I don’t hate Black men. All of them are unique individuals with purpose. Black men along with everyone else are precious image bearers endowed with dignity and value. God knows each of their names and has a plan for each of them.
Most black men in the United States are doing well.
A new report by the American Enterprise Institute, “Black Men Making it in America,” uses Census data to show that African-American men are succeeding in the United States:
I don’t hate black men. What I hate is the caricature of black men paraded on T.V in western media. What I hate is what black men are expected to be by society, media and their peers. What I hate is the constant pathologizing. The paternalism. What I hate is the spectrum black men occupy as either victim or vermin.
I hate that many young men internalize these ideals and hold each other to incredibly low and destructive standards. I hate the overbearing presence of the non-black gaze. I hate that everyone is always talking at or too black men. I hate the term “black men”- an anti-intellectual term and concept that was thrust onto our ancestors in 1492- an ideology that erases ethnicity and individuality.
I hate what Harvard Sociologist Orlando Patterson calls, “the Dionysian trap for young black men- a trap that includes hanging out on the street after school, shopping and dressing sharply, sexual conquests, party drugs, hip hop music and culture, the fact that almost all the superstar athletes and a great many of the nations’ best entertainers were black”.
I don’t think stereotypes are true. I think they become self fulfilling prophecies. I see the above as uniquely Western constructions.
Outside of the West
High educational attainment is not a problem for black boys in African and Caribbean countries. They know they are smart. They know they are capable. They know that blackness, authenticity and intelligence are not mutually exclusive and are not qualities that elude them. They know they possess bronze and brains. The same must be for young men growing up in the United States, Canada and the U.K.
The children of recent African immigrants have one of the highest educational attainments for Canada, the U.S and the U.K. And I want that to be a reality for all diasporic communties.
Why Young Men
My desire to maximize our educational attainment led me to the book Why Young Men: Race, Rage and Identity by Jamil Jivani. Jamil Jivani is a Canadian lawyer, professor, social entrepreneur and community organizer. I love this book as it offered valuable insights
From his perspective here are some of the things that hurt young men:
I think sagging pants are hella sloppy. They turn me off. I would even go as far to say its anti-social behaviour. Nevertheless sagged pants are not sinister. They don’t make you a criminal. Sagged pants, being rambunctious, using African American Vernacular English doesn’t make you worthy of scorn or fear.
I hate bringing up “white people” and other non-black communities and go out of my way not the talk about them. Nevertheless it is true “white” people have levied violence around the world (obviously this is within context). Europeans have inflicted generational violence that communities are still reeling from. But do you cross the street when you see white men? Do you hold your purse tighter in the presence of white men fearing they might snatch your purse like they snatched Turtle Island. Do you use the depressing and often violent lyrics of emo and heavy metal as proof that white men are a danger to themselves and the world?
Do you use the increasing rates of suicide, mass shootings perpetrated by and the large representation of white men among INCELS as proof of their cultural inferiority? Do you use the deviant behaviours of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and many others to validate your disdain for white men?
Then why do we do that to black men? Why do we constantly talk about them as if they are uniquely troubled?
My goal is to see every human being through the eyes of the creator. When I look at a young black man or any individual for that matter I want to see what God sees.
For Black Women...
I love black men because I love black women. Black women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the states and have ever increasing graduation rates. We are killing it! However, the educational disparities for particular groups of black men severely hurts black women. For every college educated black man we produce we produce 2 college educated black women as well.
For example, In 2008, there was 125,000 African American women enrolled in graduate school, but only 58,000 African American men. The African American gender gap is also substantial in traditionally prestigious professions such as Law and Medicine. According to data complied by the National Center for educational statistics, Black women received 751 medical degrees and 1893 law degrees in 2008, while Black men received only 396 medical degrees and 1109 law degrees.
Despite Black women beginning to expand their marriage pool beyond black men the vast majority will continue to partner with black men. According to political think tank Brookings, “in order to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty for black Americans it requires a transformation in the economic outcomes for black men, particularly in terms of earnings”. We need to elevate the educational and economic prospects for black men. For themselves, for black women, their communities and the betterment of the world. And black men must lead this charge.
All that incredible human capital that our young men exhibit and display must be tapped into. I want this because I believe people of African descent are worthy of the best just like everyone else.
Until the ink drips,