The Black Single Mother’s Struggle: Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

Either way, it’s our fault for being poor, black and single with Children.

By now, we have all seen the video of Toya Graham beating her son on live television in front of millions. The response to this has been varied in all communities. Black mothers are echoing this woman’s sentiment. We understand her fear and loss of control. Some of us see this situation as another example of the Black Single mother emasculating and destroying her young black man, humiliating him in front of millions. The video has been shared so much, I’m tired of seeing it.

But let me tell you what this really is. Let’s start with what happened. Toya is at home watching coverage of the unrest in her city and she sees a familiar lanky frame in the midst of what she perceives as imminent danger. She recognizes the child she gave birth to 16 years ago and fear ensues. “Aww hell nawl,” Toya says, as she storms out her house to the location she recognized her child.  When she arrives, its mayhem all about. Her sights zoom in on her intended target, confirming what she saw on television. That was indeed her child in the middle of all this. Toya was not concerned about no damn politics, a television film crew, teaching her child a lesson or educating him on the nuances of societal racial disparities right then. She could do that shit once she got him out the line of fire.

Was she wrong? Oh yes, she was! She was wrong. Do I condemn her? Hell no! We are out here having to raise these young black men without a father’s guidance. We can’t teach these boys how to be men having never been one. We all make mistakes raising these black men out of fear. At the forefront of our minds is how much harder their lives are going to be because they are BLACK MEN and there ain’t shit we can do about it. We do what we have to do to make sure they are prepared for that and keep them alive. But we can’t do it all. We make mistakes and end up doing stuff like Toya did. Only, our loss of self-control isn’t being used as a referendum.

These days, Black Mothers live in a constant state of anxiety. My son leaves my home, there is no rest for me until he walks back through that door. My biggest fear is my child being murdered at the hands of some bigot, then being turned into a thug to justify his death. It used to be Heights!

While the White Media is applauding her for losing all control and assaulting her child, let’s not lose sight of what would have happened under circumstances that didn’t have Toya’s child in the middle of the Unrest.  If this had just been a regular, non-riotous day. Toya Graham would be in jail and her son would be in CPS Custody. To ignore that fact is dangerous. Do not let these white people fool you into unnecessarily beating up your children and getting their approval.  Because honey, trust and believe, they are not going to be applauding your black ass. They will be taking you to jail….

”but…but…y’all just told me to smack my kid around when he steps out of line.” “No black lady, only if he is stepping out of line with our authority, damn yours!”

Black Single mothers are damned no matter what we do. We are vilified, called everything but the child of God. We are blamed for the amount of Gay Black men. We are blamed for the emasculation of black men. We are blamed for wanting to be independent when we are often looked down upon as trying to make some other man our kid’s new Daddy. When children of single black mother’s fail at some shit; WE ARE BLAMED!

A lot of us walk around with the guilt associated with having to raise these babies by ourselves. A lot of us are angry to have to be raising these babies by ourselves. Breaks are few and the pay is nonexistent. We’re constantly on call. We miss a work day, the household finances will be thrown into disarray. And regardless of how we ended up a single parent, it is ALWAYS our faults when our children go astray of what we’ve tried hard to teach them.

I hear a lot of you asking “WHERE THE HELL ARE THE PARENTS OF THESE RIOTERS?” Probably at work, SHIT! People have so much judgment to throw around and it’s exhausting trying to be every gotdamn thing you think we should be. Whether or not our circumstances are our faults are not; who the hell are you to judge Toya or any other woman who feels it necessary to do whatever it takes to protect their children? Until you have had to lead this thankless life, shut up.

Toya Graham is not a hero. She is a sister who did what she felt she needed to do to protect her child. If that’s the case…WE ALL SOME HEROES IN THIS BITCH! There were mothers snatching their sons up off the streets during the Civil Rights movement, during the LA Riots and every moment of black unrest in History. Toya is no different from them. None of us are. Being faced with the situation of your beloved child in imminent danger will make you lose all rationality, common sense, forethought, logic, and wherewithal. You are not giving a damn about who is around, who’s watching, who got their damn cell phone camera on! You are trying to get that baby, that beautiful child that you would walk through a hail of bullets for, out of danger and safe back at your damn house. What sensible parent can’t understand that thought process?

I know Toya regrets her actions. Faced with a similar situation when my son was 16 and I lost control, I regretted it soon after. But my baby was not dead. So fuck that regret! I’ll live with all the regret on earth if that means Isaiah Johnson can live to meet his potential. So, fuck you and your judgment on how I go about making that happen.

