Automobile illiterate – part deux

Poor Marshall.

When we were still dating back in 1997, I spent a summer with an “uncle” and his wife who lived in Columbus, Ohio. Uncle Elliot was a Ga and a family friend who’d known my dad from their secondary school days, so we shared no blood relation at all. However, Ghanaians rarely let a thing like DNA keep one another from referring to each other as “sister”, “brother” or “uncle”, so when my mother requested that I be allowed to lodge at his house over the summer he was obliged to take me in.

Uncle Elliot is like the Ga equivalent to a West Virginia redneck. His house reeked of fish and floral air freshener. He worked 4 jobs (at once), had a sprawling back yard with shin high grass that was littered with various alliances in different states of repair and/or use, and 3 or 4 vehicles that were all miraculously road worthy. It was uncle Elliot that taught me how to parallel park and prepared me to take my driver’s exam. As a reward for my hard work and determination, he allowed me to use one of his cars to get around town. The vehicle that was to be mine was a sky blue Nissan with dark blue interior. Since I was still not confident in my skill as a driver, I asked Marshall to drive the car on the freeway. I hadn’t ridden in it yet.

When he arrived, I circled around to the passenger side and sat down, telling him what I wanted to do that day. He opened the driver’s side and prepared to sit.

“I want to go to the movies and maybe get a little lunch,” I said.

He prepared to close his door.

“And then maybe when we’re done…ei! Ei!!! What’s going on?!?!” I screamed in horror.

Marshall had shut his door, and in doing so had cause the Nissan’s automatic seat belts to slide across our shoulders.

“What do you mean ‘What’s going on’?”

“The seat belts,” I shuddered. “They moved by themselves!”

Marshall looked at me quizzically.

“Malaka,” he sad gently, “these are automatic seat belts.”

I was amazed. They didn’t have these things in Ghana!

Shiiii. Magical seat belts.”

I settled comfortably in my seat and prepared for a great date with my boyfriend. Conversely, only God and Marshall know what was going through his mind that day.

The kind of gifts you can’t get under a tree

Christmas 2009 was turning out to be the crappiest of my life. I was (and still am) a year plus into my unemployment, money was extremely tight, and I felt like my husband was making a mockery of me because I was not bringing any money if apart from my federal and part time job checks. Over the fall, I had the opportunity to interview and work with a company in Columbus, Ohio. The pay was good, I would be near family and I would get back to making a contribution to my family, outside of doing laundry and taking the kids to the zoo. My husband and pastor worked very quickly to keep me from pursuing that prospect, warning that it would lead to a divorce and a chance for the Devil to destroy another marriage. Two weeks before Christmas I looked at our holiday budget and fumed when I recalled that meeting. A week later, when my husband told me that I could not buy gloves and hats for the girls for our trip to Springfield where it was snowing, I was livid. All I could think about was how useless I felt as a housewife and what a wasted chance I had missed because I had been cowed into submission through fear tactics and a need to do “the right thing.” If he wanted me to stay at home instead of going where the work was, then he needed to work harder to bring in more money and take these stupid constraints off me! To add insult to injury, our pastor had promised (and failed) to follow up with me to give me an “action plan”. “We want you to be happy as well,” she had said. The 3 calls I’d made to her to acquire that “action plan” had yielded nothing.

As I stewed over these thoughts during my drive home from taking my daughter to see her rat bastard biological father, I decided that I resented my husband and pastor for stymieing our financial health. I walked in the door and was met by the sight of my husband sweeping the floor and tidying up for our drive to Ohio to celebrate Christmas. I was unmoved.

“What’s wrong with you?” he asked.

“I resent you!” I seethed. “I resent you and I resent Pastor Hunt!”

He stopped sweeping.

“You’re going to have to explain yourself,” he said, visibly irritated.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for that to come out. I meant to keep that to myself.”

“Yes, but you said it, and now you need to tell me what you mean!”

