Tag Archives: Africans

No,We Are Not Pregnant.

Last week I wrote a poetic article of gratitude for my mom in honor of her 50th birthday. I was privileged to have the article featured on a popular African blog and had a few people comment on it. Everyone expressed their well wishes for my mom but there was one comment though that got me thinking.

The commenter wished my mom well and said she hopes the upcoming generation can raise children while multitasking as “our” moms did. In this context, “our” moms refers to African mothers/women. For those who are not Africans and might not know about the culture, an African mother is basically EVERYTHING in the home. (This is true for 95% of African households.)

For many of those households, the woman’s place is believed to be in the kitchen but in examining it, it stretches far beyond the kitchen. The African woman/mother is considered the primary domestic; tending the laundry, doing all the household chores, she is expected to bear children and raise them properly while the man is regarded as the king of the household because he goes out to work, he brings home the bacon.  There would have been nothing wrong with this scenario if many African mothers willingly chose to be home-makers, but that is rarely the case in most homes. (topic for another day, I digress).

The comment struck a nerve because it left me wondering if many women in my generation can be an all encompassing woman like “our” mothers; willing to be the brunt of the household and if they honestly “want” kids. Don’t get me wrong, personally heaven knows I love babies and kids. I was a nanny/babysitter for about five years, I grew up in a big family and I “practically” raised our last born. I am surrounded by nephews and nieces every where in my family and I have been on Godmother duties for about 3 years now. So you see, I am constantly being hedged by kids.

I am positive there are women who feel a certain nag in the gut about whether or not they want to procreate kids themselves either biologically or otherwise. From where I stand, the world we live in today is becoming very peculiar and the results from the lens with which I am observing that world looks very gloomy. If many of these women are looking at the world the way I am, I think a lot will be leaning towards the nay side of that argument and here is why:

  • Will Your Partner Be Committed?

A few days back, there was an article published on this same popular site which struck a nerve with a lot of people and everyone was agreeing with it, yours truly inclusive (this post is partly inspired by the article). The article discussed the nature of the African man, his pride and ill manners and the little or almost non-existent help they offer to their partners in marriage because of the way they were raised.I am very open when it comes to dating, not limited to my African brothers alone( I am generous like that…lol) which I am sure many women are. But just in case you end up the African brother (or any man) whose thinking faculties still reside in 1980, do you really want to start a family with him? With a man who believes it is a woman’s duty to do everything in the house and raise the kids properly without any form of contribution from him except financially? A man who would be afraid to express his emotions before his kids because according to him, it makes him look weak? A man who thinks bringing home the bacon is all there is to keeping a happy home? A man who would not change diapers because he grew up knowing that it was a woman’s duty and not his? God forbids that any one ends up with such a man but if that were to be the case, I am sure you would be leaning towards the negative side of the equation about not having kids.

  • Peer Pressure

We all know there is no handbook for raising kids out there and especially none on how to be the “best” parent or ” perfect” parent to your kids. (Trust me, those books out there claiming to be expert advice are only guess work). Every parent who made the conscious decision to have kids do the very best that they can to raise their children in the very best way that they know how to. Being a nanny for that many years, I know first hand that you only have that much time to shape your child’s thought process and empower them. It is those early years between the ages of 0-10. After that, you have to rely on prayers because your child would be fair game to whoever has a more convincing voice when they are not around you. You want to teach your child independence and protect them at the same time, so it becomes a bit of dilemma. I am sure if many parents had their way, they would follow their kids every step of their life and choose their friends. But we live in a realistic world where that is just not possible. If you are unfortunate to have a child who can be easily swayed, can you imagine what influence their peers would have on them? It can go either way, bad influence or good influence.? So there is that fear sometimes because God – willing, we would all do our darnedest to raise the best kids, but what about those times when they are not around us, when we cannot control what they consume emotionally, physically, and spiritually? God help us because  this is a legitimate concern.

