To the black men taken from us…Happy Belated Fathers Day

This past fathers day weekend there were shootings in affluent locations in the DC metropolitan area, Tyson’s Corner mall and U Street NW. Also on this weekend, I saw videos of huge packs of 20 or more dirt bikes and ATVs lawlessly riding on the Washington Mall. The mall area has serene Smithsonian museum architectures, monuments and attractive tourist areas. The swarm motorized dirtbikes fearlessly rode pass the African American History Museum, the Washington monument, on the grass, through red lights, flooding past tourist, visiting families. The pack left a smell of gasoline, tracks in manicured parks and cloud of exhaust and dirt. It was embarrassing, not a cop in site.

What’s also missing from this tragic equation…fathers.

Question:

Why are our kids out of control, why is there such a disrespect for authority, lawlessness and chaos? Where have the kids been taught respect for others, consequences, an understanding of what it means to earn a living and how to be good citizens? What’s the reasons for this behavior in our youth? What’s the big picture? What’s the cause?

-In the 60’s there were welfare programs that provided incentives for black women to have children as long as the father was not living in the household. Functioning men no longer had a foothold in their own household with the option of welfare available to mothers. Mother had an option of using welfare to support them without the father. (Women, mothers, this is not about you, keep reading please. Rest in peace Kevin Samuels)

-At the same time, our trusted investigation agency was targeting and orchestrating the extermination of our black male leaders.

-Police were and are still murdering unarmed black men for minor offenses without any disciplinary actions.

-The justice system was and still is imprisoning black males at disproportionate rates.

Black people make up 13.4 percent of the population, they make up:

  • 22 percent of fatal police shootings,
  • 47 percent of wrongful conviction exonerations, and
  • 35 percent of individuals executed by the death penalty.

US prison workers produce $11billion worth of goods and services a year. (New Slavery)

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jun/15/us-prison-workers-low-wages-exploited

We’ve all heard this before. Unlike any other demographic, functioning black men deal with this individual threat to our existence every day.

When you remove fathers from families you lose;

  • The Provider.
  • The Protector.
  • The Leader.
  • The Teacher.

You inherently remove the order, structure, discipline and sense of consequence from the youth.

The original question…why the youth is recklessly and lawlessly behaving without restraint?

Answer:

When you systematically oppress, murder, disproportionately mass incarcerate the male individuals of a race for decades you produce a generation of disrespectful, undisciplined, economically disadvantaged adolescents. This generation has lost it’s rudder. Some of our children do not have a basic understanding of how to operate as a citizens in this country. The don’t have any valid definitions of masculinity. The examples presented to them taunt them with ideas of prosperity and wealth without providing them with the tools to realistically achieve a basic economic platform.

So when you see this erosion of ethical and moral behavior in our black youth, look at our history. Examine what’s been done to the men and their community then use that lens to understand why our youth have no idea what they are even doing wrong.

Happy Belated Fathers Day to the brothers missing, absent or killed during the construction of this dream that is America.

MPM

Ps…to keep it in the spirit of Pride month, I want to say, I applaud your communities efforts in getting LGBTQIA laws passed. For your community, equality is on the move! I love the way our black community has aligned with you and witnessed your discrimination Title IX & VII laws being drafted and passed.

BUT…what policing laws have been passed that address the black communities long standing issues? Alongside all the progressive laws for the LGBTQIA, what significant laws have been passed for the my community? More specifically where is the LGBTQIA’s community support towards passing laws that affect the black community?

References:

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/young_lawyers/publications/after-the-bar/public-service/racial-disparities-criminal-justice-how-lawyers-can-help/

https://time.com/5946929/child-welfare-black-families/

https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/lgbtq-rights#are-lgbtq-people-protected-from-discrimination-in-schools

https://freedomforallamericans.org/equality-act/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw2MWVBhCQARIsAIjbwoOb3g5mYsolojacMFkJJC4dO52yXnYaJ2E9RqEFdVxq176e6r1VIN4aAuxGEALw_wcB

https://www.aclu.org/press-releases/leaked-fbi-documents-raise-concerns-about-targeting-black-people-under-black-identi-1

https://www.thedailybeast.com/netflix-doc-alleges-cia-flooded-black-communities-with-crack

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/special/cia.html

https://www.zinnedproject.org/materials/fbi-war-on-black-america/

https://www.urban.org/urban-wire/child-support-enforcement-can-hurt-black-low-income-noncustodial-fathers-and-their-kids

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Understanding the Will Smith “Oscar-worthy” Slap

(Women, please read the question at the very end)

As a black man living in this country I know there is a system that exists that is not built for me. It’s built on top of me, it’s built by me and I am the specimen in the petri dish of this system. My bad moments and erroneous decisions are widely broadcast as the example of all melanated people while my most glorious moments receive shallow fleeting praise as outliers of my races accomplishments.