Our conversation went unfinished as a friend dropped by to visit. Sensing tension in the air, she did not stay long after coming to collect her Christmas gift. My husband and I didn’t say two words to each other the rest of the night. He slept downstairs on the sofa. I barely slept at all upstairs. The next morning I woke up early to drive and think. All this had happened because there had been a pause in my unemployment benefits. Was the $210 a week from the State really worth a blow up with my husband? I had been stupid and needed to apologize. I sent him a text to let him know I was going to change the oil in my car for our trip and that we could talk when I got home, if he liked. My text went unanswered. When I pulled up to the house, he came right out and warmed up his car. I began cleaning some of the trash out of mine, opened the door and was confronted by his hulking frame. His eyes were cold.

“Malaka, I have to tell you I was mad as hell by what you said last night. With all the stuff I do around here, plus going to work to pay off your credit card bills and car loan…for you to tell me you resent me, I felt very disrespected. If you feel like I’m such a tyrant and am so oppressive, then you go do what you want. If you feel like your destiny is in Ohio, then leave. I’m tried of trying to convince you to stay with me. As for me, I’m going to work.”


“Can I say something,” I asked.

He shrugged as I began to explain my position. I apologized. I told him I was wrong. I told him I knew he did everything around the house and that I did appreciate it…and then I told him if he wanted me to leave that I would. I would leave today.

I flung my trash into the can and stormed upstairs, angrily pulling down suitcases and pulling them into my room. I turned around and saw him standing in the door.

“Can we at least talk about this some more,” he said.

“No!! No more talking! I don’t want to talk to you anymore!”

He seemed baffled.

“Wait a second. How are you going to get angry with me??” he asked incredulously.

“I’m not angry! I just want to leave!”

I slammed clothes into suitcases with no rhyme or reason. I had so much stuff, I didn’t know what to take first. My mind was racing. Marshall tried to talk to me, but I was having none of it. If he wanted me gone, I wanted to leave too! I brushed past him to get to into the closet, gathering sweaters and shoes with tears staining my face.

“Anything I don’t take you can just throw away after I’m gone.”

“Malaka, I don’t want you to go.”

“I want to go!” I screamed.

“I don’t want you too.”

I suddenly heard him sobbing and explaining that he thought that I wanted to leave him. I turned to look to see if my ears deceived me, and there on the floor was my loving 6’1” husband, holding his head and sobbing uncontrollably. He began to pray and ask God to help him and his family. He told me that he loved me ever so much, that he’d loved me for the past 12 years, despite everything I’d done to him.

“Well, I want to go, so I won’t keep doing things to you.”

“That’s not what I meant!” he said. “Oh God, why did I say that?”

The next 30 minutes was spent in the closet, both of us sobbing with pleas to let one pass and the other vowing to block the closet door until there was a promise to stay. The children cried for milk and for the channel to be changed downstairs. My resolve had been broken. I hadn’t wanted to leave anyway. The ordeal ended with us sitting on the floor in a slobbery heap, surrounding by strewn clothing. Two days later as we watched our kids excitedly open their Christmas gifts, I wasn’t struck at all by how few physical gifts I hadn’t received. My family was intact, Marshall and I had reaffirmed our commitment to each other, and I’d started the day with a good helping of pie. These are the types of gifts you can’t get wrapped in pretty paper placed under a tree. What started out as a crappy Christmas turned out to be one of my best in recent memory.

Baby Daddy Hate

When I say I hate my baby daddy, I’m talking about pure, unadulterated hate. I’m not talking about that cute high school to age 20 something garbage that can be soothed over with an apology, a few tears and some chocolates. I’m talking about the kind of hate that has burned in my soul for the last 3 years. The kind that would like to see nothing more than for him to die in his sin, go straight to Hell without passing “Go”, and having his memory obliterated from the planet.

