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Sunday, December 14, 2014

What One Black Man Wants

A writer writes!

How exactly does a Black Man want to be treated?  Well, I'm sure there are many answers to that question.  But, let's focus on the basics.  As a Black man who has walked this planet for over half a century, here are a few basic wants.

1.  Respect.  Talk to me with respectful words.  Within my lifetime I have read about and seen via television how Black men were disrespected verbally and treated as less than a man.  Whether it was the use of the N word or being spoken to as if they were a child.  Verbal abuse is demeaning.  Sometimes all a Black man has is his dignity.  When you attempt to tear the wall of dignity down you demean a person as a basic human being.  Don't talk to me like I am ignorant or not worthy of your time.  Whether this be in stores, or other public places, give me the same respect as you give to others.  For Policemen.....Don't allow yourself to fall prey to the desire to end my life just because you are in a position of authority.  Control that urge to kill me just because you can.  I too am a creation of God.

2.  Acknowledge I exist.  There is no need to fear saying hello to me.  A simple greeting is a simple greeting and does not imply anything else from you.  If you have a choice between acknowledging a Caucasian person who enters a room after I do, or acknowledging me because I entered first, acknowledge me.

3.  Stop labeling me as an animal you fear.  I don't want anything from you.  If you see me walking along a street in your direction, it's not all about you.  Sidewalks go in two directions.  I did not come outside to encounter you.  I have business to attend to.  Go about yours, say hello when we pass, and keep moving.  Is that too hard to do?  But, do make room for me to pass when you are walking in a group. You are not entitled to the whole sidewalk.  Move over!

4.  Deal with your stereotypes.  Stop letting stereotyped television shows and movies be your primary source of understanding me.  Ask me questions.  Engage me in a conversation and find out what are my thoughts, beliefs, and values.  Attend a cultural function in the African American community.

5.  Understand that there is no "one type" of Black Man.  We are different in our experiences, values, and beliefs.  If you choose not to talk to us, that is your choice.  Your biases about us will be based on your failure to reach out and learn by simply treating us as equals.