Skip to main content

The Emasculation Contemplation


Identity is a curious thing. More so now than ever, it is something that appears to be a in state of flux. Everything from John Gray books to marriage equality to increased visibility of the transgender movement leads us down a path of potential growth and enlightenment. Push back against such development is, oddly enough, coming from many people from the African-American community.

Go ahead and Google "emasculation of the black man." You'll find a plethora of articles and opinion pieces that attempt to deconstruct what is believed to be occurring to today's black man in America. I've heard rumblings of this issue for awhile now, and felt the urge to write about it after recently viewing a Dave Chappelle interview when he was on Oprah's show. In the clip, Chappelle discusses how Hollywood executives implored him to wear a dress in a scene for a movie he was shooting, for added comedic effect. Chappelle refused. "What is this - Brokeback Mountain?!" the comedian remarked.

Then there is a blog entry (one of many such writings) discussing how black men have not only been emasculated, but also feminized. The following passage is extremely unpleasant:
The feminization of the black man is most evident in and propagated by music, movies, and television. Look at television shows like Real Housewives of Atlanta, America's Next Top Model, etc. We are bombarded with images of flamboyant, homosexual black men who not only are gay but who walk, talk, dress, and act like women. And if they're not feminine gays, they're unstable thugs.

When influential rappers like Kanye West and A$AP Rocky don "oversized shirts" and "kilts," when they place an extreme attention on fashion and other feminine things, they manipulate millions of impressionable young black males to follow suit. The same goes for movies: when black actors dress up in drag, it normalizes such behavior and instead of viewing it as abhorrent, we view it as "funny."

White America loves to see these feminized black males because they are far less threatening to white society than strong, proud black men. Black men in dresses make white people laugh; black men in black clothes wearing black berets scare them. The feminized black man is better received by mainstream America.
The author also posits the notion that, once Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X were killed, black American men lost their good role models. I'm not so sure. What of men like Sidney Poitier, Alex Haley, Thurgood Marshall, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Clarence Otis Jr., Will Smith, T.D. Jakes, Magic Johnson, etc.? And, strangely, I remember Bill Cosby being scorned by many black folks  when he lectured young African-Americans on how to dress, yet seems to be embraced by many of the same people now that he is accused of raping dozens of women.

I guess this all just seems a little odd to me. Archaic, even. It feels out-of-step with the progress of the rest of the world. We hear how there are no positive black make role models, when there are and have been many. When a black man is identified as gay and does not exhibit stereotypical masculine traits, he is scorned and lumped-in as part of some problem. When Dave Chappelle is asked to wear a dress, he makes it into a racial issue (while also making condescending remarks regarding a movie about gay people), and ignores the scores of white men who have worn dresses for entertainment purposes (Milton Berle, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Monty Python, Dana Carvey, David Bowie, Tom Hanks, Tim Curry, Patrick Swayze, Robin Williams, to name but a few).

I'm not going to pretend that racism doesn't exist. It does. That is not up for debate. But I do think it possible to erroneously conflate two disparate subjects to try and make a flawed point. That's what I think is happening with the topic of black male emasculation. Look, the world is changing, as it always does. The definition of masculinity (or femininity for that matter) has moved beyond what sort of clothing is worn, or how one acts.

Please let us not cloak our insecurities, homophobia and misogyny in a pursuit of victimhood. It doesn't become us, and there is so much more to the human condition than such superficiality. The train of progress has already left the station. Time to get on it.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …

3/4

Ok, we're now three-fourths of the way through this year's calendar, so I thought I'd rank the thirty-eight 2017 movies I've seen so far.

Here they are....


1. A Quiet Passion
2. Baby Driver
3. Dunkirk
4. Get Out
5. Kedi
6. A Ghost Story
7. Wonder Woman
8. Columbus
9. Brad's Status
10. Marjorie Prime
11. Maudie
12. Logan
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming
14. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
15. Brigsby Bear
16. Atomic Blonde
17. The Big Sick
18. Split
19. Kong: Skull Island
20. It
21. Wind River
22. A Cure for Wellness
23. The Hitman's Bodyguard
24. Norman
25. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
26. Logan Lucky
27. Alien Covenant
28. Ghost In the Shell
29. War for the Planet of the Apes
30. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
31. Life
32. Annabelle: Creation
33. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
34. My Cousin Rachel
35. Baywatch
36. The Bye Bye Man
37. mother!
38. It Comes at Night


It will be interesting to see what the last three months of the year brin…

Unbound

"Step out from the mask you stand behind Fearful lost and blind Time to take the time The pressure’s on you Hide away, hide away No tomorrow, just today"
- Brilliant, Ultravox
Today was National Coming Out Day, so of course it gives some pause for reflection on my own coming out story. It was in April 1993, my junior year of high school (go Chargers!). In the six years of writing this blog, I have alluded to how I came out, but never really delved into the intricacies of how it came about. What better day to do so than today?
My first (small) indications of homosexuality manifested in grade school. While in first grade, I thought a fifth grader looked cute. In fifth grade, I would stare, longingly, at a boy in class, until he caught me looking at him. There were some infatuations with boys in middle school, and a first sexual experience during freshman year of high school. Everything up to that point had been, for the most part, based in the physical realm. I liked the way certain…