Image of black masculinity must not be limited by archaic views, events

The values of the black man in today’s era have been stereotypically all things physical — from the cars, the jewelry, the drugs, the women, the involvement in the entertainment business and so on.

African-American men, on the surface, appear to have taken part in creating a race lacking intellect and power as a whole.

Though there are a plethora of prominent doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and successful black businessmen in society, the infamy created by the idolized celebrities and the criminal activities in the streets have greatly overshadowed said individuals’ prominence.

It has also greatly overshadowed those endeavoring to escape the stereotypical lifestyle mentioned above, somewhat producing a battle between the two — infamy versus prominence. Through this, the historical context behind the makeup of the African-American man has slipped through the cracks of indifference, ignorance and shame of those aware and those unaware, content in their depthless oblivion.

Yet, though said oblivion lacks any physical depth, and is bound by the restricted, measurable space surrounding it, it is still possible for one to lose himself in its miniscule setting. As an infant or child can drown in a depthless body of water, so can a race of people in a depthless body of ignorance.

Through this, many black men, lost in their oblivion, have latched onto the aforementioned physical attractions to compensate for their lack of knowledge, their lack of roots, but most importantly their lack of self.

Yet another battle is then formulated: the battle of intellect versus physical attractions. Stereotypes of the black man have been fueled from this, leaving society to question, what exactly makes up black men of today — the men behind the physical attractions presented in the media?

The stereotypical values of the black man are frequently viewed as follows — the value of sex, the value of money, and finally the value of other physical enrichments versus the lack of value for knowledge and intellect.

It is a part of our biological makeup to value sex — it is a natural and an essential part of life; hence, it is safe to say sex holds a great deal of importance in the lives of most humans. Nevertheless, presented in the media through numerous scandals, movies, songs and so on, the value of sex for black men is depicted as excessive and not simply a part of life, but a way of life.

This also applies to its counterparts, the pleasure that one may find in drugs and money. Each of these attributes are stereotypically linked to African-American males due to the continuous talk of such through media outlets, particularly the vast genres of rhythm and blues, and hip-hop.

The body of women, especially black women, has been frequently viewed as a means for sexual gratification, and nothing more, while the history behind it all frequently remains extraneous and irrelevant to many.

The historical context of the black man is simple, yet holds an unfathomable amount of complexity as well. Through the process of slavery black men had their masculinity lashed, beaten and torn from them.

Their women were brutally raped, their children torn from their fingertips, their manhood stomped and spit on, opening up yet another battle fought within the consciousness of black men: the value of conflict versus oppression. Resorting to conflict oftentimes meant death, while resorting to oppression oftentimes meant death of one’s pride, dignity and manhood.

Yet, survival so frequently required the oppression to continue, leaving millions of men without guidance and knowledge, simply desiring the power to work and make an efficient amount of money over the power of thought and intellectual growth.

Prominent author, activist and influential figure W.E.B. Du Bois disagreed with this method of survival, stating, “To make men, we must have ideals, broad, pure, and inspiring ends of living — not sordid money-getting, not apples of gold.

“The worker must work for the glory of his handiwork, not simply for pay; the thinker must think for truth, not for fame.”

However, work and physical attractions have been and still are often sought after while history and the power of intellectual growth are not.

The black men of today are hungry, but hungry for the wrong things. Hunger alone is bountiful: it thrives, it leads, it grows, it succeeds. But hunger for something that will stimulate growth is much, much greater than hunger that will only bring temporary happiness.

Physical attributes should not define, but complement an already refined group of individuals.

It is time for change. It is time for black men to no longer solely be known for their involvement in the entertainment business, or the infamy created by the crime and scandals in the streets, but instead, like the great men of our past, it is time for these men to alter their futures, valuing their history to enhance not only their present but the future generations of black men to follow — yes, that is my dream.