7 Black Male Stigmas Addressed
In all fairness, let’s start off by saying we are not completely innocent all the time, like anyone else isn’t but if you are a black man then you know that every day that a black man leaves his home he is confronted with some kind of stigma by the end of the day. Even if it does not directly affect him he is often a witness to it on another black man. Some people would call it racism or profiling and while those descriptions fit well within the range of stigmas, the nail drives a bit deeper than that. These stigmas are not often interpreted on a singluar basis by the accuser, most of the time there is a cross reference from their limited experiences or last night’s news. While there are those who would love to place the blame head on direct to black men, there are other factors that contribute and in all fairness, we state them here today. For the most part media corporations are to blame for the mass perceptions of black men even though they would deny it vehemently. As you read more you will see. (Click “next” above or below for the next segment)
Black Men are Irresponsible
This is absolutely NOT an excuse. There are certainly some men from ALL races who are irresponsible but if you want to dig deeper into why black men are considered irresponsible, I invite you to check out the movie The Pruitt Igoe Myth on Netflix. This is an EXCELLENT explanation of not just what happened in St. Louis but in MANY major cities across the country. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt enacted the Social Security Act 1935, which was amended in 1939, it was to established a number of programs designed to provide aid to various segments of the population. Unemployment compensation and AFDC. Housing was also developed mostly in the 50s and 60s to help aid the poor in getting on their feet. However, something else was going on. Black men could not find work after the great depression in 1929 and they were constantly rejected for employment opportunities decades later. To that end Welfare offices stepped in to “save” impoverished black families from the brink of starvation by granting the wife and her children subsidized housing (the projects) PROVIDED she got rid of her husband. You read right. The black man was not allowed to be a part of the family.
The Welfare department was so adamant about men not being in the home that they would send young college graduates to the home to look in the fridge, bedroom or any place else where there was evidence of a man. If the woman became pregnant again she was rewarded with more money from the welfare department making her even more dependent. Welfare, originally started for veterans returning from war to help them get back on their feet then became a crutch and a staple for the poor black community. Many black women who wanted more children refused to have them if they didn’t have a husband to avoid welfare but that was difficult. Abortion was not legal until 1973. Kids born in poverty were most likely to be impoverished themselves and not having a father in the home was something that was to be expected for poor blacks. Black men are very proud and it’s incredibly hard for many of us to admit that we are ashamed when we are. This is not about today, we’re talking about the 50s and 60s. If a man can’t find a job and is kicked out of his home what’s next? he lives with his mother or a woman who is childless, becomes an alcoholic or simply gives up. Not a lot of great options. The ratio of married black couples was much greater before “urban
destruction development” (projects working in concert with welfare) kicked in. Once again, this is not an excuse but our living environment as children shapes how we think as adults. How can we expect a father to be in the house if we never saw one and he was not allowed to be there?
Black Men are Criminals
As stated above when you rob someone of all hope and opportunity, where do they turn? This is certainly not to say the disproportionate amount of black men in jail today is accurate because most of them had horrific representation by lawyers fresh out of law school. Poverty is always the worst enemy of anyone facing criminal charges and there’s no telling how many black men would not be in prison if they had better representation and a better history with the criminal justice system. It goes without saying that if a child’s parent(s) or close family members have done time in prison there is a better chance that child will end up in the legal system someday as well. If the only person I look up to in the family is in and out of jail, that would probably seem normal to me as a kid. Unfortunately, many black men who are NOT criminals experience the stigma everyday. Like President Obama said, you hear doors lock when you walk past cars, white women (mostly older) hold their purses closer when you walk past them and then there are the white men who make sure his wife and children are in front of him when he sees a black man coming from behind. While nobody can blame a person for protecting their family it’s odd when you see a bunch of white people together and the kids are running around and playing away from the parents. This is not all white people’s faults, at least not the everyday white man or woman. Media corporations play a HUGE role in constantly instilling fear and negative subliminal messages in white people when it comes to black men. The focus is almost always on the negative and rarely the positive. This has only gotten better over the recent years because blogs and websites are giving the TV news media a run for the money and many adults under 30 don’t even watch TV they do everything online. This is why, if you ever tune into the local news, it’s now so sensationalized and over the top, you would think you’re watching TMZ. If a black man does have a criminal background with a federal charge his chances of turning his life around are damn near non-existent. He can’t live with anyone on public assistance, he most likely will have a VERY hard time finding work, he can’t vote and he will not qualify for several grants if he wants to go to college to get on his feet. Sounds like a success story doesn’t it?