I hate my first-born’s father for several reasons, but the primary two are for his being an unrepentant douche bag and for turning me into a cliché. I have always striven for excellence in my life, and the day I found out at 26 that I was pregnant out of wedlock was the biggest failure of my life, in my estimation. I never wanted to be the girl that rappers talked about in their anthems to their single mothers. The ones who struggled to raise them into the “men” that they were today despite the grueling circumstances and dangers of the ghetto. I wanted to be the woman that few Black ever read about in Fortune Magazine, who has her life together and is making an extraordinary impact on the world. Of course I didn’t have grandiose illusions of becoming Oprah or any such thing, but I never anticipated becoming someone’s “baby momma”. *Shudder*.

My daughter’s father is a caustic mix of ignorance, narcissism, arrogance and ruthlessness. It is his ignorance particularly that makes him such a dangerous foe. I had only seen glimpses of it when we were “dating” (he never wanted a committed relationship, which I stupidly allowed to myself to compromise to) but I didn’t heed the warning signs. I was madly in love, with what I now don’t know, and overlooked several of his less favorable tendencies…such as his penchant for gleefully sharing every sexual exploit he’s ever had with any woman everywhere. He’s also an incredible liar, lying from where he’s worked, to how much he makes, to why he got fired, to what day it might be should you ask him.

It’s funny. For many months I have been dwelling on how much I hated this Black behemoth that now that I’m sitting down to pen those thoughts, many of them escape me. I can happily say that at the end of the day, I am happily married to a good man, have a wonderful family and only occasionally am forced to deal with the antics of The Douche Bag, as we refer to him at my house. As I enter 2010, I am fully aware that he is merely an inconsequential anomaly and of no real importance. True, he is an extreme irritation, like a boil or a rash, but those things too disappear in time. If he is not killed or does not meet his untimely death in the next few years, I carry on knowing that I will full well be able to celebrate his permanent departure from my life in 2022 when my daughter turns 18. I’m going to have the most obnoxiously opulent party that anyone has ever been to in the history of all man kind, and you are all invited.

While I cannot disclose the name of this scab on my ass on the internet as we are in the midst of more litigation, I can give you a few clues. If you’re a woman living in any of the southern states and you’re reading this, beware of a bald black man from Demopolis, AL with an inability to spell or read.  My daughter’s father is a man whore with no moral compass, has fathered 12 children (only 2 of which are now living) and has admittedly proclaimed that he will sleep with married women, sisters, mothers and daughters and roommates.

A word to the wise is enough.

The crazy Black woman on the news

I have spent the last 2 weeks calling 404-679-5200 to find out what’s been going on with my money. Some of you may know this number well. It’s the number to the North Fulton Unemployment Office..err…Career Center. No matter what time of day it is, the line is always busy. Now that we’re in our third week without a check, Marshall gently but urgently insisted that I go down there to find out what’s going on. I live in Roswell. The Career Center is in North Druid Hills. The last thing I was in the mood to do was drive 40 minutes with a fidgety 6 month old and a fidgetier 3 year to sit in a depressing office with depressed adults. But what was I to do? My family needed me to go get that money. Christmas is coming!

I could have combed my hair, but I chose not to. I could have thrown on some lip gloss, but I chose not to. I could have even thrown on a decent pair of jeans, but I chose not to do that either. I could have even lotioned my face, but what’s a little ash on a Black woman to the public? What I DID do, was tie my flat afro puff with some dirty ribbon, throw on some sweat pants and polish the look of with an even sweatier jacket and hit the door. When we arrived at the unemployment office, the scene was everything I thought it would be: depressing. Only now the staff had “livened” the office up with a Christmas tree.

