I am interested in black men. I mean really really interested in them. I am not talking about the interest that makes me want to kiss them or have dinner with them. Not the interest that makes me want to meet one that will love me and that I can also love without pretenses, without all the superficial fluffy stuff. I am interested in black men in a way that makes me feel for them, want to understand them, want to encourage their evolution, want to know what’s behind all that forced masculinity. I am interested in black men in a way that makes me want to kiss away all of their issues. And that means I want to do a whole lot of kissing because black men seemingly have a whole lot of issues. Erykah Badu’s bag ladies probably couldn’t fit all of a black man’s baggage into a thousand of their bags. I’m talking about major baggage. I am interested in that baggage not only because from a spectator’s point of view it's interesting but also because it makes answering questions on black men’s behavioral traits easier. I am interested in their baggage because while there is all this uproar about single black women and what they are doing wrong I want to look at all the bags of these black men.
Start focusing the attention on who these black women are trying to date and then that tired conversation of single black woman might go somewhere. I am not saying point fingers, shift blame. This is a blameless situation, everyone regardless of race or sex is pretty messed up. I’m just saying let’s critically look at what black men are bringing to the table. Let’s look at all of their baggage and then that might be more of an indicator on the supposed demise of black relationships. Black people as a whole are a complex people. They are fascinating and multifaceted. I am proud to be black but that doesn’t mean I have to turn a blind eye to our unique dysfunction. Instead, I intimately understand it and want to explore it.
Today, black women are beginning to openly admit their psychological woes, will even skirt around with the idea of therapy. We are for once starting to break the misconception of the superwoman strength complex and starting to admit that we do, in fact, have struggles. If you start asking a black man, however, what his damage is he will look at you blank faced. And even if he begins to reveal his struggles, he nonchalantly relays stories of legitimate childhood trauma with a shrug of the shoulders. I understand their inability to really explore their baggage. Their strict rules of masculinity do not allow it. Their strict rules of black masculinity definitely do not leave room for it. In understanding that though, I also see the lack of possible evolve these men have. There can absolutely be no real evolution without this kind of introspection. And there lies problem number one--black men who have so much potential are simply not evolving, not getting through their basic level roadblocks.
Black men I have observed, sadly, have a tradition of parental dysfunction largely paternal issues. As I discussed in an earlier post they are the prime example of runners of this type of mommy/daddy cycle. Therefore, how can a man, any man, reach his full potential when he isn’t severing such profound issues from his past? Men boastfully say that women hold on to baggage from past relationships. I do not disagree with that. Women have their own unique inability to sever relationship issue leaving them to fall into patterns of vigorous repetition. Men shouldn’t boast too loudly though because while women are carrying around relationship baggage these black men have a much heavier load. They are carrying around things that they literally cannot face that like an invisible leech is stunting their growth. They carry around bags of junk and haven’t even taken the time to look in the bag to understand that junk is what they are carrying. That is sad. It’s sad because their oblivion of their issues leaves them subliminally masking it, putting up sky high walls so that no one can touch that wound. It’s sad because they are never quite able to understand why they cannot fully give themselves to anyone especially not to a woman. One commenter last week simplistically labeled this problem as “emotional laziness.” I respectfully say to that commenter that it’s not a “lazy” issue is an inability one. How can any man be emotionally alert with a woman when they have had to emotionally disconnect, emotionally check-out just to suppress things from their past. They check-out in order to go on with their regularly scheduled “masculine” disposition. It should be no surprise that they have difficulty flipping that switch back on to deal with the world's most emotional creature--a woman.
I feel for black men and the strict social constructs that they have inherited by being both black and male. Issues of poverty are a much more intricate discussion when you start talking about its affect on black men. Issues on being black and growing up in suburbia or in affluent neighborhoods take on a very different picture when the focal point of that conversation is black boys. I say this to say that I wholeheartedly understand the reason behind the problem. I also understand that this problem isn’t going anywhere by continuing to carry around the bags instead of stopping to actually deal with the clutter inside them. Black people are very leery of therapy, I understand that. I just hope that one day black men, specifically, will find a way to deal with the complicated issues they are harboring. Black men are much too brilliant to let the past and their unwillingness to deal with it keep them from growing into the beautiful black men they are meant to be. Those bags are really getting in your way.
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5 years ago