Black Men are Uneducated/Dumb
If my father and grandfather had a hard time getting a job, why should I go to college to get a better education so that I can STILL be rejected? I have to admit, it greatly disturbs me that many of the programs that were initially created to help black people better themselves like Affirmative Action are being supremely taken advantage of by many immigrants. Many whom have the nerve to then turn on black people after they take advantage stating that all we do is complain and if they can make it, so can we. Yet they don’t have the history in the states that black people have. I am a college student. I would love to see more black men in college but where are our examples of successful black men that we see everyday? Playing sports or rappers pretty much spans the gamut for many poor black boys as the ONLY (perceived) way out. Unfortunately, everybody can’t rap or play sports so the options after that are not good. Black men (mostly poor) are not dumb they are often frustrated and hopeless about a bright future.
Black Men are Lazy and Shiftless
The reality of it has been explained many times over, why should a young black man work at Burger King making $10.00 an hour when he can sell drugs and make 50 times more. Outside of being illegal that’s great business thinking. That may not make sense to those of us who would never sell drugs but our experience of breaking out of poverty is not theirs. Being the manager of a Burger King or Wal-Mart is not something most kids would view as a great career option and neither do we. Nevertheless, jail might not be either for some of us but once again, when there is no hope, what’s left?
Black Men are Downlow Predators
There are gay, bi and trans people in every race. Black people especially black men have an incredibly hard time dealing with this thanks to the many other stigmas we face, the black church and Bishops like… Eddie Long. Jasmine Cannick said it best when she said, there would be no downlow if you didn’t make people feel ashamed of themselves. Truth be told, the black church has failed the community on this issue. The church didn’t invent the disease but they certainly could have drastically slowed the infection rate by just talking about it. The “downlow” culture exists in EVERY race. White, Hispanic, Black you name it. The downlow PREDATOR aspect was attached to black men when it came to the spread of HIV to the highest female population to be affected and infected, even to this day… black women. While this is tragic, we must consider when the services to help HIV/AIDS victims became available to the black community. HIV hit in the sheer midst of one of the WORST drug crisis’ in black history, the crack epidemic. The black community was dealing with a LOT in the 80s and when the community was finally educated about the virus, it was much later (almost too late) in the game. The black community really took HIV seriously, around 1991 when Magic Johnson came forth revealing his status. By that time, the disease had already taken hold and had been around for 10 years. When you consider the disproportionate amount of black men to other races in the prison system, the fact that condoms were not allowed in prisons during the WORST periods of HIV infection rates and the black church’s adamant refusal to deal with the epidemic for many years until recently, much of this tragedy could have been avoided. The prisons stated condoms were not allowed because sex was not allowed in prison and by providing condoms they were advocating sex. In addition, the HIV Positive prisoners were mixed with the general population to prevent discrimination? Only a fool would believe there is no sex going on in the prison system. You draw your own conclusions on this one. (An EXCELLENT detailed and riveting PBS documentary on black men, the prison system and more is The House I live In, available on Netflix)
Black Men are Sell Outs
Don Lemon was recently accused of this when he agreed with conservative Bill O’Reilly who talked about why black men were unsuccessful. Mother phuck Bill O’Reilly… he is not an authority on black people and he comes off as a pissed off racist but it’s not hard to understand why Lemon agreed with him. In media it’s all about the ratings. CNN sees Lemon as their new star. He’s an out black gay man who is not afraid to speak his mind. How many of those are in the current media? Probably none. He’s over 40 and probably tired of doing boring news so here is an opportunity for him to be a star and he’s taking it. Unfortunartely, its coming with a price. He’s been called an Uncle Tom.
Tavis Smiley is another one. With Tavis, there is such an incredible level of misfortune when it comes to his innate jealousy of President Obama. Instead of staying in his own lane he has created an incredible collision course in President Obama‘s lane losing at every turn. The millions in potential income that Smiley has lost is most unfortunate and ruining his brand has not helped either. There was a time that people knew Tavis as an intellectual who cared about the black community. Ask most people now and they don’t say that, they immediately attack him for his jealousy of President Obama, to make matters worse he CONTINUES to attack President Obama and it’s as if he’s obsessed which is making it creepy now. We really hope Mr. Smiley can move on and regain some of what he lost in this massive defeat.