THE DARK SIDE OF MONEY: AMERICAN DREAM MEETS MURDER AS GRITTY NEW NOVEL PEAKS BEHIND THE GLAMOUR OF AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN FAMILY’S HIGH LIFE
– Written by d. E. Rogers and uniquely fusing fact with fiction, ‘The Dark Side of Money’ proves that some people would do anything to retain their wealth and the promise of the American Dream – even if it means killing their family. As one of the few books to focus on the successes of African-Americans, the novel is poised to resonate with readers from coast to coast. –
Bookcover and author, d. E. Rogers
San Francisco Bay Area, CA (BlackNews.com) — While thousands of books depict African-American families as struggling to reach the success of wider society, The Dark Side of Money showcases the high-life millions of families enjoy. However, no book of gripping fiction is worth its weight without a heavy dose of action, suspense and murder.
Thankfully, author d. E. Rogers gives readers all three with gusto. The novel’s narrative thrusts readers from the fruits of success to the tumultuous consequences of trying to hold onto the American Dream.
Synopsis: Read more…
Editor’s Note: I penned this piece in January 2010, when analysts were exploring the expansion of the federal food stamp program. The running consensus then was that more and more, Americans of all ages, races and backgrounds were increasingly depending on public assistance to feed their families. Now, three years later, that expansion is going away, leaving children vulnerable to hunger here, in one of the richest countries in the world. So I figured I’d dust this story off. It is still relevant, if not more, as rhetoric over the food stamp program reaches fever pitch.
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It’s the cheese I remember—a congealed, yellowy-orange block in non-descript paper, with, I think, blue writing. You needed the might of Solomon to cut through it, it was so thick. All I could manage were chunks—never firm slices. Read more…
The little girl had to be about two, not much more, and she had this little purse thingy that she was absolutely fascinated with—much more so than the high school football game her mother had dragged her to. I noticed her waving it in her mother’s face, an attempt to get her mama to play with her. The mother? She wasn’t having it.
“I don’t want to play with that,” she snapped, without even looking at her baby.
When the little girl gave another feeble attempt to get her mother’s attention, the lady was all sharp edges and thunder: “I said, I don’t want it,” she seethed through gritted teeth. “Sit it down, shit.”
Now Nick missed all this, but my heart just sank when baby girl wandered away from her mother and her two friends, and started trying to get my husband’s attention. He happily obliged her attempt to join her in playing with the purse. I chimed in with compliments on her shoes and telling her that I loved her afro puffs—something, anything, to make her smile. To deflect from the fact that her mother was acting the donkey toward her baby girl, who was looking for some motherly attention on a Friday night at 10 p.m., when she should have been home in her pajamas, in her crib, sleeping in Heavenly peace.
Peace wasn’t on her mother’s mind. Neither was kindness, particularly when it came to her daughter. Still, though I was disgusted by her behavior, it wasn’t at all surprising. I know Black moms love our babies and that we care for their every need just like any other mom—even and especially when we have to make a way out of no way. But my God, the cursing, the beating, the emotional abuse that I see some Black moms unleashing on their children in the street, at the mall, on public transportation, in school, out in public, hurts me to my core.
Now I’m not stranger to the mean mom. Y’all need to ask about my mom; she’s legend with “The Look” and, yes, the switch. With her, children were to be seen, not heard, and any misstep, no matter how slight, might incur the wrath. She was a great mom. But mean as all get out until I got older and had babies of my own. And she wasn’t alone: I grew up surrounded by Black mothers—women I loved and who loved me back—who were just plain mean. For no good reason. Read more…
On this much, I am very clear: when I had my first baby more than 14 years ago, I was blessed to be working at a time when the economy was strong, a good job with benefits could be had, and a decent maternity leave was still possible. Between a year’s worth of vacay and sick days, the federally-mandated 12-week maternity leave and a few more months unpaid maternity leave I coaxed out of HR, I managed to scrape up a full nine months worth of leave with my Mari—time off with my baby that I could afford because the hubs and I had some money saved. I recognized that what I pulled off was huge, even in those prosperous times, particularly for a Black mom. But it’s clear that had I needed maternity leave today, I’d probably be in the same boat with 40 percent of new moms, taking one to four weeks of maternity leave or worse, none at all.
From Today Moms:
About two-thirds of U.S. women are employed during pregnancy and about 70 percent of them report taking some time off, according to most recent figures from the National Center for Health Statistics. The average maternity leave in the U.S. is about 10 weeks, but about half of new moms took at least five weeks, with about a quarter taking nine weeks or more, figures showed.
