Being black in America is a topic that is becoming increasingly prevalent today. Racial injustice is everywhere and the oppressed refuses to be silent. In response to racial injustice, racial tension has increased as well. But what I want to discuss is something that has been developing far longer than many of us know. What does it mean to be a black man in America? I don’t know because I’m not a man. However, I can give you all my thoughts, opinions, experiences, and try to tell you what it could mean. Many may ask why does it matter? Why should it matter to me if I’m not a man? It should matter to you because you have a black father. You may have a black son, and if you have a black daughter, more than likely she’ll date someone else’s black son. So, you see the way the black males psyche has been cultivated for years affects us all and it’s something worth exploring.
When you come into this world as a little black baby boy, there is immediately a dagger in your back. NO matter what family you come from there are a million and one stereotypes, misconceptions, and “stories” you’re going to have to dispel. It doesn’t matter if they apply to you or not… you’re black, so it doesn’t matter. It’s almost like we must prove to them (racist and ignorant whites, maybe even blacks) that we are worthy, because our livelihood depends on it. Now, some things I can speak on from personal experience because I am a black person in America, and as well all know that is a collective experience. I don’t mean to make assumptions about all black men, but as I said before this is based totally from my own experiences with black men, and this country.
When we’re younger a lot of things are ingrained in our heads that we aren’t even aware of. You don’t even realize it until you ask yourself, “where does this thought process come from?” or, “where did I learn that this was the correct way to do things and that the other way is wrong?”. Let’s use the popular saying, “Boy you’re gonna break hearts!”. It’s a saying that a young boy hears a lot when he’s cute. The saying is probably thought to be harmless, but I’ll show you how that “harmless” statement can lead to other thoughts and behaviors. Telling a little guy that he’s going to break hearts tells him three things, indirectly:
- He doesn’t have to be monogamous. It’s okay for him to break hearts because he’s cute.
- Hypersexual activity. Breaking hearts is just something cute boys do.
- It also lets him know from an early age that he must like women, even if he’s gay. Which creates a complex and leads to self-esteem and acceptance issues.
Now don’t let number three run you off. It’s interesting to hear the thoughts that super masculine straight men have about gay men. Little do they know their best friends, brothers, and even dads may be homosexual. I’m not saying that when a little boy is young you should get in their faces and tell them that it’s okay for them to be gay. All I’m saying is let the children be! Whatever their sexual orientation is will come out eventually, and it will have had nothing to do with what you did or did not teach them or what was shown on television (contrary to popular belief). Young black boys who are gay do not feel accepted within their own community. The attitudes we have about gay men in this community leads them to suicide, drug abuse, and reckless sexual activity… Sound familiar? The selective care that we give to black lives angers me and it makes me wonder how we can seriously say it to racists when we don’t even treat all black lives like they matter. Being okay with someone else being gay doesn’t make you gay, having a gay friend doesn’t make you gay, and you don’t need to be super masculine to be straight.
Hypersexual activity is something that black guys are known for. Another misconception to dispel, except many of them don’t. You hear it all the time from “curious” white women who want to “try” dating a black man. They hear that black men are well endowed, so they want to try it out. Of course, black boys (boys in general, I guess) are taught that they are not allowed to turn down sexual advances from women. It’s assumed that if a man turns down a sexual advance from a woman, he’s gay. Never mind the fact that he may be celibate, abstinent, or not be sexually attracted to you. This is one of the “stories” that has stop. We get mad at our boyfriends for sleeping around, yet we shame them if they turn down our sexual advances. It may not be that serious to many people because it’s just a boyfriend? But marriage, a ring, none of that stops this behavior. Which leads me to my next point, MONOGAMY.
We wonder why men have such a hard time staying faithful? Well we told them they didn’t have to because they’re cute! Of course, there are other factors that play into infidelity. I’m not saying that one little phrase destroys a man. It’s just an example of how little things like that saying that are repeatedly reinforced can lead to these thought patterns and behaviors.
Unfortunately, the value of a black man is often put in what he can do for a woman sexually. So, men put their worth in what they can do for a woman sexually. Black men who are not well-endowed are shamed and so are men who choose not to have sex casually. Some men know that they are more than the size of their penis or what they can do for a woman sexually and financially, but what did you have to go through to learn that?
We have black men around here who are literally dying on the inside. Why? He wasn’t taught how to deal with his emotions properly. Now I feel like this goes back to the age of slavery when the black man had to be strong for his household. There were so many hardships in the time of black slavery and there was no time for any emotion to be shown. I feel like that attitude has become generational thing. The black man can’t show any emotion. He should be strong, sexual, masculine, hard, and emotionless to appease the black community. But still compliant, obedient, and unassertive when dealing with Amerikkka. Imagine. Having every reason to scream but not screaming because you’re not allowed to, because it’s not what your kind does, because it makes other people uncomfortable.
