Thursday, April 26, 2007

Millennium Generation Black Men: The New Pacifier Nation?

It does not surprise me that some white men still to this day carry themselves with an arrogance that exudes “I am a privileged man in this society – back the hell off”. It does not surprise me that some white men continue to think that they are better than other folk with darker skin. But, what has recently amazed me is the new attitude many of our black men and boys have been displaying, which motivates me to ask: Are these black males still sucking areolas and nipples at the ages of 3 to 25?

Before you stop reading or continue to read because you think I am on my way to “blasting black men” please be informed of this: I will NOT use this opportunity to torpedo my fellow brothas. Nope, I will not. However, I will share with you my thoughts on an unusual phenomenon within black culture. Queer in that I, as a 36 year old man, do not know of any black men my age who are walking around with a pacifier in his mouth.

Yes, there are black men my age out there who sistas claim want their mommas and not them as a girlfriend or wife. The sistas claim these men are still licking for breast milk. “Behaving like spoiled crybabies who eat and eat – and never feed their women!” Nonetheless, I am of the belief that if you were born in the seventies you still have a clue of what it really means to be a black man in America. Now, for these brothas born in the eighties and nineties my previous statement does not apply to many of them. These think-they-know something about hip-hop and information technology savvy Face Book addicts are beginning to be true Public Enemies. Not in the way the Public Enemies were described while I was growing up, but in the sense that they have taken on behavior that is reflective of too much coddling by momma which will eventually alienate them within this society of it is not my problem and dangerous narcissism. Black men cannot pull the same bull as our white counterparts.

I never thought I would see a black woman begging and pleading with her 5 year old son to sit down or come to her. I never thought I would see little black boys running throughout the grocery store like untrained monkeys. I never thought I would hear of a black kid smacking his momma. I never thought I would witness a black momma allowing her son to get away with just about anything. I always knew that mommas, particularly black mommas, favored their boys - but I never thought... You get my point.

What was totally foreign in my small black environment in North Carolina has finally made it into the mainstream of African American families: Total Disrespect for Momma. To be very honest I never heard a black kid say, ‘Kiss my azz, momma.’ I did not even think a child could formulate the thought to say it. On the other hand, this type of communication from white kids with their parents was and has continued to be a common occurrence. Even when I heard this level of impudence back in the day I just knew that the white kid was going to get a MAJOR beaten later. Evidently, I was wrong. These white kids did not get beat down when they were younger as far as I could tell because I was a witness to this type of disrespect of parents while attending that predominately white school in North Carolina. That place where I learned a few things about life. Thank God I did not pick up a crude reverence for my mother there.

Lately, black mothers for some reason have been giving out passes to their sons. It is evident in the young men’s actions: Never wanting to take responsibility for poor behavior. Making excuses for their problems. Never acknowledging that they have made a mistake. And, the ultimate: Using this behavior as a justification for their “plight” in life. Can you believe it? These sorry behind teenage boys are running around here believing that we have totally failed them. Yes, my generation and my mother’s have not completely done all we can do to assure our children are in a better position in the next 10 to 20 years, but we have not failed them to the extent we are the source behind: Total Disrespect of Momma.

However, there is indication that black mommas are failing our boys. I want to believe that my sistas with children today are not coddling their black boys to death (literally), but statistics and their behavior points to momma as part of the problem. Why can’t black women remove the pacifiers from our black men’s mouths? Why have they taken on this new role of ‘son, I will hold you in my arms and wipe your behind until you are 25’? Perhaps it has always been this way and I just did not conceptualize the magnitude, or are the affects finally reaching our doorsteps and schools with a vengeance? Momma is prone to “take-up” for Kris after he blatantly misbehaves in an orderly classroom. Ask any teacher or principal in urban America!

I emphatically believe more black women are refusing to cut the umbilical cord sooner, and it is causing us to be apart of this pathetic Coddler Nation along with the other America. Here we go again taking on what they do. I wonder if we are going to start outsourcing breast feeding. You read that right: ( When are we going to realize that their ways do not necessarily jive with our mode of living, let alone childrearing? Don’t we have a different set of problems that our men face each and every day? Persisting on timeout as a method of punishment for kicking little Shawanda in the face is not an appropriate form of chastisement for Andre. What brotha you know will be given a light prison sentence for backhanding a Susie? That Negro will go straight to prison for abusing America’s beacon of beauty!

To address the apparent two sides to this dilemma and not place sole blame on our phenomenal black mommas, we must put some responsibility on the shoulders of the pansy-behind absentee male baby makers. I have continuously heard and read, “A son needs his father”. But, what does this truly mean? Does this imply if our fathers were in the homes these non-appreciative boys will behave differently? If this is the case, why cannot these black men who help make the babies understand that staying in the home or at least being a dad is CRITICAL? I seriously can’t believe some of us actually LEAVE. Get LOST. Then we wonder why black folk are stuck in third gear. My disdain for this dude is over the top! He really does not get it: The man is supposed to lead and make things happen for the family. We were not created to be cowards! This black man should be ashamed of himself.

