Ten Things Young Men of Colour Should Learn To Do
By John F. DuBose
No part of this book may be copied
or used without the expressed permission
of the author
Here is the way we say it, “Yea baby I love you. I will be there always
for you. I will not be like all those others who leave you to your troubles. So
Let’s make love.” The end result is a baby. A life that is asking you to keep the
promises you made to get the sex. Does this sound familiar? If it does, then
read this book. If it does not read it and give to a Young man who has made a
baby and now sees his love as sex. Somewhere in North Carolina there is a
young woman who is or is not wondering what her father is doing. Right now
her father is wishing he had been more of part of her life. Right now, her father
is trying to build something that he did not know how to build. A family, a
smart woman named Carol saw that this man was running and let him run. Now
another smart woman named Loyce is letting him run again. This man is done
running and ready to search his inner self and find that which he should NOT be
doing. Today’s technology has given us the Internet. Anything that we wish to
find is there; we have to be willing and ready to accept it. The problem is how
to get rid of the old things that is not working. How to stop doing what is not
working? The question is what these things are. Some of these things sit right at
the top of ourselves and are easy to part with. Some things are so deep within
us that to part with them would mean to give up what keeps us strong. If it is
wrong then the strength is false. There is no other way of putting it. Caring a
gun in the streets or in school to show your strength is not showing strength, it
is showing fear. Your fear and the people who you inflict with this fear.
I am writing this book to help me face and overcome some of the things in my
life, which help me become a better example in which my children will follow.
All Young Men of Colour out there should take a moment and look at them
lives. Look and ask them, if today was the last day they had to live, what would
they be able to say they left in their memory that; 1) They would like others to
remember them by and; 2) That was good? I use to, when I was a child, cry
myself to sleep promising myself that when I grew up the family I started would
not be sunk in as much pain as I felt mine was in. The problem was the pain
was not my families but how I saw and interpreted my life? I did not learn so the
pain regenerated itself at a later date until I was forced to see that the life I had
tried to get away from I had created. Why? Who cares really? The object was to
get rid of the pain. I did not have to try to figure out why, all I had to do was
honestly look at the pain and the why would answer it. So, this is not so much a
“How To” as it is a “How done” with the “done” part still being worked on. Is
this not what life is all about?
TEN THINGS YOUNG MEN OF COLOUR
SHOULD LEARN TO DO.
1) Learn how to make love, not make babies.
2) Learn how to raise your consciousness without raising your voice
3) Learn to teach
4) Learn who the real Master/Slave is
5) Learn what Values, Beliefs, and Norms are
6) Learn when to fight
7) Learn ask your father for forgiveness and acceptance
8) Learn your History and not your hatred of History
9) Learn to put the word “friend” before race
10) Learn to pray
Learn to make love, not make babies.
While deployed during Operation Desert Shield/Storm we were
invaded with letters and cards form people who wished to be pen pals to single
soldiers. I was single. Someone gave me a pile of letters and said write to them,
“That’s an order”. So, I did. I wrote to kids in school and to veterans of other
wars. And I wrote to a lady named Carol. We corresponded for some time and
after the war was over we met up and stayed together for some time. We were
sexually active but not sexually smart. She gave birth to a girl. I say she
because I was long gone from the service and in NY getting drunk in bar when
our daughter was born. I was not thinking about being a father or being a
husband at the time. My drunkenness took my life. Alcoholism usually takes
any life down that is affected by it. I signed back up into the military and before
I was to go I was sent to Panama where I met Loyce. I had little money and was
dry as a drunk could be. We fell in love (this time I cooked her dinner before
we became sexually active), and we got married. I got stationed at the same
base I was before and as I was building a new life my old one came back.
