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The long awaited, highly anticipated new book from Elizabeth Nickole James.
 
Prologue
Sign it!”
“Why, so you can keep hiding all of this? They have a right to know.”
            “Have a right to know! You think they don’t know? They know, they’ve known since the beginning. They just pretend they don’t. It helps them sleep easier at night. Pretending as if they haven’t put their trust in the hands of the enemy. As long as they can get up in the morning and have a job to go to, they’re happy. As long as they can fall asleep at night in a nice warm bed, they turn their heads. As long as there is money in their pockets, I will be able to do what I want. Do you think that telling them is going to change things? It won’t, they’ll just close their eyes and look the other way. They’ll pretend as if nothing is happening. They always have.”
            “No they won’t. Not this time. Things have changed. They’re tired of all the lies, all the secrets. They’ve had it with the manipulating, the stealing, and the killing. They are ready for change. It’s time for change.”
“I won’t let that happen. I will not let you destroy everything that I have worked for.”
           
 “And I will not stand here and except this political bullshit any longer. It’s time someone took a stand. All these years have been nothing but lies. It was all built on lies. The lies stop here and now.”
            “And you think this is going to make them stop? All this is going to do is push back the schedule, but it won’t stop things. Everything will progress. Because in the long run, what I want is what they want. The only difference is I have the balls to do what it takes to make it happen.”
            “By any means necessary?”
“That’s the way it is, the way it’s always been. Think of me as God. I am creating something. The only difference is I am creating perfection.”
“And you think this makes you God?”
            “Well this, and the fact that I have power to give life...” The man retrieved a revolver from the inside of his suit jacket. He pointed it straight at his opponent. “And take it away.” He pulled the trigger.
 
Check back to see when and where you can find out what happens next.
                   
Elizabeth Nickole James
It's NOT Okay -- 9/16/08

I am livid. I awoke this morning to a nationally syndicated radio show. The host was reading a letter written by a listener. In the letter the listener explained that she had gotten involved with a man and decided to have sex with him. Before having sex she asked about his health status and insisted on protection. He told her he was recently tested and was free and clear of disease. He then went on to tell her he did not like using condoms, but she still insisted he do so. In the middle of the act he took off the condom without her knowledge. When they finished and she found out she asked for a copy of his health records. He agreed… Days went by and she was still asking for those records. He stopped taking her calls and when she called him at work he told her never to call him again. She got herself tested and found out she was now HIV positive.

What kind of world are we living in? And what kind of respect do we have for women? Black women account for approximately 75% of all new HIV cases… Paired with the fact that black people are only 13% of the population and black women are less than that, that number is not only staggering but very frightening… It’s bad enough that he slept with her and then didn’t want to have anything to do with her afterwards, but to also give her a potentially fatal disease is cruel.

How did we get here? How did we get to the point where we have no respect for our women? I heard a young man say that he did not care about women’s feelings. How do you not care about women’s feelings? They are still human. We need to start putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes. How would you, as a man, feel if women did not care about you? I know two wrongs don’t make a right and an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind, but we have got to do something to wake these SELFISH men up.

It’s like some men are stuck at the age of five and all girls are gross and have cooties until she has a toy that they want to play with. And after they get that toy, they have no more use for her and girls are icky again. Do they not realize that their mothers are women, their sisters are women, and their daughters are women? If it wasn’t for a woman, they would not be here. And how would they have fared if there weren’t a woman there to raise them? So how is it that women are the enemy?

“Men are vertical and not horizontal”, meaning they care for their mothers and daughters (one is above and one is below them in the family chain) but they don’t care about the women they sleep with or date (they are level with them). This may be a true statement, but it is still bull shit. Men lie to get in a woman’s pants constantly. And because it’s a man’s nature to sleep around we have made it okay. We call the woman who falls for his lines stupid and gullible and we call him a player. We never really hold that man accountable for his actions. It is time we place the blame where it belongs. ON THAT MAN. It is NOT okay to not care how you make a woman feel. It is NOT okay to lie to women to sleep with them. It is NOT okay to disrespect a woman. It is NOT okay to hit a woman. It is NOT okay to knowingly give a woman a potentially fatal disease.

