There was this brotha I knew back in the day. An interesting cat. From the time I met him which was when he was ten years old he always had a hustle. As a young boy he had the neighborhood paper routes on lock. He would grow up to be so successful that people thought him and his brothers were drug dealers. The late model sports cars they had didn’t help matters. Naw he always had legit hustles. His family just had a strong work ethic. It’s a shame that if a Black man has money many people assume they are selling drugs but I’ll get to that in a second. I’ll never forget what this brotha said to me one day. He said any Black man who was trying to do something in his life would be lonely. It was a very profound statement that stayed with me to this day.
The popular image of Black men in America is an uneducated, unemployed goon. Far from the truth but people see what they are comfortable seeing. So when they see a Black man who is striving for success their minds have trouble dealing with the reality in front of them. That’s why when they see a Black man who has a high price sports car and he’s not an entertainer or athlete they think he’s a drug dealer. Even some of friends might think he’s hustling illegal substances. I’ve had that happen to me.
With so many negative perceptions a Black man on the path to success develops a tendency to stay to himself. A few are lucky to be among a similar group of men. Most, however, are on an isolated path with maybe one or two confidants. Someone may ask how it turns out like that. Let me explain.
Most people don’t want much out of life. They want the bare minimums of having food, shelter, and clothing. They also want a family. As long as they have these basics they are good to go. There is nothing wrong with that. As long as they happy. Some people want more. Contrary to popular stereotypes there are Black men who want more. They want to make their marks on the word be it in business, politics, or religion. It’s tough for a Black man to do this if the people he loves don’t want the same things.
Most people in society value the safety of being in a herd. The herd gets uncomfortable with the person who wants to rise above the herd. Often the Black man who wants to go beyond the proscribed path of the herd is ridiculed and unsupported in his path to success. The successful Black man realizes, sometimes from a young age, that he may have to leave the people he loves behind. It is a very hard choice. Ultimately he has to choose himself because his drive to make a mark on the world is so strong. That doesn’t make the choice any easier.
Even in the realm of male/female relationships it can be lonely. You are reading this blog because I made a decision that I wanted to make my mark through writing. Yet when I used to tell women what I wanted to do they didn’t believe I could do it. They wondered if I could make money writing. The number of women who offered support I could count on one hand with fingers left over. I learned to keep my interactions with women on a superficial level so I would at least get sex from them. It was shame I couldn’t open up to many women because they lacked vision. Many successful Black men have told me they had the same experiences.
The successful Black man realizes that this world doesn’t support him until he is actually successful and people can see the results. Then they want to jump on the bandwagon. It’s too late then. The successful Black man has accepted that he will walk a path only a few other men will understand and share.