Earlier 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.
What a great response to a sad article. I’m hopeful that Mr. Douglas will read your essay. Very nicely done, sir.
One word reply: “AMEN”!
Excellent post. I’m new to this blog. Definitely looking forward to reading more!
Thank you gentlemen. I am glad you appreciate the humor and candor. I am speaking from a place of racial identity, but the same core message can be applied to any facet of your being. Try to love who you are.
Sorry printed “enter” too fast. Thanks for bringing to light. Unbelievable his self-hatred. Sounds like the man needs to grow some self-esteem. Because he self-stereotyping himself.
My sister and I still laugh at the scene in ‘The Event’ when Blair Underwood stopped being believable as a Cuban-American. It was after an interrogation and he walked out of that room with just a hint of George Jefferson in his walk and it was over. Like bro that was clearly a black American walk.
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@Zalina Agreed. Some real self-esteem issues seems to be the root of feelings. He really needs to work on appreciating himself. @Wolfkin Despite the fact that Underwood’s last two TV got the hook, I actually liked The Event! LOL
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Bravo! And I love my Black Brothers for the very reasons you pointed out! And you’re a fellow Detroiter too? Two thumbs up.
Thank you. Yes, I am born and raised in Detroit. Westside. Proud graduate of Cass Tech.
I am not a gentleman. But, I am black woman, also a native Detroiter, and I am appreciative of your blog and your “standard”. It is because my other half is a black man that upholding a “standard” is relevant to me. Not to say he does not, but to say that it requires maintenance, and he embraced your message before I did.
I take issue with self-loathing as well. Maybe not for the same reasons, and maybe not as presumptuous regarding the where’s and why’s another person may be psychologically afflicted, but an issue nonetheless. Seeing someone use positive energy, with the added accessory of charismatic articulation…well, that suits me just fine, Mr. Palmer.
My wine glass is formidably tipped toward you.
Thank you Rhonda! That made me smile.
Mr Palmer. I’ve written to you before but you MUST be my long lost brother. Love your article on being a black man I’m 53and have never had a problem with being a black man and hopefully I’ve raised 2 young black men who are kool with it too. But I too love black women. Been in love with one for almost 30 yrsalso had a childhood crush on Chaka Kahn and used my size and lack of smiling to keep the seat next to me free on the bus. My man from Toronto has some issues, really needs some therapy. Clothing and dressing well is a major part of my love and I can’t understand any many who does not take an interest in his appearance especially in public. As always brother keep up the good work. Reggan Draughon
P.S kudos on the happy socks article and I’ve just discovered Forsyth of Canada shirts. Good looking out
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This was a literary masterpiece for any young brother…I am a little ahead of myself with that comment a bit, but honestly, as a Black Man in my late 20’s, I find this to be comforting as well as motivational. I appreciate this article and the message conveyed. Very well done Mr. Palmer! LOVE WHO YOU ARE!
Thank you my brother for the kind words. I am pleasantly surprised with the response that this post has generated!
“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.” I will NEVER forget that, we are on the same mission man, embracing who God has made us to be. Only two persons are able to define my worth, that is God and myself. Thumbs up!
i just got up on this spot and all i can say is that i love the the vibe here, thanks mr. palmer
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Love Being A Black Man
Being a black man is the only kind of man to be.
Tall dark and handsome has been the request of every woman all over the world.
Our physical prowess and warrior spirit creates uncertainty in all other men when they are in our presence.
Inate in all of us is a quiet strength, kindness, hope, laughter. Intellect and humanity that has maintained us through the horrors of slavery, despair, racism loss and continued struggle.
We endure the unimaginable.
Honorable Black Men To The End
Hi Andre – thank you for that contribution. Nice.