Jordan

April 30, 2017

Munch turned 9 today. I’m having a party for him later today. I’m excited. He’s excited. Yet, I’m sad. Every year as I watch him grow I’m in fear of his safety. I try to block it out. I try to think positive, but something happens that reminds me that my son has a bulls eye on his back.

Today it was Jordan Edwards death. Jordan was a straight-A student, talented athlete who came from a two-parent home. Yet, even with those stats he wasn’t safe. He was 15 years old and the day before Munch’s 9th birthday he was murdered.

Munch will be 15 in six years. How can I protect him when it seems that our police are trained to fear their life and shoot without thinking? He didn’t do anything. To many what ifs play in my mind. What if Munch is riding in a car? What if Munch is walking home from the store? What if Munch is playing with his friends outside? I can’t breathe some days thinking about the what ifs. The list is endless.

My mind is in a daze this morning. I must check my emotions, put on some make up and smile because this is the day that I brought forth life. A mother is mourning the loss of her son as I sit preparing to celebrate mine. I will pray for that mother and her family. I will love on my son and kiss harder and love harder than ever before.

This has got to stop.

Black is beautiful.

He is beautiful.

He is loved.

J

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “J” is for Jordan. My posts will be written as a journal style for the challenge and will be on the theme: Mothering While Black. I hope you enjoyed it.

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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Women Of Color – Beautiful For So Many Unrecognized Reasons

That being said, me being a creative man, I gravitate toward things that are colorful and vibrant. By colorful, I mean that literally and figuratively. Women of color just astonish me. That means, Indian, Native American, African, Latin, Arabian, Polynesian, Asian and anyone else I left out.

Why do I Love Women of Color?

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Not just because of a skin color, but because of the heritage, the culture they all come from and the history of said culture.

From the beauty and vocals of Dorothy Dandridge, to the dancing grace of Maria TallChief.  Or, we can easily tout the powerful presence of Eva Peron or Tejano vocalist Selena Quintanilla-Peréz. What about the eminence of Hatsheput or the Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement Rosa Parks? I find all of them the most attractive. Not just physically but on a much more profound level.

What About That Look?

That being said, I can’t leave out the physical aspect. The facial features, the various skin complexions, tones, contours and hair textures. Did I mention the accents? There’s nothing like a Latin woman born in the Northeastern section of the United States. Or, a woman born in Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Panama, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic or Costa Rica. What about the culture and beauty of an African woman from Nigeria, Somalia or Ethiopia? The storied history behind those countries’ women and all that comes with the heritage. What about an African-American women from all-over the United States? They themselves bring a certain uniqueness that I find most sexy.

From their  level of intellect, charisma and fortitude, to their independent yet humble nature. That melanin carries historical perseverance and pride, while the tensity of their hair represents the strength of their people. How can you not find that beautiful?

 

These women are more than just a beholding of beauty to me. They are the very definition of perseverance and inner strength. Which, is so much more significant when you view women of color.  You must look beyond the surface.

Women of Color Are Profound

Think of the native African or even the African-American woman and what they or their ancestors endured and continue to encounter in today’s society. Slavery, War, Segregation, Racism, Sexism, Discrimination, Genocide are all trials embedded within their beings. When you look at a woman from these cultures, you have to see more than a face. More than pulchritude. More than sexual commodity to be had. They are the essence of overcoming an oppressive state of being.

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Photo Credit: Marc de Groot

Women of color are born into a world where they are automatically at a deficit because of their gender. Even with the feminist movement and the rapid advancement of women’s rights on the rise in the United States and other countries. Women are still at a bigger disadvantage than their male counterparts. Add to that, a lot of these women are born into cultures where they are beneath the men and have to scratch and claw their way to prominence. There’s a certain beauty in that… a certain sex appeal. And a definite strength.

