Dangers and misconceptions of masculinity among Black males

On an early bus ride to work one cold morning, I had a conversation with an old drunkard. The conversation began when he had made a remark of the book I was reading, which happened to be the “Souls of Black folk” by W.E.B Dubois. He remarked how I was reading a very important book, to paraphrase him 

“ The black man is lost…..the black man isn’t the gangsta…..the white man is the real gangsta….the black man is weak…you see how they emasculate the black by having him wear dresses and these kids think it’s cool…. The black woman doesn’t respect the black man(as he was saying this he pointed to two black female passengers who were in front of us)” He spoke on until his stop.

This brief conversation left an impression on me. Everything this drunkard old man said wasn’t nothing I haven’t particularly heard before spurted out particularly by older black men. I must say some aspects of his brief speech I actually agree on.

Chiefly that the black man is emasculated. But his emasculation has nothing to do with black men being depicted as being gay or wearing a dress but is because the black man in this country holds no power.  A brief definition of masculinity states “possession of the qualities traditionally associated with men”. This is, of course, a very broad definition leaving one to have many interpretations of this. But generally, masculinity is associated with power. Now let’s define power( in the noun sense). In a quick google search, I have came upon two definitions. First, “the ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality”, second, “the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events”.

Is the black man in this country in possession of either definition. I am in particular interest of the second definition as it is potent to my argument. When asking yourself who are the most powerful people in the world what comes to mind. For most people, it might be a political leader or a business magnet, two groups that exempt the second definition to the fullest. Now consider your typical political or business leader, what else comes to mind? Generally men, who wear suits, that are well spoken, and who possess great intelligence. Men of these positions are not your general ideals of urban masculinity. They are generally not physically imposing or brash in their speech, but yet they hold considerable power in any modern society.

Now when you began to think of the race associated with these types of men it generally tends to be white (i.e Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Elon Musk) of course there are notable exceptions(Barack Obama, Jay-Z), but in general we see the men with all the real power in our society as white men.

In Urban culture masculinity is heavily associated with gangsterism( the exhibition of gangsta behavior,  promiscuity with many women, and the ability to murder other men with little remorse), This is something I have encountered many times myself as a black man who grew up in South Jamaica, Queens, NY. Your entire identity is based on not being deemed soft and earning the respect of your peers through the acts of violence. OF course, this isn’t exclusive among inner city blacks( I can think of Machismoism in Latin America as an outward example), but this is dangerously pervasive in the black community among black males.

I believe the contemporary understanding of what it mean to be a man in the black community leads to violence in the inner city, the sexual objectification of black women, and the pervasiveness of homophobia in the black community. I believe that as black men we need to question what it really means to be a man, and if that definition is holding us back from achieving true masculinity i.e power.

The Answer to the Great American Pandemic

A short film I made a couple of years ago. It wasn’t the best of quality, but I did try my best on it. The premises of the short, is a satire of the black male experience in the United States.

The black men infatuation with the other

Black men more so than any other group of men holds an ‘aw’ for women outside their ethnic group. Now some would state I am making a bold statement and that I am generalizing all black men. But I would like to pose crucial points to prove my case and to also acknowledge that not all black men fetishize for different ethnic women(I include myself in this acknowledgement).

Let’s examine the media, one needs only to watch the typical hip-hop video and would be hard pressed to find a black woman who possesses dark skin, typical African feature, as well as natural hair. The male protagonist in these video’s(the rappers) are for the most part  black men themselves but yet they surround themselves with fairer skin women. Hip hop acts as a form of fantasy, typically men brag, about their access to wealth, power, and women. In the fantasy that hip hop portrays women who are light skin, possess straighter to curly, and have racially ambiguous features are seen in high esteem.

As a black man who lives in New york City I can tell many women of other ethnicities do not hold the same gaze on black men as we do towards them. One only need to go on a dating website to find how many advertise how they prefer white and Hispanic men, with some explicitly listing “no black men”. I personally do not mind if some women are not attracted to black men for I do not seek their validation. But many other black men do. One need to search countless forums asking the same typical questions “Do Asian women like black men”, “do middle eastern women like black men”, “do Russian women like black men”, I would highly doubt if the same question is asked vice versa.

One has to look at the disparities in marriage rate between black men and women, more black men are married than black women, despite the fact that there are 1 million more black women to men. This can be(at least partially) explained by the fact that 20% of black men who get married, marries women outside his race.

My case in point is that as black men we need to stop putting these white, Asian, and Hispanic women on these pedestals. The reason I believe we pedestal these women is because the black community still holds a lot of self-hatred which is has passed on to us through hundreds of years of slavery. That ‘s the only reason why as collective so many black men find typical eurocentric feature so attractive i.e light skin, straighter hair, etc.

In conclusion, I have nothing against being attracted to women of other races, I myself see the beauty in all races of women. My only objection is the pedestalling of other women while black men undermine our women. We as a people are still in a sense an “oppressed class”, particularly in the state of our mental affairs, and should do our best get out of it, first starting with some self-love as people.

Is being black ugly?

What is it about black features that supposedly makes it so unattractive to some. Is it the lush lips, High melanin skin complexion, or just the coarse and strong hair. In my personal opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the physical features of the African, which I shall demonstrate

First and foremost we need to understand why do different groups humans look so varyingly different from each other. Before I get into this, I also want it to be known that humans share about 99.99% of our genetic code with each other regardless of “race”. Humanity as a species(anatomically modern) first originated 200,000 years ago somewhere in east Africa. Then around 50 thousand years ago bands of humans left Africa for Europe and Asia(Human reaching the Americas 15,00 years ago). That being said the first humans had to survive in very hot and arid condition of Africa. The sun provides humans with vitamin D, through ultraviolet radiation. Too much UVR and a person can develop skin cancer, a good protection from this is to have a lot of melanin, which translates into darker skin, to protect Humans from skin damage. To project the tops of our heads, coarse and tightly bound hair was needed. To better expatriate sweat, broad facial features with larger surfaces tend to do a better a job.

So why are African features so unattractive if it was so evolutionary advantages. First it has to do with the legacy of slavery. When one group of physically different humans, subject another group of humans, those attributes that belong to the subjected are deemed inferior, just as their status in that respected society.

Black people in the United States as well as across Latin America. Embody a sense of inferiority in their appearance. This is why black women in America spend billions of dollars every year on hair straightening product as well as hair extensions(colloquially called weaves). The fact that women who are lighter in skin complexion and possess European physical features are considered more attractive by many black men. And why many black people will ridicule each other for possessing features that deemed to African, such darker skin(being called crispy, darker),thicker lips(bottom lip jocks), or coarser hair(nappy hair, bad hair as opposed to good hair which would be European).

There is a societal delusion in the inferiority appearance of Africans. One common derogatory remark is the comparison of black people to monkeys. I will show how this dis-remark can be reversed on Europeans

First and foremost Monkeys are quit hairy, African tend to have very little in body hair as compared to Europeans. Secondly monkeys tend to coated in hair that is similar to Europeans texture then to Africans. Thirdly monkeys are quite pale if you were to shave them. Fourthly monkeys have extremely thin lips and noses similar to Europeans than to Africans. This is not to compare Europeans to primates but just to demonstrate how nonsensical it is to call Africans monkeys.

There is no reason why black people or any other racial group should be demonized by their appearance. At the end of the day, we are all humans and beauty can be found in every skin hue, hair grad, eye shape, and body size!