“There’s Not a Black Man on This Earth You Can Count On …”


Among Black children, those who learn in early childhood, long before confronting a hostile white world, that they are not worthy will then encounter that same message when they go out into the public world. Thus they are trapped. They are not valued in family life and they are not valued in the world beyond. Often Black male children hear adult women repeatedly maligning adult Black males, saying things like “he’s no good,” “he ain’t shit,” or “there’s not a Black male on this earth you can count on.” All these messages reinforce the notion that he is flawed, that nothing he can do will make him whole. All he is offered is a life of compensation, where he must work hard to make up for the “lack” others see in him and for his own sense of inner emptiness.

– bell hook, We Real Cool pg. 91


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