In Appreciation of the Black Man

I told my friend Kyle that I was gonna write this blog a long time ago but I got really busy with end of the week and didn’t get a chance to. And then I heard some conversations today that made me feel like I just HAD to write this tonight. Please read the excerpt below…

Stupid Girl #1: I hate guys at Howard. There are no good men here. Maybe I will just start dating outside my race.
Stupid Girl #2: What about that guy that you went out with last weekend?
Stupid Girl #1: Oh girl he was on some dumb shit like he didn’t have a job because he is trying to concentrate on school.


*****

Dumb Bitch #3: So then girl I called him but he said he was gonna have to call me back.
Dumb Bitch #4: Why? Was he with another girl or something?
Dumb Bitch #3: No he said he was doing his chemistry homework.
Dumb Bitch #4:So?


Seriously Ladies? REALLY? Let’s get it together. There are plenty of wonderful black men in this world and I’m sure that would be even more if we could stop telling them that they ain’t shit long enough. In my life I have been fortunate enough to come around some really wonderful, really amazing, strong black men and I can’t imagine how different a woman I would be had I not known them. The first and of course most important was my daddy. Now me and my daddy haven’t always had such a good relationship. Hell even now we still sometimes don’t. But that was mostly my mother’s fault and somewhat his fault. However, I can say one thing about my daddy; he works DAMN hard to take care of his family. My dad missed a lot of me growing up because he was always at work and I hate that. But I can say that if I ever really needed anything, 9 times outta 10 my daddy came through for me. I regret the time that we didn’t get to share together but I love and respect him for taking care of me and my brother and for being a presence in my life more so than many fathers are. When I was younger and in private school, I was surrounded by kids whose fathers were doctors and lawyers and things like that and I used to be so ashamed of what my daddy did. But now I realize that my daddy gave up so much of his life so that I could be taken care of, so that I could have an education, sacrificed so much of himself just so that his family would be provided for that I could not be more proud of him and the kinda man he is. That’s what a black man will do for you; he will lay down his own goals, his own life and his own dreams to make sure the people that he loves can accomplish theirs.

The second important black man in my life was my middle school math teacher who I now call dad. At that time it was just me and my mom and my daddy and I weren’t that close and my stepfather stepped in to be the first solid male role model in my life. He was so kind to me and so nurturing of me in the most tender of stages that it is amazing. He was so patient with through all my growing pains, all the things I was going through that made me act out. He taught me math, but he also taught me how to be tolerant of people, he taught me patience, he taught me kindness and the importance of being able to laugh in life and truly enjoy it. With his stories of his college days he opened up the idea to me that there were people in college that were REAL people like me and that I could go to college, Ivy League even, if I wanted. See that’s what a black man is; he is patient and kind in the face of even the most trying adversity, he is encouraging and he can put a smile on your face like no other.

Around this time I fell in love for the first time and my first love showed me a different facet of a black man. One that was good to his mama, good to his sisters and SO good to me. He compensated for my weakness and complimented my faults. He loved me, simply for who I was and who I was yet to be. He held me when no other arms, even my own, could sustain me and he set the standard for how I will demand to be treated for the rest of my life. He showed me black men who are respectful, who still practice chivalry and will still value you above all other things in a way that only a black man can.

In high school there was Mr. Sims, another math teacher who stayed in my ASS until the day I walked across that stage to receive my diploma. He didn’t even teach me until my sophomore year, but he stayed on me like I was his own child. He got on me about the clothes I wore, the friends I kept, the language I used, and the grades I made. He was my boyfriend’s baseball coach so he stayed on us about what we were doing, where we were doing it, and told me what it looked like from the outside looking in. He never shied away when I told him any of my problems, never made me feel ashamed for the things I had been through or the things I felt . He gave me the best advice about love and life and school and marriage and friends, sometimes even without me soliciting his opinion. And at the time, I resented him for how hard he stayed on my back. But the truth of the matter is, I graduated at the top of my class because of Mr. Sims, I learned to value myself because of Mr. Sims, and the funny thing is that half of the things that I know about being a black woman to this day, I learned from watching Mr. Sims be an amazing black man.

How can you say that these men aren’t out there ladies? How can you say that these men aren’t at Howard? We are at the Mecca of black education; there are men here doing such great things with their life. Hell I am lucky enough to be friends with many of these black men that you chose to overlook. Take for instance Carlton, who is the kindest, most thoughtful, most giving person I know. He is the only person I honestly feel would literally give me the shirt of his back if I needed it, no questions asked, no repayment necessary. And as far as having his head together, I mean, damn, the man is gonna graduate in 5 years with 2 degrees and is going to come out of college making more than many people hope to make ever in life. What about Kyle? Kyle is the kind of black man who is there for you even when he doesn’t know what all is going on. Not too many people would get up out of bed at 4 in the morning to take me to the airport when my grandmother was dying just because I didn’t want to have to go alone and I will forever appreciate him for that.

Ladies I keep hearing you say that there are no good black men at Howard but I don’t know that they are the issue. What kinda woman would be upset when a man chooses to have his priorities in order and says that he needs to call her back because he is tackling a subject that is comparatively one of the most difficult on campus? What kinda woman would fault a man for choosing to focus on his studies (seeing as how that is what we came to Howard to do) instead of finding a job that will only take him away from his goals? I don’t think the question is really whether or not there are any good men at Howard, the question is whether or not we are ready for them and capable of handling who they are and what the represent. So next time you find yourself having a conversation like dumb bitches 1-4, please feel free to ask yourself, “Am I ready for what he’s trying to give me?” More often than not the answer is no. So check yourself and see if the issue is really the black men in your life of rather the fact that you just aren’t woman enough to stand by his side.

And for the many men that read my blog just know that someone appreciates you, someone believes in you, is willing to fight with you through your struggle, and stand with you to the end. I’m sorry that there are some black women out there that don’t understand and and appreciate how beautiful, how perfect you are, but some, like myself, do.

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