What does it mean to be a black man?

Tell us what you think it means to be a black man.

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As someone who has been fortunate to travel to Kenya, Africa and observe and live in a society where Africans (and black men) are the majority and not the minority and return to the realities of the seperatism and racism that still exist in the United States I think to be a black man means to continue to strive to break barriers and strive for excellence no matter what your background, career or education. The reality of my life, despite being an accomplished professional is that there will always be a section of the population that will treat me with one way over the phone, over email but another when they see my skin is black. Even in this day and age I have had people in my career retreat in astonishment when they find out an intelligent professional is black. I dont see this changing any time soon as hatred is bred and taught by those who hate. All I can say is my 1 year old son will grow up knowing his past, his identity and most importantly that there are cultures on this earth where being black is a symbol of pride, power and honor. He will know there are places on this earth that the color of his skin will allow him to be one that is equal to his neighbor and not 'different' than most of us. He will know to be all he can be.

Posted by: Steve M | June 2, 2006 01:11 AM

As a 40 something Black male living in the Washington, DC, area, to be a Black male is a complex definition.

First of all, to deal with the many negative connotations associated with Black men (fathering out-of-wedlock children, the high percentage of incarceration, the low employment and higher education graduation percentages, and the like) can be somewhat defeating. When you hear negativisms all the time, you can internalize it and it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. To effectively deal with that, you have to surround yourself with positive people and accentuate the postive.

Being a Black man, means you are more than a survivor of 400 years of slavery and 100 years of de facto and de juere segregation.

Being a Black man means you are a member of a unique brotherhood that is concerned about your well-being. It means being connected with the children you have. It means stepping up to the plate and claiming your responsibility to yourself, your family, and your community. It means staking a claim in this country that we have helped build.

Being a Black man means you define yourself and not allow others to define who you are. Often that means we have expanded our definition of who we are beyond culture. Race is a term invented by those who wished to place limits on people. Black culture is so diverse due the spreading of the Africa diaspra around the world.

We define who we are, what we want, and how to achieve those wants. That's probably to most important thing in determining who we are and our role in this society.

Posted by: Michael McCoy | June 2, 2006 01:25 AM

Definition of a Black man
1. A Black man accepts the consequences of his actions
2. A Black man dedicates himself to helping the next generation
3. A Black man listens to and applies wisdom
4. A Black man learns with every moment
5. A Black man only demands what he is willing to give
6. A Black man forgives
7. A Black man creatively expresses himself
8. A Black man always tells the truth
9. A Black man disciplines himself
10. A Black man loves those who raised him
11. A Black man studies and reads
12. A Black man unites other men and women
13. A Black man honors God through prayer and action
14. A Black man respects women
15. A Black man educates himself
16. A Black man controls his emotions
17. A Black man surrounds himself with other great men
18. A Black man takes responsibility for things he didn't cause
19. A Black man thinks before he acts
20. A Black man willingly seeks advice
21. A Black man communicates candidly
22. A Black man voices his opinions
23. A Black man defends his family
24. A Black man admits when he is wrong

Posted by: Jullien Gordon | June 2, 2006 03:10 AM

A Black man...
• Takes care of his responsibilities
• Understands his role in him community
• Needs to gain motivation to excel
• Is an educator
• Respects his family
• Is a nation-builder
• Is a motivator of young Black men
• Is an innovator
• Is a leader
• Is one who takes the road less traveled
• Is culturally centered
• Always seeks to improve himself
• Is somebody smart
• Is a learner
• Is inspiring
• Is confident
• Is unfraid
• Is strong
• Is a bridge-builder
• Is a role model
• Is spiritual and scholarly
• Is proactive
• Is everything
• Is constantly desiring to know his past to improve his future
• Is made in the image of God

Posted by: UCLA African Men's Collective | June 2, 2006 03:12 AM

I work in public accounting in an office where i am the only black male performing core audit services and each day i ask myself what perceptions are out there about me in my office. I never had the confort to of thinking that i am just another Joe performing his responsibilities. This is how i feel as what it means to be a black man.

Posted by: DJ | June 2, 2006 03:46 AM

Being a Black Man in this country requires a huge responsibility rather you want it or not. It's understanding that you stand on the shoulders millions of people who sacrificed their livelihoods so that you could make something out of yourself.

Being a Black Man is being true to yourself and honoring your culture. The most important thing is being aware of your history. It is through knowledge and awareness of your history that you realize that before we were rappers, superstars and athletes, we were farmers, thinkers, educators and inventors.

Being an authentic Black Man is to understand that the thirst for knowledge and learning is not acting "white"; it's living up to your full potential. Being a Black man is to be aware that incorporated negative behaviors and passing them off as black culture is not only crippling out people, but is a direct and blatant disrespect to our ancestors.

Being a Black Man is a huge responsibility and a great honor; but only with knowledge of our history and self.

Posted by: Marcus Brown | June 2, 2006 07:11 AM

I think because, of the way that I was raised and the things I had to do as an adult to better myself as a person. I am respectful, considerate, spirtual and confident who I am as a blk man. As a black man, we have to educate our youth and give them the guidance that they will need to prosper in today's society. I try to mentor to kids about education, respect of their elders as well as society. you can be or become anything that you want to be, things are much better today, than when I grew up.

Posted by: Reginald Johnson | June 2, 2006 07:23 AM

It means realizing from the earliest of times that you've got to go above and beyond, in your home, community, and especially your workplace. It also means knowing that whatever is thrown your way, in a negative manner, you can rise above.

Posted by: Aaron Rowell | June 2, 2006 07:53 AM

A black man is one who was born out of a long line of greatness, yet his walk in like has a multitude of trials and tribulations. We are looked at as a person with exceptional skills, intellect, innovation, uncanny athleticism, symbolic strength and an inner anger/frustration trait that could either bring destruction to oneself or motivation for change in our society.

All in all, black men are a force to be reckoned with and we have a lot to offer in this world. If it weren't for the many contributions of past and present black achievers, this world would be a totally different animal.

Posted by: Michael J Patterson | June 2, 2006 07:59 AM

For this black man, it has meant proving that I have deserved everything that I now have without the stigma of being given a handout, special consideration, or a quota to achieve my goals. I have pride in knowing that I had to constantly work harder than my white counterparts to be noticed and subsequently considered for advancement throughout my careers. I've welcomed the ongoing challenge and attempt to instill the same prideful values in my son.

Posted by: James L. Gerrald | June 2, 2006 08:07 AM

A black man is one who was born out of a long line of greatness, yet his walk in like has a multitude of trials and tribulations. We are looked at as a person with exceptional skills, intellect, innovation, uncanny athleticism, symbolic strength and an inner anger/frustration trait that could either bring destruction to oneself or motivation for change in our society.

All in all, black men are a force to be reckoned with and we have a lot to offer in this world. If it weren't for the many contributions of past and present black achievers, this world would be a totally different animal.

Posted by: Michael J Patterson | June 2, 2006 09:07 AM

I absolutely love this short piece. Being a woman of color I know all to well the various struggles that my brothers face on a daily basis. I also know the courage,strength, and capabilities that embodies a Black man. Please continue to keep the dialouge open but let's explore even deeper than this, unfortuntely this didn't really touch on the issues that plague the Black community. For instance the promiscuity, Pimp mentality, superficiality, violence, and the shaky foundation that the Black family is now being built upon, which of course is synonymous with "The Black Man" let us explore how we came to this point so we can implement changes and a new direction. Just my two cents, but please keep up the good work.

Posted by: Dolores Anderson | June 2, 2006 09:28 AM

Being a Black Man in America is deep! Being a black man for me is living life under the microscope in corporate America where I spend a good percentage of my time, in my community and in my personal life. As a Black Man and a father, I am judged everyday by a "world" known and unknown in immeasurable quantity. The professional world judges me and puts a "covert" worth on head, yet expects me to perform twice as hard as my non-black peers. In this world, we're all grouped together unequally, judged and viewed suspiciously and never given an opportunity to fairly compete for fear of invalidating false assumptions. In my community, I am judged and put down by people who look like me based on their own failures in dealings and relationships with other black men. The anthem I hear most often in my community is that "there are no good black men." It's disheartening to hear this anthem over and over again, but it does not stop me from achieving or going after my dreams, because I know what it means to be a Black Man. In my personal life, I am measured too often by dollars, in other words, is he a six figure brother? How much money does he make? The fact that I am a great father and excellent provider far too often goes unnoticed! The minute I don't do something, the years of built-up frustration from those close to me are unleashed and spewed out with the tenacity of a volcano. So with some brevity, I can quickly summarize what it means to be a Black Man, but the reality of it is that for me, being a Black Man is trying to "oppositizing" (my own made-up word based on my observation and experiences) the mistakes my father made by not being around and spend time trying to be an excellent father, great husband, a fair community leader and an ethical business man. That is a lot, but who said anything was promised to the Black Man? I live my life accordingly by trying to avoid the pitfalls of other Black Man known and unknown.

Posted by: Eric Amo | June 2, 2006 09:41 AM

It is sometimes difficult to explain. I feel that racism is alive and well in the USA. The issues that affect Blacks are often ignored by the elected officials, even the Black ones.

For example, the Black Farmers won a landmark court decission, and yet many are not reaping the benefits. And the courts and the Black Caucus and others do nothing.

When Blacks serve in management of leadership postitions, some are worst than whites when dealing with blacks. On the other hand, most Blacks are allowed to manage as they would like or should. They are stripped of authority or over-ridden by the White Power stucture when they make sound moves that benefit other blacks.

As my elders tell me, it is a beatiful thing when you see Black Men come together for a commonr purpose. They are always successful and powerful.

You do not have enough space here or time for me to really get into it.

Posted by: Ronald Cotton | June 2, 2006 10:03 AM

First of all, I am really greatful that your news paper has taken the time to have such an inspiring article of photo and written journaism.

I am also extrmely happy that you added the thougts and words of a Gay Black American man, we are often left out within our own communities and not thought of as men of the Balck community.

I find that being a Black man who is Gay and also living with AIDS, I find myself being on the outside even more often. The Faith and Houses of Prayer haave seemily turned their backs on those of us witht this awlful virus. Then there are the men who are on the "down low" who are not making the situation any better for fear and ignorance of feeling that they will be thought of as less of a man, a Black MAN.

Although I am not in the position of life that I would prefer to be in, I am rather proud of myself, my Blackness and also as a Black Gay man. I'm very concerned in the future of my species, for I fear that the young men of our community are to caught up with wanting to be a rapper, or a professional sports figure,or worse yet thinking that they can get by as being a pimp! I feel that it over shawdows the thousands of young men that have a bigger dream to become something or someone bigger.

Than you for your time, I hope that my words can be of some use in some way.

Glen McGear
Seattle, Wa

Posted by: Glen D McGear | June 2, 2006 10:34 AM

This has been a very interesting piece to read, to say the least. I am very glad to see that you interviewed Bishop Kwabena Rainey Cheeks, a brother I know and admire so much for his wit, intelligence, courage, etc. I wish you had interviewed more of our gay brothers and brothers, African men, born outside the U.S., i.e., Africa, the Caribbean, etc., to get a broader view of African men and all their experiences, beauty and complexities. Perhaps if you had done so, with more exploration of patriarchy(sexism), issues of self-esteem, etc., such information and analysis would have given your readers more to think about, reflect on and pray over.

But thanks just the same, I'm sure this will generate many conversations for the next few days. :)

Posted by: Asantewaa Nkrumah-Ture | June 2, 2006 10:45 AM

What it means to be a man is simple. You accept responsibilty for all of your actions whether they are good or bad. Face the consequences of those actions. It means not being defined by your circumstances, but defining them. From that you will find the endurance to face whatever is thrown at you. If all you see are obstacles, then you that is all you will ever face. I just recently left Boston to visit for the first time. I was there because I have a vision of going to school at Boston University and studing Social Ethics, like its most distinguished alumni MLK Jr. ... lest not forget Proctor, Taylor respectively. I have a dream and I am definig my circumstances too! This is what I believe it means to be a man.

Posted by: Agabus | June 2, 2006 10:51 AM

Being a Black man to me means That I am a truly rare specimen. I am strong in mind and heart. I must succeed in our so called white man's world. In order for myself do survive in this world I must have strong relationship with my Higher Power and be twice as educated as my white counterpart.

Posted by: Ricky Johnson | June 2, 2006 10:52 AM

The Black man's meaning IS NO different from any other man...

We all need to be role models for the children.

We all need to take care of our obligations and responsibilities, and

We all need to leave this world a little bit better than how we found it.

The special case about the black man is that HE MUST perform these tasks amongst overwhelming odds against him and doubters and naysayers around every corner. There are a lot of people who think we are innate failures, and WE MUST look them in the eye everyday and PROVE them wrong!

Posted by: Concerned Negro | June 2, 2006 11:06 AM

Great video. You need to show more content of this quality.

Posted by: | June 2, 2006 11:10 AM

Probably because of, or even in spite of the mass consciuosness' concept of 'race' in the world today the is for me and in reality in error. There is only one race (the human one). There are many cultures and cultural differences. Now I do not mean to nor what to get caught up in word games or symantics but reality and perceptions, in this case imho, misconceptions can and do lead to major problems in communication while lending itself to a host of frustrations for people in need of connecting and bridging the tremendous gaps that exist in the world today. For the sake of this article and to able to speak on topic, the so called "black man issue" is one of the most complex ones in existence today. Men of color do range across many cultural lines so just who is included or exclude...seems like it depends on who is doing the speaking, but to generally sum up my position men in the world today are in need of an extreme makeover in dealing with their brothers, sisters and especially themselves no matter what culture, shade or hue of skin color, we all share the same fundamental issues as well as a lack of will and stamina to look ourselves in the eye and deal practically and realistically with it on what ever of the many levels we find the unbalanced situation.

Posted by: David hurt | June 2, 2006 11:29 AM

What a great exploration this is! It's so important to stay positive, no matter what "race" you are.

Posted by: Marc | June 2, 2006 11:41 AM

I'm very proud of being a Black, powerful man. Yes it could be very tough being a black in Washington, growing in a very low poverty, with a very low level of self esteem, however one most be taught who they are, before they can overcome any adversity. Myself had to go through a dark hole before I even new that it was light on the other side. Today I know who I am, why am here, and what I must manifest. I also know today that if there is no struggle, there is no progress.

Stay Black and Successful Peace.

Posted by: DeCarlo F. Washington | June 2, 2006 11:59 AM

To be a black man is to thrive where it may be impossible. To teach and love whole without expectations! To be a black man is to know where you have come from and where you must go. To be a Black man is having the abilty to free your mind body and soul from the mental, physical and spiritual slavery that we are faced with everyday. To be a black man is to walk with God and live everyday with the goal to attain His will for OUR People. To be a black a man is to embody GREATNESS!

Posted by: Nicole Jackson | June 2, 2006 12:22 PM

Being a black man means I have unlimited potential to either succeed, or to fail. Since I've chosen to succeed, it means I have overcome the historical "American" obstacles that are in place to cause me to fail. I have to succeed while playing a lifetime game of dodge-the-ball, where the ball I'm dodging is the pitfalls of drugs, racism, criminalization, etc.

Posted by: Dexter Martin | June 2, 2006 12:41 PM

For me, to be a Black man is simply to live the only life I have, regardless of the obstacles laid before me. I am hated, distrusted, suspected, isolated, denegrated, snickered at, imposed upon by others who fear me, "because..." Frankly, I don't care anymore. My father laid the foundation for my accomplishments. My father taught me how to not only love my country, this country, America, but to love myself, despite the racism. I am my Father's son, and there is not a white man in this country who has given me anything I have not earned myself. I will always be angered by the manner in which the world views me. So, to hell with them, I have a life to live.

Posted by: Frank Thomas Sullivan | June 2, 2006 01:37 PM

I am a black female and I will never know what it means to be a black man. It's such a simple question, but the complexity of the answer seems too complicated to put into one blurb.

I know like many black women I have feared for the black men in my life. I don't think some white people grasp that the black men they so readily fear are famly to someone. That black man maybe my brother or cousin or uncle. I've had sleepless nights as a doting younger sister waiting to hear my big brother sneak into the house late at night or early in the a.m. I didn't sleep until I knew he was home safe and sound. What I knew then and know now was that he was a target....born a suspect...a black man. They don't know that he's a good student or doesn't do drugs, or that he plays the saxaphone or lets his little sister hang around him and his friends without complaint. He's a black male and represents all the fear and prejudice that being one may stir up. No matter how special I thought he was, my brother was not immune and that is what all black men know regardless of any other factor. It's that knowledge of self that forges that bond amongst them. It's a legacy that is passed on to their sons, nephews and cousins...just as my brother will pass it on to his son, Jalen.

Posted by: Lisa C. | June 2, 2006 03:44 PM

What it means to be a black man is encompassed by so many adjectives, experiences, individual variables in each of our lives.

To be a black man is difficult, trying, disenchanting, sorrowful sometimes, but yet wonderful.

It is wonderful to be a black man because of our individuality. It is our apparent, ethnic, cultural and historical uniqueness that separates us from so many other men in this country and perhaps this world.

Black men are inventive, industrious, creators of unique thought, poems, writings, experiences and innovative. The collective experiences of men like Martin, Malcolm, George Washington Carver, Garvey, Dubois, Abernathy, and other notables are ours to remember and peruse, if we choose.

Our collective struggle as men reinforces our uniqueness, and it is this sense of reinforcing who we are that makes us brothers.

I'm a teacher, future scholar, researcher, and hopeful cultural theorist. My blackness as a man makes me proud, but my ability to be seen by whites and other ethnicities who embrace white America's and Europe's definition of me makes me frown.


Posted by: Marcus Lawson | June 2, 2006 03:44 PM

Delores I do agree with you. It is difficult in a forum like this to really express what needs to come out. There has to be some criticism along with ample solutions to those criticisms. I think it has been addressed somewhat. Keep in mind that when your environment is filled with negative activity all the time that is what you will give out. It is hard to stamp out promiscuity; rape, domestic violence, and drug abuse especially if that is all you see day in and day out in your community. It doesn't help that pop culture in the form of music and videos perpetuated by the likes of entertainers and celebrities who make pimping the in thing to do. You become what you feed your mind. Try it and see what happens. I am rereading a book that I use as a personal reference book and motivator. In the very first chapter the author says that we are only known by what people who watch the 11pm news see us the negativity displayed as entertainers, sports figures, or the one who mugged someone in the subway. One gentleman stated that he who works in corporate America and works twice as hard as his counterparts to get to where they are and not a promotion. He is right define him by the attributes of father, husband, companion, nurturer, respectful, honest, and God fearing man. I read on here that someone stated that you must know who you are. That is the primary issue where all of these the other vices and superfluities are derived from, that common denominator called low self-esteem and no identity. Now that we have defined what it means to be a "Black Man." We must apply those principals instead of the negative ones we use. Do not allow the world's standard to be your standard. See life as it ought to be. Any fool can see reality; it takes a man to see life as it ought to be. There you will find the real power!

Posted by: Agabus | June 2, 2006 04:45 PM

This is a profound question for the 21st Century. I believe it is an evolving question because it presents the opportunity for black men to open a dialog and honestly define who we are. The question is reflective, and very personal. I believe that being a black man in today's society is a man who pursues the tenets of faith, personal responsibility, collective accountablity, cultural identity and historical realities. Being a black man means providing a sense of leadership and economic stability in the home, and participating in the affairs of his community through political action and social justice. Being a black man today means one who in light of many obstacles and great odds, can reinvent himself in a creative way to strive to succeed. Being a black man today, more than ever, is being one who is committed to toppling racial, economic and social barriers; overcoming numerous false portrayals and resisting the tendencies to be defined as a malcontent. Most of all, being a black male today means resisting the temptation to internalize negative perceptions. Yet, being a black man today is realizing there is a collective bond, a beautiful brotherhood that binds us with others of the darker hue. An innate substance imbedded on the dna of our souls, brought from the heartland of Africa. As a black man, I recognize my individual identity but I am compassionate and caring for those whom others would discount as "lesser than." Being a black man means being liberated enough to dream dreams of possiblities and to pursue those dreams them with as much passion and zeal that one can muster.

Posted by: Michael W | June 2, 2006 04:57 PM

A black man is a black beast, he's there for his kids, loves himself, his women, and his people. HE's down for the struggle, down for organization, blacklove, blackunity, blackownership, and black reform. in my school, there aren't many dominant black males, that are mentally dominant, while still being overall strong. this is a problem, a black man doesn't rap about bs just for the cash, selling drugs is one thing, but striving to make up songs about bs so a Jewish producer can make Millions off you is ridiculous. Black men need to be the fathers of the earth like they were meant to be. like i'm gonna be.

Stay black, uhuru.

Posted by: Mark Jones | June 2, 2006 05:03 PM

Sometimes I have to consider what it means to be "black". To be referred to as a color more so than an ethnicity... These aren't just "black" men... These men are the evidence and proof of a strong people. To be a black man is to know where you've come from. Knowing that the America was built on your blood, sweat and tears, along with your black women. To know and accept yourself for who you are.

There is so much power in a black man who knows himself, his history, and redefines his surroundings and circumstances to make it in a system that wasn't designed for any minority to succeed.

What it means to be a black man? It means survival...

Posted by: Jana Wallace | June 2, 2006 05:15 PM

Sometimes I have to consider what it means to be "black". To be referred to as a color more so than an ethnicity... These aren't just "black" men... These men are the evidence and proof of a strong people. To be a black man is to know where you've come from. Knowing that the America was built on your blood, sweat and tears, along with your black women. To know and accept yourself for who you are.

There is so much power in a black man who knows himself, his history, and redefines his surroundings and circumstances to make it in a system that wasn't designed for any minority to succeed.

What it means to be a black man? It means survival...

Posted by: Jana Wallace | June 2, 2006 05:25 PM

To be a black man in this country is to have a double identity, That is by the way you see yourself and the way you are viewed by the larger society. You are look at for the most part to be the lowest denominator of morality, interlect, selfcontrol and so on. You always have to look back and see were you came from to know where you are going. To fail is expected, to reach, is out of the ordinary,and you are told to often "what you can't do instead of what you can do."

