anyone reading this currently plays a sport? or played or watched sports? do you know what it means or how it feels to play defense every second of the game? always back peddling, people coming straight at you while you do your best to just maintain. playing defense means you might have the mindset to score but the game isn’t set up for you to have the ball in your hands. you have a whole defensive scheme to get the ball back but first, you must master running with your hands up, you must be the best at singling for help in case. you run the risk at being crossed over and scored on consistently because in this game called life, winner gets the ball back.
playing defense means you’re always looking to the left and right, waiting for a screen to be set to slow you down. playing defense means you study the offense almost obsessively in hopes of getting the ball in your hands.
while on defense, the ball is not in your hands to score.
when you play offense, you look for ways to score. you look at opportunities and think how you can make profit. get fouled, get one point. maybe two. get fouled shooting the three, maybe get four points. you can play good defense, but the team with the most points wins the game.
that’s what it like to be a Black man. playing defense every single day of your life looking for ways to survive the onslaught in hopes of playing offense.
who do i have to be to be respected? what do i have to look like to be respected as a Black man? when i have a 9-5 at walmart, i’m not a hustla. when i’m out slanging drugs, ima hustla but i’m hurting people who look like me.
when i’m conscious, i’m a hotep used in a negative manner with a Dr.Umar picture or a meme attached to me.
when i’m not commenting on every issue, i’m lost and not for my people. i get labeled by my own people.
when i date non Black women, i get called fake and not real and maybe even a c**n. when i date Black women, i’m colorist because i’m not dating who you think fits the description of Black. when i have sex with every woman who wants to have sex with me, i’m a ho. when i’m selective and don’t want the same sexual relations that she does, i’m leading her on and playing games.
if i wanted to be a cop and “make changes from within,” i’m a traitor. when i want to destroy the system from the outside and have aspirations to tear it down, i’m extreme.
what kinda Black man do i have to be?
let me know, how do i become a better African amerikkkan?
who must i vote for? how proper must i speak? i’ll be called “corny” and fake like Lauren London in the movie ATL. i won’t be accepted by most Black social groups. but when i’m talking like the average rapper, i’m seen as cool but not respected behind closed doors. do i have to wear a suit and tie in order to be listened to? or can i wear what i’m wearing right now? because Martin Luther King Jr. graduated college at nineteen years old and received his doctorate at twenty six; and Trayvon was in high school wearing a hoodie leaving the store with a bag of skittles and both were killed by a bullet from the enemy. and both were listened to, one during life and the other after.
do i never code switch in front of other cultures but remain stagnant or do i change my tone and words in hopes of reaching different heights?
why is nothing i do ever accepted as is? Black people always tell other people “I am NOT a monolith” but we don’t mean that. we just try to stunt in front of white people. because when i’m different from you, we cry for uniform. we cry for “being on the same page” which really means being on YOUR page.
Black men are invisible. which is weird, we’re the first people you see. as soon as we walk into a store or classroom or anywhere, all eyes are on Black men. but eyes are glued on us so much so that we AREN’T seen. we aren’t seen for what or who we are. we are seen for what you want to see.
it’s called selective attention. people focus so much on our Blackness and maleness that who we are is often overlooked by WHAT WE ARE. we can be the biggest star in hollywood, but when we walk into a room full of non Black people, Black Male is what is noticed. i worked at a bank and retail store once before and too many times white and Asian males would walk in with backpacks, hats, sunglasses but when a Black man walks in, eyes turn. i’ve been with employees helping Black men seeking auto loans or credit cards and being assumed that it will be declined due to credit. no interaction, no information given, just Black Man. same employee sees white male ask for auto loan for three times the prior one and the love and willingless is total opposite. i had to get the employees knee pads because i didn’t know what length they would go to help these white males.
Mychal Denzel Smith wrote a book Invisible Man, Got The Whole World Watching. it touches on how wherever we go, we are visible but only visible to the biased and corrupt eye. you will always find what you’re looking for if you look long enough.
Hey, I love my old lady
That’s my baby.
Think I’m leaving her for you
Bitch you crazy.
