When I was a little girl, I went outside to play (with my shoes untied) and as I was running down the sidewalk, I tripped and fell. I literally slid on my face. The pain was overwhelming and I know that because over 30 years later I still remember it. Besides the memory of pain, I also bare a scar on the outside of my left eye. Over the years, the scar is less visible than it used to be and to be honest, although I look at myself in the mirror everyday, I had forgotten it was there because I could no longer see it without actually looking for it.
Men of color often carry so many scars. Not the kind that we can see, but the barely there; you won’t notice unless you’re looking kind. There’s the responsibility of being a “man” and having to live up to expectations that they are often not prepared for. Then, they are expected to know how to function in relationships, often having no real example of how a
Despite their challenging beginnings, their heart is still untarnished and a great sense of self allows them to pursue their dreams and in some cases, actually realize those dreams. The men that I have encountered that have a positive relationship with their mother and/or father, grandparents and just their family overall tend to be the most kind at heart. Even in circumstances where the relationship may not have always been good, the art of forgiveness and a willingness to repair the brokenness is what makes these men successful. Never allowing their circumstances to determine how they treat people and handle life is literally living proof that they get what having a good heart is about.
I think as black women, we need to be better with the men we encounter that possess the characteristics we say we want. We want a “good man” but unfortunately that is the very man we mistreat and take for granted. We don’t honor him the way that we should and our accountability for his scars is just as evident as that of his parents. We hardly ever discuss that good men need our love too. They need our respect and our praise. They need to be reminded that we appreciate them and acknowledge how much of a blessing they truly are. So much focus is placed on how black women are treated…and being a black woman I know first hand we get the short end of the deal. I am in no way justifying the cruelty and disrespect black women are shown. But, I am saying, why don’t we acknowledge that maybe the black men in our lives have been treated poorly as well and that’s where the behavior comes from. The same way we get tired, so do they. Black women are not allowed to be emotional because then we are labeled as “having an attitude”. But black men are not allowed to display their emotions either because our culture and society has taught them that it’s weak and they aren’t allowed to feel. They have it embedded in them that showing emotion is not authorized in order to be viewed as a leader and a King.
We MUST stop this! Let’s build one another up and recognize that black women are not the only ones who suffer from trauma. Emotions are apart of human nature and we must respect that black men have them. Black men, Kings, I challenge you to own your scars. Deal with them and allow them to remind you to seek ways to heal yourself. The inability to visibly see them doesn’t negate the fact that they are there. Your relationships in every facet of your life depend on your healing. Your mental health depends on this same healing. Your good heart needs to remain unblemished and unhardened. I believe if we stand together and allow one another the freedom of expression and the room to heal, there will only be good men for our good women. Allow God to mend you. Stop allowing society to dictate how you should behave and react to what’s happening in your life. Your loving spirit is what draws the RIGHT people to you. Tell the good black men in your life how much they mean to you. If you know his past, let him know that you appreciate his goodness despite his background. This is the beginning to healing for our people. Let’s break societal stigmas and generational curses. Assisting with keeping our good men ‘good’ will have such a positive impact now and on our future generations.