*Today no group is more misrepresented in the American conscious than African American males.
Their presentation in media is a glamorous image of Grammy Awards and NBA MVP statues. But their reality is one of failure unlike any other subgroup in all of America. Black maleness holds a bastion of unemployed, imprisoned and homeless. Our nation, not only forgot these men, it created their pseudo image as a placeholder for our country’s history. An image that has been painted with a cover of NFL logos and rap stars making millions of dollars. All as an optical illusion to accept our own conscious need to see this failure as personal, and not systemic.
The idea that he didn’t try hard enough, is much easier to accept than the reality that no matter how hard he tried his fate was decided once his race and gender were chosen. Unable to shake the shadow that comes when you force-feed a country a false delusion, these young men are now lashing out, in Ferguson, Baltimore and so many other cities. This is the result when you tell a country with the history of ours, “Everything is okay, as long as we have a singular Floyd Mayweather, or the rising of a President Barack Obama.” All the while failing to create systemic answers to the unresolved problems that were created by hundreds of years of oppression.
African-Americans suffered as chattel slaves for generation. This type of bondage was one where they were treated as property rather than human beings. Unable to marry or form stable familial units, any ideal of family developed in an environment of constant fear. As a result, the evolution of black masculinity was deeply affected. The development of an ownership of self and control of one’s own destiny was not only disrupted, it was altered into an altogether different idea of power over one’s destiny. After slavery, Jim Crow created new constraints. In his piece “Manhood Rights in the Age of Jim Crow,” Professor Martin Summers of Boston University stated:
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