Over the past few weeks, I’ve focused on a lot of topics, but have strayed away from my primary focus and goal which is in re-education; Today, I regress.
It has occurred to me that many of our daughters are being painted with the broader stroke of mediocrity and unjustly so. Young Black girls are often pressured by outside influence as to what they should look like, act like and who they should be liked by. During the tumultuous period of adolescence, it’s easy and natural for our daughters to be conflicted about their identities and sense of self. We parents are often confused as to who this new person is that we find ourselves living with. Someone we knew for 16 years and who was sweet and innocent only yesterday is suddenly argumentative and wanting a bum-length weave, false eyelashes, a lip tattoo and permission to drive your car. She’s undoubtedly finding herself and disturbing your reasonable enjoyment in order to do so. The princess of your loins has become a near stranger in personality as well as physical appearance.
Now, imagine this same character in the classroom for 8 hours a day already feeling conflicted about who she is and who she wants to be. Picture this person in a class with 30some other 16 year old freaks of nature with raging hormones, body odor, acne and attitude problems and then, imagine yourself as the teacher who has to deal with all of them at once for days at a time. Scary isn’t it? Makes the reality of having to deal with one at a time seem like a blessing doesn’t it? I understand, I’ve often taken it for granted too.
Teachers bear the burden of having to facilitate learning in environments best navigated by The Joint Task Force, this is the reality. Good teachers try to balance calm and stimulation while maintaining an atmosphere conducive for thinking. A good teacher innately understands the challenges of kidulthood and adjusts his or her teaching curve to deal with the ebbs and flows of the teenaged attention span. A good teacher cares that our children leave the school day knowing one thing more than they did the day before and that their personal arsenal of critical thinking and mass communication skills are being cultivated in abundance. A good teacher notices when your child is expressing both fluency and difficulties in subject matter and coordinates with parents accordingly to address the situation in either case. This is my short list of good teacher qualities and in a perfect world, our children would have the luxury of being placed in classrooms with caring individuals who are passionate about education however; This is not the reality. In many cases, what our children are experiencing is the complete antithesis of this dream.
Parents, be aware that our daughters are often left in the shadows of students who require more attention due to behavioural issues. Our daughters are being neglected in the classes because they don’t draw any special attention to themselves academically or attitudinally. Sadly, our daughters educational needs are being ignored because of how they look. If they fit the description of a young-Black female-who-isn’t-destined-for-much-of-a-future-anyway, many teachers will not invest the time it takes to cultivate trust and respect in order to help to inspire her to reach her full potential.
In terms of the traditional education system, unlike our sons, as long as Black girls behave well and keep their “attitudes” in check, regardless of whether or not they complete their assigned tasks or are up to the class median, they pose less of a threat and therefore are treated with less interference. They can be virtually invisible.
Parents, this is an issue. Our girls need to be challenged, included and regarded as visible within the classroom environment in order to reap the benefits of academic exposure. We must ensure that our daughters are aligned in fully exploiting the full value of her education as this will help to assure the completeness of self-esteem, her confidence in her abilities and her future success. Be ever vigilant of this phenomenon and commit to protecting our daughters from it. Demand parent teacher reviews and interaction. Get to know what her teacher thinks about her. Demand that her teachers actually get to understand her needs and challenge her accordingly. Demand homework, it’s practise. Encourage her to get involved with school citizenship and extracurricular activities and not only sports. (Unless it’s Girls rugby!) Support her to join the debate team, teen political and mock parliament societies. Encourage as much academic exposure that you can so that her brain grows at the same rate as her interest in boys. If you can’t limit her distractions, participate in them! Trust me, your teen won’t feel the need spend 23 out of 24hrs a day Tweeting her random musings if you become one of her followers…
Parents, especially us mothers, we must be good to our daughters. Our rule of thumb ought to be the role model she needs so that she can breathe life into her dreams and passions. Help her learn and express her abilities. Teach her to understand the implications of being overly sexually provocative. Show her how a lady acts and dresses while still accepting her need to explore her less than desirable fashion sense. Teach her the classic approach to sexiness: Sometimes less is more. Make your good demeanor the prime example of how hers should be. Allow her to be sensitive and express her feelings and softer side. Teach her to embrace and develop her natural gifts and talents. Teach her to be a good friend. Be the one true person who advocates for her when she needs it yet demonstrates how she must advocate and assert for herself.