Posted by: Kirt Silvers | June 2, 2006 05:28 PM

Being a Black Man means being prepared for struggle. It doesn't mean that we will fail, it just means that to get in the door sometimes you have to kick the door down. Some of us are better at kicking in doors than others which can lead to greater achievement. All men encounter obstacles in life but not all men encounter the problems in trying to obercome those obstacles. When a Black Man needs help in reaching goal most often he has to interact with a person not of color to achieve that goal. As it was pointed out in the article Bankers see color first. It is frustrating to be a Black Man and always have to get beyond being Black first before you can move on. In my youth Black Boys were always told "If you want to compete with the White Boys you have to be twice as good and work twice as hard." I would venture to say that not many Black Men of this generation hear that quote in the schools due in great measure to integration. As a Black Boy growing up in the South I heard that quote often.

Posted by: David Jordan | June 2, 2006 05:28 PM

To me being a Black Man in America means doing the extraordinary everyday. As black men achievements have for so long have gone unrecognized, black men turn to eachother to gain overall support. Living as a black male can mean knowing not only how to survive but also thrive and be productive in an environment deemed by society to be hostile, degrading, destructive, and detrimental to ones overall health. At times to me it means carrying your friends, family, community, and race on your back and proving to the world that we can make it as a people. For so long being a black male carried with it unanswered questions and numerous negative connotations and today we can use those incorrect stereotypes as fuel to furthur our knowledge of what it truely means to be a black male in America.

Posted by: Jorel Boston | June 2, 2006 05:31 PM

Why is it so tough being black in the district? I grew up in town near denver where about 0.25% of the population was black. You would often be the only black person for miles around, everyone noticed you. Living in the district would be preferable. Imagine being the only black person in your high school.

Posted by: theo | June 2, 2006 05:37 PM

To be a black man in america, you have to have a strong positive attitude to survive the racist and backwards atttudes of those who holds the reigns of power and influence. Also, a black man must have determination to be the best that he can be and take full responsiblity for his actions and behavior.

Posted by: denise rogers | June 2, 2006 05:47 PM

I can not say, I'm just a white dude living in Annapolis, but your report on this subject was very enlightening and informative for someone like myself. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Bryan Celentano | June 2, 2006 07:41 PM

To me being a black man in America means that I should be a humble leader in my family and community. It is to redevelop the pride in our heritage and to help fulfull our roles as kings of our own destiny.

Posted by: K Corbin | June 2, 2006 07:42 PM

I cannot tell you. I am black woman. Yet, I have witnessed the strength, sincerity, insecurity, boldness, fearlessness, humility, silence, intelligence, inconsistency, genorosity, honesty, beauty, kindness, dignity, sadness, ambition, fear, integrity, and love--words that only scratch the surface of the wonder and complexity--of a black man. He is not summed up in words, only in the reflection of the Creator who looked upon his existence and said, "This is good." To be a black man means to have the potential to walk in the will of God, making all things possible.

Posted by: Kennietha Jones | June 2, 2006 08:44 PM

To me being a black man represents a mirror of civilizatiion. In the begining we were the original society, we were conquered and immansculated. Now due to perseverance and time the cycle is changing that shows through our inner strenghts and determination a few of us are showing a trend towards regaining our place in society. I think the suffering and injustice placed on us birthed a humility and substance that most cultures have not endured. Few survivors are making this adjustment to character, a large majority of us are self destructive, but the strong who succeed in the next generations will be an improved and a strong breed and god fearing specimen. These individuals will take society to a different level in civilization. Thus life is a cycle and when the black man has reattained his original position the life cycle will be fulfilled and humanity's true potential will be realized.

Posted by: Lewis Nimmons | June 2, 2006 09:07 PM

Being a Black Man is more than being an African American. I observed that your interviews and view points are only of the African Americans. You will not be able to know what being a Black man trully is with this narrow sampling method. Some will call it prejudice. I will suggest you try harder to include the point of views of Black from Africa, Carribeans, India, mexico(hispanics) in you pool of opinion. Unless you think their views are not that really important.

Posted by: Dapo Oriola | June 2, 2006 10:56 PM

What Being a blackman means to me? I've been blessed to do many things in life and in the process I've learn alot, this questions is a large one as ower culture is so divers in lifestyles and beliefs, Stress is major I understand the beauty of being black and all it's gifts that these men talk about, but living under stress we all experience daily, dealling with the strees of life, America, your family and don't forget the police! Being a blackman means finding a way to overcome these daily happenings or finding a way to keep a heart bet and maintain a very small unimportant station in life, because lets face it brothers all blackmen aren't living great lives but they to are men! So weather your rich or poor being a black man is very stressfull. make sure you get your workout, eat, and sleep right. Peace out as the young would say!

Posted by: Ronald E. Cochran | June 3, 2006 03:50 AM

What Being a blackman means to me? I've been blessed to do many things in life and in the process I've learn alot, this questions is a large one as ower culture is so divers in lifestyles and beliefs, Stress is major I understand the beauty of being black and all it's gifts that these men talk about, but living under stress we all experience daily, dealling with the strees of life, America, your family and don't forget the police! Being a blackman means finding a way to overcome these daily happenings or finding a way to keep a heart bet and maintain a very small unimportant station in life, because lets face it brothers all blackmen aren't living great lives but they to are men! So weather your rich or poor being a black man is very stressfull. make sure you get your workout, eat, and sleep right. Peace out as the young would say!

Posted by: Ronald E. Cochran | June 3, 2006 03:51 AM

Being a Black man is a great responsibility not only to ourselves but to the next generation of young men that are growing up at a time when history is progressing fast than ever before. As the new elders we must take the torch that has been passed to us while attempting to not be swept in the mindset of thinking we have nothing further to gain or we have come to the end of the ideal that those who lived and died before us. We must continue to fight the good fight and help keep our future from becoming a dimming light with no hope, no prospects, and no dreams. We must stand and be men, as our forefathers were and wanted us to be.

Posted by: Will Scott, Jr. | June 3, 2006 04:14 AM

It means you are one of god's stromgest creature to be able to keep on smilling through all the racism and strife that comes with our legacy.

Posted by: William D. Wright | June 3, 2006 08:34 AM

As a black man I feel great sometimes, that I ma a different race from the country I am living in (England). but other times I wish I was a White man or have a temporary mask to allow me gain the things I need eg. being able to get the job I have qualified for, being able to get a female I fancy and begin respected for who I am-not the colour of my skin.
But other times I forget about the colour of my skin when I attend for soccer matches go to church or attend gigs.
What does it feel to be a black man? It is sweet and sour.

Posted by: Ermiyas Mekonnen | June 3, 2006 09:47 AM

Being a Black Man has been educational, interesting and challenging. Educational, in that at a young age (5 or 6 years old 1952/53) while visiting and learning what you do and what you do not do on your Grandfather's farm (Macon, Georgia)--watch out for bees and hornets, make noise when walking through the woods so snakes will hear you and move out the way, stay away from poison ivy etc., you also had to learn that there are men who would kill you only because of the color of your skin. My uncles and cousins would make sure that I understood where I was and what it ment to Black. By the second grade (1954), my family had moved to Norfolk, Virginia and I had to walk to school off the military base (my dad was in the Navy). Each day when returning from school, two little white children, both not yet in school, would come out of their house as I walked by and call me nigger. At that age and being new to the base, I didn't know another way home and so I had to hear them every day. It's interesting what stays with you over the years. In 1968 as a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets), I was in Viet Nam on the Cambodian border with an "A" Team. Due to our location, we had Cambodian mercenaries working for us. These Cambodians were of the Khmer Kampochia Khrom (KKK) aboriginal people. They told me that I was the same as them. They then made me an honorary KKK and made me a battle flag to wear. During that year, over many diners with their wives and children, the Cambodians told me of how the French treated them while the French controlled Cambodia. It was educational and interesting to learn that thousands of miles away from Georgia and Virginia, people that looked like me were treated the same as I when I was back in the United States. Although being a Black Man-being a minority in a majority U.S. socity is complex, sometimes demeaning and always challenging, I have come to love being a Black Man. One of the most important things that I have learned to be true in my 59 years, is that being Black--being of color, means that we are treated the same regardless of where we might live.

Posted by: Lew Chapman | June 3, 2006 01:38 PM

The simple answer is having two black parents of the same black race. A black man must have a black mother and a black father, anything else is a non black. The biological facts don't change because we are not white. No one disputes the biological fact that it takes a white mother and a white father to produce white child.

But the larger question is what is race. Race is only important to the white people. No other so-called race really cares. White people must care, because they are endangered. White peolpe must be racist if they are to remain in tact. It is a survival technique designed to ensure their charteristics are passed on to their off-springs. That concept ensures their continued dominance of the planet.

I wish you success.

Posted by: J. K. Wilson | June 3, 2006 02:17 PM

I have a different view on this subject. The color of a mans skin is a adaptation to a specific region on earth, nothing more.

All men are biologically the same. Color is a minor difference to all other races except whites. Unfornutately, white people have had to use color differences to divide humans from one another as a survival technque.

Cultural dominance is what you are talking about.

All races want to survive and take care of their families. But, white people have a special problem. In order to survive, in tact, they can not mix with other races. My question is this, if white men could have white babies from black women would we have racism?

Posted by: J. K. Wilson | June 3, 2006 02:45 PM

Enlightening series of brief snippets from the perspectives of a variety of black men. thank you for this gift that shows the range of feelings, reality, and potential for the hope/beliefs among many, rather than the stereotyped images, either all positive or terrifically negative, seen in the media that shapes all our lives. More, please, and preferably a broader range of interviewees than only from D.C.

Posted by: L Madson | June 3, 2006 03:11 PM

I think the nature of this question is somewhat offensive in itself because it's not detailed enough to give a legitimate answer. What it means to be a "black" man in the Sudan from the perspective of himself and his Sudanese counterparts, does not mean the same as being a 'black' man in America from the perspective of himself and his fairer skinned brothers/sisters. You may perhaps be asking "In America today, what does it mean to be a 'black' man in a predominantly 'white' society who deems him inferior?" This question specifies who, what, when, where, and why...Great question.

So assuming that you are speaking directly to "Afro-Americans," my answer is clear and succint. Being 'black' today directly correlates to The Black Experience. If you don't know what it's like to be 'black' in America, you don't want to know...I am a young and (money wise) successful Afro-American, but the reason I AM so successful is b/c I was afforded an obvious head start from my family. My parents were moral, hard-working Afro-Americans who sacrificed to see me become the individual I am today. They broke their backs to send me to a private high school institution that allowed me to academically perform higher than many of my associates. However, hundreds of thousands of young Afro-Americans have not been offered nor have they capitalized on the same opportunity as I have. The reason they have not capitalized on the same opportunity is not b/c they are lazy and shiftless, but more so because they are frustrated and hopeless.

For those who don't know about the plagues of the Afro-American community, please someone else fill this in w/ statistics b/c I can go on for days.

Afro-Americans have grown to understand that the only thing 'white' Americans will respect are our dollars, which is why we have grown to love and embrace ourselves as Americans. But the dirty laundry still remains. When my great-grandmother 101 years old, God rest her soul, spoke to me directly about how her husband had been constantly shortchanged in the Southern sharecropping system, it spoke volumes to me. "Who could we run to," was her response. No answers. You tell me, how could someone so pure in heart be persecuted for something so menial?

When you have this type of experience, and you understand everything behind it, that's what it means to be a 'black' man in America today...

Posted by: Vince Knight | June 3, 2006 04:58 PM

To me to be a Black Man is too have a thick skin in order to rise over the negatives of our society both from majority and from our own society. For me to be a successful black man reqiured a dream, being focus, and not afraid to go out and get it and make it work at any cost because its who you are. I caution all of us we must be real and honest to ourselves first for self fullfilment to occur. It has worked for me. Being a Black man has provided me the strength knowing life is not easy for us to pursue my dream at all cost and make it work. It is simple in a way..I wanted to be in a position where I could make a difference in others lifes. I am there.

Posted by: | June 3, 2006 05:06 PM

I am a Black woman. When I first heard that the Wash Post was doing a series on Black Men I was quite skeptical as to the validity of the material that would be published. Aferall, there are infinite answers to what it is to be a Black man, some simple and some very complex. But I have been very surprised on what is developing here. This is a beginning in some intriguing dialogue. I hope it moves folks to positive action. We have a lot of work to do.

Posted by: KK | June 3, 2006 06:43 PM

When you are a black man, it seems that everyone has a set of chains for you to wear.
One group seeks to chain you with their fear. Their impulse is to look away, shunt you aside, contain you and even imprison you - not to rehabilitate you, but to banish you.
One group seeks to chain you with low expectations. The people in this group will tell you that you will amount to nothing, and treat you accordingly, assuring the truth of their prophecy.
One group tries to chain black men with all of the sins and failures of black men who came before. Breaking the chain requires the superhuman effort of being twice as good to get half as far.
Various groups bring chains of conformity to an artificial standard of manhood. One says black manhood should look like the images in a hip-hop video, all bling, sexual conquest and bubbling rage. Another says black manhood is only black manhood when it looks like a Cosby sitcom, complete with wife and children; a black man can't be gay.
I have had to confront all of these chains to some extent in my life, including that last sexuality chain. I will leave it to others to comment on all of the other various chains that need to be broken if black men are to be fulfilled individuals and positive contributors to society. I am compelled to say this about people, like Rev. Alfred Owens of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church, who believe I am not a man because I share my life with another man: The measure of a man is in what he gives - to the God he serves, to the people in his life and to himself. It is in whether the values upon which he bases his life upholds, uplifts and improves the lives of others. It is in whether his prosperity is based on what he gives, not what he takes.
Just the other day, I had a group of gay men in my home, sharing stories of their lives. Some spoke of the chains they and their friends had to break out of to be themselves, and the scars they bore in the process of breaking those chains. We talked about how we nurtured friends of ours who lived, and died, with AIDS. We talked about getting arrested in demonstrations for better AIDS care or for human rights. We talked about the triumphs and struggles of our individual pieces of the task of making a better world. We fretted about the next generation and about all of the issues that were falling through the cracks while their parents were out fulminating against the "threat" of gay marriage or other illusory fears created by the smoke-and-mirrors experts now in political power. We found time to make each other laugh.
These were real men -- black, gay and unchained. Their stories need to be heard as part of the larger narrative of how black men can become more than an "endangered species" to be dissected in newspaper series and scholarly treatises.
If we are willing to drop the chains of negativity and superficiality around which we have wrapped black men and the very definition of manhood, open hearts will be pleasantly surprised by the beauty, wisdom and power to be found among black men that only needs to be nurtured, encouraged and appreciated.

Posted by: Isaiah J. Poole | June 3, 2006 07:07 PM

It means to be responsible, aware, bold, a trailblazer, a rock, a center, a pioneer, a stalwart, a linguist, a multicultural expert, a historian, and a provider - for starters.

Often it means to be "the only." Often it means being in isolation, Often it means being a teacher to those around you. Often it means being under a microscope. Often it means an extra helping of stress.

It always means that my success is possible in part by the generations that went before me, and that the success of the generations that follow is dependent upon me.

Posted by: Fredric Walls | June 4, 2006 12:58 AM

The meaning of being a black man is to deal
with legacy of america's Racism. It waking
up knowing you are not valued in in proportion to your contributions to society as a whole. It means 'others' using the N-word as form of greeting but if you used a slur in greeting them by their racial background their would be
**** to pay. It means listening as one party asks for vote while the other asks for you fight to die for this country even though you do receive the full benefits of being a citizen simply because of race.

Posted by: william cash | June 4, 2006 01:08 AM

The question needs to be restated for context . The question should read what it means to be a black man in America. Because in America our experience is unique to the insititution of slavery and its infrastructure of racism that has us now, and in the past, living in a society that reviles and praises us within the same sentence. On the continent of Africa the question is moot. Therefore, the question of what it means to be a black man in America is to be loved and feared everywhere you go and at the same time by those different from you and by those of your same ethnicity.

Posted by: Alphonso Whitfield III | June 4, 2006 08:30 AM

It means: GOD Fearing, A Strong Tower, A Pillar of Truth, A Beckon of Hope, to your Women, Children, and all that come in contact with you. Your Love is not leverage. It is, the tie, that binds, your soul to another's and makes you forever a part of the strength, truth, reverence and all that is Holy in the site of our GOD, in our lives...

I'm not a man, I do believe GOD has a standard for man, some rise to the occasion and others HE blesses to continue to rise, as long as we continue to rise we should be moving toward destiny.

Posted by: Venesta | June 4, 2006 09:28 AM

There are biological and social interpretations of being a black man. I think the focus is often on the social because it is based on various factors and it is subject to change. Social status seems to be the strongest influence on what it is to be a black man. Life situations are subject to change and are affected by people and circumstances. It is generally perceived that a black man is less favored economically to a white man.

Posted by: AntonyOgunMokun | June 4, 2006 10:07 AM

In his June 2, column, "Being a Black Man," Michael A. Fletcher asks the question, "What does it mean to be a black man?"
This question is irrelevant, really, and dubious at best. To know what it means to be a black man is tied invariably to what it means to be a white man.
Here is how Mr. Fletcher has messed thing up.
The white man doesn't despise the black man because he is black; he despises him because he isn't white. The black experience in this society compels the white man to see the reality of who he is and what he ought to be. This reality reveals to him more than he cares to know about himself, and pretences are shown for what they are, and the masks are stripped away.
He's unwilling to face why so many black men are in prison, or unemployed, or standing adrift on street corners.
Have advances been made? It would depend upon whose controlling reality.


Joseph Young

Posted by: Joseph Young | June 4, 2006 10:53 AM

What I found most interesting were the results of the poll. What stood out was the glaring difference between how white men and women view the black male's experience, as opposed to how black men and women view the same. I am a black woman, and 99% of my responses were in alignment with those responses of the majority of black men and women. It was just another example of how, I feel, white men and women are out of touch or, perhaps for some, in denial, about the experience of black people in this country, and that racism is not only still a constant overlay, but greatly impedes our progress in this country.

Posted by: Terry Daniel | June 4, 2006 11:29 AM

I'm not a black man, but rather, a black woman. I think that being a black man means you have the difficult responsibility to rise, even when certain members of society or institutions bring you down simply based on the color of your skin. You have a responsibility to rise for yourself, your wives and your daughters; because we need you.

Posted by: Cole | June 4, 2006 01:03 PM

To be a Black Man in America -
It means to acknowledge and accept that there were thousands upon thousands who lived before your time, who suffered and compromised a great deal so that you could exist without the chains that bound them so. Chains in both literal and figurative senses. Be a party-pooper & leave the Pity Party behind. I assure you the VIP section Strength & Survival is the place to be. Brothers there are sooooooooo many doors open to you in this day and age. Persistance and patience go hand in hand.
To be a Black Man in this day and age to to awake each day first giving thanks to God for another chance and secondly taking that chance and running with it. Break a cycle, shake those demons and take advantage of the opportunities that you do have. One can not fail if he never tries. Stop relying on the word of the next man, seek knowledge for thyself. Just because Tony, Fats, Black & Lil Man didn't make it doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Just because your parents are drug addicts doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Just because you feel as if you have no one in your corner to cheer you on doesn't mean that you shouldn't come out fighting with every breath you have. Acknowledge the pain and struggle of those before you and instead of becoming overwhelmed with anger and bitterness add some gratitude to heart and keep on pushing.

Lack of self respect is character trait among our people that rattles my nerves. Something I see more of living in the city than I did growing up in the south. My mother instilled in her children a certain degree of self-pride. She used to tell us that just because we were poor that we needn't look like trash. Wash your hair, cut your hair, take a bath, clean your house, wear a smile, be approachable people. Be honest with yourself first then you can expect others to be honest with you.

I love my brothers and only wish you the best. My prayers for your awakening is not a lone prayer, I believe there are millions out there dead or alive rooting for your success just as I am everyday. All we ask is that you stand, uplift yourselves, break those chains and more importantly pray for yourselves and the survival and success of the Black Man next to you.

Posted by: Ngazi | June 4, 2006 01:45 PM

being a black man in America is having a name like William Thomas Paul Hoffman. Being Black in this country is knowing your history and your roots and realizing the painfull greatness of it. Not using our histories gratness and pain to make excuses for our failures in todays america. being a black man does'nt give me carta blanche to be a racist.Being a black man in america is telling your only son,that one drop a black blood makes you a black man, who's mother happens to be white.

Posted by: Bill Hoffman | June 4, 2006 03:43 PM

Being a black means struggling to stay above water when the world innately wants you to drown. It means living in constant fear--no matter how successful you are--of that day when you are going to run into the wrong cop, too many. It means proving to the world that you can be just as good as any other race, even if they insist that you will always be inferior. Being a black man, to me, is my pride. I have my shield in place, and they, no matter how big or tall, will never break it. If they aren't looking for someone they can break, they have the wrong negro.

Posted by: Armond Batiste | June 4, 2006 06:20 PM

Hi, my names Victoria Young and I am the daughter of Joesph Young. I'm not a black man nor a black women, but instead an African-American child. I'm African-American I'm not black. Black is simply just a color. My dad has shown me that knowing our history as 'Black' PEOPLE is tremendously important in this society. I have a culture and a people I will never know, because of slavery. At school I learn everything that white america wants me to learn and through my studies at home I am learning about my African cultural more and more. I think having that balance helps you to see things for what they really are.

Posted by: Victoria Young | June 4, 2006 07:47 PM

I was shocked that you didn't have anything about Muslims in the African American community. Espicially, the orthodox Muslims under the leadership of Imam WD Mohammed. They are really fascinating, and have a tremendous bridge for International Relations, and their contribution in America.

Posted by: Herbert Fraser | June 4, 2006 08:40 PM

Being a black man in this country means that I am going to get more opposition from my fellow black man than any white man. In my opinion, I feel that the mother's and fathers's of the children today have let down the future parents of tomorrow. I was fortunate to have a family structure that help mold me into who I am today. But if you expose your child to alcohol, drugs, shady friends and most of all unhealthy environments. Then you get what you put in. Bottom line is my people need to stop blaming everybody else for their situation and make something happen. And stop asking for help. A real man doesn't borrow, a real man does without until he can get his own.

Posted by: Jermaine | June 4, 2006 10:11 PM

I commend Washington Post for taking time and resources to provide this information.

Posted by: Albert Thompson | June 4, 2006 10:25 PM

I believe that ALL Black men are beautiful. I love them! They are my father, grandfather, brother, and my uncles. This editorial is informative and insprirational for all that want to know what our men think. I pray that ALL of my Black men will accept what it means to be a Black man, the power that they can hold and the influence we have on the world. God bless!!

