Thursday, June 29, 2006

Declaration of Their Independence

As I sat here wondering what my message will be for the upcoming holiday. I slowly navigated to Internet Explorer, clicked on the desktop icon, and then I moved the mouse arrow to my favorites. I proceeded to click on the Google link, placed the mouse arrow in the space provided to type, and then I typed the History of Independence Day. While waiting to click Google Search, I thought about what would come up on the screen. I immediately envisioned links to websites that would resemble my search criteria. Of course I was right. So, I clicked on the first one I saw: Independence Day on the Net–Story. Well, I definitely got what I asked for. The history of America’s birthday is in big fonts, stars are all over the page, firework graphics are protruding, and that song I despise is playing. What is it? America, America... Somebody help me. By the way, the song repeats itself over and over again. That was irritating me as I tried to continue my research.

Eventually, I clicked on the icon that read: Declaration of Independence. I have read the document before. However, this time around I read it without trying to memorize selected areas of it. Then it finally hit me that the most quoted sentence of the document (We hold these truths...) precedes two extremely important sentences. Read below. Pay close attention to the second and third sentence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Since the day this so called Declaration of Their Independence was written we (black folk) were not included. We were property then. I ask, what are we considered now? Answer: Since this document has not been amended and never will be we are still technically speaking, property. However, today we have been given a status to have unalienable rights. Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. I have my life. I am breathing. I guess I have liberty. I am considered free from restriction and control. Wait, is this true? Anyway, I do have the opportunity to be happy. I am happy.

Being happy is great, but why don’t I feel included? I feel like this holiday is not for me. I have asked myself time and time again, why in the world am I celebrating this holiday that does not pertain to me? My answer: “Why not? The steaks, hotdogs, and ribs I eat on the 4th of July are always good!” The 4th is just like Thanksgiving for me. I drink and eat until I get sleepy. Then I wake-up, drink, and eat some more.

Plain and simple, Independence Day is another ridiculous day that our government has sanctioned to celebrate under the auspice of a few alienable rights. It is among numerous other holidays that we claim are our reasons to be thankful and joyous i.e. the birth celebration of Jesus Christ (not sure why this is so important. I guess he ranks up there with George Washington). Anyway, I will eat a steak on the government and I will probably stand with hundreds of other people to watch the sky light up with the colors of America via fireworks. But there is one thing I will not forget, and maybe you should not either. Read below.

"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

We should take heed to what we are summoned to do since the present government has become destructive. It is in our rights to abolish the government and institute a new one considering the elected officials have created an environment where our safety is in jeopardy i.e. terrorist attacks, and considering many of us are having difficulties pursuing happiness on several fronts because of our governmental policies.

I am ready to rebel. Are you? The young man pictured in the portrait was ready. Click on this link to view the picture (to the right of page):

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by that sickening flag I am bound to see waving in the sky for the next few days. The Red, White, Blue, Stars and Stripes. This flag has a similar psychological effect on me after visualizing or seeing a symbol of hatred such as the Nazi used swastika or the Klansmen’s uniform: DISGUST.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Tables Need to Stop Turning

The Tables Have Turned: Not a Good Thing

There are men who are joyously dancing. There are men who are gloating. There are men who are foolishly content. Why? Because the Tables Have Turned. Brian, what do you mean? Well, the man does not have to court a female any longer. He does not have to commit. He does not have to do his part to maintain a relationship. The single black man in Atlanta and other major metropolitan areas do not have to be respectful, courteous, honest, forthright, sincere, faithful, and all the other things that should be done to do right by her, and he still gets the woman and everything that comes along with her i.e. sex, never ending supply of dates, etc. The Tables Have Turned.

Twenty years ago the majority of black men would open the door for his date. He would pay for the meal. He would return calls. He would walk the female to the car. He would drive. He would show unwarranted affection. He would listen. He would positively respond to concerns. He would validate feelings. He would caress during sex. He would even spoon. Ladies, not anymore. The man is riding high on the fumes of nine women to one man.

If you really think about. What did women expect? Did women expect the man to respond differently? If so, why in the world would you believe that? Yeah, I know: ‘He should just do the right thing.’ Move to earth! This is not the way it works anymore. It should function differently, but in the real world things move along with what is permitted. The flow of water can be stopped if it is turned off. Flooding can be prevented if the hole in the levy is sealed. ‘Okay, Brian, are you saying women have allowed this behavior?’ YES, I AM SAYING THAT. You are the one who takes out your purse when the check comes. You are the one who runs straight to the passenger side without allowing the man to open the door for you. You are the one who allows the man to sex you without any form of intimacy. You are the one who will say to the man, ‘Oh, you do not have to call, I know you are entirely too busy.’ You are the one who dates men who cannot articulate his feelings, and then you expect him to understand yours. You are the one who will not allow him to pursue you. You can tell me I am wrong. That is fine, but for some of you the guilt is consuming you as you read this.