An hour and a half into my wait, Justin Farmer from WSB TV walks into the door with a camera woman. “Oh crap”, I thought. “He’s here to do a human interest story on how the recession is impacting the Atlanta populace.” I watched with amusement as the staff of the Career Center plastered smiles on their faces, got even more professional, and sang out “Happy Holidays!” to despondent job seekers. After taking a few shots of the crowd, Justin began to hunt for people to interview. The first couple, who looked like they had crawled out from under the trailer, turned him down. He had better luck with the old White guy donning a pea green cap and square bandage on his face. They shook hands after the interview was done, and Justin continued to search for more interviews. Several other people and I averted our eyes. Some moved clear across the room. I began to fiddle with Stone’s blanket, Aya’s coat, anything within my reach so as to look to busy to be approached. I made the mistake of glancing upwards and caught Justin’s eye. His camera woman whispered something and he marched straight towards me. He had the look of a man who had struck gold in a barren land. I can only imagine what she said to him.

“Hey! There’s a crazy looking unkempt darkie with two kids! Go talk to her! You know how Negroes just love to talk about their woes.”

Now mind you, there were a slew of other Black women he could have approached. In fact, right next to me was a very mature lady in pumps and a suit jacket. For some reason every Black woman in that office today was dressed to the nine’s…Every Black woman but ME.

“Hi. My name is Justin Farmer with WSB news. How are you today?”

“Fine thank you,” I replied.
“Would you mind if I interviewed you?” he asked. “I understand if you don’t!”

I felt my mouth go dry, and my lips go drier.

“Well, as you can see, I’ve got my two kids here…and they may prove somewhat of a distraction.”

I was sure that would deter him. Who wants screaming kids on their news cast? As I uttered the words, I watched in horror as Aya’s previously pressed hair magically curled up and transformed into a nappy mess; as if on cue. We were SUCH a cliche.

“No, no! They’d be no distraction at all!”

He motioned for the camera woman to come over to us.

“Tell me, where did you work before losing your job?”

I factually told him about my job in HR advertising, that it’s been a year since I was laid off, and that we were coping.

“A year?” he asked incredulously. “Man, that must be tough.”

Whatever, Justin. You know I’m not the only person in Atlanta that’s been laid off for a year. Why all the false shock?

“Yes, it’s been tough.”

“So, you’ve had to scale back quite a bit huh?”

“Yes. We’ve cut things down to the bare bones. We haven’t flown in years. We do what we can to get by.”

He asked more standard questions you would expect in this type of interview; am I training for a new line of work, going to school, how do I stay positive blah blah blah. As I balanced my drooling son on one knee and reprimanded my toddler with a stern look, I informed him that I could not go back to school at this time. When he was done, he thanked me for the interview and left without wishing me luck on my job search.

I’ve always wondered how a news outfit could go to any given location in the country, do a story, and find the most wretched looking, incoherent Black woman on the planet to give a statement. You know? The toothless one with the rollers in her hair, reeking of old bacon grease?

Now I know.

All she has to do is make the decision to walk out of her door looking a hot mess and a camera will find her!

I’m a maid, not a mouse

In Ghana everybody has a maid, and it’s not because we’re a country of balers. Everyone has a ‘domestic servant’, ‘house girl’ or ‘garden boy’ because no matter how poor you are, there is someone else who is poorer. Even the poorest of people can hire someone to sweep their compound in exchange for a roof over the even more indigent’s head.

When we lived in Labone, we didn’t have a house girl for many years. We did everything ourselves. My dad cut the grass, we all washed our own clothes, we took out the trash, and swept the compound. Then suddenly I came home from school one day and my parents had hired 2 house girls (Jamilla and Cynthia) and a garden boy (Williams) on a trial basis. Being that each of these people were ten years or more older than me, I didn’t feel right them “house girls”. “House keeper” was an easier title to swallow. I asked my parents why we suddenly needed 2 housekeepers and a gardener when we’d been doing all the house work ourselves?

“We don’t,” they said. “We only need one house girl and one gardener. Williams will probably stay, but Jamilla and Cynthia will have to compete for the position to see who stays.”

