Monthly Archives: December 2013

My Reading List (Autobiography of Malcolm X)

Okay this blog is going into so many directions.

I have this theory, that Black men must be well read in the effort to improve our condition. My recommendation for the reading list begins with “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”–or as most Black folks would call it, simply “The Autobiography”. Ask for it by that name, any Black man or woman worth his weight will know what you mean. I feel every Black man’s REAL education should start with Malcolm X’s Autobiography, and there are so many directions to go after that. But this book, out of all, was the most important and memorable for me. Malcolm’s story is one that the Black man as a people, in America, has undergone–that to understand him, we understand ourselves. He was a man who experienced the worst of racism as a child. His father was killed by racists, and forced into a life of despair and oppression and extreme sadness. As he grew up, because both smooth and charismatic, educated and well spoken, physically strong and angry. Then he finds himself in prison and is exposed to the teaching of the late Elijah Muhammad and his brand of religion that he called “Islam” (Not Islam, but a Black American version of it).

It didn’t end there. He grew as a “Black Muslim” and then became a “Muslim”. It was a powerful transformation.

malcolm-x-syracuse-universityHere is an excerpt from an interview used for the book:

“Everybody’s wondering why I’ve been going back and forth to Africa. Well, first I went to Mecca to get closer to the orthodox religion of Islam. I wanted firsthand views of the African leaders — their problems are inseparable from ours. The cords of bigotry and prejudice here can be cut with the same blade. We have to keep that blade sharp and share it with one another.” Now he was sounding like the old Malcolm: “Strangely enough, listening to leaders like Nasser, Ben Bella, and Nkrumah awakened me to the dangers of racism. I realized racism isn’t just a Black and white problem. It’s brought bloodbaths to about every nation on earth at one time or another.”

He stopped and remained silent for a few moments. “Brother,” he said finally, ”remember the time that white college girl came into the restaurant — the one who wanted to help the Muslims and the whites get together — and I told her there wasn’t a ghost of a chance and she went away crying?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I’ve lived to regret that incident. In many parts of the African continent I saw white students helping Black people. Something like this kills a lot of argument. I did many things as a [Black] Muslim that I’m sorry for now. I was a zombie then — like all [Black] Muslims — I was hypnotized, pointed in a certain direction and told to march. Well, I guess a man’s entitled to make a fool of himself if he’s ready to pay the cost. It cost me twelve years.”

“That was a bad scene, brother. The sickness and madness of those days — I’m glad to be free of them. It’s a time for martyrs now. And if I’m to be one, it will be in the cause of brotherhood. That’s the only thing that can save this country. I’ve learned it the hard way — but I’ve learned it. And that’s the significant thing.”

As we parted he laid his hand on my shoulder, looked into my eyes and said, “As-salaam-alaikum, brother.”

“And may peace be with you, Malcolm,” I answered.

(the speaker, btw, was Gordon Parks, who interviewed him)

I say this because Black men are in need of healing. We are passing down a trauma that was passed down from our fathers, passed from his father to him, and from his father to him. No one will help us cope but ourselves. The anger in the Black community is legitimate. We have been through hell and back and we still have one foot in the damn place. We are being victimized through this country’s laws and practices, the disdain of nearly every racial group to immigrate here, hell we’re so bad we even victimize each other! The cancer of violence and hatred has been injected into our community’s bloodstream and it spreads everywhere we look. You can’t educate out of it either. A black man can get a PhD and a 6 figure job, and a cop will still pull you over for no reason and want to brutalize you. Fuck it, you can be the President of the United States, and the drunkest dirt bag and uneducated fool in the trailer park will still call you a Nigger and a boy… from trailer trash to U.S. Senators–you’re just another Black man they would rather see suffer.

Oh and please don’t come at me with that “Talking about it opens old wounds” BS either. The wound hasn’t healed because we won’t talk about it. White men avoid it, and Black men are obsessed with it, and if you don’t treat a cancer what does it do to you? It spreads all over your body and invades every piece of you. And since this is a conversation that White folks don’t want to have, and Black people love to have–the least we can do is to be experts at it.

And we are. Black people are such experts at racism and race relations, that we know history your average high school history teacher has never heard of. We know of incidents, historical essays and books, techniques used to control the slaves and dominate, people, places and events–that White Americans don’t know and probably wouldn’t want to know. The sad thing is that because we know it and don’t know what to do with it, we are like the Incredible Hulk, with all this anger, all this strength and power with no place to channel it and no peers to understand it. In the end it becomes destructive. We destroy ourselves, our communities and our people, even our children. Like I said earlier, the way to control it is to educate ourselves in order to improve our condition. Once we understand it, we can then heal it, battle it, and then change it.