BLACK FOLKS WITH THAT RESPECTIBILITY POLITICS BS AND OBAMA: Please shut up. Please stop telling me that I need to beat my child into submission in order to keep him in line. That is exactly what White Supremacy teaches your black asses and has all throughout history. You are conditioned to believe that sparing the rod will lead your child down a path of destruction. A path that leads to being shot by police. No Negro! This is White Supremacy telling you: Beat your child into submission so we won’t have to shoot them. Teach them not to defy us or WE WILL! Maaaaan, fuck you all. WHOLEHEARTEDLY! Mostly for echoing and cosigning these devils like some damn Signifying Monkeys!

Don’t you see what they are doing? What you are helping them do?

Oh and stop quoting Martin Luther the King to back up your ignorant arguments. The Good Reverend Doctor understood the hearts of his people who were constantly ignored, stepped on, belittled, berated, jailed, lynched and missing.  Even if he didn’t condone the violent reaction of rioting, he could not ignore the injustices to his people that caused them to behave so irrationally and desperately. Be more like Doctor King if you gon quote him like Jesus…mmmKay!

WHITE MEDIA, FOX NEWS AND WHITE PEOPLE IN GENERAL: You are not fooling anyone but these New Blacks I was speaking to above with this agenda. You are purposeful with your derision and condemnation of the black community. Yet you never seem to find fault with your precious white sons and daughters when they tear up shit after their favorite coach gets fired, or their sports team loses, at a Pumpkin festival, at a Surfing competition, after a football team lost, after a baseball team WON! (Yes all real situations)

You will not distract me by turning Toya Graham into a referandum of what White people feel all black parents should be like. Snatching up our kids and beating them down, publicly humiliating them so you all won’t have to get your hands dirty doing it yourself. After all, this is post-racial America. It would be frowned upon to snatch him out his house and string him up while thumping the bible to justify it. So you use your exaggerated view of black criminality to justify murdering our babies in broad daylight. “That boy was too black, I feared for my life.” Nah, I’m not sleep. A lot of us aren’t sleep. Which is why we’re out here like this rebelling against this lopsided ass society!

You’re using Toya. Soon as you’re done with her, you will throw her away to the place you throw all the black people who gain your attention just long enough to serve as an example on how to be good lil sycophantic Nigras. Toya had the unfortunate reaction she had to her fear and ended up unwittingly becoming a spokesperson for White people’s disdain with Black America. That’s not her fault. Stand behind her and her boy.

RANT OVER

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Dear Sabrina Fulton…forgiveness is indeed Divine (AnOpen Letter)

My dear Sister; I have imagined your pain over and over again as I watched my 6 foot 2 young black man walk out the door each morning to go catch his bus to school. I have thought about you when I have gotten too loud with him, or said something I could have said a different way. 

The other morning on a news show, something you said was taken out of context. Even by myself at first. But as I watched my boy walk out the door again this morning it occurred to me; YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO FORGIVE! 

So many in our community have said how they wouldn’t be able to call anything that happened to Trayvon an accident. I didn’t care so much about the words you spoke as the intent and context that you meant them in. I figured out the deeper meaning to what you said, Sister. And I realized just how strong and inspiring of a woman you truly are. And how much the community needs to understand that and fully comprehend your message of faith and forgiveness.

That’s what people who love God are Taught. FORGIVENESS. What people have forgotten in all of this is that you are STILL a mother to another child. A child who needs you now more than ever in his life. All your love, all your strength, your wholeness as a mother. You don’t have time to go around hating George Zimmerman. That takes entirely too much energy.You have much more important people like Jahvaris to give that energy to. 

You have made me take a long look at myself as a whole woman. I too don’t know if I’d be able to be as forgiving and compassionate for Mr. Zimmerman’s family has you have been. I respect you ENORMOUSLY for having that depth of strength. Everyone else should too! 

Much Love To you Sista!

Jaime Johnson

Dear Conservatives, GOP, Tea Party, and Bigoted White People

I think there needs to be clarification on why all of these issues with Trayvon Martin has us all riled up. You all seem to be under the misconsumption that black news media are ALL trying to get their shine and can’t be genuinely THIS upset about a child they didn’t even know…

Well, that’s where you got it wrong first of all. Because we ALL know Trayvon. My own son is similar to stature, build, and height; with the same baby face. 

Secondly, this shooting is a reminder to us of painful, agonizing moments from our pasts in dealing with White America. I have relatives that can recount their kin being strung up from trees for petty offenses. Something so small as looking in the direction of a white woman. Those lynchings were hardly ever prosecuted. So for years, white people got away with the cold blooded murder of a lot of our people. This case reeks of that same disrespect for Black People that we’ve had to endure far too long. It would stand to reason that this generation; my generation and the children that we’ve birthed, is tired of living through this nonsense when our parents and grandparents fought these battles for us. We are tired of having to teach our boys different rules of survival; we are tired of having to second guess wardrobe purchases to have our boys look less intimidating to you. Especially when your children have the same damn clothes. We are tired and angry.