  • Does he/she really want kids.

No one and I dare say no one African person (except me of course..lol)  wants to believe that not everyone is cut out for having kids and that not everyone is fit to have them or that not everyone wants them in the first place. I know this is not just relegated to Africans as I stumbled on an article some months back on Yahoo about a Caucasian lady who tied her tubes at 26 because she was convinced she never wanted to have anything to do with children. The amount of backlash she received on that article was enough to send her reeling into a hole never to peep out again. The only comment I might have agreed with on the article was someone who said she should have given herself until her 30s to do that because as humans, we change our minds all the time. I don’t even want to imagine what people would have said if that same article found it’s way on this popular African site.( My African people would have helped her parents curse the day she was born albeit unsolicited). We have already established that there is no guide to parenting set in stone, but I am sure most of us have witnessed some parents in action and shook our heads in denial of those actions. There are those whom after careful observation, you can deduce that they unfit to parent? So why would all these people go ahead to have kids if they were honest with themselves in the first place? In most cases, the woman falls culprit the most and the men get off pretty easy. No one questions the man when he gets a vasectomy young or when he decides to not be a father, but it is another ball game when it comes to women. Also, the man can just become a deadbeat dad and whilst that is not acceptable, he will get away with it. But it is hard for a woman with conscience to walk away like that, which leaves us with many disgruntled parents who had kids not because they wanted them but because they were trying to conform to society.

  • The World Is No Longer Safe

If you are looking to be depressed, you need not look any further than the nightly news and the local news is the worst offender. Almost every minute there is something atrocious happening somewhere in the world and it is scary. I am sure many people who consider starting a family think about these things. If you are not in the 1% of the world, then you are living every day looking over your shoulder because there is no telling where the next ill is coming from. The natural disasters have multiplied by a zillion with earthquakes, mudslides and tornadoes threatening from all angles. Air travel which used to be considered one of the safest is slowly becoming one of the worst; who would have thought that sending your kid to be an exchange student would result in them becoming a casualty on a plane ? Just staying in your house these days doesn’t seem to be a good preventive mechanism anymore as stray bullets are constantly flying in the air. There is a saying that ” it takes a village to raise a child”, well, these days, it takes the same village to kill a child. So many people taking this into consideration will decide to just ride solo.

  • Freedom

Whether you agree with me or not, having children takes away some level of your freedom which many people are not just ready to give up yet. Even for those who can afford to employ nannies, it is not easy to just get up and go. You can’t do that anymore,not with children who depend on you. Your every move and activity revolves around those children. Even when you are able to have the night off and go on date with hubby, your mind is never off your children.I know because I was a nanny for those many years. Now imagine what it must be like for those who can’t afford a nanny/babysitter. There are people who want to earn just enough to look after themselves and having kids means working extra hard, double hours and forgoing so many things like clubbing and all which they are not ready to. For these people, having kids is not part of the equation.

These are just some of the reasons why some people may decide to not have kids and it is entirely their prerogative. I don’t think anyone should judge them for it or hold them in contempt because those who have kids also made a decision to have them. Everyone is free to live their life in the way that they see fit and I don’t think they owe anyone any explanations for those decisions or be looked down on because of them. Life is full of choices and not having kids is one of them. We have just one life to live and we deserve to live the very best version of it even if that version doesn’t include kids. Live and let live.

I’d like to know, what is your take? Hope you have a nice start to the weekend.

 

The Racist In Us All.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to have the facts, neither am I an insider. These are just my opinions and views.

Last Sunday, the world watched in awe how the rich fraternize, banter and enjoy each other in an exquisite environment much to the delight of the rest of us. We even watched them eat pizza in attempt to show that though surrounded by all the glitz and glamor, they are very much like us.