I watched the clip of the “slap” about a dozen times listening to people say it was a punch. First…no, it wasn’t a punch. It wasn’t “Oscar-worthy” either, because it was real.

Will Smith and his family endured and continue to endure a very public entanglement that they now joke about. They allow enormous freedom with raising very engaging public children. I can’t fathom what other trials they endure and come out of as a very public family. There’s not much that weakens them as a family and I admire that facade that they must maintain.

WHY:

I believe when Will saw the hurt or bothered look on Jada’s face, Will not “Hitch” or the “Fresh Prince”, or “Agent J” but West Philly, husband of 25 years Will, in a visceral moment, reacted. We can talk and joke about our family and our mistakes but you, Chris Rock, will NOT make a mockery of my wife’s scalp condition. You can do or say what you want about your divorce but you will NOT hurt my wife’s feelings. That…I can’t allow.

I have Will’s book and watched the episode where he and his family talked about the abuse in his family, how he felt helpless as a child. I know that feeling. You grow to be a hyper protective husband and father of everyone in your care. I’m not a psychologist but walking up to that stage, after years decades of being Mr. July and ALWAYS on point professionally, you were compelled to do something to protect your most precious person this time…even if it meant to slap the shit out of another man, 5 years your senior, on national television, at the Oscars.

THE LESSON:

Will Smith and both Chris Rock exhibited restraint. Even in this very public debacle, they both kept it together. Will kept it together enough not to punch Chris Rock on live tv and Chris Rock, Crown Heights bred comedian kept it together not to respond by swinging on Will. You can even see Chris Rock’s body language in his response…he immediately kept it professional. Will, this was not his best night but I understand…his statements immediately after the slap was bad. I mean when has Will ever not held it together, even when some dude tried to kiss him in the mouth on live tv. Again…the assailant received what, a slap. I’m sorry it happened but I’m still of fan of the Oscar/Grammy winning black man from the neighborhood of West Philly. I’ve watched his trajectory of the years and aligned myself to his drive.

THIS PART:

Will and Chris have the resources to endure this altercation. Their credentials may allow a discussion or a “settlement” out of court that may be jokes and hugs…maybe. I don’t know, but what I do know is this…

the system will not allow you, black man, to make that mistake.

Everyday Black folks don’t have the luxury of being in the moment like that without repercussions – we’d be dead or in jail. Will should have addressed Chris after the show. To yell what he said on LIVE tv was inexcusable/unacceptable but this is why…

So this is the second time Chris came for Jada on the Oscars stage…that’s why Will states, “…keep my wife’s name out your f@#king mouth.” To even go further…give me some latitude. Jada boycotted because Will wasn’t nominated for “Concussion” a movie exposing the NFL. The NFL did not want that movie to receive acclaim or notoriety…but maybe it’s a stretch. Like it or not, this is our system…but I digress.

Again, I’m a fan and will continue to be a fan. You, young black man, do not have the luxury of being out of character, you will lose everything in that moment. I just wish it didn’t happen like this but I also think of the alternative.

One question for all you wives that disapprove of Will’s actions at the Oscars…

If a comedian clowned you about your illness and your husband laughed along with everybody else, even after he saw how much it bothered/hurt your feelings…how would you feel about your husband?

I asked a close friend and she said, “Probably not so good. Hurt. Embarrassed. Disrespected. Would definitely question our relationship. It looked like Will reacted to Jada’s reaction.

Last thing…this America does not protect our black women. We just flogged the overqualified Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson publically. So I’m kinda like, when do we, black men, protect our women, when are we allowed to protect our wives. Yeah this may be different but like I started out saying, this is the system that doesn‘t exist for us, we have to exist in it. I’m sorry it happened that one of my idols was justifiably out of character. I will say last night…Will and Jada had some good love at home. :o)

So…this 51 year old North Philadelphia black man understands.

MPM

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Life is not a video game

I was talking to my friend Tanya about the carjackings in Philadelphia. We were discussing a scenario where an Uber driver returned fire defending himself and I zeroed in on our young people making reckless life decisions.

