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Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Invisible Black Men

Many in the Black community often wonder happened to “the good black men”. Those honest, hardworking intelligent responsible brothers our grandmothers and some of our mothers married. Black folks say they’re always looking for good brothers but can’t seem to find them.

“Where are the Good Black men of this generation?”

We’re not hiding.

We’re everywhere.

But no one is looking for us.

The “Good Black Men” are often ignored and overlooked by the masses in Black society. So many are looking for “good” brothers to have the flash and the swagger of the thugs, gang bangers, and drug dealers that they pass right by the good Black men living in their communities every day.

No, we’re not the guy in the Armani suit and alligator shoes wearing diamond and platinum jewelry behind the wheel of a Lexus. We don’t have the six-figure high-profile executive job. We don’t have McMansion in the suburbs or a Fifth Avenue Penthouse. And most of us aren’t six feet tall with rippling muscles.

No, that’s the dude on the S-Curl Box. Or Shemar Moore.

But it ain’t a good Black man.

So many Black women are so busy looking for the Madison Avenue and Hollywood image of what a good Black man is that they can’t see the good black men hiding in plain sight. These hardworking, kind, intelligent brothers are practically invisible to everyone because we are men of substance and character, not flash and style.

The internal traits we good brothers have aren’t visible to the world like an expensive car, expensive sneakers, designer clothes, jewelry and a glib manner of speech that the thugs, gangstas, drug dealers, Afrocentric playas, intellectuals, and jivetime hustlers have in their array of gimmicks to deflect everyone’s attention from their lack of character, and lack of integrity.

Yes, we good Black men are all around you. They’re the quiet mild-mannered guys behind the scenes most people ignore and don’t pay attention to. The guys working in an office or doing jobs in civil service, UPS or FedEx. The guys in the library. The guys in the church or the mosque praying quietly. The guys who are reading on the bus or the train. The men many Black people say are acting White and want nothing to do with.

They’re the guys people call nerds. The boring guys. The brothers no one wants to talk to. The brothers suffering in silence.

The Black community spends so much of its time focusing on fixing thugs, ex-cons and other “at risk” Negroes that it neglects its good Black men. And that neglect is having a devastating impact on the Black community.

Many good brothers like myself feel like ghosts. Being invisible in our own communities we aren’t seen and we aren’t heard. As we try to live positive lives and do the right thing, we’re often overlooked and ignored by the people in our neighborhoods in their blind quest to reform the thugs ex-cons and gangstas. We receive no emotional support and we get no encouragement to continue staying on the right track.

In the inner-city, a Black man who comes out of prison gets a party. A Black man who graduates college gets forgotten.

Black America pisses on its best and brightest brothers.

In fact it’s the only community in the world that spends more time investing in the men going to prison than the men going to college.

No one in the Black community sees the value of a good Black man in the Black community. No one in the Black community cares about the good Black man in the Black community. No one appreciates our hard work, or our efforts to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods because they can’t see the little things we do every day that make life better like getting up and going to work. Being fathers to our children. Being a role model for other young men in the community. Being the very example of what the “at risk” thugs, ex-cons and other niggers are supposed to aspire to.

Seriously, why should a thug aspire to be a good black man like myself when he receives more attention and support from his community for being a criminal than being a good Black man? Where’s his incentive to change if he’s getting all the rewards for being who he is right now?

In the face of so much apathy, indifference, and neglect from our own community many good Black men like myself feel abandoned and alone. We’re tired, frustrated, and angry.

It’s aggravating for brothers like myself to work hard towards doing the right thing like graduating high school, graduating college, and trying to start their own business and be told it’s not good enough to receive the support of our own community and to be criticized by our own women and families. We’re always told we have to do more while the thugs, gangstas and other assorted incorrigible Negroes are continuously rewarded for doing the same amount of nothing.