Posted by: aisha | June 4, 2006 10:37 PM

Being a black man in American means dealing with a handicap the same as any other handicapped person. You can either let yourself be defined as handicapped or do all in your power to overcome that and be all that you want to be. Deal with it and go on. T. Taylor, Denver, CO

Posted by: T Taylor | June 4, 2006 11:44 PM

Good informantion, however we were in slavery, Jim Crow and legal segergation for 200+ years and most important legal changes came in 1954 and 1964. The minds of those who imposed those laws have not changed completely,neither are we black able to change our programed thinking over night. Base on history, for black's to be equal with white it will take the next 25/50 years because we worked for nothing and late little or nothing for years. The whites made all and later nearly all the money during this period. We could not live where we wanted to (devalued propery),No education or little at best, health care (dental/eye/or medical) for families, Hand me down books, if any at all, not able to pay for a tutor or having to work two job and not able to assist your child with their homework, if you had a basic education youself. These are just some of the problem during this time.

I say all this because even though I hold two master degrees, I know that this issue will not change over night, many nights.

When do you or we think the blacks south africans will be on par with the whites? 10/25/50 years? and they weren't enslaved as we were. Don't miminize this.

It's not easy and I don't want to make excuses for some of my brothers, because we need to get it together and do much better. I mentor youth as much as I can, but it's will be a long time before we'll on par with the whites. An racism is still present in the country and around the world.



Posted by: Spencer Tyrus | June 5, 2006 01:57 AM

People in American consider the Afro-American as a despicable person.

They are afraid of Afro-American males. Afraid to be alone with them, afraid that they will be assaulted.

I think the American public sees the 'common' Afro-American in this light.

Now, they are thrilled to meet a famous Afro-American..they have no fear of him.
Ali, basket ball greats, are lionized by young Americans of all races.

But these are exceptional individuals. When we look at other minorities,new immigrants, Chinese,Indians, for example; they are excelling in special high schools. Afro-Americans are,conspicuously, absent from these high achieving slots.

It is assume by new immigrants that Afro-Americans are going to hurt them. I have been asked, in China & India, will Afro-Americans 'assault them',when they come to America?."

I ask them "why do you think that?" They reply "from the news from American,I have that opinion that 'blacks' are a very violent,non-achievement group."

Afro-Americans have a very negative press world wide. During the flood of New Orleans, Afro-Americans were described as being rapist, rioting individuals. When the issue was examined it was proven that much of this 'bad press'was untrue. But the world never read the follow up,the damage was done.

Posted by: R. Steele | June 5, 2006 07:06 AM

The shouler of responsibility of people trying to protect a legacy, but not be defined by myths and stereotypes that have personified black men for hundreds of years. A desire to cultivate relationships with all men yet remain distinctively and culturally different. Embrace our women but allow their strength and beauty to compliment us. Being a black man is not easy in America, the weight of generations past and future is on your shoulders, a different encounter awaits you everyday. To sum it all up, we are admired but yet feared, even by our very own including ourselves.

Posted by: Richard Redding | June 5, 2006 08:03 AM


Posted by: KEN | June 5, 2006 09:09 AM

Being a Black man means honoring the plight of our ancestors by living up to the dreams, goals and aspirations, where many have died trying to pave the way for the future (current) generations. I think our ancestors would be truly disappointed to see the state of black men as a whole, comparatively speaking. The things we deal with today don't even come close to what our forefathers had to deal with. In this regard, we have dropped the ball. High incarceration rates, unemployment due to a lack of education (or trade) severely hinders our roles as leaders within our own communities. Bittersweet, to me, describes the contrast between those that are successful and those that have yet to seize the opportunities that are out there. When you think about the living conditions of immigrants comiong here from other countries, it's hard to understand why more of us aren't taking advantage of what this country has to offer. We don't need a new leader. The blueprint has already been established by those that have lived and died for the cause (slave-ancestors, Douglas, King, X , Carter G Woodson, etc.) All we have to do is "live up" and walk the road that has already been paved. The everyday professional business leaders will be the biggest impact on young black men. It's time to put some "bling" into educational attainments and getting a "fly" career. With this, a lot of problems will go away.

Posted by: Les Johnson | June 5, 2006 09:20 AM

The shouler of responsibility of people trying to protect a legacy, but not be defined by myths and stereotypes that have personified black men for hundreds of years. A desire to cultivate relationships with all men yet remain distinctively and culturally different. Embrace our women but allow their strength and beauty to compliment us. Being a black man is not easy in America, the weight of generations past and future is on your shoulders, a different encounter awaits you everyday. To sum it all up, we are admired but yet feared, even by our very own including ourselves.

Posted by: Richard Redding | June 5, 2006 09:26 AM

I enjoyed the video. I also like the fact that you showed the Black Man in all walks of life. When a young person thinks about the black male as a role model; they see Basketball and Rappers. This shows that there are more role models. Thank you for this information, I will share with others.

Posted by: Beverly E. Vaden | June 5, 2006 09:36 AM

I'm not a black male but I know what I think of when I think of in a
Black male to be a role model, to be a provider, to be a leader , and to guide the family as one unit.

Posted by: Marvella Soumare | June 5, 2006 09:58 AM

There is an untold amount of pride, resourcefulness, and strength in the black community. As a Black woman, I would have liked to seen more of that showcased in your interviews and commentaries on/with African American men. Although the plight of the Black man is difficult, there are many everyday miracles and victories that we as a community achieve daily, in spite of constant adversity. Black men are still achieving great things in the midst of oppression. I'm speaking of things such as racism, discrimination, poor educational system in urban areas, lack of funding for community improvement, the unfair structure of the prison industrial complex, unfair marketing in our communities with products that destroy our families, i.e. alcohol, cigarettes, etc., the lingering affects of slavery, and a list of other things that black men and black women have to fight daily. This is on top of NORMAL family issues that every American could face. Please make sure that you make it your duty to showcase the entire spectrum of what it means to be a black man in America, albeit it is extremely complex, it is a beautiful story.

Posted by: J. Grant | June 5, 2006 10:09 AM

As a 30 year old black man from Detroit my opinion of being a black man is of strength. I was raised in a community that was filled with adversaties, but success was always a possibility.

Being a black man means being courageous. No being throughout history has faced the challenges, systematic racism, and struggles that we've experienced. It means acknowledging that we are men of character, esteem, and vision. That we have been able to project a better tomorrow regardless of our bleek circumstances. We are descendants of a glorious past full of stories rich in greatness. We must acknowledge our present state and move forward. We must lead our families and communities into a better day. We have and will continue to be men of valor.

Posted by: Tyrone Weeks | June 5, 2006 10:52 AM

Outstanding series! I am thrilled that we are hearing from these wonderful men, our fathers, our brothers, our husbands, our nephews, our cousins, our own! We have stories to tell that hopefully will change the perceptions and will recognize and empower our men for who they are and for what they have contributed.

Posted by: mitzi yates lizarraga | June 5, 2006 11:07 AM

I think these are the types of questions that keep reinforcing old stereotypes, a certain way of thinking that keeps people divided and in conflict. This is not just here in America but all over the world. What does it mean to be a black man?

I am human being first and foremost. This is how I see myself. What others describe me as because my skin is black is their problem, how they choose to treat me because they see me different from them is their business.

All the horrors that we human beings inflict on each other on a daily basis all over the world is because we think we are different from one another. And with this fundamental shift in thinking, we are justified to kill, commit atrocities, treat other human beings worse than animals, trash human dignity out the window. In the process, we forget what is precious in ourselves.

Maybe we should ask, what does it mean to be a human being?

Because then there will be no difference between blacks, whites, asians and people of any color.

Think about this, with all the gift of intelligence we have been given, we are the only species who treat each other differently because we have different skin colors, because we think different, and because we act different.

Just think how it would sound if we ask a dog, what does it mean to be a black dog? This is exactly what you are asking human beings to respond to.

The differences are only there because how we have conditioned to think a certain way and if we shift our perceptions just maybe we start seeing each other for who we really are.

Posted by: Lionel Dyer | June 5, 2006 11:28 AM

What does it mean to be a black man? It's like an enigma inside a riddle. We are viewed negatively far too often and have to work far too hard to achieve the same as our constituents. What me must do, beginning now, is to be accountable for ourselves; for the future generations of young black men behind us are looking to us for guidance and direction. In order for them to understand their role in their communities, their homes, their lives, WE must teach them. Instill in them self-respect and show them how to walk with pride--pride in the fact that they are unique for POSITIVE reasons! And we must fight to defeat the negative stereotypes that have been place upon us. We must not allow ourselves to be disrespected. We have a lot to offer and we must once again strive to make ourselves worthy of the praise that we give to those that came before us. We must be afraid to share information that will help ALL achieve greatness.

Posted by: Jeffrey K. Cowins | June 5, 2006 12:39 PM

This is a great serious. It was very informative. However, I don't think that our Black Men are the only cause for some of this. Black women also have a role in this as we have become so hard that we give the perception that a man is not needed. We have allowed them to disrespect and abuse us without acknowledging the true root cause of our actions.

Posted by: Monique Forte | June 5, 2006 03:40 PM

To be a black man is realizing that you are the descendant of great kings, and great tribes of Africa. A black man is not to be classified only as the descendant of cotton pickers, and slaves.
Even though that is part of the black man's history, it is not his only history.
Remember...., A black man has a great future, and many more descendants to bring into this world who will also be great.
And only he (the black man)is the only one who can usher these descendants into greatness.

Posted by: Aundria Mead ( A proud black woman) | June 5, 2006 03:55 PM

The challenge with answering the question, "What does it mean to be a black man?" is that people try to answer the question as if being a black man has an absolut answer. Black men, as are other people, are a work in progress; constantly searching for our humanity in ourselves as well as in others. Being a black man is, and has been, an ever-changing dynamic in America and the world. The American narrative, and everyone who lives and consumes it, is calabrated for race. So, being a black man means recalabrating ourselves to be healthy based-on the historical narrative of America. In short, and somewhat over-simplified, being a black man means understanding the challenge before us; changing the world we live-in through conscious and unconscious acts of shared humanity.

D. Christopher James
Chicago, IL

Posted by: Chris James | June 5, 2006 04:19 PM

The Black Man is a GREAT man because of the difference situations he has to deal with from birth to became a man. There are different obstacles in his way which allows him to get off track because the influences and difference voices that he listens to. In order for him to express himself life experience and outside forces in the family and outside the family keep him from focuses on the things that
he could develop to make him reach his highest potential.

Posted by: | June 5, 2006 04:48 PM

The proper question should be, What does it mean to be a black man in a white supremacy society/country? And before this question can be answered intelligently, the victims (black men) must be aware of this fact themselves.

Posted by: Theodore Kirkland | June 5, 2006 06:01 PM

I am one with a long, proud history, but a history not without struggle. I am one who is sometimes envied but often times feared. To some, my mere persence makes them "down right" unconfrontable. Regardless to how others may view me, I will never allow myself to be defined by others. I can never loose sight of my own personal responsibility - to my family, my community & my God. Although I embodies the complexities of a turbulent history, and race conscience society, I will always be a man of heritage, hope and destiny.

Posted by: Linwood Moore | June 5, 2006 07:50 PM

Very well done. Depth. Compassion. Anger and promise, all captured here.

(A white man)

Posted by: Gary | June 5, 2006 08:54 PM

Being a Black man To me means that I have unlimited potential and that I better reach it because so many people died and suffered so that I may have the opportunity to reach that potential.

Posted by: DP | June 5, 2006 08:59 PM

What does it mean to be a black man?
It means to live with an enormous amount of hatred for a ignorant and pitful white culture who somehow believes that they were put in this world by some superior being to be superior. It is to live with that hatered without becoming dysfunctional; but allowing that hatered to carve and create a manhood that demonostrates such indifference to a white culture, which speaks clearly that it is you who do not matter to me, and you will never matter because of your injustice. I will never allow it, even if you find redemption, I will not allow it. You had no reason and neither do I.

Your pen have destoryed many, even in this segment you chose men to speak who you believe to be indigitive of who black men are. Black men are not preachers, they are part preacher, Black men are not pseduo intellects they are intellectuls. Black men are not politicians, they are political. Black men are not ghetto, they are without fundemental resources and sometimes fallen or misguided travelers. Black men are the hue that work everyday and take care of their families and business just as you do and you can't figure out how they do it. Here is the secret, they do it because you can't hinder them from doing it because in spite of all your trying, the interveining variable somehow works for all and death the equalizer will always have its say and even your wizzardy will not deny the equalizer. And what then; if there is a superior being who has no respector person will he allow black or white hate. Don't speak to me about being a black man, reflect upon who the man is, it is surley not black nor white. Even now I see beyond my skin.

Posted by: LW | June 5, 2006 10:54 PM

I am an African-American male electrical engineer with a MBA who is enjoying reading portions of your series via the Internet from Atlanta. I am also a baby-boomer (47). I first learned about your series by watching C-SPAN. You can consider me a news junkie. I enjoy watching C-SPAN, Lou Dobbs, Meet the Press, the McNeil Newshour, Frontline, etc. Furthermore, it's important to me to remain aware of civics and current affairs that I observe other local publications....As you continue your fine series, I will be severely disappointed if my fellow brothers in the struggle aren't asked about the same issues of the day as the President, Senators, Condelezza Rice, and other federal elected officials are asked. I virtually never see any major news organizations interview a member of the Black Congressional Caucus concerning our community views concerning the Iraq/Afghanastan wars, health care, immigration reform, the federal deficit, education policy, Iran, etc. The irony is that black men comprise approximately 6% of the U. S. population but we comprise approximately 20% of the armed forces. Go figure. Being a black man in this country is that we are expected to contribute to the team but when we articulate our needs we are the enemy or the "poster child". The country is so polarized. I feel as if a civil war exists against my community, family, and social group. I'm not believing the rhethoric or hype. Those on the other side of the political aisle are so anti-black folk that they refuse suggestions from the successful, educated African-Americans. I think that I and other black men like me have some credibility concerning the issue if the needs of young, black men since we navigated through our adolescent years.

Just because both of us were born within the same country no longer mean that I automatically consider you an ally. It's a shame when the greater threat comes from your countrymen than some of the foreigners (Mexicans, Iranians, Iraqis, etc.)that they (neocons/conservatives) are trying to persuade me to hate.

Posted by: Irving Fordham | June 5, 2006 11:01 PM

Being a Black Man means absolute strength! Strength because it takes stamina to fight the daily challenges of being a Black Man. The "world" looks at the "African American" male as the lowest human on the planet. Every immigrant that enters into this country looks at the Black Man as the 2nd class human. That's why I say that it takes absolute strength to face these prejudices each day. You MUST have "absolute strength" to be a Black Man and many of us wear that crown well!

Posted by: Jerome Cottrell | June 6, 2006 06:21 AM

Why do you never discuss "reverse raceism"?? Ask any Asian in NYC their experience - having Blacks pull their eyes slanty and making sounds that would imitate Asian language. At bus stops, etc.

Black women who give nasty, snotty looks to white people. I mean well dressed, business types.

My once, younger me who had warm feelings towards those of color is now "arms length"

Posted by: Cecilia Dvorchak | June 6, 2006 08:56 AM

I believe to be a black man means taking advantage of innate talents, be accountable, and uphold religious & family values that has been transcended upon us.

Posted by: William | June 6, 2006 10:30 AM

Excellent piece. I am using this in my "Boys II Men" club at a Philadelphia Charter School. Keep it coming.

Posted by: Joel Wilson | June 6, 2006 12:03 PM

Being a Black Man in America is a very complexed existence not only as a group, but in our individuality. It can be difficult, challenging, frustrating and also uniquely beautiful and special within our own diversity and complexity. The average Black male strives to maintain and better himself while trapped between who or what we should no longer be, and those who we wish to emulate. Being a Black man means not making the mistakes our fathers made. A Black man should be patient with his brothers, for many of us have not been taught yet nor have the right teachers. It means that now that we are no longer being sold, seize the day and make the most of our lives. I, thank God, don't have to live the lives of Black men before me, but I love being my individual black self. I pray for us to realize that we don't all have to be of the same mind, listen to the same music and try to maintain images which are no more than that...images. Be of substance and be who you are. We are unique, talented, gifted men in every facet and discipline in life.
We are creators, the soul givers, the originators and contemplators. Black men are loving brothers, sons, fathers and especially, God created human beings, with real feelings and emotions. Being a Black man means having love for his people, along with leadership abilities, a hunger for knowledge, and a vision to uplift his people to live the lives they were created to live. A "King", as the younger generation would say, shall possess all of the qualities and characteristics of a king.

Posted by: Henry Clay | June 6, 2006 12:25 PM

Pound for Pound -- It is the hard job in the world. Imagine, always having to prove yourself. Your word and intelligence is always questioned and second guessed. Then there is the continued mentality of "white-privilege" that runs amock in America. Read the laws of America and how they were developed and passed in law, you will find our true history. While some of the laws have been corrected or overturned, the legacy of those that composed them is still here.

I wear a uniform and have 27 years of military experience. I remember stories from my Grandfather who was in WWI, my father in WWII, my brothers in Viet Nam, yet even with that the Black mans loyality is questioned...there isn't enough space or time for me to write it all.

Posted by: RMTaylor | June 6, 2006 12:56 PM

I am a Black man, living in Boston (Brookline, Coolidge Corner). I got out of the military in June 2004. I joined the U.S. Navy in 1998, three days before my birthday. I grew up in Atlanta (Stone Mountain), Georgia. I considered myself to be a Republican while I was in the military and have since switched political parties after seeing "Free Speech Zones" implemented in the summer of 2004 as I stepped off the buss from serving six years in the military. When I came to Boston, I knew I had to hit the ground running in order to get myself situated. One of the things I did was bought a lot of savings bonds while I was in the Navy. The only reason I came to Boston was to use my Montgomery G.I. Bill and complete my education at Boston University. It took me a month to find a job at Hertz, which is unheard of for me, usually I can find a job within a day or two. I got that job, then I went through the process of getting my Certificate of Eligibility for my G.I. Bill. It was a pain working with the VA, but eventually, I got it and I went to school from Jan 2005 to Dec 2005. I ran out of money. Not from my G.I. Bill but from my own pocket. The price of an education was right and everything but the VA only paid on a monthly basis and the school didn't make any concessions for me to pay on the same basis so I would have to pay, then get reimbursed. I ran out of money. I got plenty of second jobs. I had to quit my second job at the Marriott because it was too demanding and it was making me late for my primary job. By then I had quit my job at Hertz because I found a better job at the Childrens Hospital. I started that job as soon as I got back into school. I have been out of school since January. Now it looks like I may have found a decent second job at the Ritz Carleton.

I mean, I don't know. Its dogged out here for a Black man. It can be a good thing, if you're willing to work hard, harder than everyone else. You have to have a complete understanding of the facts: (1) that racism exists, (2) that the odds are stacked against you, (3) you can do anything you set your mind to but you will have to work harder for it. Things are harder for Blacks, but you can't really think about that because if you think about it, it can discourage you from being and doing your best. I look back and I think the thing I'm proud of as a Black man is the Hip Hop/Rap Movement. Its a movement where everyone, even the elders within our own community were against it from the very beginning and yet it thrived and produced a new generation of young Black millionaires and billionaires and I use that as a motivation for me. Not because I want to become a rap star or anything but because it shows that we still have what it takes to adapt and overcome and make a place for ourselves in the world. I do believe that we are experiencing a crisis in the United States and the numbers scare me about the conviction rate among young Blacks as compared to other ethnic groups in America. I hate the numbers of us going to college in the United States because an education is extremely important to me and my family.

I moved to Boston for an education and I made a pact with myself that I will not go anywhere else until I graduate. My hopes are to move to Montreal if and when I do graduate from Boston University, learn French, go to graduate school at McGill University, work up there, and then retire and move to France.

I want to become a philanthropist/entrepreneur/Black community leader. But I can only do these things once I get myself situated. One of the things I've dreamt of doing is building a historically Black university in Boston that would work with Harvard and MIT. I'm thinking of an extension of Morehouse since my father went to Morehouse.

That's only one of my dreams. I have so many. Unltimately I just want to fix my Black American community. We can be so great and do many great things. I want to empower my brothers to be what they never knew they could be.

Posted by: Tommy Lee Jenkins III | June 6, 2006 01:00 PM

It means seting a goal, having a vision, looking towards the future, and making sure thatyou don't leave your brothers and sisters behind.

It also means honoring those who have gone before you by keeping their spirit of self-respect alive in YOU!

Posted by: Elder Devin Miller | June 6, 2006 01:08 PM

What an important study this is. I wanted it to go on and on, and far deeper, bringing out more of the voices we do not get to hear in the fever pitch of disingenuous political banter that streams out of DC. A stunning and beautiful portrait. Thank you for making it happen.

Posted by: K. Johnson | June 6, 2006 01:31 PM

For me it means a hard struggle. I have not been treated as equal until I landed a job from a company that is ran by an Italian owner who respects me and I respect him and we have had a postive relationship ever since. I am still employed by the same employer.Most times you get tired of being over looked and then you just move on and have to start all over again. I stay positive in my son and wife's life and keep trying to make it and make a easier path for my son. It just seems to me that all the work our ancestor worked for was just thrown away by the people who benifited from civil rights but did not stand up for this. Now we are back at the bottom again.

Posted by: Tony Tanner | June 6, 2006 02:18 PM

I just hope you are going to be fair and have a story of "Being a White Man", "Being an Asian Man", "Being a Hispanic/Latino Man",etc..its racist to just cover black men.

Posted by: | June 6, 2006 02:23 PM

In the short editorial clip, I did not see or hear the pressing issues of being a Black Man; society, ecomonics, poverty, education, healthcare, and a vast number of other issues that we face as black men.

I am a 30 year old retired disabled veteran from the U.S. Marine Corps. One of the problems that I still face today is, prejudice and discriminating people. The sad reality of that situation is the black people can/will be harder on other persons of color because of their level of education and success.

Just this past weekend, I was riding the green line train towards Columbia Heights. A middle-aged white couple got on the train and where sitting in front of me. I could overhear their conversation. There was this young asian woman who got on the train and it was obvious that she was unsure of her stop.

An older black man got on the train and sat beside her. She had a travel bag with her and the gentleman moved her bags to sit down. I could tell the young woman was nervous, but the older gentleman tried to humor her to make her feel at ease.

As I said, the young woman was unsure of her stop, and the gentleman asked her where she was getting off. Then I heard the middle-aged couple, who are white say, "Oh my god, he's going to follow her". So I spoke in a calm voice saying they're wrong for making that statement.