Our women are the hearts of our society and they are the embodiment of life. Women were placed on this earth to nurture and love. We have got to start to give them the respect that they deserve. I’m not saying bow down and kiss their feet but respect them. Respect their love. Respect their bodies. Respect their hearts.

We will never be able to mend all the things that are broken in our society if we cannot mend the relationships between men and women.  

 

Cause & Effect -- 03/26/08

Since when did television, music, and video games become the authority on life. Since when did any of these mediums personify life, what it is, and what it should be. I was taught as a young person that television is not real. It is the “art of illusion”. What happens on the big screen, or even the small screen for that matter, is not something on which I should base how I live my life. So why is it that now, it is to blame for everything that goes wrong in this country?

Don Imus called a group of black female basketball players “nappy headed hoes”. Then turned around and said that if the rappers can do it, why can’t he. If twelve other people jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge for the hell of it, would you. Just because you see other people doing things doesn’t mean that it’s something you should do.

Several studies claim that exposure to violence on television and video games cause children to become violent adults. So basically, if I watch the Sopranos as a child I will become a violent adult. One day I’ll walk into to work and one of my employees will be insubordinate and my response will be to whack the mooliyan. Are you fuckin’ kidding me?

I will be the first to admit that there are some things on television, video games, and in music in general that are violent and disrespectful. However, this is not the reason our children are out of control. This is an effect of, our children being out of control.

Every cause has an effect and in turn every effect has a cause. So what is the cause that created this effect? That is the million dollar question.

People have studied and argued that television needs to be controlled more. Rappers need to be held responsible and not allowed to use explicit lyrics and connotations in their music. Video games should not be violent. The artists of such items should be fired from their jobs and not allowed to work… And so on, and so on. But what does this really solve? With the internet and a good computer program I can go home and make my own music, television show, and video game. And not only that, I can market it world wide.

Childhood obesity has tripled since 1980 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and Juvenile Diabetes is on the rise. But is that because Oprah Winfrey was on television saying that she was overweight and happy just being her? I think not.

It’s like a flu virus. When you get the flu it has a lot of side effects… runny nose, coughing, congestion, fever, aches & pains, etc. You can’t just use a medicine that only treats one of the effects. You have to use a medicine that treats not only all of the effects but also the cause. So again I ask, what is the cause?

The real issue is being swept under the rug. We are so busy looking for someone to blame that we are failing to look inward. We are failing at our jobs as being parents.

We have allowed television, video games, and music to baby sit our children for far too long. When they come home from school they sit in front of the television. When they are on summer vacation they are in front of the television. They spend hours hanging out with their friends via a computer chat line, text message, or instant messenger.

What ever happened to meeting your friends in the park to play baseball? Going to the mall to window shop with your girlfriends? Hanging out at the local malt shop? Bike riding throughout the neighborhood? Or even just sitting on the front porch with a friend drinking Red Kool-Aid?

So many problems that we face right now in this country can be overcome with one simple solution… Parents, raise your children! When little Julie comes home from school and reaches for her afternoon snack, make sure she has fruit to reach for instead of a Ding Dong. When little Kevin opens the door and drops his book bag on the floor, don’t let him reach for the remote control on the coffee table first. Make him reach for the science book in his backpack. Instead of consenting to our children spending their summer vacations sitting inside exercising only their fingers, place them in summer activities that make them exercise their entire bodies including their minds.

We need to begin at birth by teaching our children respect for themselves and respect for others. No school teacher should ever call a parent to discuss little Billy’s fowl language to only be encountered with more foul language. Parents MUST take a part in their children’s education by supporting teachers, helping teachers, and disciplining their children when they are wrong. No, I’m not saying that if Ms. Simon harasses your child you should do nothing. I am saying, take the time to investigate the situation, find out which party is in the wrong and then take the proper action to discipline the wrong party. No child is a saint, not even yours. When you don’t discipline, you teach a child that it is ok to act a fool. And it’s not.

Show children how to direct their anger into positive places. Right now when they get angry they automatically turn to violence because that’s all they know. Show them how to turn their anger into different types of artistic endeavors or even multi-million dollar businesses.