It’s more enraging for good Black men like myself to watch as the members of my own community embrace these thugs, pimps, criminals and jiveass hustlers who do half of nothing get all the praise, support and encouragement from those same people in the neighborhood for doing harm to them. Seriously, how much skill does it take to talk fast? How much skill does it take to sell some rock, or a some weed? How much talent do you need to break into a house and steal stuff or shoplift from a store? How easy is it to evade some cops? How easy is it to sponge off people instead of getting a job or the skills to start a business?

Is it harder than finishing High School? Completing the coursework of a College degree? Learning PC repair? Studying for and passing The CompTia A+ exam? How about writing six or seven novels and going through the query process with publishers and literary agents? Learning the craft of screenwriting or self-publishing? Is it harder than starting your own publishing imprint and promoting books?

Some good brothers in the Black community have become so disgusted with the lack of support they receive from their brothers and sisters that they’ve decided to move on to places where they are appreciated. Those tired brothers have joined White, Hispanic and even some Asian communities where they found something in common with people who have work ethics and want to pursue a better quality of life.

Others have become so discouraged they’ve turned to food, drugs and alcohol to numb their pain. It helps them get through the day so they can get up and face a world that forgets they exist tomorrow.

And more and good brothers every day are so tired of being invisible they’re committing suicide in record numbers.

A good Black Man like myself feels like he’s stranded in a void that’s between the Black world and the White world. Our world is an intangible place sandwiched between the worlds of White America and the Black America where Niggers, Coons and Uncle Toms live. It’s a lonely place that where we feel like phantoms. We see our people but they won’t see us. We reach out to the people in our communities and they won’t touch us. We try to talk to them and they won’t hear us. They won’t connect with us. We can’t get close to them, we can’t connect with them or form relationships with them. The pain and heartache are unbearable and the silence is deafening. The mental and emotional starvation we go through is slow painful torture that leaves our souls empty and kills our spirits.

While the good brothers like myself can endure racism from the worst of White America, we can’t take the indifference, apathy and lack of support we receive from our own brothers and sisters. It’s that cold reception we receive that hurts more than anything. Being abandoned by your own people makes men like me want to find the nearest exit, whether it be another community, narcotics, or even death. All of these alternatives are better than being treated as if you don’t exist.

Brothers and Sisters have to start investing more time and resources in our best and brightest Black men. If we want more Good Black Men who are hardworking intelligent and responsible, then the community has to provide them with the emotional support and encouragement to do their best. Oftentimes people in the Black community take our best and brightest men for granted and don’t acknowledge all the efforts they make towards making life better for brothers and sisters. It’s the little things that good Black men like myself do everyday that have the biggest visible impact on the Black community.

When a community doesn’t take care of its best and brightest men it winds up with the worst kind of males. Which is the Black community is producing so many thugs, ex-cons, gang bangers dropouts and other ghetto scavengers who destroy our communities instead of the scientists, doctors, lawyers, artists, artisans, engineers and other skilled tradesmen who can build up the infrastructure of Black America into a strong nation.


  1. Shawn, I read this with some pain, because when I look around me, I can see that it is largely true. I once had a highly educated friend who passed up a really good guy because she found him "boring." Her own son became psychotic and I think her expectations had a lot to do with it.

    That's the problem, and it's a severe one, a destrucdtive one. Now what do you propose as a solution. You've begun by telling us that AA's need to wake up to this knowledge. But you're unusually good at positing solutions. This is a superb blog. I'm hoping you weigh in now on a number of specific things we can do to end this madness.

  2. Ironically, your plea is exactly the plea Tyler Perry presents in his films. LOL

  3. Gigi:

    Sorry, No. Tyler Perry promotes dysfunciton and chaos. He doesn't acknowledge the invisible brothers who take care of business in the community.

    He spends most of his time bashing black men and telling us how we're monsters. Then he presents some simp brothers as a "good man". No, the good brothers are the ones who are totally ignored until Black women need a man to be a substitute father for their kids and an ATM machine. He never gets his emotional needs met, or seen as a valuable person.