A Message From A Grandfather to His Granddaughter[s]

For you, Baby-Boo, the world can be an unforgiving and even a dangerous place. Do not be afraid, however, but be careful, shrewd and even cunning when necessary. For if this world is unfair to men, then men will be unfair to thee. Simply because you are female.

Of course not all men – but enough of them so that your world will be different from theirs.

I have seen much and now there are more years behind me than in front of me. Before I was even able to grow a mustache, the singer, James Brown sang a song called, “It’s A Man’s Man’s World”. The opening lyrics were, “This is a man’s world, this is a man’s world. But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl.” Despite those lyrics, many men do not behave as if their world would be nothing without a woman or a girl or they behave as if women exist so that this world can remain a man’s world.

Many men will see you as female first as opposed to human first because to them, they are male first and then human. That order of things allows them to emphasize the differences and marginalize what women and men have in common. The emphasis on the difference justifies relegating you to a station below theirs. Thus, as a girl/woman, your voice, your opinion and even your facts are less than their voice, their opinion and their facts. Such men have erected and fight vigorously to maintain a structure in which they are dominant so that they may enjoy the accouterments of power and privilege at your expense.

These men are beneath you. They lack substance and depend on dominating you to maintain their form, their facade. Read them well for they often will appear accommodating as they hope to hide their hand. Eschew them like you would a poison well.

Other men will want to make you responsible for their actions. You are the “devil” that makes them behave badly and you are never the “saint” that makes them behave respectfully. These men are weak, pathetic and unworthy. Do not spend time with the likes of these for you will always be the blame for their nocent behavior.

To some men you will be a mere accessory as would a watch or pair of cuff links. Your prettiness clogs their mind and feeds their childish ego. You make them look good but they make you look cheap. Dismiss these men for they care only about the glitter and not the gold.

Many of them will see you as mere meat whose only purpose is to gratify their desires. They sexualize you because they measure their manhood by the number of women they bed. These men are boys impersonating a measure of man they can never live up to. Their definition of manhood rises no higher than below their belt. Play with them, if you will, but only on your terms. Otherwise, keep them at a distance or deal with them in small doses only for you have better things to do with your time.

Then there are men who will demean you, abuse you and try to possess you. They are jealous and needy because they build their identity and self-worth around you so that without you they are nothing. They do not see it that way but it is that way. Leave them and their world. To stay is to die one way or the other. These men can charm, beg for forgiveness in sweet words and pleading tones. But, as what happened to my mother, you can end up face down in a pool of your own blood because you believed the sweet loving tone and words. No, these type of men are not all killers, but never give them a chance for you to find out. And if by some chance you are deceived, run at the first instance and never forgive. Ignore your heart and heed my words: Never forgive. Never stay.

On the other hand, a few will honor your humanity and respect you as different but still equal and that you are the other side of the coin; there are no one-sided coins. These men are worthy of your energy and of who you are. Let them grow in your love and flourish in your respect. But never swim farther than you can swim back — otherwise you can drown if he swims away.

Give completely, if he does. Set the boundaries early and never yield at the expense of who you are.
Treat your needs as vital but your wants as luxuries – know the difference [never compromise on your needs for they are non-negotiable]. Understand, too, that respect and appreciation for you does not mean that a man fully understands you because no man will ever know what it is like to be female in this man’s world — no matter his orientation.

Once you choose to love [be it a man or another woman] love in such a way that you become a better person and if he values you, he too will become better.

Sex is a gift that should be given only to the worthy or as something you wish to use for your own relief — but never equate it with love; do not be confused. Lust can confuse, unless you know it.

No man is perfect as is no woman, but men wear the mantles of power and thereby, control much of what happens in the world. True, you have personal power and never relinquish it. Do not confuse it, however, with the levers of power that men pull to make the world turn. Life is unforgivably unfair. So hold on to the only real power you have.

Two more things to know:

Beware other women because men have constructed a system in which women often view each other as competitors for the attention and adoration of men. They will view you as such for as long as they believe you have what a man wants. Understand that phenomenon. It is not personal as much as it is the workings of men exploiting and flexing their power to maintain dominance over women. Some women will define other women as a threat when the real threat is the system that men have constructed to keep you fighting each other for scraps.

Secondly, you are black and as such, most of the world will view you as stationed at the the dirt end of the totem pole. [Proof-positive that the world is egregiously stupid.] In any event, your burden is double that of white women. This is not to say that all whites are racists. It is to say, far too many are – enough are so as to make the distance you must travel twice as far. Nevertheless, wear your blackness not as if it were a royal garment [yes, it is something to be proud of, however] but as if it were who you are.

Baby Boo, I know what I have said is not easy to accept and do, but I would be unworthy if I did not warn and teach you. They say this is a man’s world and because it is, the world is a cesspool. Knowing that it is, you can keep much of the stink off you and stand in a spot less foul. Be human then always be woman.

Pop-Pop loves you.

Published in: on March 30, 2016 at 12:54 AM  Leave a Comment  
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50 Years

Fifty years ago, my mother stepped out onto a porch and stood next to me. Her husband stood near us both. She feared him but since he brought me with him, she was sufficiently at ease. After all, he had just pleaded so softly for her to step out on the porch to talk. I stood there completely clueless – – clueless as a door knob. Only he knew the agenda; he had come there to fulfill his self-imposed mission. Seconds later, he fired six bullets, reloaded and fired five more. My mother lay in a pool of her own blood. I panicked and fled like a coward.

