A Dialogue on Survival and Healing

{There's a problem in our community}

[I know. These police officers are getting out of hand.]

{That's not what I meant. I mean there's a problem between parents and offspring.}

[What do you mean? My son is learning to be a man.]

{Are you sure that's what you're teaching him? How to be a man?}

[Yes. I'm not teaching how to stand tall and survive with the skin he was born with.]

{So you're teaching him survival. That sounds more like your plan.}

[What's the difference? At least I'm around. Without a father figure, he'd turn into a little bitch.]

{We need to be teaching healing too. Otherwise, teaching survival has no point to it.}

[Don’t tell me how to raise my son. You focus on your kid and what he’s doin’.]

{See that’s what I mean we’re teaching them to push through instead of to heal.}

[Push through? The push through for my son is when he pushes to the endzone on the field.]

{Bump that field. That’s not the point. You’re teaching tough skin. That’s not okay for us.}

[Tough skin is what we need. What, is your boy gay or sum?]

{If he was I’d still love him, and if it hurt me I’d work on healing--}

[Bump all this faggot shit, I don’t give a fuck about no feelings.]

{That’s the point. As a community we teach our boys that we only need to be angry or happy.}

[Fuck this emotional shit. You gettin real sappy.]

{Just bear with me bruh. I need you to understand that we’re not doing this right. We need to learn from old mistakes. Our fathers --}

[Don’t bring my daddy into this! He’d turn in his grave!]

{I’m sorry then. My dad taught me if I get knocked down, no matter what I need to get back up.}

[Sounds good to me. Just sounds like you got knocked down a lot huh?]

{I did. But what happens if I fall and I hurt myself or hurt someone else tryna rise again?}

[If after the tenth and eleventh time trying, You better stop trying ‘cause you’ll never win.]

{You not listening. You in left field you need to stop being so hard on him and try this --}

[Don’t gimme none of that Oprah bullshit. Ain’t no son of mine cryin’]

{It’s okay to be a man and cry. Don’t try to put all your emotions in a punching bag.}

[My boy better. ‘Cause I sure as hell ain’t raisin’ no fag.]

{There you go again. Emotions don’t make you automatically gay.}

[Then what do they do? ‘Cause they sure as hell don’t make you straight?]

{They make us human. Men. People who help other people and help ourselves.}

[Well my boy ain’t gon be some therapist so you can put that back on the shelf.]

{You ever heard of Black Boy Joy? No? That’s the issue in itself. We spend so much time trying to teach our sons that it’s not okay to show emotions other than happiness and anger. We teach them that real men don’t cry and that the ones who do are “sissies,” “pushovers,” and “fags” now they feel like their masculinity is in danger.}

[I don’t see a issue with that. Emotions are for women and gay boys. Not for men. Not for powerful ones anyway. We’re strong African American men. Being angry is built all in our DNA.]

{But does it have to be? We can be that change that teaches that they can both survive and heal.}

[Man really? You talking to me about changin’ the way I raise my kids? This is all one big bad dream. Ain’t none of this you sayin real.]

{Alright man we’ll see in twenty years when my son is able to talk to my grandson, and yours is beating your grandson for little tears.}

[Bet we’ll see indeed. When my son got girls, money, and the whole world with a smile, and yours is bitchin to a therapist about some bullshit. And that’s guaranteed.]

{Alright. I just wish you would listen so we could change the culture of having no feelings as a black man. We got enough thugs runnin around here emotionless like Tarzan. We got too many funerals and not enough celebrations which is what I want for my boy. Because all we do by teaching them not to express their feelings is teach them to destroy. Destroy relationships. Destroy each other. Destroy their children, destroy their lives. But I understand. You want them to be successful, but you can’t do that if you’re not teaching them to heal. Only to survive.}

 

This poem is about: 
Me
My family
My community
Our world
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 

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