A New Definition of Brother…

Copyright © 2016 by Leslye Joy Allen. All Rights Reserved.

“Self Portrait” by Copyright © 2015 Leslye Joy Allen.  All Rights Reserved.

“Self Portrait” by Copyright © 2015 Leslye Joy Allen. All Rights Reserved.

I had to learn the hard way not to rely solely on

American-born brothers who

talk plenty smack and talk plenty righteousness about

how we Black folk have work to do, but at the same time demand

that I keep my mouth shut about the mess that affects me as a woman and all 

that infects us/we as a people…

I had to learn the hard way that many of my brothers did not

arrive speaking with American accents, but

some had/have foreign accents so thick that I

need(ed) someone to decipher what they were saying, but

what they said mattered less than what they did…

I learned that plenty Josés and Juans and Ahmads and Maliks and

Etiennes and Lúcios and Willies and Sams

 of my world

and my hemisphere

weighed in on matters that affected my life as a Black woman when

so many other so-called brothers assumed that my problems as a Black female

would be handled by someone else or

handled by me by myself…

I had to learn the hard way that my definition of “brother” needed to remain

outside of my typical geographic boundaries of what I/We call the USA

and we either grab hold of each other as kith and kin

or we drown in the waters waiting for

some definition that none of us could live with anyway.

                                  – Leslye Joy Allen, Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved.


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3 thoughts on “A New Definition of Brother…

  1. There is much food for thought that needs to be carefully digested by many American born brothers. Thanks for pricking my consciousness with your perspective on this issue.

  2. Thanks Brothers Harold and Harold Michael. Because we all were born and raised in the Western world with very heavy influences of that world in the USA, we tend to see ourselves as “US” and everybody else, forgetting that other peoples who are far less materially well-off have something to teach us in the great USA For example activist Kumi Naidoo–who is Indian but born and raised in South Africa and who identifies as Black–noted that the environmental and women’s movements were one and the same and interconnected because women raise most of the food in Africa. An environmental disaster has and will disproportionately affect those women who struggle to raise and feed their families. He also led the first Men’s March Against Domestic Violence of Women and Children in South Africa. Because I have been blessed with so many excellent professors who are not native Americans, I have been given the opportunity to weigh non-American approaches to certain problems. When there has been a problem with Black American women, I always get a swift response from Black men and Men of Color, but almost all of them are non-American. They don’t just see these problems as “women’s” problems, but view them as “one-half of the tribe is in trouble so pretty soon we all are going to be in trouble.” As much as I owe and love my own people, namely African Americans, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the influences of Dr. Waqas Khwaja of Pakistan, Dr. Juan Allende of Chile, and Dr. Emmanuel Konde of Cameroon, all of who challenged me, broadened my perspective, and fought ferociously against sexism in all of its forms, even when fighting against it made a lot of men uncomfortable. I owe them a lot.

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