During the Civil Rights Movement, there was a tight bond the black community shared. Granted, there were two groups of black people during the movement (militant and civilly disobedient) but we were all fighting for the same cause. I bring that up because it’s the only time I can think of when we looked at our black men as brothers. Not as a penis, a wallet, or whatever else we may be needing at that time. By seeing them as brothers and friends, it’s easier to cater to their emotional and psychological needs. BY doing this I hope they would want to cater to ours as well.
Black men seriously need to start looking inside and learning about themselves. With all that’s going on in the world today, we, as black people, don’t have any room for not knowing ourselves. Not knowing what we have inside us and what it really means to be black and have such a rich ancestry. Black men you are more than your athletic ability, your money, your penis size, and your possessions. You aren’t a commodity, you’re a person, a black person. And that is something that needs to be considered, then once it’s considered, it needs to be understood. Once you understand it, then you need to celebrate it. The only flaw you have is not acknowledging and accepting them.
Image provided by: http://www.ozy.com/flashback/from-i-am-a-man-to-black-lives-matter/61443 *I do not own the rights*
That title is pretty cringe-worthy, right?
There’s a huge misconception about people who are pro-choice. We’ve been branded “pro-abortion” and “baby killers” (even though I’ve never hurt a baby before). No one is PRO abortion! No one wants abortions, but some of us understand that in some cases it’s a necessity and that it isn’t our place to decide what someone else does with their life. As a Christian, I live by the good ol’ verse of Matthew chapter 7. For those of you who don’t know it is a chapter in Matthew that speaks specifically about judging others. I want to focus on verse 3, which says, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” So, believers? Why are we so quick to condemn women who make the decision to abort, knowing that it is probably one of the hardest decisions they’ll ever have to make? We all have our own demons and skeletons we are still asking God to forgive us for. He shows us so much compassion, but we can’t manage to do the same for these women. As believers, it’s our job to be a source of light for a person who’s struggling (2 Corinthians 2:7-8). I always hear “Oh no! I’m not judging, I’m just saying what the Bible says!” but, if you look at a woman with contempt and pure disgust after she says she’s had an abortion or she’s pro-choice, you are judging. If you treat people differently based on that decision they’ve made, you are judging. If you claim to be a Christian but at night you’re in comments harassing people and calling them everything BUT a child of God, you ARE judging!
Yes, I am a Christian who thinks a woman has the right to choose. I read the Bible daily, I meditate on Philippians and Ephesians (my favorites) as if my life depends on it, because it kinda does, right?
Many of my fellow believers think that there’s no way you can be a follower of Jesus Christ and still think abortion is ok. Throughout the Bible we are told in various scriptures not to kill the innocent (Exodus 23:7) and how valuable our lives are, even in the womb, because we already have paths created for us (Psalm 139). And let’s not forget one of the most important commandments in the Bible tells us we shall not commit murder-period (Exodus 20:13).
There is more than enough evidence in the Bible for us Christians to decide that abortion is wrong based on our faith and it’s fine to have that belief and voice it (respectfully). What’s not fine is trying to dictate the lives of other women based on your own personal beliefs. Personally, I’d never get an abortion because I don’t think it’s right. But how can I tell another woman that she shouldn’t get an abortion because I don’t think it’s right. Let’s say she did listen to me, and she decided that she would keep her baby because it was the thing that I said she should do. When it’s time for that baby to be born am I going to be beside her bed holding her hand? No. Once she leaves the hospital am I going to take her in and care for her and her child if she’s impoverished? No, I am not. The woman could be a girl who is 19 years old, who just had sex on whim with her boyfriend because she wanted to try it. As shallow and stupid as that seems IT DOES HAPPEN. I hate to break it to you conservatives, but everybody ain’t waitin’ until marriage in 2017! She could also be a 25-year-old woman who is stable in every way, but because of events unforeseeable she must have an abortion or she will die. I don’t have to talk about it in the case of rape or incest because I’m sure you’ve heard it all before. I know those two scenarios aren’t the case for all abortions. There are some women out there who constantly have unprotected sex and if they get pregnant they’d have no problem ending that sweet baby’s life. It’s hard to think about keeping abortion legal when you think about it in that way so, I don’t. I think of the cases that matter and the women that matter. I think of the children that matter. The young lives that we, as a society, are molding every day.
I could bring science into my argument, the ongoing debate about fetus vs. baby, and Personhood. But I won’t, because regardless of science and statistics, I listen to the word of God.
In conclusion, I’m not saying it’s wrong to share your beliefs, your values, or the Gospel. I am saying, however, that as believers we have been called to love and to heal above all things (Colossians 3:12-16). I’m here to tell you that you can still be just as blameless as you were before without dictating someone else’s choices. Pushing for laws that gives the government control over another person’s body is despicable. As much as this post was to explain my position on this subject, it was also to remind my brothers and sisters in Christ of what we are on this Earth to do.
*The Bible references come from NIV.