Good Black Men are not just ATM machines

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Today African American men are expected to be providers for women, often whether they are married to the women or not. But if you are not married to a woman and the two of you do not live together, YOU are not under any obligation to pay her bills, get her hair and nails done nor pay her rent. Those are her responsibilities. And though it is nice to do so, if you can afford to, guys be careful not to let your generosity be mistaken for obligation.

If men and women play house, women must overstand that house comes with authority via leadership and living by example, not just the right to pay the bills. This is an area counselors struggle to explain, African American women tend to reject and African American men fail to hold the line on. The leader of the relationship or head of thee household is so much more than an ATM and its past the time for us to make that known.

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We who are strong African American male leaders in our homes recognize our varied roles and functions. Our women must recognize this as well or they fail to comprehend who we are. And if you cannot be the head of your home or relationship, leading with fairness, respect, compassion and by example, you do not need to be in that home nor in that relationship. There are too many weak and/or emasculated African American men who are bowing to women and allowing them to run the household. We can consult, listen to and work together with our women but when it comes down to it, there can only be one leader. African American men must therefore lead in the right direction and demand respect as the leaders of our households and communities. In a kingdom, your wife or woman can be and should be your queen, but there is only one King.

We men are much more than ATMs. We are protectors. We are examples. We are final decision makers. We are leaders who bring the family to the table as often as possible so the family can make decisions together. We initiate discussions, require excellence from our family members and demand it of ourselves. We find answers to problems when there seems like there is no solution. We mediate conflict and neutralize it in the household with win-win problem resolution.  And if you don’t know how to do all of these things, it neither keeps you from being a man nor voids your right of authority and your responsibility to lead. You simply have to learn and none of us (including your wife or woman) is perfect. So never let anyone belittle you on the basis that you are not where you should be – as long as you are making the sincere effort to get there.

We who are strong African American men have to stop trying to buy women or trying to impress them with money or what we will pay on their behalf. We men are much more than cash, checks and credit cards or vessels of material things. Sending the wrong message has both set and fed a dangerous and false standard  and allowed women to mistake our kindness as an obligation. Buying your woman nice things and helping her when you can are admirable traits but you need to know such behavior can easily become an expectation that defines you in her eyes. Then, when you don’t, won’t or can’t, she may very well find someone who will or see you as failing your commitment to her. I speak of course regarding the relationship where you are not married and do not live together.

As a husband and/or a father, the role of the African American male is priceless and cannot be replaced by any other person, entity or structure. We provide balance and stability to the relationship. We provide direction for the family. I say again, nobody else can perform our role or function – not two women in a relationship, not two men together. Now is the time for African American men to rise up and return to being the leaders and examples that our fathers or grandfathers were.  If you are a male, be a man. Teach and expect the same from your sons. And if any woman does not like it or cannot accept it, you do not need her. You can make a good woman your queen but there can only be one king. Believe it, act like it, become it, teach it and expect it.

Article written by Marque-Anthony

 

Martin Luther King Jr.(Forgotten Quotes)

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They say you can tell what a nation stands for by looking at who they see as heroes.  I always think about that when Martin Luther King’s birthday comes around.  Does America truly cherish his ideals?  I don’t really think so. Martin Luther King was a very complex individual.  They say he stood up against injustice and racism…but he had numerous sexual affairs as well.  Can a man be socially moral and still cheat on his wife?  I guess it’s somewhat possible.  But after doing years of research on MLK I found out that he had an idealistic worldview but he wasn’t perfect.  But we all know there are many famous men who cheated on their wives(John F Kennedy,Bill Clinton,Donald Trump).  But this post isn’t about that.  In this post I wanted to put up some quotes that often get overlooked.  King’s views changed from when he made the “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.  As the Vietnam War waged on and all the racial strife continued…his idealistic views started to diminish over time.  He started to view the racist European society a little bit more realistically. I think Malcolm X understood the European mentality a little better.  But King was getting there before he was killed in 1968. Here’s a nice list of forgotten quotes.  Shout out to Abagond  for pulling up some of thee quotes.

