This week in Snob Land we’ll be finding out where I ranked in the finals for Best Political blog in Black Politics on the Web’s Shining Star Award. Voting is over, so I’ll be cleaning up the page and removing the links to the site.
I’m working to beef up and fix my long neglected Facebook, Black Planet, MyBlogLog and MySpace accounts. And I’ll be testing some redesigns for The Secret Council of American Negroes blog, which is badly in need of a makeover.
I’ll also be preparing for yet another NPR gig coming up soon on July 16.
In the real world, The Snob family is going through some rough stuff with a grave illness afflicting a member of our extended family. So if I’m flaky in my posting the next few months It’s largely because I working on accepting that this relative of mine will die. He could live as short as a few weeks or as long as six months because cancer is a mother fucker.
If you are a man or if you have a male relative or friend close to you who is pushing 50 and has never had a colonoscopy I implore you to talk to them about it, or if you’re a man near 50 reading this, please, take your health seriously and have your regular checkups.
For white Americans, men live to be 75 years old on average. White women live to be almost 81 on average. For black Americans, black women live to be about 74-75 on average. But black men only live to be 67 years of age on average.
My loved one had colon cancer, never received a colonoscopy until he needed emergency surgery to remove a painful, cancerous tumor. He underwent chemotherapy but despite the best efforts of his doctors, family members and self, the tumors returned and the cancer remains and now my family must prepare for his eventual death.
I can hope for a miracle, but I’m mostly angry. I love him and he was so stubborn and steadfast in not seeing a doctor even as he lost weight and grew sicker. He is only 63 years old. We share the same birthday month, October. If he makes it to October 2008 he will be 64.
People shouldn’t die of things that could have been prevented. I pain for his wife and daughter and grandchild. It makes me think of my Granny, strong as she is, still missing my grandpa who died after battling a long illness in 2001. The other day on the phone she told me she didn’t understand why Grandpa had to go and leave her alone. And I worry about this for all the women in my family who consistently fulfill the statistic and become widows because the men we love don’t take care of themselves, ate bad food and distrusted their doctors (if they had any). And this was in spite of having health insurance, Medicare and veteran’s benefits.
This man, an uncle of mine pictured above in his youth, is a good man. He is jovial and easy-going. He has many friends and people who love and respect him. He has made a good life for himself. I know he feared going to the doctor and learning the truth. But now he’s fearing what will happen to his family after he is gone.
So on a dour and serious tip: Black men, I love you. Your sisters love you. And no matter what the popular opinion is on you, we do need and want you to be with us for as long as you can. Don’t leave us alone. Die later of an old, old age with your family beside you. Not when you still have work to do, people to see and places you want to go. If you can’t watch your health for yourself think of the people who will be left behind to mourn you.
Don’t leave us alone.
Now that I’ve completely depressed everyone, let’s answer the mail.
Hello, my name is Angel and I was checking out your blog (which I like by the way) and I saw that pic of Grimace and the baby. That is the funniest pic I have ever seen. If you don’t mind, could you tell me where you got that or if you created it. That pic is awesome. Thanks.
I found that pic of Grimace doing a Google Image search. It was posted to an individual’s MySpace page and originated from this photobucket account. I think it’s just a user created image because I haven’t seen it anywhere else. And yes, the pic is awesome. I loved it.
Yours truly in blackness,
I just heard you on NPR and I’m interested in your book. I grew up in South St. Louis Hills (0% black) and knew next to nothing about black folk except for stereotypes, but I was always into American roots music. I moved to Jefferson County, MO in 1988 and since 2005 I have been the piano player for a tiny black church in Crystal City, MO. My wife recently joined the choir and now there are two white people in this church.
So, how about that for evolution? A strict Catholic white boy from St. Louis Hills, backing a black Baptist choir. It’
s totally different than how I grew up, but the people there are more sincere and loving than any white church I’ve ever been in, and they truly appreciate me. One of my black brothers says I have the reverse “Obama affect” and I took it in a good way. Music is a great way to bridge cultural gaps. How soon can I get your book? And thank you for your efforts to help race relations.
As a sufferer of MPD, or “Mass Procrastination Disorder,” I have not devoted as much time to finishing my book as I should. I already have a literary friend or two interested in it, so I really need to haul ass and get that overview of the book and its entailing chapters to her.
