“ And when he get on he leave your a** for a white girl” , more than just a memorable Kanye West lyric, the idea that when black men “get on” or become successful/ rich they seek out white women is a belief often heard in the black community. In fact, this exact concept has been demonstrated publicly on numerous occasions from black celebrities. From golf legend Tiger Woods, musical icon Quincy Jones and Rapper Kanye West, all “got on” and married white women. ( Or at least women who weren’t black) Because of this often occurrence, some black women feel betrayed and many seem to view this as black men “giving up on black women”. Some have even gone as far to suggest we do the same in retaliation and stop dating black men altogether, however in a world that has so publicly neglected, disrespected and given up on the black man, I refuse to be apart of that.
As a black woman, I have first hand experience on how cruel and unfair this world can be. With that said, witnessing how my black brothers are also treated in this society has created an unspoken loyalty and understanding to them.
Let’s face it, America has long failed and given up on the black man and on the looks for it, it’s pretty unapologetic at this point. As early as the childhood education system, the black man was never at the forefront in the eyes of society. Statistics prove just how unequal this society is, and has always been. One of the earliest development stages of any human being, dates back to the education system as a child. This foundation is a key component in anyones life trajectory. The question is, what happens when you have a weak foundation, much like the early stages of the black man ?
The young black boy educational experience is a complicated one to understand, and these origins say a lot about their individual outcomes in the future. While every young boy’s experience is different, on average the black boy experience is still in no comparison to the experience of their white counterparts. Studies show that young black boys are more likely than ANY other racial group to be placed in special education. While there is nothing wrong with special education, there is something wrong with being wrongfully placed in it. Black boys are placed in special education not solely because of their academic incompetence but for various reasons such as behavior issues, disconnecting with peers, or simply being misunderstood. It’s no coincidence that 80 percent of all special education students are either Black or Hispanic. In other words, let’s give up on these students because we don’t understand them, and it’s much easier to label them as mentally retarded instead of providing them with the teaching methods and patience required.
In fact, young black boys in particular account for 20 percent of all U.S students labeled as mentally retarded even though they only represent just 9 percent of the total population.
Coincidence ? Highly unlikely !
This same idea consequently trickles down in the academic performance of these young boys, discourages them to finish school and for some completely eliminates the idea of pursuing a college degree altogether.
The misunderstanding of black males alongside society’s lazy solution of “giving up” has created more problems in our society which have lasting effects on each individual involved.
Think about it, you’re a black boy treated unfairly at a young age, you’re misunderstood, you’re given harsh punishments for minor offenses, you’re possibly suspended or expelled (because black boys are also 2½ times more likely to be suspended from school as white students) and then what ? Then you’re expected to go out and prosper normally in a world that has clearly given up on you, and has made little to no effort to even try to understand you ?
Let’s not forget, you then enter the “real world” as an adult and are told things like be careful because Americans fear black men or read shocking statistics like 1 in ever 3 black males will go to prison at some point in their lifetime or even watch the depressing realities of police killings of innocent black men on any given news station. It’s sickening !
These statistics and opinions have lasting effects on the mental status of the black man, and it’s unrealistic to expect otherwise. Therefore, giving up on them is not a solution !
This lazy problem solving method society continues to exercise only makes things worse. Unresolved traumas as a young black boy can directly affect their everyday decisions throughout life, and often times they aren’t even aware of it. (How could they be, society has given up on them since day one.)
Society impacts the mental health of the black man severely. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, African Americans are 20 percent more likely to face problems with mental illness contrary to their counterparts. As for black men in particular, those numbers are even higher solely because they are also more prone to face unemployment and exposure to violence, which happen to be leading factors of mental health. It’s no coincidence that suicide rates have doubled in the past few decades, now making suicide the 3rd leading cause of death for young black men ages 15-24.
Being that the black community often shuns the idea of seeking professional help when dealing with any mental issue, many internal problems go unresolved perpetuating unhealthy behavior.
Understanding this allows me to believe that giving up is never the solution, getting help is !
If we’ve learned anything in the last few centuries, it’s that it’s hard to be black in America and as a black woman I can definitely attest to that. Understanding this alone allows me to see just how difficult being a black man in particular is as well. While no man is perfect, and everyone should be held accountable for their actions it’s important to understand the unfair cards black men were dealt with, before we completely give up on them.
With that said, I can only expect the same support and loyalty from black men to black women, expecting them to not give up on us for our own personal struggles and fight for us as well.
Society has not only failed us but has awaited our demise since the beginning of time; therefore I can not in good conscious be apart of the destruction of our black community and our black men.
So no, I refuse to give up on the black man and I don’t care what society thinks about it.