Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thoughts on Thursday: Black Men in America

So I was thinking.......

February is Black History Month, and it is not because February is the shortest month for all you 'know it alls'.  February was chosen because of the birthday of President Lincoln and the birthday of Frederick Douglas (as accurately recorded as it could be for a slave); all decided by Dr. Carter G. Woodson.  To brush up on your knowledge of such read here.

Since it is Black History Month (BHM), it is appropriate to discuss matters pertaining to this celebratory season which I  LOVE!  In leu of all the excitement and interesting Facebook facts posted and reminders of our past, I attended an event hosted at my instution of higher education, Minneapolis Community and Technical College.  The student group SAAB, Students for African American Development presented a documentary film made by my pal Donald Allen, get details here, who is the professional development chair for SAAB.  This film was very truthful, and blatant about what a lot of impoverished black males face trying to come from the hood, the penitentary, crime and otherwise to higher learning.  Depending on when and how these brothers finished high school, it can be a gruesome process to make it to the first day of class, with books, necessary supplies and a decent attitude.  Let alone want to stay in school when the FAFSA checks cut.   When you don't have any money, or food etc, and you get money, sometimes you don't act right.  In many cases at MCTC, folk aren't acting right. 

This piece prompted the panel discussion afterwards, full of SAAB members and students at MCTC and in the audience sat faculty, administration, and fellow students.  Tension did build, complaints and problems were brought forward and the best part is the solutions that came from those that were the 1 out many, which faced the struggle head on that made it through to graduating this spring, sitting on that panel.  SAAB is about solutions and it was moving, informational, and engaging last night to see all that was presented. 

This event obviously, got me thinking, what do the brothers that didn't come from poverty, did graduate on time, do know how to use a computer, and only faced a court room because their parents are legal clerks, attorneys and the like.  What kinds of hardships do they face?   As I continued to process internally, and coming from my background, I thought of my daddy. My daddy is a 6'8'' black man; you know what people think, right off the cuff, no conversation, just sizing him up. Basketball. "oh man did you hoop" "I bet you played in college.."  That type of disrespectful stereotyping, is what black men with money, with stature face.  If its not sports assumed, it is music/rhythm, or its speech.  Black men, HAVE to sing, right?  They have to know how to play ball, some kind of ball? RIGHT?  They have to use slang.. RIGHT?  NO.  Black men are men, just as white men, or latino men, or Pakistani men, pick a country.... you choose.  They are men. They are fathers and brothers, they are teachers, attorneys, doctors, husbands, leaders.  My father has three masters degrees, a law degree and currently has is own law practice in the Bay Area, HIS OWN BOSS, and all people think is Basketball.

Shame on you if you have looked at a Black man and thought sports, he must know how to dance/sing.  Shame on you if you do that to anyone. (PERIOD)

I would like to shed light on some prevelant Black men in times past. Thank You.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with Family

I love this pic of MLK and Coretta.

Dr. Carter G. Woodson "father" of Black History Month

Young Frederick Douglass

A graceful aged Douglass

Charles Anderson first African American legislator in KY.
Dr. Lorenzo Greene, Professor and historian.
Fisk University Alumni

1959 Fisk University President

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