Fifty years ago on 17 June 1963, I was twelve and we had lived under that man’s tyranny for ten years.

On the fiftieth anniversary of my mother’s murder, these things I believe:
a] When I die, my mother will die again — without ceremony or recognition
b] Praying to “God” or any deity is as effective as praying to a wall
c] As a male, I belong to a species half of whom believe it is their  damn-near divine right to subjugate and marginalize the other half
d] I am ashamed of the half to which I belong
e] Life is not only unfair, it is, at times, egregiously cruel
f] Cruelty is often a function of the image a man has of himself
g] When we come here, we are confined to death row — all the reason to live a life of color in a black and white world

I miss my mother so much; what he did was so wrong — still so hard to believe … so hard to understand … so unforgivable … so painful

But I recognize that death, murder, mayhem and cruelty are as common as their counterparts. My mother’s murder was just one of the billions before her and after her. No worse, no better. That’s life on Prison Earth. Her death is a big deal to me; in the scheme of things, however, it was ordinary. That fact is not lost on me.

Nonetheless, to this day: My heart still bleeds tears for her.

Published in: on June 12, 2013 at 1:52 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Males Who Impersonate Men

Referring to the title of this work, the term “males” is defined as human beings with “XY” chromosome and who will typically have a penis and testicles. Thus, being a male is more or less a function of the time and chance of conception. Obviously, these males do not choose to be male but they can choose to be men. Therefore these terms, males and men, are not necessarily interchangeable.

Pathetically, many males define their manhood [being a man] in terms of their sexual orientation. These males consider heterosexuality to be a badge that reveals them to be men and that homosexuality is the antithesis of manhood. Such a  definition is short-sighted and woefully incorrect. At the risk of sounding trite, being a man is what you do but not who you “screw”. Males who assert they are men because of their heterosexuality are merely a cheap and woeful imitation of what they think they are.

If heterosexuality is a crucial part of the definition of a man, then what if he has sex with an underage female? What if he is a pedophile? Is he still a man? What if he rapes women? Is that something a man would do, or would someone who is simply a male do that? What if he is impotent or suffers from erectile dysfunction? Is he no longer a man? What if he is asexual? What would you call him then? Or what if a male is bi-sexual? Is he half a man? In other words, the inclusion of a man’s sexual orientation and/or activity in the definition of being a man can be problematic.

In ancient Rome, if a male was the “active” partner in a sexual encounter with another male [as opposed to being the “receiver” or the passive one], he was still considered a man. Even today, among the Sambians of Papua New Guinea, the rite of male passage into manhood entails performing oral sex on the older men of the tribe and swallowing their semen. The point I wish to present is that the definition of what constitutes a man can be far more encompassing than one’s sexual proclivities. But those examples aside, could it be that sexual orientation is irrelevant or at best, it obfuscates the issue of what constitutes manhood?

One or two emotions often drive many males’ reactions to homosexuality: Fear and/or hatred. In this context, these emotions are often used to cloak the frenetic, irrational child within. [One of the frailties of being human is that humans often experience discomfort when in the presence of the “different”; human prefer a certain level of sameness or conformity. True, diversity is often the source of conflict – sometimes resulting in fear –  but it can also be the catalyst for progress.]  Fear, however, should be rational; it should be driven by the capacity to be harmed. How is it that two gay men or two lesbians can cause harm? This kind of fear is a fool’s fear. In fact, it can be argued that a real man does not waste fear on that which can cause no harm.

Many males hate gay men or lesbians. How irrational is it to hate ? That is, to actually expend a serious and potentially dangerous emotion. Hate should be felt and shown with great care and deliberation — not a knee-jerk, thoughtless reaction. It may seem like a paradox but hatred should be done without emotion — even though it is an emotion. To that end, what would be a legitimate rationale for hating men who prefer sex with men or women who prefer sex with women? Never mind, hating “the act”; why hate or even dislike the persons? Is having a different preference legitimate grounds for hatred? Petty and pitiful people hate for reasons often cited by males who are not men. In fact, if anything, an argument can be made that heterosexual sex causes more harm than homosexual sex. Heterosexual sex can result in difficult pregnancies, unwanted children, over-population, and all the things that flow downstream from that. Yes, I am saying this with tongue in cheek but the point is that homosexual acts between consenting adults is no more harmful and deserves no more hatred or fear than sex between two heterosexuals.

Even if a person’s sexuality is a matter of choice [for the record, I do not believe it is. My being heterosexual is no more my choice than my being a male or African-American or …], there is still no harm. Thus, no grounds for fear or hatred. Lastly, however, for those who cite religion as the basis for their negative reaction to this matter, I point to the marked difference in their reactions to the other “sins” that are lumped in with homosexuality. The day these religious zealots protest and scream at thieves, liars, adulterers, alcoholics and the like with the same fervor and vigor as they do homosexuality, then they would have some credence. Otherwise, their hypocrisy is both foul and feculent.

Definitions are often not exhaustive or comprehensive but dare I declare my definition of a man: “a male who honors the humanity of others in concert with deep respect for himself; a male who thinks critically and deeply.” But perhaps my most controversial definition would be: “a real man is no different from a real woman – one having a penis and the other a vagina, notwithstanding.”

Anything other than, is simply an impostor not worthy of anything, “man”.

Published in: on March 29, 2013 at 8:25 PM  Comments (2)  
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