We Can’t Afford It

boysittin

We can’t afford it

We’ve been nickeled and dimed far too many times

To make fun of our sisters on the welfare line or

To make fun of the young queens on the payday loan line in a bind

Trying to pay fall tuition in the wintertime

No more change left to spare

There’s no room to instigate and

publicly humiliate our brothers

Behind on child support and

Sitting

On the bench of the court

The same court that pit them

Against their fellow sisters and brothers and their own baby’s mothers

It costs too much

We don’t have enough to share videos

of fights on social media and the news and

Spectate and point at black people like

animals in a zoo

We don’t have enough to plaster photos all over of our women and our girls with no clothes on bending over

over and over and over again

Because the slave master’s check was never enough for us to spend

We can’t afford it

This predicament this

Carefully crafted division

Impedes the vision of our ancestors

The best laid plans of our foremothers and our forefathers

Why are we not bothered enough

by the darkness driving out the light?

Tonight there are torches glowing in the night’s sky

This day is far from 1959

Or is it? Part of the plan?

Black woman

Black man

We don’t stand a chance if

We don’t even take a stand

The piggy bank broke when we turned our backs on each other and

now we’re stuck stealing coins from our sisters and our brothers because

We can’t afford it

Mine

mine-image
Because I’m here — and there’s nothing they can do about it.
for a second
I thought I wasn’t supposed to be
here
second guessing never gave anybody the right answer anyway
but on second thought
like a bulldozer
you wore down and
you tore down
the temple
my temple
I’ve spent my whole entire life building
and rebuilding and rebuilding
brick
by brick
by brick
my life’s work
and all this time I thought my time was well spent
until you looked me in the eye
from the other side of the table
while you sat in your seat and
I sat in mine
I didn’t know eyes could talk
until that day
the day I got a seat
at the table
like a fable
you looked at me like
a lie like
a joke like
a mess
well I laughed too see I laughed at
you
because I was too damn big for your small little mind to process
progress
you spoke no words
but your message couldn’t have been any more clear
while your spirit was screaming
I wasn’t supposed to be here
I wasn’t supposed to be
but I’m still
here
while you sit in your seat and I sit in
Mine.

The Friend in the Family by Fantasia Alston

teddy-bear-440498_1280

There was this friend in the family

Who always came around

He’d make the kids smile

Whenever they began to frown

He was so damn cool

He was so damn nice

He was so damn handsome

And oh so polite

One day this friend in the family

Gave me a wink

I was in so much shock

I could barely think

Am I going crazy?

That might be so

Fantasia, calm down

It was nothing, let it go

This friend in the family started giving me money

Buying me candy

And calling me honey

I had no guidance

So naive and lost

Wanting to make a friend

No matter the cost

“He wouldn’t hurt a fly”

That’s what everyone would say

But this friend in the family

Tried to rape me one day.



I became a recluse

Always stayed inside

Because on that very tumultuous day

A part of me died

A few cousins took notice

Asked what was wrong

But I kept saying “nothing”

While pretending to be strong

The more time passed

The weaker I became

His presence around my family

Was driving me insane

Who would be next

If he couldn’t get to me

A predator like him

Shouldn’t be free

I finally spoke up

Told my cousins about that day

They were definitely in shock

But brushed what happened away

Acted as if it never happened

So he still came around

The very few I trusted

Had certainly let me down

I guess it wasn’t a big deal

Maybe I should be more vibrant

And when he sexually assaults me again

I should just remain silent.


unnamedFantasia Alston is a guest writer for theblackertheberry.org. She is a 22 year old free spirit  and visionary who spends most of her time  writing poetry, reading (preferably mystery books), and doing whatever she can to help better the community, whether it be volunteering at the nearest homeless shelter or picking up any litter found on the solid surface of the Earth. She also enjoys painting whatever comes to mind, cooking, meditating,  and taking long walks to nowhere.  She currently resides in Columbia, SC. She is a writer for #SCHOOLGIRLHUSTLE, an organization that supports and empowers girls and women to stay in school. Learn more about her and her work here. Follow her on instagram here.

