Hiding the Pain: The Emotional Repression of Men

By: @TheBlackVoice

 

Men aren’t supposed to cry. Men aren’t supposed to hug. Men aren’t supposed to say how we truly feel. Men aren’t supposed to be afraid. Men aren’t supposed to be wrong. I could keep going on with the long list of things men aren’t supposed to do, as I’ve had “man-laws” drilled into my head for decades. The worst law I learned in the school of manhood, is the one saying that men aren’t supposed to feel.

As men we are taught that any emotions other than anger or lust are signs of weakness. Weakness is like kryptonite to patriarchal masculinity, so no man ever wants to show any indication of it. Whenever our emotions do come up, we do our best to hide them. We front, so we won’t be exposed and have our manhood challenged.

I often hear the conversation about how emotionally insecure women are. I find this surprising because I believe that men are more or just as emotionally insecure as women. My logic behind this statement is quite simple. The patriarchal definition of masculinity in this society does not allow men to express our emotions. Emotions such as fear, pain, and sadness are swept under the rug. They’re not to be seen by society, because a man’s (defined by patriarchal masculinity) greatest fear is to be perceived as weak or soft.

The emotional crippling of men is destructive to the mental and physical health of men and society in general. All men feel, because we are humans. Feelings of empathy, fear, anxiety, patience, love, and compassion are not just specific emotions that women express. The human spirit contains a wide variety of emotions. Patriarchal masculinity attempts to suppress these emotions, which in turn creates broken men. Men who cannot express the fullness of their emotions are broken.

One of the biggest coping mechanisms of this emotional repression is foolish pride. Foolish pride enables us to shield ourselves from personal insecurities, rather than dealing with them. Basically it is a process of deflection. When we are afraid, we deflect. When we are hurt, we deflect. When are unsure, we deflect. Any emotion or action that goes against the “guy code” gets deflected.

This front is something men do conscious and subconsciously. The conditioning of patriarchy is so deeply rooted that the emotional repression of men has become normalized. As long as men continue to use the front, we will never be able to heal from the wounds of this emotional paralysis. We can’t heal if we don’t feel. Men have to feel and own our pain. As a community we must create spaces where men can feel comfortable expressing their emotions without being shamed. We cannot build a powerful movement towards self-determination with broken men. Masculinity must be redefined in a way that uplifts our humanity, the humanity in men, women, and other genders. It’s time to stop fronting and start healing. Stay Woke.

 

Light skin vs Dark skin

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By March 12, 2014

ONE DAY while walking with some family members on Philadelphia’s South St., I said, “I love those light skin girls with that long hair. They look beautiful.”

It bounced off my 15-year-old tongue effortlessly, landing in the eardrums of my aunt.

She quickly responded, “Oh you like those light girls. You one of those House Niggas. That’s what your name is. House Nigga.”

My jaw dropped as I tried to win my Black Card back. “I didn’t mean in like that.”

I was young and already walking the streets with a color complex constructing my attraction to girls based on the shade of their skin. My aunt called me “House Nigga” for the next 10 years, constantly helping me relive that moment. I was influenced by the images in my environment, mainly from television screens and magazines.

I thought back to that moment on South Street last week while I was reading the Willie Lynch letter to a group of students in a classroom.  The conversation was intense.

“Have you all seen the stuff on social media where people are posting ‘Team Dark Skin’ and ‘Team Light Skin?’

Nearly all of the students said yes.

“Ok. I got it,” I said. “Y’all know about it. How do y’all feel about it?”

“I don’t like being dark skin,” one of them said. “I know I’m black. I just feel so heavy with blackness. I just don’t like being black. In the summer it’s the worst. I turn into the Grim Reaper.”

His words turned the room into a quiet asylum. There was no refuge from the words he had just shared. After years of teaching I am sad to say his words did not shock me, but the boldness with which he spoke them did. With his face wrinkled in disgust he pointed to his skin, barely wanting to touch his arms while expressing his disdain for his tone. We watched him as his self-esteem was being placed in a coffin of hatred.

Another student said, “I don’t like light skin people because they are stuck up and conceited. They think they better than us. When I was pregnant I said to my stomach don’t let this baby come out light skin. Don’t you know that baby came out light skin? I was mad!! Until the baby got a lil’ chocolate a couple months later.”

