Be the Man You Want to See

I was listening to the radio yesterday and the morning show host was talking about how 40% of women are leading single parent homes and how he got into a discussion with a gentleman that said that women can’t teach boys how to be men and that they coddle them. The gentleman said in particular, black women coddle their sons and don’t raise them. Can we have a frank discussion on this issue?

Do I have your attention? Good.

So, let me state the facts. I’m a black mother raising my son on a shared custody agreement. He is being raised 50% of the time in a single parent home. Now, I’m not going to argue logistics because yes my son’s father is in his life, but I’m still single. That means on my time, it is imperative that I cultivate an environment where I am both nurturer and disciplinarian. Where I am leader, mother, teacher, spiritual advisor, nurse, etc. Oh, and if that’s not enough I need to make sure that I’m giving him the best opportunities to be successful.

Seven days at a time. Seven days to make sure that I’m doing all that and then some. I cook breakfast each morning, fix a hearty lunch, review homework and enroll him in engaging and beneficial activities. I take him for Mommy/son dates, pay for field trips, camps and make sure that he’s getting sufficient exercise. Exhausted yet?

But, I don’t complain. I love my Munch and I want him to grow up and be a faithful, dependable, kind man who remembers his faith in God and has great moral character. It’s a lot but I am thankful for this opportunity and I don’t take it lightly. Now, here’s my issue…

Where are all the men?

Many men who make these comments about women not being able to raise a son are not stepping up to help them out. They complain about an issue when in fact they are part of the problem. How is it a woman’s fault when they are doing the best they can under the circumstances? Do you think women want to be single parents? Some do, but many don’t. Where is the man’s responsibility in this picture? How do you know the man in question knows what it means to be a man? Did he have a man who was a good man teaching him to navigate manhood?

I’m exhausted from hearing that women (especially black women) are the main issue with many of society’s problems. We aren’t. We are the backbones and many times bread winner in a two parent home. We get tired. We need help. What are you doing to help? Are you a mentor? Are you volunteering your time to young men without fathers? Are you spending time with your women friend’s male offspring? Showing up at little Timmy’s baseball game or Max’s lacrosse game? What about Jonathan’s spelling bee? Were you there?

My truth

I’ve been separated from my ex for five years. In that five year time, not one of my male friends has EVER stepped up and spent one on one time with Munch. EVER. NEVER EVER. Why not? Why is it that I have some of the most educated, kind hearted and morally correct male friends and they don’t seem to think about standing in and being a role model for Munch? I don’t know. Maybe it’s simply because they don’t think about how I can’t teach a boy how to be a man. Maybe it’s out of sight out of mind. They don’t think about Munch. They see me busting my butt to attend every school meeting, PTA meeting, volunteering in the classroom or on field trips or at the school, paying for tutoring, coordinating play dates, paying for private flute lessons, swim lessons and boxing and think I have it all under control.

I do.

But, my son could always benefit from positive male influence. Be the sane person when his parents are stressing him out. Be the one that shows up and encourages him for his event. Be the man that he calls when he wants to take about things. Be the man that gives him true and direct advice to life’s problems or concerns.

But they don’t. We are invisible. We are invisible to many until Munch grows up and leads a less than desirable life. Then it will be my fault.

I’m not giving up on my son. I know that I’m not alone. I will pour everything that I have and more into helping him navigating boyhood to manhood. I will enroll him in mentoring programs and give him opportunities to have positive male influence.

I am not alone. I am one of many women. I am raising a son. I nurture. I coddle. I discipline. Our children need mentors. Stop complaining and get to work. You know what it takes to be a man. So, be a man and give unselfishly of yourself. You might just see how your presence makes a difference.

 

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/.

Advertisements

Dating And The Plight Of The Black Woman – Part I

dating-plight-black woman-love

When dating, the plight of the black woman is like no other. This isn’t intended to diminish the challenges and obstacles of any other race of woman. This is also not written to attack the opposite sex.  It’s written to bring awareness, understanding and empathy for a culture of women that has to overcome not only the unfavorable stigma attached to their pigment and the texture of their hair, but also, the negative character portrayal and barrage of stereotypical images of black women in the dating world.

