Category Archives: Life Skills

The Life Skills category establishes an understanding about the “sandbox of life”. Everyone is in the box, young men of color have to understand how to conduct themselves in it.

RAISING A MAN: Tips for single mothers AND fathers #1 of 10

In this series, I’ll write in a sequence that builds on each tip from 1 to 10. My tips, I hope, will present another perspective outside of your own. In no way am I indicting any mother on her ways of raising her child. My suggestions relate to the raising and structuring of a male individual.

So let’s start there…the first of ten tips for mothers raising sons is structure.

I feel structure is the most important concept for raising a male child,

…but there has to be rules.

You build structure with a rule philosophy. The adherence to rules builds his concept of order. Young boys need structure so they could grow to be responsible men. It could start with your son is running around the dinner party acting a like he has no home training…at the same time, your friends are looking at each other embarrassed for you, cause he’s not listening to you. This is the first hint that you’re losing control of your son.

So…it starts with a concept of telling your toddler son “No”. Yes it grows to him washing the dishes before bed, homework before xbox/playstation, no cursing, no weed, whatever. Trust he may do those forbidden things when you’re not around but you have to run the house with rules. My main point is that he must learn repercussions before he becomes an adult. If he isn’t compelled to follow the rules at home, what will compel him when he becomes a legal aged adult? Structure and rules build on his ability to pay his bills on time, keep a job and even keep male friends.

Your son must live with boundaries and guidelines that align to become a law abiding, tax paying citizen. You cannot allow your son to do what he wants when he wants. If he has to take out the trash before you are home from work…it better be done. Structure builds on his concept of rules and repercussions.

Repercussions…there MUST be repercussions, no cellphone access, put up the xbox, do something. I beg you…don’t let your heart allow you be easy on him.

It’s a simple concept but I believe the hardest thing for mothers to do is to resist the urge to nurture and support your child. Nurturing is what comes natural to a mother. I say resist because you should not coddle your son into being handicap. You are not helping him when you protect him from his bad decisions. When you insulate him from the pain of a bad decision…you fortify bad habits that become his behavior and he will never learn to do the right thing. Your son grows up to believe mom will always save him or more importantly, it’s not his decision that caused his circumstance. Without repercussions…as a man; he will not keep his word, he will not obey traffic laws, he will becomes that neighbor that blast his music at 1am.

Your son is not your friend, your surrogate husband or your baby. He will be a man with habits that you’ve allowed him to think are okay. Our professional and private environments need responsible men, our communities need responsible black men. Your son will grow up with behaviors that you’ve endorsed, what traits do you see in your son that a woman… a wife would desire in her husband?

MPM

DISCLAIMER:  I’m not a psychiatrist or even a parent. This blog is my supportive opinion, which is based on dating single mothers, mentoring young boys from the age of 7 to 18 for almost 3 decades and other various life experiences.  While mentoring, I have also received formal and informal guidance from older black men/volunteers from the DC Chapter of Concerned Black Men, Inc. I received formal training as a volunteer with Mentors Inc. Lastly, my personal development and growth from the 7th  – 12th grade includes my attendance of an all male boarding high school called Girard College. While my opinion can be applied to young women, I believe most times I have an inherent bias towards masculine issues. My lens, for good or bad, is aligned to young males becoming men.

1 Comment

Filed under Life Skills

RAISING A MAN: Introduction

As an adult male raised in the 70’s & 80’s I can revert back to uncles, cousins and grandfathers being men, not just male but men. They exemplified traits that dealt with honor, trust and survival. They molded the young men of the family to be responsible leaders in the community and dependable friends in great times and in dire circumstances. My family members as well as neighborhood dudes corrected me when I was wrong, instructed me and coached me for success and ushered me into better circumstances than their own. I remember watching my cousin Georgie wash his car by spraying a water hose directly on his running Monte Carlo SS engine while the neighborhood kids looked on with golf ball eyes waiting for the car to blow up. I remember seeing “Ham” and “Link” steal a car from the parking lot, I remember laying on the ground with my cousin Dwayne when he was changing his alternator on his Camaro or when the guys on the corner would sing…really sing the latest R&B songs. They would teach us lil homies how to open clams with a knife or more importantly how to talk to women. Yeah…I’m old. As a teenager I hung around good and bad examples of men. It was a rite of passage, we had to learn who we were as individuals…away from the debilitating coddles of a mother. We had to figure out what path we were going to go…good or bad. Back then the lyrics to songs were different, women were different, our families and communities were different…they weren’t different, they were better.

I could expound on any niche of black culture and deconstruct reasons but what would it matter? In this surreal COVID existence I’ve learned to appreciate time and attempt with all energy to make things better or at the very least, use my precious time to improve or better our race.

As an adult male I’ve witnessed the generations of young men become inherently more feminine. I’m disheartened by seeing our young men become more mercurial in their emotions, unbalanced in their temperament and dare I say weak. Don’t misunderstand me, having emotions is not a bad thing, expressing your emotions is not a bad thing or only a “feminine” thing.

I don’t like seeing any young black man as a weakened individual.

