February is Black History Month

Black History is American History. We are all part of this fabric that makes up the quilt of America. However, the story of our history has been downplayed in the history books that it is pathetic. We have to teach our children the truth. If you don’t know your history you are bound to repeat it.

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As evident as to the times right now in the U.S. I stand with everyone. I don’t play with Christianity and I don’t play with my love for this country. Which is why I have the right to criticize her when she’s wrong.

But, in the midst of all this drama that is occurring here in the U.S. I want to remind you that it’s never to early to start to teach our children about Black History. I started when Munch was 6 and learning to read. He did a report on black history and I wanted to try and fill in the blanks. Munch has an extensive school schedule but I wanted to spend time with him this month focusing on our history outside of his French and English curriculum. I want to fill in the blanks for him and allow him the opportunity to know what it means to say “I’m black and I’m proud”.

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Pride and self-love are very important in any race. I’m teaching him to love the skin he’s in. You can’t change it. It’s beautiful. You’re beautiful and wanted.

So, my black history month reading list for Munch includes the following 4 books:

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What are you doing to teach your children about black history month? Do you have any suggested reading material for an 8 year old?

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Today is the International Day of Peace

I saw this when I started loving photos on Facebook for my friends and seeing these beautiful bursting hearts. I was amazed. It was love everywhere…

 

Cute huh? So, I searched the internet to find out more about International Day of Peace was established by the United Nations. They have established 17 Sustainable Development Goals. But, let’s talk about some of them now.

  • Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education
  • Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • Promote peaceful and inclusive societies, justice for all, and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions

 

Dear White People

Can we talk?

Can we truly talk about the elephant in the room that you never want to talk about?

Race.

Let’s talk about race.

I’m black.

I’m a woman.

Two indisputable facts that you may have noticed.

I’m a mother.

To a son.

He’s the light of my life.

He’s my Munch.

He’s also black.

Why do I keep mentioning color? Because I need you to see and acknowledge the rich hues in my skin tone. I need you to see my melanin and know that I am black. Can you see the warm coffee colored hues of my skin tone just radiating? Yes?

Good.

Let’s talk.

I’m black. A beautiful black woman who shares a rich history in this country. My ancestors were kings and queens, slaves and sharecroppers. I know this. Many of you know this. But, I need you to stop acting like I’m supposed to forget this country’s history.

I can’t.

Even when the school textbooks gloss over slavery, I have to fill in the gaps and remind my son. Our lives and history didn’t begin and end with slavery. This country where the soil is rich with the blood from your ancestors is a great one.

Now, that you know that I’m black and I love this country can we talk about race? Can we talk about why it is important that we talk about it? Can we talk about the fact that nothing will change unless you stop saying you don’t see color and recognize my beautiful skin tone?

See, if you see my differences that will allow you to see my issues. To understand why some people look at me funny when I accompany you to your small town. Why if you invite me to your bridal shower and baby shower your family and friends are wondering how I got an invite. Because I’m the only black there.

I’m comfortable in my skin and in our relationship to not be offended. Why? Because I know that you love and respect me. Just like I love and respect you. We are friends. We do play dates and mommy dates. We engage.

That’s what most black folks want. People to engage. People to understand that there are some differences that you will never have to teach your children. I don’t want you to think I’m blaming you for that. No, I want you to be mad at the fact that your son can’t give my son a toy gun. Mad at the fact that when our children are playing together in your neighborhood that people think my son was adopted.

Why? Because he’s out of place? He doesn’t belong there. I want you to see the underlining comments that are made by some of your friends and classmates when they get drunk and call me out my name…

Nigger, Black Bitch.

Umm, why do you need to put my color in it? If you’re going to call me a bitch why not just a bitch? Why do you have to say black bitch?

I need you to get mad when you think about the countless black boys and girls that are murdered in cold blood by people acting like the victims were a threat. Why is it only in this country you can kill somebody in cold blood and then have the audacity to call the victim a thug? But, Ryan Lochte though?

Umm, I digress.

Listen white people. We, black folks love you and respect you. We just want the same. Not just for the one black family you befriended but for all those that look differently than you. Recognize our differences, respect them and stand up to the BS that you witness.

Can you do that? Can you work with me and not against me? Maybe, just maybe if we do it…we can make America great again. Together.

A Tired Black Woman

Dear Black Man,

I’m tired of you and everyone in America trying to tell me what beauty is. I am beautiful. Because I am one of God’s greatest creations. My beauty is not defined in how I choose to wear my hair or the clothes on my back. My beauty is both spiritual and physical. You don’t have to recognize it. You don’t have to appreciate it. You don’t have to even accept it. But, you know what I need you to do?

Stop trying to tell me that I’m not beautiful because I choose to perm my hair or color it. Stop trying to tear me down and say that I can’t accept criticism. Cause you know what? I can. I do. Every single day. When I go to work to take care of the children that I have to raise on my own while you live your life. You know the children that I carried for 9 months. The children who have your eyes or my lips? Those children.

