Today I cried. A silent cry. Tears streamed down my face. I stifled my anguish. I silenced the wail that was building in my throat. Another. Another black man was shot by the police. This time in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was 37. He had a name. It was Alton Sterling. He had a family.
He was more than the media make him out to be. He is was more. He was a father. He was a son. He wasn’t alone.
Second day of blood shed. I watched the video and tried to rationalize that something must have happened. But, I couldn’t. I couldn’t understand this murder. It was murder right?
Another black man who leaves behind a black son who will always remember that his father was murdered. In cold blood. At a gas station. Who will protect and serve him from this tragedy?
He will grow up. He won’t forget. None of us will. I pray that his anger and rage are used for positive. I pray that he sees that he will be the force of change.
I pray that his mother will get the strength to preach love and peace in a chaotic time to the black boy that she must raise alone. That she knows that heavy the crown she wears now because it is at this point that she must choose love no matter how easy it is to choose hate. I pray that she doesn’t succumb to the pain and leave her son alone to fend for himself because he needs her. He needs everyone. He needs to know that he is not alone.
I stifle my anger and anguish and think of the words of Langston Hughes poem: A Dream Deferred:
What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore– And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over– like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?
I shall pray harder tonight. I shall hold my son harder. I shall kiss him longer. I shall pray that this madness stops. I shall pray that no more mothers have to bury their children. I shall try to scrub the bulls eye off his back.
If only for one more night.
This post was part of the A2Z challenge and the letter “A” is for anguish. 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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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:
Pull up another window on your phone, tablet or laptop.
Do a google search on, “beautiful women.”
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.
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.
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.
Well shit… I hurt, I feel pain, and I wanna cry (sometimes) dammit. So call me a punk. Call me less than a man.
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.
Ya’ll know that I love women right? I’m such a strong advocate for women and sisterhood and this year has been nothing but amazing. From me being published in my first book: Letters to Girls Who Dream of Flying to being selected to be published in another book that is coming out in June 2018, I’m so thankful. I’ve met so many wonderful women along the way that have reached out to me for collaboration, encouragement and support. So, Day 6 of my #23DaysofThankfulness is for these women.
All across the country, God is putting strong women in my life to encourage my spirit, further HIS work and just collaborate on projects. I love it. I love being able to promote and share the works of others. It takes a village and I am so thankful for all these other women. You are loved. You are appreciated. You are valued.
I follow a blogger, Bougie Black Girl, who I absolutely adore. So, while strolling Facebook on Monday night I saw this post:
I was actually floored. Why? Because it seemed like she was suggesting that in order for a man to recognize your worth he had to pay for a pricey dinner. Really?
I get that women undervalue themselves when dating, but when did my value become synonymous with how much you’re willing to pay for dinner? I tend to look at dating as a preview of whether or not we’re compatible. I will never ask you to spend $300 on a first date or any date where we are not in a relationship. If you choose to do so, then great, if not, I will enjoy my scallops just the same at McCormick & Schmick’s without you having to break the bank.
Many people don’t make it past a first date. Whether of their choice or mine, I don’t like to waste any one’s time. So, I will pick a place that is family friendly with a lot of witnesses, affordable to me and is well lit. LOL! My first date with Mr. C was at The Cheesecake Factory. Why? Because I wanted to go there. I had recently discovered that they had a fit menu and I wanted to eat healthier and drink healthier. He was cool with that.
I think the issue of black women accepting less than they are worth (think Netflix and chill) stems from us never having known our true value. It starts with us loving ourselves and providing for ourselves. I’m not taking anything away from a man not being able to provide, but a man paying for a $300 meal tells me nothing about his character, his finances or his ability to provide long-term for me. What was his childhood like? What are his spending habits like? Does he have money saved for retirement?
I get that we don’t want to date anymore “broke a** men” but in order to change our mindset we need to heal from our bad experiences. Release and reflect on our choices and accept that they were our bad choices. We learn from them. We move on. We move beyond the BS into making better choices. For our future. For our children.
Now, before ya’ll get your panties in a bunch and say “Well, T I want him to know that I’m the prize and he can’t just be cheap with me” I get it. Did you tell him that? In your conversations. I mean you can learn a lot about a man by just talking to him. Does that mean he will listen? Nope, but neither does breaking his bank. I would rather a man take me somewhere he can afford (that is within my dining standards) than to splurge on something that he can’t and then be disrespectful by asking for sex afterwards.
Dating is supposed to be fun. It’s the courtship of getting to know and respect each other. It’s a process. No amount of money spent will guarantee that you actually enjoy the date. Take your time and meet people who first respect you and secondly will pay for dinners. It doesn’t have to be super expensive. If you don’t know what a Michelin star is should you really be asking a man to take you to a restaurant that has 3 Michelin stars?
I’m just saying.
Will I go out for dinner at McDonald’s? Umm, nope. But, I will go to Friday’s or Ruby Tuesday’s if it’s not a pay week. I’m versatile.