Archive | November 2014

Poem: We Are Not Going Anywhere

break-every-chain-coverIt saddens me that another yet another high-profile racial storm is brewing in the United States. This one’s in Ferguson, MO. over the death of Michael Brown at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson. While I would love to say that racism doesn’t exist, I can’t because I’ve experienced it blatantly and have seen others deal with it first-hand. While traveling, I’ve experienced someone leave a restaurant, just white patrons present, after we sat down (he literally left his meal on the table). I’ve had someone “pinch” money from my hand and then place the change on the counter. The list is unfortunately long enough. This poem describes some of those experiences as well as the frustration of being Black in America.

Black, Hispanic, Caucasian, and Asian
We are all members of the Human Race
America has so many colors and hues
And yet equality for all remains an issue
“They” will not admit that Blacks still have it bad
Because nothing has changed since we were brought to this land
We were chained, shackled, and treated like animals
Stripped of our dignity, we fought for our survival

Now we are “free” men and most still cannot accept it
After 130 plus years “they” think we just got off the ship
We have come too far now and enough is enough
We are flesh and blood, we breathe and we love
This country was built on our blood and tears
Gone are the days of shackles and fear
We had to fight for our rights in the midst of despair
Now we stand strong to declare: We are not going anywhere

Still we are hated for the color of our skin
So united we must stand and fight to the end
Our forefathers were brought here against their will
To be treated like animals and used for their skills
When they tried to run they were brought back and whipped
They were traded and sold like cattle to the highest bidder
Our men were beaten like dogs and DEmasculinized
And our women were lusted after and raped until they died
Yet to this very day “they” cannot see
We are all “family” – born of the same seed

They hate us because they envy the power of our minds
So they keep us in poverty pinching pennies and dimes
Schools are so bad they wouldn’t send their dogs to them
They pumped drugs into our communities to create a culture of hoodlums
But guess what? Some of us still slipped through the cracks
To fight against oppression and take our land back
So there is something we need to make very clear
We are here to stay—we are not going anywhere

Our skin is Black and our pride is fierce
And our spirit is stronger than their hate can pierce
They think we are monkeys falling out of trees?
We are the original race and they are our seed
As long as they hate us we will continue to fight
And as long as they fear us we will remain united
We remember our people came over here on ships
They rotted in those vessels –dying in feces and vomit
Our people built their homes and sweated on fields of sugar cane
We picked their cotton and nursed their babies

We fought in their wars to gain the constitution
And died for a country they stole from Native Indians
Now after 300 years they expect us to go back
We will not leave and they can accept that as fact
It they think we will revert back to living in chains
They had better get sober and think again
In grand ole’ America we have too much invested
Hate us if they must but they still owe us a check

We will not settle for ten acres and a mule
And their hatred just gives our determination more fuel
Because the debt America owes us they can never repay
So they treat us like dirt and try to wish us away
Now the problem is theirs and they must get over it
If they did not want Blacks here they should not have put us on the ship
We want our fair and equal chance to retain wealth
And we will not be ignored or stored on a shelf

Their fear and resentment will never kill our tenacity
Because just like them we have the right to remain free
So they can leave the restaurant if the cannot eat around us
And clutch their bags when our Brothers get on the bus
And sit our change on the counter because they cannot touch our hands
And stare at us as though we do not belong in this land
Just let them know this message is very loud
We are Black, Beautiful, Mighty, and Proud
We cannot—and will not go back to “yesteryear”
So get used to it because we are not going anywhere

©June 2003 Kim R Woods
All rights reserved

The Love of a Black Man




 PDF LINK:   The Love of a Black Man

Because you are loved. Keep your heads up!

The love of a black man is like no other
Because in him there is an essence of
The unknown and power unseen
His hands are like an iron mitt with just enough soft
To melt us like snow
His lips are full and strong
And taste like a promise unfulfilled
In his love is character of true
True to the knowledge of who he is
True to the passage of roads he’s seen
True to the fulfillment of his dreams
Because, you see
When he looks at you, he sees his destiny
The love of a black man is limitless
When he knows of himself
It reeks of a feral masculine scent
That is but a touch away
A glance away
Oh but when he looks at you what does he see?
His ability to be himself?
When the day is done and the mask is off
Can he be not the man the everyone else sees but …
Who you see?
And, when troubles rain down
Like an endless torrent of woe
When he begins to question his worth
It the money right
Is his status tight?
And there’s not enough time to catch a breath
Can he cry in arms of understanding?
Or be judged a punk or a loser
As time immoral has judged him so
In your eyes will he see a mirror of himself?
Oh but the love of a black man is fleeting and yet so real
It reeks of a long day’s work
And brandy
And calloused hands that caress so sweet
And heat that envelopes a dream
His love is long and strong and hard and … oh!
Did you feel that?
Was it the way he kissed or licked or gripped?
Was it the way he looked into your eyes when he
Oh! Discovered that he was home
The love of a black man is fragile
Like dropping a rock on a deck of cards
It is not self-sustaining
It is the rarest of all finds
And requires strength to hold
Because his back is strong
It holds the cares of his love and…
Needs to strength of
Softness to remind him
That he loves not in vain
And to encourage him that
The whips and chains of his
Own struggles
Cannot taint his heart
And, if all is good you will take flight
In his world that knows true
Because the love of a black man
Is you

