Monthly Archives: March 2010
We have been lying to black men.
We have been complicit in the destruction of black men.
We have been setting black men up for failure.
It’s time that we take responsibility as a collective for the psychological assault on black men that we all are guilty of fueling.
From the time we come into the world till the time we leave we tell ourselves and other black men (our sons, cousins, nephews, and friends) that to be a man is to act a certain way.
“You aren’t a man if you act like ________.”
“You aren’t a man if you act like ________.”
“You aren’t a man if you act like ________.”
But we don’t realize that when we tell ourselves and other black that man is an act, that’s being a man means to be a constant performer, always putting on a performance for yourself and others, that we are essentially telling Black men that to be a man means to show.
Perhaps it would be one thing if we didn’t also associate all of the acts with the very things that are detrimental to all human beings. The denial of the emotional self.
Boys who do are emotional, vulnerable, compassionate, loving, soft, sweet, kind, free spirited, and feminine are told that they are not “acting” like men.
That to be a man means to be tough, hard, hyper masculine, cold, distant, dominating, strong, unemotional, unavailable, and unloving.
Is it any wonder that there are no “good” black men for black women or anyone else? Who wants to be around a person who only knows how to be tough, hard, hyper masculine, cold, and dominating? That persons brings a miserable existence to themselves and others.
Is it any wonder that the leading cause of death for black men is other black men? When the patriarchal world we tell them will be their oyster does not come to fruition they rely on the only emotion they were told was acceptable for them as black men and that is Rage. So often leading to crimes harming other black men, black women, and children.
We raise our hands in the air wondering where did these unemotional, distant, destructive black men come from? We often ask why women are more mature than men? It’s simple.
We don’t allow men and especially black men to be emotional creatures. Something that is central to the whole of any person.
We must all take responsibility for the destruction of the black man and realize that our constant lying to black men telling them that to be strong is to be cold and distant and hard is a lie.
If you want to help save black men, save the black community I encourage you to take a stand now and put an end to the assault on young black men.
Manhood is not an act it is a state of being and no one has to perform, show, or prove anything to anyone to be a man.
As I think about how many things influence me in my life, I always think about how instrumental the work of poet and scholar Dr. Maya Angelou has helped shape my point of view. Her autobiography I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings should be required reading for every student and her poetry is some of the great works of the American canon. I was watching her Inaugural poem “On The Pulse of Morning” on Youtube the other day and I just really felt the need to share it with the world.
Truly personifying what it means to speak truth to power!
Thank you Dr. Angelou
With the recent news of Jene Newsome the nine-year military record weapons specialist who was discharged after police officers notified the military’s Office of Special Investigations that she had married her wife in Iowa, I think the gay community needs to realize that military service is a heterosexual privilege.
Serving in the military is a heterosexual privilege. Only they are allowed to serve and potentially die for their country.
Also: What’s interesting about Newsome is that she had honored and obeyed the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. She was not out in the military and had not openly displayed her sexual orientation. However when police came to her home and saw that she had married her wife in Iowa and she had refused to help them in their search they retaliated against her.
There’s this notion in the gay community that our silence will protect us. That if only we keep quiet and don’t make a fuss about our sexual orientation everything will be fine. Everyone talks about how much you can lose by being openly gay and yet this woman who lived by the notion that my sexual orientation should be kept quiet and who respected the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell still lost everything she has worked for.
The important message to take away from this horrible situation isn’t that Jene Newsome should have been better at hiding her sexual orientation, it’s that it’s absurd that she has to in the first place. I can only hope that many gays realize that in or out of the closet, playing or not playing by the rules, we are being discriminated against and it’s something that we should actively fight against.
A lot of gay men state that the reason they can’t be proud to be gay is because so many gay men and women make the gay community look bad. It’s interesting that this does not apply to the other communities they belong to.
Such as Black Pride:
Despite things like this
I am still proud to be Black.
My pride in my race is independent of whether or not other Black people make me look good or bad.
