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09 July 2010

Comments

Black Pegasus

" The Radioactive fear of Black People"

===========================
That phrase pretty much sums it up! And it highlights what Black Men in particular have to deal with on the daily. No matter how "Metro-Sexual" or "Upwardly Mobile" I'm dressed, it doesn't seem to alleviate the displaced fear by White people.

And Rod, you'd think seeing a Fine Black guy in starbucks holding a venti latte would be enough to disarm some of the fears and antiquated stereotypes about us. Based on your unfortunate experience; apparently NOT.

Trey

This is so on point. It's been going on for so long and you guys are right, it doesn't matter how neat you come across. What I hate seeing though, is when some of us prove these wrong stereotypes correct with our behavior. It just pushes us back even further.

MW09

This ish makes me very angry. I just can't deal with this BS.

Procrastination_Xtravaganza

Great post Rod, really, fantastic, I hope it get's more comments than JLS or C. Ronaldo (I love JLS though! Ronaldo, meh)

I wholeheartedly disagree Trey. Overcoming the stereotype that black men are dangerous should not revolve around all black men being docile, metrosexual, neat, educated, subservient and/or disarming. Black men aren't criminals, humans are criminals - there are good blacks, and bad blacks, exactly like there are good whites, and bad whites.

When a white man commits a crime It's made very clear that it was the person who was troubled or deviant, why should one black man committing a crime represent the entire race? He doesn't, so stop letting him by subscribing to the notion of reinforcement of the stereotype.

Your way of thinking bothers me because it's unreasonable to want all black people to stop committing crime, in an attempt to get white people not to fear us. Even if that were to happen, how is that measured? When exactly does the stereotype go away? No black crime for 10 years? 50 years? Every 100 good blacks negates 1 bad black? If you don't get my drift I'm trying to suggest that your way of thinking is flawed.

The antithesis of "all black men are dangerous" is NOT "all black men are good and harmless" - it's that black men are capable of good and bad in exactly the same way whites are.


Black Pegasus

@Procrastination_Xtravaganza

While I fully understand the point you're making, I think you've totally mis-characterized Trey's point (and as a extention; my point as well).

NO ONE is saying that Black Men ought to present themselves as "docile and timid" in order to obtain social grace. What we are giving testimony to is the "Mental Acrobats" Black Men and Women must sometimes play in order to disarm caged-minded Whites.

And weather you'd like to admit or not, it's a fact of life in this Country (and dare I say - In this World as well). My older brother tells me (in frustration) of how he has to perform these "Acrobats" just to send the point that he's one of the "Good Blacks" while he's in corporate Amerikkka.

Is this right? Of course it isn't! Is this the fault of flawed human beings? YES it is! And until society changes, those will remain the FACTS of LIFE on the Street! Weather it's in Starbucks, the Mall Parking Lot, or the Corporate Board Room, WE BLACK MEN will always have to be mindful of the signals we're giving off because Caged-Minded Whites are seemingly incapable of discerning what does or does NOT poses a threat them when it's paint job is BLACK!

Now those are the facts my friend!

ROD, Myself, and TREY just Reported: YOU DECIDE...

Procrastination_Xtravaganza

@ Black Pegasus

What exactly did you report? I'm longwinded and prone to exaggeration, but in short, I did not misunderstand nor mis-characterize Trey's point.

I object to your use of Rod's experience in support of your and Trey's argument. Rod wasn't holding a venti and a blackberry in an attempt to allay white people's fear,..he was carrying on his daily routine, white people still decided to act an ass as though he were holding a knife and a pickpocketing guide.

Nothing about Rod's account gave any indication that he was exhibiting any mental (or physical) acrobatics to obtain social grace.

Maybe I exaggerated a bit when I said "docile and subservient" but that's the image I get when I hear of these mental acrobatics you mention. I don't subscribe to them - to any extent more than my white counterparts, and I do work in corporate, in NYC.

The issue I took with Trey's point is that he felt like every bad black man brings the black race down as a whole, and reinforces the bad black stereotype - a sentiment whites generally don't seem to ascribe to white criminals.

You mention "until society changes" - how exactly do you expect society to change if you accept current social mindset as normative? Divine intervention?

My point is, in order to move forward (ie: change society), we need to start thinking and behaving in a more progressive manner. When I see a black guy arrested on TV, I don't sigh and say oh my God he's just set us back 20 years. I say the same thing white people do for their own "wow he was troubled" or "what a bad individual." Stop putting his/her crimes on an entire race. You defeat yourself in the process.

I'm not ignorant to the fact that some, many people, like fearful whites, will see a black criminal and use it to reinforce their stereotypes of the race, but that doesn't mean I have to as well, or influence others toward that antiquated mentality.

I also don't alter my speech, or dress, or "signals" to mollify anyone's preconceived notions or my race, in the parking lot or in the board room - any more than my white counterpart.

I repeated that clarification "any more than my white counterpart", because I don't want to suggest that I look and act any way I please in every situation; working in corporate I can't wear jeans, sneakers and unkempt hair,..but neither can my white counterpart, the social modifications are made based on expectations of the workplace, not expectations based on race.

I hope you see my point and are able to live more freely, the weight of mental acrobatics seems draining. The acute awareness of how black people feel they are being perceived in public is very evident and I think it contributes (along with Popeye's and McDonalds) to high levels of stress, hypertension and obesity in our communities. There are a whole host of reasons why we're so on edge in daily life (economic situations, class disparity, police brutality, depression and yes, racial stigma,) but in comparison (this is a generalization) white people walk around more care free, in their own little worry free worlds - try it sometime, you may feel better mentally and physically and find that people treat you differently because of it.

Black Pegasus

@ Procrastination_Xtravaganza

Duly noted.. And thank you for taking the time to further clarify your points. I think I get it now. But one point you made stood out loudly to me; you spoke of the stress people of color induce upon themselves by engaging in these "mental gymnastics". I guess I never really thought about the danger I was putting my body and mental health in by worrying about how I am perceived by the majority community. Thank you for the perspective.

And while I stand by my earlier points, I will however, take your advice and try to live a more "care free" existence.

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