But a closer look shows that 16 percent of new moms took only one to four weeks away from work after the birth of a child — and 33 percent took no formal time off at all, returning to job duty almost immediately. Read more…
By NICK CHILES
Should you allow your teenager to have sex in your house? This was a question posed by Clutch and like many, if not most, parents, my initial answer was a loud and resounding, “Aw, hell nah!” It’s about respect, about honoring the rules and the sanctity of the home, and, especially if you have younger, impressionable siblings lurking in the house, it’s about setting the right example.
But having actually brought a male child through those rough teen years, I know that the actual answer, like most things, is a bit more complicated. As anybody out there who has ever been in the presence of a teen knows all too well, teenagers are some sneaky little so-and-sos. You try to the best of your ability to set boundaries, to lay down rules, to monitor their behavior, but the average teenager envisions your rules as the obstacles set down by the enemy. That means the rules actually establish exactly the things the teenager wants to do as much as possible. If my parent says this behavior is bad, then that’s precisely what I want to do with my evening. If my parent says this behavior is okay, then it must not be bad enough. Read more…
By Denene Millner
I was 27 when I married the man with whom I created two children—at the height of my career as a political reporter-turned-journalist and just as my first book made its way to store shelves. Two years into our marriage, we decided to have children. Each of them was made from love. Wanted. Mari arrived when I was almost 31—Lila three years later, almost to the day. I can honestly say that by the time my second daughter arrived, I was exhausted—working an exacting job as a magazine editor, traveling from state-to-state promoting my published books, writing more books in the middle of the night—later, dealing with the grief of losing my mother and a massive move South and the bold journey to becoming a full-time author and freelance writer. In other words, I built my career while I built my family—something the women from my generation were wont to do. But I saw a shift in the sisters coming right behind me—women who put career-building ahead of family-building, and suggested that I was “rushing” into having kids when I should have been nurturing my burgeoning career as a journalist and author. They wanted love and babies, but not at the expense of the jobs they’d studied for and worked so hard to get. They understood the stakes. Took the chances. And some of them are just fine with their decisions. But some of them, now in their late 30s and 40s, are not. Read more…
BY NICK CHILES
In these incredibly difficult times, we can easily find our families dealing with stressors that perhaps we didn’t have to confront a few years ago. Financial problems can bring a whole lot of other troubles along with them—marriage and relationship conflicts, family tensions, divorce, abuse, addiction. But the director of the Yale Stress Center advises that we need to try to protect our children from stress as much as possible because they will become more likely to carry it into adulthood. Read more…
By TOKEYA C. GRAHAM
I have been a mother for almost half of my life. I had my first child when I was still a child myself. At 19 years old, two years out of high school and four years into what I thought was true love, I became a mama for the first time. As I pushed my 12 weeks-premature, 2 lb., 8 oz. baby into the world, I knew I would forever be changed. And I was right; unknowingly, I stepped naturally into the role that was tailor-made for me. Read more…
By RACHEL GARLINGHOUSE
If you’re thinking about private adoption, be clear: it’s pricey. Domestic adoptions generally cost between $15,000 and $30,000 per adoption, and international adoptions cost even more. Add in legal counsel, paying birth parent expenses, and travel costs, and adopting a child can really take its financial toll.
Adopting a child is expensive because adoption is an industry; there are staff members to pay, court costs, expensive price tags for background checks, travel expenses and much more. Still, you can make adoption affordable. Consider the following to cut costs and raise capital for one of the most rewarding, enriching choices any one person can me—becoming a parent through adoption: Read more…
By ROD PEREZ
Dad, I’ve grown up to be a good man. I want you to see that. I want you to see that the boy you left behind is fine. The boy you’ve made “ice cream promises” to is fine.
I was hip to your game, you know—how you would show up just enough times to squelch your guilt. I’ve known for a long time now, Dad. You claimed to have missed me, but all I know is that you missed my birthdays. The creative mind of innocence made excuses for why you never came when you said you would. I actually believed them, too. The hearts of children. Belief is pure. But soon enough, it finds out the truth. Read more…
Please understand, the southern caste system that kept Gamma Bettye and Papa Jimy from getting the educations all children deserve made them value education like no other; they came from a generation of African Americans born and reared in the South—where black babies were relegated, by law, to substandard schools and books and jobs and neighborhoods and services. And so the first chance they could, they high-tailed themselves up North, first for jobs, second to find each other, and third to give their children the opportunities they were denied when they were little. But for your grandparents, there was no time for PTA meetings and school bake sales, no know-how when it came to writing essays or figuring out tough algebra problems, no advocacy with teachers. Maybe they felt like they couldn’t handle it. Perhaps it was what parents like them did in their time—trust that teachers are professionals capable of doing their jobs without parents getting in the middle of it all. Read more…
I ain’t one of them.
