We die, We die from guns and senseless violence, we die at the hands of the courts and police, we die from the impoverishment of the spirit….-Dr. Huey P. Newton (1942-1989)
In his seminal classic Makes Me Wanna Holler, Nathan McCall validates the biblical admonitions of Job: Life upon earth is warfare.
While many will attempt to minimize his suffering through the articulation of inter-sectional tales of adversity, there is a darker veil that falls over the faces of Black men. From the moment he is born, he wears not only a darker hue, but the invisible chains of low societal expectations. His formative years will be spent in households shaped by generational economic inequality. Since he is usually the product of youthful recklessness and irresponsibility, his environment will be starved of those resources that every one else takes for granted. He will come of age in an environment where survival takes precedence over normalcy. He will learn to speak from adults that have become maladjusted to dysfunction. As such some of his first memories will be of gratuitous sex, senseless violence punctuated by a proliferation of profanity.
Although he will be encouraged to go to school, his parent will not monitor his educational development. School is simply just another daycare for his mother. It’s an 8hr calgon moment for her to pursue her own hedonistic desires over his own cognitive development. He will observe the numerous men running in and out of his mother’s life. If’ he’s lucky, one of them may mean him any good. His view of women and sex will be shaped by watching his mother juggle multiple penises for pleasure and survival.
When he enters school, he will watch children from other homes come to school well fed while he is hungry. Because he is in an environment with no order or structure, he will exhibit all types of behavioral disorders shaped by an intermittently present or more often than not, absentee father. Although he rarely misses a day of school, his mother has no relationship with his teachers, much less any plan for success in primary education. Thus, he will end up 9yrs old reading at a 1st grade level. Despite the fact that his academic development is severely arrested, he will be placed in the classes for the slow kids. Each year, he will be passed not because of academic excellence, but because of his grasp of low educational lessons that will leave him unprepared to face a hostile and competitive job market.
As he ages, he will be exposed to popular culture with its emphasis on mindless consumption and pretentious displays of opulence in a community of poverty. More often then not, he has not been taught sound money management skills, so he is constantly in debt. A conglomeration of lending and overpriced convenient stores drain the life blood of his neighborhood. He is simply another underpriced commodity in the free market. This poverty and dysfunction will inevitably lead him to the streets. He will attempt to make his way in the unregulated illegal street economy. He thinks the money is more than a 9 to 5 hustle. But in reality, the money is simply the result of a minimum wage pyramid scheme without taxation.
His religion is an unholy blend of submission to abusive authority and declaration of eternal hope for a brighter tomorrow. Although spirituality is his heritage, he is introduced to a form of Christianity that is actually a gospel of nationalism and empire. As it is introduced to him, it is in direct contradiction to the very scriptures of the bible. Thus, it becomes a fashion show of Sunday Morning Disco. In its’ natural state it is liberating to his spirit. But because his oppression is extended to his very soul, the religion is tailored to restrict the natural expression of his spiritual freedom.
It is one that strips him of the normal masculine impulse breathed into him by God himself. As such the practice of it anesthetizes him. It infantilizes his manhood by making him passive and nonviolent with outsiders, but brutal and rapacious with his own kind. The shocking thing is that while it emasculates him in the presence of women, it intrigues and masculinizes the men who preside over it as pastors. These men become naturally seductive to the overwhelming number of female parishioners that sit in the pews every Sunday. The Pastor’s status grants him access to an abundance of pussy and turns the church into a de facto harem. Therefore, at all times the black male must compete with a rival for the control of his woman’s body and her mind.
Considering these odds there are 2 roads presented to him to escape a nagging sense of nobodiness: the streets or sports/entertainment. Should he choose the former he will be sucked into a black hole of legalized chattel slavery. A system fueled by debt and controlled by avaricious attorneys, ambitious prosecutors, and judicial bias disguised as impartialilty. The result is a mass warehousing of black males as a cheap labor force for transnational corporations.
Should he choose sports or entertainment, and actually excel, he will attract a legion of parasites dedicated to robbing him of his money. White and Jewish attorneys, public relations firms, and accountants will become his guardians ad litem as they are charged with protecting his brand. What this really means is that they are protecting the record companies or sports teams that he is signed to. Thus, his financial empowerment will cost him his individual will and autonomy.
If he chooses the corporate road to success, he will have to tone down his natural masculinity and become as non-threatening as possible. In effect, he must become a corporate eunuch. If he is successful, then he will be reminded of a fictive racial kinship that was non-existent before he had money. When he attempts to date, his pool will be filled with women whose bodies bare the scars from collisions with baby making scoundrels that never understood the principle of responsibility. Because these women cannot appreciate his sacrifices for his success, they present a real danger to his wealth and safety. In their minds, he is simply a retirement plan for women who ruined their future by sleeping with unsavory sociopaths in the summer and spring years of their lives.
He must also fend off challenges from envious white predators who do not respect his hustle or his intelligence; and yearn to return him back to the hood broken in spirit. He will be confronted by those who feel they are entitled to his wealth by nature of a distant relationship that was never recognized or respected. All of this will build a sense of isolation and loneliness that will be filled by sex, drugs or anti-social acts designed to free him from this crystal prison. The more money he makes, the more depressed he becomes until he slowly starts to implode.
There are no easy roads for being a black man in America. At every turn he must steal glimpses of joy in the struggles that shape his character. He finds meaning not in success but in survival. The tragedy is that so many black men are too busy surviving rather than living. They must work twice as hard, twice as fast, just to be considered average. In the winter years of their lives, they discovers that although spirit is stronger than metal it is also stronger than flesh. As a result, they succumb to the stress of the struggle manifested as brain, prostate, or lung cancer, or some other terminal illness, leaving only a fleeting memory of who they were and their meaning to a community in which they were largely invisible.
Is it any wonder why James Baldwin once said that to be a negro is to be in a constant rage all the time?
TONY MACEO is a senior blogger at the Negromanosphere and the Chief Blogger at Power and Strategy.com. Like, share and subscribe to the articles and videos. Become a Patron at powerofstrategies on Patreon. Or if you are a chess player, check out our online store. Till Next time, I’ll holla!