The students’ laughter bellowed against the walls. I whispered a muted anger blended with frustration inside.

I then read Lupita Nyong’o’s words: “I tried to negotiate with God. I told him I would stop steeling sugar cubes at night if he gave me what I wanted. I would listen to my mother’s every word and never lose my school sweater again if he just made me a little lighter. But, I guess God was unimpressed with my bargaining chips because I never woke up lighter.”

The classroom fell silent again like an atomic bomb of reality had just mushroomed, destroying all we knew. We sat staring at one another with a new beginning. All of us. It was an unexpected moment of silence. A moment where I could no longer hear the term, “House Nigga.” Just the wheels of learning turning.

We have to teach these young people how to love, how to dream, how to plan, how to archive before it is all lost. We even have to teach them to love themselves.

The discredited value of blackness is deeply engrained in these young people, and as we strive to hold on to the heritage, culture and self-love we have left, it’s imperative we show our children that the value of their person should not be determined by the shade of their skin. That value comes when you discover you personal power and cherish every breath you have….

Source: http://www.solomonjones.com/light-skin-vs-dark-skin/


corbin thumbnailGreg Corbin is a poet and teacher. He pens the Real Talk feature for Solomonjones.com

 

 

 

George Zimmerman signs autographs at Orlando gun show

ORLANDO, Fla. —George Zimmerman was shaking hands, smiling and signing autographs at a central Florida gun show Saturday

Zimmerman greeted people and autographed photos of him posing with his dog. He appeared at a scaled-down version of the New Orlando Gun Show at the Arms Room store on East Colonial Drive.

The show was originally set to be held at the Majestic on John Young Parkway, but organizers said the venue canceled late Thursday after getting negative feedback about Zimmerman’s planned appearance.

“They told us they canceled for community pressure,” said Mike Piwowarski, a show organizer. “They were getting phone calls and backlash, and didn’t want that kind of person there.”

Piwowarski said he was angry the Majestic canceled the event and he plans to sue for an estimated $300,000 in lost gun sales.

He said he supported Zimmerman during his trial in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and after he was acquitted.

Zimmerman offered to return the favor and support Piwowarski’s gun business, which led to today’s appearance, he said.

Trayvon Martin Still Lives Within Us #BLACKLIVESMATTER

COMMENTARY: In the Wake of Trayvon Martin’s Death, Black Men Are Still Under Fire

Today marks the second anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s senseless death. The unarmed teenager was gunned down by security guard/wannabe cop George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012 in Sanford, Florida while walking home from a convenience store.

Although told to stand down by police after reporting Martin as “suspicious” Zimmerman followed the teen and confrontation ensued. He shot Martin in the heart, saying he felt threatened by a slim, good-natured 17-year-old carrying a bag of Skittles. Acquitted on all charges by a Florida jury, to this day Zimmerman has not expressed one ounce of remorse for the tragic killing. So what have we learned in the two years since Trayvon’s tragic death?

 

We have learned that it’s still open season on black men – young and old – as white men are firing on black men for no apparent reason and then using “Stand Your Ground” laws as their sorry defense. Sadly, in some cases, the “Stand Your Ground” law is working. And we have learned that for some whites, black life – and the lives of black males in particular –means absolutely nothing.

There have been many rallies, vigils, protests and sermons about Trayvon’s death and, no doubt, there will be more. Today, I reflected on a statement by President Barack Obama after he was criticized by some conservatives last year for weighing in on Zimmerman’s acquittal.

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“The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy,” Obama said. “Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son.”

“We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities,” Obama said. “We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.”

It’s no secret that Black Americans have always been distrustful of the nation’s racially skewed judicial system.

“Our kids are still defined by the color of their skin,” Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, told me last year.

I remain concerned for the safety of young black men while, regrettably, watching history repeat itself: First there was 14-year-old Emmitt Till, who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955 by white men who claimed Till was flirting with a white girl. In 1963 in Mississippi, NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers was shot to death in his own driveway by a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

And now there’s Trayvon Martin and more recently, Jordan Davis, another unarmed teenager who was shot and killed in Jacksonville, Florida, by Michael Dunn, a white engineer, simply because Jordan’s music was too loud. And let’s not forget Garrick Hopkins, 60, and Carl Hopkins Jr., 61, two brothers from West Virginia who were shot and killed by a white man, Rodney Bruce Black, 62, who thought the Hopkins brothers were trespassing on his land – when in fact, they were inspecting a shed on their own property.

