July 14, 2007

What Black Men Think

This is what we have come to.  In order to dispel myths, rumors, half-truths, presumptions, misconceptions, and down and dirty lies, a group of black men have taken all of us to task.  In this short public service announcement, African American men of varying ages, hold up simple black and white signs that tell the truth. The facts are far more powerful than the fiction we have been spoon-fed for too long.  For example, according to “What Black Men Think” the number of black men who are in college is almost triple the number of black men in jail.  “Downlow” brothers do not infect black women with HIV/ AIDS in the high numbers the tawdry headlines would have us believe and yes, black men do graduate from high school-just like most people. 

I felt guilty and slightly ashamed that I was shocked at the disparate numbers.  I had taken as gospel all the negative things said about black men. How arrogant was I to believe that the men that I love and care about were different than those featured in the usual reports of black men doing wrong. It’s them over there, I thought, those others are the men the press and politicians rant about.  How foolish am I not to understand that the finger-pointers are pointing at my dad, brothers, cousins, and friends, condemning all black men with lies, damn lies and statistics?  How likely it is that black men believe these things about themselves too? Could it be I, like many others, want to believe the worst?  No.  The truth is all of us have been pummeled on a daily basis by the righteous television talking heads, our stereotyping friends and neighbors of all races, and in particular the teachers, sociologists, psychologists, and counselors at every level from kindergarten to grad school telling us these same terrible lies.  In reality it’s the statistics that should never be taken for granted or at the very least we should always consider the source and consider whose agenda. I hope this PSA gets played far and wide.  I wonder, however, if it is too late.  Has damage that has been done across generations beyond repair and beyond healing?   It’s one thing for me to believe, on some level,  that young black boys are perpetrators or to hold my purse a little tighter as they pass, to give them a half smile, and quickly look away.  It’s quite another when teachers, policy makers, police officers, wives, neighbors, bankers, and employers believe the same.    As an educator, I should know better. I am so very sorry.

Categories: PRESS
%d bloggers like this: