In the United States, Black men are often stereotyped as a menace to society. We stereotype them as gang-affiliated, imprisoned, angry, violent, deadbeat dads, unemployed, or abusive — the negative epithets are never-ending. On the other hand, they can be stereotyped as only playing sports or making rap music to make a living. Society has done a fantastic job at shunning black men: I mean, society literally tries to take away black men through any means possible, such as slavery, mass incarceration, and so many more.
As someone who isn’t black or white (I’m Indian American) but has been in a relationship with a black man for over seven years, I can see how destructive our society has been to this particular group of people. Every day is a fight for them. Whether it’s a fight of their minds trying to undo all the bullshit and trauma inflicted on them since a young age (such as child abuse, molestation, or gang violence) or the struggle to put on a game face every morning when they go out into the world so that society doesn’t see them as a threat everywhere they go.
Black men can’t win. We see them as too aggressive but sexualize their bodies. We see them as uneducated but tell them that the only way they can be something in this world is if they play sports or rap. And we see them as absent when it comes to their families, but we imprison them unfairly and our law enforcement unjustly kills them.
The potential black men have is limitless. I truly believe if we support black men and realize their potential, they have the ability to become anything and everything our society has told them is impossible. A black man can be far better than your average man because he wants it more, he has more to prove, and he has more to lose. Yet our society has repeatedly told black men that they are nothing and they don’t matter. However, soon our country will not be able to run from this issue because one day these men will not be the minority. It may not be apparent right now, but this group consists of fighters with an amazing drive that you will never see in anybody else because nobody else has to deal with the hate they endure just to breathe.
Black men are leaders, activists, lawyers, CEOs, doctors, professors, teachers, providers, husbands, sons, and fathers. Black men are intelligent, charismatic, caring, beautiful, hard-working, and loving. And most of all, Black men are the future.
Take it from someone who has a unique perspective into the life of a black man in America: Treat them kindly and treat them fairly. Acknowledge their struggle and pain. Always assume they have positive intentions, and they just might change your life for the better.
Featured image via NappyStock on nappy