The sad truth is that black men are no strangers to racial profiling.

Almost all of my black male friends have been racially profiled at some point during the lives – and that includes me. So what have we learned on the anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s death? We have learned that unfortunately, some white men will always see young black men as thugs and will shoot first — and then call a lawyer. And we have learned, I hope, that we must fight collectively to repeal “Stand Your Ground” laws in Florida and in other states across the country to prevent these pointless murders of young black men.

If we sit back and do nothing, shame on us. What do you think?

Source: http://blackamericaweb.com/2014/02/25/commentary-in-the-wake-of-trayvon-martins-death-black-men-are-still-under-fire/2/

Renisha McBride Killed After Asking For Help In White Neighborhood

Black Woman Killed After Asking For Help In White Neighborhood

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(pic courtesy of Fox 2 News)

You might be reading this headline and think that I am mistaking Renisha McBride with the name of Jonathan Ferrell. You will recall that Jonathan Ferrell is the 24 year old man killed by Charlotte Police after surviving a serious car accident. Ferrell was murdered after a resident called 911 when Ferrell knocked on her door for help. The police arrived and shot at unarmed Ferrell 12 times, 10 of those bullets hitting Ferrell. Sadly just a few months later a similar situation has happened.

Renisha McBride, a 19-year-old young woman from Detroit was involved in a car accident around 2:30am Saturday morning in the predominantly white Detroit suburb Dearborn Heights. McBride’s cell phone was dead and she knocked on the door of a Dearborn resident for assistance. At this moment McBride’s life was ended by the resident who shot her in the head right on his front porch.

The police are already up to their shady tricks, as they refuse to release the name of the resident, and have given mixed stories about whether or not McBride’s body was dumped somewhere other than residence. The police are saying that the shooter mistook McBride for an intruder and acted in self-defense (Michigan is a “stand your ground” state). At this moment no formal arrest have been made against the shooter. I don’t know any intruders that knock on doors, or stand on porches waiting for the residents to come the door. I would say that the resident should have called the police, but who’s to say the police wouldn’t have shot Renisha down in cold blood too? Let’s remember that the police were the ones that killed Jonathan Ferrell.

The real question is what steps will the people take? Renisha was only 19 years old, she was someone’s daughter, niece, cousin, and friend. Do we just add her name to the long list of Black lives eaten up by a vicious system that devours whenever it feels hungry? Or do we finally say enough is enough, and awaken, organize, and fight? If we choose to fight we must remember that we must not only fight individual acts of racism but institutional racism. These despicable acts of individual racism are reflective of deep rooted systemic racism, like symptoms of are reflective of a disease. In order to stop the symptoms we must cure the disease. The best thing we can do at this very moment is get Renisha’s story the attention it deserves. Pass this story onto every individual you know. People need to see the evil that still exists in this country. Our children need to know what they are facing every time they walk out the door. This time it was Renisha, next time it could be you or your loved one. Stay Woke

Please see Rania Khalek’s original post on Renisha McBride (http://raniakhalek.com/2013/11/06/black-detroit-woman-shot-to-death-while-seeking-help-in-white-neighborhood-after-car-crash/ )

About blacksankofa

Taurean Brown is an author, poet, speaker and activist. “You don’t have to agree, but I want you to think. Just trying to speak what I believe is the truth, and it is always out of love.”

Tonight by Cierra Farquharson

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I don’t want to play peace maker to my apathy and empathy and explain to people why I even feel the former in the first place …

– C. Farquharson

 