When I say, “weak” I speak of the traits that don’t align with being a young man. Some kids don’t know how to shake another mans hand, don’t know how to look me in the eye when speaking, lack dependability, don’t respect elders, can’t hold your hands in a fight and have a poor work ethic…I could go on for a few more days but I won’t.

My concern is that there’s an imbalance in our families. No one takes a back seat, everyone wants to be the boss. Our families are fractured now and I feel it was intentional. I don’t have the energy to address the gay agenda, gender ambiguity or even the masculinity of women.

More than weak, our young men have become effeminate and I want to challenge the trend…my challenge is to give 10 tips on helping our young men become leaders in the households, lead their own families and raise balanced men and women of their own.

This blog series is not about blame. Its my attempt to improve our race. I want to put this out because maybe you find my tips useful. I’m a stranger..but I’m a man.

What I will do is provide 10 tips on raising a man.

MPM

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men” (Frederick Douglass, 1817-1895)

Leave a comment

Filed under Life Skills

BLM vs Black on Black crime

This is a  is NOT mine…this is a repost authored by Maceo Willis…I don’t know the brother but thank you.

“This is long but I really don’t give a damn because I’ve had it with these idiotic “Black on Black crime” statements. So you know what? I will break this down, just this damn once. You read it? Fine. You don’t? Fine too. This is therapeutic for me because I’ve been wanting to get this off my chest for a long time.

There is no such thing as Black on Black crime. To understand the social and psychological construct and intention of this term you have to go back to the end of enslavement. When enslavement ended there were three things that the white Anglo Saxon power structure feared:

1. Black people getting revenge for being enslaved.

2. Growth of Black communities in the South

3. Growth of Black political power in the South.

White America also had to answer the question of how they were going to replace their free labor. They came up with the answer in the form of sharecropping and the 13th Amendment. The loophole that allowed any person convicted of a crime to be sent to jail and served in forced labor. While that took care of that in terms of policy (also policies such as the pig laws, black codes, and of course Jim Crow) the challenge was creating the narrative to justify such actions.

And with that comes the movie “Birth of a Nation.” There is no movie ever created that has had more of a long-lasting influence and impact on the moral and psychological consciousness and policy construct of America in history. In one felled swoop it framed Blacks in government as corrupt, Black communities as lazy and ignorant, Black women a subservient and yes, the big one, Black men as evil, bestial, vile criminals and rapists.

And with this movie, the incarcerations of Black men skyrocket. Lynchings catch on like wildfire. The destruction of middle-class Black communities such as Tulsa, Rosewood, Wilmington, strike in tactical precision. Even when Black people tried to leave the south they were met with Redlining in the north. The economy and some can argue far more evil and sinister twin brother of Jim Crow.

So let’s get into that.

The reason for Jim Crow in the South and Redlining in the North was to contain Black communities in areas where cities can cut off their access to the economic centers. To INTENTIONALLY keep these communities in poverty. Why? For one, whites did not want to see their economic status threatened. But secondly, because the “ah-ha” moment came. Poverty is profitable. In the case of crime, where there is poverty there is crime. This is not a Black thing. This is a universal law. When you cut off people’s access to those limited resources necessary to live people go into survival mode. The more scarce the resources the more human beings act in a primal state.

So now, if I create communities that are INTENTIONALLY cut off from those resources, I have INTENTIONALLY created a state of scarcity and survival. If I do that, then crime is going to happen and when it does, the powers that be can profit off that.

Don’t believe me about poverty? Take a look a Dublin Ireland, Mumbai India, towns in China, the Middle East, etc. etc. etc. Give me any country and its poorest towns and I will show you where the highest rates of crime happen.

So if that’s the case why call it Black on Black Crime? Because the narrative created isn’t about bringing awareness to crime in the Black community but to psychologically equate Black people with crime (Black = Crime) as a way to justify the policies of injustice, inequality, and incarceration against Black people without consequence. THAT’S WHY.

So when you repeat this narrative, which seems to only pop up when Black people start getting close to attacking the systems of oppression that created the state in which many Black communities live, you reinforce the psychological perception that to be Black EQUATES to being a criminal. Thus you become an unwitting accomplice to white supremacy and white oppression of Black people and render invisible the policies that have been enacted and still on the books for over a century that have created these environments.

So if you really want to do something about the CRIME you see in the Black community don’t attack Black people. Attack the City Council, attack the mayor, attack the policies of redlining. Attack the remnants of Jim crow. Attack the banks that purposely devalue homes in the Black community. Attack every policy and system that cuts off access to the necessary resources and opportunities the Black communities need to grow and evolve economically. ATTACK those.

Not your own damn people.”

 

MPM

Leave a comment

Filed under Life Skills

No one listens to WHY!… Black Lives Matter

Black men have understood police brutality and abuse for centuries.

Most, if not all of us, have had to deal with the hyper scrutiny of police as a part of life, I’ve known it through verbal testimonies of grandfathers, uncles, cousins, friends and coworkers.  I’ve become impatient with the discussion because there’s always a counter-narrative that justifies police behavior.