Then I began referencing myself, saying you probably look at me as some type of thug because I have on jeans and a white tee shirt. They just smiled. So I told them that I'm a Marine who has seen hardship, who is actually a first responder, trained in Anti-Terrorism and Civil Disturbances, certified in Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons (NBC), for decontamination of people and equipment.

So everyday, I have to deal with racism, inequalities of life because of my color, but yet I will risk my life for those same racist people. I would lose my life for people who do not care about me at all, so that they can go home to their family.

The struggles that black men face are overwhelming. The lack of the educational resources, the school curriculum is not on a national level. (Smart minorities have to play dumb, in order not to be reprimanded by their peers. In fear of being targeted and having people say they're being/acting white).

No matter how successful a black man is his salary would never compare to those who are of caucasian descent.

Black men, endure more stress. That's part of the reason why we have a high health risk as far as; high blood pressure, being diabetic and heart problems.

Economically, blacks are at a disadvantage because of the lack of financial understanding. For generations, no one has been teaching the black community of how to save money, how to invest in securities and exchange, to know that the money is for the future, not for today.

Blacks are amoung the poorest in the nation, but yet we spend over $2 billion dollars in the clothing industry. Society will market and advertise; sex, drugs, clothes, jewelry, and liquor etc.

Young black men see their only way of the ghetto by being an athelets or a rapper and or even being a drug dealer. Those are the options. Everything else is a competitive struggle with other nationalities.

This topic, just opens question to other issues like, why the media show black men as being predators and our women being in/on the welfare system and as being uneducated, being incarcerated. Look at Hurricane Katrina, all you seen was black families suffering. If that were in Florida or in an area predominantly white the outcome would have been totally different.

Basically, being black is a is a HONOR. In history, blacks have shown the innovative and creative sides. Have shown that we are just as equal, and educationally sound through our committment, determination, persevarnce from oppression.

We are the descendants of Kings and Queens, that have ruled countries in a Continent of black people full of treasures, jewels and gems, and scholars.

Posted by: Justin White | June 6, 2006 04:09 PM

Being a black man is to be a man. No greater or less than any other man. Those same things that other men strive for the black man strives for. All men who are true men recognize each other regardless of skin color. To be a black man is to accept being a man and nothing less.

Posted by: Marrio Pearson | June 6, 2006 05:21 PM

Being a black man in America means your are on the back seat and nobody wants to see you. It means you have to work at everything 10 times as hard to be recongnized for your potential. It means that when you do push yourself to the fullest and you succeed, others will make it 100 times as hard for you . You will be daily reminded that you are black, thus inferior, and no matter how hard you have sudied and worked to get to whre you are you are still not good enough because you are black. It means that you have to push yourshelf so as to be distinguished from those who choose to not stand above the line set for them as black men. It means that you live a life of proving to tohers you have the potential, you are smart and you are somebody..a person..it means you live a very exhausting life

Posted by: Kassandra | June 6, 2006 06:30 PM

In 2006 it means to take pride in yourself. You can not raise children or have a respectful relationship w/your wife or girlfriend if you do not take pride in yourself. Be clean, respect one another (this includes people of all races), be a positive force and vote.

It also means to take back our community from the so called thugs who do not know what it takes to be a black man. Present a positive role model for ALL young black men and women to SEE. This means being active in schools, churches and neighborhoods. Volunteer some time to an organization that would directly affect young black men or women.

Pride goeth before destuction!
Do not be afraid to show your true self. Our communities have been destroyed because we pretend to be hard. We are not evil people. We are family oreinted, we love our women and children and we hold sacred the people that affect our daily lives. That is the True Black Man.

-Alvin Southern

Posted by: Alvin Southern | June 6, 2006 06:44 PM

I don't really know what it is to be a black man, but as a black woman I can tell you what I see and think.

A large portion Black men are persons at war with themselves and the perception of what they are told to be and who they believe that they are. The statistics of unmarried women having children and single female headed households is alarming. Men require men to show them what it is all about. As a Black woman, I would not want to change positions, granted both are challenging, but young Black men appear to receive the short end of the stick due to changing moral trends and the destruction of the Black family.

Somehow people have been convinced that men can be raised without men and it is hurting our nation, the young men of today are suffering. Women are also, in the sense that many have embraced that men are unreliable and fickle. More and more Black women graduate from higher eduacational institutes with the idea that one should be prepared not to depend on a man, for anything. It hurts the male ego and creates a mutated type of female psyche. The tide appears that we are all somehow losing our humanity and misunderstand our roles.

If one has strong roots, they know who they are. Through personal observation, I have observed that Black men with strong male figures feel a deep respect for their culture, pride in their achievements, and responsibility for their futures, regardless of how dismal it appears. Prejudice and racism still exist, yet it is the family that creates a deep sense of meaning and foundation in a person.

Posted by: a. johnson | June 6, 2006 06:51 PM

It means that every other race and culture is instinctively aware of the potential for power that your existince yields. There is a weird unspoken sense of admiration and fear that comes with it. The challenge for the black man is to himself realize his potential for greatness and not let power become corrupting or mis-guided.

Posted by: Javin Foreman | June 6, 2006 07:35 PM

"What does it mean to be the black man?"

So I am to answer for a lifetime of men, past, present and future... in the space of a few words... on one night.

Well... the back man is whatever he wants to be whenever he chooses to be.

If a man understands that his grandaddy was a slave but his greatgrand was a king.
That he was the first.
Son of God.
Man blessed to walk the Creator's earth.

If a man accepts that he has survived oppressions, depression, prejudice, racism, hate and must wake up every day to do battle with oppression, depression, prejudice, racism, as well as his own self-doubt, self-hate and his own misunderstanding of it all.

If a man does this in earnest, then that man refuses to be defined, for definition only confines.

I say the black man is done with confinement.

The black man... No...

I AM whatever I want to be whenever I choose to be.


Posted by: bygpowis.blogspot.com | June 6, 2006 09:27 PM

What it means to be a Blackman--It means having to be able to deal with life on many fronts and knowing that people are judging you on your successes/failures. It means to try to be strong in the face of many around you including your family and others close to you. It is constant pressure to live up to other people's expectations of you so you try to live up to your own standards despite the lack of support. It means having strong faith in what you believe in and doing the right thing for you and your family to live the quality of life one should live. What it means to be a Blackman means to know that history has shown you that others treat you the way they do mainly because they are afraid of you and what potenial strength you possess that would change the world in which we live in.Being a Blackman is a unrequested challenge placed upon us at birth with many examples around to show why we are needed in this world. Many choose to deny us any opportunity to develop or show potenial leadership skills and find some negative,deceitful manner in which to bring many successful Blackmen "down". What it means to be a Blackman means to have "thick skin" and extreme self-control to live in this society. On a daily basis you are tested and pushed by the majority of people hoping that you fail or fall short of your goal. Being a Blackman means having to explain the paradox of life to your children,your future. Giving them the strength to exceed where you may have failed, the courage to stand up to any challenge by any person.Teaching them to smile when you want to cry out loud about life's mixed messages. The lack of support particularly from your own kind and those who you gave your support to without a doubt or any hesitation. Being a Blackman means to be a Juggler,a Thinker,a Protecter, a Jack of All Trades.

Posted by: Arthur L.Logan | June 6, 2006 10:02 PM

It depends where you live as a black man, or who you choose to be or not be as a black man. Or what type of black man are you now or did you actually ever consider yourself black man(O.J.)
One who blames others and makes excuses for his lot in life. Or the well off minority who distance him self from people of dark skin. People are so fraigle with their beliefs. To think Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton speaks for all African-Americans. I do not wake up black,I am not black until someone reminds me by there actions or nonactions, sterotyping. Or when I look into a history book and see a person of color being hung from a tree and the white faces smiling like it is a picnic or family reunion. And they called the Native Amereican the savage who's people had to be relocated. Lets be fair, give the Native American tribes back all their land, and ask can we stay and pay rent and back rent. They would evict us. Off track a bit

I neither run to it or from, it is who I am. And if I could change me being black, what will be the next hoop I will have to jump through to be accepeted. I will not change it for anyone, not even for me. I watched Reginald Denny being pulled from his tractor traylor and beat like a dusty rug, because of his lack of color. We humans have fallen short of the things we could have accomplished, instead of the cruel things we inflict on each other. Have faith in God, and hope people do the just and right thing. Do not be surprized when we do not. It is in our nature to destory ourseleves, becuase we see our differences as a reason for conflict, instead of celerbration.

Posted by: Donald Chaney | June 6, 2006 11:10 PM

One thing I think all Black men share is a feeling of being an outsider.

Posted by: Steveej | June 6, 2006 11:30 PM

All men wish to be seen as men before any qualifier is considered. In America, this is virtually impossible because of the country's history as well as that history continually being repeated. This repetition only cripples us all. We understand that fair treatment for us will benefit all others. I suppose this means that there must always be a social villain. We have been it for so long and have had to advocate for ourselves for so long that when seeing the plight of immigrants now, we only give a weary glance and nod in understanding.

We have been there before and we are now above the mire. I hope that we are not so above the mire that we forget to lift those still stuck up to a better circumstance. Because we have survived, we have a duty to the future and not only those that look like us or those in our enclave. Others blazed trails for us, we cannot let the trail stop with us.

Posted by: Craig Hall | June 7, 2006 01:31 AM

In my experience being a black man means a deep understanding of fear. I fear the past. I have fear of the future. I see fear in the eyes of strangers on the street. I fear my brothers and sisters. I fear all the negatives that have been assigned those like me. I know the history. I know the statistics. The only thing equal to my knowledge of fear is hope. I strive on. Thanks for asking

Posted by: Curtis Buckley | June 7, 2006 03:20 AM

To put a definition or a certain tone of what it means to be a Black Man would cheat who and what we are. Indeed as our female counterparts we are beautiful creatures to say the least with a complex molecular structure. Being a Black Man means strenght but knowing when to use it mentally,emotionally and physically. I believe it means knowing that intelligence isn't all gained in the classroom but it shouldn't be feared having to step in one to broaden your horizons. I believe it means young or old being a Black Man carries a weight that no one(not even our women) can understand fully because we ourselves are to a degree robbed of that understanding no matter our social-economic background. Being a Black Man means constantly searching and not always finding the answers but aware that there are answers out there to help better you at who and what you are. I believe being a Black Man means pride in our diverse etnicity and the Gatekeepers of it. Loving our GOD, Ourselves, and others is being a Black Man. Being a Black Man means a never ending search ensuing from our crib beds to our death beds. Being a Black Man means power,strength,struggles,hardships,happiness,fear,formal and informal eduaction,despair,understanding,forgiving and most of all LOVE! As a young Black Man from Texas this is what some of my life experiences have shaped my belief of what being a Black Man means.

GOD Bless and Much Love to all.
We are history past,present and future.
We are strong, we are Black and Proud!

Anthony Reed(Bryan, Texas)

Posted by: Anthony Reed | June 7, 2006 03:37 AM

This is a question I have never tought of. To be a black man means to be viewed by the world as a toxic that is polluting the world. Being a black man means working hard to prove to the world that you have something to offer. Being a black man means being proud to be part of a race that have some trace in Africa. Being black means. Being black means preparing to deal with and overcome many negativity that you will encounter. Being a young black man form Africa, I know what it means to be black. People see me hanging out with thier kids and they tell thier kids not o hangout with me, because im black and they believe I'm a bad kid. Being black is when people tell you that you are ignorant, and you dont accept it, because you know that you are way smarter than most people. Being black is not what you wear, or what kind of music you listen to, or who you hangout with, or what you do. Being Black is looking at your skin color, and being proud of it.

Posted by: Obed L. | June 7, 2006 09:21 AM

as a 71 yr old black male having been all about the usa i.e.living in many areas,having been a submariner as a teenager even though my grandfather was 5 when slavery ended i grew up without the baggage of hatred of other races and found out early that if you dont have money,you really dont have a chance to open your real potential and it does,nt matter who you are if you live in the western hemishere and being a blackman is only a flip of a coin in universal activity i imagine i was fortunate in having parents who were together all their lifes so i had firm footing,but i believe poor people no matter
where they are more likely to be affected by black men who are poor because they are trying to get that same small slice of the pie around them,but being a man and being black to me is only a trick of nature and i never ,never think of my color when i,m depressed i think of how to inspire myself to understand an oportunity when it slaps me the face as there are always something to do in open societies so my take on being a black man is i cant do anything about being black but i can do anything i want to about being broke!!

Posted by: charles spencer | June 7, 2006 10:02 AM

Being a black man in America is a very negative experience. One can be confident and it comes across arogant.

Employers seem to always think we are sub performers. As a black man it is difficult at best to be judged on the content but on the preconceived ideas that most white have in our regard.

It creeps into job, worship and every faucet of our lives.

It is like having a desease that can not be shaken.

Posted by: Waymon Stewart | June 7, 2006 10:38 AM

Being a Black man, today, means that as you travel along your personal journey in life you share common experiences with others that are part of your group: racial stereotyping, lack of resources, lack of expertise and/or experience from the people in your life to help guide you along your journey, being constantly bombarded with materialism messages and the "must have now" sentiment of our society, etc. But much the same way as training and exercise can make you stronger to compete in athletic endeavors, our shared experiences can make, those that persevere, stronger and better prepared for all that awaits us in our lives.

Posted by: Michael Snowden | June 7, 2006 10:40 AM

Being a black man in the USA, means understanding what it was being a black man before you,learning from those experiences,doing the best you can to inprove yourself and those around you,to make life better on all levels. Understanding when you are a better person, you can/should help others to help them selfs.

Posted by: Larry King, Sr. | June 7, 2006 11:02 AM

Being a Black Man, in America, means that, as one who is as educated as the next non-black professional, you are more heavily scrutinized for your ability, or lack thereof, to do a job or to provider leadership over non-blacks.

Being a Black Man is both a curse and a blessing. It's a curse in that the first thing thought about you is related to something extremely negative, e.g. crime. It's a blessing only in the sense that assumptions of performance, both sexually and athletically, are generally good. These types of positive assumptions are few and far between, however, as what's presented in the media are very often negative connotations of blacks in general. So, the general population of youth are brought up to believe the first images they see of blacks, and that usually is related to crime.

Finally, I struggle to prove myself or to gain favorable reviews by my professional peers. Because of the position I hold, I wonder if people truly believe that I am qualified for this job and that it was not Affirmative Action that landed me in this chair.

Being a black man in America is,a t times, extremely lonely and troublesome.

Posted by: Otis Woods | June 7, 2006 11:45 AM

To be a black man in america means that you can never forget where you came from. In this country, although we may make economic gains and live certian lifestyles comparable to our caucasian neighbors, we consistently get wake up calls to remind us in one way or another that we are still black men in america. That is in the case where you forget.

Posted by: Samuel Craig | June 7, 2006 12:00 PM

in my 22 years on this earth, in america i have come to realize that it is not easy to be a black man, it's not easy to face the struggles many of us face growing up in the streets, schools, and workplace. When your friends are dying one by one due to violence in the streets and many other are in and out of the legal system, its ont easy to stay focused and keep your eyes on your goals. Its not easy to try to be happy when there are so many things that you deal with that no other demographic has to deal with on a day to day basis. . .its not easy to be a black man.

But if it WERE easy, then what would it Really mean to be a Black Man. . . Strong, Proud, Resilient!

Know your history, let it motivate you in the present so you can be great in your Future.

Posted by: Eric B. | June 7, 2006 12:00 PM

What does it mean to be a black man? Before I address this question I must first distinguish between being a black man outside of this country and being a black man in this country. To be a black man outside of this country simply means that you're just that, a MAN. And as a man your potential to achieve is without bounds. But to be a black man in this country is a whole different situation. To be a black man in this country is to be a second-rate citizen in a country that your forefathers helped build. It amazes me to see that black people have lived in this country for 400 years and yet black folks still don't feel as though this country is their home. How do you call a country your home when you're treated like a slave on a daily basis? Call it "structural racism" if you'd like but to me it's slavery. It's slavery of the worst kind, slavery of the mind. I'd rather you beat me with whips on my back and show it blatantly that you don't like my kind rather than you filling my MIND with the idea that I'm not as good as you.

To be a black man in this country means that you're limited to the following options for a profession: athlete or entertainer. Should you dare do something as absurd as go to school to become a doctor, then by God you are WHITE.

Posted by: Muamba | June 7, 2006 01:00 PM

Short and sweet... being a black man means turning the other cheek but having a jaw of steel.

Posted by: Imhotep | June 7, 2006 01:21 PM

Short and sweet... being a black man means turning the other cheek but having a jaw of steel.

Posted by: Imhotep | June 7, 2006 01:26 PM

It means being a man first and foremost, if you want a measure of peace, health, happiness, and prosperity; which can be summed up as success. In addition, it means overcoming obstacles that are fixed, such as being stereotyped, ignored, and at times, experiencing outright racial discrimination in work situations, housing and social situations. These are fixed obstacles, they are a given. Wise men understand that these are only external forces which bear no real influence over their self worth and value. There is a catalyst to obtaining this wisdom, the most effective being fathers sharing with sons.

So many black men have not had this type sharing and have succumb to the influences of external forces (the media, others biases, etc.) and lacking a real value of self, they never experience the success that they do not know in their hearts and mind. They may however experience the successes that the external force have in store for them; drugs, crime, violence, athletic but dumb and maybe even prison.

I see and rainbow of goodness flowing into the minds and heart of all people and black men in particular. Your work here is a part of that goodness, by bringing a measure of consciousness of personal situations. This series of articles and other like works of the media and other institutions can affect the individual. After all our greatest work is internal work.

Posted by: LN Johnson | June 7, 2006 01:27 PM

For me the term & definition of a man has always in some form or the other related to how one faces life & it's challenges. By this, I mean our (male) reactions & initial actions define us (men) through some vague parameters set forth long ago.

As a Black man defined here in this forum, I think by the simple fact that there are black males still moving forward in a very diverse, & still slanted view of & mistrust of black males is a testament to the strength & will to not only adapt, but to excel beyond the expectations of all demographic groups including our own. This endurance should be a motivator for all Black men to view our place in society as deserving all the dreams & hopes as our counterparts in other racial groups. Our ancestors & our history have all but been omitted, altered, & in some cases slandered. In spite of all these attempts to keep people of African decent inferior, the black race has survived and adapted with structured & self imposed limitations on the rate and or level of success in our country.

As a single father of two daughters (13 & 10) I too have a story of how difficult it is and the blatant institutional racial & stereotypical barriers I/we had to endure to gain custody of my daughters from a very abusive mother. Despite a mountain of evidence to show how abused & neglected my children were being treated. I had to prove to the courts that I as an African American man I was MORE than capable of caring for my biracial daughters in spite of the documented abuse. My daughters & I demonstrates all we have to look forward to is tomorrow & the hope that sooner or later justice will be blind, either legally or morally, justice should be color blind.

I have to say that this article is very inspiring and full of information that most times get lot on other issues. I've read some of the comments from those that say "the race card has been played too many time & played out" & from a few female readers who feel that they should be included in this series. The fact that some positive out look & in depth discussion has been put on being a Black man is by no means slighting any group or playing a race card. It is however glimpse into one of the most stereotyped groups in this country. The fact that other groups want to belittle it or take credit for any good that has been conveyed in this series, is only more validity to my statement regarding Black men being the most stereotyped group in the country bar none. Thank you Washington Post for at least giving some form of a positive forum to demonstrate that Black Men struggle & DO WELL despite the detractors and those that have no use for them until there is a positive light shown on them, then they have or want significant credit in that success. Where are the credit takers when Black men like me have done what they were taught to do, went to school, got an education, learned to articulate and communicate, was a DAD (not a father) to their children & still graded on what the eyes see not what the MAN has done with his life? What happened to the ones that say the race card has been played out when the card they refer to is being used in reverse in such a blatant manner that even the attorneys for the state hang their heads in shame knowing it is in affect?

For the detractors I offer you the book titled TWO NATIONS: BLACK AND WHITE, SEPARATE, HOSTILE, UNEQUAL BY Andrew Hacker. This book demonstrates the points I touch on with the exception of one thing it is for African Americans as a whole. If you read the book & notice a common theme, Black men are far more likely to be the reference of fact for this book. If that's not enough for you, try the experiment that seems to really bring the point home in EVERY case it was played out. Be a Black Man for a week & you too will appreciate this forum the Post has embarked on to give a hint of what it's like to be a Black Man. All the education, money & social status doesn't change ones skin color when you have to rely on them, if all people see is color & a preconceived notion of Black Men.

Posted by: A. Preston | June 7, 2006 02:22 PM

It means to know that you are a special part of the Creators plan. It means you are part of the first people on the Planet. It means you are the answer to the troubles that plague mankind. It means that you have the responsibility to be the role model to the planet and her children. Thereby being proud of the position the Creator has placed you. That position is being the Father of Mankind. An awesome, proud, beautiful responsibility.
Yea it's tough, but that's why the Creator choose the "Black Man.

Posted by: Frederick LeRoi Nickens III | June 7, 2006 02:43 PM

Being a Black Man means that I protest even when it is not comfortable or when I am afraid of the consequences of my actions.

Being a Black Man means, standing up for what I believe, and showing my power in a world that seems intent on dampening my spirit with negative images that portray Black Men and Black culture as undesirable.

Being a Black Man means, loving my daughter fully and openly, being someone that she admires and can count on in this world. Being a Black Man means always letting her know that I love her, above anything or anyone else. She sees me as greater than anything that I can ever possibly live up to, and I appreciate her for thinking of me in that way.

Being a Black Man means, being afraid that the police behind me, in the rear view mirror, may take my life or attempt to take my dignity.

Being a Black Man means being afraid of my own power, scared that I may be killed or destroyed if I use my power to publicly claim my freedom from oppression in this white dominant culture.

Being a Black Man means, being aware of the injustices in this society and doing something about it, living the dream, speaking and walking my own dreams into existence.

Being a Black Man means, loving myself enough to hold onto my culture of Blackness, in a white dominant culture that tells me to assimilate, and knowing that assimilationist voices are black, white and others.

Being a Black Man means sharing a connection with other Black Men, in spirit, deep word and in frequently occurring deeds.

Being a Black Man means knowing that sometimes my enemies are other Black Men and Women who have lost their way, and that minority group members participate or collude in propping up white dominant culture, for personal gain.

Being a Black Man means being powerful, knowing that this dominant white culture is afraid of the power that runs through the veins of Black Men.

Being a Black Man means knowing that I am smart, tough, resilient and magnificent or I would not have come this far against these the odds of physical and mental enslavement.

