In the realm of the “newly” discovered term “intersectionality” and the uprising of the free spirited Generation Y, a period of self realization is happening amongst the masses. With this, I decided to take some time to reflect and meditate on my intersectionality as a Black, Bisexual, College Educated Man of Eclecticity (not sure if that's a word, but it works) and I have found out the root of the problem...BLACK MEN ARE PROMBLEMATIC.
Yes, I said it!
As a black man I have realized the WE are probably one of the most problematic species in the human race. Maybe even more than the racist white man. We are lost and have been lost since our ancestors were dragged to America in chains and that trauma has been passed down both genetically and psychologically. We are chained to an idea that isn't realistic. In this post, I will briefly talk about the traits that I listed above and discuss a few issues black men have within our own community and the battles we place against ourselves. The anger that black men have towards one another just because they are different causes so many issues which made me think of the statement posted above. Alright, let's get started...
I know, it sounds contradictory but it's true. In this section I will talk about the “black” in BLACK MAN and by the way, this pertains to both skin color and culture.
Colorism haunts black men psyches just as much as it haunts our women counterparts. Last week, I was texting one of my friends and I told him that his facial bone structure and beard makes him resemble Kofi Siriboe (RA from Queen Sugar). I thought I was complimenting him, but he took it as an insult because growing up he was constantly told that he looks like “so & so”, and “he's cute for a dark skin boy”. I quickly apologized and told him that I didn't mean to insult him. I felt really bad and that's when I realized I was being part of the problem. Subconsciously, I saw Kofi and immediately compared them, which is a problem.
I remember when I first moved to Atlanta and I was constantly called “light skinned” because of my caramel complexion. This perplexed me because growing up in Louisiana, where “light skinned” meant you were African American, with very pale skin and yellow under undertones. I also hated that this was occurring at an HBCU, where we are all supposed to be the same.
Then there is the phenomenon of light skinned guys being bigger “players” than their darker counterparts because of the lighter skin and “European” features (lighter eye color, looser curl pattern, etc.). I live by the quote “a hoe is a hoe and a dog is a dog” and with the fact that my father has fairly dark skin and he is one of the biggest manwhores I know (he called himself that, not not me, but he is definitely a hoe). It's crazy how you don't realize that black boys were stereotyped just as much as black girls were.
Then there is the culture aspect...
Black culture is so diverse and intriguing. I mean, other communities have been appropriating us for centuries, but the more new trends and cultures we start the more tension and division we have amongst black men. The current battle is the new “mumble” rappers and freedom of expression clothes. I see memes and tweets where older men are insulting teenagers about their style and music choices instead of just letting them be them.
10 years ago, I was 17 years old and the trends were divided between the super saggy pants, extra large tall tees verses the preppy College Dropout Kanye look. It was interesting because my friends were teased because we wore clothes that fit while slightly older black boys/men tried to insult us by calling us “gay” (getting there, just wait on it) but they are walking around with their dirty underwear showing. It was so contradictory of one another and it caused a strong divide between us. Now the new trend is a more androdonous look, black men growing their hair out, dying our curls different colors and rocking all these natural styles (which I'm here for).This new generation is more free than any generation before and we should appreciate it and not bash them.
Now with music, this mumble rap genre is taking over and old heads are insulted. It's interesting watching history repeat itself over and over again.
Education & Success
In the black community, I'm considered the boogie black professional-HBCU Grad, living in Atlanta, traveling the world, pursuing a masters from a PWI soon, dream car is a BMW Xseries or Audi, etc. which I have no problem saying I'm bougie, hell I was bougie when I was child living in a small house with my mom, grandparents and rotating visits and stays from numerous family members. I've lost so many friends due to my education and success as well. Jealousy haunts the black male psyche just as much as prejudice. On the flip side, educated people also harshly judge uneducated people. I roll my eyes and grind my teeth when I see a grown man write on social media in an illegible slang. It makes my eyes want to bleed and I cringe just trying to read through the language and interpret exact what they are saying. Instead of putting them down, I should appreciate this person’s culture and background. He is writing in a vernacular that I may have a hard time interpreting but then I realize that that particular message my not be for me. It is the elitism in the educated black man that is harming the community just as much as the uneducated ignorant individuals. The greatest lesson I've personally learned from this, and I hope others realize, is that common sense is a factor that needs to be taken into consideration. I've met and have known some intelligent men who do not have high school diplomas let alone college degrees but understands logic and I know people who have more PHDs in Physics, but can't realize basic human needs. It's astonishing that the mid section of the graph is very thin.
