When people think of white men they normally think about politicians and billionaires who represent the best of white men. In most cases people don’t think about the seldom employed, bad hygiene, white man who is hooked on heroin. When one thinks of Asian men one thinks about the captains of several industries and not an Asian homeless person (they do exist). That’s how it’s supposed to be. When one thinks of a group they generally think of the best representatives of that group. The group is judged by the best representatives. This isn’t the case for Black men, particularly African American Black men.
In this culture Black men are not judged collectively by the millionaires, unless they are athletes, the successful businessmen, or even the numerous ministers. Yes people know they exist but if we are going to be realistic Black men are judged by the lowest elements in their population. In slang terms that would be Pookie and Ray Ray.
Even though I have gone on record numerous times in print, video, and podcast stating that the “Pookie and Ray Ray dynamic is overblown there is still a reality that must be addressed. When many people, sadly even Black people, think of Black men the image of Pookie and Ray Ray is the one that pops into their minds. We all know that image.
Pookie and Ray Rays are the ones with their pants hanging off of their ass and are seen as lazy and unproductive. The actual accuracy of this perception isn’t as significant as the reality that this is the dominant image. Indeed a Black man who doesn’t fit that image may be considered lame or corny. There are many reasons why this image is promoted.
One reason is that in western culture this negative image of Black men gives people a level of comfort. To illustrate my point consider two sayings. One saying is that America’s worst nightmare is an educated Black man. The other saying is America is scared of a Black man with a library card.
A truly educated Black man is a threat to the status quo. Currently white men are on top of the social totem pole. Their biggest threat is not a collective group of Black men who try to knock them off with brute force but rather use the tools already place in an intelligent manner. This was the biggest reason that during slavery Blacks were not taught to read. The status quo can be challenged with intelligence.
It is not in the interest of the collective white male population to promote the image of the type of man that can knock him off of his perch. Using the tool of the media the most negative images of Black men are promoted. This is why when a respectable Black man does something wrong the media comes after him with a vengeance. Unfortunately, the promotion of negative Black male images isn’t simply the province of the white males.
Many Black women respond to the images presented by the least of the Black male population. Even though I have stated that the Pookie and Ray Ray dynamic is overblown it is still a major factor in Black male/female relationships. A critical mass of Black women show a preference for certain images of Black men that do not represent the best the male gender has to offer. Of course this isn’t the preference of the entire Black female population but it happens enough to give the overall impression that Black women don’t want the best of Black men.
A major thing that has to occur for the Black community to truly advance is the promotion of the images of the best of Black men. No community in the history has progressed on the promotion of the lowest elements. Black men must be judged by their best representatives.
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