Interviewing Kenneth Ray Clayton Senior
“ My name is Kenneth Ray Clayton Senior, I was born on June 27, 1948 in Henderson Texas, I grew up in a town that is no longer on the map but still exist, String town. I grew up in the country on a 80 acre farm with my grandparents, the land was given to them by my grandmothers parents who worked hard breaking there backs for some white folks to be in a position to own land unlike most of there friends who did not own a thing. Like you Don I wasn’t raised by my parents my grandparents took me in a raised me since I can remember. I saw my parents for years once a week in Texas till I moved to California.”
Question- What did you think being raised by your grand parents and not your biological parents?
Answer-“Well i always thought it was strange as a kid that my parents didn’t take care of me and my grandparents like many other black folk did in my town and looking back on raising my kids I don’t see how my parents let that happen but its life cant cry over spilled milk.
Question- Did you have any black male role models?
Answer- Yea man my gran dad and my uncles where always around but down south at that time we had pimps n hustlers all around money, cars , and women they got fast and who didn’t want money, cars, and women shoot for a time I wanted to be just like them.
Question- How did you feel about moving to California?
Answer- I was excited to come to a new place, Don the stories I use to here about that California I was ready to get up outa String town I just felt bad about leaving my mom brothers and sisters.
Question- When you got to California what did you think of it and what was going on in your life at that time?
Answer- I was living with my grandparents and my aunt I was going to San Mateo high in the bay area and it was way way different from the south as I can remember it. There was white folk at my school sitting right next to me, I met your grandmother for the first time my sophomore year in high school. swear my granddad thought I was crazy when I brought some white buddies by. In Texas you would never see white folk in the same area as black folk around that time, that was the biggest difference from Texas to California, the way different raced people interacted, I could tell then that California was ahead of Texas and I was just happy to be here in California.
Question- What happened with your education?
Answer- I did 2 years at a community college and went and did 4 more at a trade school, Come on Don you don’t know nothing bout your granddad don’t you listen when I talk.
Question- What exactly happened with you and my Grandmother?
Answer- Well we dated for a long time not like you youngins do now date for a week then pop out a baby. Put it together Don we have been married 42 years soon to be 43 January 11 and we had 3 kids Your mom Lisa Anne and your Uncles Kenny Junior and Cory, we also adopted your other uncle Deemetrius and your aunt Lisa Glenn. When I was raised marriage was special you don’t get married have kids then get divorced that’s why you have to really know the person and that takes years not weeks like you youngins do that’s why these kids grow up in messed up households boys not knowing how to be men acting all feminine, gay cause they aint got a dad or a granddad around.
Question- Whats is Grandmas race?
Question- How did her family feel about you?
Answer- Her father your GP had no problem with me he knew I served my country like him dint use drugs and was a working man, your grannies cousins on the other hand hated my guts so much that they disowned your grandmother and her immediate family because they wouldn’t not forbid her to see me.
Question-How did your family feel about Grandma being white?
Answer- They always supported me in every decision I made this was no different, when they found out she was into me as much as I was into her and it wasn’t just some new trend for her to have a black man they respected and treated her justlike anybody else but at first they did what yall call it now hatin.
Question- How many grand children do you have?
Question- What do you think is the greatest achievement for the African American race?
Answer- Having a black president of course anybody that says different needs to be shot.
My grandfather Kenneth Ray Clayton Senior has never been arrested, used drugs, pimped, hustled or disowned any of his children. Stereotypes set forth by society on black men range from being overly sexual, thugs, pimps, dead beats, lazy, ghetto and many other things. My grandfather is the opposite of all of these stereotypes, he fathered all of his children I’ve seen film and pictures of him coaching my uncles sports teams, taking his family camping, preaching in church, and fathering me.
Over and Over in class we discussed the African American youth not having any Black male role models, I can attest to having a positive black role model my grandfather. At a time when black men do not father their children mine like others followed the trend, but my grandfather went against the grain. He took me in raised me like I was his own child. Since my memories began he has always been there trying to teach me right from wrong. Many of the black youth today have no black male role models well positive role models, black kids in todays society more often then not are growing up in a single parent household, for reasons like the father being incarcerated, at work all the time, or dead. I was fortunate enough to have a black male role model who went against the stereotypes society laid out for him. The 20 years I have been alive I’ve seen first hand my grandfather get up for work, pay his bills and my grandmothers bills, fix anything and everything in his house, and not once can I recall him ever missing a birthday, game, banquet, or dance recital for any of his grand kids.
In a time where African American men disrespect African American women by shooting videos degrading them, calling them out their names, and abusing them, My grand father instills in his grandchildren by leading by example how you treat a women, how to treat black women at that with two daughters of his own, and how to make a respectable living without pimping or hustling or anything negative for that matter. In a society where they encourage through the media, for the black youth to act negatively in any and everyway possible by going to jail, stealing, gang banging and whatever else white society plagues the black youth with through media, my grandfather reinforces that positive light, he shows you a rode that has an education, a career possibly a family if you choose so, more importantly he shows you a road that can better you, unlike white society who depicts mainly the negative road.