BlackParentSpeaks’ father was a wise Black man of great knowledge and patience. He modeled an ‘undying love for Black people’. Daddy loved my mother and he loved us children. Daddy was our protector in a racist ‘White’ America bent on killing off the ‘Black’ man, ‘Black’ woman, and ‘Black’ child.
My father’s nature fascinated me and often I, while a child, consciously and unconsciously imitated Daddy’s ways and style. My handwriting mirrored Daddy’s and my language and talk and thoughts largely developed by way of Daddy’s teachings.
While I was a child, I marveled at my father’s ability to speak and communicate in multiple languages and ways. I often watched and listened as my father acted as an interpreter in various situations involving non-English speaking folk.
Daddy handled most – if not all – of the Black, Spanish-speaking, Chinese, Russian, and Roma business in Portland, Oregon. And, on a regular basis, Daddy and I visited the home of a non-verbal ‘White’ couple and Daddy handled their business affairs by way of signing. Daddy likewise handled business for people without sight. I was forever and constantly learning while in the company of my father.
My father was not one to wear his credentials on his sleeve. Although Daddy had graduated Colorado College as the first ‘Black’ Phi Beta Kappa, Daddy seldom – if ever – wore his pin. Rather, Daddy’s pin was kept at home in a dresser drawer.
Daddy often explained that it was not important that other folk know that you know something; rather, it is important that you know that you know. Daddy also said other things that have remained a part of my persona throughout my life….
My father was a master electrician, plumber, and more. He liked working with tools and constructing devices. Daddy built a monstrosity of a printing press and we used the press to print business cards, invoicing materials, posters, etc. Daddy liked playing around with numbers and he geared me towards appreciating numbers as well.
Daddy was likely the fastest typist I have ever personally encountered. Initially learning to type by way of my father, I eventually found myself typing over 90 words a minute without errors. But, Daddy was quicker and just as accurate! I enjoyed challenging my father even though I always lost the challenge – smiles.
Because the ‘White’ elementary school in Portland, Oregon that I was forced to integrate did not provide me – a ‘Black’ student — with a language structure foundation, my father stepped in and guided me. Daddy showed me short-cuts in learning language and developing structure. As Daddy had taught me to do with math, Daddy showed me how to check my words, spelling, and sentences. Daddy explained punctuation, complete thoughts, and more. Daddy created challenging word games for his ‘kiddies’ and I enthusiastically played those games with delight.
Similar to my father, I read – and continue to read – quite a bit. Like my father, I also write quite a bit. Often, I write during the wee hours of the night and the early hours of the day. I lean towards conscious communication with our ancestors and spirits during such hours as well.
‘Purpose’ is often lacking in the lives of many. Folk with relatively considerable financial wealth have a tendency to horde, squander, demand, and seek more by way of greed. Solutions to societal ills elude them (or, quite frankly, do not interest them) because their hollow professions of concern lack substance, intent, and wisdom. What many fail to overstand is that today is short-lived and their money does NOT entitle them….
I am reminded of the day when I – BlackParentSpeaks — was so rudely approached by a man of considerable financial wealth and power. Although I was in ‘deep’ conversation with fellow Blacks at the time, the man chose to have several of his employees interrupt our gathering in order to ‘immediately’ speak to me. The man-of-financial-wealth was ‘White’; I am ‘Black’. Needless to say, I REFUSED the man-of-financial-wealth an audience.
The following day, BlackParentSpeaks was again approached by employees of the ‘White’ man-of-financial-wealth and I was offered upwards of a hundred thousand dollars, a car, and a house of my own if I were to accommodate the man’s wishes. Without the slightest hesitation, I refused. Later that day, the man-of-financial-wealth personally approached me. After telling him what he could do with his ‘offer’, I told him that if he ever wanted to reach out and truly ‘help’ in the fight for racial justice, he should again look me up. I have not been contacted by him since….
As I write these words, I smile. I smile knowing that I have maintained my ‘Black’ sense of integrity, involvement, and commitment. I have NOT sold out nor have I hocked my ‘Blackness’.
No, I do not own a home – no money to buy one. Yes, my 20-year-old car is sorely in need of repair and my bank account often hovers at a $10 balance. And, I sometimes make the rounds picking up empty soda water cans to redeem for deposit. Yet, I smile for I am convinced that I was ‘chosen’ (many are called, few are chosen) and I have been – and continue to be — blessed with a ‘purposeful’ life. Black Power!
‘Don’t forget our reparations’.
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We are all works in progress.
Undying love for Black people!