“He don’t tote it.”

Spent last night watching documentaries. I watched one about a gay white serial killer in Louisiana (why didn’t that more publicity?! It was going on while I was working down there. You could say its because he killed black guys but he killed white ones too… I think its just because he killed people that society didn’t care about.. drug users, homeless, hustlers.. though the teenage boy didn’t make any sense but he was stupid to go with this guy so whatever…) Then I watched a documentary about this black woman who killed this white doctor in Florida in the 1950’s. At the beginning of the story, there was this quote:

“So de white man thrown down de load and tell de nigger man tuh pick it up. He pick it up because he have to, but he don’t tote it. He hand it to his womenfolks. De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see.”

It stuck with me because it kind of hasn’t changed on the female side of things from what I see. And though pure white women still have it better off than black women, the younger generation is going to have to pick up the slack from the males as well as men have stopped going to school (on both the black and white sides), stopped being… strong. As I go into my 41st year (C’mon.. though I am “turning 40” it really means I am starting my 41st year… call it out for what it is), I see more because of my experience and because I also have dropped the trappings of what was important to observe when I was younger. What I see is men confused- doing things that they think make them “manly” but in my eyes, just make them appear weaker to me. The more you try to embrace “roles”, the more I see a weakness in stature and character. The more you try to scream to the world who you are, instead of just being, the more I see insecurity.

I am half white. I am half black. I don’t care what YOU may think I am, I know what I am and that’s all that matters. I know you will treat me a certain way because of your perceptions, but I have a choice to accept that treatment or not. When I see that quote above, it rings home because the more things change, the more they stay the same… except its not just about black women anymore, its about all women. At least in my experience, I have yet to meet a man who could do a third of what I can produce under severe pressure/strain. For a moment, I thought that was an inherent weakness in the male sex… all muscle, no heart, no real inner strength unless it has something to do with some perceived hero’s obligation. That the innner fight is not there just because it is, but because its expected. Expectations are empty promises… things done out of obligation and not because of want or heart. So I thought that the big secret is that men are weak. But the truth is that men are humans, just like women, and they’ve been raised with this “ideal”, just as women have been. But western women have been “liberated” by virtue of access to education and freedom of movement outside the home and so the little facade that society has designed slowly falls away. Some people cling to their holy books, and their made up causes trying to keep that status quo in place… but its crumbling. And where as women get more clarity and opportunity, where is the liberation of the man? I don’t mean the “men can cry, men can stay at home with babies, men can wear make up and dresses” shit. I mean that men can feel because they want to, men can do because they feel like it- not because they’re obligated too.

To me there is nothing sexier than a man who does because he wants to and not because he feels like he’s filling some sort of role in our social structure.

But that is probably why I feel I see so much weakness because to be strong, you’ve got to accept that you are weak. Seems counter-intuitive, I know, but if you can lay yourself bare, lay yourself open and voice your weakness/pain, then who can challenge you? People who come close to hurt you are trapped by you… as they finally seen for what they are, and people who stay away can’t deal with life and aren’t worth an investment of time. And that’s the secret to being strong- not how hard you are, how much you can lift, how much pain you can take. Being strong is admitting that you are human, you feel, and shit is hard, and you might be scared… BUT YOU FACE IT ANYWAY.

Perhaps inadvertently, the roles are slowly starting to be swapped… The women focus, they go to school, they get it done because now the males aren’t committing- or they aren’t committing in the real sense of the word anymore. And though I may not be of a breeding mind, a lot of women are and they know that if they’re going to have kids they have to always be able to provide. And as the women challenge the status quo, then men start to feel a bit lost as to “their role”. But the truth is that nobody has a role, be they male or female. Women can have babies. Men can lift heavier stuff. It really breaks down to that… And we’ve gone a millennium holding these things as a basis for society. But as we get more educated and discover more as a human race, the more we really see that we are the same… its nothing… its nothing. But unless we also truly be accepting that it is okay to feel and to do things because you want to, and not because you’re obligated to, and that we let men also “evolve” there is just going to be weakness through the entire human race.

“He pick it up because he have to, but he don’t tote it. He hand it to his womenfolks. De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see.”

Make him “tote it”, acknowledge it, accept it, take PRIDE it in. Or it is always going to be a woman who saves the day in the end when it should be all of us.

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