Tag Archives: Black Family

“We Don’t Even Care About ‘US”


Some of my best memories growing up as a kid in the 80’s were the times when I wanted to be like Michael Jackson. Unbeknownst to me, it was during the time when Michael Jackson was at the crown of his career having just released his album entitled; “Bad.” I would spent my time trying to imitate his dances moves, wore one glove pretending it was white; and finish every dance move mimicking Jackson’s patented sounds of “Hee-Hee and Aoww!” This was before hip-hop had my attention and when music was still good enough to listen to on the radio without having to explain why there are so many pauses in a record. Then fast-forward into the 90’s where my adolescence was ‘chin-checked’ if you will when I was told I had been “hoodwinked and bamboozled” from Spike Lee’s movie Malcolm X. I had started middle school and was introduced to high top fades, House Party films, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Cross-Colours, Karl Kani, and of course: girls. While I was going through the stress of peer pressure and teenage puberty; my early childhood idol, Michael Jackson; was being investigated on child sexual abuse charges. Though such charges would haunt him for the rest of his career; Jackson maintained his innocence in a recorded interview and would later go on and settle with his accuser outside of court. Jackson would go on musically to record HIStory:  Past, Present, and Future, Book I, as a response to not only the accusations he endured; but to the mistreatment he received from the media. Regarded as Jackson’s most controversial album, Jackson again became the center of public scrutiny when one of the albums songs, “They Don’t Care About Us” was cited as having anti-Semitic lyrics. Despite Jackson’s pleas that the lyrics or his intent was not anti-Semitic; the commotion ended when Jackson re-recorded song removing the anti-Semitic slur. All controversy aside, the song “They Don’t Care About Us” was thought by many as having a hidden message and that maybe the singer was trying to tell us something—by us I mean African-Americans.

Such a song could be the impetus turned into a chorus sung by countless African-American voices as the year nears its end. We’re just barely four weeks removed from the decision by a grand jury which chose not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner. Garner, who was a father of six, was accosted by police for allegedly selling loosies’ cigarettes was taken down by an illegal chokehold by Pantaleo while America gasped when hearing Garner reply; “I can’t breathe.” Unlike the Michael Brown scenario involving Officer Darren Wilson; this case had visual evidence of an Officer using not just excessive force but an illegal take down method and Garner’s cause of death was ruled a homicide. But of course you had people apologizing for the officer saying “This isn’t about race and he [Garner] was resisting arrest.” Even Garner’s widow mentioned this isn’t about race in an interview with Rush Limbaugh, (of all people) and her husband was known by the officers for selling illegal cigarettes. I get the resisted part to some degree; however, are we then to conveniently forget about Officer’s Pantaleo’s checkered past?  The New York Daily News reports back in April of 2012, two men, (both who are black males) Darren Collins and Tommy Rice; alleged that Pantaleo pulled the men’s pants down and slapped their genitals during a traffic stop. Criminal charges against the two men were dropped according the reports and each received $15,000 each in a settlement. There is other cases against Officer Pantaleo (including one still pending) but my point is the guy clearly has a history of unfair treatment towards blacks so why was he even on the force?  Before I could even answer that question, I was aghast to find out that the Staten Island borough where Garner was killed has the highest number of most-sued NYPD officers the Daily News reports.   No, no, no. Maybe it has to do with Pantaleo’s Sergeant, Kizzy Adoni, who failed to intercede or break up the encounter so the grand jury had to rule in Officer’s Pantaleo’s favor, right? And just for the record; Sergeant Adoni is a black woman. As thousands rushed the streets nationwide to protest (and rightly so) after the decision was made; there was still a part of me that was hesitant in giving my full support. Of course it would be easy for me to put my pro-black militant hat on and talk about institutionalized racism and yell “white supremacy is alive and active!” It would also stick to my initial social-political narrative with the Jackson song of, “They Don’t Care About Us.” But that would be too easy.

I want to be very, very, clear in this article before I move on because initially I did not want to write it. I didn’t want to be considered a race-baiting; the white man is keeping us down, quoting liberal; or a personal responsibility, American flag wearing, blame the poor, high-horse conservative. I have no political affiliation whatsoever. I say this because anytime someone black gives an honest, constructive criticism of the black community they are immediately labeled as Toms and Coons. They say this because in some way shape or form, you sound like your repeating white supremacist rhetoric talking points. Although I disagree with that assumption; however, I will say there are some black conservatives out there who never seem to defend anything black or African-American. In fact, many of them would be insulted if you were to call them an African-American; or say they represent the black community! I can assure you I am not one of those type of guys. Likewise, in regards to the liberal argument which ignores or better yet makes excuses for everything wrong with black people. Their end all solution is to NOT fix or improve the black family; but to subsidize it with the government’s supervision. Please understand my intent isn’t to belittle or berate the black community; but it is always from my conviction which leads me to write about various topics that affect us as black people. This is why although I know white supremacy does exist; however, I do NOT spend a whole lot of time addressing it because most of our issues WE should be able to work on constructively and collectively. Just like when I hear people get mad at rich upper class African-Americans for not giving back to the black community. I used to be one of those cantankerous people myself until I understood that those rich blacks are bought off and controlled by sponsors and corporations. Moreover, the only time I personally see fit to call out those black elites is when they’re involved with a product, advertisement, or a movement that is at the detriment, decadence, and the destruction of black people. Something I like to call the 3-D’s effect.