Buy Black by Fantasia Alston

Six men of color
Killed within a week
No, not by their own
But at the hands of the police
Enough is enough
We all began to say
Then we’ll get on our knees,
Bow down, and pray
But is that enough
The peaceful protest with our folks
Poster signs waving in the air
Heartfelt Instagram posts
Social and political activism helps
But what about economic growth
Its time to hit some organizations
Where it hurts the most
Black owned businesses
Are deserving of our respect
They work as hard as anyone else
And should be treated no less
No more trying to be a black face
Of a predominantly white brand
Getting treated poorly by the masses
While throwing money in their hands
Our unemployment rates are still higher
Than any other group
We still don’t have enough funds
For our community to help the youth
We must practice black empowerment
With regard of the revolution
Word of mouth is always great
But it’s time for a permanent solution

unnamed
Fantasia Alston is a guest writer for theblackertheberry.org. She is a 22 year old free spirit  and visionary who spends most of her time  writing poetry, reading (preferably mystery books), and doing whatever she can to help better the community, whether it be volunteering at the nearest homeless shelter or picking up any litter found on the solid surface of the Earth. She also enjoys painting whatever comes to mind, cooking, meditating,  and taking long walks to nowhere.  She currently resides in Columbia, SC. She is a writer for #SCHOOLGIRLHUSTLE, an organization that supports and empowers girls and women to stay in school. Learn more about her and her work here. Follow her on instagram here.

 

Livin’

livin PIC EDIT
He does whatever he wants and carelessly spreads his seeds
Tumbleweed the way he rolls around bed to bed, town to town as he please
But he don’t care, kids here kids there kids everywhere, animalistic breeding is in season
He thinks he’s on TOP, he ain’t gonna ever stop…and think to think he has no reason

Look at him, he’s the man, he got it goin on, he’s that guy with all those women runnin after him…
Givin no real value to the lives he’s bringing in…this world…and he really thinks he livin’

She is content when she gets her ends from the men
The different baby daddies that fathered her different children and
even though she’s left building up the kids’ home all alone
She picks up that phone no matter where the men roam, for the money for the school clothes…for the Air Jordans…for the Nike Foams


Her kids get to floss, she thinks she’s a boss…not giving a damn about the costs of a family spent from being bought
The men are forgiven for the wrongs done on her kids…and as long as she’s spendin’ with the little they givin’…she livin’

He sees his momma struggle and fight to keep the ship tight
but he thinks she’s supposed to do it, ain’t nothin to it, she’ll be alright
She just has herself cuz she don’t need no help
When WIC is their health and food stamps are their wealth

When the tumbleweed’s seed grows a tumbleweed tree
The cycle continues, what a sight it is to see
Oh the plight it is to be the seed falling down beneath
You can’t help but ask yourself…are you livin’ when you breathe?

10 of the Most Disturbing Things about the Charleston Shooting

10 most disturbing things pic EDIT

1.          Nine people are dead. Three managed to live, but they will never be the same again. All under the roof of the very first African Methodist church in the nation – a church that was birthed from the black struggle and revolution of the colonial South. Death, tragedy, despair – all because of a deep-seated white supremacist hate that words can’t really describe.

