The concept of tough love for Black men is a system endorsed by dehumanizing them.
When a boy falls and skins his knees, elbows, or even face
- the first thing they do is cry and then you'll hear that one uncle, grandfather, or even your dad say,
“Get up boy and dust it off. You’ll be alright.”
Without ever asking them if they are all right or actually getting up to look and see how bad the cut is.
Them doing that makes them feel that they are making the boy into a man.
Because in their minds all that crying shit ain’t for us. Which long term would be their downfall.
Growing up I have been around nothing but women.
So yes, I am more emotional than the average guy and I am ok with that.
Some may see it as a flaw but I do not and I will explain why.
My biological father was not in my home; it was either my aunts, mother and my sisters.
The only real male figure I had in my life at the time was my grandfather and he was that grandfather
that would say the same line about getting up and dusting it off and dismiss it.
But when I started to get around a certain age where I was able to walk myself home from school
my mother trusted me to start walking in other places, so I began to go to my cousin's house every day
after school and even on the weekends.
It used to be me and a house full of my boy cousins; some were older and some were younger than me when I continued to go over there basically every day. While going there I realized that everyone began to think and behave the same exact way and when we were expressing some type of emotion that would be considered gay or you would be called pussy because
anything that was deemed as a woman trait was not tolerated.
It was so bad that I began to be influenced by this type of behavior. One day one of my cousins that lived in Orlando came out to Altamonte to visit us. He came into the house and tried to give us a hug and show us some love. Then my older cousin said,
“Chill out with that shit. Give me a pound.”
So he wanted a handshake instead of a hug because he believed that was excessively emotional and like I said before a woman's trait. But I used to hug my mother and anyone else that was in my house but it was looked at as taboo around my cousins and even uncle.
Yes, I know what you are thinking: a bunch of young and ignorant kids in one house.
So a couple of years passed and it hit the year 2004; Kanye West dropped one of his best albums ever, “College Drop Out”. There is this song on the album named “Family Business” and there is a verse that goes like this:
“And my niggas ain’t my guys, they my family, dog
I feel like one day you’ll understand me, dog
You can still love your man and be manly, dog.
You ain’t got to get heated at every house warmin’
Sittin’ here, grillin’ people like George Foreman.”
I felt that whole verse on a spiritual level. If you are asking yourself, why here is your answer. When Kanye says:
“You can still love your man and be manly.”
That was one of the best things I have ever heard. At the time, I did not know or even thought that it was ok to tell my cousins, friends, and uncles that I loved them and still be considered a man. Because like I said, we had only been thinking one way.
I realized that we had this toxic way of thinking; men/boys expressing any type of emotions whatsoever, that made you weak.
When in actuality it was the complete opposite. We would give the cold shoulder to people that only wanted affection or even a hug
, and we would burn bridges because of our ignorance and we’d see nothing wrong with it.
I began to distance myself from my family and it hurt, but I had to do what was best for me. I began learning how to deal with my emotions, how to show the men (and woman) that I have been with, and deeply felt for - affection and love. It was an easy task because I've had this toxic way of thinking in my mind for many years, so there were times where I had to catch myself
and either apologize or do right the next time around.
I have realized that the more you fight how you are feeling, the longer it will last and it begins to get more intense and eat at you. Emotions are like quicksand.
I am in no way, shape or form perfect because I am still working on things as we speak and I'm a work in progress just like the next man.
I am telling you this because I wanted to show you how much we as men/boys lack emotion, especially in the Black communities.
People in the black community have desensitized Black boys/Men feelings, forgetting:
That Black Men Feel anxiety.
Black Men Feel Depression.
Black Men Feel Sadness.
Black Men Feel Rage.
Black Men FEEL!
And forgotten that that is ok.
Growing up we have been taught differently, but now it is time to change the narrative.
It's time to let those emotions go that you've been holding on to for so long.
Try hugging somebody, let that person that you trust know how you are feeling whether it be good or bad.
Like I said it is OK to feel.