Our young people don’t respect life.

When I was young people got beat up, robbed, stabbed and sometimes shot, now…people get shot period. I’m not saying we didn’t have shootings or even that the shootings were justified. I’m just saying, shooting people wasn’t the ‘go to’ reaction. Now…everyone wants to be 50 cent, shoot someone, go to jail, come out, be a multi-millionaire…again video game reality.

There’s no coming back from that decision. If you shot someone, it’s likely going to be recorded somewhere and you’re going to jail, period.

Key Statistics:

***https://www.prisonpolicy.org/research/race_and_ethnicity/

In the 80’s you had the same mothers screaming that same delusional “he was a good kid” rhetoric. Ain’t nobody hearing that bullshit. Let me tell you now, if you shoot someone it’s your decision.

Like in the movie, “The Harder They Fall” Cherokee Bill shoots Mr. Picket in the back, Mr. Picket is standing there wheezing shocked that he’s shot, dropping his gun. Cherokee Bill says, “Why you got that look on your face?” Mr. Pickett struggles with the reality that he’s going to die. Looking Picket in the dead in the eye Bill says, “No. No, no, no, brother, no, no, no. Stop that. Don’t do that. You had a choice. You always got a choice.” Then in the Cherokee language he says, “Being scared will only give you bad karma in the afterlife.” Then he puts another slug in his chest.

That’s some cold shit…but that’s real. Like those people attempting carjackinging…you had a choice, now you sitting up in the damn hospital and when you heal, a nice cold cell is waiting for you. This is your life now dumb ass no points, no restart the game… jail.

I don’t want to hear the excuses from anyone. …he had a hard life, his father wasn’t around, his mom was on drugs, he didn’t have a good home environment. That’s bullshit…he had a choice.

Men know, you have a choice.

Don’t make excuses about your feelings, that’s some female shit…you’re a man. You made the choice, deal with it.

While I attended Peirce Jr. College, I lived in my grandmothers 1 bedroom apartment…on the couch for 2 years. I put my clothes on two shelves in the house and about a foot of closet space on the rod. I worked 3 jobs; the school night computer operator, Jeans West and the Cookie Co both on Chestnut St. I chased dudes away from my addicted mother the night before graduation. My father was killed by cops when I was 4 but still watched successful people. I made good choices, I’m working at the White House now…it wasn’t easy and I ain’t perfect but I didn’t treat my life like a damn video game.

If life was a video game, you would only get one life and you can’t start over.

MPM

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RAISING A MAN: Tips for single mothers AND fathers #10 of 10

As an adult, I can remember a few bad decisions from my childhood that makes me laugh. One particular stupid thing I did was at the worse possible time. I remember the people that were there and how it later caused me a significant amount of embarrassment and shame. It almost ended up with me getting a good woopin’.

I think back to when I was 11 years old and my grandparents were out of town for a couple days, my uncle was in charge. I thought that if I did something and I could, quite possibly, not get the strap.

I was at a friends birthday party and, for some reason, I felt like I could act a fool. There were about 15 teenagers and parents at this party. I was one of two black kids there, my older cousin was the other black child there.

I was acting a fool…ruining the surprise about the trick candles, plucking people, running my mouth, acting like a monkey in the worse possible way.

This tip is not about acting like a monkey in front of white people or about my uncle’s explanation of how I misrepresented the family or even about my cousin snitching on me. This tip is about the fact that no one has proof of what happened. There may be a still picture or some parent reminiscing about the out of control black kid at Brian’s party. They don’t remember my name and the whole event is possibly forgotten.

That was decades ago, social media didn’t exist back then. YOU don’t have that luxury now, everyone has a camera or is recording you on video. You are being recorded even when you think you are not. My last tip, #10, is about social media. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TicTok didn’t exist back then so I don’t have my most embarrassing moment on some platform somewhere. My event wasn’t even the only thing I had done as a child and it wasn’t a moment, it was the damn whole party! My point is…regardless of what you do, it will be a bad thing and it will be your worse moment replayed over and over again.

I changed my last tip because of Sha’carri Richardson. She’s 21 years old and she’s making some mistakes. We all make mistakes but luckily, not on the world stage. Hopefully, she will look back at this, years later, as an immature time in her life. People will replay her comments, her tweets, etc. We were all immature once, shoot we still have our moments now but fortunately it wasn’t replayed on the world stage. My advice is be careful of how you allow people and these social media platforms in your life for the good or the bad.

MPM

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