  1. People are blaming the victims for the massacre itself. South Carolina Representative William Chumley suggested the 9 victims chose to die the way that they did. He said they “waited their turn to be shot.” The emotions are running high from the incident alone – the gruesomeness of the crime and its racial implications exacerbate these emotions. But after hearing a politician openly blame the victims for the massacre, the anger, isolation and disappointment set in – especially for me, as a woman of color.
  1. Hearing about the privileges afforded to the shooter – from the Burger King meal police purchased him hours after the massacre, to a judge urging people to pray for the shooter’s family, to the funds raised by numerous of people and organizations to support the murderer – is a real slap in the face. The more we hear about folk sympathizing more with the murderer than his victims, the more we can all clearly see the systematic devaluing of black people and the ubiquitous never-ending privilege granted to white criminals in action. And it hurts. Deeply.
  1. The day after the shooting, the South Carolina capital had its flags at half-staff to acknowledge the tragedy – well, not all of its flags. The day after nine lives were violently snuffed out in the state of South Carolina, both the American and the South Carolina flag were lowered to half-staff. The day after a vile hate of black lives resulted in a church massacre, the flag that historically condoned slavery and white supremacy, the confederate flag, flew high — business as usual. This gesture served as a grave reminder that times haven’t changed nearly as much as we’d like to believe they have.
  1. Over and over again, the historical implications of the confederate flag have been misinterpreted, misunderstood and/or completely ignored. Only slaveholding states could join the confederacy. To boot, the designer of the confederate flag wrote the following on its behalf – “As a people we are fighting to maintain the heaven ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior colored race. […] As a national emblem, it is significant of our higher cause, the cause of a superior race (Our Flag, George Preeble).” And some people are STILL baffled and even angered by black people’s resistance against the flag. But maybe they aren’t baffled. Maybe they know the ugly truth…and they’re just as ugly.
  1. Mental illness is being used and abused. Many attribute the murderer and his crime to poor mental health and drugs, despite his manifesto, his PLANNING of this slaughter and his DECISION to target this particular church based on its historical significance – all of which require clear, lucid and organized thoughts. Meanwhile, people who truly suffer from mental illness suffer undue abuse in jails and prisons across the nation and across the world. Meanwhile, blacks who commit crimes or are suspected of criminal activity suffer an automatic character assassination and are deemed “thugs.” Rarely is “mental illness” ever a serious consideration in the court of public opinion.
  1. Since Charleston, black church fires in the south have been largely on the rise. Although these arsons and suspected arsons may not receive the same amount of media attention as other incidents as of late, they are happening. It seems as if black folk can’t even pray in peace. History repeats itself, as we’re coming up on the 52nd anniversary of the Birmingham church bombing that killed four innocent little black girls.
  1. President Barack Obama recently told a radio show that he is “fearless.” His fearlessness has been conveyed through his candid talk about race. His sentiments have opened up the floodgates for writers all over the nation to feel just a little more comfortable speaking on their experiences in the raw, no holds bar. It has been so refreshing to see a man, our PRESIDENT open up and speak up for his people – but as the same time, it has been disheartening that his openness has evoked fear and anger in the thoughts and opinions of the racists around us. Some have said the President is starting a race war. Black writers revealing their stance on things like the confederate flag, the public opinions on the Charleston shooting and race relations in this country as a whole have been vilified, to say the least. People are going as far as threatening to unsubscribe to papers. For them, black writers talking about their un-white washed opinions makes them feel too uncomfortable; it makes life feel too real. It’s easier for people to live within selective realities than to open their ears and eyes to diverse people, experiences and opinion.
  1. Just as people have been opening up about race relations, racists have been themselves in the past few weeks – and they look like our friends, our coworkers and our neighbors. Chameleons are among us, and as they are revealed, our stomachs twist, our hearts break and our feelings hurt. We are saddened and we are disgusted. People aren’t always who they seem to be. But we must take this more as a learning experience and less as a let-down. We must let people show us who they are and we must take note…and then? Onward we march.
  1. Life as a whole is one big learning experience– and the Charleston shooting is yet another lesson that we’re all responsible for teaching to others. As the victims are being laid to rest, the criminal trial of the murderer begins, the survivors try to start the healing process, the politics of the confederate flag are grappled with and other aspects of the massacre start to unfold, people will be looking to us for guidance. Our youth will have questions, our friends may want to hear our take on things and our family members may need help digesting everything. We are teachers. We are ALL teachers. We have to figure out how to help the little black boys and girls love the skin they’re in, despite the hate that radiates like heat all around them. We have to show our peers how to respect our opinions, particularly our differences in opinions. We have to strengthen our family units with the love, affection, education, awareness, wisdom and support to survive in a world where churches are slaughterhouses, white supremacists are supported physically, emotionally and financially and the real opinions of black folk are discouraged and in some ways, prohibited. This means more work for us and heavier loads for us to carry. But during times like this, when the world seems to be working against us, we can’t afford to sit idly in our frustration and our disgust and our sadness – we have no choice but to get to work.

Dedicated to the 9 lives lost at the hands of hate.

Clementa Pinckney. Sharonda Coleman Singleton. Tywanza Sanders. Ethel Lance. Susie Jackson. Cynthia Hurd. Myra Thompson. Daniel Simmons Sr. DePayne Middleton Doctor. 

