Smoke it, bake or broil it—cover it with hot sauce—but a neck bone is still a neck bone. —Mikelism rule 171 (from the family survival manual, ‘Holtisms to Live By…or Figure it Out in This World or the Next’)
A friend recently asked me to elaborate on a series of “Holtisms” I previously published for my sons. In truth, the following is apropos for all young brothers (and some sisters), but particularly for those without a role model (24-7 fathers) to take them though the Rites of Passage:
* If you don’t know the difference between history, and HIS-STORY, you probably won’t understand why there is a justice system for them, and a system called JUST-US for us. Study “our” history; use truth to shield yourself against false paradigms.
* You can’t spell community without the last five letters; without them, you are standing on a bottomless pit and you better start learning Chinese.
* Stop wishing for a political solution for racism because you can’t legislate attitudes or prejudices.
* Don’t allow the nuclear family to explode, without it there is nothing left but wasteland and zombies.
* Fatherhood is the most important role you’ll ever play.
* Stay one month ahead of your bills; save twice as much as you throw away; purchase land and pass it down to your family.
* Don’t expect them to ‘educate’ your children.
* Educate by example.
* Nothing is more important than your children,
* Prison slabs make for hard pillows, but they won’t stop you from dreaming.
* Everytime you lie with a woman, there’s a 24% chance she’ll get pregnant… and 100% chance your life will be forever different.
* Only a fool wears pants with pockets on the outside.
* Black skin doesn’t make you a brother; but it might get pass the cultural firewalls.
* Always put family—community and blood—first. Buy Black, support Black and enhance Black.
* White ice isn’t colder; they told you that lie so you would buy from them instead of looking in your freezer.
* Wisdom is the frosting on the cake called survival.
* Education only teaches you how to spell experience….(passed down from Grandpa Holt).
* Beware of the leader who tells you he is one.
* Skin color makes us Black; but the shared struggle—Maafa—makes us brothers.
* Trust only the friends you can see through.
* Life is about living within a series of interlaced circles. There’s the God circle. The family circle. The community circle. And the universal circle. How you navigate through each of them will not only affect you but others who occupy your shared space. In other words, everything you do affects someone else, in this world or the next.
* Live every day as if your deeds of the last 24 hours are a sentence for your obituary. In other words, as Al Sharpton once said, don’t die an irrelevant Negro. (Are you going to be one of those individuals whom the preacher has to invent something positive to say about during your funeral, or will your deeds be worthy of a short book?)
* Hair under your arm, on your face or around your groin doesn’t make you a man. Conversely, while “most” girls evolve into women, their “potential” development into ladies has nothing to do with physical growth.
* Never forget whose shoulders you stand on.
* Ours is a heritage that dates back to the original woman, Lucy, the first human being. There is irrefutable evidence that we were the originals Hebrews mentioned in the Bible and that much of their religion was adapted from Kemetic theology, which included a trinity, virgin birth and the 10 commandments, called the 42 negative confessions.
* Your ancestors created math, science, medicine. You are more than you think you are because through your veins flow the blood of the Creator.
* If you look in the mirror and see a “nigger”, you’re either in need of a religious and cultural transfusion, or you are already living in purgatory, doomed to stand under the shadow of slavery and self-degradation.
* Never pass a brother and sister and not speak “affectionately”. Brotherhood is the key to community.
* Some people never move beyond selfishness. They never see themselves as part of something much greater than themselves, even if it is but as a grain of sand in the universe. Know that every grain is essential for universal balance. When you realize both who and what you are, you will become part of the whole, and immortality is your reward.
* Share your life with a woman who is smarter than you are.
* What you do in life can alter the fate of all of mankind. A simple act of kindness, or conversely, a criminal action can and will alter the fate of people unknown to you, of situations unrealized, or an action unseen.
* Think through every response or action, pause to consider each step and direction, reflect and assess before uttering a single word.
* Breathe. Take a deep breath. Then another. Slowly exhale. Do it repeatedly until the tension has evaporated, and the world is back in focus.
* Take heed of the African proverb that declares you are, because we are.
* Few of us ever see our true reflection in the mirror.
Too many of us see what we want to see, instead of what is reflected back at us. Light distorts, but perceptions alter reality. Eventually, it is your deeds and actions that make up your portrait, not the image reflected in the mirror, which at best is a split second illusion.
* Always put Black people first; that’s not nationalism, it’s common sense.
It is not racist to love your own, nor is it logical to put others before your own.
Without igniting a religious debate, I share the belief that we are God’s true chosen people. If there were an Eden, it was located in Africa. The first human remains were found in the Motherland. Even White anthropologists (which according to some Black people gives it the penultimate creditability), say life and civilization originated in Africa. Thus, it stands to reason that we are God’s first creation and life evolved from us, that we have an ordained mission and purpose here on earth.