Posted by: JC Faulk | June 7, 2006 02:44 PM

Being a black man means having others constantly defining who you are regardless of who you are.

Posted by: Derek Stewart | June 7, 2006 02:49 PM

Being a black man is more of a mentality than it is a physcial of physcial traits. The reality of the situation is that no human being on the face of this planet is any different than the next; however just like white people continue to exploit a system where your average black man can not seem to strive in, black people will continue to feel the need to prove worthiness of their counter-part to say "hey, I can do this too."

It has got to the point that now the black community is divided and many of the so called "leaders" and "role models" of black america are now basing their blackness on their success in corporate america. Therefore you have blacks who feel a sense of "elitism" due to their assimulation into a white dominated society. With this process currently taking place, the majority of black america is undergoing a turmoil of trying to fit in somewhere. But in the land where crack cocaine was brought into the neighborhoods of blacks by the government and then turned around to blame black people for being responsible for the drug wars and stricken poverty, when the "elite" blacks turned their back to prove their equality in white america....

Well you have what is going on today. A generation of young black children growing up who are raised in poverty, crime, and drugs being the only answer, AND whose parents were raised the same way and so on and so fourth back to the time of the civil rights movement when the black community was in a state of trying to maintain it's unity. But alas, some people would rather drive a car whose montly payment equals to their so called "brother's" rent. Why? Because they bust their ass for a white man who said your not as equal as me. Wow like that white's man's thinking is something new.

Posted by: Donnie McDaniel | June 7, 2006 03:39 PM

Being a Black Man means, you will have to be extra strong, more educated and in touch with yourself and your family, if you want to suceed in the world.

Posted by: Azaan | June 7, 2006 03:50 PM

There has never been a better time to be African American. Access to information, education and opportunity has never been more available. This time of great access "coincidently" emerges at a time during the extreme moral, intellectual and financial exploitation of urban culture by corporate America through media. This exploitation / diversion fixes eyes on the fantasy of black super stardom through sports and entertainment and there sometimes misbehaviors help dismantle the importance of black intelligence and morality leaving many with a disdain for the "straight life" / academic achievement and a unquenchable desire to emulate the "baller" life style at ANY cost. The phrase "get rich or die trying" defines success as the mythical materialistic and immoral image portrayed in music videos that remains consistently void of any consequences. African Americans will leap into the 21st century when keeping it real is defined by responsible choices that reject tired stereotypes.

Posted by: Adrian Williams | June 7, 2006 03:59 PM

To me the answer lies in the two words: Black and Man. They must me studied separately - look at what it means to be Black and then what it means to be a Man - as to full understand its significance a unit. After completing that exercise, I came up with three words: struggle, demanding, and contradiction.

Today, as a black man our biggest struggle exists with ourselves, our women, and our children. Statistics on crime, domestic violence, and the number of children without a father document the level of craziness going on in our communities. The true crazy part is that in many of our people have either become to accept this behavior as the nature of black men or they have becomes de-sensitized to the problems. In either case, we have become accomplices by close our eyes to the problems.

As the leader of my family, I demonstrate my manhood by being responsible, accountable, and being self-determined in how I live my life. Very demanding, but my life's ultimate indicator of success will be if my children achieve at a greater level than me. We are blessed because they already have so much more than I had as a child.

The contradiction of being a black man is that to be black in this society is a negative, while being a Man has it privileges. Walking that tightrope of plusses and minuses is tricky. You have to try and not get burdened with an "I am a victim" philosophy while also trying not to get caught up in the power of living in a male-dominated society.

We must remember the choice is ours to make. What kind of man do I want to be? What kind of stories will the future generations tell about me? Always remembering we have an opportunity to control our legacy.

Hey it isn't easy, but I would not change it for all the money in the world. If the Black woman is the queen of civilization, then the Black man is the king. That is not bad.

Alvin Glymph
Married (10 years)
Father of son (9) and daughter (7)

Posted by: Alvin Glymph | June 7, 2006 04:14 PM

There has never been a better time to be an African American male. Access to information, education and opportunity has never been more available. This time of great access "coincidently" emerges at a time during the extreme moral, intellectual and financial exploitation of urban culture by corporate America through media. This exploitation / diversion fixes eyes on the fantasy of black super stardom through sports and entertainment and there sometimes misbehaviors and help dismantle the importance of black intelligence and morality leaving many men with a disdain for the "straight life" / academic achievement and a unquenchable desire to emulate the "baller" life style at ANY cost. The phrase "get rich or die trying" defines success as the mythical materialistic and immoral image portrayed in music videos that remains consistently void of any consequences. African Americans men will leap into the 21st century when keeping it real is defined by responsible choices that reject tired stereotypes.

Posted by: Adrian Williams | June 7, 2006 04:34 PM

The real endangered species.

There is such a responsibility on men, and even more on black men. The difference is that black men dont have one another.

We have allowed the culture to create an environment that works on the destruction of the black male from birth. First, the traditional family structure is virtually non-existent in the life of a black boy.

We are not even allowed to discuss the great disadvantage in public. There is no major venue for it, and it is so ingrained in black society, so the majority of listeners are trying to prove that their mother did a good job with them. Based on what? The fact that they missed jail? have a decent job? or made it to the pros?

Someone please tell me how one horse is better than two if you are taking a long journey?

I know my father, he is now 73 years of age, he is still married to my mother and I am still learning from him. How many people do I encounter that know, love, and respect their father.

I knew my grandfather, Dr James Chiles, Tufts University 1921. Virginia Union, 1919. Who black can I talk to about Doc. Chiles? I wish I could describe the weight that is lifted in my existence, knowing that their blood runs in me.

His uncle, James Chiles, attorney, University of Michigan School of Law, 1891.
Argued his own case to The United States Supreme Court, Chiles v. Cheasapeake, 1910.
I would love to share the confidence that comes with that kind of knowledge. There are so many tricks that one does not fall for when that foundation is so solid.

Our competition still enjoys the luxury of family, history, tradition, knowledge, lineage, posterity. Look at us, we are going into a system unprepared and the costs are staggering, and I dont mean financial costs only.

A current case in point is the sitting president. He is really average, however he enjoys the benefits of the work of his grandfather, and father.

We remember the school yard threat of "Im going to get my big brother". In adult reality, its more like "Im calling my father". How many black boys can call their father?


Posted by: John R. Chiles IV | June 7, 2006 08:16 PM

Being a black MAN means accepting the responsibility of knowing world history. As the great W.E.B. DuBois put it, "we have to operate within this eurocentric culture while experiencing the twoness". Yes, learn the history of the U.S., Britain, France, Rome, and Greece. But, you must know that history of Egypt and the Nile.

Within the twoness, we are constantly pulled by one side or the other. I remember hearing Minister Farrakhan on The State of the Black Union Panel. He stated "That both Kant and Dewey were racists to the core". My first thought was, "How would I know what the minister said, if I did not read Kant and Dewey the eurocentric philosophers"?

To be a black man means we must read and know ourselves and our surroundings.

Posted by: James Chiles | June 7, 2006 08:34 PM

I should not have to be a BLACK MAN, I should be a MAN, but with all the negativity that has been attached to the black man it is hard. I bet they will not have this pole or question to the WHITE or LATINO MEN. We as black men need to stop blaming society and step up to the plate. To the brothers that have done and are doing this my hat is off to you. There are postive role models, but the black morals are gone. No more family dinner, no more involement, no more being able to corect each others children, (you know for you olde heads if and adult told you waht you were doing was wrong then you stop what you wer doing). You did not get cursed out, parents need to be parents, wether married or singal. Know where your children are, at all times, get back to church. Our kids are our future. Hold ones self accountable for his own actions. the sky is the limit for anyone, if you want to do it. No one can tell you that you can not be what you want to be. Thanks to Dr. King, Malcom X and General Powell. In today's world we can be, all, WE CAN BE.

Posted by: Sirron Foster | June 7, 2006 09:35 PM

To be a black man is to live a life full of dichotomies. It is a life half full half empty, full of both happiness and anguish. To be a black man is to succeed, yet not being able to fully rejoice in your accomplishments for fear that everything will be gone in the blink of an eye. To be a black man is to believe in God, but sometimes question whether we are realy God's children. To be a black man is to be strong and assertive, both good qualities; yet the world views us as aggressive and confrontational. To be a black man is to relish in overcoming the many obstacles we face knowing that nothing came free. In my eyes, to be a black man is to be angry; not at the White man or the government, but of ourselves for letting others dictate our potential, dictate our actions. To be a black man is to be angry at ourselves for throwing our enormous potential away and not realizing the hazardous effects such an act is having on our next generation, which has the sad potential of being our lost generation.

Posted by: Emmanuel Augustin | June 7, 2006 11:21 PM


Posted by: CLIFFORD O. JACKSON | June 7, 2006 11:39 PM

To be a real black man is to be a tower of strength. Black men have to fight and struggle for everything. Yet, we find ways to succeed. Success doesn't equal dollars and cents, it is being beaten down and kept down by an oppressive system and still have the ability to maintain dignity among our family, friends and neighbors. Black men are like kings, because we must not only care for our own family but others within the larger family of our race. This is where black men of the past couple of generations have failed...looking after others. Black men should live like kings by caring for all who live around them and carry ourselves, as such.

Posted by: Byron Greene | June 8, 2006 12:34 AM

Being a Black Man has more to do with being a Man than it does with being black. I am a very black man and my wife is spanish. We live in a black community and are somewhat of am outcast.
I use this example to stress how little I am affected by how we are received because I'm a man first. And I'll give any man a run for the money.
I'm not overly aggressive or passive, but a little of both. My father raised me to be a man, he never taught me to hate or fear anyone...and I don't.
I have come to learn that you can get anything you want in this life, but you have to study life and determine what the best course of action is for you.
The Black man is not the only group of people who have had to overcome obstacles, nor have we had the most amount of obstacles, we've simply had a lot of obstacles, and more to come.

Posted by: Travis E. Thomas | June 8, 2006 12:53 AM

Being a Black man means to open your mind to more than just BET, rims and jewelry. Black men have to get outside the box of our culture and understand their past in order to move forward as a force. If our current generation of men lived in the 50s, 60s, and 70s era, they would have broken under the extreme pressures of racism. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are my parents' civil leaders but we don't have a true civil leader(s) of our time. Barack Obama is our closest black man to being our generation's civil leader.

It's like some of our black men gave up and settled on being content on the way things are. Sports figures being role models is cool but some lack the substance of being that leader in society. Life is not all about "going pro" or being a "rapper." I stress to young kids, no matter the race, to get an education and read something besides Vibe, Source or XXL magazines. The streets don't offer a retirement plan or 401K but it is the quickest way to receive a death certificate. Black men need to become more financially educated in life in order to learn the importance of saving and distinguishing between "needs" and "wants." Having a job is not a sign of selling out; it's to show your work ethics to your children and other kids so they know what it takes to get things in life legit.

I don't believe in the sayings like "this is a White man's world," "the White man is holding me down" or "it's a conspiracy." Any person on this planet is born into a world of opportunity. After your upbringing, you have the choice to make something out of yourself. Those sayings are nothing but mental crutches to keep you from really knowing your full opportunity in life. Forget the forty acres and a mule and go for an island of your own. The Black man's potential is vast and we as a race have to reach back to them so they can tap their unused resources. Changes start with us to change our image as a race while restructuring the image of the "Black man."

Posted by: Derrick K. Williams | June 8, 2006 09:07 AM

For me, it's hard being a black man for many reasons. The major thing, I believe, is that although we are now "Emanicipated", it came after all the land and resources in America were claimed and managed by whites, leaving us nothing to do but continue to serve or seek economic gains from whites. It's hard to keep a wife, raise a son/daughter, when they look at you and realize you don't have a "pot to piss in", as they say. For example, a white man can say to his son, "Get your education" and that son respects that, because he knows it could lead to running his father's business, or being placed in a high position in the business of perhaps a friend or close acquaintance. On the other hand, there are few black owned corporations, with the need for scientists, engineers, accountants, business lawyers, etc, such that a black father can respectfully lead and guide his son/daughter. I hate that all I can say is "Get your education", but my son can't look to me to help after he gets it!

Another major thing is "Nationhood". A man must feel he's part of a nation. I struggle with the question, should I claim total allegience to America or to Africa, or seek to build a new nation? Does America want me? Will they allow me to be an equal member of society? Will Africa accept me back? At this time, where could I/we build a new black nation? To a great extent, I believe black people in America are here "Out on a limb".

Lastly, historically, whites seemed to have endeavored to reverse everything black people have cherished as truth and wisdom regarding this planet, human beingness and God. Even today when I talk to white Christians, they seem to have a fundamental difference of opinion about who and how God is and operates. Also, blacks worldview (i.e. what is important, what is necessity) is different. We came from a climate where we did not have the forces of nature at odds with us. Whites, however, were forced to be resourceful to deal with winter and cold, food sources, etc. Our sense of urgency and needs are different. Blacks have to get more adjusted to the needs of a northern climate, which I think will lead to greater focus on science and industry. But, it's a rather innate process of change for us. In contrast, whites view blacks as lazy, too spiritually minded, not practical enough...

I don't know...I'd like to live in peace and respect with whites, but I think whites need to slow down all the technology development/proliferation and focus more on people and God skills. And, blacks need to realize that everyone doesn't have it as easy as we do, from a capabilities standpoint. By that I mean, I believe blacks are capable of anything, when the need arises we'll meet any challenge, better than any other people. We need to take more ownership of leadership in the world and take on some of the major challenges. I don't know...it's tough to figure.

Posted by: Steven Dothard | June 8, 2006 11:55 AM

I am the Unknown Human species. You will cheer for me on the football field. But the next day will shot me in the back if I am driving in the wrong neighborhood. You will cheer for me on the basketball court and say I am the greatest. When I am on the baseball field forty thousand will cheer when I have to run down a Deep Center Fly Ball in the out field to win the Game. I see something wrong when you can give me Forty Million Dollar to perform on the field and help Fill your Arena and you want let my brother in the Corporate Board Room to discuss one of your Company Major Issue. My Great Grandfather was brought over here on a ship so you expect me to act like a slave. Color is a minor Difference to all other races. Unfortunately, caucasian people have had to use color differences to divide humans from one another as a survival technique. If you have one drop of Black blood in you it makes you a Black human being in the state of Louisiana. Charles Barkley does not no that this is the LAW in Louisiana. I am a VICTIM of the SLAVE TRADE. Every IMMIGRANT that enters into this Country wants to come here but LOOKS down on the BLACK MAN as a Second Class Hu

Posted by: Kirk Hill | June 8, 2006 11:59 AM

It's like being an oasis in the desert: this is such hard question to answer, because i must try to speak on a

topic that my people have died for and i myself would like to honor the dead with the living. We are some

of the strongest men in the world with things that we must deal with. When i speak on my concerns; they

call it the race card, now my life concerns for the world to understand what has and is still going on has

become a game when every one else can speak on who they are and find pride in who they are at there

convinces when they are ask who and where do you come from. With globalization here in my bedroom

now and not just on CNN i have a new challenge for my place in this world, and they call me lazy and i

still in my laziness influence the world and it's isms. Mr. Washington Post you as me what is it like to a be

AFRO, I answer is this another hunt? Look I told a lady friend that I wanted to speak and you would not

believe what was said she feared for my safety. I hope that statement help you understand what it feels

like it 2006. But I man not scared, they thought the burning spear was dead, no he is just mislead. If tears

could fix my peoples problems I would cry a river of tears so that we could be free to be HUMAN! Is not

funny that you warn that you are not responsible for the third party, when we speak of the first party. I

must leave, but God bless my father!!!

Posted by: brian browne | June 8, 2006 12:29 PM

It means that society is not meant for you. It means that we must get along now the Martin Luther King is dead.

It is also a wake up call for Black men to know that those women who are good black women and heterosexual are no longer going to be available for a guy with a low self-esteem and will take any white woman that he can find if he does defy the policy and agenda established 500 years ago, when many of us first got here.

Posted by: Too cute to be bothered | June 8, 2006 12:54 PM

Being a black man is all encompassing. The black man must where many hats in order for his full potential to be realized. We've seen and heard what it means to be a black man from many different viewpoints. One question that hasn't been answered is what isn't being a black man. Well to name a few things...

Being a black man does not mean having many women for different occasions.

A black man does not wait for opportunities to arise for himself and his family, he tries to create his own.

A black man does not demean another black man's efforts to live the american dream.

A black man does not live the stereotypes that have been set before him.

A black man does not deny himself the chance to make a positive impact on the life of another human being.

A black man is not weak, yet he does not display an unyielding macho exterior.

A black man is not ignorant, yet his actions may be depicted as such.

There are many other things that black men are not and must not become. Because when he becomes those things, he then becomes a n...


Posted by: BZA | June 8, 2006 01:09 PM

Off the Cuff
It only proves what the people who dont live in the Ivory Towers know:
That there really is no difference in the wants and needs of black or white.
Between the media and the poor me crowd blacks dont stand a chance.
but like the Basketball player said he sees the black on black crime and he knows it all too well
Or the man who stated he was a better role model than an athlete having sex on a boat.
These men know that its about RIGHT VS WRONG.
But we consgtantly see the image in the media as one that needs special protection and that just build resentment not only in white America towards blacks but resentment in Blackmen who get coddled instead of toughlove that is needed.
I wish white people would stop "helping" so much and that Black people who make a business out of "poor me" would find another line of work

Posted by: u | June 8, 2006 01:33 PM

In Washington, DC, it has been my observation that most black men have defined themselves as a whole seperate race other than "black" in both responsibility and action. They have abandoned their responsibilites toward their children and their women, who have for centuries been part of the glue that held the race together.

Posted by: Hazel Walker | June 8, 2006 01:34 PM

Being a Black woman who loves black men I see them as the strong shoulders and backs, tender eyes, safe arms to hold me and a heart big enough to give all he has to his family and community that our forefathers, uncles, husbands, sons, nephews, cousins and friends possess. I've never met a "bad" or "incorrigible" black man. Every black man I have ever met possessed all the qualities the Lord blessed him with to be and do all the things I described beforehand. Any negative activity I see in Black Men, young and old is a learned activity, usually to prove an incorrect image of manhood. But if the Lord blesses them and sees them through the "fire" as Councilman Berry stated, they do rise like the Phoenix only to shine brighter than before. The "fire" for one person many not singe another, however, God knows where home and heart is and when he speaks to them and a man listens, like Moses, it's a beautiful thing! A Black Man who knows himself and is close to his Lord is the most beautiful, powerful, utterly royal being on earth.

Posted by: Karen Ridge | June 8, 2006 01:43 PM

It means always being on Guard as a black man! The black man is always under the microscopeunder most circumstances. Unfortunatelly the conditions and agendas set forth creates this perceived negative element to U.S society, due to lack of economics, education and dicipline. Who do you blame (Guns, Drugs, etc...), did the black man import these things, lets be real! However I would not want to be anything else.

Posted by: Carlos Latimer | June 8, 2006 01:56 PM

Being a black man can mean many things. Some good, some bad.

It means always striving for excellence because you're not just representing yourself and your momma, but every other brotha in society. Each stumble affects you AND the next black man to come along. Think about it...

Being a black man means having to master two languages: yours and theirs.

It means being on the elevator and asking yourself, "Did she just clutch her purse?!", or wondering if the color of your skin had anything to do with that cashier putting your change on the counter rather than in your hand. Ever been asked to show your driver's license when paying with your credit card?

On the other hand, it means being a member of the most diverse and soulful group in the world!

It means coming from a rich heritage of over comers who faced even greater odds in their time and won!

It means reaching back to help a brotha up when you've made it!

It means knowing that the greatest nation in the world was built on the blood, sweat and tears of your people!

It means knowing that every victory is so much sweeter because it came at a greater cost than anyone else had to pay!

What does being a black man mean? It means being strong!

Posted by: http://miltizme.blogspot.com | June 8, 2006 02:51 PM

To be a Black Man means being blessed with a tremendous challenge and opportunity to make a significant difference in this great country. It means being always mindful of the need to prove oneself. It means never being surprised when your intentions are misunderstood or misinterpreted. It means remaining sensitive to the fact that many people will often expect the least from you in every endeavor. It also means these same people are often uncomfortable when confronted with the harsh reality of your being clearly and certifiably qualified to perform tasks of a more cerebral nature. Finally, being a Black Man means having awesome responsibility to improve the image of our race for past and futuire generations.

Posted by: John W. Plummer | June 8, 2006 03:06 PM

My sympathies and understanding goes all the way out for black men. I am a black women with a brother, nephews and friends and it is sad to see the how racism has affect family and personal relationships. Black women are by no way exempt from the racism out here. I have felt the racism on the job and on numerous occasions and other situations. And, I must say that it hurts even though I try not to show it. All I have at this point in my life are questions. How long must this go on? What can really be done to do something about this. And let's get busy and do something. And will we ever overcome racism in my lifetime? I have really BIG DOUBTS about the last question.

Posted by: ML | June 8, 2006 04:21 PM

Black men fear God. Black men acknowledge God in all things. Black men are Christians. Black men are the spiritual leaders of their family. Black men provide love to their wife and children. Black men have self-respect, respect other women, are role models to children, and seekers of the dream (refer to Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech). Black men are responsible in the continuous pursuit to obtain higher education. Black men don't make excuses but create opportunities in spite of the walls or barriers placed before them. Black men are relentless and overcome evil by doing good. Black men are color blind and don't promote prejudice as others may do. Black men have an acumen for intelligence and also athleticism. We are high achievers in all pursuits. Black men focus on excellence.

Posted by: Harold L. Wright | June 8, 2006 06:34 PM

Being a black man means a never ending struggle... As a young brother, I can say this just based on my experiences day by day. Today I was stopped and searched walking down the street by MPD because I look suspicious. To me living in SE Washington DC its never ends. When I beat the odds and graduate magna cumlade means nothing to a society where the those who are hired to enforce the law actually bend and create their own in the process. While stopped, an officer dropped a bag of crack cocaine beside me on the ground and said, " I could make your life a little harder if you want me to". I could go on and on about the struggle but I'll stop here because everyday is a struggle to just be...

Posted by: Trayon White | June 8, 2006 10:53 PM

Being a black man means wielding power that many don't even notice and not enough can successfully harness. We've been demonized, vilified, mis-identified, criminalized, honored and scorned simultaneously from almost the moment we landed in North America. This challenge of being so many things and having so many burdens, blames and demands placed upon us without being fairly treated has created pressures unlike any that other groups have to endure. A black male "suspect" leads to all black males earning the distinction of being "suspect" (whether near or far away). Why won't a "stereotype" work for success the same as it does for crime and failure?

