a thousand words

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


The Pathway To Our Humanity Is Always A Long And Painful Road.

I have this dream....

I am with my family at African American Town in a major city. Just like Chinatown and Little Italy, it is a place filled with ethnic pride. No one shuns it, comedians don’t make dumbass jokes about it and tourist know it’s a must do destination.

All around me, there are black families, the mother and fathers are casually affectionate and the kids are excited and loud. The little girls beam at their fathers with gentle love and the boys blush when their mothers kiss them....

Then, I wake up.

I am in a mall and all the black women are with their kids alone and every black man that’s with a woman is not with a black one.

I wait to wake up again... but I don’t.

How can we help black men find their way back to decency, love and family? I have thought about this many times and when I do, the problem seems like looking up at a mountain you have to climb and seeing it disappear into the clouds.

Everything we need is so basic. It’s heartening because it seems so easy but also sad that such fundamental ideas have been lost.

Men have to commit to our women and children. If you are heartless enough to walk away from an innocent child, then can you really claim any kind of manhood?

And ladies if he can’t love a baby, he can’t love you.

And guys if you can't love a woman and her child, don't waste their time.

Let’s develop a new paradigm for maleness based on our culture and not someone else’s, based on reality and not fantasy. How long fellas are we going to feel we’re entitled to only what some other man wants? When will we think about what we really want and make that our desire? Malcolm X said we had to deny the dominant culture’s hold on us before we could find our true selves. I think now all we have to do is find our place in American culture.

This is a tough one because it cannot be done without women. We have to reject the notion that every American standard applies to us. We can take the best of this country and reject all the worst. If white men are getting married later, we don’t have to. It they are getting divorced, we can resist and if they want to throw their families away, we certainly don’t have to follow suit.

Men and women can allow each other to be human without being damned for it. If this means redefining the roles of men and women, then let’s do it. And men, no one’s talking about cutting off your package. Ladies, no one’s talking about being submissive. I’m talking about what men and women do when they care about something-- they talk and work it out.

I know the men reading this are decent types who have not faltered or succumb to the Deathly Hallows. So, hear me out: Even as America turns away from being its brother’s keeper, we must hold forth.

Just a generation ago, black men thought it was their duty to minister to the young men coming up. Whether in a church, a barbershop or on a basketball court, men were educating men. Now, we have men like Eddie Long educating our wayward youth. We have rappers preaching to our sons and we have movies with men in drag telling them how to live good Christian lives.

We have to end black homophobia and all the shenanigans going on with these double sexual lives. Gay men are men, too and guess what, you guys can get married and adopt kids, now. So if you haven’t picked a team yet, you’d better get to it because believe me, the down low is coming to an end and real soon.

No more cosigning bullshit. I don’t care who he is, tell him to do the right thing or he’s out of your life. I know the worthless men are fun to hang out with. I know you like being better than your niggerish friend but you are only helping the problem. I just had to cut off a friend, a really cool person because he had just hurt too many women and too many kids. I just couldn’t even look at him anymore.

Black men used to love each other. It was a tough love but it was good and reliable. We called each other “brother” and we meant it. The Million Man March tried to bring us back to that love and it at least started a dialogue.

Finally, we must repair our broken faith. And I do not mean go back to the church because that is part of the problem. The black church has fallen into the hands of many less than credible characters (I’ll save that for another day). But the last time I checked, all religions allowed you to speak directly to whatever God you believe in. And if you don’t believe, then the person you need to talk to is on the other side of the nearest mirror.

Faith restores decency. Decency restores righteousness and courage. It takes courage to love, marry and commit your life to wife and child. And the child brings us back to Faith.

Yes, people, it’s the Circle Of Life.

I have a picture of me, my son and my father on my desk. But when I look at it, I don’t think about the connection of the three generations, I think about all the men not in that picture: my three dead brothers, three dead nephews and the many friends lost along the way. I am an eyewitness to that of which I speak and my knowledge has been bought with pain, blood and loss. So, as we used to say, I cannot be faded.

So I welcome anyone who wants to help.

A wise man once said that “a man without nobility is an idea without purpose, matter without motion and a prayer without faith. Only by union with his humanity, will he ever know grace.”

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