The White man has done what he did. He still has a race problem of his own, which is evident in how insecure he is with talking about race and his own history with us. If you understand him and why he is the way that he is, you will be able to deal with him and help him navigate through his own bullshit–even when he is unwilling to admit he has a problem. As a Black man–you have bullshit of your own. But you cannot fix it until you understand it, and to understand it as well as the cure–you will have to turn to the experts and read and learn. Start with the Autobiography. Then come back here and we’ll talk about it.

Black woman, I am speaking to you too. White man, ditto. White woman, ditto that.

And you Whites, Asians, Hispanics who have Black friends and/or Black mixed children–read it. You’ve got a lot to learn as well.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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Filed under Message to the Black Man, Message to the White Man

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Okay, so I’ve been saving these recipes. I’m not much of a photographer, and I have poor time-management skills for anything besides work… so the articles almost never get uploaded.

I had originally committed myself to only putting up recipes I have made and tried, but this just looked too good to pass up. Maybe one day I’ll throw this one together. But until then, enjoy!

And if you ever get around to doing any of mine, please give feedback! Thanks for visiting my blog.

red velvet cheesecake

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

RED VELVET CAKE:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup (two 1-ounce bottles) red food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons white vinegar

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted lightly to remove any lumps
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Prepare the cheesecake layer: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place a large roasting pan on the lower third rack of the oven. Place a kettle of water on the stove to boil. Spray a 9-inch spring form pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Wrap a double layer of foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan (you want to seal it so the water from the water bath doesn’t seep into the pan).

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to mix the cream cheese- blend until it is nice and smooth and creamy. Mix in sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. Finally, mix in sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan into the roasting pan in the pre-heated oven. Carefully pour the hot water from your kettle into the roasting pan (it will fill the pan surrounding the cheesecake).

Pour enough water so that there is about an inch of water coming up the foil along the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. It should be set to the touch and not jiggle. Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely. This can be done in several hours- or overnight.

Prepare the cake layers: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round metal baking pans (or spray with nonstick baking spray with flour). In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar to the flour mixture. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat for 1 minute, until blended. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pans, then invert cakes onto a rack to cool completely.

Prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla until it is smooth and creamy (do not over beat).

Assemble the cake: Place one cake layer into the center of a cake plate or platter. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, take off the sides of the pan, and slide a knife under the parchment to remove the cheesecake from the pan. Peel off the parchment. Measure your cheesecake layer against the cake layers. If the cheesecake layer turns out to be a slightly larger round than your cake, move it to a cutting board and gently shave off some of the exterior of the cheesecake to get it to the same size as your cake layers. Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer. Place the 2nd cake layer on top of the cheesecake.

Frost the cake: Apply a crumb coat layer to the cake- use a long, thin spatula to cover the cake completely with a thin and even layer of frosting. Be sure to wipe off your spatula each time you are about to dip it back into the bowl to get more frosting (this way you won’t be transferring any red crumbs into the bowl of frosting). Don’t worry at this point about the crumbs being visible in the frosting on the cake. When your cake has a thin layer of frosting all over it, place it into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to “set” the frosting.

Once the first layer of frosting is set, apply the 2nd layer. Start by adding a large scoop of frosting onto the top of the cake. Use a long, thin spatula to spread the frosting evenly across the top and then spread it down the sides of the cake too. Because you applied a crumb-coat layer, you shouldn’t have any red crumbs floating around in the final frosting layer. Decorate, as desired. I recommend white chocolate shavings

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Filed under Slap-yo-baby-momma-it's-so-good (only for my readers) Secret Recipes

Monster

intricate roadmaps of scars

churn, swirl and twist, like

the vicious veins that torture unforgivingly

agonizing reminders of the monster I’ve become

so I hide behind prosthetic mounds of womanhood

ashamed to bare my pain

to those I hold dear

fear that it may frighten their innocent minds

or kill his desire

so I

carry these secrets to the grave

My Lord, couldn’t You save me

why have You forsaken me

refused to hear my cries:

disfigured

unbecoming

heart-swallowing

something’s missing

like Leroux’s angel of music

hideosity hides beauty

my bosom no longer blossoms

oh, what a bare-breasted beast,

half-woman i’ve become

carrying the shame of such unsightly monstrosity

wish i could tell him how much it hurt

*it won’t hurt if you touch me*

but i will hide her till the Angel comes for my soul

one day the sun will rise for me:

the pain

the shame

subsides

and–

maybe she will once again

feel

whole.

“monster”

 

beauty despite what's missing

beauty despite what’s missing

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Filed under Poetry