We must be better role models. Men stop walking out on your children, find away to get along with the women that you slept with. Women find away to get passed anger and hurt and stop using your children as a weapon. No, you don’t NEED a man to raise a child but every child NEEDS a father. A little boy needs a father to show him how to be a man and a little girl needs a father to show her what a real man is. “It takes a village to raise a child.” Stop getting upset with the family member, friend, or educational professional that attempts to discipline your child when he or she is wrong. Be glad that someone cares enough to let them know that.

And for those of us who do not have children please mentor other young people and be a positive role model. I don’t take offense to the use of degrading terms in music because I know that is not me. And I know this because SEVERAL people instilled in me respect for not only others but also myself.

We also must deal with the media… All the rappers that everyone has placed the degrading of the African American race on also have charities in which they contribute their time, efforts, and fortunes to. There are just as many family oriented television shows that teach a moral lesson on television as there are violent shows. And there are defiantly just as many educational video games as there are violent ones. We need to start paying attention to those things and placing more of an emphasis on those things. The media spends so much time focusing on the violent because it gets a better rating, stop watching it and feeding into it. Learn how to turn off the television. Learn how to change the radio station. Learn how to go out and pick your children’s toys. Take responsibility for what goes on in your home.

Once we finally stop blaming everyone else and start changing things at home, society will change. When you turn off that violent movie and teach your child to do the same that’s one less rating point. And eventually it will go away. When you teach a child to respect themselves and others, that child will grow up and make positive music versus the degrading music. When you show someone that violence is not the answer and laughter can overcome all pain, then they make video games that make people laugh. When you choose to go outside and be active, your children become active.

The cure for the virus is in the parent, the role model, and society. We ALL must make a change in how we treat others and what we place importance on. Only then will we put an end to the violent world we live in.

Cause – Poor Parenting/Teaching
Effect – violence, obesity, Juvenile Diabetes, suicide, homicide, assault, rape, etc, etc, etc
.

 

The Destruction of the Black Family -- 2/27/08

FAMILY- two or more people who share goals and values and have long term commitments to one another;  the basic unit in society.

Only six little letters but the word carries so much weight. Our family is our first view of the world. Within our family we learn socialization, culture, education, etiquette, laughter, and most importantly love. It is where we learn how to fit into society. But when our family is hurt and broken, where do we learn?

“It takes a village to raise a child.” This was once a strong belief of the black family. Now we stand before you broken and in shambles. “I don’t need no man.” “You don’t tell my child what to do.” These are quotes from some of today’s average parents.
Almost half of the homicide victims in this country are black. Of that half nine out of ten black homicides are committed by black people. When black people are only 13% of the population, the numbers are staggering.

Something’s got to change.