Tonight i dont feel like being an activist
I dont want to raise my right fist
And fight for rights we disillusioned ourselves into believing we had
I dont want to gather march rally
Or carry a sign
With a clever slogan
or the names faces and dates
Of those slain
I dont want to think about how my brother
Likes juice and candy as much as the next kid
Or how my sister and i shared a joke about orange juice
How both of them look so different
But are still considered niggers
No a ah uh
To soften the blow
I dont feel like being a teacher or a therapist
Imparting lessons I dont even believe anymore
To children ive been conditioned to think
Are guilty because of their choice in clothing
Or  judge them based on their latest social media posting
Telling them, “if you know better u do better”
Then trying to explain why even with training a wallet or a hair pick still looks like a gun
I dont want to tell students it was never safe to run
Or stand still
Or hide or fight
That “standing your ground” currently only works the White way
Or the green way
However you want to see it.
I dont want to have empathy
Or any feelings for the family of the childs body that still laid on the ground
After school was dismissed
Or offer desensitization and rap lyrics
As reasons why kids still traced the bloody outline
After the police finally came
And took him away
I dont want to play peacemaker to my apathy and empathy
And explain to ppl
Why i even feel the former in the first place
I dont want to tell them Trayvon has existed before
That his last name used to be Bell or Hawkins or Harlins, Wallace, or Shakur
That he emigrated from Africa
Thinking hed have it better over here
I dont want to explain my little laugh at the thought
Or find excuses for my cynicism
I dont want to feel tonight
Like i have to carry a borrowed race on my back
And my actions speak for the culture
Or God forbid the culture’s actions speak for me
I dont want to feel angry or disgusted
That ‘Trayvonning’
Is trending
I dont want to feel
Like i do all the other nights
Like i should find a common ground
Or create a middle space for ppl like me
Caught between tryna make it out of my hometown
And not forget where i came from
But knowing neither side accepts me anyway
Tonight…
I dont want to be different
Or the same
Or called out of my name…
By my own people
Cuz white folks aint even callin me
Tonight,
i just want
to be.

Written after ‘the Verdict’ 7-14-13

Copyright CFarquharson 2013

Youth Must Take the Lead

Want change after the Zimmerman verdict? Youth must take the lead

, @mharrisperry

9:25 PM on 07/17/2013

A demonstrator chants, Sunday, July 14, 2013, in New York, during a march against the acquittal of neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida.  (Photo by John Minchillo/AP)

A demonstrator chants, Sunday, July 14, 2013, in New York, during a march against the acquittal of neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida. (Photo by John Minchillo/AP)

The summer before I started high school, there was a spate of violence in my hometown. Parents and community leaders were distressed, and responded by organizing a prayer vigil.  I attended along with many of my friends. All the young people were asked to come forward at the end of the evening and form a tight circle. The adults followed and circled around us, lifting one hand over our heads and using the other hand to grab our shoulders in a sign of love, support, and protection. The minister then prayed for our nation, our community, and for us.

I’ll never forget his prayer.

“Lord, build a hedge of protection around these children. Lord, be a fence all around them and keep them from the winds of the storm.”

I should have felt grateful for the love and concern of my elders, but I mostly felt annoyed. Even as the Reverend prayed that God keep us from the storm, I sent up my own prayer:

“Not me, Lord. Put me right in the storm. I don’t want to be protected from those winds. I want to make them!”

I have never regretted my counter-prayer. In high school, I discovered the writings of Steven Biko, learned about the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, and became convinced my generation could still be part of great actions for change. In college, I was swept up in campus activism that altered the direction of my professional and personal life. Being in the storm always seemed both more interesting and more meaningful than being sheltered safely on the sidelines.

More than 25 years after bristling at the idea of being protected, my first reactions to the George Zimmerman verdict were to cry out in distress about what feels like my powerlessness to offer safety to the children of our communities. Like the parents who extended their arms and prayers over me all those years ago, my first reaction to this feeling of insecurity was to reach out and grab those young people close.

I had forgotten. We must not fetishize safety to the exclusion of justice. The activism of our young people may just be the most powerful tool we have in the fight for a fairer world–even if their activism also makes them vulnerable.

  • Fifty years ago, in early June, 1963, the children of Birmingham, Alabama, marched through their city’s streets to make demands of their mayor. They were met by the dogs and fire hoses of Bull Connor. In response, President Kennedy articulated his support for a federal Civil Rights Act for the first time.
  • On May 4, 1970, students organized peacefully in protest of the Cambodian Campaign initiated by the U.S. government under President Nixon. The Ohio National Guard opened fire on the unarmed students, launching at least 67 rounds into the crowd and killing four. Their deaths were a pivotal moment in American public opinion about the war in Vietnam.
  • On June 16, 1976, more than 20,000 teenagers in Soweto township in South Africa took to the streets in protest of the apartheid education that forced them to learn in the language of their oppressors. Their uprising breathed new life into the movement against apartheid.
  • On October 9, 2012, 12 year old Malala Yousafzai was hunted down and shot in the head by Taliban gunmen as she rode a school bus. Her vocal, international advocacy for girls’ education had made her the target of their violent hatred. She survived their assassination attempt and last week addressed the United Nations, demanding international commitment to openly accessible education for girls.

