Monday, March 23, 2015

Man Needs More Help Than Tazi Can Offer

Dear Tazi:

I am a black man and my whole life my mother never missed an opportunity to remind me that “a black man has to work twice as hard to be half as successful as a white man”. This was her reason for constantly berating me, telling me to “man up” when things did not go my way. She could never allow me to have a good sulk until I felt better! She was always hounding me about taking advantage of opportunity when opportunity presented itself; learning from my mistakes; and accepting my share of responsibility when bad things happened. My sisters have done that, Tazi. One sister married a man who invested well, which is how they earned their money, and the other sister got a settlement from a car accident that left her with enough to start up her own business. Neither one of them had to start from the bottom!

Tazi, most of the time when things went wrong in my life it was not my fault! I have a son that I never see because his mother (my ex-girlfriend) moved out of state. How is it my fault that I am no longer a part of his life? But Mom holds this against me! My son would never have been born if his mother had remembered to take her birth control pill, but one missed dose and I am on the hook! How is that my fault? She could have had an abortion, but chose to keep the baby. Where is my choice?

I lost my last job because someone else kept putting me on the schedule for a day I could not work. I expressly stated after the first time it happened that I could not work weekends, and that if they scheduled me I would not show; for this they fired me! It’s not like I pulled a “no show”; I was just standing up for myself! I complained to Mom, but she told me (again) to “man up” and accept the fact that some jobs are going to require a difficult schedule.

As of now, I am on disability for depression because I just can’t handle the problems life has been throwing my way. A large part of why I am depressed is my mother’s constant negativity, but she refuses to accept her share of responsibility for the problem, saying that I am responsible for my own mental health. I am now being forced to receive counseling for my depression, which is only making matters worse because the counselor to which I have been assigned agrees with my Mom – that I need to take my share of responsibility for what happens in my life. My future disability payments hinge on this counselor’s decision as to whether or not I am truly depressed. This is not fair! I know that the counselor is going to give me a bad report, calling me an uncooperative patient and recommending that my disability benefits be terminated. How is any of this my fault when my entire life is being decided by other people? The worst part of all this is that my mother tells me she wants to be supportive of me and help me “get better”. She helped to cause all of my problems; I do not want to help her ease her guilty conscience!

My problem with all of this is that right now I have to live with my Mom. I can’t get Section 8 housing where I live because even the waiting list has been closed the need is so large. I can’t move to another state because my disability benefits are approved through the state and they will not transfer if the state I move to does not approve them. I am stuck. Do you have any words of wisdom, Tazi, on how to get my mother off of my back? I am a sensitive soul, and her attitude is what has led to my misery.

Workin’ On Makin’ It

Dear Workin’ On Makin’ It:

Where do I start? You mother’s comment that “a black man has to work twice as hard to be half as successful as a white man” is sadly true, but the same can be said of a woman – of any color. We live in a world where discrimination is an unfortunate reality; we can accept this reality and work to overcome it or we can sulk over it and be that much further behind when we come out of our “good sulk”. Your mother sounds like a wise woman and you would do well to listen to her as opposed to telling her off – especially since you live with her!

As for your sisters and their successes: You say that neither of them had to start from the ground up. I say differently. For Sister #1, I doubt that the money to invest well and invest wisely grew on a tree in her backyard. She and her husband probably scrimped and saved in order to come up with the money needed for a minimum buy; studied their investment options carefully; and only then contacted a broker to invest on their behalf. They have earned their success.

I don't think your sister is married to this guy, either!

Sister #2 – the one with a settlement for personal injury and/or property damage – also started from the ground up, as running your own business requires a leap of faith into the abyss; she could have just as easily failed in spite of her hard work. The fact that she used her own money – and not a Federal SBA loan – is quite admirable. She has nurtured her talents, found a need for them, created a business plan, invested in her dream, and it is paying off for her. She also has earned her success. You, on the other hand…

If you feel that your mother is responsible for all of your problems, perhaps you can try joint counseling. The dynamic that exists between the two of you – and the dynamic between you and the rest of the world – is a problem that is more complicated than I am comfortable mediating, and is too involved to dissect in the space this column provides.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

1 comment:

  1. Being a bi-racial woman, my father(who is African American)told both me and my sister the same thing. But instead of sulking,I worked my butt off to show people that I can be successful. My father also worked his butt off when he joined various civil rights organizations. He also did years in both the U.S. Navy and the Military back in the late 50's and 60's when segregation was still around.One of the things my father did as part of his civil rights participation was work with young, black youth and encourage them to go to school, college, and live the American dream. My father's role model would is Dr. Martin Luther King. He would take Dr. King's example to help these youth become successful. I hope this man can do the same.
    My advice to this wonderful, intelligent young man is to take the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and go for your dream. I would also get some vocational counseling, maybe at a local community college, which is a great way to get a fresh start.Do not let opposition or your past stop you from succeeding.