This leads me to the monotonous protesters or creators of the “Black Lives Matter” movement which will be soon hijacked by whatever minority group associated with them who feels they’re just as important as well. So according to their website blacklivesmatter.com, the movement began back in 2012 after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the murder of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin. Since then the group has been actively involved in organizing several marches, rallies, and protest. They have become virtually the crest of the movement, led by “Black Lives Matter” originators: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi. They have garnered national media attention and social media notoriety most notably after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. After I browsed through their website to see what they ultimately stood for; I was not surprised that “Black Lives Matter” isn’t just about black lives dying at the hands police and vigilantes. Here’s a quote from blacklivesmatter.com:

“It goes beyond the narrow nationalism that can be prevalent within Black communities, which merely call on Black people to love Black, live Black and buy Black, keeping straight cis Black men in the front of the movement while our sisters, queer and trans and disabled folk take up roles in the background or not at all.  Black Lives Matter affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, black-undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all Black lives along the gender spectrum.  It centers those that have been marginalized within Black liberation movements.  It is a tactic to (re)build the Black liberation movement.”

**Sigh**I couldn’t help to notice that something was glaringly missing from this movement’s website. You guessed it—black on black violence. I know, I know, I KNOW; what I just said could get me put on some fictitious Coon Train; but the greatest threat to black male’s lives; is other black males. I get this stems from various socio-economic factors such as concentrated perpetual poverty, drugs, mass incarceration, lack of jobs/unemployment, the practice of hood culture (and the media’s promotion of it through music and images), fatherless homes; I could go on. I myself understand that there’s always been this pervasive predatory target placed upon black men in America. However, the explanation of being a product of your own environment should be just as irritating of hearing me and others talk about “black on black crime.” The difference between me and the political bigot; is that I am genuinely concerned for the black community just like a prisoner doing 20 to life. What do I mean? This same prisoner if he had the chance (and was remorseful for his crime) who would tell you not only don’t make the same mistakes which landed him in jail; but you have a choice to do something different. That’s code for take responsibility. That’s right. Also, since we are talking about black lives and all; I would be remissed if I didn’t bring up the lives which begin at conception. I understand this might stir up a hornet’s nest by addressing a woman’s right to choose; but abortion continues to be a problem in the African-American community. Yes the abortion rates (nationwide) have dropped considerably within the last decade; unfortunately, black women are still five times more likely to abort than white women and two times more than Latina women according to the  Center for Disease Control and Prevention. There are other groups in which the “Black Lives Matter” movement is also engaged in but of these groups’ transsexuals [gays], feminism, and illegals; already have a national platform and political support. So while I applaud “Black Lives Matter” and the thousands of protesters nationwide; this isn’t really about black males being killed. It’s about having a face—rather a black face— to push their own politicalized agenda’s for their own personal gain. I could be wrong but hey that’s ‘politricks.’

I was almost tempted to end this elongated article by saying “My fellow Americans,” as if I was giving a presidential address. Truth be told, as much as I care about black community and its overall all well-being; it seems like our future as a people is very grim. It’s like we deliberately ignore the seemingly obvious issue, which is the black family; and we focus on who we think is bothering us and become capricious with anyone who tells us otherwise. Racism and anything associated with it; isn’t our core problem. So how can we say “They Don’t Care About Us,” when ‘WE’ don’t even care about us. But nevertheless, those of you who wish not to be enlightened or flat out refuse to, will be the ones who will continue to rail, march, and bark at the moon. Just like those who went before you. Peace.


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How HALLMARK Reminds Black Fathers Every Year Who’s Really “Appreciated.”