The beautiful gowns were on display, eye-catching jewelry with dapper and elegant suits, all of them, the envy of us all…the onlookers. I loved Ellen as the host, not that my opinion matters after-effects. It wasn’t just the designers who scored big that night, Lupita’s lip-gloss maker apparently did too. The lip-gloss she gave Ellen during the show in place of change for pizza, went flying off the shelves the next day. It was unfortunate that pizza guy’s pizza was a perishable item, if not, it would have been out of supply too. On the bright side, that pizza chain must be getting mad business (didn’t see the name) just for getting featured on such a huge platform.

Most of us must have gotten lost in that make-believe world with all its allure and enchantment, forgetting that even though the atmosphere looked very relaxed and laissez-faire, it is hard work that got each and every one of those stars in that room. This year as had been reported was one of the hardest to predict at the Oscars and it was because every one nominated performed exceptionally well and were deserving of their nomination.

But in the weeks leading up to the Oscars, Lupita Nyong’o had been all the buzz and even post-Oscars. If you were not watching her make an appearance on a TV show, then you were either seeing her grace the covers of numerous magazines or reading her up on countless blogs. She became quite the rave of the moment and deservedly so.

I am very very happy for her, that all her training at Yale School of Drama and her hard work is finally paying off; but it seems to me like the world is more focused on her skin complexion than her amazing talent. There has been more talk about her dark complexion than about the brilliant and heart-wrenching performance she delivered in 12 Years A Slave.

Hollywood seems to have found its new muse while the black community, especially ,Africans seem to have found a new face to represent them. It appears to me that she is being celebrated for the wrong reasons.

We live in America.Land of the free, where equality and liberty is for all and where opportunities abound for every body irrespective of skin color.And I like to believe that it is because of this that the casting director cast Lupita in the movie after seeing how talented she was. But I can’t help thinking that all the hype surrounding her has been mainly because and around her skin.

Lupita’s skin is flawless no doubt. Silky, smooth and spotless. It is very enticing and rich and a great part of me thinks Hollywood took so much to her because of it, because it is black gold which they can milk and mint money out of. No wonder the countless magazine covers and blog features. They are fully aware of this and are using her as a marketing tool to market their countless products.

I pray that is not the case but since it seems so, what does it say of Hollywood? We are not really done with slavery then are we? If the main reason why Hollywood espoused Lupita is because of her skin, then they have completely sold her short and her success has been built on a fallacy. Many people auditioned for that role, but you imagine what it would mean if or what is says if Lupita only got the role because she was the darkest of them all and not because she carried the weight that the part demanded?. That would mean, even though not in chains and depicting the story of a woman enduring pain from the hands of  her captor, Lupita has been indirectly dealt the same fate of the studios choosing her because she was dark enough.

And the designers and magazines? Same thing. I am sure they chose her because they feel their designs and clothes would stand out on a complexion like hers. You would see Lupita, but really, what you are focused on are the clothes. They are mining the gold that is her body to their benefits, much to the delusion of those who look to her as inspiration for success.

Blacks now feel a certain sense of credibility and pride because of her. They are in a silent war with who knows, trying as much as possible to claim her as their own and not “theirs”. They are the first to tell you that if she was as light as Beyonce or as brown as Gabrielle Union, she wouldn’t have gotten the role of her lifetime. The role that would catapult her to heights she might have never even dreamed of. She needed to have dark-skin to have been cast, thereby implying that her complexion might have been the only thing that worked in her favor, not her talent and hard work.

What does this say about us a people, as a human race?, who claim to have seen the light and are being fair to grant every body the opportunity to prove themselves and celebrate people for their tough grind. Isn’t it the racists in Hollywood then, the designers and magazines that chose Lupita not because of her ability but appearance? And isn’t it the racists in the blacks that rejoices and associates with her because they feel she is the real definition of ‘black’.

