Friday, January 18, 2008

"When I became a man, I put away childish things"

I have a question for the readers of my little 'ole blog....

Exactly how is a "typical" black man supposed to act?

I ask this because I was told recently that I don't act like the "typical" black man. I was told this by a white girl I work with. I really didn't know how to respond to this, so I all said was O....Kay, and I ignored her the rest of the day.

Now... What the fuck is a "typical" black man?

Let me give you a little history about myself. I grew up in the PJ'S in a semi-major city on the East Coast. I am not giving any names here, because my Uncle told me I need to tone my blog down, because there is no telling who is reading my thoughts. (I am still trying to get that position in the corporate world that I have been working for since I got out of the Army.) I grew up in a single parent (mom) house with my little sister. I was an A, B student until I got to high school and girls (and me too)started thinking I was "cute". I started thinking I was grown and my grades went down the toilet. I was hanging out on the "block" with the "corner boys", trying to act like them. I got into a little trouble, nothing major, just typical black teen stuff. I joined the Army at 18, stayed 10 years, got out, went to college, got my degree and here I am writing this. My neighborhood was predominately Black, Puerto-Rican and Dominican, so the only white people I saw were the police or crack heads. In other words, I grew up with a "Nigga for life" attitude. The Army changed my whole perspective on the world and the people that I have to share it with.

I consider myself a educated man. I try to act like an educated man. Note I said MAN , instead of BLACK man, because I consider myself a MAN first. My skin color does not dictate who I am.

I still curse some.(alot).I am known to throw out a few "motherf--ckers" on occasion. I have been known to act a little niggerish in the clubs that I have frequented in my day. (I can still take it back there if I have to, so please don't take my new found maturity for weakness.) I have called women bitches and hoes. The word "nigga" was once a very important word in my vocabulary.

I am not trying to condone my past ignorance, but I was young and very ,very immature.

Thinking back on my past misdeeds, the only reason I did most of what I did was because I was young and immature. When I truly became a man, I stopped doing little boy shit.

That is what bothered me about the "typical" black man remark.

My coworker should have just called me a "boy". I really did not actually catch on to what she meant until I got home and replayed the whole scene in my head.

In my understanding, and someone please correct me if I am wrong, according to her, I am not the "typical" black man because I do not act like a angry militant black boy. According to her, I am not the "typical" black man because I do not act like the world and the white people in it owe me something. According to her, I am not the "typical" black man because I do not blame Mr. Charlie (probably her uncle) for all of Black AmeriKKKa's problems. I am not "typical" because I try to respect every person I come in contact with. I am not "typical" because I am a responsible adult. I am not "typical" because I have a college degree. I could go on and on why I think that this girl thinks I am not the "typical" black man.

Maybe I am digging too much into what I think she meant. She might not have meant anything. It probably could have been a very genuine compliment. But the shit... (excuse me.. am I acting "typical"?)Correction... her remark still bothered me.

Maybe I am getting way too sensitive in my old age.


David Sullivan said...

Like the new layout.

She has to be clueless because just saying that means she assumes that most Black men act a certain way. No two men (black, white, red, brown, purple or yellow) act the same way.

I spent the first 12 years of my life living in a white, Irish-Catholic neighborhood in Boston and had little to no contact with people of other skin colors(hell, we even hated other "white" people who wern't Irish. I then moved to a mixed neighborhood and got a well needed education, just as you did by going to the Army. You should read an old post of mine "I Was Born A Poor Black Child".

Great insight, peace.

truth said...

Good post,
I think she was saying you do not fit the stereotyped box she and much of society fits Black men into. It isn't just white people, but other black people hold those same narrow minded views on what is to be black and male. You could go to a suburban high school and ask the kids there, What does the typical black guy act like? You then could go to an inner city school and ask them the same question. I bet you would get the same B.E.T. inspired music videos and ghetto movies as the description on what is to be a Black man. For those two different groups to have the same viewpoint on Black manhood, it speaks to a bigger systematic problem.