“I’m wishing all of the Fathers and single Mothers doing it by themselves; Happy Father’s Day.”-Anonymous

Now you would think this line came from a scene straight out of a Tyler Perry movie called Father’s Day: Madea’s Revenge. I mean no other day of national celebration becomes of lesser importance than the day dedicated to fathers; correction, black fathers. This isn’t Hollywood and I’m not trying out for the role of the “Angry Blackman,” but every single year black Fathers are reminded who’s really ‘appreciated’ in the homes of Black America. Nothing further illustrates this point than the greeting card capital Hallmark and its preeminent, Afrocentric, Mahogany Card Collection. Hallmark’s Mahogany Card’s began around 1987 (according to their Facebook page) to provide African-Americans the most relevant greeting card and connecting products in the marketplace. Their company overview states:

The Mahogany Brand is…
· Candid not contrived
· Authentic not stereotypical
· Hopeful not idealized
· Heartfelt not melodramatic
· Vibrant not showy
· Bold not brash
· Spiritual not preachy
· Rhythmic not “sing song”
· Expressive not excessive
· Uplifting not lofty (www.facebook.com/MAHOGANY/info)

Before I go any further, I would like to thank Hallmark for acknowledging the African-American culture, history and experience. The contributors to the Mahogany Collection (who are black) are only coming from their own experiences and perspectives as African-Americans themselves.  Keion Jackson, Senior Writer of the Mahogany Collection, states this on the website:

“Mahogany is a celebration of Black culture:  the strong faith, the love for Big Mama, the spirit of survival and cool. I count it a privilege to contribute to such a strong tradition.”


Now I could very well just stop right there and say “AH-HA, NO MENTION OF FATHERS!!” However, I’m going to preface my comments by saying this: the black family is dead or it’s in critical condition to say the least. I know the destruction of the nuclear family as a whole has been under attack for some time; however, I’m specifically dealing with black families because we’re the only culture who overtly acknowledges mothers on Father’s Day. Yes, the Mahogany Collection has cards dedicated to fathers on Mother’s Day as well but let’s be honest people; when’s the last time you seen a conglomerate of fathers (on a micro level) really get props on Mother’s Day? It is an indictment to the African-American community because we are the only culture that lacks strong male leadership in our homes and many of our women don’t see a problem with it. You’ll often hear “pro blacks” say “We came from Kings and Queens,” well, if that’s your logic then where is it now? I mean, king and queen denote family and it also promotes Headship and leadership. Hello patriarchy!! I understand slavery had a devastating effect on American blacks here in the states. Although slavery was “allegedly” abolished after the Civil War; however, the Reconstruction Era only saw a continuation of racial white supremacy towards African-Americans.  So in spite of the lynchings, the murders, the disenfranchisement and discrimination; black families STILL stuck together. It wasn’t until the 1960’s and Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society” is where we see the exodus of black fathers in exchange for government benefits. Thus the head of household went from male to female.

These days the normality of single parenthood has been celebrated and lauded when it comes to black mothers; but in contrast, black fathers have often been labeled trifling, trivial, insignificant and irrelevant. Although there is some truth when it comes to those ilk’s of black men, however, there is a counterproductive movement in which black fathers have become significantly more involved in the raising of their children. Just last December, there was a federal survey conducted by the National Center of Health and Statistics, which basically concludes that when it comes to fathering children, black fathers were no different than fathers from other races.  To see the report, go the link at (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr071.pdf).fathers day

So why did I say that the black family is in critical condition? Because we continue to oppress and neglect the importance of the progenitor:  the black father. For every black woman who boasts on a day dedicated to father’s that she’s both “Mom and Dad,” further perpetuates the stereotype that black fathers (such as myself) am trying to rid. The Black Church has also played a major role in the acknowledgement of black mothers on Father’s Day as well. Understandably so seeing that the majority of its congregants are black women, however, it is still no excuse. It’s amazing that these women can come together and support their so-called “Spiritual Fathers,” but are absent when it comes to the natural ones (this is a future blog I’m working on btw). Outside of the church, themselves or when it comes to violence against their own sons; rarely do you see black women organize support groups that target the issues involving black men.

The purpose of this blog is NOT to demean, degrade or disrespect black women. It is, however, a blog that will hopefully bring attention certain level of dysfunction in the black community. Think about it. You actually have scores black men who think it’s some badge of honor to grow up without knowing their own father! Again, we can all agree that there are some horrible, irresponsible brothers out here. However, there are also some vindictive, vengeful, controlling women as well who use the child as a pawn to get back at the father by keeping his kid away-and using our lovely judicial system to do it. But alas, this post might never reach the people at Hallmark or the women and men who see nothing wrong with celebrating black mothers on a day dedicated to fathers. This blog isn’t just about some Mahogany Card Collection, but an attitude that is fueled by the independent feminist mantra that has become embedded in our community by these words, “I don’t need a man.” With the element of shame and accountability thrown out the window; the black woman can make a career out of procreating with different men and our government rewards her. Now if a father does that, well, let’s just say the media and those same women who buy Father’s Day cards for themselves, shout themselves out of social media and the government who protects them; knows exactly what happens to “those” fathers. But seriously, until we start to have a mutual respect for one another and become a team when it comes to the parenting aspect in the black family dynamic; our legacies will continue to be in the hands of a system that never really wanted to see the African-American family reach its zenith (together) in the first place. Let’s just see if the individual’s at the Mahogany Collection in Hallmark makes a holiday card dedicated to that. Peace.