Right, wrong or otherwise, Black Men are the most feared and endangered beings in today's society.
Numerous adjectives accompany our stereotype. I've heard them used by both men and women of all races; friends, family and co-workers alike. Truth be told, I might've even said some of them myself at some point.
There are many others, but continuing on that path does not serve the interest of this blog post.
Television, news and film play a large part in perpetuating this stereotype by the continuous deluge of racially biased, negative images put forth before us on a day to day basis. The news is far and away the worst of these culprits; a constant stream of scowling black male faces splashed on the front page of my local newspapers and seared into the public conscious by televised local and nationally recognized news outlets.
A keyword search of the taglines that usually accompany these images would most likely include words like "homicide," "drugs," "gang," "violence," "jail,"etc.
The media excretes this drivel, the public treats it like gospel and consumes it like mother's milk.
If someone from another country had never met a Black man from America and based their entire perception by what they saw in the media, they would most likely believe that every Black man out here was a vile and treacherous animal that needed to be kept in their place; preferably either dead or in the penal system under close supervision. (I've encountered this peculiar brand of predjudice from certain immigrants, personally.)
For the record, I've not written today to defend the actions of criminals and miscreants. They should be held publicly accountable, regardless of race.
What I AM saying is that positive images of Black Men aren't nearly as popular and are therefore,not presented nearly as often as the negative images.
Case in point: I remember a TV show that came out a number of years ago called "The Brothers," which was about four intellgient, upwardly-mobile, well-spoken and gainfully employed Black men and the issues they faced on a day-to-day basis.
You say you've never heard of it?
I'm not suprised.
It didn't last too long on the air.
You take a similar show formula with a White, mixed female and male cast and you have "Friends." You've heard of this show, I'm sure.
You take a similar show formula and cast it with four White women and you have "Sex and The City." Another wildly successful show.
Hell, if you take this show formula and cast it with four BLACK women you get the fairly successful show, "Girlfriends."
...a show about four Black men who are about something and dealing with life as an intelligent Black man in America?
You get cancelled.
Coincidence? With all due respect to Barack Obama and his recent success, I really don't think so.
That being said, I came across Myron Rolle's name a few days ago on ESPN and smiled. Wide and genuine.
Never heard of him?
Again, I'm not surprised.
Here's his photo.
Myron Rolle plays football for Florida State University. In fact, he's such a good player that he will most likely be collecting an NFL check sometime in 2010...
...after he comes back from completing his Rhodes Scholarship.
Myron Rolle is a pre-med student at FSU who holds a GPA of 3.75 and has completed his coursework while being a football standout, in TWO AND A HALF YEARS.
As one of 1000 students around the country seeking 32 scholorships, Rolle was selected as a Rhodes Scholar and will be continuing his Master's degree studies in Public Administration at Oxford University in England for one year.
This young man has it got it right. His list of academic, social and athletic acheivements is impressive to say the least. You can read more about him here.
His story, like "The Brothers," and stories about the majority of Black men who have it going on, hasn't been getting the attention it deserves.
Coincidence? Again, I really don't think so.
I just wanted to take this opportunity to say to all the unsung Black male heroes in the community and to Myron Rolle:
Keep doing your thing. I see you.
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