Though my labor with my first daughter, Mari, was rather reasonable considering she was my first birth—two hours and twenty-one minutes of labor, including 20 minutes of pushing, and she was getting her nose cleared and her booty smacked—I remembered every… little… teeny… weeny… second… of… searing… throbbing… push… pull… stretch… and tug… that came with getting that child out of me. And that was with an epidural. I did not want a repeat of any of that business, no ma’am. So with Lila, I asked quick, fast and in a hurry for drugs. Lots of them. Read more…
When I deliberated over what our daughter would look like, I secretly hoped she would have my eye shape and my husband’s eye color. He has very wide, stunning blue eyes. They were the first thing I noticed when I saw him, and still one of my favorite physical qualities of his. Read more…
African Americans have every reason to be suspicious of white people adopting black babies. From slavery to unethical medical experimentation to Jim Crow laws and more, history demonstrates that white people haven’t always been very kind to people of color, to say the least. As an English teacher, I read many books, and I can recall the numerous titles that talked about whites using slave children as entertainment at dinner parties while the children’s black parents looked on, powerless to stop the disgusting circus, knowing that at any moment, their kids could be sold to the highest bidder, stripped forever from their biological parents.
My blog homie Britni Danielle, who holds it down lovely over at Clutch (my online Bible for all things young, black, smart and feminine), has been putting in work at BabyCenter, where she blogs about motherhood. I’m so very proud of her work there (and super happy that someone thought to add a mom of color to the massive blogging line-up that, until Britni joined, included only one non-white mom—my homegirl Kimberly Allers Seals of MochaManual.com). Occasionally, Britni gives me a heads up on her writings, and yesterday, she hit me up on Twitter with this:
The comments are heating up. What do you say? Ever feel pressured to have more kids?
She was referring to a piece she’d written on BabyCenter, in which she declared that her son would likely be an only child, not because she’s not physically capable of having a second baby, but because she doesn’t want to have one. In her post,“Ever Feel Pressured To Have More Kids,” Britni writes:
Growing up, I visualized a house full of kids. I’d picture myself whipping up meals, while my children made mud pies in the yard, or I’d think about corralling them into the minivan for a family road trip. When I pictured my ideal life all those years ago, I never thought I’d be the mother of an only child.
By Denene Millner
It’s no secret that I stan for black fathers. My bias for the good ones runs deep: My dad is an incredible man who loves me with abandon, and my husband, Nick, absolutely adores his daughters. I’m surrounded by beautiful black men who take care of their children in every way—mentally, emotionally, financially, physically—and right here on this blog, I’ve made a point of highlighting fathers like author Derrick Barnes, writer Jamal Frederick and bloggers Eric Payne of Makes Me Wanna Holler and Lamar Tyler of Black And Married With Kids because I truly believe that we need to see them and follow them and study them and thank them for getting it right. Read more…
By RACHEL GARLINGHOUSE
A few months ago, I found myself in a state of panic.
I am the proud mother of two baby girls, both of whom came into our family through domestic, transracial, open adoption. My husband and I are white, our daughters are black. Read more…
By BASSEY IKPI
I love birthdays; mine especially. Every year for the last decade, I’ve thrown a party called a Basstravaganza! Yes, I am a Leo. Why do you ask? I feel like birthdays are the only holiday that everyone can celebrate regardless of religion or country or culture. You were born! Yay! (Unless you’re Jehovah’s Witness. Then *whispers* you were born. yay.) I’m always looking forward to my birthday and start talking about it at least a month in advance. Read more…
By Curly Nikki
Here I sit in State College, PA… life uprooted, internet-less, cable-less, and living in a house that I can only liken to a summer cottage. Why? Because like a vacation home, it’s old, dusty and dank, as if it’s been vacant for months on end… devoid of life, save for the bustling community of spiders that appear to be doing quite well for themselves. Everything is dingy and worn, paint peeling… vintage chic, I suppose?
By TARA PRINGLE JEFFERSON
Sleepy and still aching from my C-section, I took a quick walk to the mailbox to get some fresh air and actually remember what it was like to feel the sun on my face. Only a week since my daughter was born and I was already going stir-crazy in the house all day.
I pulled out an envelope I got from the hospital. Thinking nothing of it, I tore it open and found a bill for $27,000. That emergency C-section and seven-day hospital stay for both mother and baby was hella expensive, it turned out. Read more…
By Anslem Samuel
I just recently turned seventeen and I’m always so ridiculously horny! It’s not even funny. I can even get off by listening to Robin Thicke’s “Sex Therapy.” I’m almost always thinking about sex and masturbate quite frequently. At school I imagine being taken advantage of by my male teachers and I mentally bang almost every good-looking person I see.
By Anslem Samuel
I’ve been dating someone for about a year. He was really everything I was looking for in a significant other. He’s responsible, kind, open-minded, hard-working, creative, thoughtful… I could go on. Career wise he’s a mechanic, and I’m a college grad still finding my way in the recession. This has never been a problem for me because I’m happy with the person he is and have never thought less of him for not going to college.