Wise & Young

Thursday, October 13, 2005

To be Black & a Man

A friend and I were talking the other day about what it means not only to be a man, but what it means to be black adult. This is to say that being a Black adult is different than being a White, or Asian one, or any other minority. Yes there may be similarities but certain issues, concerns, modes of interaction, and behavior are strictly culturally relevant to the Black experience. Likewise the same can be said of being a man, especially a black man, certain things are expected and need to be done.

Double consciousness is something that Black adults have to know how to navigate, and we are taught at a very young age no matter what social class you are from that you certain things depending on the situation. One of those is never degrade your people when you are not around your people. This comes from the idea that we need to present a united front against those who would misconstrue our words & say “SEE! We were right Rakim even said it”. Now, around your own people, you can degrade, joke, say damn near anything vicious because its “in-house” per se. Another is speech, so many of us, again regardless of class have two voices sometimes disguised as our “professional voice” code for “white voice” and “natural voice” code for “black voice” which not only encompasses pitch, and vocabulary. One instance which sticks out for me when it was blatantly evident, was one my high school friend’s dad was a professor at a local HBCU, and one day I called to speak to him, and he picked up the phone sounding very proper and talking through his nose. The minute he realized it was me, this NEGRO switched up so hard and quick I looked at the phone and my face was chopped and screwed, man his voice dropped down past his diaphragm, and with it the proper speech. I promise you he started talking in some English that my usually ghetto-attuned ears couldn’t comprehend. It got so bad I saw Mr.________; I can’t understand what you’re saying. He just laughed and lightened up on the slave speech. Unfortunately I think that another trait of being a Black adult is being highly suspicious of our government and science in particular. Partly this is because neither government nor science has had the best track record with our population, another part is being American that there is general distrust of government. But I mean after slavery, lynchings, flat our racism, the slaying of civil rights leaders, defacto racism, crack being pumped into the inner city by our government, etc… can you blame us? Science has not faired much better.

As being a man, especially a black man, I would like to know what other people think what that entails. I’ve opened up the comments so that ANYONE CAN POST, without signing up. I encourage you all to look those standards that you use, to measure a man. Does masculinity and effeminacy really play a role in how much of a man someone is? Is a masculine man with three kids by different women and he does not take care of them, who has the deepest voice, and swaggers with the best of them, plays football, and basketball. Is he more of a man than the limp wrist switching lisp having archetype effeminate man? What does being a man mean to you? Do those same standards apply to anyone, and then apply them to people you know and don’t know and see those who actually fits those standards you may be surprised at what you find.


  • Smart post---the specificities of Dubosian "double consciousness" in relationship to male identity. Hmm, i'll get back to you on this one.

    By Blogger Frank León Roberts, at 2:48 PM  

  • I would have to admit that I don’t think I can clearly articulate how to classify the true measure of a man. Although I believe that masculinity and effeminacy doesn’t determine how of much a man a person is. Such concepts are an easy out. It can be argued how masculine a man is considered through current societal norms but that doesn’t dictate how much of man he is. Take your example, for instance, if the switching limp wrist male is doing right by his family and other responsibilities whereas the masculine one clearly isn’t, I would say the latter is not a man at all. By all means he may be considered masculine but I would still classify him as being a bitch because he isn’t handling his business.

    What it means to be a man, to me, involves a male’s ability to know and respect himself while being in control of his abilities to further himself and others. That is what I believe to be a man.

    By Blogger No4real4real, at 10:36 PM  

  • The measure of a man definitely does not lie in how many kids he has (by however many different women), his swagger, how many sports he place, the timbre/deepness of his voice, or how masculine/effeminate he is. So much of what people think it means to be a man is on the surface level, it's oh so superficial. You've got to go deeper....

    It's about being responsible and respectful. It's about standing up for and looking after your own. It's about standing up for what's right (even if that means standing alone). It's about love and acceptance of self, family and community. It's about being truthful with yourself and others. It's about integrity and character. It's about holding fast to and going after your dreams (and never letting anyone or anything stand in the way). It's about doing what you need to do advance. I could go on and on....But that's what being a man is to me. It's too bad that when I apply this to those that I know and I love, several don't measure up. And that's a story within itself.

    By Blogger BuddahDesmond, at 2:03 AM  

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