Black Male Privilege

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.”

At what?

“At Purpose.”

Which is what?

“Self-Realization.”

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.

“Oh.”

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.

K

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4 comments on “Black Male Privilege

  1. righteouschoices says:

    I understand and agree with your point in #4…it is interesting that when a black person expresses pride in their ethnicity and history there are those who will label that person racists, equating black pride with black supremacy. Thank you for the conversation…keep writing…like I really have to tell YOU that. Peace!

  2. righteouschoices says:

    This is the first time that I have heard of BMP, so this is unfamiliar to me, but I was inclined to respond to your statements…because this subject is important to me. I respect your points of view and the following is my rebuttal.

    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.

    Answer: I believe that black men are as you have said initially; however, I believe that they are taught through fear and anger inducing messages; and the spiritual identity becomes one of insecurity, with a strong inclination to serve SELF.

    Life set me up to succeed by making sure I was immediately and constantly aware of the duality that exists within this world.

    Answer: I think you give life too much credit, was it in fact, someone, who planted seeds of acceptance, love, and purpose in you that countered the constant messages of duality and inequality that exists within our 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.

    Answer: I guess I am questioning the “privilege” of being on the black side of racism. One thing I notice about the majority race is that they live a life, generally speaking, living life. They sail around the world, they climb Mt Everest, they skydive, they spend the summer in Martha’s Vineyard, or at least at the beach house. I’m sure the tables have tipped a bit since the economic crisis. My point being, why don’t black people do more of these kinds of activities? I think it is because we don’t think life on that level. Perhaps, if we could, metaphorically at least, see our own faces everywhere, in everything, and never have to convince ourselves why we are just a good as…and then figure out where we belong; perhaps we could breathe long enough to see the divine in each other, and purpose in each other, and love what we see in our reflections, and rise to live life on the level God intended! P.s I do know of two black people that climbed Mt. Everest, and one was a woman, a senior citizen, I think 🙂

    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.

    Answer: I don’t understand what you are saying in this statement, would you explain further?

    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.

    Answer: I don’t know about Religion…but I know that Spirituality, faith in God, and the fact that slaves knew that slavery was wrong, is what fueled their freedom.

    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.

    Answer: I understand your point, and the point I want to leave you with is this, as a black male, you have an inheritance, it is called the Blessing of the Lord, and it entitles you to all that Christ accomplished on Calvary’s Cross, and when He died and rose again with all power in His hand. Long story short, the Blessing empowers you to live your human life on the absolute highest level possible, to the fullest, far, far, far, above. Peace!

    • kenajos says:

      Best comment ever. Thank you.

      1. I agree with you on the fact that the lessons we learned are stemmed in fear and anger…it is a blessing to be able to rise above that viewpoint, something that most black men are not willing/able to do. So it’s my job to not pass along those underlying messages to my children and help other men see the dis-ease of their emotions.

      2. I honestly don’t know if someone planted these seeds in me at a young age, could be the case…I only know that I’ve always had an easy go at things, and I didn’t realize it was a personal thing until fairly recently…as a senior in high school I reflected on the experience and wrote, “the class of 93 is the best because we always seemed to get the breaks..things just went our way all the time…” Now I think that maybe it wasn’t the class of ’93 getting the breaks, maybe no one else felt that way but me because it was only my experience. It is an experience that I believe to be center to Who I Am in this world, and I take it as a blessing.

      3. Yes, socially/politically/economically, there is no privilege to being on the other side of racism. I was speaking from a Spiritual point of view. You mentioned you believe Spirituality and faith in God is what fueled the slaves freedom. Being on the other side of racism provides us with an opportunity to search and question and find faith in something that is outside of the physical experience. I believe being predisposed to this search is a privilege because it the search for Self/God/Enlightenment is of the utmost importance.

      4. I had to explain that to Katy also…guess I should have elaborated in the post. Basically, if you go to work with white people, you are allowed to be yourself BUT a lot of the “yourself” that is rooted in your ethnicity/culture needs to be left at home…you can’t talk about the same things, in the same way, can’t express too much pride in your blackness…we’re treated differently, held to different standards, and we know that going in….I was saying that people of the majority race do not have to deal with this duality of experience…their cultural identity is always acceptable, everywhere they go…

      5. Peace and thank you. I appreciate your words.

  3. Moongodess says:

    That is a pretty deep and interesting analysis. I remember when I was 18, someone asked us to do a writing exercise on what sex you preferred to be. Why. Why not. At that time I said male, with all the men have it easier. I was quickly challenged by the black Americans who said Black males have it harder…to be continued…

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