Black Men Aren't 'Allowed' to be Human?

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Damon Young writes:

For years people have written, spoken, and even created art about the fact that African-American men are burdened with a suffocatingly rigid definition of who and what a man is supposed be. It’s also common to blame this on a combination of history, socialization, and sexual expectation. Basically, black men are the way we are because society in general—and black women specifically—expect us to be that way.

But, to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure how valid this is today. Yes, it’s true that there have been some very major historical influences on the way we’re supposed to be, and yes it’s still somewhat true that black men who fall outside of the hyper-hetero ideal might be sexually shunned in a way that other races/cultures of American men may not have to deal with, but I wonder how much of this is self-induced. 

I think we (Black men) do it to ourselves more than anyone else does it to us. I think we’ve grown comfortable inside the limitations. I think many of our problems in regards to being expected to be hyper-hetero are completely psychosomatic. I think we have a bit more leeway to be human than we want to believe, and I think there’s a bit of a mental and emotional safety net with not fighting against this expectation, as any crude, sexist, homophobic, racist, and just generally unprogressive act could be blamed on socialization. It may not quite be learned helplessness, but it isn’t far from it.

Read on at Very Smart Brothas.

Very Smart Brothas is a culture blog founded by and featuring Damon Young (aka "The Champ") and Panama Jackson. 

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