The Black man is the most reviled, disrespected, dehumanized person on the planet. But, not today, and not in this column.
Since today is Father's Day, I would like to dedicate this post to my Daddy.
Yes, I am a Daddy's Girl.
Proud of it.
There are very few things more powerful than a Black man who has his stuff together and is taking care of business. There is a sense of security and serenity in a home in which a together Black man resides.
I was fortunate to live in one of those homes.
My father wasn't famous. He didn't go to work in a suit everyday. He never made close to six figures.
But, he was one of the best human beings I've ever known. And, I didn't know how special he was until I got older.
My father was born in a time when his options were severely limited. If he had been a Baby Boomer, I have no doubt that he would have been a partner in a major accounting firm. But, he was born when he was, which meant that society determined his 'options'. Yet, my father did what so many others did, he went out, found a way to feed his family- legally - and didn't let others define him for what happened outside of his job.
My father wasn't an educated man - degree wise, yet there was rarely a time when I didn't see him with something in his hands to read. We had all sorts of books and magazines in our home that I didn't see unless I was in a library. He was always educating himself, and passed that down to me and my sisters.
My father wasn't a 'feminist', yet he understood that a marriage was a partnership, and so was a home. So, he did what he could to eliminate some of the burden from my mother. My father was the cook in our home. If 100 meals were cooked in our house, Daddy cooked 98 of them, and did the shopping. Now, don't ask him to wash, iron or run the vacuum cleaner. But, he took the burden of family meal time off of my mother's plate.
My father wasn't a fan of organized religion. I can count on two hands the number of times that I saw him inside of a church that didn't include a wedding or funeral. Yet, there are few people who lived their lives more according to the ' Good Book' than him.
What did my father teach me?
1. He taught me about respecting myself. What I should accept and expect for myself as a woman. He did directly, making it clear that no man had a right to put his hands on me, and indirectly, by me being able to observe him respect my mother and not call her out her name at any time in my presence during their entire marriage.
2. He taught me about the passion for education and lifelong learning. That you can always learn something new, and to be aware of the world is a personal responsbility. Don't let others think for you; think for yourself.
3. He taught me how to cook..
4. He taught me to appreciate the beauty in sports. He had three daughters, but I was the only one who shared his love of sports. Long before there was a Tiger Woods, or Venus and Serena Williams, Daddy would have me watching golf and tennis in person. We would truly be specks of pepper in a sea of salt at those events, but he wanted me to appreciate different things. He loved me so much that he actually took me to ice skating events - yes, a Black man sitting at an ice skating show.
5. He taught me to love travel. Every summer we would take out the atlas and it was my job to map out where we would go on our car travels. I got to see a lot of this country that way, and he encouraged me to see the world. Daddy fought in France during WWII. He used to tell me stories of his time in the Army and how he much he enjoyed France. I told him that I wanted him to take me where he went while stationed in Europe. He worked a second job so that he, Mama and I could celebrate my 16th Birthday in Europe, traveling to the places that he did when he was a soldier. Daddy didn't live to see me graduate from college, which makes this trip one of my most precious memories.
Today, I want to thank Daddy for everything he gave me. He's gone from us now, physically, but his lessons, I find a new use for them nearly everyday.
To all the Black men out there who are taking care of business; who love their children, and guide them in the right direction - thank you.
Happy Father's Day.
Pops: A Celebration of Black Fatherhood
The Ditchdigger's Daughters
The Pursuit of Happyness
Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood
Black Fatherhood: Reconnecting With Our Legacy
Whatever Happened to Daddy's Little Girl?: The Impact of Fatherlessness on Black Women