Waiting for Superman

November 9, 2010

Yeah, he's fine. But he ain't real.

“If I’m gonna date a white guy, I’m not getting Opie.  He has to be fine.”

“He has to really care about racial justice.  I’m talking a Tim Wise type.”

“He has to have some kind of swagger.”

I have heard variations on the above from black women when talking about the sort of white man they could be persuaded to date and/or marry.  Sometimes, they want all of that in one man (plus education, a fitness model body, etc.etc.)  I’m going to ignore #1 and #3, as Evia and others have more than adequately addressed those.

When I read that, I kind of laughed.  Think about it.  Who makes up 75-90% of the footsoldiers in  IBA (Indigenous Black Americans, yeah I just made that up, feel free to use it) civil rights/racial justice associations?

You’d be hard-pressed to find a black man who spends a great deal of time writing articles/organizing protests/giving lectures on racial justice to seriously date. (Statistically speaking)  Listing that as a requirement for a white man effectively eliminates them as an option.  See how neatly she did that?

I doubt such women who are so very concerned with this issue would even consider making that a “must-have” in a black man.

So why would she be so insistent on this behavior from a white man?  My theory is that this is another part of the “Keeping it Real” trickbag.  By insisting that any white man she dates be a “Tim Wise”, she can deflect any accusations that she has “sold out” by dating/marrying white, “forgot where she came from” and all the other nonsensical foolishness sometimes hurled at IR married black women.

Like I said above, it also shrinks her possible pool of white potential mates to teaspoon size.  By throwing up ridiculous obstacles, she can justify never taking the risk of trying “something new.”  She can use the excuse that she is “waiting for Superman,” who as we all know, doesn’t exist.  But, as a source which I can’t find yet once said,

“To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.”

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Dear Grandpa

September 22, 2010

Dear Grandpa Mac,

It’s fall and the leaves are turning.  As the days grow colder, I’ve been thinking of you more and more.  The world changed so much in the time between your birth in the early part of the last century, and just a few years ago when you left us.  We never spoke about it much.

You grew up in the South during Jim Crow, “Whites Only” signs and other limitations and indignities were your everyday realities.  For me they are only photos in a history book.  You were a young man during the Great Depression, just beginning life with your sweetheart, a life that lasted nearly 75 years.  You saw the Civil Rights movement, Motown, and watched bell bottoms come in and out of style a couple of times.

You had a good life together.  Mom talks about furniture that never matched and Aunt C complains about all the chopping and peeling involved in preparing and preserving often home-grown food, but they’re very proud of the fact that you and Grandma took care of your family without a dime of charity.  Even when you qualified for that aid.  You didn’t make excuses when you could make things happen.

Mom said that despite the fact that you worked long hours to support your family, you would always listen to her problems and give advice. She had to get up early and talk to you as you ate breakfast before a long day of work.  It makes me smile to picture mom as a preteen, sitting in a small kitchen at a small table talking to you in the pre-dawn hours, the rest of the house asleep except for Grandma at the stove.  I cherish a photo of taken of you in what I guess is the late sixties, frowning at the camera as you are about to carve the Turkey at Thanksgiving.  You just wanted to get going, but Mom insisted on taking a picture first.

The world changed so much in your lifetime. At the time of your death Black Americans could vote without fear of violence, had won equal access to public facilities, and some held high positions in the government and private sector. Your sons had served in the military, a daughter had led a professional association, and a nephew who traveled the world on business.

Everything wasn’t all rosy though. The Black American out-of-wedlock rate skyrocketed to shameful heights, with too many of us defending fatherless homes as “normal” and bringing up the odd serial killer raised in a two-parent home whenever the problems with this widespread practice were so much as hinted at.  It seems we gained so much, but lost alot of our old-school values.

When you and Grandma got married, you weren’t doing anything out of the ordinary. It seems back then we knew the value of family. You and Grandma were a team.  You hunted rabbits, and she cleaned them and made them into stew.  You worked hard to make money for your family, and she managed it carefully, stretching the budget by growing food, having the kids wear hand-me-downs and making crazy quilts out of clothing that could no longer be worn.  At night, a child tiptoeing past your room could hear laughter coming from beyond the closed door.

Together, families like ours got through stormy weather like the Great Depression.  Hardship was eased because they were together. They worked together, ate together, celebrated together.

I always told you I loved you.  But I never told you how great you were, just for being a good man.  Because you married my Grandma and were an excellent husband, you gave my mom a dad. Beyond that, you gave me a grandfather and my children a great-grandfather.  They were all pretty young so they will remember you mostly through pictures, but also by the stories mom, I, and their uncles and Aunts tell about you.  Your committment to family is probably your most important legacy.

I worry about the future of Black Americans.  I worry that our professional, financial and political gains–generations of effort– will be undone by personal recklessness. So many children will not have a grandpas and great-grandpas in their lives because their parents never married.  They will not have the love and support they deserve.  So many heartwarming stories will never be told because they will never happen.  So many children will grow up with gaping holes in their souls, not just where their fathers should be, but where their grandfathers and great-grandfathers should be.  So many families have those gaping holes, right now.

It’s fall, Grandpa, and the leaves are turning.  Not just literally, but metaphorically.  Unemployment levels are high, and rising.  Many people have lost their homes, with many more living with that possibility at any moment.  Unlike the past, most of our families are fractured and therefore weak.  They are not functioning as strong teams, and as blogger Khadija Nassif said, “Survival is a team sport.”  Most tragically, they deny that this sort of family team is even necessary.