Before 9/11, racial profiling was a distinction which rested almost exclusively on the shoulders of black men (and still rests there in large numbers). Yet, music, clothing, swagger, style and language (too many words and phrases to mention----even the new use of the n-word) that had roots in the lives of black men and have garnered international appeal and, naturally, appropriation! Our burden is that we, black men, contribute to the fabrics of societies in so many ways, yet we are often still ignored and overlooked when it comes to a fair "payday." Imagine if the style of the black man could have been copyrighted. That copyright owner would have wealth that would easily eclipse Bill Gates' and others combined! Too many think that racism is dead and the powers that be are afraid to address the issue head-on in honest dialogue. Why? Because to put an end to the travesty called racism would put an end to one of the greatest burdens that black men bear. To put an end to racism would mean that justice would prevail and black men would gain a fairer position in the world (professionally; academically; etc.) There would be some catching up to do, no doubt. But for the US (the world) to declare a war on racism, that would mean a sea-change unimaginable. A great black man shared his dream with the world and it still resonates today and it began to make unprecedented change. My dream includes the abolishment of racism (overt and covert methods)....unfortunately, putting an end to racism is a nightmare for too many people who have the ability to facilitate that change. There seems to be more to gain by keeping things just as they are.

Posted by: EJ | June 8, 2006 11:00 PM

you guys do some of the best research/reporting that I have seen in quite some time . . . . .on a scale of one to ten ... you (washington post) guys are very close to a twelve . . . .!

Posted by: Leon Hollins III | June 9, 2006 12:18 AM

To be a black man means:
1. You are an American citizen and share the responsibilities of citizenship.
2. You are equal in the eyes of the law.
3. You may dream.
4. You may persistently pursue educational, entrepreneurial, and employment opportunities.
5. Your character and integrity means more then your racial and cultural identity.

Posted by: K. L. Williams | June 9, 2006 12:27 AM

As a Black woman, I salute all these great Black men who have posted really wonderful thoughts...however I'm interested in this question answered throughout this country. As most of us know the DC metro area is the richest most educated Black locale in the country (PG county specficially)with Marietta GA running a close second.

What would the answers to this important question be in rural Black America, etc. Where there is less wealth and access to resources would the responses be the same.

Posted by: T | June 9, 2006 02:21 AM

What it means" to be a "black man?

Well I'll tell for starters dealing with crap, like this pretentious news article of yours.
Every time you turn on the TV, or read a newspaper, or attend a social event there is always some jerk, or media organization (Washington Post) constantly reminding you that you are " different", and perseverateing and focusing on the superficial aspects of who you are. Indeed this is quite frustrating.
To be black also means constantly dealing with the boxes that people try and put you in, simply because of your skin color. This is why I really hate the use of the term "African American" to describe, "Black people" in this country. If your born in the US then your Nationality is "American" (not "African American") I also hate the gross misuse of the word "race," Black people are not a "different race" (there is no such thing), or at least to date there is no scientific evidence proving that there are "different species" of human, yet this is indeed what you are implying when you differentiate ethnic groups using the term "race", HEELLO get a clue! There is only one "species" of people on the planet, and they are all human and within the "human" group there are different "ethnicities" or "ethnic groups". If you absolutely must group people into there own social class please use terminology that is more appropriate.


Posted by: DORIAN C | June 9, 2006 02:57 AM

It means to know what the struggle is,to overcome the barriers and obstacles in life. And still be productive and positive in shaping the live's of our youth for the future.

Posted by: Roger Alexander | June 9, 2006 09:47 AM

To be a black man, means you have to be couragous, patient, determined, fearful, persistent, forgiving, adaptable, strong, overcomer, perserverer, faithful and God fearing.

Posted by: Daniel L. Addison | June 9, 2006 10:53 AM

Being a black man means having strength and pride in who you are, what you have accomplished and where you have come from disspite society's negative view of us.Being a black man is a also a privledge and burden that we must embrace and be willing to ensure that our younger brothers embrace it as well.

Throughout history black men have been put down, persecuted and humilated, yet we still have accomplished so great many things.Being a black man men brotherhood unlike any other in society today.

Being a black man also mean feeling shame for those brothers who are not willing to take on the burden and responsibility of upholding the image of the great and powerful warriors that we are.

I am PROUD and HONORED to be a member of this diverse legion of men.

Posted by: Dietrich Robinson | June 9, 2006 11:07 AM

As a black man living in the Washington, DC area all my life, and not during much traveling at all, working an average 9-5 job, raising a family, and maintaing self, respect, pride, and dignity regardless of what others think. Standing firm in our own beliefs, and standing behind our children and women will allow us to teach other young black men to move freely without prejudice. Conquer this world by standing firm, and if God is in it we can win it. I am a black man.

Posted by: Maurice Hall Sr. | June 9, 2006 11:17 AM

Being a black man in a society rich with an over-abundance of cultures and traditions is a difficult thing, because we have no traditions of our own. Lost to a merciless captor, many of us do not have a cultural identity of our own, except for what we have been forced to accept, one of sterotype, negative conotation, and fear. In the depth of our existence one thing is certain, we are a mixed race of surviors. We are the lineage of kings, the best of the brightest minds, the most willing of the forced participants and the most talented of the atheleticly gifted. God is Good!

Posted by: Kevin B | June 9, 2006 12:01 PM

Being a Black Man can sometimes mean being apart of a losing cause. You know how you're seen by others including your own race and hear the statistics: jail, education, HIV, and so on. And you start seeing evidence personally that support some of these thoughts. Yet when you start digging for the truth you find a rich history of a strong people and recieve a contradiction to what you have been lead to believe the whole time. I can succeed, I can be more, and I do have a future. But if you don't have that something inside you and or that support around you, it makes it difficult to believe other than what is presented to you.

Posted by: Jamal McClain | June 9, 2006 12:42 PM

Plain and simple, it's hard being a black man in white America! The simple dilemma of not being promoted...was it because i wasn't qualifed or was it because I'm black. This is the type of issues we have to deal with day after day.

I raised my son alone since he was two, and my main goal was to raise a man. And that is really a profound statement, there are man boys walking around in men's bodies. Boys are the ones that have kids and don't take care of them. Boys makes excuses men find away! And, I can honestly say I have a 23 y/o man:)

Posted by: David N. Clyburn Jr. | June 9, 2006 12:47 PM

a black man is considered a darker man who believes life is just about making it big..no that's a black boy

a black man is a man who wants to change his surroundings people he hangs out with but never forget where he came, he strive to be better and not settle like the rest

Posted by: Sharna Wilson | June 9, 2006 01:17 PM

The question should be what it means to be an american of color? I say this because what it means to be a black man today is better than it was for my grandfather or great grandfather and all the father's before him. Have we forgotten it was once aganist the law for blacks to read, couldn't vote had to sit in the back of the bus. Yet now we own our homes, we drive the buses and we can vote for other blacks running for office no matter what their drug problems maybe. What it means to be a black man is to show respect for those than came before and laid the foundation that has made some of us leaders in business, sports and communication, financial institutions. It means that we are responsible for the continued fight for the rights of all people no matter the color. It means we have a duty to our forefathers to honor them with our continued quest for education, pride and survial by any means necessary. To live on as they dreamt for us and gave their lives for us. We as black men must never forget what was given so we can say "I'm black and I'm proud". We have more oppurtunities today than ever before. No we are not where we want to be, but we are where our father hope we could be. All this means is we are not finish yet, there is still work to do. So for every black out there that commits a crime on any person not just of color is a person who has given in to the hate, to the poverty, to the notion that he can not do and this insult to sacrifices had on all our behalf. What it means to be a black man not what use to, but not what it can be. We are not finish, we are a work in progress.

Posted by: Darryl A. Bronson | June 9, 2006 03:15 PM

It means never forgetting your past, being responsible in your present and having faith in GOD that your future - your children will be better off because of your struggle - whatever it is.

Its knowing the one true GOD of our heritage - the One who saw us through slavery, oppression and appartheid. Its realizing and walking in the divine Truth that no matter what others may say about our culture, WE CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST THAT STRENGTHENS US!

Posted by: Daniel K. Beard | June 9, 2006 03:35 PM

To me being a Black man means that you have to work so hard to get everything that you want whereas other people get what they want because of who their parents are. Black men always seem to get in so much trouble and do not have the means necessary to do what God has given them to do. I often wonder how I would make it if I were a black man becuase it seems someone or something is always putting you down or trying to keep you down. I think Black men are beautiful men just by the way they walk, talk, look and carry themselves. It hurts when I see them
doing bad things, treating women the wrong way and not taking care of those that they are esponsible for. I just pray all the time for black men.

Posted by: Eva Stokes Wood | June 9, 2006 03:39 PM

Being the mother of a 20 year old black male I tend to see things from boths sides. I have seen the side of my son being able to express himself but being stopped by the police for being black. I see the side that he feels that I am stuck in the past and things have changed. I have tried to tell him that his outward apparence reflects how people see him. I have told him to change his look, to change is walk, to change how he approaches people in order to be accepted by the world. My son, not only is he black but his is 6'3, 240 pounds. I have told him becasue of his size he needs to be very carful because his size could make people fearful of him. He has been in private schools all him life and is currently attending college. He has had the best of what I could afford but he is still stopped. When we went to get him a car I told him it could not be too flashy or a sports car only because of the fear I have of him being stopped. I have talked to him about being stopped to get all the policeman information and to never volunteer any information beside his name and address to call me and I will call a lawyer. This is the way of life for a young black man, to always being thinking about how you are perceived by the world. This is a weight that no one should have to carry for the rest of their lives. Some men can deal with this but some can't. It is our job as African Americans to teach and support our sons.

Posted by: Terri Harris | June 9, 2006 03:43 PM

It means to always have to do more and be more to everyone. To be strong even though your heart is breaking inside for the suffering you see and the injustices. To hold your head high and to articulate yourself and your position so that others do not see you as that intimidating "thug" on the street. To live half in the white world and half in the black world and to balance the two. Know when you are expected to be the brother on the block and the buddy at the spot. It is tough as hell out here and folks think that brothers have it better. I don't know about that. I know we have it better than our forefathers who were slaves, but hidden racism is sometimes overwhelming. The sisters have tired with our constant whining and have started to denegrate us as well. It is almost impossible to get any empathy or sympathy for the world. We are alone and lost. I pray for us and I do weep for my sons.

Posted by: John Waddell | June 9, 2006 03:53 PM

Being a black man in America means never being given the benefit of the doubt. Your worth must always be proven. This is one of the single greatest advantages that white men, and virtually men of every other ethnicity, enjoy over us.

Until my brothers truly come to embrace the long term ramifications of this American mindset, we will be asking these same questions 20 years from now.

Posted by: W.L.Prioleau | June 9, 2006 03:54 PM

Knowing that an incompetent white will, more frequently than not, acheive higher income, postition and status than a more competent black.

Knowing that within a corporate environment, any white, whatever his level within the corporation, can make an effective negative report about any black.

Knowing that everyone considers you incompetent because you are black even though you prove otherwise over and over.

Alwys be certain that you have been treated unfairly, whatever the circumstances when whites are involved.

Knowing that you will not be considered for higher positions unless you make noise.

Posted by: Richard Everett | June 9, 2006 04:18 PM

What does it mean to be a black Man? It means to be the best that I can be! This is who I am. My Color speaks to who I am, strong, creative, long-suffering, confident, sound-minded and independent in my thinking. Being a Black Man means to Lead By example, Teaching, Preaching, Seeking and Reaching goals no other Man would even think or even dream. Being a Black means to lead the lost, to heed to good sound judgement and succeed in anything I put my mind or hand to. Being a Black Man means to take responsibility for my action and make good choices in Life. Not that I may only reap from the benefits of having made the right choices. But other men may reap, whether they be Black or of another skin color!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Lafayette Woods | June 9, 2006 07:01 PM

As a foreigner, I have realized that too much emphasis has been placed on black males in this country, so much so that statistics that are released on social and economic issues highlight those of blacks and more specifically black men. Ths association is constantly made of black men going to prison, black men being bad fathers, etc. Why not simply state that crime rate has increased without highlighting the fact that blacks have contributed to this rise more than any other race? The focus on race in this country is like a disease that attacks anyone who enters it. Before one knows it you are viewing life in terms of race. This though process is what is fueling racial divide in this country to date. Racism does have deep roots in this country's history, however let us not make that part of how we evolve as a nation. Yes, it is true we are all different, however reports and data seem to be steering the public to believe that being successful and intelligent is a white thing, thus when a black person, or any minority for that matter, achieves greatness it is seen as "unique" based on race and not the individual's potential to be a success as a human being.

Posted by: Akosua | June 9, 2006 07:59 PM

For me, (and this is an important phrase to begin with, implying that my perspective is my own and might or might not have any bearing on the experience of other Black men,) it means having the knowledge, experience and history of a Black man, without being controlled, manipulated, or even influenced by that knowledge, experience and history, without my choice. It means recognizing that there is a legacy and a history and a culture to which I am attached, but relate and respond to at my own choosing. It means, to me, that I am free to embrace the legacy, history and culture in which I was born and free to discard it, transcend it, work within it, work outside of it, on my own terms. It means, for me, to know that I am a man first, an individual first; that my skin color and its legacy, history and culture is part of the fundamental legacy, history and culture of all men and man/womankind. It means that I am growing, changing, evolving as a man, as a Black man, as an American man, as a man of this world and as a man of this universe. It means I can scoff at the foolishness of the question, "What does it mean to be a Black man?" and still recognize its relevance in these exciting but challenging times.

Posted by: MR | June 9, 2006 10:02 PM

To be a black man (in the U.S.), in my opinion, means to undertake one's responsiblities to one's family and community just the same as any other man placed here on God's Earth with one caveat: a significant number of us have to make it happen (metaphorically) with one leg missing or one arm tied behind our back whether voluntarily by poor choices or by circumstance such as broken families or poisonous environments. Thus, those of us who can bring to bear our full talents for our community and families have to work just a bit harder, care a bit more, and endure certain scars a bit more bravely to make up for the imbalance. But the more of us that acheive, over time, the more balance and opportunities that will continue to arise in our community for black men and African-Americans as a whole. But the struggle is ongoing. To be a black man still means that the line between failure and success, incarceration and opportunity is perilously thin -- sometimes just 5 seconds thin (out of an entire lifetime)-- and those 5 seconds often arise in the most enigmatic ways, especially for our youth. Thus, the black man must and does continue to soldier on, for all. The bright lining however: despite and (paradoxically at the same time because of all), we are only beginning to touch our potential to truly make a worldwide difference through this nation called the United States of America.

Posted by: Michael S. Alexander | June 9, 2006 10:28 PM

In my world, being a black man is equivalent to wearing a huge scarlet letter and always going above and beyond to prove that I'm not like "them" (you know who "they" are). This theme is played out in every phase of life. I can't be the last to leave work because I'll be the prime suspect if anything turns up missing. On "dress down day", I still dress up. I use headphones to hide my ethnic music (read: gospel) in the workplace, while my counterparts play their radio for all to hear. I could go on and on and on. While I don't regret being a black man, I quickly acknowledge that God has blessed me with a special ability to succeed despite the obstacles and challenges.

Posted by: Demetrius L. Davis | June 9, 2006 11:12 PM

Being a Black man means so many things, and it can differ depending on who you ask and how and where geographically that particular person was reared. But to me, being a Black man represents the essence of resiliance! Being a Black man means that you are a survivor, and that you decend from a race of people who survived one of the worst human tragedies in history--slavery! Black men (and black people in general) have overcome many major obstacles since their forced migration to America. Being a Black man means to be filled with pride. Being a Black man means being a role model to our own children, as well as other fatherless children in the local community--to stand in the gap for those little Black boys whose fathers are dead, in prison, or out of their sons' lives irresponsibly. Black men are to be leaders and mentors in the community, a catalyst for change and the continual uplifting of Black people. Finally and most importantly, being a Black man means to look beyond your own personal struggle and love your fellow-man, no matter his race, color, religion, or ethnic background.

Posted by: Bradford T. Brown | June 10, 2006 12:22 AM


Posted by: ROBERT LEWIS | June 10, 2006 12:51 AM

To be Black Men in America is (?). Overall I m greatful for life. However, most black men are targeted in terms of crime,etc. Most black men infact grow up in single parent homes. It sucks to be raised in a single parent home without a Dad. It has sucked to experience the lies and brutal betrayal of our fathers to their Sons, Daughters, Mothers, Sisters etc. Being a black man means you have be able to adjust, and develop healthy, and effective defense mechanisms to fihgt off the spirits of repression, hopelessness, and death. Black man are all that... What about my other brothers? Those from Cambodia, Indonesia, Russia, North Korea, Educador, Nigera, OH YES and Ireland.

Posted by: Perkins Edward | June 10, 2006 01:39 AM

For me, being a black man may be extremely different from being a man of any other race, but you can find many of the same themes in all succesful men.

Whether it is taking responsiblity for your actions or being a positive role model to others, or just simply being the best that you can be, being a real MAN is a very universal thing.

However, in America the stakes are raised significantly for black men. We have to to usually be twice as good as a white counterpart, on our toes, and are often judged as the spokesman or representative for the entire black race at our places of employment or in school. There is extreme pressure in these types of situations, where people will judge an entire race on your actions.

We have to be stronger than usual, more patient than usual to be successful men in America.

White men take their whiteness for granted in this arena. They take for granted the fact that in a meeting there will be alot of faces that look just like theirs. they can turn on the tv and see and hear voices that sound exactly the same as theirs.

They dont ever have to be in an uncomfortable ISOLATED position if they dont want to be, to be successful.

As black men, we all do. The pressure and issues are just too much for some, and can drive others to further that isolation just to be as successful as possible.

As someone who has worked at a a major corporate in santa monica, ca, I understand this completely.

Posted by: Quest | June 10, 2006 05:07 AM

being a blackman is: Being that key entity on earth that is knowledgable of all that takes place, in respect to history, politics and the system's nature and cultures,due to the fact we have contributed to near every aspect of human existance and development as we were brought in purposely to construct society and its staructures, but just haven't attained the scope to see as futuristic as our ancestors did and so stifle the mundane activities that saturate and hinder our lives and life's goals and get our people and purpose together and be productive. IT'S SMART SOULS REVOLUTION MINDS NEEDED. Bless

Posted by: Damarli Irish | June 10, 2006 09:29 AM

being a blackman is: Being that key entity on earth that is knowledgable of all that takes place, in respect to history, politics and the system's nature and cultures,due to the fact we have contributed to near every aspect of human existance and development as we were brought in purposely to construct society and its staructures, but just haven't attained the scope to see as futuristic as our ancestors did and so stifle the mundane activities that saturate and hinder our lives and life's goals and get our people and purpose together and be productive. IT'S SMART SOULS REVOLUTION MINDS NEEDED. Bless

Posted by: Damarli Irish | June 10, 2006 09:32 AM

What does it mean to be a black man?
What does it mean to be a white man?
What does it mean to be a yellow man?
What does it mean to be a red man?

What does it mean to be a man?
What does it mean to be a hu-man?

I am a human, created by God and alive because God gave me breath.

Posted by: Ekow Ansah | June 10, 2006 11:12 AM

Being a Black man means that you are a target: a target for racism, a target for violence, a target for suspicion, a target for academic underachievement, a target for inconsistency, a target for "sperm donations" and a target for controversy.

However, I am an educated brother with two degrees from two very prestigious universities and I have been without a full-time job for six months now. I think that the portrait that has been painted by America about Black men has aided in my inability to find permanent employment while I face the daily grind of going against the grain to try to disprove meany of the stereotypes and beliefs that others have about Black men. It is tough and unless we see a dramatic revolution in the way that "brothers" are acting then I think that things are going to become even worse for Black men. Now matter how much education you have and/or what type of pedigree from an ivy league institution you possess!

Posted by: Erik Wilson | June 10, 2006 11:57 AM

Being a black man:

Being tried without a trial . . . yet you still keep trying. Discovering that the book store contains advice for the privalaged; reading even after your not getting the point . . . until you get the point; "We don't want you or like you Blackman."

Posted by: Tyrone Aiken | June 10, 2006 12:38 PM

Unfortunately the video will not play for me - based on discussion with black people, American and otherwise, it seems the problems and prejudices faced are similar to those of any minority group anywhere. As a
White, non - muslim, working in the middle east, I find that my treatment is largely dependent on my attitude. If I show courtesy, I receive it, a colleague is still bemoaning the treatment he received in a bank where, to quote him, "even women were served before me"
Yes there are difficulties, but ugly americans of whatever color, and at home or abroad, merely delay the time when acceptance occurs

Posted by: ian hatch | June 10, 2006 12:53 PM

I'm not a Black man but I am a Black woman who has a biracial son. My husband and I choose to live in a country where we could raise our child outside of the chains that would have bound him in the US. Our son is proud of his color but his reality is first and foremost that of a 9 year old BOY. He is aware that racism exists. He knows his African American roots. By living outside of the United States, he gets to witness how African American culture has positively impacted the youth in Europe. How strange it is to see young German boys in their hip hop gear. How inspiring it is to hear disadvantaged French kids use rap as a tool to be heard. All around the world, we, African Americans, have made an impact and very few of us get a chance to see how emulated and admired we are to others. Some day my son will return to the US, but when he does he'll have the luxery of viewing himself and the world through multiple lens. This was our gift to him.

Posted by: m. weedman | June 10, 2006 06:42 PM

I am a Black man, but I would assume that as a man, who was born in America, I share some of the same thoughts, culture and values as every other race of man that was born here. What are we some kind of experiment gone bad, or are we just that different from the male species that it means something to be a Black man.

Posted by: Rasheed | June 10, 2006 07:31 PM

I am a Black Man fighting for the right to finace other black men. I have decided to take my claims of discrmination into the courts (Diamond Ventures, LLC v Hector Baretto and the U.S. Small Bsuienss Administration) At every turn the SBA has fought me to join other white men in a program called the Small Business Investment Comany program (SBIC). For me, a black man, I wander if America ever levels the business and economic playing field, will it allow the rise of black intellectual and business capability and superiority.

Posted by: Earl Peek | June 10, 2006 07:48 PM

In a Darwinian sense, it means survival as
a super-human; Paul Robeson, Benjamin Carson or constant struggle to surive for the less economically and educationally priveleged

Posted by: dp | June 10, 2006 10:29 PM

It means that I have a very rich history, beginning in Africa and has spread over the world.

