I Stand United with MOBB

A moment of truth…It was Trayvon Martin’s death that made me scared for my son’s life. I was sitting there watching the news and seeing his mother’s face filled with so much pain and anguish that something broke in me that day. How could someone gun down a child? It wasn’t the first time it happened, but this was a local member of the neighborhood watch.  It left me wondering how had this country changed. What could I do to protect my son?

In reality, it was nothing. I mean the country had elected the first black president in 2008 and we were worse off than I could ever imagine. Racism, hate and anger seemed to be spewing at him. But, I had a black son. I had a son that would grow up knowing that he was born in the year where America made a decision to elect a black man to the highest position in the country. Anything was possible. I believed my son could do anything and be anything at that point.

But, the country seemed to change. The color of his skin made the closet hate mongers realize that we as a people couldn’t be kept down. We could do or be anything. He endured. He endured people trash talking him, his wife and his children. However, something changed when Trayvon died. When he announced in that press conference that Trayvon could have been his son, I realized that he was acknowledging his blackness in a way that was never done. He was a father before he was a president. He was a man.

It was in that moment that I accepted that my son would always have a target on his back. I held him tighter. Many more deaths. Many more boys and men. Tamir Rice was only a few years older than Munch. I couldn’t understand. Philandro Castille and the country was in an uproar. It was a long hot summer. I was angry and wanted to do something. I am a mother to a black son. I had to save him. I proclaimed that I didn’t endure multiple attempts at pregnancy, bed rest and an emergency delivery to let him die on the streets like a dog. I had to stand for something. I had to do something.

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But, what? Last year, CNN reported that black men are nearly 3 times as likely to die from police use of force than white men. I was scared. How could I keep my son safe? How could I help him to understand why I don’t let him play with toy guns. Why I advocated for clothing that showed him as an innocent non-threatening black boy.

It was at that time that someone added me to a group on FaceBook called Mothers of Black Boys United (MOBB). This group was amazing. I saw articles on advocacy. I saw support and concern from mothers all over the world. I saw women united for the sole purpose of making sure their black sons had an opportunity to grow up.

So, I joined. Not just the FaceBook group, but the organization. I wanted to make a change. Not just talk about it, but be about it. MOBB advocates to change how young black boys and men are perceived and treated by law enforcement and in society. I was now part of a mission to protect our black boys. It was bigger than me. It was a community of mothers committed to make a difference.

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Yesterday was #givingTuesday all over. Many of you gave back with your charitable donations. It’s still time. Still time to give and help raise funds for a worthy cause. Can you please join me by donating to MOBB? Just click this link: Donate to MOBB

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Your support is invaluable. As little as $1.00 can make a difference. Thank you for supporting.

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Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

 

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Black Women vs. White Women

Why do they always seem to put us up against one another? Why is it that it’s always in the news that black men prefer white women or that black women have bad attitudes? Why is it that society can’t seem to find us beautiful?

If it’s not one thing, it’s another, but this is no pity piece. I don’t need your sympathy or coaxing to tell me that I’m beautiful. Hell, I know I am! My confidence and self-esteem are not defined by society nor shattered by their comments. I love me. The skin I’m in and the woman that I am.

My issue is when people want to pit us against one another. Can’t we all just get along? I mean seriously. I have some cool white girlfriends that I call my sisters and hell I’m sure that they think I’m a cool black girlfriend. Race doesn’t divide us. Our genders unite us. We are about the success of women.

So, you’re probably asking what’s got me fit to be tied? It’s this constantly circulated stereotype that asks the question why do black men prefer white women? Last week one of the bloggers I follow, Sunny over at Grown Folk Talk Radio, posted the Instagram page of a Washington Redskins player who asked the question of why do black athletes marry white women?