And so began my first experience with the makings of a great reality TV series. Watching Jamilla and Cynthia compete for the permanent post of housekeeper was like watching a cut throat African version of “I want to work for Diddy” or “Making the Band 1”. This story is all about Jamilla, but before I get into that, I have to segue and talk about Williams. Williams was a lecherous 30 something guy who used to make torrid remarks about my breasts and butt when my parents were out of earshot. He never did any “gardening” and was eventually sacked 5 months into his employ when my mother ventured into the boys quarters to find that his wall had been plastered with Jet Beauties of the Week that he’d torn from her magazine collection. When my brother told me to go look, I remember being hit by a musty smell when I walked into his room. I couldn’t identify the smell then, but I now know it was the stink of a**. Williams was getting a** from someone; for you see, he was not the type of man to have sex or make love to a woman…he simply wanted to get some a**.

Jamilla and Cynthia’s competition was amusing, but disturbing to watch. The pair of them couldn’t be more different. Jamilla was a sinewy Northerner from Bawku with keen, weasel like features who spoke with a rough tone. Cynthia was a plump Akan who sang hymns when she worked and always smiled and said good morning to us kids. When my mother wanted something done, she would instruct one of us to relay her wishes to the contestants. They were usually both hanging out in the kitchen.

“Hi guys. Mommy said she wants one of you to sweep the living room.”

Jamilla and Cynthia would then tear off to fight for the closest broom and streak into the living to be seen sweeping the floor. The loser would busy herself with dusting, or fluffing pillows or some menial task in an effort to look busy and useful. Events went on like this for about a month until it was time to pick who would work for us permanently. On the night that the decision was to be made, my mother discovered some of her good silverware and dishes in Cynthia’s room in the boys quarters.

“Madam,” she begged and sobbed. “I promise you I did not steal it! I am not a thief!”

She looked pitifully at us children, silently willing us to back her up. There was nothing we could do. The items were in her room, and though I did not believe she was a thief, there was the proof!

“I cannot allow a thief to live and work in my house,” my mother proclaimed. Cynthia was told to pack her things and leave the next morning. Jamilla was the victor. In retrospect, I can say with 90% certainty that Jamilla probably planted the items in Cynthia’s room. She was just that spiteful.

Things began at a new normal at our house thereafter. For anyone who has ever visited the Gyekye household, you know that “normal” is relative in our house. My dad went back to watering and cutting grass. We went back to sweeping and doing dishes, and Jamilla…I’m not sure what she did.

In the beginning she washed our clothes, but then that stopped. And then she would attempt to make us lunch, but then that stopped. We were never snobbish children, so she would sit with us in the living room and watch films all the time. On occasion, she would make a phone call or two. Over time, she was receiving more phone calls than anyone else in the house. Secure in her new position as the permanent housekeeper, Jamilla began to flex at a level I had NEVER seen before or since. Tired of waiting for one of us to pop a video in the deck, she instructed my brother to teach her how to operate the VCR herself. There would be days when I would come home from school and she would be nestled comfortably on the sofa eating jollof rice watching Delta Force while my dad washed his own clothes in the back. After trekking all the way from Cantonments to Labone, I would eagerly go into the kitchen to look for lunch only to discover that she had made enough only for herself.

“You can go and prepare your own,” she declared.

On more than one occasion I overheard her gossiping to a friend about the state of our sheets and pillow cases or other household items.

“These people are so cheap. They are from ‘Amelica’ (she couldn’t say “r”) but look at this pillow case! There is a hole inside!”

On more than one occasion I think she may have snubbed my boyfriend. Eventually she felt so cool and at ease that she invited some guy she had met in the area over to the house, sat him in the living room, served him a drink and popped in a movie in preparation to entertain him. I walked in, took in stock of this “normal” scene and walked silently to my room. I heard my dad’s car pull up and then raised voices.
“Jamilla!” he shouted. “You know I give you a lot of freedom in this house, but that doesn’t mean you can just invite strangers here to watch films!”