Posted by: A. Fuller | June 11, 2006 12:10 AM

As a black man living in America there are so many different aspects that involved with that title. As a kid you have so many different emotions because you rarely see people who look like you on the television, unless they are in the entertainment industry or through athletics. Nothing is wrong with these two these, I played college football myself. It's difficult though when as a adolescent the choice arises to be the "nerd" and focus on studying or play a sport that you're "supposed" to play, with only athletes to look up to alot of our boys are misled into thinking that sports is their only way to a successful life. It's so sad when the comments from our own people label each other as trying to "act white" just because we choose to further ourselves with education. I am a second year law school student and the comments were numerous growing up, but luckily my mother was an educator and taught me the value of an eduction at a young age. In the community many times showing emotion is forbidden, men don't hug each other and are very reluctant to give compliments to each other. At the very center of our struggle in the corporate world etc. is this same attitude. Crabs in a bucket is what my grandmother used to call it, we are the only race of people who don't lend a hand to help other's on your way up. Until this attitude dies away, black people will be their own worst enemy sadly to say...it really brings a tear to my eye. What would Martin say?

Posted by: Keith Johnson | June 11, 2006 09:12 AM

Black Man where? Black Man in which society? Black Man from where? There are more Black Men in Nigeria alone than there are in the US. There are significant West Indian, Ethiopian and Hispanic communities - and so on - of Black Men in this country. Assuming the question is specific to what it means to be a Black Man in the US, it would be interesting and, hopefully, instructive to get the perspectives of the native born Black Man as well as those of West Indians, Hispanics, Africans, (and others)who now call the United States home. Not sure which of these perspectives are included in the video clip but one might expect very different responses from, and within, each "sub-group". As a foreign born Black Man, the perspectives I bring no doubt impact my experience in this great country. In some small way, they may actually contribute to the perception and/or reality of what it means to be a Black Man in the USA.
Additionally, my experience here is also impacted by which "sub-cultures" - racial/ethnic/color, religious, economic, political, etc - have the most influence (positive or negative) on me.

Posted by: Mabasa Nhekairo | June 11, 2006 01:27 PM

One of the most powerful thoughts that came to me as I watched the video is, these black men were not asking for anything. They were speaking of their self-awareness and self-development and through that process self-improvement. This is quite removed from the civil rights era thinking that we needed a leader to take us to the promised land.

Black men are instilling their own sense of leadership. It's internal (individually) and not focused on one individual black man. Black men are taking their personal power and transforming their lives ijn ways some could not imagine.

The media focuses on selling their merchandise--the woes of being black and their dependence on institutions our government provided as handouts--and it's fed with media sponsored images that do not speak for the majority of blacks in America. These black men see it and they are improving our communities for the standards we can maintain, not those of media.

Posted by: Sidney Thompson | June 11, 2006 02:26 PM

Being a black man means ensuring that one's behavior matches ones aspirations. Personal responsibility, and a stern refusal to accept denigrating social portrayals of people who look like you are both key. It is also important to be an individual. Blackness defines only one aspect of a multi-faceted personality. All of those facets come into play as one moves about the world - and interacts with people of varying backgrounds and levels of education (both cultural and academic). Only in by avoiding a narrow and exclusionary black identity is it possible to progress as an individual - reflecting the best aspects of ourselves.

Posted by: David Mussington | June 11, 2006 04:53 PM

As a student educated in Africa, i was never taugh to call myself black or African by any teacher.My identity was always Joel Muinde a kenyan citizen and an African. I enrolled at The Ohio State University and i was alarmed by the fact that some when African-American often identify themsleves as Black. I say Black is a state of mind. African- Americans should identify themselves with their first names followed by nationality(American). That is what they are-Americans.

Posted by: Joel Muinde | June 11, 2006 05:28 PM

As a 22 year old black man, who grew up in one of the most impoverished areas of Baltimore City (of which at one point in time had the highest murder, violent crime, and AIDS rate in the country,) my charge is for Black men to accept the baton W.E.B. Dubois refers to in his writing. We must accept the baton passed to us by Thurgood Marshall, who as we all know was a leading civil rights advocate, who went on to become the first African American appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. We must accept the baton passed to us by the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., another prominent civil rights activist, who went on to recieve the nobel prize for peace-among other things. We must accept the baton being passed to us by Congressman Elijah Cummings-my mentor, who is second to none in public service, determine and resolute in his effort to demonstrate his love for his people, and will to affect unprecedented change in the lives of all Americans.

Black men, we have no choice but to be leaders. Based upon the wisdom, knowledge and exposure that we gain and will continue to gain-we have a great responsibility to impart that into another brother-another sister (younger or older), but its on you. Don't be blinded by your "brilliance"-keep it simple.

The challenge for us all is to NEVER ALLOW ANYONE TO DEFINE YOU, FOR YOU, BUT YOU.

Just as important, I want you all to look on me Good Brothers, look on those who are making it a priority not only to discuss what to do, but are actually taking steps to do it, and be encouraged, be renewed, be assured to know that help is no longer on the way, but help is here.

The motto for my organization-soon to be in D.C. (The Brothers' Circle Inc.) is DIRECTION DISCUSSED IN DIALOGUE-DETERMINED TO BE DRIVEN TO GET THINGS DONE.


Posted by: G. Robert Love | June 11, 2006 05:34 PM

In life people tend to remeber conversations, literature, and statements that have profound effects on them. My father would always and still tells me 'You have an obligation to those before you (black men and women)to take advantage of the opportunities that are set before and make a positive, successful, and fulling life for yourself. They lived in constant peril and risked their lives just so you can have the opportunities you have now.' When I reflact on that statement I often think of how true that statement is. There was a time when we as people would dream of freedom and nothing else. There was a time when we couldn't ride in the front of the bus, or even eat in the same resturaunt as whites. There also was a time that if one dared to dream of being a doctor or lawyer, that dream was crushed because they thought that a that the black man was deemed incompetent and was told that he did not posses the intellegence to do so. Now because of those who came before me I can be whatever I aspire. So from 21 years of personal experience to be a black man is to make a positive changes in the black community and stray from the stereotypes that come along with being a black man.To be a black man is to be strong in the in face of adversity and persevere through obstacles that are inevitable. Also to be a black man is to understand that education is the key and only way to advance in life. The most feared person on earth is an educated black man because history shows that the black race is strong but once he recieves an adequate education the possibilities are limitless.

Posted by: Ricky F. | June 11, 2006 10:20 PM

It means to be strong, more disciplined and respected. However,
with the actions of our young black men we have been made to be crimnals,
thugs, not responsible people, baby-
makers and etc. To be a real black
man, we must reverse that trend, not
their mothers, not the white society

Black men msut teach young Black men to be less violent, get a job and keep a job, take care of their kids, believe that they must work twice aa hard as White people, get a education(at least a HS diploma) or a
trade, stop trying to get something
for nothing or steal it. The list is
endless, but be a real Black men
that assists to Black Community to
survive and advancement to a higher
level, it will take Black men with
valves, strong-will, discipline and
sound behavior of Black men from the

Posted by: Ricky J. Bell | June 11, 2006 11:37 PM

To be a blackman in america. U have got to have a very high tolence level. Not let the hatred and ignorance get to u. Being consider invisble when white poeple enter a room. And the spectulation of every white person that they are better educated. It's a consant battle every single day. And the mass ignorance of my people doesn't make it any easier. I try not sound has if I have a chip on my shoulder but come on how much can a man take. My neighborhood's are falling apart my children are losing this race. But in those perdomintly white neighborhood's I don't see that. Politicans could care less about the inner city until white developers want to buy and build.

Posted by: Munday Crowell | June 12, 2006 12:08 AM

It means that your existence is always in question. Your importance becomes a function of not who you are but what you are (e.g., cop, porter, movie star, executive, etc.) with the underlying societal question always being are you good enough given the fact that you are black and male? This question permeates every aspect of American life for black men. For example,it shows up as follows: are you good enough to be a neighbor, a husband, or a co-worker, and, it's all on the basis of the stereotypes attached to skin color, hair texture, gender, class, and birth origin. Hey, but what do you expect from a country that would sacrifice its poor for the love of a dollar?

Posted by: Samson Seymour | June 12, 2006 06:52 AM

for me, Being a Black Man is to realize that when I speak, society hears the voice of every Black Man.
Being a Black Man means society holds me to a different standard.

Ultimatelty being a Black Man means, my history teaches me I am Strong enough, mentally and physically to withstand and overcome anything White society has brought to bear.

Posted by: Sammy Leach | June 12, 2006 08:42 AM

Being a black woman I cannot express how it feels to be a black man. What i can express is, in my opinion, is that you are a product of your enviroment. If you think about it, most successful black men come from a successful family or a more motivated family, more encouraging family. You have the black doctors that come from a history of doctors or a family that constantly encourages their child(son) to be all that he can be. Regardless of color, i feel that you can accomplish anything. For the black men that say that it's hard, ok, it is, i will agree. But if everything is just handed to you, it's not worth having. Whatever you work for and work hard to achieve is worth saying it's yours.
To my black men, be strong, be patient, be encouraged and be motivated. Remember you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!

Be Blessed

Posted by: Angela "a proud black woman" | June 12, 2006 09:02 AM

to beleive in youself. to respect your women, your child, your people.to be confident in yor own abilites. as a 60 year old black male these things were taught to me as a child by my extended village. sadly we do not appear to take the time to teach our young black men today.

Posted by: charles woods | June 12, 2006 09:03 AM

Being proud of background, sensitive to others needs, always learning from diverse experiences and always strving to become more as each new opportunity/challenge comes my way...

Posted by: anthony daniels | June 12, 2006 09:35 AM

It's a gift and a curse being a black man, especially a young black man. The gift is the strength, the character, the soul, and the style that we carry with is. The curse is those same qualities we have get us pushed to the back of the line. That curse gets us followed around in stores. That same style we sometimes walk around with, the flashy clothes, baggy jeans, pimped out walk and that mean mug also gets us labeled as a "thug". When in actuality that black man just might be a doctor, lawyer, or a 4.0 student at Howard. Being a black man means being the most sought after commodity when it comes to football, basketball, and track. It also means having a perception that those are the only things we can succeed at.

Being a black man means being the secret fantasy of all the other races females, but also having them clutch their purses or tighten up on the elevator when we come around. It means being the reason for the success of the NBA, but the downfall when the players become to "hip-hop" and do not project a certain image.

Being a black can either keep you down, or drive you to the top. The gift and the curse.

Posted by: Marcus | June 12, 2006 09:59 AM

Being a black man, in my opinion, is a definition in transition. The black man, African people in general, are being forced to transform themselves into becoming something beyond our traditional past...which is a good thing. The "old way's" are being challenged by the emerging dominance of a technological, global economic reality. No longer can blacks afford to anchor themselves to core "spiritual" approaches, founded upon religious concepts. I'm not saying ancient African core spirituality is to be abandoned, but it must evolve.

The ancient Egyptians (African), were whole brain thinkers, mixing religion and science to produce a truly wholistic perspective. Europeans, through the Greeks, took hold of the science (by necessity) and minor in religion. As such, technology and industry have flourished. The African focuses mainly on religion and spirituality, and as a result suffer in science and industry.

The new age, or new millenium, or future of black people must evolve to fully embrace science and industry. Once this happens, living conditions and respect will improve.

My individual reality is based greatly upon that of the whole of black people. My heights are limited to that which is supported by my brothers and sisters of race.

I believe that blacks should learn as much as possible from whites and others in science and technology, but remain mindful of the spiritual realities brought from our ancestors...much like the Egyptian.

Posted by: Steven Dothard | June 12, 2006 10:41 AM

It means that you live in a country where you must watch your back because jail, murder, or poverty are a very likely potentiality for yourself. It means that if your ancestors were slaves in this country you must live with the realization that even though they were responsible for making this country rich and powerful you as a descendant will not receive your rightful inheritance for their toils and they will not receive recogniton. It means you have to know that your slave ancestors are the reason other countries, nationalities, and immigrants still benefit from from their burdens. It means that you must know that the police view you more as a potential crimnal than any other race. It means that you must work twice as hard to be recognized as an equal to a white man. It means that you have a responsibilty to your race to help them survive the eradication of themselves.

Posted by: Awakened | June 12, 2006 11:06 AM

Being a black man (in America) means two things:

1. Knowing that for good or bad you have to consider your life based on being black and not being able to completely free to ignore being black to consider your life.

2. Having to work very hard to make who you are more important than than what you are being a black man.

Posted by: William | June 12, 2006 12:07 PM

To be a Black man in America is to be bold, determined and knowledgeable; to strive and survive against the odds, to hold America to its promise of justice and equality; to fight for the poor and disenfranchized.

Posted by: Chamberlain C. Diala | June 12, 2006 05:37 PM

"what it means to be a black man", means starting five feet back from the running start line while others start on the line. It means having total confidence in self because no one else wants to. It means fighting the good fight with no one fighting with you. It means re-learning what you learned or never learned. Knowing more despair than hope, but only fighting for hope when self-awareness has broken the chain of the destruction placed on the subconscious mind purposely set.
Knowing that those who purposely set out to destroy the black man's subconsious mind has gathered support and favortism from other races to continue the neglect and hatred. Ignoring our accomplishments from Egypt pyramids to U.S. inventions,etc.
These are all reinforcements of what it means to be a black man. I guess our ability to wipe out all other races could justify the continuous hatred. Now I know what it means to be a black man.

Posted by: LeGrande | June 12, 2006 05:54 PM

First, it means that I am fully human, just like every other human being. As an adult man, I have a fundamental responsibility for myself and to every other person with whom I interact to be respectful, honest, engaging and substantive.

Second, I am and accept responsibility for figuring out what I want to do with my life and doing the work that is necessary to make those dreams reality. That responsibility includes being the best father, step-father, friend, partner, teacher/professor, scholar, and person that I can be. It requires me to take the ideas and experiences of others seriously, and to think, reflect and be activlely engaged in the ongoing process of learning. It involves my working assidously on becoming more of the person that I wish to be and speaking about that journey honestly.

Finally, being a black man means working to define myself, to pursue my dreams, goals, and aspirations without allowing negativism and oppression in their various disguises - including but not limited to racism, classism, or nationalism - from deterring me from contributing something positive to the human condition.

Posted by: CLaude A. Louishomme, Ph.D. | June 12, 2006 07:16 PM

It is simultaneously empowering, to continue a legacy of pride and accomplishment, and burdening. The shame and disgrace of your people not living up to their potential is a shared legacy. The true sign of success is defined by the condition of the race in addition to your own personal accomplishments. The irony is that the yardstick of success from the Black perspective may be more demanding than from society as a whole -- as compared with the average (or white norm). Doing well for your own good and leaving brothers behind is not acceptable. It is not enough if your contribution does not help "the family". True pride to be Black in America to me is that I have followed my own Dream, helped some one else, accomplished some of the goals my parents expected and grand parents would be proud of. This is in addition to what society expects. The generational divide is apparent when that connection to the past is lost. Making money alone is an empty success, It hurts when our youth miss this. My two sons are responsible and successful but they can only be connected to the past through me. I consider the passing of this shared responsibility my greatest success and one that my ancestors would be most proud. The demise of the extended Black family causes the erosion of these values.

Posted by: Kevin J. Lowther | June 12, 2006 10:06 PM

It means never being totaly accepted in American society no matter what your accomplishments are.

It means being sterotyped,stopped by the police for no reason at all and when you seek justice in the courts that is all you find in the courtroom "is just us"
It means living in the 9th ward all over the country unless you have a ton of money, working jobs that only allow you to pay for basic needs and being though of as lazy and criminal because you are poor.
It mean that we are ingenious and creative and basically have survived in this country with far less than those that jumped from the window when the stockmarket crashed in the 30's because they could not handle being poor.
It means what Jessy Jackson said at the Democratic National Convention in the 80's." poor people catch the early bus to work, they made the food and cleaned the beds that you slept in last night but they can't afford to stay in the same hotel"
It mean that we are Musical,great dancers, romantic, hard working, intelligent and much more that we don't get credit for.

Posted by: Walter Johnson | June 13, 2006 07:04 AM

What does being a black man mean to me? Being a black man in America means to be admired, feared, and emulated. As a black man I am embedded in a historical vacuum that has attempted to suction all culture, ambition, and overall zest for life. However, through the numerous struggles of my forefathers I can now at 35 years of age say that I truly believe that I can acheive anything that I choose to pursue. Does racisim still exist? My response is an emphatic "yes". Will I continue for all the days of my life to be admired, emulated, and most of all feared.........yes I will. Being a black man means overcoming odds that no other race has ever had to overcome.

Posted by: Gene Smith | June 13, 2006 08:13 AM

What it means to me is that we are a lost strong, talented and creative race of people. To call ourselves black is not correct. We come from Kings and Queens in Africa and other countries of the world. We have been striped of our nationalities and have accepted to be reduced to a shallow name, a color, to be called Black. We are much more than that. We have contributed greatly to the history of man on this earth and made life better for all races. We are a choosen people in God's eyes. We just have to live up to our potential.


Posted by: Leonard | June 13, 2006 10:54 AM

I can tell you as a young black man it means a lot of things many good, many bad. But it means you are looked in a certain way Whether you are feared, loved, idolized or blamed for being criminal; as a blakc man you always feel like you're in the "hot seat," so to speak.

I feel good about where I am in life and who I am. But sometimes I feel like I'm always being judged in a good or bad way. It feel like I cannot just be another person walking down the street. I have be either a black criminal or a "good black guy."

I do feel that some black people make too much of their race and racism at times. But I also feel like people who are not black men don't understand how (different or similar) our experiences are; whether it be male and female, male and male, black and black, white and black, etc.

Posted by: Karlin D Carney | June 13, 2006 11:42 AM

Being a black man is a constant struggle within and without. From within, it often requires you to battle a those voices both black and white that long ago told you that you could never achieve success. Even though their faces have faded into memory, those voices always echo in your head, haunting your every step and waiting for you to fall down. You see, it's not simply a question of trying, failing and trying again, there is always an innate psychological trauma- "what if they're right???" It's not always desire that drives you, it's the fear- the fear of failure.
From without, being a black man is a constant battle against stereotypes and expectations of a society that fears you. It's a little unnerving to see a white woman clutch her purse tighter when you get on an elevator. Regardless of how you may be dressed, all she sees is a threat. While this example might seem like a sweeping generalization, I know that most black men reading this will understand, because it's probably happened to them at least once. And if it hasn't just wait, your turn is coming soon.
When I was in law school, one of my classmates and I came up with something that we called the "wow factor"- The wow factor is what happens when someone speaks to you over the phone, and the fact that they can't hide their shock when they discover you are black. A good deal of society has a rather negative perception of black men. One of the most insulting compliments I have ever been given was when someone who was white told me that I was "so well spoken"... I couldn't help but think- well, how am I supposed to sound?
But that's not everything there is to being a black man. There's power in that blackness, a strength and endurance means that you are up to the challenge. You are a fighter because life is a battle and you were born for the struggle. There is a certain pride that comes with that realization that is empowering keeps you going when that's all you have left.
I could talk about this more extensively but I think it best to be brief and end with this- I am by no means bitter or angry about my experiences- They have made me the man that I am. And as for being a black man, I am as God made me, black, strong and proud.

Posted by: Randy L. Johnson | June 13, 2006 12:23 PM

To be a black man means standing strong and proud through adversity. It means never accepting the norm and forging a path to greatness as so many others have done before me. As a 35 year old black man living in Texas, I've experienced the highs and lows from the births of my three children to the death of James Byrd in an act of racial violence. I analyze my actions since I feel we, as black people, will always be scrutinized by other ethnicities. I'm trying to make a positive impact in the Mexican community because I'm known locally (and to some degree nationally) as a young talent who sings latin music. I don't speak or understand the language but I sing it very well. So well in fact that I've performed with one of Mexico's greatest entertainers, Vicente Fernandez. I do this despite receiving criticism from some Mexicans who look down on Blacks in the same manner as southern Whites in the years our Civil Rights movement. An unfortunate mutual sentiment shared by their national president Vicente Fox. My determination as a black man allows me to overcome the negativity and cross barriers. I encourage young black men to be responsible for their actions and not be a statistic for things that damage our image such as escalated crimes, victims of social diseases and domestic violence. I was raised without the presence of my father and it's important for me to be their for my children even though I'm no longer with the mother of my first two. My influence and guidance will ensure that they succeed in life and I'll be there to witness it. I ask that other black men do the same. It disturbs me when a black man fathers a child and another man is eventually called "daddy". To me, this creates a loss of identity. My heart beats the blood of every proud Black person in America. I want to be remembered for what I was able to accomplish and I hope others will continue onto greatness.

Posted by: Andre Shorter "El Charro Negro" | June 13, 2006 02:08 PM

A black man is one who understands, his proud history and heritage. A black man understands the importance of family and his responsiblity for loving, protecting and caring for them. More importantly, he is responsilble for being the role model for his son(s). Teaching, coaching, and helping his son to understand the importance of honesty, integrity, courage and commitment; teaching him that everything starts with the belief in God, and himself; that education is the path to his success; that we all experience failure, but he can bouce back with faith in God and faith in himself.

Posted by: DeWitt O. Harris | June 13, 2006 02:13 PM

To be a black man means to have the greatest potential to achieve in an extraordinary way, because of our history, our ability to survive and thrive through adversity, oppression and suppression, there is no limit what he can attain to. Also involved in being a black man is a great challenge, a challenge to allow our history to mold them into greatness rather than a stumbling block to reach out for it. It means black men can be the best fathers, sons, husbands, lovers, friends and confidants and nurturers this world has ever seen.

Posted by: Frances A. | June 13, 2006 03:56 PM

It means that your advancement could potentially alienate you from your community in profound ways. It means that-sometimes-if you want to deal squarely with the problems that Black people face you could be working alone. This is unfortunate, but true. Black men often have to figure things out on their own. Where other groups have systems in place to mentor (really mentor) and guide their young men, Black men rarely have these opportunities.
Being a Black man is like watching a big party from behind an electrified window. You see other Black folks at the party, but every time you touch the window to signal you're out there,you receive a shock.
It only takes so many shocks before you leave, or grow resentful. This true for Black males from Kindergarten through Ph.D.


