Does their presence evoke fear or love? If more of us feel fear when we see a Black man than feel love, what type of hostile climate does that help to create?
Like many of us, I was saddened to hear the news recently of another unarmed Black man being shot on camera. While I have not watched the video for emotional reasons, from what I understand, the story is that the officers’ body cameras fell off. I considered watching and sharing the video, along a Spoken Word piece about how we have to unite and take action, but what purpose would that serve? We can get into our feelings and honestly desire to take action, but what action would we take? Would we protest, march, petition, demand more body cameras, what? I am honestly at a loss for solutions to combat this genocide that has been taking place for the last 400 years.
While I am disturbed by the actions of the officers towards Alton Sterling, I am not surprised. This is nothing new, unfortunately. What I am tremendously disturbed by is some of the responses that I have seen from White and Black folks alike. Like Camus’ The Stranger, the actions that caused AmadouOscarsTrayvonsMikeBrownsAltonSterling’s deaths are not of concern so much as these men’s characters are of concern to the public. We are these men’s judge and jury post-mortem, so many willing to list off the reasons why they were not angels and deserved to die.
Today on social media, I read a post where hundreds of women, mostly African American, applauded Alton Sterling’s murder because he was allegedly a registered sex offender, having impregnated a teenage girl when he was 20 years old. While we can argue all day about whether he was a rapist for having a relationship with a teenage girl 17 years ago, if teenagers are old enough to make such decisions, and so on – what sense does it make to debate about someone’s past after said person has been unjustly executed? Did the officers somehow intuit that Mr. Sterling had a questionable past, and serve justice through his murder? Or, more likely, is it the consensus of society that, “n***as ain’t s**t,” which fuels such murders to take place with impunity.
If most people hold the subconscious belief that Black men are bad, worthless, and probably deserve some type of punishment, then these murders can continue to happen with no one, White or Black, feeling an immense sense of guilt about it. So, let’s talk about the divine masculine. The divine masculine is a term that represents balanced males, who are in touch with their inner king, warrior, magician, and lover. If I ask you to picture the best father you know or the best husband you know – you would probably picture a man who would fit all of the characteristics of being in tune with his divine masculinity..
And while we cannot resurrect the thousands of men who have been slain by klans in white hoods or black uniforms, we can resurrect the divine masculine in the men that we know and love. Many Black men, whose lives also matter, walk around with functional depression, borderline suicidal, because they feel so overextended and unappreciated in their daily lives. Many Black men, whose lives also matter, are not celebrated until they are lying dead in the street. We will stand up for Alton Sterling now that he is in the morgue, but how many of us would have honestly had a speech of appreciation to give for the brother with the criminal record with the gold teeth, selling CD’s in front of the corner store?
Honestly, would you have told that brother unsolicited, “Brother, I don’t know you, but I love you. I appreciate you. I know that as a Black man, you probably have had a tough history, yet here you are, hustling to make some money for your family. You are a king, bruh. You are divine.” And if we were saying that to brothers we consider to be regular n***as at the corner store, what would those words of deep affirmation do for their spirits, in that moment?
So no, I will not share the video of Mr. Sterling being terrorized. I will not share a poem abouthow they’re continuing to kill our men. Instead, I will issue a challenge to each person reading this address or watching the video to honor and appreciate all of the Black men who you encounter for the month of July, even those with a troubled past or a complex present.
We can find one good trait in anyone, and ten good traits or more in most people. Reflect on the men in your life. First, call or write the men who have affected you personally for the better. These may be friends, family, colleagues, or former teachers, for example. Tell them specifically how they improved your life with their presence, words, actions, or example.
Next, begin to honestly acknowledge the men who you are encountering in your daily activities. The brother sacking your groceries, serving your mocha latte, pushing his son in a stroller, washing your car windows on the freeway, selling you CD’s in the parking lot… tell that brother about the light you see in him. “You are a hard worker. I admire that.” “You a hustler for real, bruh. Keep shining.” “I see the God in you, man.” “What’s up, king?” “I see you are an excellent father.” “You are going to go far in life.” “You have drive – I see that. You’re destined for success.”
Often times, too many are quick to put Black men’s actions on the scales – “Well yes, he’s pushing his baby in the stroller, but how do we know that’s not the only time he’s seen his baby this month? Did he pay child support? Is he still with the mama?” “Well, yes he is working hard, but it’s a minimum wage job. He must not be ambitious. He probably doesn’t want anything out of life.” Well yes, he is somewhat good, but he’s not perfect. That n***a ain’t s**t, really.”
What is it that causes society to create some platinum standard and weigh Black men against it, always determining that their actions are not enough? If we do feel that there is some way that our brothers can improve, what help do we offer them? Do we go out of our way to tell them about jobs, scholarships, or advancement opportunities? How many of us stop and talk with the young brothers bearing tattoos, jeans sagging, and ask them about their future goals? Does their presence evoke fear or love? If more of us feel fear when we see a Black man than feel love, what type of hostile climate does that help to create?
I would like to hear your feedback on what responses that you receive from Black men this week while practicing conscientious intentional affirmations of our brothers’ divine masculinity. Please send me feedback and let’s continue this dialogue for radical change. I love you all.
Love and Light,