In order for change to occur we must first understand the problem. Black on black crime is a direct result of the destruction of the black family and its values. What happened to us? We were once strong in family belief. To answer that question we must begin at the beginning, Africa, the home of civilization.
                Africa before slavery was not so different from America today. Beer was the most popular beverage. Baths were a daily ritual. Perfumes and oils were applied along with makeup and hair was combed. Clothes were chosen carefully and the better they were the more money you had. Sound familiar?
                Although women were expected to obey their fathers and husbands, they were equal to men in many ways. They could participate in business, own land, and even represent themselves in a court of law… They even faced the same penalties as men if they lost. Often times the wives and mothers of the great pharaohs were the real ruling power of the government. Wives were highly respected in society. However, the most coveted position was that of parent. Those without children would pray to the Gods and Goddesses for help. They would place letters at the tombs of their deceased relatives in hopes that they would use their influence with the Gods to help them have a child. Often times they would resort to magic and if all else failed adoption was also possible.
                Young men spent time with their fathers learning everything from a trade to how to be great men and warriors. Young women spent time with their mothers learning to take care of the home and the family. Children were expected to look after the elderly. Aunts and uncles were around and helped to raise the little ones.
                Marriage was held in high esteem. Although marriages were arranged by families, some young people were allowed to choose their mates. A man only took one wife (unless he was a King). Before the marriage ceremony a pre-nup was signed that basically stated the husband had to provide the wife with an allowance and that any material good the wife brought into the marriage was hers to keep if for some reason the marriage ended. Divorce was an option, but before a couple divorced they would seek counseling from the wife’s family. If it still did not work the divorce was granted, the wife would retain custody of the children, and she was free to remarry.
                The family was most important and came above all things. So what happened? What changed? The answer is simple. One word… SLAVERY. Ripped from their homes the black man, the black father was shackled in chains, thrown in a boat, and forced to live in his own feces while he was carried to America. A country he knew nothing about that supposedly was the land of free…
There he was forced into a life of slavery where he was treated as an animal and a possession. One of the first things that the white man did to the slave was to break him down. Physically beaten and treated inferiorly he was forced to thank his captors, for that was the only way he would get into heaven. All the while his wife and children watched. This was a lesson for them also. Their great powerful protectors were nothing and in order to be safe they had to look to the white man.
Once beaten into submission, the men were thrown to work on the compound and the women were used to tend to the house, the children, and the Masters sexual needs. Children were forced to watch their parents go through horrible things in order to keep them under control. And as soon as they were old enough, they were put to work.
                It is here that the black woman demonstrates her strength. She faces this obstacle with her head held high. With a father no longer in the home to tend to the boys, and no extended family to lean on she takes over the roles of both father and mother. Emotionally driven and in fear for the lives of her children, she begins to teach submission and the path of least resistance. “Do as you’re told and you will not be beaten.” She begins to teach her daughters to run the family.
                Two hundred and forty-six years would pass before Abraham Lincoln would sign the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery in America. The black man was back in the home. However, he is not the man that he used to be. Centuries of being beaten down by white Masters and raised by Black mothers that feared for their children’s lives, they were no longer the strong African brothers that they once had been. Now they were only a portion of their original selves. They were free to live in only certain places. Free to go to only certain bathrooms. Free to enter restaurants through the back door. And free to ride on the back of buses. They were no longer being beat with whips and shackled in basements, but now being beat by fear of lynching and shackled by words. Threatened with jail and death they are no longer MEN, but NIGGERS. Taken away from the home and imprisoned, this time by a court of law… Again, the black woman has to run the household and to be both mother and father to her children. Raising her sons to cower and do as they’re told and her daughters to run the family.
                Almost one-hundred years pass before Martin Luther King, Jr. marches for equality, Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the world changes again. Now black men are truly free… or are they? They have won the fight to use the same bathrooms and walk through front doors. They have won the fight to ride on the front of the bus… But now they fight for jobs and education. They fight for better health care and housing. They fight against racial profiling. And most importantly they fight to find out who they are. They have so much further to go. They return to the homes, but centuries of being taken from it, they don’t know what to do. No one has taught them how to be husbands because husbands couldn’t exist. No one has taught them to be fathers, how can you be a father when you’re not there? They try to go out and get jobs, to be functioning members of society, but prejudices prevails and they find that it’s hard to get work doing anything but manual labor. They are treated poorly in the workplace making them rebel and loose their jobs. Not able to be fathers, husbands, or providers, they voluntarily walk away from the home, again leaving black women to raise their sons and to teach their daughters to run the family.
Almost half a century has passed. The free love period is over and AIDS stares us daringly in the face. Now the black woman is strong. So strong that the black man has to live in her shadow. She no longer needs him. She has raised the family alone, run the house alone, and brought home the bacon, alone for over three centuries. What does she need him for? Her strength seeps through every pour in her body. When black men step to her and their game is weak, she walks away. She wants the entire package. Good looking, ambitious, employed, giving, caring, loving, treats her like a queen… and she don’t want no lip. The black father tries to regain his role of father. He father’s children that don’t belong to him. He’s there, paying the bills, parenting his children, and trying his best to love his woman… But it’s not enough for her. With him comes having to share the control that she was forced to gain… She no longer works alone, she has taken on a partner. But she doesn’t know how to deal with a partner. She has been the one to keep the black family alive. So how is she supposed to know what to do and how to do it.