(c)2011 Kim Rosemon Woods
all rights reserved

Bill Cosby: Villain or Victim? A Different Point of View

Bill Cosby


There’s a resurgence of rape allegations against Dr. Bill Cosby—complete with a new ever-growing cast of victims. As the Black community builds a cocoon of support around him, there’s a disturbing backlash against his accusers—who happen to be white women. Rape (and other forms of sexual assault) is a seriously under-reported crime in the United States. Because of that, our response to these accusations must proceed with great caution and attempts to make this a racial issue should be restrained—at least for now.

Bill Cosby is not new to allegations of sexual assault. Andrea Constand –the only woman to file formal charges—came forward in 2005 alleging a 2004 sexual assault. In support of Ms. Constand, Barbara Bowman and 13 anonymous others came forward in 2005 with reports that they too, were assaulted by the actor/comedian/author/producer/activist. Although the DA did not have enough evidence to charge him in a criminal case, Bill Cosby settled out of court with her in 2006.

It’s extremely distressing (especially in the Black community) to think that our beloved “America’s Dad” could be capable of such repeated heinous acts. As a man who has accomplished a lifetime of accolades and who has been a beacon for Blacks both on screen and off, it’s hard for us to wrap our heads around these accusations. But as a responsible societal member, we must not be quick to vilify the women who’ve come forward.

I watched Don Lemon interview one of Cosby’s accuser’s, Joan Tarshis, on CNN (via YouTube) the other day. When asked why she did not come forward after the alleged assaults, she said: “Who’s going to believe me? Bill Cosby, the All American Dad, the All American Husband, Mr. Jell-O that everybody loves…who would believe me?” One YouTube commentator correctly noted that he didn’t do the Jell-O ads until 1974 and the Cosby show even later than that—in 1984. But this isn’t a chronological memory. This is an all-encompassing image of Bill Cosby that perhaps she, over the course of many years, struggled with while dealing with what allegedly happened to her. Put into perspective, there was a six-year passage of time between the supposed assault and his first Jell-O commercial. During this period, “Hey, Hey, Hey…It’s Fat Albert” ran as a primetime special (in 1969, the year of the alleged assault) and, later in 1972, “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” was becoming one of the best cartoons of the 70s. Cosby’s star was continually on the rise. One can’t help but wonder how many times over that 6-year period she wanted to say something to her own mother– who was crazy about this man. Sexual assault is not a cut and dry crime. Nor is the way victims respond to it.

According to the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN), 60% of all rapes are NOT reported. Even more distressing 97% of abusers never see the inside of a prison. Deep shame and embarrassment are among reasons victims do not come forward. Some are so traumatized they bury the assault for years until something triggers flashbacks. Others, as in the case of Dr. Cosby’s accusers, are victims of people in power (whether perceived or real). It is not uncommon for people to come forward 10, 20, or 30 years after an assault.

It’s an insult and a disservice to victims everywhere when we insult and bully them in the media or any forum. There may very well be recent victims who are now terrified to come forward. Fifteen plus women alleging sexual assault can no longer be ignored. This is an unfortunate “lose-lose” situation for all involved and has already become a hot Black/White issue on social media.

He’s not the only TV dad to disappoint us. Actor Stephen Collins of 7th Heaven confessed to being a child molester to his wife—who recorded and released the confession to the media. Collins, a white, actor is also being destroyed in the media (rightly so since he verbally confessed!). Now some will say that there’s a clear difference between the two however, sexual abuse is still a forceful criminal act—both disgusting and disturbing. Collins admitted his crime verbally whereas Cosby could very well have admitted it by settling out of court with Ms. Constand.

Sexual predators have a type. For Collins it’s children. Perhaps for Cosby, it’s young and impressionable white women. Money is power and money talks and let’s face it, Bill Cosby has plenty of both. Remember the accusations lobbied against priests in the Catholic churches? Grown men in their 30s and 40s were among those who came forward to speak out about their sexual abusers. Their allegations were also well beyond the legal statutes of limitations. Are their claims less valid because they didn’t come forward immediately?

There are facts that cannot be disputed at this point. He paid Shawn Upshaw $100,000 to keep her quiet about an affair they had in the 70s. He settled a sexual abuse lawsuit with Andrea Constand. It begs the question “How many silences has he bought to protect his image?” Everyone has secrets and this man is no exception.