Is this new development a good thing? Of course not! It is a problem when there are numerous men saying to themselves, ‘Man, there are too many women out there for me to be sweating her. I am moving on to the next one.’ This mentality is destructive. It is a problem we definitely could do without in the black community. What happens to the black family when the tables are turning? How should the man respond? Well, it is simple; the man needs to first and foremost do right by her. This entails: diligently putting forth an effort to sustain the relationship, listen and respond with compassion, be interested in what your woman has to say, communicate your feelings, make honesty a priority, show respect and treat her as if she is your mother or daughter, and basically bring back the elements of courtship. Chivalry would not be dead if men and women valued it.

Women, it is simple for you too. All you have to do is get fed-up. When you get fed-up you will set boundaries. I just ask that you get fed-up and set the boundaries sooner rather than later because the man will more than likely not change his destructive behavior until he is FORCED. Force him! You are not responsible for him. I know. Just remind him what is expected and necessary to get in those panties.

Now, the fellas are probably wondering why in the world did Brian write this. No need to ponder. It needed to be said. You know I am right. If not, challenge me. Tell me where I am wrong. We can discuss this like men. I am just writing from experience. Believe me, I am not throwing stones. My verdict has been read: Guilty on all counts!

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by the few women who are getting fed-up.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Slavery Effects

Discipline can be conducted in numerous forms, and parents have various ways to incorporate discipline into their child rearing strategy. My mother used physical discipline to institute fear and to teach a lesson. After several years of the whippings I concluded that if she did not whip me I would not be where I am today. I have even said countless times to my friends, “without the beatings I would probably be in prison.” In some ways I believe this because I have been in too many compromising and extremely unlawful situations that could have lead to death or imprisonment. What helped me to do the right thing was: The long walk to get the switch and then the beaten. However, after several years of parenting and witnessing other parent’s parent I believe physical disciplinary tactics can to some degree cause psychological and emotional damage if conducted in anger.

With that opening statement, I need your feedback on an incident I unfortunately witnessed.

The Beating

While waiting on the train after a very exhausting day. I saw a woman standing on the train platform with three rambunctious children. The age range was approximately 5yrs old to 8yrs old. The woman looked tired. It was another hot day in the ATL, and being underground waiting on a late train made me hotter! So, I know she was fuming. Three active kids, heat, and a tardy train. Anyway, after about two minutes of her trying her best to control the children and to no avail, she pulled out a stick. It looked like a broken yard stick.

Well, the stick was eventually used in anger to BEAT the 5yr old because he said one too many times that he was hot. After about thirty-five seconds of seeing a slave beating, and while two black policemen and other train passengers looked on (including myself) like it was a normal occurrence I began to get upset. Actually, I become overwhelmed with a host of feelings.

In an effort to “connect” with me guess who said, “I can’t believe that lady. She could have killed that little fella. Why can’t these women discipline in another way?” You got it: A white lady! I was so embarrassed, but the embarrassment turned to misdirected anger. I foolishly got mad at the 50 plus year old white lady. Why was I mad at her? She did not savagely beat a 5yr old with a walking stick! Out of respect I decided not to cut her with my tongue. Even as I type, I am wondering why in the $#% did I consider cursing her out. Interesting?

Why didn’t I save that child from being brutalized? Why didn’t the policemen stop the
in-a-rage black mother? I guess I was too tired to intervene. My day left me too BEAT. So, BEAT I could not stop what the white slave master did to my ancestors. They BEAT them to control them. They BEAT them because they hated them. However, this time around the slave master was the black woman and what she hated at that very moment was not the children, but herself and her plight; and I am guilty of indirectly supporting what the slave master so successfully accomplished: Black self hatred.

To top this spectacle off in a separate matter, one of the policemen decided to clear the steps leading to the train platform. Guess what method he selected to do it with? He took out his black club. Pointed it at the black teenagers sitting on the steps, and then yelled with intense anger and disgust, “Get your butt off the steps. Get out the way. Stupid!” Yes, an officer of the law.

Both incidents are examples of the hatred we (black folk) have toward each other. It is our internal shield we use to deflect the love and respect we are suppose to show each other. It is what will ultimately destroy us.

Questions: What is your take on both scenarios? What should the policemen, the other passengers, and I have done?

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by witnessing one of slaverys' accomplishments: Black self hatred.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

What can I say about my father?

Since I plan to answer the question honestly the commentary you are about to read maybe disappointing, disturbing, and/or not uplifting. Now, if you want the truth and a dirty version of the reality of Father’s Day for millions of black men in America stay with me for about five minutes. I assure you by the end of the five minutes you will be pleased and thankful I shared my story with you. It is a story of “beating the odds”.

On July 3, 1989 a woman looked at me as I bagged her groceries at the local supermarket. Actually, she was staring. I became uncomfortable after about 30 long seconds, so I asked “How are you today?” She replied with, “I am fine. Are you JB’s son?” I said (with excitement and pride), “Yes, I am.” She preceded to pick-up her groceries and walked away. Then she did a 180, and yelled to me with disdain. “I hope you don’t be nothing like your daddy!”

I was 19 years old. I was working on my birthday. I was trying to earn enough money to purchase my college books. I was trying to do the right thing. I was trying to do what my mother told me to do (“work to get what you want”). However, at the very moment this women finished her sentence with “daddy” I was devastated.

