I have been hesitant to discuss this. But since this blog (being me) has stated that no subject is off limits even if it makes people uncomfortable, I have decided to voice my opinion.
I had planned on doing a ton of research about what it means to be a black man. Doing a Google search gave me plenty of material to refer to. In the end, it really didn’t help much because there are many, many different attributes that can be attached in how to define a black man.
Here some of the items that I came across on what it means to be a black man:
- Accepts the consequences of his actions
- Demands only what he willing to give
- Always tells the truth
- Respects women
- Controls his emotions
- Defends his family
- Admits he’s wrong
- Takes care of his responsibilities
- Is a nation-builder
- Always seeks to improve himself
I gathered these from a Washington Post survey (Washington Post – Being a Black Man Survey). What struck me first and foremost is that is one helluva list to live up to.
What struck me as second is that this shouldn’t be limited to defining a black man…this should be what every man, Black, White, Asian, Arabic, Slavic…and whatever other nationality you can think of should aspire to.
When I look at Russell Wilson, I see a person who is attempting to do what is on this partial list. I also see a very, very good quarterback in the NFL and person who thrives on making his team better by making himself better.
And now to the crux of the matter: Russell Wilson has been accused of not being “black enough.” Despite the many articles and opinions that are out there, I still don’t know what that means. And a lot of that is due to the subjectivity of the many definitions that are out there on the subject.
I grew up in Detroit, lived there for 30 years. I have inter-acted with a variety of people and have had mostly positive interactions with them. I don’t know, maybe I got lucky with that. I was raised to see differences but also to embrace the differences because that’s what makes Americans great.
Did I mention I am white and was raised in an upper-middle class family? Does that make a difference to anyone? Should it?
I have always had an open hand when I meet people. I recognize they are different from me and am comfortable in saying it doesn’t matter to me. Why? Because I want to hear what anyone, man, women, child, Black, White, Armenian, Italian, Japanese, Irish and whatever other nationality you can think of has to say.
I want to understand different cultures. Not to belittle them but to grow as a person and hopefully be able to relate to others better. And I would hope to have the same happen to me…that anyone can reach out to me and try to understand me better.
And the foods! OK, maybe that’s why I like everyone so much…because of all the different foods and tastes that are available. And I would be proud and honored to be invited to break bread with others and feel free to discuss anything without any repercussions….and I hope that I would be able to invite you into my home and make you feel comfortable.
Maybe it’s as simple as that: Open our collective homes and everyone just bring a special dish and we all just talk…talk about anything not just what socially relevant.
Why can’t I talk to you about what it means to be a black man?