Most of all, we are angry with the fact that Trayvon’s case has been totally effed up and mismanaged from the very beginning of it. The media’s attention or your lack there of would not have had any affect on that. That is what you need to understand first and foremost. But the attention is there, and maybe its time that you listen to the people. The Republican Party my Grandparents knew was nothing like what you all have become. We are screaming because we have to get someone’s attention. Cases like Trayvon’s happen far too often for this to be some type of isolated incident. I’d be here all day posting examples. I could name a few just in my State of Texas off the top of my head. Texas also has a “Stand Your Ground” law by the way.

What happened to Trayvon is much bigger than just a White/Peruvian man shooting a teenaged black boy. It’s about more than the Left Wing Media’s outrage of the murder of said black boy. Even though I feel they are rightly outrage.

This is about parents like myself who want to allow their 6 foot 2, 146 pound, teenaged black boy put on his Jordan’s, his Nike hoodie if it’s cold, and hike it to the store for his little sister without him getting shot in a suburban neighborhood that I purposefully moved to thinking it was safe to do so. Then having his dead body lay in a morgue for three days, unidentified, while he’s drug tested and background checked. Meanwhile, the person that shot him remains free without so much as a damn fingerprinting, processing and release. All the while; the knowledge remains, if this had been the other way around; due diligence would have followed. This is why we mad!

The Limitations of Black Authors in 2012

So, I made the mistake of letting a person with a short attention span read my rough draft of my book. Needless to say; she was disappointed by the lack of Sexual Scenes, drug references, Men bashing and all the makings of Urban Fiction. I had to tell her, this is not Urban Fiction. 

Then her complaint was: “Black people weren’t balling like this back in those days. We were slaves DUH! This can’t be factual” Ummm the majority of us were slaves, true. But there was a small sub-section of Free colored people in North Amercia. A lot of those people lived in New Orleans. Black Affluence and Opulence was present and possible in La Nouvelle-Orleans. Many Creole and African families owned slaves even if they were previously slaves themselves. 

In writing this book, I have come to realize the severe limitations that have been put on Black Authors. Limitations that we never had to live with in the 19th and early 20th Century with writers like Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, and Zora Neale Husrton. There is more to our stories than Block Hugging drug tales, and Male Bashing feminazis. Our fictions don’t have to always be Urban. Our histories aren’t all rooted slavery, struggle and despair. We can write science fiction, supernatural fantasies, Mysteries and horrors just like our white counterparts. I refuse to be limited to URBAN Fiction…Even if that’s what you expect to come from me because my skin is brown.

Another Blog for Trayvon

TRAYVON MARTIN: We have all heard the name over the last few weeks. We have all been outraged by the callous way this young man died 70 feet from his destination with a pack of skittles and Arizona Iced Tea. This story has been at the forefront of Race Relations discussions.

Trayvon’s English teacher said; “Trayvon was an A/B student that majored in cheerfulness” Looking at the pictures that have been released of him, the light he carried in his eyes proves this teacher’s assessment of him. Trayvon didn’t appear to me to have a intimidating bone in his body. He looks like the kid in high school that got along with EVERYBODY. Didn’t run with cliques; a Leader. We’ve heard nothing but praises for this young man and how much he was loved and respected. So what was it about him that caused George Zimmerman to act with such disregard?

For the last few weeks, I have wondered why this story has hit so close to home. Why when I think of Trayvon, my thoughts automatically turn to my own son. I have shed so many tears for Trayvon’s mother. I have put myself in her place and imagined the despair of losing her child paired with the anger of the way he was taken from her. I fully understand her outrage and I support it wholeheartedly.

You see, Trayvon and my 16 year old son Isaiah are very much alike. Isaiah, much like Trayvon has a delightful personality. Isaiah is 6 feet 2 inches, lanky, and hardly intimidating.  He still gets shook during severe thunderstorms. Isaiah has a little sister. His sister is everything to him. He would hike it to the store to get whatever it is that she wants if he has money. He used to walk out my door at dusk sometimes telling me he was going to the store to get some stuff and he’ll be back. I would holler OK and not give it a second thought. He always came back home unscathed.

The last three weeks, I have had to reassess my leniency with him. He’s mostly responsible. He is so afraid of my ire; he keeps himself from running with the wrong crowd. He doesn’t have shady friends. Him and Trayvon probably could have been best friends had they knew each other. Their interests and personality were intricately similar.

We live in Pflugerville, Texas. It is a predominantly white suburb. But I’ve always felt there were enough black and Hispanic people in the suburb for it to be diverse enough; as much as diverse means in Texas with the population being mostly Hispanic, Black and White. There is a white man that stays across the field from us who is especially racist. My son steps on his grass accidentally; he’s in an uproar. I’ve had to check him more times than I care to for speaking to my son like he’s some kind of criminal. His blatant disdain for anything black is more than obvious. He once cussed his black neighbor out for mowing the grass on his property line. For all the asshole that this man is, one thing I don’t believe he’d do is shoot my child. He’s ignorant, but he’s not armed with a 9mm. Just a loud mouth and a racist heart.