Most of us seem to not be able to find our commonsense.  And as you used to say, “If you have something and can’t find it, it’s the same thing as not having it.”

I thank God that I have mine. As you know, I married a man much like you.  A hard worker, as you once noted.  Someone who loves and is committed to his family, someone to work with me to make life good for our children and for us. Someone to frown impatiently as I flitter around taking photos at holidays.

The leaves are turning.  Winter is coming, but I feel confident we’ll make it through. Together.

How Did it Come to This?

October 9, 2008

 

Is the “black community” really dead?

Solitary

August 26, 2008

Abu Sinan recently made the following controversial statement: I am not a fan of the Muslim community, anyone who reads my blog or posts for long will realise that. I have made it clear that I remain a Muslim despite the seeming attempts of the Muslim communities I have been a part of to rob me of my love of Islam.  http://abusinan-sayf.blogspot.com/2008/08/i-am-not-fan-of-muslim-community-anyone.html

I don’t know that I have ever actually felt that way, but I have had related emotions.  Feelings of not being altogether welcome as a black person in a predominately southeast asian/arab immigrant masjid.  Feelings of not being fully accepted because I wasn’t a salafi.  (Found out there was a rumor going around that my husband and I were sufi, which was apparently akin to devil-worship amongst those doing the yapping.)  Ticked off as a woman used to equal accomodations, that I had to use the rear entrance of the masjid. (This was especially unsettling after 9/11.  The rear of the masjid faced a wooded area.)  Annoyance at being expected to shut off my brain and accept another human, and not even the prophet, as an infallible source of islam, not to be questioned lest I be called a kafir, hypocrite, or maybe just someone skating toward hell.

With experiences like that, and the ones Abu Sinan has apparently had, one can just decide to throw in the towel.  Show up for Friday prayer and ‘Eid, and that’s it.  Keep from expressing doubts or a difference of opinion for the sake of keeping the peace or just plain ol’ not being bothered.

The problem with that, though, is that it keeps like-minded people from finding community in each other.  Sometimes after a much-needed break, it’s necessary to reach out.  Take the risk of being tsked and shushed for having an opinion, for being a little different.  You just might find a few people in that crowd nodding.  Wouldn’t it be refreshing, comforting, wonderful to have a place to belong?  Afterall…

Making the way in the world today

Takes everything you got

Taking a break from all your worries

Sure would help alot

Wouldn’t you like to get away?

To someplace without alcohol, of course.  Pretzels are fine though.  Maybe some green-tea smoothies and butter cookies, too.

What do you think?

 

* You may be interested in Jeffrey Lang’s Losing My Religion for a bit more on this topic, or https://foreverloyal.wordpress.com/2007/11/20/check-your-brain-at-the-door/ for my related ramblings.

He Did it Again

August 16, 2008

The master variety?

The master variety?

So dh decides to make dinner and asks if we have any mushrooms.

“No, but I can run to the store and get you some.  What kind do you want?  Do you want some of those brown mushrooms or–”

“White mushrooms. Those are the best.”

*Foreverloyal raises eyebrows*

Mr. Foreverloyal ( standing firm and defiant, daring me to say anything): “That’s right, White Mushrooms are the Best!”

Me. “humph”

I did go get the mushrooms he wanted though.  Who am I to argue with White Mushroom Supremacy when it means I don’t have to make dinner?

Discussing Race

June 13, 2008

Some people will have you believe that any white man who marries a black woman is free of racial prejudice.  But let me tell you that is not true.  He may love and accept you, but he may have a different feeling about brown people generally.

Once in awhile, how he really feels will breakthrough.  At that point, you, as a black woman, must defend your people, even though you may love him.

For example:

Recently I made a pasta dish, which Mr. Foreverloyal enjoyed.  After dinner he said, “This would be so much better with white pasta”.

So I said, “No it wouldn’t.”

“Yes it would.”

“No, it wouldn’t.  Brown pasta is better.” At this point this blatant display of white supremacy was really getting to me.

“Oh, it’s better?”

“That’s right it’s better!  In this house we do not subscribe to the mentality that white pasta is better!  We will not be brainwashed! We stand up for the asiatic brown pasta!”

Mr. Foreverloyal: “You sound like Farrakhan.”

 

 

 

 

Happy Loving Day!

June 12, 2008

thank you!I’m going to take this moment to celebrate the fact that my husband and I are allowed to be married.

I’m going to take this moment to look at my beautiful, intelligent, funny, frustrating, destructive, sweet, affectionate children and be grateful that their dad doesn’t have to hide their existence.

I’m going to take this moment to appreciate the fact that the police aren’t going to burst into my bedroom and take my husband and I to jail for living together.

Thank you Allah, and thank you too, Mildred and Richard.

(for more on the lovings, google or http://maryt.wordpress.com/2008/05/08/mildred-loving-dies/ )

Recently I went to South Carolina with my husband, kids, and in-laws. 

We barely got a second look and NO hostile stares that I noticed.  It was really, really nice. 🙂

A big change from when I went down some years ago with Mr. Foreverloyal.  Maybe it was just because it was a different part of the state, or maybe it’s because people just don’t care as much anymore.   Either way, I’ll take it!