For some reason my Monday Wednesday class is at 96 percent capacity. I only lost two students and since I was teaching in overload – had to give permission for folks to join – this actually means that I finish the semester with a full ship. I have a LOT of Black male students. I think I have about 7 (24 percent of the class) in my Tuesday/Thursday. I’ve noticed that there is some kind of emotion just simmering. Had to calm one down at the beginning of class and another at the end. I’m not calling security on them. I can tell that they want to cry. They want to scream. They’re about to explode. The reason they do it in front of me is because they know I’m not going to let anything bad happen to them. They’re crying out. Both men are working jobs, taking care of children, and have family members (womenfolks) who are pulling at them. I try very hard to be tough. But I want to cry too. I can’t. There are 29 other people who are counting on me to be the captain of the ship.
One young brother said to me, “if they didn’t do nothin’ bout that lil dude in Florida who gon’ give a damn about my cousin?” I said, “be that as it may. Trayvon’s gone home. Your cousin’s gone home. You got a job to do.” I feel like a monster. This is why God made men and women. I have the ability to be very calm, surgical, and even cold WHEN I MUST. I don’t like it. It’s like it takes all the sunshine out of my soul. But in these days, if I let it go on, if I let it go and go and go….? I don’t know what. I know that I can’t. In my soul I know that the best thing to do is to keep both men with their shoulders FIRMLY set to the plow. I told them, “there’s only one man who I ever heard tell brought someone back from the grave.”? Why did an older Black male student break the tension by telling me (and the whole class) that Enoch brought somebody back too? The laugh was necessary. That guy drives me crazy with the Hebrew Israelite stuff but TODAY – oh man, he just don’t know that I was two second from boo hoo ’til he said that.
You always say I’m honest and I thank you for that. I sincerely feel that I could have handled the situation better if I was a man. I felt weak. I felt inadequate. I didn’t show my weakness. I hardly ever do. I feel like all of their emotion was absorbed, incorporated, within me. I was so scared that I told my son to not go anywhere near any protest being held in Florida. Just like the Black women in slavery, I’m willing to put my body against the machine for him. But I don’t want him sacrificed for that senseless demonic game of race. I can’t stand it. I can’t take the thought.
My children were brought up seeing lynching photography and Black men lynched, burned, castrated, on postcards which traveled through the US mail. I re-call once that Grant went to school and told the truth about Abraham Lincoln. I had to go and explain why. That is a moment which is funny now. I fight with myself….
Do we harm our children when we bring them up early and acquaint them with the skin game? My ex-husband is White but we talked about our child before we had her. He and I were of like mind – Sarah had to know, TO BE MADE TO KNOW that she was not White. She’s bi-racial. She had TO BE MADE TO KNOW that for the purposes of the outside world – she’s Black.
She knew, I think before she was ten, that the dictionary definition of the word “nigger” has NOTHING TO DO with how it is actually used or has been used historically. But I’m backtracking, experiencing some type of hindsight tonight. I’m thinking about that 21st century lamb slaughtered in the rain.
In 1676 there was an inter-racial uprising. It is known as Bacon’s Rebellion. That is the point in the history of the New World where Black skin became the permanent mark of slavery, of a lesser human or a higher beast, of burdens to be born, and very little kindness.
336 years later, it was necessary to take a 17 year old’s life for what? 336 years later, those in command of the law let the man go. After all, just another dead Negro and aren’t they killing each other every day?
I’m second guessing myself. I shouldn’t have let the children sleep in multi-racial slumber. How do you think other bi-racial children feel when they find out what a nigger really is? How do you think they feel when they find out that they are grossly unprepared for the racial realities of America? But I’m afraid that I’ve made my four folks too cynical. Too aware. Grant (my youngest son) better not be protesting anything. I made him promise. Let the other men go. I need him.
I’ve been offered all manners of things if I would just “let my children lead their own lives.” Yes. That’s what the Negro said to me. “I don’t mind the young one. I wouldn’t want a woman who left her child.” But he DID want a woman who would cut off her adult children. As long as I live my children have a place at my dinner table. They can take a shower.? They can get some rest. They can’t live with me. Then, I’d just be adding to the problem of unmotivated Black men. The men MUST make their own way. I’ll send you a little fifty dollar western union if you get down on your luck. But that’s about it. See, that’s my surgical side coming up again.
I will not raise a man I wouldn’t marry. I don’t date basement bums. That’s that. But here’s the thing and back to my “opportunity” – what kind of peace of mind would I have if I did something like that? I wouldn’t have any. Nuff said. We recently let two of our sons go out in the big world on their own. We wished them well. It was past time. But put them out for a man? Hell nawl!? That?s a sin I?ll save for the next lifetime.
I’m thinking about a lot of things tonight. I need to go to sleep. I teach an early class. Took two sleeping pills an hour ago. My heart, my soul, and my mind have put an over ride on the pills, my age, and this body. I’m remembering when the boys were fat, round, golden babies. I’m thinking about Trayvon’s mother. Tonight, I believe we’re sharing the same mind. She can’t help but be thinking about that boy right now. I know she ain’t even studying Zimmerman. We all are thinking about our sons. What kind of wilderness is this that our sons are acceptable beasts to be hunted and left for dead?
You are thinking about your sons. Trayvon’s mother is thinking about her baby. I know this moment in time has drawn the energy of Black women together. I feel the spirit of Camille Cosby. Her son Ennis stopped to help a woman and then the same woman just left him to die after he’d been shot. Left him like trash on the side of the road. She said, “I was scared.” He wasn’t too scared to help her. I think of the pain Maya Angelou endured when the police wouldn’t search for her kidnapped son, Guy. Maya found her own son. She searched for him on foot and bus and trolley car!!!!
And our men don’t want us because they say we’re golddiggers, bitches, demanding, and have too much drama. How much have we taken on for their sake? How much have we endured so they can stand over us and tell us we’re not good enough? How much more will we endure.
I request that all Black American men be put on the endangered species list and placed under the protection of the Department of the Interior. They’re human. But apparently their hide is very valuable. Why would you waste a bullet on something worthless?
I love you. Love yourself. Think twice before you shoot a man who looks like you. Think three times before you run your mouth and entrap a man who looks like you. Think four times before you break another mother’s heart. Please, for peace sake, do this for me and the other 20 million Black American women. If you don’t stop..
Death has become such a regular obscenity in the Black community that we no longer even bother to dress up for the homegoing. Over priced jeans, slave labour athletic shoes, and a RIP t shirt – that’s THEY wear. I’m old/ Nearly half a century. I still get dressed up, look decent. But as I said, death of our men is no more and no less than the regular obscenity of Black American life and the apathetically palatable pornography of American life.