Loyce knew about my past but only what I had told her. As my first daughter
came back into my life another one was coming into my life. Faith. Carol said
she did not want anything to do with me and only wanted me to help her pay off
some of the hospital bills. A smart move on her part for my drinking had
returned in full force and it was destroying my present family. After my second
term in service was up Loyce (who was a government schoolteacher in Panama)
applied to go back overseas. To this day I don’t think she would have allowed
me to come had I not gotten help to stop drinking. It has been a few years now
and Carol still wants nothing to do with me and I still give Loyce reason to
doubt her decision (not because of alcohol, but because of the process of me
recovery). There was a time in my life that I felt that my children were a
testament to my existence. But when I look at my sisters who are still raising
their kids without fathers I have to ask myself? Shouldn’t I, as a young man of
colour think first about the love I give to another as a testament to my
existence? Anyone can make a child and we as young men of colour have
proven that. But what about the love. Were we giving anything other than the
physical act of love? What about the emotional part of love. Why do we as
young men of colour marry? If we do at all? What is a young man of color’s
love worth? Is the worth only in the money, cars, and jeweler we give a lady?
Is there love in how we feel towards a lady? If it is then how can we show it
before we are shown the door? Love is a very special thing to give to anyone.
And sometimes we get hurt. Not wanting to feel pain could be the thing that
stops us as young men of colour from feeling and giving love. This was the case
for me. I did not cry did not allow myself to get upset when words were said to
me that hurt. I fought it off sometimes physically, In order for men of colour to
learn how to make love and not babies; we must learn one basic fact: That love
It is OK to feel hurt when some lady breaks your heart. We must ask ourselves,
what positive things we have learned about what hurts us. This is a hard lesson
to learn. This is the thing you need to learn to share with yourself first. Because
this is what makes you learn how to love. You are looking for the good in what
feels bad, not what is bad. Remember this.
I have tried to tackle this issue for his is the strongest issue that faces men of
colour today. When we look at our communities and our world we are faced
with the fact that many families are without the full substance of a family and
we have had to make due and survive. When I was growing up I was shifted
from foster home, to mom’s and to dads on a regular basis and I like most felt
this was the way of the world. But is this the way of God? That our families
be split and be raised by whomever was telling the same tale our absent parent
told. Think about it this way for a moment. If the year was 1699 and blacks
were still slaves, would not the master benefit from the broken family. Is not the
idea of “divide and conquer” what has led to the downfall of most free people?
We could be leaders! If we understood how the leaders came to power. But it
is not power we are after here. It is an understanding of our love and ourselves.
The love of a child abandoned. When we are brought back to this point does
the power seems all that important? When we are brought back to the mother of
this child we have left to care and raise, one question comes to mind. Have we
learned, generations ago, from our masters how to be fathers? Is this the way
our ancestors cared for their wives and children? Did they show love before
they were taken and shown hate? I wonder if three to four generations of hate are
enough to begin to say “no more”. I wonder if one-day young men of colour
could begin a new generation that does not allow the past to have so much
power over the present and the future. The Children of Palestine today are
showing that they feel remorse for what has been done in the past to the
children Israel and are ready to heal with love and not perpetuate the hatred and
visa versa. I wonder if three or four generations of hatred are enough. Are we
ready to learn how to make love before we start to make babies?
Learn to raise your consciousness without raising your voice.
This is a paraphrase of quote I saw one day related to Gandhi. I was
charged by the thought that I could raise my level of thinking, my understanding
of the world and not raise my voice. I saw a history of violence and bloodshed
in young neighborhoods that cried out for justice from the system. I saw how
loud the voices of all people of colour have been raised and all the coalitions
and actions committees that have been formed in order to make this voice heard.
Then I saw when I went home to my ghetto how little a difference that loud
voice had made in changing my home. I saw how this loud voice only taught
others how to speak loudly. I don’t think any child fully hears their parents when
they are yelling at them. I know my own children did not. I tried something one
day. We were sitting at the table eating breakfast and my oldest daughter was
banging her fork on the table. I was about to yell at her when I stopped, looked
her dead in the eye and quietly asked her to stop please. She said sorry daddy
and stopped. That was it. Is it not amazing, how by not raising my voice I
raised my own awareness and my daughters? The problem with adults is that
we tend to let the banging of a fork build other frustrations like work, money, a
flat tire and (for some men of colour) the older frustrations of race. If you put
all these frustrations together it is no wonder why some people (even me)
explode over a fork banging. Young men of colour need to understand that our
voices have been conditioned to be louder than any others in a crowd. The
question is anybody listening? Do you think your children will listen to a man?
who is constantly yelling orders out at them? Or do you think your children
will listen to your smile as you speak with kind words of love. Will they go out
into the world and yell out orders as well expecting others to listen? Politicians
yell and we don’t hear what they are saying. We hear the force in their voice.
