Tag Archive | Black Man

Baltimore – Another Tinderbox of Destruction

Freddie Gray

Admittedly, I haven’t kept abreast of the news in the past 2 weeks so I was shocked when someone told me to turn the TV on and watch the riots in Baltimore.  25-year-old Freddie Gray died from injuries he suffered while under police custody and some of the protests morphed into riots.  So once again we have a case of a young black male detained, brutalized, and murdered by police officers.  We have another situation in which protests are necessary to demand justice in a system that holds no value to the human lives of black people. Our anger is valid and completely justified. It’s a deeply rooted anger that owes no apologies and demands justice.

Yet, instead of protesting and bringing attention to the atrocities, there are some who have chosen to lash out in anger and burn down or loot businesses that serve their neighborhoods.  It sounds very revolutionary, militant, and reminiscent of the days of Angela Davis and Huey Newton but the reality is that violence only begets more of the same.  It doesn’t effect change.

The anger that has bubbled over in Baltimore and all over America is not about Freddie Gray.  It’s about a system of racism that has infested the very heart of the black community.  The police have no respect for blacks but the problem isn’t them.  The problem is at the top.  The officials who continue to cover up and protect rogue cops.  The commissioners, district attorneys, mayors, and others who refuse to do the job they were elected to do- serve and PROTECT their constituents.  The problem is us– the ones who continue to vote blindly (and that includes along party and racial lines) to keep these people in office.  Why should they care?  What message have we the people clearly given them at the polls?  Why work harder and with integrity when they know that they will either run unopposed in the next election or voters will punch “Democratic” or “Republican” regardless of their level of service?

Instead of educating ourselves on how the government works and finding out who to put pressure on, we sit back and wait for Freddie Gray to happen so that we can jump on our laurels and protest on Facebook and other social media.  We want heads to literally roll and would rather burn down viable and needed businesses in our own backyards than to figure out how we can individually and collectively make a difference.

Of course CVS is insured and will build again.  But will they rebuild in the area where they suffered the loss?  Blacks have lived in some of the most disenfranchised areas in this country.  I get it- we are the “throw-away” people.  Brought here and abandoned after we no longer served our original purpose. Our neighborhoods are full of entire blocks of abandoned or burned out structures, pot-holed streets, liquor stores, and low-valued housing.  We step outdoors and see emptiness and despair.  So in our minds how will a few more fires take away from what is already a bad situation?  I challenge you to ask yourself “how will continuing to destroy it help rebuild it?”

What did burning down a neighborhood CVS pharmacy do to help the community?  It removed a convenient location that your 70-year-old neighbor walked to for her medication.  That’s what it did.  You see, not everyone has a car.   The bus stop is not always within walking distance for an elderly or otherwise physical restricted person.  Sure, something will eventually take its place but how will that help those who need it now?  Will the masked young men who are out there rioting and protesting knock on her door and offer a ride to the next closest pharmacy?

As the mother of a black man who has seen more than his share of unjust interaction with police, I am angry.  I want to break something and scream at the top of my voice “enough!!”  But that won’t make a difference.  What makes a difference is putting pressure where it needs to be:

  •  Protests – non-violent shows of solidarity
  • Vote responsibly- show them that if they don’t do what they promised, they’re fired
  • Businesses – support black-owned businesses. Stop supporting Nike and the like
  • Finances – teach our children to stop “flossing” and become financially responsible
  • Petitions – Pressure officials to enforce policies and create ones that protect everyone. Force them to create “enforceable” standards, become tougher on hiring, disciplining, and FIRING of officers
  • Education – Refocus our goals in educating our children in business, politics, and finances early on
  • Community – BRING THE VILLAGE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY

Yes, I’m angry but how can we be “heard” or taken seriously when we’re burning and looting our own communities? Why does every protest have to be violent and distracting?  Sure, it gets attention but who really hears us? It’s easy for us to debate this on Facebook and other social media from the safety of our keyboards.  We need to come together and effect REAL CHANGE.  The stark reality is that this will die down eventually–just as it did with Trayvon Martin, Rekia Boyd, Michael Brown, and the countless others before and since them.

Another young man is dead—dying a painful and brutal death.  Let’s find a way to use that to get him justice.  Burning down the city is not the answer.  Huey Newton had no room for God while he was running the Panthers but even he finally had to say: “As far as I am concerned, when all of the questions are not answered, when the extraordinary is not explained, when the unknown is not known, then there is room for God because the unexplained and the unknown is God.”  Violence is not the answer- Martin Luther King taught us that and he influenced change.

When the dust settles from this riot all that will be left are more abandoned structures and lost businesses – in black neighborhoods—and NO solutions.  Angry people fight.  Angry thinkers find ways to change it.  Let’s find a way to change the tide and stop throwing gasoline on everything.

CVS

(c)2015 Kim Woods All rights reserved

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POEM: Battle Road

Battle Road

Remember many years ago when you were just a young boy

And your only concern was candy, games, and toys?

You did not have a single care in this world,

For at your mother’s breast you were cared for and nurtured.

But as you became older and grew into your teens,

You began to realize that life was not all that it seemed.

As you careened your way into manhood, your path was not quite paved,

You lived by your own terms and there were prices that you paid.

It was then that you began to see the outcome of your heavy loads,

Childhood was suddenly gone, and you found yourself on the Battle Road.

It is a road on which all boys must travel as a young man,

With time on your side and your future in your hands.

It is where you take your hard knocks and learn the value of your life,

To your credit you endured all the pitfalls and stayed in the fight.

Perseverance, love and faith are the marks of the manhood code,

For without them you would not have survived on the Battle Road.

Now older and wiser you have paid your dues,

And you can now live your life as you so choose.

Because your trials did not kill you… they only made you stronger,

There is an awareness of your existence you did not have when you were younger.

You have reached a milestone that continues to pave your way,

Your feet have become steadier… you no longer bend and sway.

Your convictions are more steadfast, your integrity more secured,

Life now tells the story of all the personal wars you have endured.

So cross over into this milestone with triumph and expectancy,

For within you are the visions that will soon become your legacy.

And be proud that you crossed over it… you will now reap the mother lode,

Because only a man can say that he overcame the Battle Road.

 

 

 

 

©July 2005 Kim Woods
All rights preserved

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

 

 

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 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