Since she came into the spotlight, there has been more debate and talk about what beauty really is, especially for the black community. It seems as though Lupita has set the new terms of beauty: dark skin. There are a myriad of skin complexions in the world and you would find more shades of that in the black race than any other race. The whites are just white. Plain and simple. White. That is it. Even those whom you can clearly see and recognize as tanners, are simply white. But when we see a black person, he is either fair/light, chocolate/brown, or dark/black and black people, often times are always the first to make the distinction. Sure there are bleachers too and just like the tanners, it is completely bad for you and could lead to cancer.

But what about those who don’t bleach? Those who are naturally light skin or brown? Where does the new definition of beauty that is Lupita-skin leave them? Aren’t they just as beautiful? Women have been attacking women and blacks have been attacking blacks for not being dark enough like Lupita and accusing the innocent ones of trying to deviate from Lupita-like-skin. Aren’t we all beautiful in our own way? Do we now define beauty in terms of what other people say it is?

We all have the racist bug in us every time we identify with someone else more for their skin color than their brains, when we offer people opportunities not because we believe in their true abilities but what their skin has to offer, when we revere and revel in someone’s success not because their unending toil finally paid off but because we feel their skin got them there, we are racist. We all are.

If we are going to continue to praise Lupita, let it be because her talent and work got her to that position and not because of her skin. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with inspiring a few girls who might need it if they are not confident in themselves. But let us not use her as a standard for beauty, because beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colors. It doesn’t matter if you are brown, orange or black as long as you were born that way. You have to love yourself and accept yourself first before the rest of the world will, which she clearly seems to have.

To borrow Lupita’s mother’s words, you can’t eat beauty. You cannot reap the rewards of beauty but you will reap the rewards of hard work. She said a beautiful speech when she received her award and I end with her words, “no matter where you are from, your dreams are valid”. Your dreams are valid regardless of your skin color as long as you do the work.

The Racist In Us All.

Disclaimer: I do not claim to have the facts, neither am I an insider. These are just my opinions and views.

Last Sunday, the world watched in awe how the rich fraternize, banter and enjoy each other in an exquisite environment much to the delight of the rest of us. We even watched them eat pizza in attempt to show that though surrounded by all the glitz and glamor, they are very much like us.

The beautiful gowns were on display, eye-catching jewelry with dapper and elegant suits, all of them, the envy of us all…the onlookers. I loved Ellen as the host, not that my opinion matters after-effects. It wasn’t just the designers who scored big that night, Lupita’s lip-gloss maker apparently did too. The lip-gloss she gave Ellen during the show in place of change for pizza, went flying off the shelves the next day. It was unfortunate that pizza guy’s pizza was a perishable item, if not, it would have been out of supply too. On the bright side, that pizza chain must be getting mad business (didn’t see the name) just for getting featured on such a huge platform.

Most of us must have gotten lost in that make-believe world with all its allure and enchantment, forgetting that even though the atmosphere looked very relaxed and laissez-faire, it is hard work that got each and every one of those stars in that room. This year as had been reported was one of the hardest to predict at the Oscars and it was because every one nominated performed exceptionally well and were deserving of their nomination.

But in the weeks leading up to the Oscars, Lupita Nyong’o had been all the buzz and even post-Oscars. If you were not watching her make an appearance on a TV show, then you were either seeing her grace the covers of numerous magazines or reading her up on countless blogs. She became quite the rave of the moment and deservedly so.

I am very very happy for her, that all her training at Yale School of Drama and her hard work is finally paying off; but it seems to me like the world is more focused on her skin complexion than her amazing talent. There has been more talk about her dark complexion than about the brilliant and heart-wrenching performance she delivered in 12 Years A Slave.

Hollywood seems to have found its new muse while the black community, especially ,Africans seem to have found a new face to represent them. It appears to me that she is being celebrated for the wrong reasons.

We live in America.Land of the free, where equality and liberty is for all and where opportunities abound for every body irrespective of skin color.And I like to believe that it is because of this that the casting director cast Lupita in the movie after seeing how talented she was. But I can’t help thinking that all the hype surrounding her has been mainly because and around her skin.