Does anyone know that Social Security is not a political issue because by law it?
has always been paid back no matter how much money the politicians say the other side is taking from it. Or do we hear the way in which the speaker is
speaking. Thinking that this is the way my father spoke to get us to do things
when I was young so this politician must be able to get things done. Wrong.
The consciousness of a whole nation was lifted when Gandhi chose too not raise
his voice but just tell what was in his heart and what he saw. He had spent
years as a lawyer in a courtroom yelling his point to persuade others to believe
his side. One day he felt it was time to stop yelling and telling the truth. In the
early and mid-sixties Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. decides to follow the path of
non-violence in order to raise the consciousness and awareness of an entire
nation to the injustice that existed in America towards ALL MINORITIES. He
did not do as his enemy did (note that enemy is not a race, but a type of person),
he did not hang, he did not kill, he did not curse, he did not spray with hoses, he
did not hide. He walked to his enemy and without yelling raised the
consciousness of his enemy, and his nation. Around the same time Malcolm X
was yelling and talking of violence against this same enemy. He was raising the
voices of this same nation. But, upon his journey to find his God he came back
a quieter man who did not yell for violence. I feel his consciousness had been
raised. It was at the time when both of these men began to see the same path
that they were killed.
Raising your consciousness without raising your voice only entails one
thing. The willingness to change. If you are truly willing to change your
nation, your ghetto, yourself, you must first be truly willing to give up all and
start over. Much like the wealthy lawyer who had all the money and prestige
one could need but is remembered for what became. Much like Dr. King and
Malcolm X who are remembered for the level to which they brought the world.
These men were not for the fame but, yet they were trying to release us form the
pain. The pain that is like a loud voice echoing throughout the years. It is and
always will be the gentile words that keep us going even when we feel we can’t.
What will you pass on to your children?
Learn to teach
This I feel is the strongest thing a young man of colour can do not only
for himself but also for every young child that I see walking the halls of High
Schools. I substitute at a high school and when I walked in the class the
students say to me “You mean you are our teacher. A Brother”? I am still
amazed at how many young men of colour I do not see in elementary schools or
high schools teaching. It seems to me that the only teachers of colour I see are
women. For this I am proud for my second grade teacher Mrs. Sanders was
hard but I looked up to her for she had done something most men had not at that
time, and still have not done, something for the children. I will get my class
someday soon and I will fight to give to children what I feel they deserve first.
The belief that anything is possible. All my male role models were in the street
selling dope and now they are selling killer crack. There is something to be
gained form teaching that can only be felt. I see kids in school looking for a
direction. Not an answer to life’s questions, for most has realized that not too
many people have them. These young ladies and gentlemen want to know what
the right thing to do is. This is harder for minorities for they are being told from
older generation that the ‘right thing’ to do is to live for only the self and not
trust the rest. The problem is at one time or another we will be or become the
“rest”. If we keep creating labels, sooner or later we become those labels (i.e.
racist). Then this answer becomes a greater problem, but the solution has a
brighter outcome. The young should already know what kind of help they will
get if they hey have treated others (does this sound like a guilty conscious). To
teach is to help. To help is to give. To give is to not get, get, get.
If we are giving expecting something back, then we are not helping. If we are
not helping how can we begin to teach? Everyone should take the time and find
out what is involved in teaching. Even if you only volunteer to help (see the
pattern). Not to say that you can do it better for that is looking to GET some kind of recognition. You are learning the skill. A skill is something that you
can pass on to someone who does not have the skill so that they may as well
pass it on to someone else. Teaching is a good place to start. There is also
something you get from this without asking for. You learn the patients of
dealing with children (maybe even your own). You also get to see the
consciousness of two people raised: Yours and the person you have helped. So
where are the male young teachers of colour? Are they hiding afraid that they
may run into one of their many children in class? Are they still sitting behind?
bars complaining that life is not fair? Yes and no. They are there and they are
sitting in a high school classroom somewhere waiting for someone to teach
them that anything is possible.