I wept this week for the lost innocence of youth who were told by a not guilty verdict that their lives did not matter. While I wanted to protect them, they spoke out forcefully for themselves. They were clear. It is not protection they need. It is justice. It is organization. It is directed action to change the world.

(I recommend that you listen to the words of the Black Youth Project 100, a group of young black activists from across the country who were together when the verdict was read. Listen to their tone and their determination.)

Let me revise my prayer. “Lord, make me brave enough to follow the young people into the raging storm.”

Source: http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/07/17/want-change-after-the-zimmerman-verdict-youth-must-take-the-lead/

Black Male Privilege Is Real …

The Black Male Privileges Checklist by Mr. Jewel Woods
Leadership & Politics

1. I don’t have to choose my race over my sex in political matters.
2. When I read African American History textbooks, I will learn mainly about black men.
3. When I learn about the Civil Rights Movement & the Black Power Movements, most of the leaders that I will learn about will be black men.
4. I can rely on the fact that in the near 100-year history of national civil rights organizations such as the NAACP and the Urban League, virtually all of the executive directors have been male.
5. I will be taken more seriously as a political leader than black women.
6. Despite the substantial role that black women played in the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power Movement, currently there is no black female that is considered a “race leader”.
7. I can live my life without ever having read black feminist authors, or knowing about black women’s history, or black women’s issues.
8. I can be a part of a black liberation organization like the Black Panther Party where an “out” rapist Eldridge Cleaver can assume leadership position.
9. I will make more money than black women at equal levels of education and occupation.
10. Most of the national “opinion framers” in Black America including talk show hosts and politicians are men.

Beauty
11. I have the ability to define black women’s beauty by European standards in terms of skin tone, hair, and body size. In comparison, black women rarely define me by European standards of beauty in terms of skin tone, hair, or body size.
12. I do not have to worry about the daily hassles of having my hair conforming to any standard image of beauty the way black women do.
13. I do not have to worry about the daily hassles of being terrorized by the fear of gaining weight. In fact, in many instances bigger is better for my sex.
14. My looks will not be the central standard by which my worth is valued by members of the opposite sex.

Sex & Sexuality
15. I can purchase pornography that typically shows men defile women by the common practice of the “money shot.”
16. I can believe that causing pain during sex is connected with a woman’s pleasure without ever asking her.
17. I have the privilege of not wanting to be a virgin, but preferring that my wife or significant other be a virgin.
18. When it comes to sex if I say “No”, chances are that it will not be mistaken for “Yes”.
19. If I am raped, no one will assume that “I should have known better” or suggest that my being raped had something to do with how I was dressed.
20. I can use sexist language like bonin’, laying the pipe, hittin-it, and banging that convey images of sexual acts based on dominance and performance.
21. I can live in a world where polygamy is still an option for men in the United States as well as around the world.
22. In general, I prefer being involved with younger women socially and sexually
23. In general, the more sexual partners that I have the more stature I receive among my peers.
24. I have easy access to pornography that involves virtually any category of sex where men degrade women, often young women.
25. I have the privilege of being a part of a sex where “purity balls” apply to girls but not to boys.
26. When I consume pornography, I can gain pleasure from images and sounds of men causing women pain.

View the entire article and checklist at: http://jewelwoods.com/node/9

“He’s more likely to be dangerous and commit crimes because he is Black …”

Duane Buck & The Systematic Execution Of Blacks – Huffington Post

Duane Buck & The Systematic Execution Of Blacks
Huffington Post
Evidence shows that Duane Buck was convicted and sentenced to death largely because of his race. An investigation reveals a long and deep culture of racism in Harrison County, Texas that has resulted in the “over-execution” of black bodies. Hosted by: …

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