For the last few days I have been bothered by the latest set of statistics stemming from a March 20th article from the New York Times on the state of Black men in America. I can't say that I am especially shocked or surprised....just disappointed. I'm not going to bore you with the facts, check the article for yourself:
I do not profess to be a genius but I think I know what the problem (or problems) is regarding why African-American males are in such dire straits. But before I provide this explanation....a few observations. Certain Black folk that are customarily positioned to discuss Black issues are usually ill equipped and might be more concerned with selling books and coordinating "feel good" seminars than providing resolutions. I noticed this just this Saturday while looking at Tavis Smiley being interviewed on Bill Maher's Real Time. Again as it related to the NY Times article, Maher asked Tavis directly, what did he think was the cause for the problems disproportionately affecting Black men. To paraphrase Smiley, he stated that if the majority culture (a.k.a. White) were in an identical situation, something would be done. That is not a good answer. And then, of course, he proceeded to promote his book, The Covenant with Black America and the accompanying national tour/seminar. I'm not going to knock the guy's hustle...but at the very least could the question be answered? Another observation came in the guise of Eva Longoria. Yes the Desperate Housevives actress. In a recent interview, she stated that she would have to devise a scheme to tell her grandmother that she is dating Black basketball player, Tony Parker. Parker, who is of African-American and European heritage may not fair well under the scrutiny of Longoria's grandparent. Now what does this have to do with the state of Black men you ask? Everything. Why should a Black millionaire athlete in 2006 still be subjected to this treatment....from Negro Lites(Latin folk...more on this at a later date...think Budweiser and Bud-Lite). This segues into my answer as to why Black men are having these issues. The answers as to why are below:
1)Blackness...especially male Blackness is a perceived societal negative. Ask Tony Parker.
2) CREAM(Cash Rules Everything Around Me)....the street culture which is heavily marketed to Black men is very appealing to brothers. It has been positioned to define Black masculinity. Is there a "street" equivalent for White males? No? Why not?
3) No legitimate movement (don't expect Busta Rhymes to be your savior) to galvanize Black men to strategize resolutions. I thought Bill Cosby had it right but he has issues (legal) and other Black folk that sufficiently neutered him.
Maybe next entry I will give you my thoughts on improving our lot....and it won't cost you anything. I promise.