Men Speak: A Foundation of Gratitude
“I understand the plunder of Black men. And I understand the burden of Black men. But I also think it’s time for someone to acknowledge the burden and the plunder of Black women.”
– Drew Dixon (On The Record: History that Holds, 2020)
The world is changing. Presently, the entire planet is struggling through a perfect storm of turmoil that is multi-layered and undeniably unprecedented. The arrival of 2020’s pandemic seemed to signal the reawakening of every social and historical monstrosity known to man and further expose the ones most of us are clear were never laid to rest. Manifested though the 2020 and 2021 U.S. political meltdown, proliferation of blatant racism, live action footage of public injustice and murder and the overdue calling out of many of the nation’s most powerful men for their debasement of women. Ironically, as these scenarios play out, we adhere to an overly politically correct method of engagement that created terms such as cancel culture, a means of admonishing and eventually erasing anyone who does not adhere to the agreed upon state of being around current events. We often times forfeit our truth for the right to exist peacefully. As witnessed by the stall and decline of Mo’Nique’s livelihood as an actress and comedian and the premature demise of Colin Kapernick’s athletic career; those bold enough to step outside the invisible line of what’s PC are either bullied into submission or cut off indefinitely.
These circumstances all affect the Black spectrum, undoubtedly. However, if we are ever to rise to an existence where people of color, especially Blacks in the United States, are to feel physically safe and as if we have access to opportunities on par with our white counterparts, we must address our own communal breakdowns in a way that is direct, action-oriented and expeditious. It is imperative that Black men and women forge a new union, abandoning the patriarchal paradigm that mimics the oppression of whiteness as an immutable force that seeks to take without giving and to destroy without a thought to bringing life. Though there may be various legitimate reasons why, gradually throughout a history of being Black in most hostile of environments, men have inculcated the spirit of oppression into Black culture, placing Black women on the lowest level of this insidious pipeline of injustice and abuse. Egregiously out of balance, our people are floundering inside the discord between one another as other seen and unseen opposing forces regroup and gather resources. Simply put, we are off course. And now it is time to set things right and here is the foundation from which we reclaim our fortitude and autonomy.
Western culture directly negates or distorts to disempower every method by which our ancestors connected to a very real and fully functional spiritual center. The term savage has served as a tool to not only justify the horrific treatment of melanated people on a global scale but to also force us to relinquish a rich cosmology that recognizes nature and honors the feminine. Inside that cosmology there is a oneness that acknowledges everything as part of a whole. Outside it, we experience chaos and a sense of being disjointed and lost to anything outside ourselves. This truth is multiplied for Blacks in the U.S. by the intentional miseducation surrounding our origins and how we came to be here to begin with. As the world shifts and people start to wake to the realization that what we are presently working with actually doesn’t work, it becomes evident we need to return to a way of life original to us, that is inclusive of the intangible as a valuable tool to begin to change things. And gratitude is the first of these intangible tools we will use. As a tool, the awesome power of gratitude has the ability to align the heart and mind as to develop a very organic shift in consciousness that can be a gamechanger for our communities. Let’s begin this process of rebuilding intentionally by mastering the tool of gratitude.
Step 1: Awareness
By definition, gratitude is the quality of being thankful; ready to show appreciation for and to return kindness. This mention of “returning kindness ,” is key to understanding how gratitude may be developed as a practice for daily living. It is also central to eliminating the entitled nature by which men interact with women. When we are thankful it indicates that in some way we have received benefit or our lives are enhanced in some way. Upon examination of all the things men depend on women for, including being born, how many ways do we as men benefit? So, the first step toward developing a practice of gratitude is to make a list of all the ways we benefit from the existence of women, considering even the smallest thing we may not normally even give a second thought. The invaluable aspect of this list is that we discover all the things we as men receive out of expectation. Continually receiving out of expectation is the essence of entitlement. And becoming aware of our own entitlement is the first step to mastering the tool of gratitude.
Author: Brent Fayzon
NYC-based Writer, Vocalist/ Fitness Trainer & Corporate Wellness Program Director/ Proprietor of premier full-service fitness coaching & nutritional consulting vehicle.