From the title, you'd think this was yet another ode to Black men from the ever-loyal Black woman, right? Not this time! This post comes from a guest, Mr. Garrett James. The post will make you laugh and hopefully... it will make you think.
Here's a word or three from Garrett. Enjoy.
I am a black man and … I love black men.
Calm down. Relax your forehead for me. It’s nothing to do with physical attraction. . And before I get too far into it… I probably should state that again and be slightly clearer… partly for you and mostly for me.
So… (deep breath..) I love black men… Yes, I love strong, positive, passionate, family loving, friend loving, responsible, God-fearing black men!
I love them so much probably because that’s what I want to be and unfortunately, I’m not sure if that’s always who I see in the mirror. And even worse, I’m not certain of where I can obtain a scale by which to measure. I’m a full man now right? Full meaning I’ve been around for three decades, owned a home and a car, almost made babies, had a job for years, survived the quarter life crisis… and still… sometimes I ask myself “Are you a man yet?” I mean, I know I’m male. But am I a man? Do I have the manhood that I should? Honestly, I don’t know at times. And if I DID have a scale, would I even know how to measure it? I know it’s character based, but does one measure character?
So as I’m sitting in my seat drinking a cup of weak brown coffee during a men’s Bible study on a dreary Saturday morning in March, I thought to myself as I watched the men in the room, “Self, I wish I had a dad.”
And by dad I mean ‘daddy.’ Iyanla Vanzant (See one night I was turning the channel and my remote’s batteries died when it stopped on the OWN channel) says your daddy isn’t always your biological father. Your daddy is that male who told you that you were a man; the one that crowned you. The one that showed you what manhood really was, whether directly or indirectly. And so I got sad again (I say again cuz I think about this often) sitting there sippin’ my coffee, because I don’t know who that was for me. Life is my daddy, I guess.
But I want one because I want to BE a father one day. I have mentees and the cycle of bridge building has already begun. But how can we really teach something we’ve never been shown or never lived? I’m sure it’s possible, but the time it takes just scares me. I don’t want to play guess and check with my family. Further, who will teach me how to be a husband and how to lead a family? It’s discouraging not being able to look to my immediate environment. My parents and those close to me don’t have marriages that I want to pattern mine after. Did yours?
Where will I SEE that part of manhood that says you take care of family before all else? Of course I know the concept, but I want to SEE it in action. I want to see how grown men conduct themselves when faced with decisions. How arguments are settled and relationships are kept intact. How grown men show emotions and who they let see them cry. Or as Kanye asked, “How [they] stay faithful in a room full of hoes?”
I was raised to be tough and to show no weakness; to be uncomfortable with close relationships with new men (for fear of the labels). I was raised to associate masculinity and power with lots of money, influence and of course, women. Yes, I was raised to shy away from statements like ‘I love black men.’ Bigger than me, it seems that many of my male friends have learned manhood by trial and error. And take it from me, trial and error concerning relations has cost me relations… and too many people end up hurt, bitter, and writing blogs. #sigh
Funny enough, at that men’s bible study, the leader told everyone to get a prayer partner and if you didn’t have one (in the room) to raise your hand. My hand stayed down even though I didn’t have one. I don’t know those guys; maybe next time.
So yea, I love black men because I love myself. And I love those traits that positive black men have – I just don’t know if I have them. So what’s a grown BLACK man to do?
Fellas, how did you learn the lessons of manhood? If you had to teach yourself, how was the process? Ladies, does the absence of confidence in manhood scare you at all?