Learn who the real Master/Slave is
This level of consciousness is the hardest for Young men to rise
above. History has shown us the horrors of the many different races and many
different religions. Why do I have to ask is so important to relive this pain and
this injustice again and again? If I see injustice I address the injustice as
strongly as I can and pray for the other person and myself that I do not see in
that person the injustice. Then I move on with my life and look towards my
future. I remember something that I learned recently. It may sound old to some
and new to others. Yesterday is History. History cannot be changed.
Tomorrow is unknown. You cannot change what is unknown. Today is
constantly moving, so why do we keep using the past as an example of today’s
problems? Has nothing really changed? It scares me to think that this is true.
That we still live in a slave master society where we are by law not allowed to
read and write. It scares me to think that we still live in a society where,
because I am Black I must go to a Black school and work with ten-year-old
It scares me to think that the only job my daughters will be able to hold is a
minimum wage job. It scares me to think that people still think this is the
present. For it is only a memory of what was. Change occurs when we learn
that change is constant. It does not happen once. Change occurs and sit by the
wayside waiting for us to take it farther than it has taken us. This is change.
Blacks are free, what do we do with it. Do we sit and build a case to preach?
every time something does not go “our way” (remember getting). Do we take
this freedom farther than it has already taken us? Where are we today as young
men? Still looking for someone to hang the psychological title “master” on so
we can say that they are racist, and that they are holding us (young men of
By putting someone in the psychological role of master means that you have put yourself in the role of slave. A slave is no longer a slave when he/she
feels they are no longer a slave. Our Grandparents did not feel like slaves even
as the masters were calling them slaves. So why and when do/did we think of
ourselves as slaves I feel it was when the racism of such mobs as the kkk (I
don’t think they deserve the title organization) came about. It was only then did
the young men of colour feel like he was a slave. It was fear and it is this fear
turned into rage that keeps the young men of colour in the role of not slave but
yet, revolting slave. But revolting against what? It is time to stop seeing the
rest of the world as our judges and see them as we see ourselves. The question
is do you see yourself as a slave? If you do who do you see as the master? If
you see yourself as the master, whom do you see as the slave? If you are a drug
dealer this is easy. If you are a blue-collar worker this is or is not easy. But the
fact that you see yourself as either is a problem. Slavery is illegal. There are no
more masters here on earth. So, if you feel like a slave the thing to think about
is not whom, but what are you a slave to? Could it be a way of thinking? Could
it be the past? Or could it be both? It is time for every young man of colour to
begin a journey of self. To truly look within himself and see if there is still a
slave within him that must be set free. For if we do not we will always feel
inferior. Even to a grain of sand in the wind.
Learn what Values, Beliefs, and Norms are.
I value and believe in my family. This is normal
I have learned to value each day as if it were my last and do
whatever I can that add to, and brings about a better tomorrow. I value life, all
life. Not just the life of my wife and children but the life of every child that is
born into this world. I have seen the death first hand that war brings in the 82nd
Airborne and I have become a better person from the horrors I have seen. For
instead of reliving I have taken the time to learn the lessons of war and grow. I
value the laws of my country for I have been to countries that long for a piece of
the democracy that we as Americans take for granted. I value my home for it is
there that I go when the rest of the world seems to be going crazy. It is there
where I bare my all in my studio and to my family. These are a few things that I
value. I mention them for I don’t feel I could ask what anyone’s values were
unless I was sure of what my own were. So, what do men of colour value today?