Is this a modern-day ‘lynching’ of Bill Cosby? I hope not. Has my opinion of him changed? I can’t look at him and not wonder. Before we give in to our urgent desire to defend Bill Cosby, my position is that we wait and see how the rest of this story unfolds before we yell racism. Why? Because there are thousands of unreported and late reported rapes every year and when these men, women, and children step forward, someone has to believe them.

©2014Kim R. Woods all rights reserved

“Thank You For Your Service.” What Do You Really Mean By That?

I agree. There is a disturbing amount of apathy in the phrase “Thank you for your service.” Even more disturbing is the dismissive “They knew what they signed up for.” My father was drafted and while its a disturbing ‘call to duty’, it does create a balance of involvement and concern from the public.

No One Spoke for Scotty


Scotty McMillan Death: 3-Year-Old Dies After Being Tortured For Refusing To Eat Breakfast

A 3-year-old child should be learning his colors and ABC’s, riding a tricycle, and watching cartoons. He should be full of giggles, kisses, and laughter while playing with his brother and mother. He should be sleeping in a warm and safe bed tonight.

Instead, he was cruelly and unmercifully tortured and murdered by the very person who should’ve felt compelled to kill protecting him–his mother. Three-year-old Scotty McMillan died because he was failed by his community. He and his older brother, Ryan, were abused over a 2 week period during which Ryan was not in school. According to the Coatesville Area School District in Coatesville, PA, no one detected any signs that 6-year-old Ryan was being abused. I can’t imagine how he and consequently, his little brother, fell through the cracks.

What’s frustrating in this case is that a third person was also in the home during this horrific murder and because she didn’t feel compelled to help the child, she was also arrested. This woman watched as the child’s mother and her boyfriend kicked, punched, and scourged him. She listened to his little head being banged against the wall as he hung from his feet. She listened to bones breaking. And. She. Did. Nothing. This child (a baby, really) died screaming and crying for his life and NO one heard him– not even the neighbors.

How did we come to live in a society in which everything goes and nothing is questioned or challenged? When will we become bold and brave enough to say “what are you doing?” When do we put an end to co-signing behaviors that are simply wrong?

It’s too late for Scotty. His small broken body now joins those who have died senselessly before him. Oh, and his ‘crime’? Refusal to eat his breakfast.

Read the story HERE.

Modern Day Orphans

There’s an unfortunate segment of parenting which creates what I call orphans.  The definition of orphan:  a child who has lost either parents through death, or, less commonly, one parent.  For the sake of this article, I speak of orphans created because both parents are alive and ABSCENT from their children’s lives on a daily basis. When I say “absent parenting” it means either the parent (mother and/or father) are either with the child on a daily basis but is not providing guidance and structure, or the child is living with relatives and neither parent is physically present on a daily basis to provide guidance and structure.

I personally know of at least 2 separate instances of this strange phenomenon in which both parents are not physically with their children.  In both cases the fathers are already not involved on a daily basis with the children because they have relationships and families; the mothers have left their children in the care of relatives and are living in another location—or out of state for weeks and months at a time.  Sometimes the siblings are living in separate homes as they wait for a parent to come back for them.  This is extremely detrimental to our communities.

A child needs attention, nurturing, and guidance every day from at least one consistent parent.  When both parents are gone through choices of their own, the child is left with painful unanswered questions.  One of which is “why doesn’t mom/dad want me?”   Now, some will say that the parents are away so they can find jobs and send for their children and that would be a reasonable response.  The problem with that is often even when one or both parents are physically present they fall into the other category of being ‘at home’ with the child but still not providing much needed guidance and structure.  Either way, it’s a lose-lose situation for the child.

They don’t provide the child with consistent rules: be home by 4, homework before play, chores, or bed time.  Children aren’t being taught values such as honesty, hard work, and respect. The result is a hurt, angry, and broken child who eventually becomes rebellious to the point of self-destruction which will eventually spill into the community.

Our children are the most precious commodity we can ever produce.  They don’t come with instructions, but with the wealth of information available at our fingertips today on the internet, parents today can do better.  Here are some common sense tips:

  • Don’t be selfish. Your life is no longer your—it’s the child’s.
  • Teach them their colors and ABC’s while they are still in diapers. They will be better prepared for school.
  • Hang up the party shoes. If you had a child in your teens (like I did), it’s a real bummer but again- it’s not about you  It took me a whole year to learn that one and unfortunately, there’re adults who still haven’t.
  • Give them guidance. Teach them respect.  Nail that and the rest will come easier
  • Give them structure. Bed time—as in a time they need to be in bed (with stories), curfews, and discipline (not abuse!!)
  • If you are the NON-custodial parent and distance is a problem, SPEAK TO YOUR CHILD DAILY. Even if it’s to say “good morning” and “good night, I love you”. Stay connected.
  • Don’t abandon them! They need to see and be with you EVERY DAY.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking that your extremely bright and gifted child is “mature” and “knows better”.  He/she needs you.

You may not realize it but when you leave your children for days and weeks at a time, you are neglecting their growth and development.  You’ve orphaned them. And that is truly selfish.