As my father boomed on, my sister and I had a giggling fit in the back room. Sami eventually came in to ask if we had heard everything. We cackled with glee. The man left, and after pleas and the typical “I beg you’s” she was allowed to stay.

I went to boarding school shortly after that, so I don’t know if her behavior changed significantly or at all. I just can’t believe that Kwasi Gyekye was content to cook his own food, clean the bathroom, etc, when he had hired someone else to do that, and that his tipping point was another man on his couch watching war films. Does it make sense to you?

The problem with little Black princesses

Every time a movie comes out concerning “Black subject matter” and featuring Black actors, there is a segment of the population that almost immediately comes crawling out of the wood work with harsh critique and absurd disapproval. I call this populace “The Tiresome Talented Tenth”. These are the ones who have most likely never produced a film (of any sort) themselves or written a manuscript of critical acclaim and/or mass appeal. When a member of this group comes out in disagreement of one thing, the other egg heads make it their job to disagree harder. They are eternally concerned with being the smartest person in the room. They teach and preach, rather than perform; and they are, in my humble opinion, the lowest of hypocrites.

For those of you who may not know, the term “Talented Tenth” gained popularity when WEB Du Bois wrote an influential article on the subject in 1903. It suggests that one in ten black men would become leaders of their race through continuing education and becoming directly being involved in social change. The assertion and its implementation favored the elite among the Negro race and assigned them the mantle of bringing up the lower, less fortunate and less deserving classes. The idea was revolutionary for its day, but flawed all the same, because it still fostered an environment of division and elitism.

The Tiresome Talented Tenth dug their talons into Alice Walker and Steven Spielberg when the film The Color Purple was released in the 80’s. They railed that it depicted an unfair and negative image of Black men. They hate everything Tyler Perry has ever done. They shot their darts at Lee Daniels when the movie Precious came out this year, saying scenes when Precious stole a bucket of fried chicken reinforced negative Black stereotypes on eating and thievery. Then they took several shots at the new Disney musical The Princess and the Frog. Disney was set to release this film in spring 2009, but the release was held back due to the bickering of the TTT.

First they took issue with the lead character’s name, which was originally Maddy. “It sounds too much like ‘mammie’”, they said. I happen to know ‘Maddy’ or ‘Maddie’ is short for Madeline, a popular name in New Orleans where this film is based, and I think that comparison is an affront to every little girl who goes by the name Maddie. So Disney compromised and changed her name to ‘Tiana’, because, you know, that’s not a stereotypical Black name. Then they complained because the first Black princess had to kiss a frog. “What?” said one commentator. “A Black princess doesn’t deserve a real prince? Must she be reduced to kissing a frog before her dream man comes along?” This list went on and on.

But let me pause here so that I can hoist my hefty two hundred and fifteen pound butt onto my personal soapbox and scream:

SHUT THE (enter your own expletive here) UP!!

Let me tell you guys something about Black princesses. They don’t run barefoot in the forest picking berries and singing love songs to squirrels and raccoons. They aren’t out cleaning up cottages for a bunch of crusty dwarfs because they were too afraid to face their crazy stepmothers. Our princesses don’t fall asleep and wait for the first random dude to deliver a kiss to wake them from their slumber.

Our princesses make war.

Consider Yaa Asantewaa, Queen Mother of Ejisu who said “If the men of Asante are too afraid then I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight the white men. We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields.”

Or Queen Nzinga Mbande, whose father carried her into battle as a child and who as a woman, fought tirelessly to remove the Portuguese from her lands.

Have you thought about Queen Nandi, the ambitious woman who raised the ruthless but brilliant king Shaka of Zululand? This woman began as an outcast and ascended to the highest throne in the land. You can’t do that while waiting for your fins to become legs or falling asleep on the job! I’m sure 50 years ago, Mr. Walt Disney took a look around and thought it might be cute to have a little Black princess; but upon further researching our royal ones, wisely decided to leave that assignment alone. Black royal women just don’t fit the sickly sweet musical Disney mold. A Black woman with power can destroy your dreams and as these women have shown us, destroy your life if she has an army at her disposal. The proof of that is the fire in my two year olds’ eyes when she is told “no” or she “can’t”.