The hoes will attack.
No matter where you at
I got two words for you:
Faithful and Black.
those are the opening lyrics to Lil Duval’s song Black Men Don’t Cheat.
besides the fact that Lil Duval is a comedian, the song is fun and positive. Usher came out with a whole album about confessing to his wife that he had been cheating and a baby came from the infidelity. JAY-Z song Girls, Girls, Girls is a fan favorite and guess what he talks about? those he do adore. and we love that music. a Black man is supposed to make that music. Black men making a song about how they don’t cheat is wrong. those words don’t fit the image that you guys like. let them make a song called Black Women Cheat. it would be hell. then they would have to clean it up with “not all Black women are cheat, just the few i messed with.” there would have to be a disclaimer. but when we say Black men are faithful, the few people who are upset with that because of personal interactions are requiring a disclaimer. “well don’t say ALL Black men don’t cheat… cus i know some who do…”.
when Chris Brown said “these hos ain’t loyal,” it was cool because it wasn’t specific. but Black men talk highly about themselves publicly, it’s silly. why? the answer is simple: Black men are not seen as positive figures. that adjective doesn’t work for the masses, only for the one man in your family and the boyfriend you had years ago and the boyfriend of one of your friends. we try to change the narrative in real time, but it’s not allowed.
perception- a belief or opinion, often held by many people and based on how things seem. the way you think about something or the impression you have on it.
i know who i am. i know the responsibility i have. we all have it, but we dont like the word “responsibility” when talking about ourselves because it’s “added” pressure. well let me tell you this, my whole life i’ve known the responsibility i’ve had. i know from the organic conversations i have, the people in my life, the random strangers who come up to me, the women who have entered my life, the jobs i’ve held, the conflicts and resolutions i’ve experienced. i know people look at me. i know people judge me. every time i step out the house, i see hundreds of people i won’t ever see again but they see me and make conclusions without knowing my name or how my voice sounds. however you reading this sees me is exactly how i want to be seen. God took his time with me and we talk often. He reaffirms daily that i’m doing a good ass job living
at the university of california-irvine, there was a study in 1976 done with a ninety six college students. social psychologist Birt Duncan showed them a video believed to be two strangers talking to each other and then one pushing the other. each doing the same movement and uttering the same words, guess what the results were?
seventy-five percent of the students recorded the behavior as “violent” when the Black person was doing the shoving. when the person doing the pushing around was white, sevenTEEN percent of the students considered it violent. white person shove Black person, it was deemed simply “playing around” forty two percent of the time.
there are human beings behind those numbers and statistics, everybody. do you understand that? there’s families behind these stats. these are not just twitter hashtags and news clips. actual lives are ending in real time.
what am i saying? this doesn’t happen just in simulations. this is real life. the perception of Black men is the aggressor. the agitator. the credit card scammer. the toxic one. the cheater. the sexual scavenger who just goes out and sleeps with any person walking (as if the person they’re sleeping with didn’t want to as well. as if that same person doesn’t have preconceived sexual beliefs. see. we think only white girls fetishized over Black men. uh oh).
recognizing our biases takes a whole lot of honesty; and learning to challenge them takes a whole lot more of it plus courage. uncovering the prejudices we hold is huge, but we must be honest with ourselves. prejudice isn’t another word for racist. I want to make that clear. those words are not interchangeable. because you prejudge someone does not automatically move you into a box of seeing one inferior or you superior. people love to say “they don’t see color.” well, we all do. especially living in amerikkka. we have to also be precise and understand words and ideas from social standpoints, not just webster. where am i going with this?
looking at the following pictures, which do you spend more time looking at FIRST, NATURALLY, WITHOUT THINKING when i say “which one is more dangerous?” who do you look at first?
okay okay. who stands out most when the words “thief” or “fighter” or “thug” are mentioned?
one is responsible for murdering seventeen kids at a high school. one is responsible for murdering thirty two people at a college. the other was murdered while in high school.
be honest with yourself. not me. these things happen due to socialization and media propaganda, family members and how we don’t challenge it. take this test (if you want) to see how implicit bias is present. we ALL have implicit biases. every single person. from toddlers to OGs. click link.
if you’re not ready for it, don’t trip. but it is good to see things that you don’t even think about.