She will be a better woman for it. She will have better learning experiences for it. One day, she will become a better mother because of it. Don’t be her friend, be her mom; Her good teacher.
Light reflected is enlightenment infinite.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
In the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict, it has been impressed upon me that now in order to survive, I must live in fear for my own safety and that of my family, particularly my son. There has been an outpouring of advice and commentary on the verdict from Black tv pundits, religious, political and social leaders, social media and the AfroSphere. Most shrouded in anger. Some in astonishment. Few provide a rational strategy/plan. All are based on a foundation of fear.
This fear is understandable. The history of people of African descent in the Americas is one founded on fear. This fear was born, nurtured and nourished by the terror of those with white skins against all others. The “curse” of our black skin is what makes us identifiable and justifiable to be the recipients of this terror, whether in our original homeland of Africa, or as captives/citizens in the Americas… or wherever we may be in this world.
This terror has always been more readily unleashed with a fury against those with black skins who resist or even question those with white skins. It matters not if this resistance (or questioning) is real or perceived. It matters not if it is by deed, appearance or by even a look in our eyes. It is not tolerated because it signifies that we no longer fear. It is not tolerated because like any virus, it has the potential to become an uncontrollable epidemic. The antidote is terror. Pursuit, capture, beatings, humiliation, rape, imprisonment, dismemberment, lynchings, murder, etc. Our history is full of these terrorist acts by those with white skins against those with black skins who show any hint of resistance. The message is that of the Borg: “Resistance Is Futile.”
Trayvon Martin is just another victim of this terror. As far as George Zimmerman, his lawyers, the prosecution, the judge, as well as the all white jury are concerned, he did commit a crime. He resisted. He fought back. They have implied legal precedence. On March 6th 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision regarding the Dred Scott vs. Sanford case, which clearly stated that all blacks were “so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” The Zimmerman verdict confirmed and re-enforced this ruling for the 21st century. Hence once more, the triumph of terrorism.
The desired effect: once again those with black skins are engulfed with fear. We are paralyzed and made irrational by this fear. I’ve been bombarded by messages by those with black skins that I’m to be afraid. I’m to fear the white man. I’m to fear the black man. I’m to fear the police. I’m to fear for my life. I’m to fear for my son’s life. I’m to fear how he dresses. I’m to fear where we go. I’m to fear walking down the street in my neighbourhood. I’m to fear all things real and imagined.
I read a Facebook post where a young black man praises his mother for raising him in a climate of fear for his own safety. He states: “And I say that to say that as scary as people think black males are, black males are conditioned to be ten times more afraid of everyone else. We’re conditioned to be afraid of going to certain parts of the country, afraid of people with certain political view, afraid of police officers, and sometimes even afraid of other black and latino males. The most sickening thing about this whole trial has been the deliberate campaign to rob Trayvon of his right to be afraid. I know I would have been.”
I saw this video with Melissa Harris-Perry where she tells viewers how she felt “relief” at her ultrasound when she found out she was giving birth to a daughter instead of a son. We even fear our own unborn black men.
What we fear, we hate. What we hate, we destroy. We fear… we hate… we destroy ourselves. Mission Accomplished.
Regardless, I do understand this fear. I don’t criticize nor condemn those who find some comfort, some solace and peace of mind… in a false sense of security. We all have a paramount desire for ourselves and our love ones to be safe. The terror is relentless. It confronts us every waking and sleeping hour… everywhere in society… blatantly and subtly.
However, I don’t have this fear… and I’m not raising my son and daughter to have this fear. I will be raising them to be aware of how those with white skins perceive their black skins and therefore be wary of them. I will as well provide them with the tools to make life affirming decisions. But to fear those with white skins… NO! To fear their black skins… NO! To fear other people with black skins… NO! I will teach them that it’s not resistance which is futile… it’s to be a fear-filled and docile negro. For this will not save you. It will only make it easier for them to take your life, for they have already killed your spirit.
I know there are those with black skins who will see me as a bad father. That I’m not being practical for the safety and security of my kids. That I should impart upon them, for their own survival, the words of the beaten and broken slave Kunta Kinte: “toby be good nigga fo’ masa”.
I am guilty as charged… for I will teach them the words of William Shakespeare: “a coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.”
So I’ll charge them to resist when you must… and know the costs.
“I do have a job but I have to work tons of overtime just to be able to afford food, shelter & clothing. My father made it a point to teach me African American History. I was reading Langston Hughes and W.E.B. DuBois as a child. However no matter how knowledgeable I become about regarding the Black experience or the diaspora that does not really help me economically. I can’t eat history, it will not provide me shelter nor will it pay my bills. My reinvention consists of doing things I thought I’d never have to do to survive. Being degraded and dehumanized are not the reinvention I want. The price I’m paying is not worth it and believe me the cost has been and is very high. But it goes back to the point Asa made that Black unity is a farce. Just be down on your luck and see if any of your sisters or brothers come to your aid. People are only on your side when life is going well for you and you can do something for them. In this life we are truly alone.” dancingpalmtrees
You ever read something that moves from your mind, jumps into your heart and settles into your spirit? This is what I experienced when I read the above comment on a previous post. My first instinct was simply “WOW!” It literally shook me to my core, awoke me from a self-induced slumber to remind me that for some, life experiences are not simply the basis for intellectual dissertations or a Sunday sermon. That for some, maybe most, daily life is a real struggle. I knew this on an intellectual, cosmic level… but I actually felt it in her words.
So for a few days now I have turned the above comment over in my mind, savoured it within my heart and meditated on it in my spirit, contemplating on if and what I wanted to say.
My grandmother had a saying: “he who feels it, knows it” and this sister has dropped some serious truth here. There is nothing truer than what you experience, for it is the foundation of what you know… what you feel about your existence and relationships with those you engage with. Knowledge is power when you utilize your knowledge to empower others to first and foremost, meet their basic needs… i.e., food, shelter, clothing. Unity, like charity, therefore begins at home… with family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances… then onto community and beyond.
These are not the values of our current society. Individuality is the idol to be worshipped. Self-centredness is revered. Knowledge is power to empower and enlighten oneself… “to only get yours”. Caring about the needs of others is weakness for it competes and detracts from satisfying one’s own selfish needs. There is no value seen in unity… unless others unite to confirm and conform to “my” self-adulation… i.e., agree with all I say and believe… or to satisfy “my” personal wants.
I believe in Black unity. People of African descent worldwide have a shared history, as well as similar present day experiences, based first and foremost on the colour of our skin. Although we may have these shared experiences, we are not homogeneous in our beliefs and perspectives, but we don’t need to be to work for a common purpose. Our empowerment as a comm-unity is based on our unity of commitment… therefore what we need, first and foremost are people who are committed… not to a principle, ’cause just like history, you can’t eat principle and it won’t provide shelter and pay the bills… but people who are committed to do the work necessary to create a foundation for this unity.
This is where the truth in the sister’s statement that “Black unity is a farce” is right on point! Many will talk about being for Black unity but aren’t willing to put in the work, as simply as coming to the aid of a brother or sister, especially when they are down on their luck. Sure they are more than willing to engage in intellectual discourses on the Black struggle, share conspiracy theories, offer advice and bible verses for comfort and encouragement, but when it comes to actually do something… giving selflessly of themselves to provide food, shelter, clothing or whatever else may be needed… well that’s where the “I don’t give a fuck” attitude jumps out at you.