Not just the ones in jail. Not the ones on their way down that road. Not the ones
who have chosen other roads. But all men of colour. What are the conscious
values of all young men? Mine use to be to survive one more day on crack
alley. Then I realized that my survival depended on what I valued as well and
how strongly I “Believed” in these values. What do you value? My beliefs
are ever progressing and evolving as I come into my being. For one, what I
value I truly believe in. Next I believe that if I am truly good in every way I can
that this will reflect and affect the people around me. So, I maintain the belief
that the truth will set you free. That life is what you first, perceive it as and
then, how you react to this perception. I maintain the belief that God cares. Do
all these sound pretty corny? That is because we perceive them to be. The truth
usually sounds corny, far-fetched, even odd, but the truth is never right in front
of you. You usually have to go through something else to get to this truth that
you are seeking. This is my belief. What are the beliefs of men of colour
today? What is the norm? Is the norm the public opinion? Is the norm what is being said on the talk shows? Is the norm what you read in papers? Are any
of these the norm or are they affecting the norm and manipulating what is the
norm so much out of perspective to the point where we need others to tell us
what the norm actually is. I feel my norm is what I get when I put what I value
with what I believe in all my daily affairs. No one can break what I consider the
norm just as much as you cannot stop a man from drinking until he feels it is
time to stop. I came to this conclusion when I felt that no matter what I did to
wife would not let me in to be apart of the healing that we both needed to share
in just as much as we shared in the hurting of my alcoholism, as much as I
wanted to be there for her. There were things that she had to go through alone
and there were things that we had to go through together if we were going to
truly heal. I realized this one-day and also realized that I was OK finally. I
realized that I had to believe in who I had become and like it just as much as I
did when I was drinking. I valued my sobriety and I believed in my sobriety.
In doing all I needed to do and still listening to suggestions when she gave
them. But I was moving slower to act for I was coming into a level of
consciousness that most people who don’t have a dependency take for granted.
That is if they know they don’t have one for many people walk around thinking
nothing is wrong with them, so they never feel they have to do a searching of
themselves until they break (Sound like a mid-life crisis). No one is truly
And the man of colour who comes out his slave role should not feel the opposite
should be the norm. The norm is that which sits inside of you that maybe no but
you and your God truly know. Your norms are not what you say makes you
normal. Your norms are you actions and how much you keep to what you value
and what you believe in. No television show can truly define what the norm of
our society should be it is up to individual to decide. I can only pray that it is to
do the right thing.
Learn when to fight
I do not fight any more. By this I mean that I do not use physical
force to solve situations and problems in my life. I do not raise my hand. So, I
will learn how not to raise my voice as loud as I do (remember no one is
perfect). I am working at finding not peace but yet serenity. Serenity is what
you feel when you are able to remain calm in a stressful situation. In my case it
is at home I still feel stress. Still attempting to correct the wrongs of my past.
When I take a moment to meditate I realize I am not trying to make up for the
fighting that occurred at home but yet all the fighting I did in my life. When I
was younger I knew what faced men of colour and I knew I had to fight to get
what I wanted out of life. I knew that my colour would hold me back and slow
me down to the life that I was deserved. I thought I knew. Waking one day I
realized that this is the same thing that many Aryan militia groups preach, that
they deserve these rights. That minorities are taking over and that they must
fight and take back America. Who is the bad guy in this argument? Both are
the bad guys for minorities are not taking over the country, they/we are just
entering into the theater of life and work and males of Caucasian descent are
only trying to take over a system that their ancestors (rich land owning
Caucasians) made. You cannot go back and change the past or its progress and
if you are not objectively looking at your today, your tomorrow becomes
clouded with subjectivity. When this conflict arises most males (of all colour)
fight for the words they have used begin to apply to all and not just to one
person, group, or race.
I am learning how to take the energy and feelings felt when I see a fight
coming and turn them towards alternate solutions. Is this not what all men of
peace searching for serenity do? War is fighting. Fighting is not peace. The
opposite of peace is war. There is the circle of fighting. Men of colour have
strength within them that has withstood generations of hate, of hurting and of death. If fighting is the answer (and believe me I don’t think it is), then let us do
it right. Put down the guns, the knives and the weapons and fight. If this is the
only way to release this tension then do so. And when the fighting is all done
let there be no more fighting again. Let this fight be the last fighting ever done.
Is it possible? Can people ever let go of the need to fight? This is the true
lesson to learn in order to fight. Alcoholics truly stop drinking when they
accept the fact that they will never have a drink again. When they can see a life
without that which has been a driving force in their life. Imagine your life
without fighting. Realized that today is the last day you will ever fight,
physically, emotionally and mentally. How would your life be? Would it be
war? Or would your life be peace? Which would you prefer? Which would the
person sitting next to you prefer?