Maybe you co-worker deserves some credit, at least she could recognize the difference between you and the "typical black man."

coloredgirlswhohaveconsidered said...

You do realize that the only one that can answer your question is the co-worker. If she was 'bold' enough to say what she said, then you need to be 'bold' enough to ask her what she meant. Give her a chance to reflect on what she said and how ignorant she really is, although she meant it as some sort of twisted compliment. I had no problem asking people everytime they tell me I 'remind' them of Oprah, what in the hell are they talking about?

@David Sullivan: (short story)
A close Irish-Catholic friend of mines (from Mattapan) went to a pub (Whitey's Bar)in Southie.
When she went to order a drink, she was asked to leave, her 'kind' wasn't welcomed. True story.

brran1 said...

I guess she wanted yo to be a fade having, grill wearing, thunderbird drinking type of dude. It is completely sad that people outside of our race who have never been personally exposed to us have to rely on BET to tell them how we act...smh

Dirty Red said...


I am glad you like the new layout. I decided to change it up a little for the new year. I think I will check out that post. Thnx for the invite.

Yeah BET has fucked it up for everyone, Huh? I havn't watched BET for years, and after I saw Mr. Johnson Cooning for HILL-BILLY, I am glad I boycotted that station.

I realize that my coworker is the only one that can answer my question. I honestly think that she is cutting for a brother, but I can't (and I won't) get down like that. Besides, I think I approached the situation the right way, because you know how it goes. I front her, she goes to management saying that I sexually harassed her, and my black ass is fired or worse she puts a rape charge on me. Ten years ago I would not have cared either way, but like I said, When I became a man I stopped doing little boy-ass shit. Now I believe in living to fight another day. Besides, can I depend on you to help me with my mortgage if I am in the unemployment line? No? I did not think so.

I feel you man. I guess she expects me to come to work with my pants down around my knees "yelling out bitches ain't shit".
AmeriKKKA, you gotta love it!!

GiGi - The Shy Giraffe said...

Interesting post. Guess a typical black male is what you seen on most BET videos, where thugs and pimps seems to be on high pedestal. I blame the media for this. I am fortunate to have meet and friends black men that are caring, intelligent and who don't act like a dam street thug just to show his machoism.

I agreed with what was said by Truth, fact that your co worker don't regards you as a typical black man.. take that as a compliment and don't stress too much about

jjbrock said...

Great post, it is that "Box" that America has put our sons and daughters into. She don't see you as fitting into it, but if she meet my son she might have a right to assume that.

zackattack said...

I'm the KING of sensitivity. Every damn thing offends me. But it's amazing that those things that offend me inspire me to help others. I use my pain to help the young bucks avoid the potholes that I befell.

Thanks for the props on my blog. I appreciate it. Stay up bruh, or should I say, "Be encouraged, young man"?

Shauna said...

To stupid and ignorant people and typical black man is a criminal who can't keep and job adn doen't take care of his responsibility and sits around smoking weed and drinking 40's all day. To educated people a typical black man is a man that goes to work everyday to provide a life for his wife and children adn doesn't give up because he knows thats what a real man is supposed to do.

JE said...

You're not out there alone. Unfortunately what you have described is common. The "typical" black stereotype is played out so much on BET, rap videos, movies, nightly news, television, etc that it becomes the expectation of society. Our media has put us out there on blast and in time we all begin to believe what we constantly see and hear but never experience.

I've had my fair share of words to say about BET and Bob "Blackface" Johnson. I'm a critic of the media stereotype that we as a people are constantly fighting.

Like the article and the blog. Good stuff.

Jazzylady said...

Ummm, here's my 2 cent worth. I think she wanted to get in your pants and that was her way of saying you don't scare her like some other "black" men. Lol. Now, don't go chucking your gippers, hehe. You know very well people sometimes speak in code when saying things, hoping you'll decode them, you know the deal. You should have thanked her for the compliment just to see where it would go. Dang, youngin's slow on the uptake ain't you? Lol.