I have also found that many who preach Black unity are quick to “degrade and dehumanize” other Black people who don’t share their opinions and beliefs or view the world as they do. As I stated in a previous post, “working to unite with only Black people who believe as you do, whether politically, culturally or religiously, is neither work nor unity.”
What we need is a spiritual transformation, a renewing of our minds, before the reality of Black unity can be ever achieved. Seeking the truth within oneself isn’t a noble endeavour. It’s misguided and based in vanity. In fact, finding the truth within oneself is easy as it will be revealed in what you do to aid those less fortunate than you. That is the noble endeavour, the foundation of Black unity: helping others… and in doing so, the truth about oneself will also be revealed. The spiritual reality of Black unity isn’t about focusing within, it’s about reaching out.
“I stated that Kony 2012 is pro-imperialism, pro-militarism propaganda. Again, here is the link to the article explaining my position. http://new-possibilities.blogspot.com/2012/03/kony-2012-is-imperialistic-propaganda.html
Most of you have not provided any logical arguments refuting that assertion. Instead, many of you have resorted to ad hominem attacks. It is easy to call me “Negro pseudo intellectual” and “only a mouth”, question my level of activism and make disparaging remarks about African Americans. It is far more difficult to challenge my argument. I challenge you to debate me on substance.”
@Ana..I did not “deny that some blacks have been and are the enemies of other black people”. In my article, I condemned Joseph Kony and called for him to be brought to justice. All groups, including black people, have their traitors. I never said or implied that the victims should wait. I said that Africans should and can solve their own problems. Anson Asaka
First, I had made it quite clear in my previous post that the article and term “Negro pseudo-intellectual” wasn’t directed at nor a personal attack against you. I also directed you to analyze my definition and clearly stated: “My definition is above and if you personally don’t fit into that category, then it doesn’t apply to you.” However from your above statement: “It is easy to call me “Negro pseudo intellectual”, I can only surmise that you did analyze my definition and have determined that you do fit into that category. I will therefore defer to the substance of your superior logical argument and surrender that point to you.
Secondly, I did read your well written and well researched article explaining your position. Interestingly, I found it ironic that all the sources you used as the substance of your logical arguments were taken from “western organizations”, as you previously branded Invisible Children. You freely quote Wikipedia, ABC News, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Council of Foreign Affairs, Amnesty International and the Wall Street Journal. You are correct that I didn’t challenge or debate you on the substance of your argument. However, if I ever do wish to challenge or debate the substance of logical arguments based on an eurocentric point of view, I’ll find a white man to debate with… and not one of his black surrogates.
Thirdly, I have observed that when those of African descent outside of the USA, don’t conform to the narrow-minded beliefs, opinions and logical arguments of our African-American brothers and sisters… and have the audacity to be critical of your arrogant view of the world, you make accusations that we “make disparaging remarks about African Americans.” I have discussed this attitude before in my post and adjoining comments: “African-American Arrogance”. I invite you read the post. You may learn something about people of African descent who are not African-Americans. You may also learn something about yourself.
Finally, your above comment has inspired me to analyze the issue of the miseducated Negro pseudo-intellectual. I observed on your blog that you proudly disclose all your educational achievements. It’s impressive and I sincerely congratulate your academic successes. I am constantly teaching my son that education is certainly a powerful and invaluable tool for our people… if it is utilized as the foundation for action and enlightenment! However for the miseducated Negro pseudo-intellectual, education is the basis for inaction and narrow-minded thinking. For the miseducated Negro pseudo-intellectual, education is ghetto-ized into a quest for the debate of logical arguments to quench the thirst of the eurocentric fed ego. For the miseducated Negro pseudo-intellectual, education is not seen as a resource to turn viral awareness via social media into action, but as a tool to be wasted in another viral bitch session.
“America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts …a child… as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters.” Mother Teresa