Learn to ask your father for forgiveness and acceptance.
My dad and mom
I am the youngest of six kids and the second one to graduated High
School (let us not go back that far). Graduation did not hold any special
meaning to me other than the fact that I had more time to paint, write poetry and
music. The crowd I hung out were called “punks” but as if this meant anything
to my father. He felt I was going to die in some attic unknown and poor. He
wanted his children to stand for something for him as a father. I always thought
this was odd for I remember one the few times my father and mother attempted
to get back together he admitted that he used to be a street artist. He proved this
by drawing a picture of my sister Carlene in no time at all with great detail. He
did not know this is what made me decide to become an artist. This was to me
how I could stand for my father (or for all he did not get a chance to stand for
starting a family so young).
I was a loose cannon after High School, going to a lot of parties. I went
to a party on Thanksgiving and at the time I was living with my father in a small
one bedroom furnished apartment. My father slept on the couch. The landlady
lived upstairs and let her presence be well known to say the least.
On that night when I got home from the party I had the munches and was
cooking the Carswell special (two eggs, toast, and coffee minus Grits. They
were not my favorite) when the light bulb went out in my room that had a bed
so big I could hardly fit all the paintings I had painted in High School in. There
were drapes on the wall and a large dresser that my father and I both shared.
Being young and drunk something possessed me to light a birthday candle for
light and then go the bathroom. When I came out of the bathroom I found that
the whole room was in flames. I went upstairs to get the landlady and her meek
husband. The fire engines came, and we were left in the street, cold. Then as if
things could not get worse my father came up the street from the bar. After
talking to the landlady he got the idea that I was trying to kill him and chased me down the street. I did not look back to see his face I just ran. I ran about 7
miles out to the party that I had just left to find the chaperone/parents had called
it a night. These parents were my self-appointed Godparents. I told them what
had happen and my godfather agreed with my father that I was trying to kill
him. Well needless to say that I left there too and went to sleep in the woods
from Thanksgiving until January 22 when my mom and my stepfather came to
town and brought me to the next town over where they got me into college and
an apartment. I saw my father a while later to ask him for bus fare for college
and he was still angry to say the least. That was 1984 and I did not see my
father again until I came back from Desert Storm in 1991 where he tried to offer
me some money. I did not accept. I left and did not see my father again until
1999 when I was married to Loyce with two daughters Faith 2 1/2 and Chase 6
I went to see my father because regrettably after 15 years I learned that I
would never be able to accept or understand forgiveness until me myself learned
to give my forgiveness. I could not see in 1991 that my father was extending
his hand to me. I saw only the money. I did not see that my father was trying to
correct a wrong done. He was starting with the last memory he had and
working from there. I still had memories of death and destruction I had
witnessed in Desert Storm. I mixed this vision with only the vision of anger my
father and I felt. This was not a good mixture. Needless to say, for 15 years I
had created an absent father. Something most young men would do anything to
not have to experience. I told my father in the summer of 1999 that I came to
show him his grandchildren. This was nothing new he already had about 17 and
about 3 great grandchildren. I was just the last to be born and the last to have
kids. I told my father that I wanted him to know that I was more proud of him
for the man he was than I was for the man who drew that picture of Carlene.
My father worked 22 years at the same job and never missed a day of work.
There are so many young men of colour out there who don’t know who their father is. Who have barely seen their father for he took the road away
from instead of towards his family, his home? I became one of these men. I
left a woman alone in NC with child and upon contacting her; I was told that it
was too late. Before we as men of colour loose our place in the family we have
created we must realize that we must first make amends within the house we
may have lit the match to. If you look onto your father’s eyes and ask him to
forgive you do you think he will? Do you think he will ask the same of you?
Think about this next time you find yourself praying to “Our Father”.
Learn your History and not your hatred of History
I am presently living in the country of Iceland with my wife, Loyce and
two daughters, Faith and Chase. We have been here for three years now and
have no real plans on leaving anytime soon. I substitute at the high school when
they call and there is something I saw at the school that made me think, being a
European History major. I notice that many men of colour view on history is
that more of hatred than of knowledge and understanding. I was attempting to
figure out how to bring some life into history for all students when I realized
that I also had a hatred for history. My hatred was based on facts in history of
the injustice my own country had done to all men and women of colour. Every
time I focused on American History I was reminded of these injustices. I
realized this was why I was drawn to European History and not American
History. It is hard to want to study the past for a High school student when the
present is so out of control (This is the view of the student and not the parent).