Black men are demonized instantly. which leads to us being treated with less dignity and respect.
whenever Black guys do something that’s “reserved” for the wealthy or well off people, why does it turn negative? why is it ghettotized?
drinking Cristal was a symbol of wealth. of opulence… before Biggie and Puff started putting it in their videos. decades ago, Ralph Lauren Polo was only seen on white people. it was something exclusive. when Black men started wearing it, it started getting played out. played out. Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci.
the next thing i predict is the tequilas 1942 and clase de Azul. those alcohols are quite expensive buuuut Meek Mill had a song entitled 1942. over the past few months, i’ve been seeing more and more Black men with bottles of both. you know what that means? 1942 and clase de azule will soon be played out. things that were once status symbols are now signs of the ghetto fabulous.
when we yell for help, everyone is like “what? you’re YOU. big bad wolf. nothing can bother you. how does someone like YOU need help?”
imagine you see someone fighting on the street. saaaay, Allen Iverson.
and across the street you see someone, say Manny Pacquiao, who would you think needs immediate help?
or who do you think would win in a fight without any prior knowledge of both people? ask your mother who’s scarier. or little nephew or niece.
one is a world time champion fighter. his hands are registered. his hands are weapons. the other is a world class basketball player, his crossover couldnt be stopped by that guy in #TheLastDance (amongst more important occupations as both are fathers to five children).
when Black men scream for help, help is rarely given. our pleas arent taken seriously due to PERCEPTION + criminalization/victimization. (this goes on in gyms, work offices, etc.)
Oscar Grant was killed while urging the Oakland BART officer to get off his back while his hands cuffed.
Eric Garner was heard pleading I CANT BREATHE eleven times before dying on the sidewalk.
Terence Crutcher was seen walking away from police with his hands up, heading back towards his car which broke down. the officers in the helicopters are heard in the recording, “time for a taser i think” and “that looks like a bad dude. he could be on something.”
what exactly does a bad dude look like? what does a bad dude look like from a birdseye view? in a time someone needed help, that someone was criminalized and life taken because of how others see us.
and when we do try, it’s not received.
The Notorious B.I.G said you’re nobody til somebody kills you… and that’s often how it feels.
Black men are not allowed to speak on their victimization without the conversation shifting to another demographic. when we talk about how hard our day was, “you don’t know what a hard day is. did you have to do x y and z?” we cant talk about single parenting fatherhood without it turning into single parenting motherhood. when we talk about something specific to Black men, it has to be related to other people. we have to either share our plight or have it hijacked.
Chris Rock hosted the oscars in 2016 after the show had no Black actors in any major category. he spoke directly on that. many people were upset that he didn’t include the whole world.
Black men risk our money, image, name, sanity, LIFE when we speak up on issues. i understand people don’t like how i talk and what i talk about. i know because i’ve been told it. Black men have been killed for doing heroic acts in the name of their descendants and ancestors and have still been labeled extreme or selfish for not including YOU.
i know talking about racism and sexism and inequality is uncomfortable, i know it’s extreme, i know it can make you lose friends… but believe me. racism and sexism and inequality IS uncomfortable. it IS extreme. talking about it is light when you have to actually deal with it. racism has the chance to literally make me crazy.
Black men are gracious, truly merciful for how we haven’t bucked back. the world is a better place for how Black men haven’t retaliated indiscriminately. our lives are taken publicly and people just “aww. wow” but they don’t realize how if WE did the exact same, the world would change overnight. all these white people walking around with guns and grenade launchers and nothing happens. the Black Panthers went to Sacramento in 1967 carrying guns openly, within state laws. they carried guns to police the police (which is what we need now) but as you guessed it, state laws changed instantly. thank the Black Panthers (Black men) for single handedly making gun laws change.
