Wednesday, July 05, 2006

'Cause That's How I Tawk!

I was in Columbus this week and picked up the Columbus Dispatch. The article on the front page was titled “Black Men Quietly Combating Stereotypes.” I read it and passed it along to my younger brother. I was curious to hear his opinion of an article that I found to be very misleading not only to black men, but anyone who has ever had an encounter with a black man.

The article looked into the trouble of stereotypes and how they affect interactions in and out of the workplace. What troubled me however was how this article seemed to be dominated by professional black men who sought to change their own ways of interacting in an attempt to make other people comfortable. What also troubled me was the sort of reactionary approach the article seemed to praise in their use of one man’s chess metaphor for black and white interactions.

"The rules of the game are universal: White moves first, then black moves," he said. "Black has to respond to the moves that the whites make. You take the advantage when it's available."

If being aggressive and black when I try to prove a point or makes someone uncomfortable or makes someone perceives me as dangerous, I don’t believe I am at fault. I know plenty of aggressive women and men in the work place who are not black. Having this quality manifest itself in your posture and tone is not only admired but it also ensures your success. So when I hear about brothers trying to switch up their flow when they aren’t Hova…I get a little concerned because everyone loses. Understanding and acceptance is a farce when we attempt to achieve it through conformation. "To thine own self be true."

The article can be found here.

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