No one reading this can probably understand the sting of that statement because you don’t know my father unless you have heard of him by way of gossip. Those of you from Thomasville, North Carolina know of him, but you don’t really know him. You have heard the stories of how mean he was and how most people in the Ville were terrified when and if he got angry, but you don’t really know him. Despite what has been said about him he can be a kind man.

He is the man that I have “run away” from for years. I ran from looking like him. I ran from being like him. Ultimately, I tried everything in my power to shake his genes. Over time I discovered that running away from this man meant I was running away from myself. I had to admit to myself and others that I am just like my daddy. The resemblance is amazing and my behavior at times was unique only to JB Taylor. However, one thing sets us apart. One thing: I am a devoted father.

On this Father’s Day and for the past six 3rd Sunday’s of June I have been Judah Mordecai’s father. I have been like Johnny Johnson, Alexander Watson, Charles Brown, and numerous other black men who have remained faithful to fatherhood, but on June 18, 2006 it will be a little different for me. I have finally summoned enough courage to say to the world, “I am who I am because of what that woman said to me back in 1989.” As I fought to be someone different, I, in turn became a man who wanted to prove to that lady I am the essence of my father, but I am what he was not: A father.

On Father’s Day continue to love, cherish, and respect the black father. More than likely, he is being a father without any fatherly guidance on what is necessary to be a great dad. Help his children answer the question: What can I say about my father? differently.

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by the vow I made over ten years ago in a High Point University dormitory room. I would like to ask every man reading this piece who has children or plans to have children to repeat the vow with me. The vow: I will be a father to my children no matter what the circumstances are. Not having a father is not an excuse to be absentee.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Latest Youth Craze

The Metro-Sexual commentary I wrote a week ago has sparked another conversation. One that I have been trying to stay away from for quite some time because I could not intelligently articulate my thoughts without becoming consumed with frustration. A conversation that’s sensitive and somewhat prevalent among women and men living in the Atlanta area. So, as I attempt to express my point of view please understand that I am trying my best to create a forum that’s caring, understanding, respectable, open, and bluntly honest.

Below is my response to another blogger who mentioned to me her concerns about homosexuality in Atlanta.

“...I find it highly pathetic that this city has become the Mecca for men who are not confused. They are exactly what you see: Gay. No confusion whatsoever.

I am perplexed by the number of youth who are embracing the homosexual lifestyle without a complete understanding of being gay. This attitude of being gay just because is ridiculous, and it gives some insight on the pathetic-ness of our society.”

Pathetic: Arousing or capable of arousing sympathetic sadness and compassion.

Fad: A fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period of time.

For me to describe something as pathetic means I am upset, disappointed, and/or sad about the reality of that something. It is real that homosexuality exists all over the world, and that numerous countries consider it a crime and worthy of death. It is real that homosexuals have decided to select a lifestyle that has been aggressively criticized and denounced by the Church, it is real homosexual views are forced upon people who are not interested in the details of the gay lifestyle, it is real if you are gay you are threatened by hate groups, it is real homosexuals are permitted to adopt children without much regard to the effects it may have on the child, it is real gay men, like heterosexual men, practice unsafe sex, it is real homophobia incapacitates acceptance, it is real thousands of men are emotionally and psychologically battling their reality of being gay, it is real gay men are embarrassed to come out of the closet, and it is real homosexual men are deceiving women (on the Down Low). With all this realness, I ultimately find it pathetic our youth are embracing homosexuality like it is the latest pair of Allen Iverson shoes to hit the stores.

Many of us have concluded being gay today is a fad. It is something to do. It is an expression of our freedom. However, not many of us have openly discussed the magnitude of this “new thing” that our children are in a craze over.

What type of response were we expecting from our children when we have beaten into them that being gay is a sin and that being gay is disgusting? Did we not understand that all children gravity toward the so called forbidden? You remember when your mother and father told you to, “Stay away from that. It is not good for you.” Some of you responded under your breath, “Okay, but I am still going to try it.” At that very moment I and other kids were at a crossroad. We could have listened to our parents or we could have satisfied our curiosity. Well, hundreds upon hundreds of us did allow curiosity to win, and the result for some has been death.

Do I fault the kids? No, I do not. I place the blame on the parents and the village we supposedly live in: The world. Where are we to be found when the world is going to hell in a hand basket? Should we step in and say to our children, ‘Being gay does not fit into God’s natural order of things.’ Should we say, ‘It is okay. Be who you are. God accepts us all.’ Collectively, we have said NOTHING, but today is your chance. Continue to read.

The same sex male/female youth I witness kissing and groping each other as I ride the train and as I walk around downtown is overwhelming, alarming, and it is pathetic. I feel aroused with sadness that no one has impressed upon these youth that living a gay lifestyle is

I have purposefully left the above sentence for you (the reader) to complete.

Also, if you believe being gay has reached the level of a fad please enlighten others by helping me answer the following question: How will this reality benefit the society at large?

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by our confused and attention seeking youth.