Its important to Look back now and then at who you were and what you used to think and believe.
On the day before I got married, I sat down and wrote this Piece about what it’s like to be a Black man. I was a day short of my 36th Birthday and AND my second Wedding. I was quitting my job and generally introspective. I figured At some point…I would look back and see how I felt about what I wrote. Three and a Half Years later, Let’s see where I am.
At the core, this is a question that shouldn’t have to be asked.
Why should being a Black man be so mystical that it requires a multi-part year long series in the Washington Post?
As a Black man for 35 years and 364 days let me assure you I will be answering this question in some shape or form for the rest of my life.
Being a Black man is living your life on a pedastal with a bullseye tattooed on your forehead.
Being a Black man is trying to balance fearing sirens on a dark southern road at 2 am with being feared by virtually everyone else on the planet.
Being a Black man is bearing the slings and arrows of outrageous stereotypes, and being embarrassed to embody some of them honestly.
I have never purposely missed a jumper because I was afraid the poor white schmuck I was torching was thinking in his head:
just my luck I get to guard the black guy..Ill bet his dick is bigger than mine and he is gonna take my girl just like he took my basketball dignity
But the thought occured to me.
Being a Black man is living the ultimate paradox. Everyone wants to BE me, but they make it so HARD to be me few of us get to truly BE ourselves.
If Black Men could be themselves, Biggie and Tupac would be alive today.
They would not only be alive, but they would be wordsmiths on a par with the Bob Dylans, John Lennons, Stephen Kings, and Mario Puzo’s of the world.
No matter what our prodigious talent is, our Blackness distorts us and dehumanizes us in the eyes of our adoring, envious public. We went from beasts of burden to beasts of burden with excessive compensation. We dance to the same tune massa played, it is only that the hat in front of us is no longer empty.
News Flash Brothas…
The show is over. We don’t HAVE to dance to the music. If you are still jitterbuggin to the monkey grinder, it is because you CHOOSE to.
Pick up your hat and go about your way, making it for yourself.
Remember, when you put the change in the monkey’s cup, the organ grinder ALWAYS gets the coin…the monkey doesnt even get to keep the hat it came in.
sorry, Hijacked by an analogy.
Being a Black man is living a life reading a script you didnt write, playing a character you werent born to play.
Tupac Shakur played the THUG LIFE role, but that wasnt the role he was born to play. That role was assigned to him. That role killed him.
Now we have a generation that grows up in the shadow of a deified myth, founded on a foundation of coarse dehumanization and shallowness. As he struggled with his own role, he ultimately sold his soul to a minion of the very devil who drew up the role. That role alternately elevates the role of gangsta as thug as natural evolutionary product of an environment that wishes to exterminate us.
Do I believe society wishes us exterminated? no
I believe society wishes us controlled.
Like Dr. Frankenstein, the beast he unleashed upon us…and ultimately within many of us is out of his control.
There are not enough jails, graves, or special education classes to hold the damage the beast has wrought on what, sadly is an unsuspecting victim.
Being a Black man is being a common man, afflicted with an uncommon parasite in his brain. That parasite feeds your delusions of grandeur and starves your drive to reach the very ambitions that will fuel that grandeur.
Finding that parasite and cutting it out can be deadly. Living life as a Black man without the parasite we were all born with can be hazardous to your health.
Some of us live life pretending to have the parasite when we really don’t. We find it cut it out and then pretend to still have it, sometimes playing that role (ah HA) to our own demise for fear of being exposed as…gasp enlightened.
People always remark about us still being enslaved. As long as that parasite lives within you, you are. But even once you’re cut it out, you are imprisoned by the expectations of a society that presumes you have it.
In the end, Being a Black man is a gift and a curse.
But like every gift and every curse. The power of ONE never overshadows the power of the other. It is an eternal ying and yang.
Which one you let control you is every Black man’s crossroads.