The 5 Stages of Black Manhood

Ebony's Mychal Denzel Smith says that black men face life in America with a coping strategy that's not unlike the psychological model for processing grief.

Posted:
 
blackmanhood2400
Thinkstock

Ebony's Mychal Denzel Smith says that black men face life in America with a coping strategy that's not unlike the psychological model for processing grief.

... I have found that Black men experience this world in ways that are quite similar to the widely known Kubler-Ross "5 Stages of Grief" model:

1. Denial. In his life, every Black man is afforded a period of unburdened optimism. The length varies for each individual, and some may not remember it. Whether it lasts until they turn five or 50, there's at least a moment where a Black man can look out into the world and see it as full of opportunity. There exists no limits in his mind as to who or what he can become. It's a time free of history's lessons and society's prejudices ...

2. Anger. Who can blame Black men for being angry? You're born into a legacy that includes slavery, lynching, Jim Crow, marches, protests, and riots. From the moment you're old enough to know what it is, you're told that it's likely you'll end up in prison, and you start to believe it as you watch fathers/uncles/brothers/cousins be hauled off. Everywhere you go, you're viewed as a problem that needs to be solved.

How can you not be angry when it seems like every other week you're learning the name of another brother you'll never meet, for all the wrong reasons? Trayvon Martin. Sean Bell ...

3. Bargaining. A large part of being a Black man is understanding that you can't tell all of the truth, or you won't be alive long enough to tell any truth at all. This is where the delicate dance of bargaining or compromising enters the vocabulary. It's all about deciding which truths to tell ...

Read Mychal Denzel Smith's entire piece at Ebony.com.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. 

Comments
The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.
Must-See Family Attractions
July 29 2014 2:13 PM