Lupita’s skin is flawless no doubt. Silky, smooth and spotless. It is very enticing and rich and a great part of me thinks Hollywood took so much to her because of it, because it is black gold which they can milk and mint money out of. No wonder the countless magazine covers and blog features. They are fully aware of this and are using her as a marketing tool to market their countless products.

I pray that is not the case but since it seems so, what does it say of Hollywood? We are not really done with slavery then are we? If the main reason why Hollywood espoused Lupita is because of her skin, then they have completely sold her short and her success has been built on a fallacy. Many people auditioned for that role, but you imagine what it would mean if or what is says if Lupita only got the role because she was the darkest of them all and not because she carried the weight that the part demanded?. That would mean, even though not in chains and depicting the story of a woman enduring pain from the hands of  her captor, Lupita has been indirectly dealt the same fate of the studios choosing her because she was dark enough.

And the designers and magazines? Same thing. I am sure they chose her because they feel their designs and clothes would stand out on a complexion like hers. You would see Lupita, but really, what you are focused on are the clothes. They are mining the gold that is her body to their benefits, much to the delusion of those who look to her as inspiration for success.

Blacks now feel a certain sense of credibility and pride because of her. They are in a silent war with who knows, trying as much as possible to claim her as their own and not “theirs”. They are the first to tell you that if she was as light as Beyonce or as brown as Gabrielle Union, she wouldn’t have gotten the role of her lifetime. The role that would catapult her to heights she might have never even dreamed of. She needed to have dark-skin to have been cast, thereby implying that her complexion might have been the only thing that worked in her favor, not her talent and hard work.

What does this say about us a people, as a human race?, who claim to have seen the light and are being fair to grant every body the opportunity to prove themselves and celebrate people for their tough grind. Isn’t it the racists in Hollywood then, the designers and magazines that chose Lupita not because of her ability but appearance? And isn’t it the racists in the blacks that rejoices and associates with her because they feel she is the real definition of ‘black’.

Since she came into the spotlight, there has been more debate and talk about what beauty really is, especially for the black community. It seems as though Lupita has set the new terms of beauty: dark skin. There are a myriad of skin complexions in the world and you would find more shades of that in the black race than any other race. The whites are just white. Plain and simple. White. That is it. Even those whom you can clearly see and recognize as tanners, are simply white. But when we see a black person, he is either fair/light, chocolate/brown, or dark/black and black people, often times are always the first to make the distinction. Sure there are bleachers too and just like the tanners, it is completely bad for you and could lead to cancer.

But what about those who don’t bleach? Those who are naturally light skin or brown? Where does the new definition of beauty that is Lupita-skin leave them? Aren’t they just as beautiful? Women have been attacking women and blacks have been attacking blacks for not being dark enough like Lupita and accusing the innocent ones of trying to deviate from Lupita-like-skin. Aren’t we all beautiful in our own way? Do we now define beauty in terms of what other people say it is?

We all have the racist bug in us every time we identify with someone else more for their skin color than their brains, when we offer people opportunities not because we believe in their true abilities but what their skin has to offer, when we revere and revel in someone’s success not because their unending toil finally paid off but because we feel their skin got them there, we are racist. We all are.

If we are going to continue to praise Lupita, let it be because her talent and work got her to that position and not because of her skin. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with inspiring a few girls who might need it if they are not confident in themselves. But let us not use her as a standard for beauty, because beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colors. It doesn’t matter if you are brown, orange or black as long as you were born that way. You have to love yourself and accept yourself first before the rest of the world will, which she clearly seems to have.

To borrow Lupita’s mother’s words, you can’t eat beauty. You cannot reap the rewards of beauty but you will reap the rewards of hard work. She said a beautiful speech when she received her award and I end with her words, “no matter where you are from, your dreams are valid”. Your dreams are valid regardless of your skin color as long as you do the work.