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“The white man does not abide by the law… His police forces are the ultimate mockery of law.”
“There aren’t enough white persons in our country who are willing to cherish democratic principles over privilege.”
“Three hundred years of humiliation, abuse and deprivation cannot be expected to find voice in a whisper.”
“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar.”
“We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.”
“We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together.”

“But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society.”
“A riot is the language of the unheard,”
“A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.”
“All of us are on trial in this troubled hour.”
“America is going to hell if we don’t use her vast resources to end poverty and make it possible for all God’s children to have the basic necessities of life.”

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“I am sorry to have to say that the vast majority of white Americans are racists, either consciously or unconsciously.”
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”
“It is cruel jest to tell a bootless man that he ought to lift himself up by his own bootstraps”
“No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

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Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“Poverty is one of the most urgent items on the agenda of modern life.”
“The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism.”
“The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and evils of racism.”

Lead a Nation

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This is a picture of Khalid Muhammad and rapper Tupac Shakur. Any black person that has a way of reaching the youth is seen as a threat to the white supremacy social structure. Muhammad was a powerful speaker that could touch the youth. And of course Tupac was the son of a Black Panther.  Tupac had the ear of millions of fans of all races.  But by being a great speaker he could get black people motivated as a collective.  If Tupac was allowed to live he could’ve been a great leader. He already had the pro-black influence as a child.  They were both seen as threats to this racist,corrupt white society.  Which is the reason they’re not here anymore.

Was Fidel Castro a friend to Africans?

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The Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro passed away on Friday 25th November. I am not going to provide an account of the Cuban Revolution, rather I just wanted to pay a brief, but heartfelt tribute to Castro, without deifying him or pretending that he was perfect, which is a common tendency when people write about people they admire. Why do I admire Castro? Is it because I am a Communist or Marxist revolutionary? No, certainly not. I admire him because he was one of the few true friends, in terms of significant political leaders, that Afrika has had during the 20th century. Whilst some of the Afrikan leaders of the ‘frontline states’, during the apartheid era in South Africa,  either sat passively by or in some cases, actively co-operated with the apartheid regime, such as the arrogant neo-colonial lackey Dr Hastings Banda who “… was careful never to appear radical in front of the former colonial masters and pleased the British government by maintaining trade and contact with South Africa, condemning his fellow African leaders more than he did apartheid.”  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/obituary-dr-hastings-banda-1296534.html  Fidel Castro put Cuban forces into battle against colonial regimes in South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Angola. Much Cuban blood was shed on the battlefields of Southern Africa in aid of Afrikan liberation.
A great example is the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale. “The battle of Cuito Cuanavale and the Cuban intervention in Angola is one of the turning points in Southern African History. It led to the movement of powerful Cuban armed force, into the west, towards the Namibian border. The fighting in the south western part of Angola led to the withdrawal of the South African, ANC and Cuban presence in Angola, and to the Independence of Namibia.”  http://www.sahistory.org.za/topic/battle-cuito-cuanavale-1988 This battle was hugely significant in that it not only led to the withdrawal of South African troops from Angola and independence of Namibia, but it also destoyed the aura of invincibility surrounding the South African Defence Force (SADF), and was a  significant contributory factor in the release of Nelson Mandela and end of apartheid in South Africa.

