“Stop that all that crying boy!”
“Little girl, where is your dress?”
“Real men don’t act like that. That's gay.”
“Stop talking so much. Be a lady!”
Many people can relate to at least one of the prior statements. If they were not said by a family member, they could be heard through so-called friends and older colleagues. As a Black male, I cannot tell you all how many times I was subjected to hearing other people place their definition of what my masculinity was supposed to be. Furthermore, the revelation that there are so many millennials who bring to light the exact recollections, truly echo the underlying issue about gender stereotyping that is plaguing this country.
Unbelievably, Black America sits at the forefront of this issue. In an earlier blog I wrote, I mentioned how Dr. Ronald Jackson hit the nail on the head, explaining how society has scripted the black masculinity into two different type of men. First is the “brute,” who is characterized as a violent individual with no education who raped women. The “brute” was the field slave who worked outside but had a secret sexual relationship with the slave owner’s wife. He was also characterized as very dark-skinned with traits and features like an angry gorilla. In today’s world, the brute shows no emotions. He is the blue-collar worker who supports his family. He more than likely has a felony record (For a burglary or rape charge) and meets monthly with his parole officer.
How many of you reading this description just got offended? I would have, but you should keep reading.
Dr. Jackson also talks about the “buck.” The “buck” is basically the opposite of the “brute.” He is of the lighter skin complexion and usually the in-house slave. He is not a fighter and is more emotional. In today’s world, the “buck” could be the white-collar worker who is generally single, because of his same-sex relationship that he chooses not to disclose at the family gatherings. The buck could also be the happily married man who is hiding the deep dark secret that he is really is a woman on the inside. He usually looks down on the “brute,” but does not befriend him due to the difference in class structure.
I am almost positive that at this point, I have upset another group of readers.
We are living in a world that allows black women to be free from being called certain categorized stereotypes, such as “Welfare Queen,” Bulldaggar,” “Mammy,” Black B***h,” “Video Vixen,” and others stereotypes coined by bell hooks. The rising Feminist movement proves that femininity among women (mainly black women) can come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. So, the question is why are men not allowed the same freedom? Why are black men told not to cry? Why can black men not wear pink? Who decided the parameters of what masculinity is supposed to be? Many black men (and women) deal with internal struggles (Such as the fluidity of their sexuality, but that is for another blog post) because of the lack of communication in the home. The world is changing, and Black America has a choice to fight or change with it. Change does not mean to conform but simply learn about the change and how we can incorporate an inclusive environment for everyone.
How can we learn? The answer is very simple—communicate.