I’m sure it was written to get everyone in an uproar. I mean what isn’t done on social media for likes or comments? But, one “athlete” in particular posted this foolishness:

Was I hot? Absolutely. The whole response is meant to divide us. To play one race of women against another is pathetic and I’m so tired of that foolishness. Let’s be clear…love who the hell you want too. I don’t care. But, what I won’t do is allow my race and gender to be disrespected in any way. I have to set the record straight.

Here’s the thing…that question is asked to divide instead of unite us. People can’t help who they love. Color is not blind. Love is. You choose to fall in love. Love is amazing, but if you are choosing to love people that are not in your race then I wonder do you truly know what the meaning of love is? Self-love is the first step to recognizing and accepting love.

Now, my issue is the fact that this gentleman’s argument was flawed. Here’s why…

  • Most of the sisters were raised in broken homes.  What statistics back that up when it is a whole lot of women choosing not to marry but have children? You are sitting there trying to refer to us as your sisters while throwing shade? That is whack? If sisters are growing up in broken homes, where is the man who could fix that? I mean if your argument is that a man leads, why is he not leading the family?
  • They don’t have the proper guidance on how to treat a man. Umm, what is the proper guidance? Is there a class? Where are boys taught how to treat a woman? What are the ways in which we are supposed to treat you? This my friend is call for action instead of trying to destroy us. Teach at the Boys and Girls club or get involved with local community organizations to teach children how to communicate effectively.
  • A white woman knows her position and accepts her role. Are you kidding me? I know many white women who are alpha females and married to great men that lead the family, but they are not docile women cowering in the corner. Where are you meeting these women? Does your girlfriend know that you think of her in those terms?
  • Black women think that it is 50/50. If I went to college and grad school like you why would I want anything less than 50/50? Does that mean that we are splitting the finances down the middle? No. It means that I will be an equal contributor to our family’s future. That is what it means. Is that bad? Nope.  But, on the flip side that doesn’t mean that I will support a man trying to be a rapper in his 40’s. You are not bringing your all to the table sir. Relationships evolve and people set their own rules, but to dismiss someone’s belief is close minded.
  • Black women are stubborn, close minded and always want to argue. Umm, where are you meeting these women? See, you can always find some stubborn and close minded people that want to argue regardless of race or gender. This is not something you can put on all black women.
  • Black women are not coachable. What? Are you a therapist? Because I will tell you that I’ve always said black people (not just black women) need three things: Jesus, wine and therapy. We need help. It is not just black women. How can a man coach a woman if he secretly hates them? That is what the real issue is.

This whole argument spoke of ways to divide us and I for one am tired of it. These small minded individuals are petty and obviously unhappy with their lives that they feel the need to speak such foolishness. Last time I checked it took two people to make a relationship and/or marriage work.

In the interest of self disclosure…my dad walked out on us when I was 9. The oldest of 3 kids. He didn’t financially contribute to our upbringing. Nor was he physically present in our lives….EVER. Where the hell is the outrage for the men who just don’t care and don’t give a f*ck about the kids they leave behind? Would you expect a woman who didn’t have a father who wasn’t a man not to have any issues? Anyone would. Yet, I’m the problem. Not the man that left?

So, no my momma wasn’t teaching me how to be a dutiful wife and know my place. She was out there busting her butt working 3 jobs to provide for us because the man she married didn’t think his children were worth it. All while making $16,000 a year. Do you know how hard that is? There were no talks of how you should treat a man. We had food security issues.  That was more concerning.

The key to relationships regardless of race is communication. We all need to learn how to talk to each other in our relationships. If you’re dating someone and they do something you don’t like, talk to them. Give them an opportunity to correct their behavior. If they don’t, move on. But, stop trying to blame black women for the ills of black men or stop trying to divide black women and white women. We all have battles to fight.

P.S. The supposed “athlete” is really not a professional football player.  I hope that all women know what kind of foolish and deceitful man this person is.

 

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Life of Regrets

It is at the end of a man or woman’s life that they really begin to ponder things. Did I live a good life? Did I enjoy it? Was I good person? Did I leave the world a better place than when I found it?

Or at least I hope that is what we’ll do.

I have been thinking a lot about the life yet lived and the mistakes that we make when faced with the possibility of death. No, I’m not dying. I’ve been sick, but I’m recuperating. That’s why my posts have seemed erratic lately. Please bear with me.

But, I told ya’ll last week that my daddy had a pace maker put in and I was worried about him. His family was calling and asking me about a living will and what do I want to do with the surgery and being his decision maker. I started freaking out. What do you mean? Is he conscious? Can’t he make the decisions on his own? I don’t know about the will. He mentioned it a few times, but I’ve seen or signed nothing. Ugh!

I was overwhelmed and frustrated to say the least. I was told they would call me back and they didn’t. I just called the hospital and spoke to his nurse in ICU. He was conscious. He was able to make the decisions on his healthcare. He wanted the pacemaker.

I got answers. I was happy that the hospital was being very concerned about my dad’s health. They took down my phone number and called me. There was a wonderful nurse who told me she was trying to let the social worker know what my daddy needed when he went home. He needed a nurse. He needed help. He didn’t have a phone.

She asked me about my dad’s military service. My dad said he was a vet. He is. He is a vet. He was dishonorably discharged. The nurse said “He told me he wasn’t dishonorably discharged and he has papers to prove it.” I sighed. It was 1:30 in the morning. I responded in exasperation “My daddy is an alcoholic. He’s had a drinking problem all his life or at least for the last 35 years. Too much drinking and smoking. His brain cells are gone. He can’t produce any paperwork and I’m too tired to argue.”

She was sympathetic as I explained that I am the only one of a possible 9 children still speaking to him. One out of 9. That’s his life. So, I have no reason to lie. He’s broke and sick. He’s one of the forgotten. I just don’t know how to feel.

She understood. She listened as I explained that God had told me to forgive my daddy. That God told me that it in order for me to be blessed I had to let go of all the pain my daddy caused by not being in my life. She said “Me too. I know exactly what you mean.” She said she would help him. She would exhaust her resources.

Apply for Medicare. Do everything she can. Thank God for her.

She didn’t have to go above and beyond. It was appreciated. I wasn’t there. I knew at that moment that I needed to go home to see about him.

I talked to him the next day. He was moved to ICU to his own room. I called and heard his voice. He’s alive. He’s able to make his decisions. I told him the calls I received from his relatives. He said that he knew.

I was exhausted. Emotionally and mentally. It’s hard loving a man that you don’t really know. I’ve spent 11 years of my life with this man and 31 without him. It’s hard trusting him to not come in my life and hurt me again. I’m not his only child. I’m one of many.

My dad said that he wants me to contact his other children. To reach out to them and ask them to talk to him. I won’t. I can’t.

I feel that God gave me the message in order to move me from the pain to the promise. He may not have given my siblings that message. It’s not for me to clean up my daddy’s mess. I’ve said to him that he needs to find a way to clean up his own mess. That you can’t ask me to do what you should have done a long time ago. Be a man to your children.

I know that he’s living a life of regrets right now, but I can’t help him. We are all responsible for the choices we make. Good, bad or indifferent, you have to know that there will come a time when payment is due for your negligence. I wish that his regrets were more of the life not traveled, but I know they are more about the man he wasn’t and the forgotten children.

He Likes

The way I kiss him.

The way I hold him.

The way that I explain difficult concepts.

The way that I spoil him.

The way that I believe in him.

The way that I scream his name.

The way that I tickle him.

He also likes…

The color of my lip gloss.

I smile.

It was bright red that day.

I replied, “It’s not gloss, but lipstick”

I bent over and kissed his perfect face

He had a pair of red lips on his face

I smiled

“I love you Munch”

“I love you too Mommy” he replied.