17 Honest Thoughts of a Black Woman after Watching that Walter Scott Video

Walter Scott 2 EDIT

(Inspired by Darnell Moore’s 17 Honest Thoughts of a Black Man after Watching that Walter Scott Video)

1.   I am extremely thankful for this video, because had this not been recorded, who knows if the truth (the fact that Walter Scott was another fallen soldier in the war on black men) would have had half a chance of being heard.

2.   I also regret that this video has surfaced, because it’s another grim reminder of my reality – more times than not, it seems that a penny with a whole in it may even be worth more than my brown skin. Our brown skin.

3.   The video makes me a little uneasy, because they contain the last few seconds of Mr. Scott’s life. He didn’t leave his house that day knowing a police officer was going to gun him down from behind and try to frame him for his own murder (the cop alleged he fired shots at Scott because he took his Taser, while the video actually shows the officer planting an object next to his dead body…presumably, the Taser). He didn’t say ‘hey, if I’m gunned down like an animal today over a traffic stop while running away from the officer, please share/ do not share the video of my brutal death.’ We don’t know if Scott would have wanted his last breaths posted all over the likes of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. And we’ll never know.

4.   Should I be thinking more about number 3? Do I need to ask my father, nephew, significant other, cousins and friends about it? The question would be something like “In the chance that a police officer decides to treat your black body as a target on the gun range, do you want the video evidence to go viral?” Should this very question be incorporated into every black man’s will and testament?

5.   As a woman, I feel the sudden urge to hug and embrace every single black man I know. Because I want them to know that I love them. And that there is no one else like them on this planet.

6.   His family. I’m thinking about his family. His mother, his father, his brother, his 4 children and more. No verdict or civil suit or amount of money will right this wrong or bring back this man. This is a hurt and a loss beyond my comprehension. I will be praying for them before I go to sleep tonight.

7.   And am also thinking about my own family. My parents get profiled by the police a lot and it scares me. I asked a panel of police officers at a police/ community event if my parents should ditch their foreign cars to avoid being stopped. The officers looked at me like I was crazy – but what’s crazy is that this has to be a legit concern of mine.

8.   What scares me more is thinking about the possibility of something like what happened to Walter Scott happening to one of my loved ones.

9.   But what scares me the most is what I’m capable of doing in retaliation, if such an injustice was put upon a loved one of mine.

10.   I am amazed at the comfort level of the officer that killed Scott. From when he shot him, to when he planted the “object” next to his lifeless body, to when his back up came and saw what had happened, to when he checked his pulse and realized Scott was dead – this guy looks as cool as a cucumber. If that’s not evil, I don’t know what is.

11.   I have a nephew and he’s growing up by the day. He’s one of the smartest boys I know. How should his parents explain this incident (and the plethora of known incidents of ‘death of the black male by open season’) to him so that he is cautious, yet empowered? Enlightened but not defeated? Alert but not afraid? How can a child be a child and feel safe, survive and thrive in a world where people he doesn’t even know and haven’t even met have labeled him a threat to them?

12.   I’m sitting here wondering, as a black woman, how can I be more supportive of black men? You are an endangered species and I’m one of your biggest admirers. Tell me how to be a better advocate. Let’s lean on each other and be there for one another.

13.   Those eight gunshots. That drop to the ground. That agonizing pain. Is Scott’s murderer ever going to feel this pain or anything comparable? Is prison or even the death penalty enough punishment for him and other murderous cops?

14.   I have to then remind myself that number 13 isn’t up to me or anyone else at the end of the day. God don’t like ugly and He will handle it the best way He sees fit.

15.   I hope and pray this is being brought up in classrooms, workplaces and dinner tables across the nation and across the world — especially in South Carolina. Everyone – no matter who you are or where you stand in this case, deserves a chance to vent and process this tragedy. Its therapeutic, it’s healthy and it’s needed.

16.   I wonder how this era – the exposure of the war on black men – will be recounted in schools, in textbooks and in other ways, if it’s even remembered at all. Only time will tell.

17.   I wonder how many more days until time stands still again, when we hear about another Walter Scott.