You have to put this all into context by remembering that the white world vacillated between overt and covert support for the apartheid regime, as perhaps best exemplified by UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher referring to the Afrikaners as “our kith and kin” during a state visit to the UK by the then South African leader, the despicable war criminal, PW Botha. In global terms Cuba is a small island nation with a small population and which has been under economic and political attack by the United State ever since the revolution in 1959. Over the years there were more than a dozen documented assassination attempts against Castro by various US governments and yet despite living in the shadow of a hugely powerful; hostile neighbour, Castro had the vision and commitment to reach out to African people in Afrika, the Caribbean and other parts of the world and lend direct practical military, economic and medical aid. Just take the example of the massive earthquakes in Haiti where Cuba sent teams of doctors and the US sent in hordes of soldiers. That is a direct legacy of Fidel Castro and also illuminates the Euro-American mindset of always coming to conquer. Cuba even offered to send in medical teams in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina whilst the US government once again sent in teams of soldiers to face down a non-existent threat from the stranded, mostly Afrikan residents of New Orleans. Over the years Cuba has run a program giving free medical training to African-Americans.

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Castro should also be remembered for his strenuous attempts to wipe out racism in Cuba. I should be clear that he did not succeed in this, but it was not for the want of trying. Racism is still alive and kicking in Cuba as you can see by the behavior and attitudes of many of the European Cubans who migrate to the US from the island. Since, as I have mentioned many times before, racism is a normative part of European culture, all Castro could do was to suppress overt manifestations of racism in Cuba, but he could never kill its cultural root. I recall an Afrikan woman telling me of her holiday to Cuba, which took place in the last 10 years, and how she was constantly asked for her ID on the private beach associated with the hotel she was staying in and how it was regularly insinuated that she was a prostitute. You also have all of the skin color and shade issues in Cuba as is found in places such as Jamaica, UK, US etc. as well as the same European beauty ideal.

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Human Rights – We have to speak about human rights because this will be the biggest criticism made of Castro.  Did the Castro government suppress people’s human rights? To my mind the answer is obviously yes, however I think again we have to look at this in context. What do you think is going to happen when you lead a  tiny nation with the most powerful nation on Earth as a very hostile near neighbor which is  making every attempt to not only overthrow your government but also to directly kill you? It would be naive to think that you can have an open society under such abnormal conditions. Just take the failed ‘Bay of Pigs’ invasion in 1961 as an example of US hostility  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-13066561  No one knows for sure how Cuba would have developed if it was not faced with the ongoing US economic embargo designed to impoverish the Cuban people and destabilise the Cuban government.

The Future – With the transition of leadership to Fidel Castro’s brother Raul in 2008, the lifting of the US economic embargo and the flow of US money into Cuba which will become a tidal wave, the future for Cuba is likely to be Back to the Future. Prior to the revolution Cuba was a playground for the rich and famous from the US, a place where the Mafia could launder money and  centre for gambling, drugs and prostitution. I predict that in 5-10 years Cuba will be transformed. There will be huge infrastructure investment in the key tourist areas with hotels, casinos, theme parks etc popping up and a massive spike in property prices in these areas. Cuba will become one of the top holiday destinations for US citizens and will become a hotspot for sex tourism. Some Cubans are going to make  significant amounts of money, whilst the US transnational corporations are going to make a killing. Cuba will become yet another neo-colonial island in the sun.

Article written by Ifayomi Grant

Thomas Sankara-Revolutionary Hero

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Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara (21 December 1949 – 15 October 1987) was a Burkinabé military captain, revolutionary, pan-Africanist theorist, and President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987. Viewed by supporters as a charismatic and iconic figure of revolution.