It is hard to study the past when its memory is crowded with wrongs that have
been done. I asked myself how much time we spend (as teachers) teaching
the pain of history and how much time we spend teaching the pleasures of
history. I also wondered if learned to look at history as something that has
passed and is only there to teach the good along with the bad. I feel that if
history was more Humanity based and not dictating of facts we could all learn
the culture of America as it flourished and not the facts as they are presented to
the jury. Before the 1970’s Juries were all White males whose verdict were
based on beliefs and past experiences. If history was on trial and the jury was
women and men of colour what do you think the verdict would be? If we taught
the Humanities and the Humanity of History what do you think the verdict
would be? Would History survive? I felt I had to look at the humanity of
history and not my hatred of history for what it had done to all women and men
colour. History cannot be changed. It must be accepted and understood. If not men of colour will perpetuate a cycle of hatred that today, extremist groups
seem to be bringing back upon us and turning us into the ones we hated so
strongly at one time, not so long ago it seems.
It is time for all men of colour to learn their history and leave their hatred of
history out of the picture, for history is our best and sometimes, our only
teacher. Just be wary of those who interpret history.
Learn to put the word “friend” before “race”.
One day while substitute teaching I was struck by something one of the
students said. Or should I say could not say. To start off let me say that there
are no men of colour teaching at either the High School or the Elementary?
school, so when I walked in the doors the first time the class is a bit taken back
to see me subbing. Well it was a minute or two before the bell rang and this one
student was trying to describe this boy who was interested in this girl to her.
Every time he used a word to describe this boy he looked at me cautiously as if
he were trying not to say something. Just as he was about lost for words to
describe this boy a young man of colour walked in and the first student ask him
to describe the interested party to this girl. This young man of colour said,
“You know that black kid named such and such on the varsity team.” The girl
immediately knew who the young man of colour was talking about and the first
student was looking at me. Another time I had this sort of experience was
in a writer’s group here. This lady was telling me one night as I was giving her
a ride home that she was not prejudice because she had black friends and
Hispanic friends and she even dated a black guy once. I thought of this when I
looked at these students face for it was the second time I had asked myself why?
Why do we constantly put race first and friend second when we describe people.
I felt bad for that student for he probably felt using race to describe this other
student would offend me. It probably would have but I don’t feel I would have
addressed it to him in front of the other students. But I did address the lady
whom I gave a ride home to. I told her my friends were my friends first. Then
they were a close friend or not. Then, if they were close, they were
understanding and compassionate or straight forward and blunt. Then they were
morally strong or still searching. On and on until I had explained what is a friend to me? But one of the last words I tried to use to describe one of my
friends are race. I feel we use race to define our fiends as if we did not say we had a black friend or an Asian friend we would get hounded for being a racist (all racist is not Caucasian). There was a time when this was a strong thing. But if it still as
strong a thing as it was in the 60’s and 70’ then it only proves that we have not
progressed at all. It means that the rules of racism still apply today as strong as
they did in the 60’s and 70’s. Yes we all live together and work together but if
we are still defining friendship by race first, then only half of a “Dream” has
Learn to pray
There are no words that I can say to convince anyone that prayer will
save them or explain anything deeper to them. Prayer is as personal as one’s
relationship with their God (I say “their” for everyone is different with different
directions laid out for them by God). I feel that everyone will find their own
relationship with God in their own time. I do not intend this tenth statement or
this book to change anyone into anything. I only wish to share with you, the
reader, some of the things I have done as a man of colour to understand my
history and the part that I play in it and Gods plans. So, I will not tell you how
to pray. Nor will I tell you what to pray. I will just share one prayer that I find,
upon reflection, brings me the most peace.
Grant me the serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change.
Courage to change
the things I can.
And the wisdom
to know the difference.
You must learn your Humanity
Before you can understand you History.
John F. DuBose