Recently as I walked around a local, historically black college I felt good…I mean truly good. After I left I realized that the reason I had been feeling so good was because I had seen so many black men on campus who were educated, charismatic, good-humored and even though I didn’t know them I was proud of them.
I was proud of them not just because they were attending college, but I was proud of them for choosing something other than the streets and for possessing something other than a negative attitude that reflects what many people would like to believe about them.
I sat down today to continue my segment on black men and stereotypes however as I began to jot down my thoughts about how black men are profiled, stereotyped and given the title of “bad” my thoughts swayed to something black men need which is inspiration.
In a day and time when the daily news broadcast stories of black men being handcuffed, hunted down and jailed day in and day out it is good to know that not all black men are buying in to the widespread belief that black men have nothing,w ant nothing and have a future that dead ends at nothing. Black men need to realize that this world is not for them….the odds are not in their favor and the law is not their friend.
As I thought about the black men in my family and reflected back on the many stories I have heard from them of how difficult it often is just being a black man. I thought about their many stories of being pulled over by the police and harassed for no reason at all, how they have been discriminated against because their shade of black is just a little too black and how many times they just didn’t understand why being a black man seemed to come with extra baggage, a storm cloud looming overhead and a stumbling block around every corner.
I realize how hard it is being black being that I have faced my own share of discriminatory acts and outright racist actions from persons of other races, but it never even dawned on me how much harder it must be being a black man. Wow…. I never even imagined how hard it must be for the strongest to be depicted as the weakest or how incredibly disappointing it must be to see yourself labeled as the bad guy over and over again and sadly there seems to be nothing you can do about it.
I remembered what one of my college professors told us one day as the lecture wandered away from the class topic and into a conversation about slavery, black history and the richness of the African-American culture. (one of the perks of attending a HBCU) The professor said “Why wouldn’t the white man fear the black man? If you had beat, enslaved, killed, raped and trampled on a person for over 200 years (not counting what they consider today’s
freedom) and even after years of enslavement, punishment and oppression they STILL STAND? Wouldn’t you be afraid? Even after you make the rules, change the rules and rearrange the rules just to keep them at the bottom they STILL STAND…wouldn’t you be afraid?
Fear produces many things, hate being one of them…..
Dear black man….
You are the strongest even when the media, society and even your surroundings say that you aren’t; remember that you are.
Dear black man….
Your journey has been remarkable, yet your struggle continues.
Dear black man….
You are the head and not the tail. You shall prevail because it is written in your book of destiny. You shall overcome as you always have. Please know that what looks like the end never has been for you. Please know that not just your weaknesses are noticed, we see, we acknowledge and we applaud your strengths.
Please know that you are loved!
~Black Girl Thinking
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