  • He vaccinated 2.5 million children against meningitis, yellow fever and measles in a matter of weeks.
  • He initiated a nation-wide literacy campaign, increasing the literacy rate from 13% in 1983 to 73% in 1987.
  • He planted over 10 million trees to prevent desertification
  • He built roads and a railway to tie the nation together, without foreign aid
  • He appointed females to high governmental positions, encouraged them to work, recruited them into the military, and granted pregnancy leave during education.
  • He outlawed female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy in support of Women’s rights
  • He sold off the government fleet of Mercedes cars and made the Renault 5 (the cheapest car sold in Burkina Faso at that time) the official service car of the ministers.
  • He reduced the salaries of all public servants, including his own, and forbade the use of government chauffeurs and 1st class airline tickets.
  • He redistributed land from the feudal landlords and gave it directly to the peasants. Wheat production rose in three years from 1700 kg per hectare to 3800 kg per hectare, making the country food self-sufficient.
  • He opposed foreign aid, saying that “he who feeds you, controls you.”
  • He spoke in forums like the Organization of African Unity against continued neo-colonialist penetration of Africa through Western trade and finance. • He called for a united front of African nations to repudiate their foreign debt. He argued that the poor and exploited did not have an obligation to repay money to the rich and exploiting
  • In Ouagadougou, Sankara converted the army’s provisioning store into a state-owned supermarket open to everyone (the first supermarket in the country). • He forced civil servants to pay one month’s salary to public projects.
  • He refused to use the air conditioning in his office on the grounds that such luxury was not available to anyone but a handful of Burkinabes.
  • As President, he lowered his salary to $450 a month and limited his possessions to a car, four bikes, three guitars, a fridge and a broken freezer.
  • A motorcyclist himself, he formed an all-women motorcycle personal guard.
  • He required public servants to wear a traditional tunic, woven from Burkinabe cotton and sewn by Burkinabe craftsmen. (The reason being to rely upon local industry and identity rather than foreign industry and identity)
  • When asked why he didn’t want his portrait hung in public places, as was the norm for other African leaders, Sankara replied “There are seven million Thomas Sankaras.”
  • An accomplished guitarist, he wrote the new national anthem himself

Sankara seized power in a 1983 popularly supported coup at the age of 33, with the goal of eliminating corruption and the dominance of the former French colonial power. He immediately launched one of the most ambitious programmes for social and economic change ever attempted on the African continent. To symbolize this new autonomy and rebirth, he renamed the country from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso (“Land of Upright Man”). His foreign policies were centered on anti-imperialism, with his government eschewing all foreign aid, pushing for odious debt reduction, nationalizing all land and mineral wealth, and averting the power and influence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. His domestic policies were focused on preventing famine with agrarian self-sufficiency and land reform, prioritizing education with a nationwide literacy campaign, and promoting public health by vaccinating 2.5 million children against meningitis, yellow fever, and measles. Other components of his national agenda included planting over ten million trees to halt the growing desertification of the Sahel, doubling wheat production by redistributing land from feudal landlords to peasants, suspending rural poll taxes and domestic rents, and establishing an ambitious road and rail construction program to “tie the nation together”. On the localized level Sankara also called on every village to build a medical dispensary and had over 350 communities construct schools with their own labour. Moreover, his commitment to women’s rights led him to outlaw female genital mutilation, forced marriages and polygamy, while appointing women to high governmental positions and encouraging them to work outside the home and stay in school even if pregnant.

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In order to achieve this radical transformation of society, he increasingly exerted authoritarian control over the nation, eventually banning unions and a free press, which he believed could stand in the way of his plans. To counter his opposition in towns and workplaces around the country, he also tried corrupt officials, “counter-revolutionaries” and “lazy workers” in Popular Revolutionary Tribunals. Additionally, as an admirer of Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution, Sankara set up Cuban-style Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDRs).

His revolutionary programs for African self-reliance made him an icon to many of Africa’s poor. Sankara remained popular with most of his country’s impoverished citizens. However his policies alienated and antagonised the vested interests of an array of groups, which included the small but powerful Burkinabé middle class, the tribal leaders whom he stripped of the long-held traditional right to forced labour and tribute payments, and France and its ally the Ivory Coast. As a result, he was overthrown and assassinated in a coup d’état led by Blaise Compaoré on October 15, 1987. A week before his murder, he declared: “While revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas.”

On October 15, 1987, Sankara was killed by an armed group with twelve other officials in a coup d’état organised by his former colleague Blaise Compaoré. Deterioration in relations with neighbouring countries was one of the reasons given, with Compaoré stating that Sankara jeopardised foreign relations with former colonial power France and neighbouring Ivory Coast. Prince Johnson, a former Liberian warlord allied to Charles Taylor, told Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that it was engineered by Charles Taylor. After the coup and although Sankara was known to be dead, some CDRs mounted an armed resistance to the army for several days.