This shooting has had me change the whole way that I parent Isaiah. I’ve had to have a discussion with him about conducting himself in public. I’ve have to make my child self-conscious about the way that he is carrying himself as not to look too intimidating to white people. But how do you encourage your child to be himself yet ask him to tone down who the hell he is? My child is now more confused then ever. He thought he was doing right. His response to me “Mom, do I look scary?” I thought about it. To me, and most other black people; Scary is not an adjective that is applicable to Isaiah Johnson. But then I thought about it.  You put him in a Coogi hoody, some jeans and some Jordan’s. Adding to his attire the fact that he is 6 feet 2 inches 150 lbs and let us not forget: HE’S BLACK. This is all it will take to seem suspicious to a person like George Zimmerman. Who we have come to find out feels this way about any black man dressed in such a way.

White kids wear hoodies to…I see them all the time. Why is it that they are less scary in a hoody than a young black male? Why is it that I now have to shop for my son’s clothes and try to make him look less “Urban” because of what people like George Zimmerman could do to him because his dress makes him look “Suspicious”? Why should I have to educate my son on the dangers of being Young and Black? Why does being Young and Black have to be so effing dangerous? Why does my son have to tone down who he is to keep himself from being harassed by police or ignorant white people? When will we be able to stop using terms like Walking or Driving While Black when referring to why we are being harassed by police or ignorant white people? The anchor that is tied to Black people in America is a heavy one. It’s much lighter than it used to be thanks to our ancestors. But the weight is still a heavy one. White Parents; you will NEVER in your life understand how much scarier it is for US to raise our children in the America your ancestors created. The only thing I ask of you is to teach your children to understand that our kids are just like them. Their parents want the same things for them you do. We want our children to be able to walk to to the store, buy some skittles and an Arizona Ice Tea for their beloved younger sibling, and be able to make it back home in the rain wearing a hoody and not be shot by an overzealous nut with a superiority complex. Is that so much to ask?

The Rebel Flag, The Revolutionary War and the Fight to End Slavery

If you live in the South, the above image is not foreign to you. Most times, if you are anything like me, you cringe every time that you see it. See, that reaction happens to most black folks. The Flag itself holds so much history of a time where the White People of the South fought for the right to own us like Cattle. They actually believed that this was okay. After all we were just savage Africans, right? Yea…No.

So anyway, what prompted this thought process within myself was a conversation I had on the wall of one of my FB friends. I try to keep myself with a few of these type people. Even if I don’t agree with everything they say. At least they have an informed stance on something. Even if I think their information is incorrect as hell, I still am open to other thought processes. I’m rather enjoying the things that I’ve always believed being challenged by the way things REALLY are.  We don’t have to agree. But it does inspire a lot of debate, open dialogue and critical thinking. Something we could all stand to do a little more of. In recent years, I have come to try to understand the Rebel Flag as a source of Southern Pride for white folks. I wanted to figure out it’s origins, and why it could even be considered a Symbol of Pride to them when it is such a Symbol of Racism and Hatred for us. I want to understand. Then maybe, I won’t cringe so much every time I see one from now on. In addition, I thought the research I would come across would aide in the writing of my story. My characters are very old, they would’ve had some type of knowledge of the Civil War right? It could only help.

I guess what I want for all black folks to do, and white folks alike; instead of condemn the people that are Pro Rebel Flag amid the controversy,  try to understand. I think at least trying to understand makes more sense than getting a little miffed every time you see a Rebel Flag. After all, the flag flew over the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865. For a moment in time the south ran itself separate of the damn Yankee’s.  Just like the Haitian Revolution is a source of pride to me where the African’s Revolted against the French, why wouldn’t the flag of the Confederate States be a source of pride for them? Jean-Jacques Dessalines tore out the white of the French Flag to create the Haitian flag. There are states in the south as we speak that have flags that are based of the Confederate States Flag. Try to understand my people…try to understand at least before you condemn. A lesson I’ve learned recently so I am not judging at all. 

 

JUST SHARING

 

Writer’s Block is the Devil

Yesterday, I did not write one damn sentence. Not one single solitary paragraph. It wasn’t so much writer’s block as it was a lack of motivation, or inspiration. That was the point of me starting this blog. I figured if I could write here about stuff having to do with my book, maybe inspiration will follow.

Needless to say, that has not worked yet. I’m still blank as a “Document 1” Word file. I believe what I will do today is go through what I have making editing and grammatical fixes. I know there are hundreds of them lurking.

JUST SHARING