I am not a gang member. I do not own a weapon. I do not roam the streets looking to find somebody to victimize. I have never sold drugs. I do not sag my pants. I do not end my sentences with the N-word. I do not objectify women. I am a black male. I do not prefer women of other ethnicity’s because I view them as “easy”. I come from a two-parent household. I have not been to jail. I am a black male.
I have been blessed with a pretty regular life, nothing I personally view as a huge tragedy, I have struggled with certain things as I am sure we all have but I understand that I have lived a bit of a privileged life in comparison to some people and an underprivileged life in comparison to some people. I also grew up with the idea that I would become an NBA player and a doctor at the same time, wait, as I am writing this I am still trying to wrap my head around how I thought I could do both at the same time, then I remember, I was a child and at that time as Kevin Garnett would say, I believed “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE”. It wasn’t until I was about 13 that I realized, “unless I get a crazy growth spurt, I probably can’t make it to the NBA” then it was, maybe I’ll just go to Europe, slowly that dream evaporated as well. It wasn’t until I came to the realization that I wouldn’t be a professional basketball player that I became able to understand that there were so many other things to the world than basketball or even being a doctor.
This is not an open letter just to black males, it is an open letter to every living organism (I am sure dogs have access to my WordPress and can read) but ESPECIALLY for my fellow brothers, there is much more to the world than chasing women, shooting hoops and writing intricate (in this day and age, maybe not so intricate) rap lyrics. Not to insinuate that there is anything wrong with using your God-given talent (props to Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, etc) but for those of us that just are not good enough or tall enough (I swear every basketball player under 6’0 claims that if they were 6’5 they would make the NBA, and I swear this is my last time using parentheses) there are so many other ways in which we can leave our imprint on the world…And sorry but being the biggest drug dealer on thee block is not leaving your imprint on the world, it is shortchanging yourself as a human being.
I am tired of this idea that there are only three things black men can do, either be an athlete, rapper, or illustrious drug dealer. Society will have you believe black men are only good for being players and being an overall detriment to people’s everyday lives…that there are no successful black doctors, dentists, CEO’s, or business owners when in reality there are many. But no we are only good for gun-wielding, selling drugs, making baskets, and finding the prettiest women to strip naked and put into our rap videos…scratch that not just society…WE perpetuate these stereotypes ourselves. Why is it that if I do not speak slang or sag my pants I am “white-washed”, if I wear cardigans and button-up shirts on a regular basis I am “white-washed”…you may as well just refer to me as a good, upstanding individual…they mean the same thing, so thank you, I see “white-washed” as a compliment and from now on I will refer to my fellow upstanding black males as being “good black-washed”, why within our own communities we frown upon those people yet glorify those that do wrong?
It is time for black males to stop blaming the outside world for all of our problems, I am not oblivious, I know what goes on and I know the many extra roadblocks we deal with but that is not an excuse, we have to start looking within ourselves to fix what is a very negative perception of who we are, it’s time to trade guns and drugs for journal articles and books, it’s time to dedicate the same passion and time exerted on negative behaviors to getting diploma’s and degrees, time to stop looking for the quick/easy way out, stop with the cop-outs and excuses, have some pride and realize the impact of our negative actions…I say us, we, our, because we are all connected in one way or the other…I am subjected to weird looks and sensing fear in people as I walk the streets not because I am intimidating but because there are many ignorant human beings left in the world coupled with the negative actions of other black males, therefore we are all accountable, it’s time to choose a different path, choose a change.