The past few weeks have been…interesting…when it comes to race relations. One talented writer put it this way, “racism showed its ass” this month. I do my best to stay away from social and political commentary — that is not my lane. But I always try to relate what is happening around me to what is happening within me.
The other day I asked this question in my Morning Pages: “I wonder why Life chose me to be a black man.” I then quickly stated it was something I did not want to think about too much, so of course I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I asked this question because I have an easy going personality…that is to say, I like when things go easy. I have been blessed my whole life with either finding smooth sailing, being given smooth sailing, or just being in the right place at the right time for good things to rain upon my head. It is not only a part of my character, I believe this ease of being is a projection of my Purpose. So I wondered, why then, WHY, would I choose to be a black man in “post-racial” America. That is not the easy way.
Again, I’m not going to get into the ins and outs of our societal limitations…the subject of white privilege has been covered by people with a better understanding of it than I (like this lady’s personal testimony). And the Black Male Code has been defined by those with far greater insight into the subject than I hold (like this guy’s personal testimony). The statistics and stories are all there for anyone who cares to pay attention. But, as a black man, I was born in America where I could have become the President of the United States if I wanted….or I could have been gunned down at age 17 because my skin color and my clothing looked suspicious.
I know my Path. It is not one of struggle and angst. It is less about discovering the dark than it is about exposing the light. It is generous and kind. It is full of love. How in the world could Life had been so careless as to set me loose in an environment that was not conducive to me being met with these things at almost every turn? Silly life.
I applied my basic premise to the circumstances:
“OK, Life has set you up to succeed.”
Which is what?
So if Life has set you up to succeed at Self-Realization AND you are a black male living in “post-racial” America, then being a black male in “post-racial” America is a function of your success.
That’s when the idea of Black Male Privilege (BMP) hit me. Socially, this is a controversial idea. But remember, I’m not a Social commentator. SPIRITUALLY, I’m finding it difficult to dispute the existence of BMP. The Black Male is taught from a very young age to be Awake, Alert, Not Fooled by Society’s Promises, Engaged but Distant…if you add these lessons to an inborn inclination to serve Spirit, then it’s only a matter of time before they translate into a spiritual identity. Life set me up to succeed by making sure I was immediately and constantly aware of the duality that exists within this world. The majority race does not get that privilege. Unfortunately they get to see their own faces everywhere, in everything, and never have to wonder where they fit in. They don’t get the opportunity to learn how to watch themselves in social settings… being themselves, and at the same time, a little bit not themselves. They don’t get to question the origin of their religion as a function of how slaves were at one time oppressed and subdued by its principles. As a black male, it is a privilege to not feel entitled to anything..it is a privilege to know how lucky I am to be alive, to be successful, or to have anything at all.
When you are of the majority race, I believe, you have to WORK for that kind of awareness. It came easy to me, as a function of who I am, just like Life told me things would.