It all boils down to what I call Manhood Responsibility. Just be a man. Why is there a need for manhood development training programs considering women when faced with having to be there for the life they help create are PRESENT? They take on the responsibility to be a mother while our men voice that they have to ‘find themselves’. This particular double standard is ruining our future along with babying Lil DJ.

How much longer will we allow this double standard to exist? When will our mothers realize that coddling is not working? Let Joe-Joe cry! When will these baby making boys stop walking around here frontin’ as men when in fact they are little punks? Man up!

Written by Muata. Inspired by those black mommas wearing both pair of shoes: Mom’s and Dad’s. Inspired by what I am going to do the next time I hear my son say, “I want my momma.”

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Homelessness: A Laughing Matter

On April 9, 2007 at approximately 9:15am I saw a black man running across a very busy intersection in Atlanta. He was in a 200 meter stride. It appeared he was trying his best to get to an area where he could go unnoticed while urinating. As I watched this man struggle to unzip his pants I began to laugh uncontrollably. For some reason on this Monday morning I needed a reason to laugh and I guess someone to laugh at. I found my victim in a black homeless man. As I drove past this man, who could have been my uncle Raymond at one time or even me if I don’t find a job real soon, I continued to laugh. I just found the scene to be hilarious for some odd reason. He just could not get his penis out of his jeans to relieve himself. His difficulty became my sick joke and my pleasure entertainment as I road in the comforts of my luxury vehicle.

When I finally lost view of this particular man and as soon as I approached Garrett Morgan’s invention I saw another black man in the cross walk talking to himself and carrying a briefcase. He had on shorts, a filthy white t-shirt, dilapidated looking Chuck Taylor’s, and suspenders. Immediately, I thought: He is homeless. He had to be dressed like that and looking so defeated. Here it was 43 degrees in April, and this black man had on shorts. He had to be cold, but his destination in his mind was work.

While I experienced the comedic moment, I shared the play-by-play with someone extremely important to me. She did not appear to find the urinating man story to be funny. I just believe my animation tickled her. Remember, I was literally falling out of the driver’s seat giggling. As I continued to have this cell phone morning chat outside of my free minutes timeframe I began to really “get in-tuned” with what I was making fun of on this eventful morning. It got additionally clearer to me when I parked, and a homeless woman asked me for some money for breakfast. In my unsympathetic way I refused to press the down portion of my driver’s side window lever to hear what this broken soul asked of me. I read her lips as I gazed into her intense eyes: “I am cold and hungry. Can you please spare a dollar?”

In those eyes I saw pain, embarrassment, humiliation, and personal disgust, but I still could not bring myself to communicate with this homeless black woman. I guess I did not really SEE her as a human being. She must have been what my dear friend described within her question while I laughed at that man trying his best to take a leak: Is he a real man or a homeless man? After realizing the magnitude of her question an apology came through my cell phone, and then and only then did I began to understand that this series of events was either divine or an opportunity for me to make it a God Sent Message. Considering I do believe in God, I want to believe that this Power we claim to identify with and who we pray to each night was communicating something to me. Even if one day some “logical” human being proves there is no God, I will always believe that there was a God Force speaking to me via on my faith on April 9, 2007 between the minutes of 9:15am and 9:30am.

For a few months now I have been trying to think of another way to give something back. You know, do something other than constantly talk and write about the ills affecting the black community, speaking occasionally at schools, raising my son, donating money to the United Negro College Fund, and mentoring my nephew.

Every since my first day of working in the Five Points area of Atlanta I have disliked that I must entrench my spirit and being in the mess that plays out without interruption or failure in the heart of America’s fastest growing metropolis. I despise the self-degradation that I see, and the lack of personal responsibility displayed by my people. I truly detest the ramifications that have been inflicted upon us as a result of an oppressive and racist governmental system. In spite of this internal conflict, one thing has been ongoing within me: I have, in my unique way, connected with the homeless population on Broad, Trinity, and Mitchell streets. Through significant mental anguish and my uncouthly compassion another meaningful cause will be added to my life.

As of today, I have decided to team up with a program that feeds the homeless on Saturday mornings in that same parking lot where I see black men and women walking around in a trance begging for a little bit of my government granted salary. The director of the program doesn’t know it yet, but he will be surprised when I stop by this coming Saturday morning with bags of hand-me-downs. I remember those bags filled with goodies!

Your help is needed. If you live in the Atlanta metro area please go through your closets, and donate those “old” clothes to a good cause. I will even pick them up. There is not a huge rush because this weekend some black man who, by the way, could be my father will get two pair of shoes, a few shirts, and some slacks from my closet.

If you would like to donate please let me know ASAP. Also, if you are reading while living in another city please encourage your church to think about forming a homeless ministry. I will even do what I can from afar. Hold up – all of our churches are already addressing this issue. Righhhht!

Lord, help us to SEE these aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, grandfathers, grandmothers, mommas, and fathers as REAL PEOPLE and not homeless people.

Written by Muata. Inspired by that man who I hope finally got his penis out of his pants.