 

The Deficit

In a earlier blog I spoke about, “Dating and the Plight of the Black Woman.” I highlighted the literal canyon of obstacles black women have to overcome just to be seen as intelligent, desirable and beautiful in the dating world when compared against women of other cultures. To give you a small example, I want you to do something for me:

  1. Pull up another window on your phone, tablet or laptop.
  2. Do a google search on, “beautiful women.”
  3. Click on images.

What did you see? What did you notice?

5 out of the first 100 images are of women of color. I would’ve gone farther, but I chose not too. You have already received my point. Women of color are not considered, “as-beautiful-as…” white women.  This is the deficit that women of color face. They already have to work 5 times harder just to be viewed as beautiful. Can you imagine how difficult that is, in the world of modeling and fashion alone? That is unacceptable. However, as shown above, it’s a harsh reality for women of color.

Hadley Freeman from, theguardian.com states in her article about black women and fashion…

Black models never, with single-digit exceptions in a decade, appear on the cover of major fashion magazines, because, as the black model Jourdan Dunn told the Guardian last year,“people in the industry say if you have a black face on the cover of a magazine it won’t sell.”

 

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My Final Take

That is how black beauty is viewed the world over. Vogue, Elle, GQ, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, L’Officiel, Harper’s Bazaar, and more… rarely place women of color, let alone black women on their covers.

I for one, believe that all women are beautiful in their own unique way. No matter how they pull up in a google search or if they regularly grace the cover of internationally syndicated fashion magazines. Women of color will always be beautiful to me, inside and out.

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It’s Time To Accept The Emotional Shift In Men

Are men “more emotional” now? Or, have men’s emotions been repressed all this time by socialization, tradition, norms, rearing, and conditioning?

A few questions

Why do you see men dying much faster than women outside our reluctance to visit the doctor? Why do you see so many men dying of depression and hypertension? Why do you see far more men (than women) shooting up schools and committing mass murders?
In his article about male violence, Jesse J. Prinz of Psychology Today says:
Men perpetrate about 90 percent of the world’s homicides and start all of the wars. A recent article in a prominent science journal contends that evolution has shaped men to be warriors. More specifically, the authors claim that men are biologically programmed to form coalitions that aggress against neighbors, and they do so in order to get women, either through force or by procuring resources that would make them more desirable. The male warrior hypothesis is alluring because it makes sense of male violence, but it is based on a dubious interpretation of the science.
The numbers are alarmingly slanted towards men vs women. You see men in movies and on television running around killing 1000 people without dropping one tear. That is the reality men have to live up too. Be like that guy! Hard, no-fear, no pain, no hurt.  Be sophisticated and savvy like James Bond, never waver, do not let any man beat you at anything.  

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Photo Credit: Jordan Whitt
Well shit… I hurt, I feel pain, and I wanna cry (sometimes) dammit. So call me a punk. Call me less than a man.

Emotional athletes

What about sports? We label these men as, “warriors.” Until…. you see them crying on the sideline .
Then, you say….”he’s being too emotional.” You look at this man, as, well… “less than a man.” Why? Because he’s in touch with his emotions and the other men aren’t? Or, maybe because society doesn’t let men cry. So, as result, you see repressed emotion on the field. The only emotions these men show is anger and aggression.  That’s what we pay for right? Gladiators. Well, even Gladiators had feelings.

To make matters worse

You see young boys being taught they shouldn’t cry, don’t be a punk, you’re a sissy if you express yourself, don’t talk too much, “get-up (from a fall) that didn’t hurt!” Meanwhile we embrace the exact opposite in women. Women live longer and more fulfilling lives as a result. Societal pressures have doomed men. This was inevitable. Women have begun to jilt their societal and traditional “garb” and have traded up for business suits, careers, expression, aggression, leadership, stabilization of finances, and independence. I applaud these women for having the courage to go against the grain.. and I side-eye, sneer and laugh at the men that don’t accept them.
 
Basically, there is a shift going on. Not women becoming stronger than men. Not men becoming more “feminine.” Just humans realizing that we were created to evolve.
Are you prepared?

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.

View More: http://magnoliastreetphoto.pass.us/tikeetha_2016

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/.

 

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.