Imagine the total number of younger and older black males who lack awareness that the trilogy of manhood, masculinity and manliness even exist. When I was blind, I also struggled with understanding my responsibilities as a male. There are many contributing factors; however, growing up as a fatherless child hinders the foundational establishment of self-awareness.
To make matters worse, within the societal structure of these United States, the systemic script has been written to afford us the joy of negotiating the land mines in which we have been socialized and institutionalized to think, act, and behave. We should be grateful for the right to this life of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
However, the reality of racism and the lack of diversity by definition, impedes upon that declaration and cripples the black male’s ability to truly understand the difference between manhood, masculinity and manliness. We are left to perpetuate the struggle and fight for an identity, for power, for respect and for understanding of who we are versus what we’re being coerced to be. Even in our own homes.
The reactionary behaviors and coping mechanisms that manifest as a result of this structure, are incomprehensible by some who aren’t challenged with a distorted form of self-awareness. An identity that forces you to view yourself through the lenses of those who do not perceive or allow you to function as an equal. For those who do comprehend, many lack the courage and desire to reinforce the words of their forefathers.
This creates pressure to conform to unrealistic expectations of manhood as protector and provider. However, despite the unconscious internalization and acceptance of standards, inequities in education, employment and opportunities, I believe we must revolutionize our responses.
Sufficient evidence proves the process of degrading our appearance and drive has been exercised for many years. Even prior to Willie Lynch delivering detailed instructions on the bank of the James River in the colony of Virginia in 1712 on how to erode our masculinity. Unimpressed, fast forward three hundred years and the consequences linger. In particular, the impact on our health, behavior, interpersonal relationships, emotional development, violence, and well-being.
An intentional design to strip away the possession of traditional male qualities of being brave and strong and replacing them with proving manliness on the streets. Now that we are equipped with increased discernment, we must regain the qualities traditionally associated with true men, such as courage, strength and potency. The character traits that make us beautiful black men.