Thirteen years ago my oldest child, Naima Bandele arrived and changed my life. My world was now focused on parenthood. From that moment, everything I thought, planned and did was centered around my daughter. How will my work, activities and politics impact her? Life is real now.
As I’m trying to figure out what I need to do to better parent my daughter now that she is a teen, I was given a wake up call by Too Short and XXLMag.com. The 45 year old rapper was given an international platform (XXL) to give “fatherly advice” to young men. His advice for young boys on girls -
“When you get to late middle school, early high school and you start feeling a certain way about the girls… I’m gonna tell you a couple tricks. This is what you do, man. A lot of the boys are going to be running around trying to get kisses from the girls, we’re going way past that. I’m taking you to the hole.
There’s a general area down there, a little spot that girls have that feels really good to them. Don’t kiss them down there yet, that’s later in life. But this is what you do. You push her up against the wall or pull her up against you while you lean on the wall and you take your finger and put a little spit on it and you stick your finger in her underwear and you rub it on there and watch what happens”.
What now do I say to my daughters if this is what young boys are being told? Should I give her a can of mace? a switchblade? Tell her to run whenever a boy approaches her?
The sickness of this “advice” speaks volumes to the devaluation and straight misogyny held by too many men. The fact that this can be presented in an international forum and not be stopped by anyone until public outrage is expressed says how much we have normalized attacks on Black women. When this “advice” is not seen for what it is, steps to violate women, we are preparing our boys to take the attacks on Black girls/women to another level. We can and must change that. The boys that may listen to this Too Short advice (or advice similar to it) are our relatives, neighbors, students, and friends. They are OUR children.
Advice like this is not new. You hear these and other dangerous messages in locker rooms, on the street, in barber shops and at the gym. On occasion, those settings offer an opportunity for the advice to be challenged by sensible ears. What do we do when those who are in dire need of direction, mentorship and development are given the platform to offer the same? This 45 year old rapper is NOT and has never been qualified to offer advice on relationships especially between young boys and girls.
I would like to salute the qualified fathers who are walking examples of the character we want to see in our boys and ask you to do the same. Not because they are necessarily doing anything exceptional, but because our community needs to acknowledge and celebrate real fathers so fake ones don’t have the opportunity to attempt to fill that void. My advice fatherly advice to young boys…
Know yourself – Know that you come from a legacy of greatness! Define yourself - You determine who you are not false images or characters that are fed to you. Love yourself - Know that the women around you, your mothers, sisters, and friends are a part of you. To love them is to love you. To disrespect, hate and hurt them is to disrespect, hate and hurt yourself.
Too Short, YOU are NOT the father!
“…..gimme that title boy, you don’t deserve this” –BDK
For additional thought provoking reading on Hip Hop and Black fathers, pick upBe a Father to Your Child: Real Talk from Black Men on Family, Love, and Fatherhood, Edited by April Silver, Soft Skull Press, 2008 - http://softskull.com/?p=711
So when the Irish, when Germans, when Italians were coming, and they didn’t speak the language and they didn’t know the culture, the idea was they will assimilate into Americanhood; they will become American, which in the American tradition has meant white American.
But that melting pot never included people of color. Blacks, Chinese, Puerto Ricans, etcetera, could not melt into the pot. They could be used as wood to produce the fire for the pot, but they could not be used as material to be melted into the pot.
“Society has a problem with female nudity when it is not … ”—Badu pauses to get her words together; she wants this point to be very clear—“… when it is not packaged for the consumption of male entertainment. Then it becomes confusing.”—Erykah Badu (via thechanelmuse)
I came across this article at PsychCentral today and couldn’t believe how much thoughtful advice it contained. If you’re worried about a friend and want to know what you can do, I suggest you read this article. In fact, I suggest you reblog it too. You never know — this information could save a…