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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Being A Black Man: A Colored Caricature

A brief thought today on the nature of being a Black man - being a Black Man means embodying a colored caricature. Do a quick word association - what comes to mind when someone says "White man?" What comes to mind when someone says "Asian man?" What comes to mind when someone "Native American woman?" Those may provoke some responses but we have not been conditioned to respond to those stimuli as we have been conditioned to respond to the phrase "Black man." Every day - and I do mean virtually every day - you will hear on the local news, at some point, "The suspect is a Black man..." "The suspect is a Black man..." "The suspect is a Black man..." That image has been burned into the psyche of the American public such that a Black man in a Brooks Brothers suit and Kenneth Coles can walk by a White woman and she will instinctively clutch her purse.

That was me. Sunday. Coming from church.

This threatening image is even fostered by the Washington Post's own exploitation exploration of what it means to be a Black man. For the first week of the series, the opening screen looked like this:

I do understand that Chuck Brown, being the creator of Go-Go music, is significant to Black culture. However, inasmuch as a picture is worth a thousand words - and this being the image that is first displayed, illustrating what being a Black man is about - this reinforces previous conditioning that often induces a fear for one's safety in the majority population. They might as well have opened with this picture:

The effect is the same. I suppose it would have been too much to ask them to open the series with a picture of a Black father, his wife and his children. Of course not - that has nothing to do with being a Black man, that's just some caricature that Bill Cosby invnted for NBC a few years ago. Right? Tell me, who is keeping it real and who is existing as someone else's caricature of what they perceive a Colored Black man to be - a lower simian whose only productive purpose on this planet is to keep the masses entertained?


Emancipated by Athanasius @ 8:00 AM

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