But when all is said and done, my girls and I will be in line, joining the fray and masses of people plunking down my $10 to go see the new movie. It’s going to be a great movie…it’s got Oprah in it! And besides, at the end of the day, modern Black girls like to dress up in pretty gowns and play princess for day, just like anyone else.

Please cut Tiger loose

This morning, I woke up around 1 o’clock to indulge in a nightly pleasure: to forage for food, catch up on the news and to watch infomercials in peace. As I sat down at my PC to see what was going on in the world at 1am, I saw a headline that stunned me:

Black people upset that Tiger Woods has never had a Black mistress

Reading the article, I munched on my mac n’ cheese thinking this HAD to be a joke.

Then I headed over to the sofa to flip through channels and saw Geraldo Rivera covering a story on Fox News:

Blacks fall out with Tiger because he’s never had a Black mistress

What the…WHAT?!?!? My eyes and ears had to be deceiving me.

My position on this whole Tiger “story” is that is was never a “story” to begin with. The coverage should have ended when he hit the tree/fire hydrant and the cops issued him a ticket. Anything after that is NOT news. What it is, is tiresome gossip, and the only people who are concerned with this story are gossipy old biddies and Black people of a certain age…that age is 40 and above. Blacks of that generation are the ones who survived and fought for our civil rights. It was a tremendous feat, but what they have failed to come to terms with is that the triumphs and tragedies of that struggle are sometimes one and the same: Which are the right to vote for whom we want, and the right to marry whom we wish. Sorry Black-folk-over-40, but this means not all Black people are going to vote Democrat or are mandated to inter-marry with one another.

I can’t even begin to explain how preposterous this new fight with Tiger is. Black people have been trying to make Woods Black from day one, same as they did to Paula Abdul. He is Black, among other things, but he has never exclusively claimed us. And why should he? His DNA says he’s Black, White, Native American and Indian. He even coined the term “Caublanasian” just so y’all could get a clue. Heck, Dave Chappelle even parodied it on his show when he did the “Black Draft” featuring who else? Tiger. When Earl Woods was out there teaching his little boy how to swing a club, I can only imagine the types of names he must have been called by other Black kids, because after all real Black boys only play football and basket ball, don’t they? And after hurling and ice hockey, there is no Whiter sport than golf, is there?

I digress.

I can’t understand this new bone Blacks are picking with Tiger. Why, in the world, would you want him to have a Black mistress? Why would you want a Black woman to be his second (or possibly third) best? Why would you want Tiger to use a Black woman to sully the institution of his marriage, and essentially be his whore? Isn’t there enough of that on the corner? Would you be happy if Tiger had contracted syphilis from the likes of Super Head, the nasty Video Vixen? How is THAT classy? Is that where we are as a people? Really???

I can’t get my head around this one, and I’m not so sure I really want to. I’m simply going to humbly suggest that every Black Blogger and radio host who has a problem with Tiger get a grip and move on. This has nothing to do with y’all.




Navigating the mine field that is a Black Woman’s womb

When I was growing up in Ghana in the home of a Black radical (my mother) and a regular dude (my dad), I was taught by my mother and other radicals of her ilk that “civilization was carried on the womb of the black woman”, that her children were “kings and queens”, that her “feet were shod with truth and beauty”. You get the picture; and anyone who was born between 1968-81 and raised in a home of “Black consciousness” knows what I’m talking about. For a short stretch of time, it was a good and honorable thing to raise a Black family with two parents, some kids, maybe even a dog. There was a time, and not too long ago, that if a Black man wanted to have sex with a Black woman, by God he was going to have to marry her. We had that much respect for ourselves, our bodies and the concept of family. I turned the page of this Black book and suddenly being “Black” in the new century means a life style of promiscuity, immaturity and irresponsibility. If you turn on BET, it’s like our women have fought for exclusive rights to exhibit whoredom. Sex is pervasive in our community, and generally when people have gratuitous and unprotected sex, they make a baby.