I’m happy to read that you were able to move past the drama of our racially polarized world and reach out to people different from yourself. This is part of the healing and is good for your own esteem, learning new things and hearing different opinions of your own. It’s very educational and rewarding to learn about another’s culture, especially when done in a thoughtful and serious manner, as you obviously have done with your role at the black church.
But your story is not uncommon to me. When I was in high school in Florissant, Mo. a white classmate of mine, raised Catholic, confided in me and a few of the other black students in the class that he’d stopped going to mass with his family and was now attending a boisterous AME church. This was the same for another Catholic childhood friend of mine who was drawn to the enthusiasm and unique oratory style of the black church — a technique that survived slavery and remains a major part of our historical churches today.
The world would be better if more people, white, black and otherwise, would reach outside of their comfort zone and bond with people different from themselves.
Thanks for the note, Tim, and believe me, if this book gets finished and picked up by a major publisher, the readers of this blog will be the first ones I let know.
Yours truly in blackness
This is following letter was written in response to the Mothers/Daughters series “The Chip On My Shoulder Is A Boulder.” Click on the link to see all stories, or check out these listed: “The Adoptee,” “The Rebel,” “The Gypsy,” “She Did Her Best,” “The Reluctant Mother,” “The Narcissist’s Daughter,” “The Survivor,” “The Baby” and “The Rock.”
I hope you continue your series on mothers and daughters. It is the cyber version of soup for the soul, maybe a notch higher and call it cyber therapy. But it stirred so much emotion in me I could not go to sleep without writing something.
I literally sobbed in the tub for an hour just thinking about all the suffering my mother has gone through and still going through and then realized that I was headed in the same direction. But alas, I think I have finally found the strength to make way… I cried to God. One of those moments that the raw emotion is so strong, so real, so painful I am begging God to give me strength. It hurts because I realize that I am becoming the same person who for so many years withstood the abuse, the pain, the suffering.
She stayed because she was much too caring, too Catholic, much too dependent on my father. She loved us more than he did. He was beat by his father — verbally and physically — and the absence of a real loving relationship in his own upbringing made him too resentful to try to develop one with his own children.
He displaced his anger with threatening words, although I never saw him hit my mother he very often beat my siblings. My mother was part Silencer, part Rock, but mostly she was a woman with five kids who wanted to do everything she could to please her husband. I would have to say though, that the word that would best describe my mother is The Catholic. Because after almost 40 years of marriage to the same man, only God could’ve gotten her through it all.
It was God whom she had faith and trust in when she couldn’t find it in her own husband. So many nights she would pray for her husband and children. She would stay home with all five of us while he was out drinking and chasing women. He degraded her, betrayed her by taking her friends out to late night dinners behind her back. He left her by herself, emotionally and physically even though they lived in the same home.
It was my mother who provided me and my siblings with protection, money even when she barely had any, and all the love she didn’t share with my father. She lived unhappy for so long because she was too busy trying to make someone else happy. She’d have sex with him even when she didn’t want to, let him run off ’til the morning hours, cook and clean like a wife was supposed to, and endured his inner child who was angry and in pain from the suffering he’d endured from his own father.
The dynamic of a relationship between mother and father has to be one of reciprocity. My mother gave too much with little or no return. She exhausted herself to the needs of five children while seeking approval from my father. Things didn’t change even as we got older and moved out. Things cannot change. The cycle of pain turns into abuse and my father has never been able to confront the pain he experienced with his own father.
My father will never be able to tell her that he is thankful to her for never leaving him, that she was a great mother who raised all five children right. He will never be able to say “I’m sorry”. I don’t expect that from my father. I used to. Maybe deep down I still hope he will someday.
I also sit here and cry because I am becoming just like my mother. For the past six years I have stayed in a relationship because I thought I was supposed to be caring, loving, do everything I could to make him happy; put aside my own aspirations and comfort because I like seeing him happy. I read the letters, BlackSnob, just before bed and I cried so hard I soaked in the tub for an hour and prayed to God, just as my mother had so many times, I prayed for an answer. Today I have decided that I have to take control of myself, of what is going to make me happy. My mother may not have been able to walk away, but I can.