Here at BrooklynButtah, it’s all about the fellas this month.
I was approached a few weeks back to pen a post about what it meant to be a Black man in this country, and what our responsibility was to our women. On the surface it seemed like a pretty straight forward article. I thought that everything that I wanted to mention was ready to be put out. Nevertheless I decided to give myself some days to be inspired. I wanted to give myself a little bit of time so that I could do a good job. I wanted my words to be piercing and poignant. For whatever reason, days passed by and that fire hadn’t truly been sparked yet.
The fire wasn’t truly sparked until the morning of November 9th, 2016.
That morning I learned that Donald Trump will indeed be our next President of this here United States. With me knowing much of what he claimed his agenda was during his campaign, I knew that this result was a huge loss to women. Not to mention, if this is a loss for white women, then women of color are bound to hurt from this as well. Allow me to backtrack a bit in order to add some context.
I’m a proud Black man, I’ve been one for the past 27 years.
I was fortunate to have been exposed to the importance of Black solidarity from a young age. I was a kid that participated in Black Solidarity day some years. I went to the Million Youth March in Harlem when I was coming up. I’ve done the rallies, celebrated Kwanza for year, my whole point is that I have always had Black pride. In that, I have always heralded Black women.
Although I’m of Panamanian descent, no one see that on the surface. Most Panamanians don’t look Latin. We look Black. So with that being the case, the women who helped raise me were all Black as well. They were all hard working, selfless women who loved hard and sacrificed. Those qualities absolutely shaped the types of women that I would be drawn to as I got older.
Growing up witnessing divorce and verbal abuse firsthand, I knew what kind of man I didn’t want to be. And with the conscience I had already, I had an idea of the kind of man I had to be for myself. My responsibility as a man is to be a man of integrity and high character. I’m here on this earth to work hard and be a positive example. It was imparted on me that I had to work doubly hard in order to get to the places that I wanted to. Chris Rock has a bit where he says “the black man has to fly to get somewhere the white man walks to.” I have to bring something unique to this world. It has to mean something. Most folks don’t think in those tenses until they’re adults.
At 16 my uncle asked me, “Have you ever thought what you want your legacy to be?” I was stopped in my tracks. At 16, shit all I wanted do was take Driver’s Ed and get my ears pierced. Well I did end up doing that, but obviously there was more. Although at 16 I didn’t have an idea what I wanted my legacy to be, the seed was planted. I started to think in the terms of me undoubtedly leaving a legacy. The truth is that we all will leave one and we control how we’ll be seen in our formative years.
So as I got older I always thought about my legacy, I thought about how I treated people. I think a true measure of a man is how he treats women. It was always my intention to be as nice to all women as possible. A lot of that came from seeing my mother mistreated and just not wanting to mirror the behaviors I saw as a kid. Although being this way growing up doesn’t guarantee you the same treatment in return, it does build character and integrity.
Those are the types of men our women need now more than ever.
The country has elected a man who doesn’t have progressive ideals for women. He’s a guy who hasn’t talked much about income equality for men and women. He doesn’t want a woman to have the right to choose. Not to mention, due to his celebrity, he is no stranger to grabbing women by the _____ without their consent. Our duty to Black women is really to be better men.
We have to become men that care about the issues Black women face. Enough of us don’t connect ourselves to the concerns of Black women. We have to be better listeners for all Black women. We should be a support and people that they could confide in. Our thinking as Black men has to grow. The idea of respecting all Black women has to be a normality. It can’t be some shit that you think about only when bad things happen to our people. Our respect for Black women should come stocked like power windows.
The root of what I’m saying is that we have to genuinely care about our women.
They sacrifice so much just by bringing us into this world, we owe it to them to make their time here a lot more bearable. What would help in such an effort is to call each other out. We have to help grow each other up. It’s evident that this country is still not too fond of us as a people. We have to be in this together. So whenever you see a black woman in the car, mall, school, house, kitchen, church, gym, basement – you name it!! You be good to her. She should know that you have her back. It’s all love.
These are my words and I make no apologies.