Masculinity

Black Men Masquerading: Part 2

Have a baby and prove your masculinity, right? Mention that you are screwing this woman and this woman and prove your masculinity, right? Use inarticulate language and prove your masculinity, right? Get on Facebook and use hood vernacular and prove you’re a thug, right? Indicate that you’re “in a relationship or in a relationship with” and prove your masculinity, right? Lol! I’m not going there right now. In this piece, I will address Black men who cheat on their girlfriends and wives. It really does not make sense for anyone to cheat on the person who he or she is involved with. If you no longer want to be with the person, then be man or woman enough to let the person know. Don’t be a coward and not tell the person who you are involved with that you are being faithful to him or her and you know you’re not. Although I am well aware that women cheat on men, the focus of this piece is on Black men who cheat.

Black men have a little more respect for women than to use them as toys. Have more value for our Black women than to use them to boost your social status. Many Black men who cheat try to pretend like they are such loyal men in front of their women, but just as soon as they get a chance they are trying to pull off other women’s panties. If you want to be a “player (playa),” then just let your woman know this and move on to someone else. You want to be called a player not to satisfy your physical body, but to gain approval in the eyes of other men and some dumb women who think that this is “hot.” Have more respect for your mother than to want to be called a player. I am sure that your mother did not want to give birth to a whore. When you strive to be a player, you are not even giving yourself the opportunity to really enjoy the fullness of the company of a woman and the full enjoyment of sexual intercourse. Why? Because you’re more concerned with reifying women than experiencing what a real relationship with one woman can offer you.

When you go around and sleep with every woman that you can, this does not do anything to improve your resume or credentials—it simply moves you a step closer to dying from HIV/AIDS. Be more responsible sexually. You should at least think about the potential harm  you could be causing the women you are having sex with. When you ruin their lives with diseases that threaten their lives, you are not only victimizing those women, you are victimizing their families and friends. All of this can be avoided if you would get over your fear of simply being yourself. Stop living for society’s expectations for you and live for your own meaningful expectations. Be yourself!

I know some bisexual men who think that it is cute to sleep with as many men and women as possible. I have to let some of you bisexual men know that your whorish ways is what exacerbates the HIV/AIDS crisis we have here in America. The problem I have with many of you bisexual men who cheat on your girlfriends or wives is your secretiveness is what exposes these men and women to such great dangers. Black women need to recognize that they are going to have to demand more quality things from their Black men before they can truly be the men they need to be.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Black Men Masquerading: Part 1

One thing that gets my blood boiling almost more than anything else is Black men who are afraid to be themselves. In general, I really dislike when any individual is afraid to be himself or herself. I am, however, concentrating on the Black male in this piece. People who are afraid and/or unwilling to be themselves suffer from low self-esteem or problems with their self-esteem. In Black Skins, White Masks, Frantz Fanon communicates the provenance of the serious problems with Black masculinity, originating from the humiliating and barbaric treatment of Black men during slavery. Although I still see some of the impact that the legacy of slavery has on Black masculinity, I have a news flash for you Black men: slavery is over! No longer should you be allowing the problems that racist White slave owners created for Black masculinity to affect your insecurities about your sexuality in the postmodern epoch.

Many Black men have a difficult time admitting that they are gay or bisexual because of the high expectations of the socially conservative Black community. On matters of sexuality, I would have to say that the Black community is ultra-conservative. Many Black men have been reared in families that are fervently Christian and have been taught that being gay is a nasty and sinful thing. The Black community places such unrealistic expectations on Black men’s masculinity because it expects them to be the hypermasculine mandingo that racist slave-owning White women and men created. It’s unrealistic for a man to be hypermasculine but great pressure within and outside of the Black community demands that the Black man be hypermasculine.

Unfortunately, too many Black men have adopted and embraced the hypermasculine expectations that have been placed on them. This has led to many Black men being thugs (or trying to pose as thugs), the academic underachievement of many Black men, many being imprisoned, many getting HIV/AIDs, significant Black male poverty, high drug use, great domestic violence, increased gang membership, and I could go on and on. Too many Black males have not resisted the negative expectations placed on them by a society that has not wanted them to succeed. Many Black men have not taken the time to seriously consider their sexuality or sexualities. For example, many Black men who strive to be perceived as “pimps” have not given themselves an opportunity to have a long-lasting and meaningful relationship with a woman.

Regrettably, the Black Church has not been there to help Black men to develop a healthy sexuality. The Black Church has proffered too simplistic responses to the needs of men and their sexuality. Basically, the Black Church has simply told Black men not to be gay, get married, don’t fornicate, don’t masturbate, don’t look at pornography, be the head of their households, and don’t beat their wives. Black male sexuality, however, requires much more than that. The Black Church has simply been unwilling to deal with sexuality in a sophisticated, in-depth, and educated way. Many Black preachers are still simply spitting rhymes instead of nurturing, teaching, and cultivating a healthy Black male sexuality, a sexuality that resists the hypermasculinity that has been engendered to destroy Black men.

