black woman you are quite familiar with either giving the “stank eye” or receiving the “stank eye.” Long story short, my best friend decides to play what I call, “The Great Black Male Conciliator.” He decides to prompt the “stank eye” woman to reconcile with me. I should state at this point in the story, I am somewhat hazy on why every time I see this woman she gives me the “stank eye.” Anyways, she comes over and tries to be nice to me and, of course, it comes across as completely disingenuous.
So, after leaving the event, it came to me why this woman continues to give me the “stank eye.” And, it has everything to do with my best friend. The “stank eye” woman romantically likes my best friend and perceives me as competition. Because she only gives me the “stank eye” when I am with him. So, I call him up and tell him this. And, of course, he denies it and says in the way black men say, “We are just friends. We worked together to get Barack Obama elected. We spent a lot of time together doing that, but we are just friends. I know for a fact she does not like me in that way.” And, all I could say was, “
Bullshit,you are completely impervious [let me use a smaller word, ignorant] of the privilege patriarchy gives you as a heterosexual man.”
Which brings us to the current discussion, “Are black men ignorant to how they engage their many female friends?”
Dear Lil’ Kim,
I actually like you. Hard Core was dope. I even kinda liked La Bella Mafia, and I agree with The Source; The Naked Truth is classic material. I thought it was sad that you went to jail in order to protect so-called friends that wound up testifying against you in court to save their own asses. Hell, I wouldn’t even vilify you for being Biggie’s side jawn; I believe you when you say that what you and Biggie had was special. You probably didn’t deserve to be marginalized or portrayed unfairly in a certain biopic chronicling the Notorious one’s life either. You are undoubtedly one of the greatest and most influential female rappers of all time. You are a Hip Hop legend.
But enough is enough.
Your beef with Nicki Minaj is illegitimate on multiple levels, Kim. But you know what? So was LL Cool J’s tiff with Canibus. So was KRS-One’s legendary war with MC Shan. Hip Hop is littered with rap battles founded on shoddy evidence. The difference here is that your behavior over the past 6-8 months has come across as jealous, immature, and incredibly desperate. And you’ve taken it to another level of absurdity this week. Releasing a low-budget, entirely unnecessary Nicki Minaj diss fest of a mixtape called Black Friday, charging ten dollars for it, and then falsely claiming it sold 100,000 copies in 28 hours? Not a good look, Kim. In the words of Karen Civil, “If I wanted to buy a whole mixtape about Nicki Minaj I would just buy the Pink Friday LP again.” Such behavior is entirely unbecoming of a Hip Hop legend. And for the sake of your legacy, it really needs to stop.
Next week is Valentine’s Day. So, I thought I would write an early post about it from the perspective of someone (i.e. me) who deeply desires “soul abiding” relationships, but who struggles greatly in that regard.
So, you know what is troubling for me is to look in the mirror and see myself becoming like my once alcoholic father who with the help of Seagram’s Gin would make grand physically violent scenes demanding that everyone—my mother, older sister, and I—look and see him and his power. Yes, my father was a profoundly broken man who inwardly desired acceptance and, most importantly, to be loved. My father needed the healing and rejuvenating power of love. But, because he was not given those tools as a little black boy growing up in Bryan, Texas he sought to gain acceptance and love through fear and intimidation. He became an abuser.
Now that I think about it, to do what my father did requires that you find ways to cover your eyes from seeing the act and consequences of your abuse. My father used Seagram’s Gin with a hint of ice to mentally block the terror he saw in my eyes when he with bare knuckles blackened my mother’s eyes and body. All abusers—white slave owners, dictators, child molesters, rapist, and, simply, spiritually broken people—must find ways to reduce the victim to an object in order to abuse them or find ways to mute the memory of their victimization. Yep, Seagram’s Gin was my father’s choice of denial.
Indeed, my father was once a broken man and now, I, his daughter, am in many ways a broken woman.