Now there are other factors that have played a key role in the destruction of the black family, but none of them have had a bigger role than slavery. Knowing that, we now must overcome that. We must do what it takes in order to get back to our roots and reclaim the black family.
That means that our strong black brothers need to continue to be strong. Don’t walk away from the sisters because they are strong but embrace them. Be the fathers that you are. Love your children and spend time with them. Teach your boys how to be men. Teach them how to love. Teach them how to live with a black woman and teach them how to be husbands.
Communicate, and no that doesn’t mean that you listen and let her do all the talking. Let her know how you feel. Let her know what you want. Share your ups and your downs. Only in communicating with each other will we understand one another. How can I give you what you need when you never tell me what you need? Don’t let problems become humongous ordeals before you finally open your mouth and say there is a problem. When arguing, don’t go for the jugular. This is the same woman that you once loved.  
And for my sistas… Ladies, we cannot do it all. If we are forced to we will step up, but honey…if there is an option... We are not men, we cannot teach a boy how to be a man. Both girls and boys need a father. Boys need to be taught how to be men and girls need to be taught what a man is. That is a father’s place, not ours. This does not mean we take a back seat, but we have got to relinquish some control. He is our PARTNER. We lay together we rule together (the home that is). A man has to feel like a man, if you can do it all, what is he there for? Let him know that you love him. Let him know that you need him. Let him feel like a man.

A good man knows how to let a woman be a woman. And a good woman lets a man be a man. It’s time to reclaim the black family. And in doing so, we will reclaim our heritage and our right of passage. We can begin to heal our wounds and love one another again.


The study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics also found that from 2001 to 2005, more than nine out of 10 black murder victims were killed by other blacks, and three out of four were slain with a gun. Blacks, who make up 13 percent of the population, were victims in 15 percent of nonfatal violent crimes.

 

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child -- 10/3/05

“It takes a village to raise a child.” I can still hear my grandmother uttering those words even beyond the grave. Nana passed when I was fourteen and I didn’t really understand what those words meant, until recently. Bill Cosby has been the focus of media scrutiny due to his ideas on today’s African-American youth and the reasons why there is such a high rate of juvenile delinquency. He begins by stating to the parents that, “You (Parents) can't blame other things. You got to -- you got to straighten up your house. Straighten up your apartment. Straighten up your child.” Simply put, it all begins at home. Parents must take responsibility for their child’s actions, and theirs. Placing the blame on the violence or sexual discretion of television is not the answer. Blaming the teacher, who is overworked and under paid, is not the answer. Yelling at the woman down the street because she scolded your child for disrespecting her property is not the answer. How are we to expect our children to treat others with respect, if we, their parents, don’t do the same?

I was sitting on the balcony of my apartment and witnessed my apartment manager asking my next door neighbor’s young children not to write on the walls in chalk. Also witnessing this event was my next door neighbor. Instead of reinforcing the manager’s request, he yelled at the manager for telling his children what to do. In the end, the children learned there is no consequence for their actions and that you solve problems by yelling.

One of my closest friends is a high school teacher. While having lunch she shared with me one of the events of her day. A student of hers decided to express herself by using a lot of four letter words. Upon hearing this, she put the student out of the class and told her she could not return until she brought in one of her parents. The student returned with her mother and when the teacher explained that the child was using foul language in class, the mother immediately showed the teacher where her daughter learned the language. After making a lengthy statement of four letter words, the mother ended by telling her, “Never get me out of work for something like this again.” A child’s best role model is their same sex parent. How can we expect our children to do as we say when we don’t show them? It is not the teacher’s job to teach the child that speaking to others in that matter is not a way to communicate. It is the teacher’s job to teach the subject that they have been hired for. How can the teacher teach when the class is being constantly interrupted by children that not only don’t have respect for anyone else, but they don’t have respect for themselves either.

We have to be better parents. We have to teach our children to respect themselves as well as others. We have to teach those children that are writing on the walls that they are destroying the beauty of not only their neighbor’s homes, but theirs also. Not owning something is no reason to destroy it. You do still have to live there. We have to teach the student that uses foul language that it only takes away from their beauty as a person and people will only lose respect for them.

Then we have to remember that it takes a village to raise a child. So when that apartment manager tells your child to stop writing on the walls, you reiterate that. When that teacher says that the school is no place for certain language, you reiterate that. Parenting must start in the home. Once that has been achieved the village can begin to teach the children everything that Momma and Daddy cannot.

                   
 
 
                   
 
                   
                   
Elizabeth Nickole James
Content coming soon!!!
                   
                   
                   
   
                   
     
                   
     
 
                   
     
 

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