In spite of social media allowing anyone the ability to now PROVE the subjective nature of police, there still is defending discussion of the mistreatment of black people.

A close friend spent an early morning, 1AM, responding to a woman about BLM. I love her response…it provides patience and understanding to a problem black men know all to well.

The response grants patience where I’ve exhausted mine.

“…the reason that many people are protesting (at times even violently- and this is assuming that all of the “violence” is done by BLM supporters/protesters because in many cases it is not- is because Black people have spent decades trying to have conversation and education. PEOPLE ARE GETTING KILLED AND HUNTED DOWN IN THE STREETS!! PEOPLE ARE USING THEIR GENDER AND WHITE RACE AND WEAPONIZING IT (Ie. Amy Cooper against chrsitian Cooper in Central Park) And this is all done with reckless disregard of any pursuit of justice and acts are swept under the rug as “procedure” or with justifiable cause. It is only after people protest when incidents are properly investigated. Sometimes all we want is a proper investigation! There have been documentaries, movies, speeches, campaigns, news reports, and straight pleas, you name it- and no one seems to listen. So like many things in life, sometimes you have to scream to be heard. That is the only time when people stop and listen. So while I don’t condone the “violence” or anything related to it, I do think people are tired and talking is not getting anywhere. NO ONE LISTENS.

I live in Washington DC- and do well for myself and my daughter is in a private school and I am a lawyer and a professor at a University but I can give you an entire book chapter about the ways either myself or my family members (all equally educated and financially secure ) have suffered merely because of the color of our skin. This is not only about police brutality, but about systemic racism which impacts economic prosperity- this is why many “smart blacks” cannot get ahead. Our country and its system are not designed for us to get ahead. And I am not writing from a “victim” perspective. I’m considered as someone who is “making it”. Take a look at the 13th amendment. It abolished slavery except for while imprisoned. And that might be ok except for the fact that Black and brown people are imprisoned differently and at a higher rate than their white counterparts. Post slavery it started with the Black code (if you don’t know- look it up) then later segued to Jim Crow laws and now it has morphed into mass incarceration as a result of way Black and brown people are charged with crimes and later sentenced. While we may have the civil rights act of 1964 and the voting rights act 1965 there have been current attempts (and some success) to dismantle pieces of that. Redlining still exists. Redistricting based on race (but of course they don’t say it’s for race) still exists. And while BLM missions stems from brutalities by vigilantes (Ie. Trayvon Martin or Ahmad Arbery ) or police (George Floyd and sooooo many others to name), the affects of the “cause” stems farther. I invite you do some objective research rather than simply looking at the heightened emotions that follow a killling, then you will see the broader cause. https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/

And John Yawn This is NOT about Black on Black crime because we are not discussing the systems that place people in such a degree of dispair that result in such acts (and I am so tired of hearing that argument- Black on Black crime has nothing to do with police brutality and to a lesser extent, two wrongs don’t make a right). This is really about the fact that you cannot have a whole (All Lives) without a part (Black Lives). It is the fact that most people, and in most cases, white people, have the privilege, power and standing of being able to separate themselves to be able to make such a dismissive comment. In essence, if it doesn’t affect you, then You can deflect. Or to say that “the blacks are just as smart..”. (The audacity of that comment is astounding, by the way!!) I don’t think anyone is looking for validation of their intellect. I know i surely am not. At the very least, my 3 degrees gives me that validation among other things. But the thing is, none of my pedigree matters if I get pulled over by the police. It doesn’t matter where i graduated from , what kind of car in drive or who my kid goes to school with, or how many properties I own. What matters in that instant is how I submit (notice i say submit- because submission is what is required) myself before an authority figure who wants to make sure that i know that they have complete authority over me and everything that happens from that point. And that reality of inherent fear is extremely unique to black and brown people. And when my 10 year old highly privileged child can take note of this, and can speak about it in school when they are asked to speak about a time where they have experienced or witnessed racism, then it is something to take consider.

So Black Lives DO Matter. And whether you want to outwardly support the group or not (and note, I am not a “member” of the group) it is important to completely educate yourself. Watch The 13th on Netflix. Read the New Jim Crow or the Color of Law. There are countless others. Then talk to severel African Americans (both men and women) about their experiences. And to be honest, many of us are still processing our experiences because there are some things that happened during our youth that we didn’t even realize were problems until you look back on them. We are now realizing how these experiences have shaped our perspectives. (It’s kind of like the rape victim who didn’t realize that they had been raped). And know that Black people are not monoliths- we do not all have the same experience.

Come to DC and really experience the National African American Museum of History and culture. Go back the next day. Go back the next day (you can’t do it all in one day- or two- or three). And then talk to people again.

We Black people know white culture- we live it every day. We learned it in school and now are trying to unlearn it because we realize how narrow the perspective was. It’s time for you all to take the time to learn ours (and don’t look for us to teach you because that is exhausting too— and some of us are still learning). I hope this gives you another perspective.”

 

Please do as I did…copy/past this response when people find some reason to contradict BLM.

MPM

Thank you Nicole!

Leave a comment

Filed under Life Skills