Those children that are being gunned down in the streets or on the playground. Those children that are being unfairly or harshly disciplined in their schools. Those children that are being shuffled into Special Education because they are too active in the classroom. I’m working to raise them.

To try and teach them self-love and how to interact with law enforcement. How to be respectful of all adults. Of how they should notify me if there is a problem with a teacher or another student. Of how to stand up for what they believe in but not too much to draw attention that they become a target.

I have to go to work everyday in corporate America after waking up alone and getting our children fed and off to school. I work my butt off at a job that doesn’t pay me what I’m worth but I don’t complain. I look at graduate school programs during my lunch break, send emails to the teacher about our children’s grades or schedule doctor’s appointments.

Oh look, it’s been 3 years since I had my last physical, mammogram or PAP smear. No worries though. My personal health is not important right now. The kids are up on their shots, I am running for PTSA President and I am able to send our son to sleep away camp for a couple of weeks this summer. Wait, let me schedule our daughter’s hair appointment, pick up the dry cleaning and get home to do dinner and homework.

I’m exhausted. It doesn’t matter though. I still have to review homework. Clean the kitchen, put the kids to bed and log on to my computer and check work emails. I have to prove my worth, by showing my boss that I am always thinking about work. I am after all…superwoman. I’m supposed to be both invincible and invaluable.

Later that night when I finally drag myself into bed, I will cry myself to sleep because you aren’t there to hear my tears. I will pray that God will heal your heart and spirit against me. Because I am not your enemy. I also pray that God doesn’t harden my heart to you dear black man. Because if he does, what do you think will become of our children’s future?

Signed,

A Tired Black Woman

 

My Baby is Black and Beautiful

Yes, he is. Can you tell that I’m proud? Just a little huh? This week has been a rough one, but I’m happy to say that we finished the PTSA program last night with my sweet munch doing an awesome job.

The PTSA program was a hit. All the children and performances were wonderful. I love his school. They encourage these children and let me tell you that the PTSA is very active and encouraging to me as a parent. For that, I am thankful.

Munch looked handsome for the ladies last night. Which is what he said. He actually told me that he wanted to wear this shirt and tie because he would say “Good-bye men and Hello Ladies!” WTH? I was floored.

He did look handsome though and his black is beautiful.

Here are some pictures:
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If you would like to check out his video of the performance, you can watch it below:

 

When Being Strong Kills You

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard men tell me that I’m crazy. But, I think what I’ve heard uttered in frustration is something that I want to bring attention to now. The myth of the strong black woman. This myth that seeks to guide us as we grow up in facts cripples us by the time we’re grown women.

We’re taught that we shouldn’t be vulnerable. That we should be able to get through the problems that we encounter with strength and determination. We should just keep on keeping on. But, that’s not true. So many black women suffer from depression and are not getting the help that they need.

We try to explain it all and say “Oh, she’s just a little sick right now. She needs to pray on it and she’ll be better.” We can’t pray away mental illness. We have to address it and we have to stop teaching our girls that they have to grin and bear the pain. It’s too much.

Being strong is killing them. I’m tired of reading stories about my sisters who are struggling with underlying cases of mental illness and no one in their circle seems to know it. Blame it on the fact that we are uneducated or unconcerned about mental health in this country, but I have to say “Please stop ignoring it. It’s killing us.”

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I know. I get tired. I get tired of being a strong black woman. I watched my grandmother raise 11 children on her own and then raise some of her children’s children. If that wasn’t enough, she took in foster kids. One summer that I spent with her she had 13 other children that summer. Who the heck openly commits to raising 13 children for the summer? Why? I know she loved us but did anyone think that maybe that was too much? Let’s alternate kids for the summer?

My own mother pushed aside her pain to raise her children by herself with no financial, emotional or physical support from my dad. I still remember the day she said to me “Your dad is gone. I need you to be a big girl and help me with your brother and sister.” I was 10. Thus began the need to be a strong black girl who would become a strong black woman.

I’m not against therapy. I’m a big supporter of the need for therapy. I will often say that black folks need three things: Jesus, wine and therapy. We often neglect therapy believing that we can pray away our pain. But, if you are in immense pain can you even hear God’s response? No. The noise is too loud.

So, we put on our cape and continue to fight for the injustices of the world and never worry about how it is affecting us. How it is killing us because we are supposed to worry about everyone else but ourselves. We don’t want to be weak. Therefore, we continue to do everything around us to make people not see that we are cracking under the pressure. Try to live a normal life.

We deny that we are hurting for the convenience of others. To try to appear strong in spite of the pain. To endure. To deny the ugly truth that sometimes life is hard and we need help. We need your listening ear. We need sympathy and we need your encouragement that we should seek help.

I’m tired of reading stories where black women are killing their children, each other or themselves in what is clearly undiagnosed mental health issues. We have to stop saying be strong and tell them that it’s okay to not be strong. Be you. Find your authentic voice and get help. It’s okay.

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Disclaimer: I don’t own these photos. A quick Google search was performed to find them.