Stereotypes of the Black Woman

To name a few:

  • The black woman doesn’t care about her body.
  • She doesn’t like her own hair.
  • They do not listen to their man.
  • The black woman is not marriage material
  • Black women have bad attitudes
  • Black women have negative attitudes
  • They don’t get along with other women
  • Black women hate white women
  • The women are gold diggers
  • She is always angry
  • Black women are ghetto and ratchet
  • She talks too much
  • Black women are bitter and heart-broken
  • They are lazy baby-makers
  • Black women can’t keep a man

Of course, none of these insidious and damaging characterizations of black women are true.  However, it is important for you to realize how these stereotypes (or any stereotype) impact the dating landscape and the overall psyche of a black woman.

Origins

Black Woman-Dating-Thinking-Plight

Based on a study conducted in the winter of 1999 by Laura Green of Virginia Commonwealth University. Sambo, Jim Crow, The Savage, The Mammy, Aunt Jemima, Sapphire and Jezebel are major causalities that result in stereotypes centered around black people and black women.  In addition, the stereotypes of black women go as far back as slavery days and have stalked black people like a specter and/or evolved into modern-day thought.

Negative Polls About Black Women

Black women are beauty personified. However, black women have been degraded since slavery. Even so, by their own men.  In video poll conducted by Buzz Feed researchers, called, “Do You Have A Racial Preference…” 2.4 million heterosexual interactions from the app, “Are You Interested.,” were used to determine preference. Users were classified by their gender and race.

The study revealed:

  • Black women are the least desirable among all women.
  • Black men responded mostly to women of other races, even though black women were 3 times more likely to respond.
  • Black women are the least replied-to group.
  • Black women are also the most likely to respond when compared against other races of women.
  • Black women respond 25% more than other women.
  • A similar survey by OkCupid revealed that black women were the least replied-to group.
  • 1 out of 2.9 men respond to black women

 

More on that OkCupid survey

Back in 2009, the basics of race and attraction looked like this:

men
—non-black men applied a penalty to black women
—while black men showed little racial preference either way

women
—all women preferred men of their own race
—but they otherwise penalized both Asian and black men

Here’s how the exact person-to-person statistics look: Focus on the Black men rating and then look at the Black women rating.
I gather a few things from these numbers.

  • Black men are willing to seek love outside their own race willingly.
  • Black women are not as willing to do so.
  • Black men rate black women least desirable at -3%
  • Black women rate black men, “most” desirable at 16%
Dating-statistics-Black women
Photo Credit: OK Cupid

 

Some things never change…

  • Black men are still willing to seek love outside their own race willingly.
  • Black women are less likely to do so than they were in 2009
  • Black men rate black women least desirable at 1%. Which is a slight jump from 2009
  • Black women rate black men, “most” desirable at 23%. Which is a 7% jump from 2009.
  • Black women are the only race to rate black men, “positively.”
Black Women-dating-statistics-black men
Photo Credit: OkCupid

Continue reading “Dating And The Plight Of The Black Woman – Part I”

Reflections on the A-to-Z Challenge

It was my first year doing the challenge. It was hard. I learned a lot about me and my ability to come up with posts for thirty days. Thankfully, it is over. LOL. Here are my reflections:

  • I needed to pre-plan my posts and actually schedule them. I usually had a rough draft and concept done, but I didn’t plan them in advance. That probably would have saved me time when life got in the way and I didn’t post that day.
  • It was hard trying to think of words that matched the alphabet that weren’t always really simple. You know how hard it was coming up with X and Z? Whew!
  • I like the idea of a theme but would probably find a different one next time that was a little easier. I am proud of myself for jumping out there with a difficult theme, but I probably should have picked an easier one for the first time.
  • It was good to be writing consistently. It’s hard to blog some days when you feel like you have nothing to talk about or life gets in the way. Planning what you’re going to post forces you to get comfortable blogging on a consistent basis.

That’s about it. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I may participate again later this year. If you missed any of my posts you can check them out here:

Anguish

Black

Cleveland

Divorce

Effort

Fear

God

Heavy

Insurance

Jordan

Knowledge

Love

Mom

Nursing

Objective

Perception

Querulous

Responsible

Saved

Trayvon

Unjust

Version

Wise

Xerarch

Yearning

Zappy

 

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/.

Xerarch

I remember sitting in church one day and hearing my pastor preach about the Myrtle tree and how strong a tree it was because it could grow in dark and xerarch places. It didn’t need much light. It didn’t need much water. It could grow anywhere. It could bear fruit for sustenance.

The thing is that story just popped into my head as I was searching for a word that would go with the letter ‘X’. I remembered that story and how it inspired me as I sat on the pew thinking about my life and my son’s life. The message was simple – Anyone can grow and shine on the mountain top, but when you’re in the valley will you still be able to grow?

