5 Reasons I Love Being a Black Man

glenEarlier this week, a coworker presented to me an article she read, and contained within this perplexing article, this particular writer unabashedly proclaimed that he hated being a black male. Say what? The writer, Orville Lloyd Douglas, pens an interesting perspective of black self-hatred. He writes, “There is a discourse that black people engender: that black is beautiful. But the truth is, the image of blackness is ugly – at least it’s perceived that way. There is nothing special or wonderful about being a black male – it is a life of misery and shame.” I think it is unfortunate that Mr. Douglas has arrived at this troublesome conclusion. I cannot attest to knowing all the life experiences that Mr. Douglas has been exposed to that aided the shaping of his viewpoint. Nevertheless, can being a black man really be all that bad?

To be clear, I mean this: bad to the point when you hate and loathe your very existence. It is painfully and regretfully apparent that Mr. Douglas is far too preoccupied with how society views him, even though it is counter to his true character and personality. Seriously, Mr. Douglas is an adult, and he still laments the fact that many people won’t sit by him on a bus. What is this – 2nd grade? Adolescence is but a distant memory, and as adults, such occurrences should not elicit such a profound and emotional response.

Obviously, there are some self-esteem issues afoot here. A long time ago, on this very blog, I wrote: The knowledgeable gentleman comprehends that his image does not begin with how society views him. Rather, the gentleman’s image begins with how he sees himself. He alone determines and dictates the manner in which he is presented to the world. Mr. Douglas would be wise to heed those words. One’s confidence should originate and emanate from within. A gentlemen should never discover himself so engrossed over the prejudiced presumption of others; it is not healthy.

Nonetheless, I won’t pretend that there aren’t some “challenges” to being a black male, especially here in America. Still, I won’t let those “challenges” deter me from loving and appreciating who I am. Alas, loving myself isn’t newsworthy, as it is not shocking enough or self-deprecating enough to warrant any type of national attention. Mr. Douglas has a multitude of people now reading his article and he even garnered a segment on CNN with Don Lemon, who by the way has morphed into some kind of racial authority all of a sudden.

I digress, here I present to you why I, Glen Antoine Palmer, love being a black man. The delivery is presented with a mildly amusing tone, but the message is clear nonetheless. I love myself. Perhaps there are few nuggets below that Mr. Douglas can appreciate. Perhaps Mr. Douglas will realize his skin is not a curse, rather, it is his God given image that is a blessing. That being stated, let’s dive into my list.

Why I Love Being a Black Man

5. Black women. Sure, I understand that everyone has the opportunity to court and perhaps even marry a black woman. However, being a black male, I am in a unique position because of my logistical exposure to black women. Growing up in predominantly black Detroit, I was surrounded by lovely women of color. Trust, I don’t care what the mainstream media says implicitly or explicitly, black is beautiful, and I love my black woman, aka…Stephanie Palmer.

Plump lips. Thick hips. And curves that never quit. Yeah, I said it. And the powers that be can call it nappy. Some can call it kinky. I really don’t care. I love it all natural and untamed. Blame it on a childhood crush on Chaka Khan. You can call it what you want, but I love it – my black woman’s hair. I love every facet that is her; perfect or imperfect. Period.

4. Let’s talk about the intimidation” factor. Granted, being a black male, sometimes the way we are perceived can place us in some uncomfortable, precarious, and dangerous situations based on another individual’s fears. However, let’s talk about the good that arrives with it. Yes – there is some good. The aforementioned empty bus seat that Mr. Douglas wishes someone would sit in beside him? Whatever dude. I’m a robust gentleman, and I welcome the elbow room. Solicitors tend not to approach me. Coworkers too – which is fine with me because I’m not big on heavy conversation anyway. And if ever I find myself in a hostage situation, I’m holding out hope that I’ll be let go, I figure I wouldn’t be a good bargaining chip with the authorities.

3. We’re cool. You read that correctly. Black gentlemen are cool. Everyone knows it. Now, that may sound a little arrogant, maybe even a tad presumptuous. But let’s be honest, there exists a certain confidence and swagger that is distinctly unique to the black male. The talk. The walk. The dress. Even for an introvert like me, sometimes my coolness pops out even takes me by surprise. Often imitated, but never duplicated. There is no way you’re going to adopt my swagger and then make me feel ashamed of who I am. Nope – not going to happen player.

2. Are you familiar with the expression “black goes with everything”? Well, when it comes to attire, that is pretty much true. We can make just about anything look fly. Equipped with the proper accoutrements, a gentleman of color can absolutely wear the -excuse the language- hell out of some clothes. Yes…we…can. Renounce the black male stereotype that was birthed by a system whose objective (not the only objective, but one of many) was to subjugate, denigrate, and make a caricature out of the black male image. And please ignore my skinfolk that perpetuate those negative stereotypes. Please do a search of Brotherly Love right here on this blog. You’ll find a myriad of brothers that eschew the stereotypes you may be accustomed to. And if that doesn’t sway you, check out the author bio in the About section.

1. I understand my ancestral lineage originates from a people who were enslaved, nevertheless, I also understand that I am here because of someone’s perseverance, someone’s strength, someone’s survival. The media may not portray it, but there exists formidable strength in my DNA. I will be damned if someone tells me otherwise. Boom. I’m out.

Are you tired of negative stereotypes and destructive imagery that permeate modern culture, especially regarding people of color? Well, spread some goodness. Spread the word about this blog. Tweet it. Post an article from this blog on your Facebook wall. Do whatever you can. It’s Gent Appreciation Week, let’s spread a little positivity in the world.

Standard Recommendations – The Merona Knit Cap

Merona Knit Cap 2I have always been cautious of discount retail chains, such as Wal-Mart and Target, that have aggressively entered the market of selling serious clothing merchandise. Beyond the standard collection of tee shirts, underwear, and socks; it feels slightly strange retrieving a gallon of milk from aisle 16 and then selecting a merino sweater from aisle 12. Prejudiced by the simple reality of kitty litter being a few feet away, I always suspected that the clothing sold was cheap. And not cheap as in price, but cheap as in cheaply constructed. One spin in the washing machine would surely send your sport shirt to a premature state of fraying and tearing.

Nevertheless, I have heard whispers that clothing from stores such as Target was actually good. In a concerted effort to offer quality products at an affordable price, Target has teamed up with various big time designers to offer such selections, as well as offering their own house brands. So, that brings me to one such brand – Merona. In search of a good cold weather cap, the thought of slapping down $50 to $70 for a cap wasn’t too thrilling. And so, I found myself in Target doing some light shopping when I spied the Merona knit cap. Now, for approximately $4.99, the risk was minimal and the reward would be tremendous if it performed its duties.

Offered up in a myriad of colors, I promptly grabbed a black, charcoal gray, and green knit cap. It’s not 100% wool though. It’s actually a blend of predominantly acrylic and some spandex for stretch. That didn’t matter. My only concern was would it keep my bald head warm. And it does. The fit is comfortable. It doesn’t lose its shape. And it keeps the dome nice and toasty. For $3.99 a pop, a gentleman can’t beat that. Sure, it’s not wool or cashmere, but I’m not trying to win on style points here. Not when arctic blasts are threatening to take off my ear lobes. Thus, the Merona knit cap passes the test. With the colors offered, it’s a great way to accessorize your look with a little color, stay warm, and do it on the cheap. This cap is a winner. And I’ll probably be back at Target to pick up a few more. There’s an orange one with my name on it.

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