Many Black women are also responsible for Black men having to take on identities that are truly not authentic. Many Black women have placed unrealistic expectations on Black men: they want them to be both successful thugs and successful scholars—it’s simply not possible! One of the identities is going to cause the other to fail. Many Black women will say that they want a man who can take care of them, but by selecting a thug they often just get a baby and a baby’s daddy who is in prison. Many Black women think that the Black man who is serious about his education is gay; thus, not allowing him to be the “thug” they desire him to be. When a Black man dresses professionally and does not “bust slack,” then many Black women think he is gay—they will say, “His gay self—with them tight pants on.” Wake up you dummies, this is the type of man who can provide you with the home, economic stability, and quality family you long for.

The man busting slack is a man headed to prison, and this is the type of man you should be more concerned with being gay because his busting slack represents prison culture. He is advertising that his booty is available, and without a doubt his booty will be available when he gets to prison and has a ton of men waiting to get inside of that booty. Now, tell me, how much of a thug is he now? If you would open your eyes you will see that many of the Black men who are busting slack are the main ones giving you sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Be more sophisticated about how you perceive Black men—we are more complex than you make us out to be.

To you Black men who know you are gay but elect to have sex with women just to cover up your homosexuality, be real with yourself and stop doing this. I am not saying that you have to go ahead and admit to the world that you are gay, but stop commodifying and reifying women as your trophies to cover up the reality that you are afraid to be who you are. Many Black men are married to women, dating women, and having sex with women just because they are afraid of what their families and friends are going to think about them if they don’t have a woman or women in their lives who they are sexually involved with. I often see Black men, whether they are pretending not to be gay or not, denying themselves of the lives they want to live because they feel obligated to be with women who they are really not interested in being with sexually. Many Black men have devoted their lives to proving how masculine they are by having sex with so many women, but they are denying themselves of who they really want to be: simply themselves.

In no way is this article written to try to suggest that all men are gay or bisexual, but what it does suggest is many Black men are denying themselves the opportunity to simply be themselves because of their low self-esteem or problems with their self-esteem. I have resolved to pen a series of on this topic, “Black Men Masquerading,” to address the aforementioned issues and others in a little more depth. I believe that addressing the various ways in which many Black men masquerade—not just with their sexuality—is important to ameliorating the progression of Black men in the postmodern moment. As always, I hope that there is something I have said in this article and in the future articles that will be written during this series that will unsettle, unnerve, and unhouse you. More importantly, I hope this article and this series will help at least one person. If I am able to help at least one person, then I feel like I have done my job.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Happy Father’s Day to Only the Good Fathers

 

As I was contemplating what to write about Father’s Day, I became tremendously unsettled by the reality that so many terrible fathers receive the honor of “Happy Father’s Day” from the general “Happy Father’s Day” that we shout out on this day. When I thought about this reality, I decided that it was time for someone to address this issue. We need to be more selective about who we are saying Happy Father’s Day to. Some of you sorry “fathers” or should I say “baby’s daddies” do not deserve to even hear those words uttered to you. Many of you are nothing more than sperm donors. I am truly thankful on this day that my father, Kenneth Daniels, is a great father. I am also thankful that the majority of my relatives who are fathers are great fathers too.

While Father’s Day should be a day when we celebrate our fathers, it is also necessary that we use this particular Father’s Day as a time for poor fathers to rededicate themselves to their children. Men, if you know that you are not going to be devote yourselves to the children that will emerge from sexual intercourse engaged in without a condom, then please keep your penis in your pants! Recently, rapper Slim Thug said that Black women were not “holding it down enough for their men,” but what he overlooks is the reality that many Black women are “holding down” those children that many Black men are not helping to take care of. Slim Thug, how much more do you want them to “hold down” for you? Slim Thug, don’t say no more dumb junk like that.

To President Obama, I thank you for being an excellent father to your children. You are an excellent role model for America’s fathers. I simply do not want you to keep going to Black churches and telling Black men that they need to meet their responsibilities to their women and children. How about going into some White churches with that message—they can certainly benefit from that message too, you know?

To the rappers who just generally refer to all women as “bitches” and “hoes,” I want you all to understand that you are devaluing women when you do this. We need to be the solid leaders that our women are looking for. You cannot be a true leader for your women when you refer to them in such disparaging ways. Please increase your sensitivity to the damage that such language does to women. We are here to love, protect, comfort, and support our women—not to do violence to them.

To the trifling fathers who still take care of their children but who neglect their wives and/or girlfriends, I want you to know that you still have a responsibility to be a man to your women. You should never forget the women who helped to produce the children that you cherish. While I am glad that you do take care of your children, I want you to understand that being an effective father requires more than just taking care of your children—it requires taking care of the women who carried those children for 9 months. Got me?

If you have a good father, please realize that you are blessed. Women, if you have a good man in your life who is a good father to your children, be sure that you let him know and do something special for him to appreciate him for this. Far too often, I hear many women who a quick to criticize their men for the negative stuff that they do, but will not give them any credit for the good or great things that they do. I challenge women to be more grateful for the great stuff that men do for you and your children.

Again, I would like to say Happy Father’s Day to only the good fathers! I want a novel discourse to emerge about who we are going to say Happy Father’s Day to. Let’s think about the damage we do when we send out a Happy Father’s Day to everyone without qualifying it. Again, Kenneth Daniels, thanks for being a great father.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison