an unspoken plight of the black man in america....
I was doing some over analysis yesterday and became tremendously preoccupied with trying to understand how I am expected to deal with my emotions as a Black man. There are certain expectations that, I feel, a lot of Black men are expected to live up to. We've all heard about the odds that are stacked against us in the usual cases, but not a lot of thought is given to how Black men deal with their emotions.
This may sound completely irrational to anyone who is not a Black man, but I think a lot of us assume that sharing our feelings and being expressive when we really need to is taboo. I feel like society's skewed image of how Black men deal with conflict has, in turn, created that type of Black male; thus, causing us to look at ourselves in the same way.
My favorite example of this is the phrase, "no homo", that doesn't seem lose it's luster in the Black Community. If a heterosexual Black man were to sincerely say to another Black man, "I can always count on you, and I love you for that," then it would swiftly be followed by, "....no homo." Why? Why do we do this? It's because of the underlying fear within most Black men that homosexuality equals weakness. This isn't an image that we created. It's an image that has been created for us.
I know a lot of women who say that one thing they like most about Black men is their strength and ability to maintain their pride in lieu of the obstacles they face. News Flash: Maintaining that front ain't easy. I use the word "front" because how often do you have an exchange like this:
You: Hello, Black Man. Why do you seem so upset.
Black Man: Yo, sometimes I just get lonely.
...or an exchange like this:
You: Black Man, what's on your mind these days.
Black Man: Well, I feel detached from everyone else. It's like I don't fit in anywhere. Corporate America sees me as inadequate, so I have to work 3 times as hard as everyone else to be championed for my efforts. When I talk to people about my life experiences, it seems like I have nothing to contribute because everyone else seems to have had more to work with and, hence has had more fulfilling experiences. On my way home from work, when I'm walking through the 'hood in my suit, the people who I grew up with ridicule me because they think that I'm "uppity" now. I can't really express this to anyone because, I think it shows weakness to be so vulnerable.
If you think that rant sounded whiny and mellow dramatic, then you know exactly what I'm talking about, because it's that reaction that stops us from expressing ourselves. Think about that.
Over and out.