Sankara’s body was dismembered and he was quickly buried in an unmarked grave, while his widow Mariam and two children fled the nation. Compaoré immediately reversed the nationalizations, overturned nearly all of Sankara’s policies, rejoined the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to bring in “desperately needed” funds to restore the “shattered” economy,[34] and ultimately spurned most of Sankara’s legacy. Compaoré’s dictatorship remained in power for 27 years until overthrown by popular protests in 2014.

Sankara’s visionary leadership turned his country from a sleepy West African nation with the colonial designation of Upper Volta to a dynamo of progress under the proud name of Burkina Faso (“Land of the Honorable People”). He led one of the most ambitious programs of sweeping reforms ever seen in Africa. It sought to fundamentally reverse the structural social inequities inherited from the French colonial order.

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Sankara focused the state’s limited resources on the marginalized majority in the countryside. When most African countries depended on imported food and external assistance for development, Sankara championed local production and the consumption of locally-made goods. He firmly believed that it was possible for the Burkinabè, with hard work and collective social mobilization, to solve their problems: chiefly scarce food and drinking water.

In Sankara’s Burkina, no one was above farm work, or graveling roads–not even the president, government ministers or army officers. Intellectual and civic education were systematically integrated with military training and soldiers were required to work in local community development projects.

Sankara disdained formal pomp and banned any cult of his personality. He could be seen casually walking the streets, jogging or conspicuously slipping into the crowd at a public event. He was a rousing orator who spoke with uncommon candor and clarity and did not hesitate to publicly admit mistakes, chastise comrades or express moral objections to heads of powerful nations, even if it imperiled him. For example, he famously criticized French president François Mitterand during a state dinner for hosting the leader of Apartheid South Africa.

African Proverbs about Leadership

Warriors

A shepherd does not strike his sheep. ~Nigerian Proverb

The foolish cannot be leaders. ~Kenyan Proverb

Rulers are like hills; when darkness falls, they all speak alike. ~Ugandan Proverb

The words of the elders become sweet some day. ~Malawian Proverb

The elders of the village are the boundaries. ~Ghanaian Proverb

A leader does not wish for war. ~Kenyan Proverb

A community without elders does not prosper. ~Mozambican Proverb

An elder can be advised but never insulted. ~Kenyan Proverb

If the owner of the land leads you, you cannot get lost. ~Ugandan Proverb

Two leaders do not fight in one house. ~Ugandan Proverb

Madness does not govern a country; discussion does. ~Ethiopian Proverb

Do not be a leader and use it to your own advantage. ~Ugandan Proverb

Patience puts a crown on the head. ~Ugandan Proverb

A leader in the community without a pot belly is a stingy man. ~Nigerian Proverb

The leader knows the reality. ~Kenyan Proverb

One does not like to be under a strict leader. ~Ugandan Proverb

From the word of an elder is derived a bone. ~Rwandan and Rundian Proverb

That which gains the attention of a leader will be solved. ~Ugandan Proverb

Prefer the leader who comes to you. ~Ugandan Proverb

Without a leader, black ants are confused. ~Ugandan Proverb

A leader who understands proverbs reconciles difficulties. ~Nigerian Proverb

He who is destined for power does not have to fight for it. ~Ugandan Proverb

The fate that befalls the lowly will befall the leader. ~Ugandan Proverb

If a leader loves you, he makes sure you build your house on rock. ~Ugandan Proverb

A leader’s handbag is never completely empty. ~Ugandan Proverb

The one nearest to the enemy is the real leader. ~Ugandan Proverb

An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by a sheep. ~Ghanaian Proverb

Being a leader is like a borrowed garment. ~Ugandan Proverb

If you are a leader, be like the moon, not like the sun. ~Congolese Proverb