Kisses

He likes many things about me

My kisses are what he’ll remember

When he grows up and leaves me to find his own way

I will remember the day that I wore red lipstick

Not my usual lip gloss

And kissed the face of my sweet 8 year old angel

Red kisses

Red

The color of red

Blood is red

The stain on his shoes when he scrapped his knee

The blood gushing from his nose bleeds

I pray

That the color red

Will never be more than sweet kisses

On his face

Or scrapes when he falls

Or random inconvenient nose bleeds

I pray for no red sheets draped over his body

As he lays in the street

A victim

A child

My child

Who liked my red kisses

© Tikeetha Thomas

These Are Perilous Times

I didn’t want to write this. Another post about the injustices of those who are supposed to serve and protect killing two men last week. The videos. Social media. I couldn’t. I was too emotionally drained. Angry. Frustrated. Scared. Heartbroken.

So, I prayed. I prayed for healing for our nation. I prayed for the families of the victims. I prayed for the families of the officers who committed these heinous crimes. I prayed for the officers murdered in Dallas. I prayed.

In times of trouble there is not much I can do but write, protest and pray.

I can use my words to talk about the things that black parents feelbut you know.

I can talk to you about how I’m afraid for our black men dying at the hands of policebut you know.

I can talk to you about how I feel about our black girls dying too – but you know.  

I can tell you how it feels to be the mother of a black boy – but you can probably guess.

So, what is the purpose of this post? To simply ask you to look through a different lens. A lens outside of your own. Take me for example…Let’s see, you know that I love my son more than life itself. That he is the reason that I truly understand God’s love because he gifted him to me. You know that. You know that I spoil him, chastise him, kiss him, run him back and forth to the many activities and I record every moment of his life. Afraid to miss anything.

He is valuable.

He was wonderfully created and made by God.

Just like each of you.

But, I can’t understand why in this country we wear blinders and act like racism doesn’t exist. Let me break it down for you…It does. I’ve experienced it first-hand.

Do I believe that every white person is a racist or that every situation is about race? No, I don’t. Many black people don’t believe that either. But, I need you to understand this…we have to stop acting like we can’t talk about race or that racism doesn’t exist. 

When you can justify the killing of two black men as “they were probably doing something wrong” you’re part of the problem.  When you can write about someone’s past as fact and they are the victim,  you’re part of the problem. We have a problem people. Let’s own the problem and find a solution. 

Will you ever understand what it feels like to be black? No. No more than I can imagine what it’s like to be white, gay, Jewish or Muslim but that doesn’t mean that I don’t empathize with other human beings when things happen in communities outside my own.

We’re all human.

We all matter.

We were all created by God!

A righteous and just God that I have faith will heal this hurting nation.

Can you understand that?

I, like most black parents, fear for my son. I fear that he will be presumed guilty if he ever encounters a police officer. Judged on the streets and not the courtroom. He will be judged not by a righteous and just man. But, by someone who will see his beautiful skin color as a threat. It won’t matter that he’s a child or that he has no criminal background. He will be assumed guilty because he is black.

So, I want to know that the public servants (law enforcements) who may encounter my son treat him fairly. The way that they treat others who look like them. If they do shoot my son unjustly, I want the person to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. It’s that simple.

Do you know what it’s like to not let your son play with certain toys because you don’t want him to get gunned down like Tamir Rice? No toy guns. No real guns. Even though you have a right to bear arms in this country, the second amendment wasn’t designed to protect you Munch!

That’s what I have to explain to him. That’s what I have to tell my son someday. Our dirty laundry that the history books leave out. Do you tell your children the truth about our country’s history or do you omit it hoping and praying for better days?

The whole “if you don’t know your history you’re bound to repeat it” rings in my head. Are we repeating history? Silently. This thumping with the songs from my ancestors playing lowly in the background…We Shall Overcome!

We shall overcome.

When we stand united.

When we stand as one loving people knowing that we won’t allow the bad apples of our society to taint our generation.

To stain the fabric of our humanity.

We shall overcome.