It gets to be a slippery and dangerous slope when you begin to discuss abortion amongst feminists and black folks, but that’s exactly where I’m headed. Folks get fidgety and indignant because you may be attempting to trample on their “rights” and “choices” with this kind of talk. But when a soldier in Iraq has an 80% higher chance of making it home from war than a Black baby has of making it alive out of his mother’s womb, I have to speak on it. Before I get started, I’ll tell you I’ve heard all the arguments before:

What do you say about children who are a product of rape and incest, Malaka? Should a woman be forced to keep the baby in those cases, just to fit into the scope of your narrow Christian ideals?

My answer is:

Ideally, there would be no rape or incest, but I’m going to go ahead and take a leap and say that the over 1400 Black babies being aborted every day are not all the result of ‘rape or incest.’

For anyone who thinks that I’m removed from the sensitivity of abortion because I’m married, go to church and can “afford” my three kids, let me assure you I am not. I have relatives and friends who have had several abortions…killed their babies like they were squishing an irritation, like an ant. For some women, it’s the men in their lives that coerce/convince them into having the procedure, and for others it’s a very easy decision to make. For my own part, my father and current father-in-law wanted me to have an abortion because my first child was conceived and born out of wedlock. My dad called Nadjah at 10 weeks old in the womb “just a fetus” and Mr. Grant Sr. called her “a collection of cells.” Was it an easy decision for me as a single, scared 26 year old working a crummy job to keep the baby? No, but I could never fathom the burden of destroying a human life. Have you ever seen or read Horton Hears a Who? The Whos ask Horton (who, though he cannot see them, is able to hear them quite well) to protect them from harm, which Horton happily agrees to do, proclaiming throughout the book that ‘‘even though you can’t see or hear them at all, a person’s a person, no matter how small’’. The entire movie is centered around this maniacal kangaroo who is trying to get Horton to admit that Whoville doesn’t exist because she can’t hear or see the Whos. Eventually, she tries to (unsuccessfully) boil Whoville in a vat of boiling oil.

The point is, my baby was not and never was a “collection of cells”. From the night of her conception to this morning when I dropped her off at pre-school, she was and is my ‘Nadjah-bear’.

Has anything I’ve said today going to change anyone’s views on abortion? Maybe…but probably not. As a race, we’ve bought hook-line-and-sinker the concept that who gets to live outside of or die in the womb is a matter of choice. There’s a whole cultural movement in that direction and li’l ol’ me is not big enough to fight against it. And let’s be honest. The decision to abort a baby has everything to do with lifestyle and convenience. It is neither glamorous nor convenient to have a child, be it 1 or 5 in tow while you try to do groceries or get your hair done. It’s an economic decision, because if you are a good parent, the majority of your funds will inadvertently be redirected towards those kids. Is it easy to go to school, conduct business or work when you have an unwanted/unintended pregnancy? No, but it’s not impossible. If you don’t want to face grown up consequences, stop playing grown up games and make the “choice” not to get in bed without a condom, a pill, or here’s a novel idea, NOT AT ALL unless you’re prepared to face the fact that you might make a baby that day.

In 1970, Louisiana judge Leander Perez said “The best way to hate a nigger is to hate him before he is born.” Our ancestral mothers had their babies ripped from their arms on auction blocks all around the south, had them tossed overboard ships during the middle passages, and watched, cried and screamed in agony while slave masters sold them off for profit. I daresay they would be disappointed in our women today and their “choices.” There’s a whole lot of nigger hating doing on today, and it seems to be us niggers that’s doing the hating.