Yet, despite being armed with that knowledge, Black self-hatred and confusion run rampant. The shadow of slavery still casts a dark cloud over us. We don’t respect or understand, our oneness with the Supreme Being, or our status as His first children.
It is imperative that you continue our effort to unify our race, to move us forward, and to bring to an end our 400-year exodus. Start by setting the example, displaying love for your race and always putting us first. Buy Black to build our community, love Black to reinforce our infrastructure, promote Black to pave our future.
* To stumble is to fall forward faster.
Some think stumbling means falling down, losing your balance, or losing your momentum. But stumbling—making a mistake—can also be an opportunity. Use it as a life lesson, learn from your mistakes and move forward. View your mistake as a catalyst for self-improvement.
* Tell her life is not a soap opera called ‘All My Chillins’
* Don’t fear. Use it as a powerful tool.
* What you believe today will evaporate with experience and circumstance. Wisdom acquired over time brings clarity.
Bruce Lee, while known as a great martial artist, was also an oft-quoted philosopher. One observation he made prior to his death has stayed with me. To paraphrase: “before I got into martial arts, I thought a kick was just a kick, and a punch was just a punch. Through study and practice, however, I learned that a punch was not just a punch, and a kick was not just a kick.
“After mastering the nuisances of my techniques, I discovered the inherent power that comes from natural reflex and perfection. I learned that a kick was just a kick and punch was just a punch.”
Things change as you age, clarity will come, sometimes slowly. Never close your mind, or assume things are as they initially appear. Wisdom and life experience will allow you to master even the simplest of actions and thoughts, they will become muscle memory.
* Tattoo pens don’t come with erasers, but Mother Nature can turn a word into a sentence.
* Knowledge is erudition, ignorance is the absence of knowledge, and stupidity is the abuse of it.
Despite what people will tell you, ignorance is not deleterious (your quest for wisdom requires you look that word up), it simply means you don’t know something. Stupidity, on the other hand is misusing or abusing the knowledge you’ve acquired. Crime is stupidity. Pregnancy with an intended sperm donor is stupidity. (There’s no free poontang, but that’s another lesson). Not believing in karma—an equal response to your actions—is stupid.
Knowledge provides you with ammunition, influence and righteousness. Ignoring the realities of life is stupidity.
* Guard you daughter’s virtue as if it was the most sacred thing on the planet, because it is. She will pave the future for our nation. Similarly, raise you son to love, honor and protect all of our women. Bow down before them for they are our queens and deserve it.
* If you don’t know the difference between pizza and toasted cheese bread with ketchup, you’ll never appreciate the former or know the latter has fooled you.
* Nobody owes you anything, and probably won’t pay up even if they do. But take heart, as long as they owe you, you’ll never be broke.
While I support reparations, don’t hold your breath awaiting the great White father to pay you for the sins of their ancestors. The truth is nobody is going to give you anything; everything you earn and achieve will come from your individual efforts, or are the byproducts of efforts by your ancestors and family.
Those who feel they are owed something generally are left by the wayside. They are extending their hands out, while others are extending their hands upwards, to climb the ladder to success.
* Life is a series of commas, with an occasional semicolon.
The period comes at the conclusion, but doesn’t necessarily mean the end, but instead the space before a new sentence.
* Blood is thicker water, and semen is thicker than both.
* God is a title, not His/Her name. Understand that fact and you’re one step closer to figuring out the most important relationship in your life. In fact, what makes you think Yah is a man? Because sexist men wrote the bible and told you so?
* Religions are but branches on the same tree. God is the root.
Don’t get hung up in the debate about which religion is best—or the only truth. For there is a thread that runs through all of them that links us all to God.
I’ve climbed many branches during my life, and have been empowered by various faiths and religious tenets. I’ve explored Deism, Christianity, Islam and African Spiritualism. And I’m back again to my roots, primarily because that’s where I feel most comfortable and feel part of a larger whole.
While it is necessary to be rooted, don’t misunderstand religion with spiritualism.
It is the latter that puts you in direct contact with God; religion is but a path and a platform.
* Put God first, followed by family and then community/nation.
Be suspicious of anyone who tells you that you need a minister as a liaison, or a building to pray to God. And for the record, God doesn’t need your tithes (it was for the Levites), the church does.
As the African prayer goes: In the beginning was God, today is God, forever will be God. He is like the word spoken, but passes, but lives on.
* Assume the world is flat until you can prove otherwise.
* Family is your foundation, and when peers turn their backs or mislead you, you will always have family to fall back on.
And, lastly, you are an integral part of the community, for good, bad or worst. You can never move beyond what you are. As I previously noted, you are because we are.
More next time…