MLK was shot dead with a wife and kids at home and people act like it’s normal. like that’s just part of the game.
we dont get asked “how are you doing?” when the world is at war with us. nobody sees Black men dying in the street and think “man. wonder if Black people are paranoid? wonder the mental health of these Black men who are running and nervous and scared to death naturally when seeing a cops car.”
we have to be manicured and sedated when seeing the boogeyman coming to our car while the paid trained armed boogeyman gets to be biased and uncontrolled.
Black men are killed and videos are shared like it’s bombaclot tweets. people got time to make t*ktok videos and challenge each other to drinks but don’t make the time to educate ourselves on things that have lasting impacts and ultimately a better human being.
if you KNEW for a fact the coronavirus wouldn’t harm you or your family or anyone from you know off, would you care? would you tweet “stay home”? would you call people selfish for not doing so? would you wear a mask if you KNEW it couldn’t harm you or any person you knew?
when the virus was only overseas, nobody in amerikkka cared. when it was in China and Italy, it was hakuna matata. same with social issues. Black men are getting killed and people know a similar fate mooooost likely won’t happen to them so why care? why spend time educating yourself on how racism and biases and white supremacy works? people do it for the rona because it doesn’t discriminate, you have a CHANCE of getting it. very tiny chance of getting it but that slight possibility is enough to fear you. that’s fair.
that’s the thing. ain’t even mad at you like 2Pac said. one thing i do possess is forgiveness and love.
God and i talk… a lot. He always tells me “don’t let evil win. don’t let hate win. don’t let detractors win.” i pride myself on loving. despite the abandonment people have demonstrated, love still exists. my heart won’t be hardened. but i cant speak for all Black men because there are some who just don’t care anymore. and i get it. i understand it. and just like above, i ain’t mad at cha. i try to never talk poorly about any other person. i don’t ever bash a group of people. a group pf people might be sensitive about hearing about themselves, and i’m fine with that. but i’m not for hate. but what happens when my heart gets tired?
but before we join together, before we march and protest and stand together, we have to organize our own homes. i don’t want anyone to join my community and talk about fixing relations without them going and preaching to their community about fixing their views on us. you’re not welcomed in my house when your house reeks of racism and hates everyone in mine. we all have jobs.
you one man can change the world. you’re a part of something bigger than you. you have something to offer that’s bigger than you. there’s a larger picture.
more times than not, Black men have to be their own best friend. we have to walk in confidence and psych ourselves out. we have to know AND have to deal with the fact that no one alive can relate to our thoughts when we wake up or when we go to the store and have to wear a mask because of a pandemic or when we looking for a friends house in a predominately Asian or white neighborhood or when we see a Black man walking on the street and those biases come to mind.
we need ego. without that, a Black man can be lonely. a Black man can be defeated.
ego is not just a word, it’s a power.
we must have our egos in control. please don’t mistake what i’m saying.
i was told many times that every race and every ethnic background loves Black men. i used to believe it, too. but it’s not true.
yes, women think we’re really fine. that’s cool but that was given to us by our parents. we didn’t work for that. we’re sexualized and that’s supposed to be a compliment. i used to but i do not care anymore how you think i look. i know i look good (ego) and my looks won’t magically change if you didn’t agree. but after looks, the rest has to fall in line. we’re tolerated. we get tested on. we get “he’s cute. ima try Black guys out now” instead of “he has all of these redeeming attributes AND he’s fine.” Black men have a very short leash when dating because our looks and physical points. is what was betted on from the gate. not our mind or our goals or our career. the same sword they knight you with, they good night you with.
if you have ambition, you need some sort of confidence to get you there. everybody has to have some ego to do something. but Black men have to have an emergency engine of ego to get there. the hill is steeper, the temperature is hotter, the field is longer for Black men. the score wasn’t tied at zero when we started. the ego we need has to be enough for ourselves and often our significant others. we need ego to just continue.