Oh boy. Ok...probably one of the most problem causing struggles...sexuality. This isn't just a gay verses straight conversation. It's an all around issue. I don't even know where to begin. I guess I'll start with straight vs LBGTQA+.
Hyper masculinity has destroyed the potential for the black men community to unite as a collective. A prime example of this ignorance is the assholes who were upset when they found out DeRay McKesson (one of most highly noted BLM advocates) was gay. Black men flocked to social media to protest marching and standing up for the cause with him because he was gay. As I gathered my thoughts to not curse out these idiots, I sat there like WHAT THE FLYING FUCK?!?!? This man is putting his life on the line every day in protest police killing US (regardless of sexual orientation) and y'all don't want to stand and march with him because he's gay?!? GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE. I think it goes back to psychology trauma parents put in black kids growing up. I remember growing up, I had this bully, he was smaller than me but always teased me. My mom, my teachers, and every adult pretty much told me to fight him and beat him up, but me being the peace loving 4 year old hippie I was, I was against violence. 15+ years later I found out he was gay. Then I went back into my childhood thoughts...if he was a girl they would of told me she just liked me but didn't know to express it. Which made me wonder...what if he just liked me. If we were taught it's ok to like someone who is the same gender, we probably would of been married by now and would of had the cutest got damn love story of all time. Instead, we were taught to hate each other, which was the problem. We were not taught to express our feelings, we were turned against each other a made into enemies. The hate of being affectionate towards other boys or men is another factor destroying our ability to accept each other for who we are.
So now that I've talked about Straight vs LBGTQA+ it's time to talk about the battles within the LBGTQA+ community. Literally every letter has an issue with another somewhere within the story line. Gay guys don't like bi-guys because they feel bisexual men are lying and that they are gay. Gays and Bi’s don't like trans because of who they are, queers are hated by all 3 and allies are considered closeted until proven guilty. It's ridiculous that we turned against each other even though we are all grouped in the non-heteronormative community. We as a double+ minority need to come together before we even work with the heteronormativity counterparts of ours. It's pretty depressing that we turn against each other. Then there is the hyper masculinity prejudice within the community.
Black gay men will be prejudice to feminine men, it's like they are subconsciously homophobic while being a homosexual. I've dated both masculine and feminine men. Not gonna lie, I struggled at first but then I realized that I have feminine traits as well and that there is not a got damn thing wrong with either of us. We all have a blend of masculine and feminine traits and it's a beautiful thing.
We also have to consider that there are straight guys with feminine traits that are bashed and insulted constantly. A prime example is my best friend. I met him our freshmen year at CAU. He had micro braids (but with only his hair) and a tongue ring. It's funny cause our circle just knew he was gay but in actuality, he wasn't. I even made fun of him after I came out and asking “so when you moving over bro?” but he never did because HE WASNT GAY. He was just his unique self and didn't give a flying fuck who thought anything about him. Now, he is in a beautiful relationship with an amazing woman and I couldn't be happier for him. I'm honestly jealous of their relationship, the way they love, accept and forgive each other is amazing. I can't wait to hopefully one day be in there wedding and I'll probably cry more than both of them. I'm there Ted and they are my Lily and Marshall (How I Met Your Mother reference).
IN CONCLUSION (ECLECTICITY)
If black men understood the concept of eclecticity maybe we would not be a problematic. There is no cookie cutter black man that exists that needs to be follow by every black man. Let's never forget, MLK was a cheater and Obama was a smoker and had to be educated on the importance of the LBGTQA+ community while president. If we can change, it has to be as an entire community. We need to open up our hearts and minds to the idea that not all black men are created equal. We all are beautifully unique individuals who may be very different from the black man standing right next to us. We need to take time to go into our own mindsets and dissect exactly where we are problematic and work to better ourselves on it and as a black man talking about black men this not coming from a place of hate but more from a place of discovery and enlightenment.
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