I hear a lot of reasons for why closeted gay men don’t want people to know that they are gay. Reasons range from “I can’t let my family down” to “I may lose some Facebook friends.”
One of the more interesting reasons for closeted gay men not wanting people to know they are gay, is as they say, because they don’t want to be associated with so called feminine gay men, drag queens, and in their eyes other less than desirable aspects of the gay community.
Now let me explain why this is interesting.
If your reason for being ashamed of your sexual orientation hinges on the fact that “some” people might make you look bad and you might be compared to those people then what does that say about how you view something like your race?
Take the Black Community for example. I am a member of the Black Community a community that has many positive and negative attributes about it. I don’t appreciate Black men who father children and don’t take care of them, I don’t care for Black men who sell drugs, I don’t care for Black women who choose men over their children, but I somehow manage to not let these cases make me ashamed to be black. I am still a proud black man even though some Black men don’t take care of their children and some Black men sell drugs.
You see my pride in my race and my community is not tied to whether or not I can be associated with bad aspects of the community I belong to.
Feminine gay men make up the black community. Rupaul is apart of the black community. Every black so called feminine gay man is apart of the black community.
I don’t see these closeted gay men who cite feminine gay men and drag queens as reasons for not wanting to be seen as gay talking about how ashamed they are to be Black. How ashamed they are to be members of the black community.
The same feminine gay men that make you ashamed to be apart of the gay community also exist in the black community so shouldn’t that mean that closeted gay men should also be ashamed of the Black community?
Feminine gay men are still apart of the black community!
Which leads me to believe that this particular reason cited as a justification for being ashamed of being gay isn’t a very strong one. Otherwise there would be a lot more Black gay men ashamed to be apart of the Black community as well.
But honestly your pride in your sexual orientation, your race, your gender, etc should not be dependent upon whether or not certain members of the respective communities make you look bad or good.
Discussing femininity and masculinity as it pertains to the gay community is nothing new. There have always been debates over whether one is better than the other and there are likely to be many more debates in the years to come.
I am under the belief that there is nothing wrong with being feminine and there is nothing wrong with being masculine, but many men do not share my sentiments. A growing number of gay men seeking to distance themselves from the gay community, which they perceive to be solely dominated by feminine gay men, are vying to create the perception that feminine gay men are somehow antithetical to homosexuality and somehow not living up to what it means to be a gay man.
Now I want to make it clear that I am all for people having preferences. I have nothing against one preferring whatever it is that they prefer. I do however have a problem with discrimination though and I will continue to fight against it in society and especially within the gay community.
Preference: Is the set of assumptions relating to a real or imagined “choice” between alternatives and the possibility of rank ordering of these alternatives, based on the degree of happiness, satisfaction, gratification, enjoyment, or utility they provide.
If masculine men make you happier, if they bring you more satisfaction, if they gratify you more then there is nothing wrong with that. By all means do you until the cows come home.
Discrimination: Refers to the treatment taken toward or against a person of a certain group in consideration based solely on category (femininity). Discriminatory behaviors take many forms, but they all involve some form of exclusion or rejection.
Now if someone simply does not prefer another person why is there a need to malign and denigrate the person they do not prefer? When you have to say things like “I hate feminine gay men”, “Feminine gay men are disgusting”, “Feminine gay men make me sick”, “Masculine men are better than feminine men”, “I’m so tired of feminine gay men making masculine gay men look bad”, that crosses the line from you simply having a preference into you being discriminatory.
Again I have no problem with preference I do however have a problem with discrimination. What many gay men are guilty of doing is not simply preferring masculine men but taking it a step further and discriminating against feminine men. Why they do this I have no clue.
Again my message is simple. Prefer whatever it is you want to prefer but do not discriminate against so called feminine gay men because you don’t agree with their manhood.
We don’t all have to prefer each other, but we can at least not discriminate against each other.
Homophobic heterosexuals and self hating gay men are a threat to the gay community feminine men are not.