Sisters and brothers I would have been so very wrong if I had kept these things to myself. I couldn't hold it. I believe that I was brought through, by God, so that I may be a witness to you. Listen. Don't listen. The choice is up to you. After all, these are only the notes from nobody.
Here we go, I didn't want to reveal this part of my autobiography - gotta save something for the paying customers but the spirit has done tole me that it is now time to reveal. My mother was a single mother - this was her choice. She had seven children with five different men. She will probably go to her grave without the confession that the man she said is my father - is not my father. I am a twin for another man in the neighborhood, Tyrone Mahone, a gay man. I was born exactly 10 months after his sixteenth birthday. My mother was and is his lifelong best friend. He told me, "your mother was the only woman I ever loved." Who was she to deny me my real father and put me on a man who never accepted me, told me to my face he wasn't his, and set me on a lifelong course of trying to find a daddy? I'm telling you this, sitting you on my knee, because in my life, if I had a dollar for every time my mother told me I was "just like your black dog daddy" and "don't no man want you, even yo daddy rejected you" and "I'm all you got." She picked the "black dog" and I had to pay the cost.
My mother would have these father's days where she DEMANDED gifts from us. She would tell us, "y'alls daddies" ain't around, wasn't here, and that she was "all we had." She used that Bible to her advantage telling us we had to honour her. Well, one father's day she had extracted a plethora of father's day gifts and cards from us. She told my grandmother about it. All my grandmother said was, "that's nice." My mother pressed the issue - she wanted my grandmother's blessing for her activities. Grandma said, "you ain't no man and you ain't no daddy. You done wrong by them kids bringing them up like a passle of dogs." My mother went off by herself and cried. What did she expect from my grandmother? A woman who had waited til she was twenty, educated, and fully independent before choosing her husband, ten years before World War II in the city of Mound Bayou, MS? My grandmother had all kinds of men wanting her for a wife. But my grandfather or in her words, "yo daddy was the kind of man who would be good to his churrun." She wanted many children. She chose my grandfather as her husband - she didn't just "take" him.
You are not a father. You are not fulfilling a father's role. You are doing the best you can with the results of the choice you made. All of our statements on independence and thinking we can be both woman and man are the result of too many Black women buying into an ideology which has not worked to our benefit. Since the single Black mother took over the prison rates for Black men has skyrocketed and the literacy rates for Black boys has plummeted. How can you be at home teaching and training when you are forced to work ten hour days? You can't. Something has to give and something has to suffer and what has suffered is the education, career and health outcomes of our children. What has also been the result is that our girls know of no other way to be a mother. We have raised two generations of young women who do not believe it is necessary, right, and prudent to have a husband before becoming a mother.
It's plain and it's simple and it's horrific and it's true. Since we took over in both roles church attendance has also suffered. If a woman is working six days a week, keeping a house, and fooling with her children, Sunday has become her only time of rest and relaxation. So, I posted that message because I firmly believe that if we don't stop believing in the fairytales told by the White feminist movement we will become extinct. And note well, Black folks are at 73 percent illegitimacy while White folks are at the same rate for marriage. Don't tell me about divorce. If you put that money (child support) on an ex-husband he will DEMAND to see his children and see how his money is spent.
However, you must know because I’m talking from experience, if the man has no legal ties to the woman, the paternity is not proven, and the woman is calling him seven kinds of bastards - do you honestly think even the strongest man is going to come around for that abuse? No. He's going to fulfill his need for a child (if he has one) somewhere else. The Yoruba say, "the husband a woman gets is the son she raises." So, our single parenting and thinking we are both mother and father has ONLY led to our daughters not being able to find husbands. After all, their mothers did it all so why shouldn't they expect our daughters to be able to lie down, have their baby, and then do all the hard part alone as well? And I’ll go out on a limb here and make another statement: Our girls have no earthly idea how to be a wife, how to act as part of a couple united for the benefit of their children, in one house. We haven’t given them those lessons which can never be gained and have never been gained in a school. Rather, they are the skills given from grandma to mama, from mama to little girl, in the kitchen, in the garden, in the parlor, and sitting quietly talking in bed on late nights.
Finally, it is my opinion that we do not hold “our” men accountable and moreover we pick men with no demonstrated ability to be fathers. So, that's my father's day message. I do have some good moments of my grandfather's father's day moments. But I think this message, from my book, "And All Of These Things In My Father's House" is more appropriate. And now I've let you in on another secret from this work - the title is a double entendre as my life occurred in the house of God and the house of the only father I ever knew, Elder Percy Daniel Staples, July 3, 1916 to January 21, 2000. I love him. He loved me. I will find him in another man who will honour me with making me his wife. My daughter was born only two years before my grandfather passed but it is my duty to make sure she finds him as well.
Mothers, please don't think I'm beating you up. You are the greatest warriors on behalf of your children. Please don't get upset because I write the things told to me. Just know this: what you say will be recorded in the lives of your children. Whether it's a judge setting his hand to a prison sentence or an execution order, a college president signing a diploma, a tombstone with the dates of sunrise and sunset being only 20 short pitiful years apart, or a writer desperately trying to stay sane and give testimony so that others will not suffer, the works you have done will speak for you. You cannot complain after the fact. I've told you about my lifelong good girlfriend who runs a house of prostitution (she recently relocated her place of establishment and I guess I should feel happy that she's hit a lick) says, "if you ain't cryin when you done it, you cain't cry when it's done been done." You can't expect that the record won't be uttered. You don't get to use your motherhood to blackmail a child into silence and suffering and suicidal life path. The same way you want it told that you're the one responsible when that baby gets a degree or a good job - know that it will be told in bad times as well as good. Know this and take control by being honest and open with your children. Confess. Apologize. Make amends. It will be good for you as well as for them. In private you have the opportunity to overcome obstacles but it you keep blaming it on the child or the father? It will be told, in writing, in action, in court proceedings, in the coroner's office, and in the lives of all the innocents to follow. It will be told.