The answer should be yes. Even when you are in a valley situation you need to be like the Myrtle tree and just grow. No matter what is going on around you focus on God and just grow where you are planted. Your tree will sustain the weather and you will bear much fruit.

Life is about sustaining in difficult storms and growing through what you go through.

X

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “X” is for Xerarch. 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 pagehttps://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Version

March 30, 2018

The version seems to be the same…I was afraid for my life. Another black boy dies. Gun downed. Another acquittal. No charges. The characters may change, but the version remains the same. Different cast. Same roles. More black boys die. It doesn’t matter. Our lives don’t matter.

The sins of the father are visited upon their offspring. What the hell did my ancestors do to make our children a target for violence? Their version always ends in a chalk outline and a community in outrage.

No more tears.

No more.

There should not be separate versions.

Only one.

The truth.

V

 

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “V” is for Version. 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 pagehttps://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Trayvon

February 27, 2012

I couldn’t believe what CNN was reporting. A 17-year old black boy was walking home from the store when he was shot by a neighborhood watch man. What neighborhood watch person carries a gun? Oh, this is Florida. Seriously? Why oh’ why did this boy have to die. His face looks so innocent.

His life. Gunned down. This evil man is claiming self-defense. How? Did he have a gun? He was a kid. You’re a grown man.

A hoodie. The news is trying to make it seem like this fool, this murderer was scared because this little black boy was wearing a hoodie. Are you kidding me? A hoodie.

God, please help me. Why are little black boys viewed as thugs and violent when the biggest terrorists in America are raised in our country? What can I do to keep Munch safe.

Pray.

I shall trust you to protect him. He’s all I have. He’s no thug. He’s no criminal. He’s my Munch.

T

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “T” is for Trayvon. 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 pagehttps://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Black

May 1, 2008

I held him in my arms. In awe. This little black boy was mine. I couldn’t believe that I did this. That God allowed me to be the vessel for this little prince. My son. I stared in amazement.

His color hadn’t come in. His melanin would be a rich coco brown. A combination between his father and I. I smelled him. I kissed him. I loved him. I couldn’t describe the feelings that I was experiencing. It was surreal.

I created life. A trying delivery and I couldn’t really bond with him. I couldn’t find the strength to hold him yesterday after his birth. The drugs. They were plentiful and being pumped in my IV. I was sore from the C-section and they didn’t even get me up to walk.

“You need to rest mama” the Ethiopian nurse urged. I sighed. I was exhausted. I could barely explain the overwhelmingly feeling of being drugged and unable to lift my arms. Many visitors came to see this beautiful boy. Our joy personified.

He just slept. No worries. No cries. Just sleeping in peace. I couldn’t believe it. I smiled that night that I went to sleep. Times were changing. My son was born at an important time. We had the first real candidate Barack Obama running for President. I prayed that he would win. He was a black man. My son was black. I wanted him to see himself in Barack and I wanted to tell him that he could be anyone or anything in this world and truly mean it. He could be President of the United States. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

I just snuggled more. Kissed more and prayed that his life is as God has planned. I thanked the Almighty for hearing my pleas when his life was in jeopardy. I thanked him for giving me joy. For giving me this black boy that I would love and protect with everything in me. One day.

One day. He was one day old. Would he be safe?

B

This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “B” is for Black. 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/.

A to Z for April Theme Reveal

I announced last week that I would be participating in the A to Z Challenge for the month of April and that you could sign up to participate from now until April 1st. This is my first time participating and I’m excited to announce my theme. My theme for the month of April will be:

Mothering While Black

atoz-theme-reveal-2018

I will be writing it in a journal theme and trying to share with you thoughts about mothering while black.  I hope you like it. As stated, I will try to keep my posts to once a day as to not overwhelm your inbox.

Sign-up for the challenge and let me know. I would love to follow your posts as well. See you on Sunday.

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/

Women Of Color – Beautiful For So Many Unrecognized Reasons

Black woman-African American-Afro-Dark Skinned

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?

Black woman-beautiful-love-dating

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.

Imaan-Hammam-beautiful-Arab-Black-white-color
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.”

 

Jourdan Dunn-Quote-Black Woman-Dating-Love-Beautiful-color

 

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.

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.

24203749_10214468397246421_1401614609_n

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

24257406_10214468396686407_1234962785_n

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

24232211_10214466424917114_3215769938874092683_n

 

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/.