during the 1990’s and early 2000’s, Oakland cops was involved in another inhumane act. known as The Riders, four cops were found guilty planting drugs, kidnapping and beating citizens. and the police department of course was guilty for knowing and not doing anything (which is why i stand firm on the belief that ALL cops are bad. doesn’t matter the race). 119 victims. 119. these gangstas and fellow cops in the department testified against these victims in efforts for them to see jail or prison time. but this is the Bay Area, no racism over here. not one of the thugs spent a day in jail, while collectively, the 119 survivors spent 14,665 days in jail. and you think it stopped there? marriages and relationships ended due to distrust and beliefs of being a criminal and liar. kids stopped talking to their parents. bank accounts were depleted. family members couldn’t face the “facts” that their loved one had crack pipes in their pockets with their son in the car or that their minster would leave a funeral and have cocaine in his trunk. these are real stories, not a hollywood movie.
how often has that happened to your people? how often you see your people on the news? not much, right? but we’re trained to believe everything the cops say are true and whoever is in handcuffs or even JAIL is a criminal. we don’t believe the victims for one second. they don’t deserve to be heard, right? i mean, they had drugs on them. how do you dispute that? judges and juries found them guilty, how does one dispute that? the reason why i have aspirations to become a lawyer is for that precisely. the reason why i love standing up and speaking and writing is for that exactly. because some cant do it for themselves. most stories won’t be heard if it was up to the victim.
believe us when we tell you this world and country is still racist and against us. understand where we’re coming from when we say we hate cops and why we get tensed when we see them. understand that we don’t see a black and white dodge charger as a sign of relief but as a sign of death or harm. just understand it is all.
and i have to mention Jd, Frobe and Hiep who do a great job at listening and trying to understand Black men while enjoying Black culture. they never step on toes, always listen to learn and dont aim to be the “white savior.” they are people i call allies. Jizel, you too. and Jae. i love yall.
a couple things i want to tell Black men before i wrap up. don’t fall for the bait. not every one who is friendly is your friend. not every woman wants you because you’re just oh so handsome or fly. it’s extremely important to read. read read read. knowledge is wealth. no one can take that and you can make something from that. you can maneuver out of playing defense into offense by having knowledge. build relationships. and times you know more than everyone but can’t get in the door, it’s not what you know but who you know. use social media as a tool. meditate. be in solitude for at least thirty minutes a day. schedule it if you have to. you need to be able to hear yourself think. and hear God when he talks to you. please, carve out alone time. be emotional. yes, be emotional. it is not a bad thing or sign of weakness. nearly every movement was started because of so much frustration (which is an emotion) built up that led those to logically move forward. do NOT put your emotions in the closet because society or your dad or your mother or your partner said or insinuated to do so. work on credit and start saving money today. use money, not people. money is a tool. a screwdriver is useless if you don’t know when or how to use it. eat healthier. none of that is important if you’re not healthy enough to benefit from them. it’s virtually impossible to go cold turkey but just start by adding foods and fruits then we can work on subtracting. find purpose. every Black man needs self esteem and purpose to live life. that alone will cure so many problems we have. getting to that purpose. fulfilling that purpose. please, hang around people, men and women, who knows thier purpose and is working on it. don’t hate. Black men, we need other Black men. we have to stop seeing each other as enemies. we’re in the same boat going. once we realize this boat is going to the same place, rally together and form a union. we don’t have any time for this civil war.
take it from me, some day, we’ll all be free.
back to playing defense… Floyd Mayweather uses his great defense to play offense. he let’s you throw swings and as soon as you miss, he attacks. he doesn’t waste a second to counter after you throw your best punch. he is the shortest dude ever, and weighs probably less than you. and he retired undefeated. that is precisely how we need to move. since we play defense, be the best at it and counter like your life depends on it.
stay safe stay dangerous. take the lead.
being a Black man is hard. i tell you straight up. most people want to live a long life. let me ask you this: would you rather live until you’re 70 years old as a white, Asian, Latinx, Indian man… or 100 years old as a Black man?
if music is a better way to hear us, check out these songs I put together while writing this. perfect way to hear what i’m writing.
2 thoughts on “black boys are invisible.”
GREAT MIND! GET IT OUT SON, BETTER THAN KEEPING IT IN
I love it. You have a very powerful mind