Drego Little
Graduate Student
College of Education
University of Washington

Posted by: Drego Little | June 13, 2006 07:50 PM

Being a black man means strength because he faced torture and survived just like an antelope in the jungle. When you survive that kind of torture it makes you brave like a lion in the jungle. My history scares other cultures because of the torture we encountered as in racism and we still stand strong as people. As a black man I am strong and proud because I can survive anything and everything.

Posted by: Raymond Williams | June 13, 2006 11:36 PM

I think the agressive march forward of the liberal white religion of Mental Health -- i.e. all social problems are mental health related-- has been extremely destructive in lives of black men and particularly the lives of black boys. For example, ADHD has now become a virtual synonym for "black male" in most public schools. Psychobabble, DSM drive-by diagnoses and mental illness in general has become the new language of racism in American. We are far too ready to find black males in particular mentally ill and far too hesitant to anyone, in general, morally culpable, and thus morally capable. But for Black Men the White Cult of Mental Health has been truly crippling.

Posted by: Jim Carmine | June 14, 2006 12:04 PM

Don't know what it's like to be a Black man. I'm sure it's not easy, especially in America.

Posted by: Shahidah Mustafa | June 14, 2006 01:49 PM

Being a black man means many things to me but, some components of being a black man to me are: I have to exceed my white peers in order to keep my job. I have to be aware of the history of my forefathers, and think about the children to come. Living in a town that just held a KKK rally on June 10, 2006, I have to be an example of what we can achieve, self-worth, despite what what society is doing or attempting to do around me. It is a daily awareness of who I am and to whom I belong too. That is just a few of the things that being a black man means to me.

Posted by: david | June 14, 2006 03:46 PM

In todays world, being a Black Man is not so hard anymore, when it comes to others outside our race. Today, Black Men tend to have problems dealing with them selves and there own personnal issues. We have a real rough history and everyday is a sruggle for us to rewrite it. So many young Black Men look-up to the wrong people. They dream of becoming entertainers and most feel that a High School or College education is not necessary for them to become a Rapper or a Basketball player. We have become LASY, because we don't have a struggle! Black people are so use to struggle, that when the struggle is not noticeable, we tend to become complacent or Lasy.

Posted by: Kevin Henderson | June 14, 2006 07:03 PM

Being a black man in America means learning to deal effectively with the heartache and disappointment that racism can create, at an early age.It means struggling with the rage & frustration real & imagined insults can put into your psyche.It means trying to find joy in the bitterness of unrealized potential wasted generation after generation.It means loving the creative, resourceful, vibrant black, brown, red, yellow and every hue in between people you are a part of. It means learning that ignorance is as broad, deep and wide as the sea and must be combatted vigilently and tirelessly. It is learning that only love conquers hate and that hate only represents the degree to which love is possible once ignorance is overcome. It is learning to live with the bitter-sweetness of suffering to teach the unknowing how damaging their insensitivity can be when backed by the force of law, social mores or community politics. It means being a pioneer and an agent for change to make the world a better place and never giving up.

Posted by: John M. | June 15, 2006 02:54 AM


Posted by: CLYDE W. LEE JR | June 15, 2006 08:29 AM

My definition of what it means to be a black man has evolved over the years. If asked this question 10 years ago, I would say to be a black man is to be a man of color who is adored by women. Now, as a 28 year old, PhD graduate, father of two and husband, my view of what it means to be a black man has become condiderably more complex. For me, to be a black man means to:

i) accept that life here in America for you is not easy
ii) always be an everlasting POSITIVE light and image in your home, neighborhood, community, and workplace
iii) realize that the fate of our commnity and future generations depends on US (no one can or should take responsibility for raising our children, marrying our women, or protecting our homes but the black man)
iv) realize that no matter what our life goal is, education is not an option, but an absolute neccessity
v) realize that showing love for our kids and women is necessary
vi) accept the challenge of being black in america
vii) own up to your responsibilities
viii) always think before you speak
ix) be aware of your surroundings
x) give respect where and when it is deserved
xi) respect all women
xii) be tenacious and never give up
xiii) stay motivated and encouraging
xiv) realize that nothing is going to be given to you (all great things happen to those who work dilegently and tirelessly for them)
xv) be patient, but not complacent
xvi) realize that we are eternally and termendously powerful and the only limitations to our achievement and advancement is us (we must have a positive mindset from day 1 in order to succeed)
xvii) resist the multitude of negative tempations, distractions, and deterrents which can knock us off target.

Lastly, let me say that as a Black Man, it is not going to be easy, but, for that matter, it never has been. So, the black man of today must accept this, internalize it, and use it as an empowering mechanism to uplift himself and the black community as whole.

Posted by: Rashad J. Belin | June 15, 2006 09:24 AM

I like the idea of the section, however I felt the video fell short of making any truly powerful, inspiring statements. The guys kept mentioning about the Women as being an advantage of being a black man. I mean how does that speak to the importance of breaking through challenges and creating your own big picture. Getting rid of the victim attitudes in many of us that only expect change to come from one one else, and not tapping into the power inside.

Posted by: Hajure | June 16, 2006 09:07 AM

Being a black man means being a man just like any other ethnicity with the added burden and blessing of our arduous past. The burden is about having to educate people every day that you are an individual not a representative of the black race; about telling them how black is too broad, too deep, and too complex for me to represent it; and about knowing that at the end of the day they were too busy noticing my kninky hair and stereotyping me to hear anything I said.

Being a black man means knowing that there is a group of people that expects you to always be on the bottom. You know that there is a history of discrimination and sterotypes out there. I wonder why every other ethnic minority that comes to this country has a shorter path to success. Why are there so many asian, middle eastern and latin business owners per capita compared to black business owners?

There is something that hurts inside when you realize that the skin you are wearing has made life more difficult and that this pervasive prejudice never goes away.

For me being a black man is about striving to be the best person that I can be, hoping that if I do my very best the skin that surrounds me won't matter.

Posted by: j. gadson | June 16, 2006 11:44 AM

Being a black man to me means that I a marked man. I am a mark man by society because we have been depicted as thugs, dead beat dads and unintelligent. I am a marked man by women because there are my sisters who can't seem to run into ones that they consider "good men" and then there are other races that are still curious about how well endowed we are. I am a marked man by coporate america because they hire us based upon social responsibility and then expected us to lack confidence, structure and a solid understanding of the companies goals. I am a marked man by my family because there are the elders that understand the struggle and there are the youths that have yet to begin the struggle. I am a marked man by my wife because she knows she has a good black man. I am a marked man by God because he created me. So what does it mean to be a black man..........it's means that I am forever marked and the target is always on our backs whether good or bad.

Posted by: Ron Bradford | June 16, 2006 02:52 PM

Living in Azania (South Afrika) and being a black man means a lot of things Endurance, Knowledge, Strength, Pride, Spirituality, Boldness, Ambition, Dignity the list is endless...The fist victim of the memorable 16 June 1976 uprising was a young black boy who braved the bullets and chanted on "WE DO NOT WANT AFRIKAANS IN OUR SCHOOLS"

When the white man came to Afrika the very first thing they did was destroy the male figure ( so as we do not impart our rich history and culture to the fore coming generations) The black woman held on. That was when our diamonds and mineral resources were stolen and that is why today we have the British queen and her crown which was a stolen diamond from a black child who happened to discover it in his back yard. As a black man I am a tower, hence the white man could not destroy us but ended up raping our black woman hence today I have a cousin who is classified as (colored) As a black man I am a pillar the universe is balancing on, destroy me and see the universe goes down. { I SHALL REMAIN BLACK AND MAKE SURE THE FUTURE BLACK MAN AND WOMAN DO NOT LEAVE THE LIFE I LEAVED} Bantu Biko, may his soul rest in once said (BLACK MAN YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN)

aluta kontinua

Posted by: henry moleme motale jr. | June 16, 2006 04:23 PM

A black man is no different than any other man on the inside. Only the black man is aware of the judging eyes of his shared past with his judges. Although he has the same concerns, wants and thoughts as other men, his reactions sometimes adjust from the norm because of the extra pressure of being viewed. And as a result what is shown to the "judges" is a "black man."

An African professor once responded to my calling him a black man with a quit response that forever changed my thinking of what it means to be a black man. I paraphrased a questions with, "As a black man you..." He immediately stopped me ... "I am not a black man...I am just a man. In Africa there is no one to tell me that I am a BLACK man. We are ONLY men."

Posted by: Marcus White | June 17, 2006 11:10 AM

It means that your life will be filled with challenges that other Americans will not have to face. I know that I MUST find a way to circumvent these challenges expediently because there is no "safety net" for black men. Opportunities don't come often and redemption is almost non-existent.

Posted by: William Hamilton | June 17, 2006 11:40 PM

To be a black man in this country is to except the socioeconomic difficulties with the laws that back them just to have a piece of mind every day. To be a black man is to knoow what you're worth and stand for whatever you like no matter how the media portray you. To understand that this country does not belong to you and that you're living here as a servant to a so called higher class of people.

Posted by: Denarlo Fendall | June 19, 2006 11:07 AM

What is it to be a Black Man? Through the eyes of a 24 year old African American Male, educated with a Bachelors in Business & Masters in Science.

Being a Black man is being an ambassador for your people whether you want to or not. Knowing that as you walk down the street you are compared to Tupac, Kobe Bryant, Dave Chappell, or Marion Barry. Seen as by others outside our community as entertainers and performers, if we are luckily or just individuals who have the potential to rob, steal, or cause random acts of violence.

What is it to be a Black Man? Being a Black Man is painful fighting not only to pulls or selves up to a social standing which is equal to our counter parts but reaching down to help others so we may not be alone....but at the same time as we struggle up the ladder of equality with the burden of pulling others up. We are faced with some who reach their pinnacle and reject the community of from which they came. Or worse we face a battle over the minds of the younger generations, with others who have chosen easier paths such as drugs & violence, which lead ultimately to death, and destruction.

What is it to be a Black Man? It is a Balancing act understanding that to advance in society you have to understand and in some ways assimilate to "White America", but at the same time not get so lost that when you look into a mirror you forget where you came from.

What is it to be a Black Man? Being able to stand up proud knowing that individuals (such as Martian Luther King Jr., Malcolm X) died to provide you with the freedoms you have today, that no one can take away from you. Knowing that this country was built on the backs of your ancestors, and that you being here today is a direct testament to ability of your ancestors to survive some of the greatest adversities possible.

What is it to be a Black Man? Divine

Posted by: Phillip Jones | June 19, 2006 12:08 PM

Being a black man means first of all to be a man, who just happens to be black. Being a man means putting away childish things. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, thought like a child, reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put away childish things.(1 Cor. 13:11) Being a man means putting away childish things and accepting responsibility for your own life. Responsibility comes in many forms. Accept responsibility for the things that happen to you. Accept responsibility for your children, your family. Being a man who happens to be black today means to stop blaming white people for every problem we have. White people have problems too. I am proud to be a black man. I believe that I am a successful black man who has looked at every opportunity offered to him and chosen the ones that best suit his personality. I believe as a whole that we as black men must stop killing each other, but educate each other. Being a black man means, building relationships with other Black men so that we can share our history and culture with our families. Being a black man means to be God-fearing and raising children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Being a black man means doing the right thing. always.

Posted by: Arthur Glover | June 19, 2006 01:17 PM

I want to THANK YOU for this series...it has to be the most powerful and real adaptation of the lives of black men that I have ever seen. I hope that this can become a documentary that airs on network televison , BET or TV1 so that our black men both young and old can see just how important they really are to our communities and not allow society to dictate who they are and where they are going.

Thank you!
From a sista' who loves and appreciates black men and their many struggles!

Posted by: Lori D | June 19, 2006 04:40 PM

to be a black man is like looking through God's eye's for he is the one that made us all in his image.

Posted by: Brian Datcher | June 19, 2006 09:36 PM

What does it mean to be a black man in america? Hope for my son to grow into a better Man, Hope for my son to acknowledge the seeds planted before him and harvest the crop of his ancestors inspite of the negitive, Hope for my son to acknowledge self love and refuse advertise himself for sale(4 U can only be sold if you place yourself 4sale). Hope for my sond to know women are human beings not products to be purchased. Children are our stepping stone of unconditional love. Hope for my son to walk proudly for truly he was made in the likeness of GOD, Hope for my son to seek wisdom, education, LOVE of his black woman, and ultimatley prosper without blame upon another. Hope for my son to never give ownership of himself to any man especially a white man. HOPE FOR MY SON TO HEAR ONLY THE LOVE OF GOD LEADING HIM TOWARD HIS VICTORY! Hope for my son to become a MAN and offer his kindness, love of self, wisdom, respect, and strength humbly to the next willing hungry sole that refuses to live in the shadow's of a definition of what or who HE's suppose to be. HOPE FOR MY SON TO KNOW THE TRUE MEANING OF EACH ONE TEACH ONE WITHOUT A DISCOURAGING BLINK. LONG LIFE FOR MY BROTHA'S WHO ALREADY ACKNOWLEDGE ACCEPT AND ADORE THEIR BLACK STATUS OF KING AND PRINCE OF KINGS, THIS QUEEN HUMBLY BOWS TO YOU FOR YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN EVERY AREA OF YOUR LIFE I APPLAUD & LOVE U.

Posted by: | June 19, 2006 10:58 PM


Posted by: KENNETH W. CATTNEHAD, B.A., L.F.D. | June 19, 2006 11:57 PM

from an anthropomorphic perspective, what it means to be a Black Man is quite enlightening. from a scientific perspective, it becomes even more illuminating. but, everyones experience, regardless of race, is actually an individuality based reality that transcends any shallow or superficial assessments. there's no doubt that being a Black man has it's inherent dynamics. but, it's still all about survival of the fittest. my personal experiences of being a Black man have been rather exciting. Having been the drummer with George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars for 5 years, a computer systems analyst for over 25 and, above all, being a devout esoteric Christian metaphysician; it's all about end results! personally, I attempt to adapt a mindset where-by, if my ancestors could endure the inhumane hardships that they faced; my life is a piece of cake! as an educated Black man, I am well aware that tragedy, slavery and very inhumane and negative experiences have impacted each and every race on the planet. so, as a Black man; it is what it is! the objective of positively experiencing love, life and truth are the essential trinity of mankind. i've found that being a talented, educated Black man is one of God's greatest blessings on Earth. but, as with all great realities of power, without control, negative manifestations are inevitable. thanks to the Grace of God, my relationships with people, whether white, black, yellow or polka-dot, have usually been very positive and spiritually uplifting. no doubt, i've hit my knees on a few hurdles; but, within the grand scheme of things, i've had relationships that reflected "wisdom" within others that empowered me with respect and a positive temperence of emulation. now that education is afforded the masses; our greatest focal point must be on our psychological self. everything is potentially a two-edge sword! from religion to poverty, prosperity to insanity; everything that is, is simply a divine tool. one's end results are the basis which renders one a wise man or a fool. my being a Black man, or any other color, will never change the reality of, to the degree that I take responsibility for self, where-by the greater I serve the needs of others, so too am I fulfilling the needs of my true self, victory is assured! as a Black man, the challenges are apparent; so be it. but, the greater the challenges, the greater the champions. the accomplishments of all great men are based on their achievements of mind over matter! since, in this period of history, being a Black man affords us a disadvantage, mayby that's God's Way of affording others a handicap so that the playing field might be leveled ontologically{spiritually}! : )

Posted by: Anthony Thomas | June 20, 2006 09:11 AM

To be a black man in America means shouldering the responsiblity of the actions of all black men whether they be good or bad.
People perceive any black man that they meet to be exactly like the one they knew growing up or on the job or any place they have contact with a black man. So in meeting the next black man people usually are in shock or disbelief that this black man shows different qualities than previous black associates.
This association because of race and gender is what creates problems for black men when trying to attain many things such as employment, education, credit, etc..
As a black man I feel that it would be nice be responsible for my actions alone. Have others perceive me for me and not their profile of a black man.

Posted by: Dante Boyd | June 20, 2006 11:19 AM

What it means to be a black man in this generation is one of the questions that I have pondered for 20yrs of 24year old life. It means preperation, determination, having the drive from a higher being. It means knowing ones self and the purpose that good has given you! Along this journey of being a black man you will encounter hardships, go through things that many of our fathers and grandfathers and their fathers had to endure before us, but with the strenght of that innervoice and God we will make it! It is time for every brother to turn to that brother behind them and say I got you let me help you help us. It is past time to heal the souls of our fathers, brothers, and sons. Let us not forget Keep hope alive! Faith will do the rest.

Posted by: Carey L. Brown Jr. | June 20, 2006 03:26 PM

Interestingly as I viewed the videos I was wondering how I would respond to this question, therefore thank you for the opportunity to share my response. I definitely think there are challenges that black men or a black man must face that men from other ethnicities don't face, but I wonder if being a black man is any different from being man. Being a man comes with a measure of responsibility to family, community, people and faith. This list may be out of order with respect to priority, but I stick to the list. There is also a measure of success that is associated with being a man, a man must be a decision maker, he must be able to overcome fear and obstacles and temptations that can prevent him from succeeding. A man must be diciplined, and flexible enough to respect the opinion and leadership of women, and the need for change. There is no place for ignorance in the psyche of a man. Is man latin?, what is the origin of the word. Okay I am on a bit of a tangent, what does it mean to be a black man? What does it mean to be a man, confident, responsible, disciplined, protective of the children willing to blaze a trail so that children can succeed, a man must be ready to stand up and not leave the family, or community behind.

Posted by: Andre Horn | June 20, 2006 07:13 PM

A black man I know from my community celebrates his 60th birthday this week. What does it mean to be a black man? I can tell you what I see when I ponder the make-up of George Bailey: I see a black man that is personable, bright, intelligent, creative, caring, gentle, committed, musical, well-spoken, socially/politically active and of course good looking, and noway looking his age. That's what it means to be a black man in my neighborhood.

Posted by: Denise Rose | June 21, 2006 01:02 AM

What it means to be a black man in America is exciting. Being 29 with a B.S. in Information Engineering Technology, I feel that every black american should honor their past, present, and future. Our four fathers died to give us "freedom of self" and if we can't at least do what's right such as loving, helping, respecting, giving, and loving each other, than we will never be looked at as a Black Man but as a "NIGGER". Being a Black Man is like a (diamond in coal mine)

Posted by: Courtheas E. Gatewood | June 21, 2006 02:51 PM

I think the series hit the nail on the head. Though I am a black female, I imagine that being in the shoes of a black man is complex, confusing and a struggle all at the same time. I find the series opens the door nationally and reminds us how it still an unfortunate topic that plagues the nation and the black community. Thank you for a thought provoking, objective series.

Posted by: Chandra Baty | June 21, 2006 05:07 PM

I just recently viewed your editorial on black men. I was touched and agree with most of the men interviewed. I am a single sister with two boys and until the day I die I will continue to support my brothers in every way to unlift them. Life is what you make of it and if we as a society continue to allow our men to think that history both past and present will hinder them then it will. They are the backbones and with our voices we can and will rise.

Posted by: | June 22, 2006 12:15 PM

Being a Black Man in America includes being and living in two different worlds. Wanting to be more like your culture but having to be and acting like the dominate culture. Working toward the American dream, in my situation being raised in a poor family (two parents (Mother passed away from breast cancer when I was 13 and Father of heart attack at age 20-six brothers and sisters)becoming a military retiree, and now part of the six figure income households of America. Seeing that you have to work three or four times as hard as white counterparts and still passed over for promotions, education and training opportunities, while others of European heritages are given opportunities without the necessary training and education that you had to work so hard to obtain. See double standards in the military, civilian and federal government employment market. Knowing that no matter what your social status in life some one will always judge you and treat you negatively based upon either your skin color, heritage, hair, or national origin instead of what is in your heart and mind. Being in a state of rage at times but never letting others know it.

Posted by: Ron Spence | June 22, 2006 12:48 PM

no one can determine what they are borned,but what they are after borned.

Posted by: alvin | June 23, 2006 02:40 AM

For me, as a black doctoral level psychologist and professor at a major university, being a black man means continually navigating between two worlds while constantly being aware of both my blackness and my maleness. It means a constant battle to overcome both the external "isms" associated with being a black man as well as the internalized "isms" that have haunted both myself and my black male ancestors. Lastly, it means hope, for black men in this country are changing the world everyday and I am honored to be a part of this phenomenal group.

Posted by: Dr. Mark C. Fleming | June 23, 2006 07:56 AM

What does it means to be a black man is being a man standing up for your family, loving and protecting your family and loving yourself, teaching respect about our culture about our people's history and the culture impact as a whole, generated by pride and caring for the next generation of positive black men and women. Cope with negative plot to criticize black men that lead to resistance most end now.

Posted by: Charles W. Stewart, Jr. | June 23, 2006 08:53 AM

To be a Black man in America and the world is a function of one's generation. It is determined in part by one's ability to reconcile one's humanity with the inhumanity delivered in various ways by others for reasons which are not always immediately obvious.
As a Black man born in the segregated South, raised and educated in the urban Midwest, and having lived and worked in West Africa, my view of what it means to be a Black man is informed and shaped by the nuanced totality of these experiences.

Posted by: | June 23, 2006 09:36 AM

To be a Black man in America and the World is a function of one's generation. It is determined in part by the degree to which one can reconcile one's humanity with the inhumanity presented with such venom and increasing subtleties without reasons that are immediately obvious. As a Black man born in the segregated South, raised and educated in the ubran and rural Midwest, and having lived an worked in West Africa, what it means to be a Black man is shaped and informed by the nuanced totality of these expereinces. In recalling my childhood summer road trips from Chicago to Cyrstal Springs, Mississippi (with no restrooms or places for a family of five to rest or eat), the times I was required to sit in the balcony of a segregated movie
theater(it really provided the best view of the movies), and the imnnumerable times I have been called what the speakers believed to be a denigrating racial ephithet, as well as the wonderful years in West Africa, I believe very strongly that I am informed and enriched in invaluable ways as to what it means to be who I am. Regardless of the intent of the Washington Post series or the recent surge in national interest in the Black man, I think (though I cannot speak for all Black men) those of us who understand our generational dimensions and connections are comfortabe in who we are, where we are, and what we are capable of accomplishing whenever we choose to do so.

Posted by: John T. Wolfe, Jr. | June 23, 2006 10:39 AM

I think that it shouldnt matter what the race is, I mean we are people and that is it. Yeah we look different and yeah we have different backrounds but we are still the same. We go through difficulties and we through life theres nuthing different only that we have different lives and that is so normal. I am an American Mexican gurl and im proud of it we are all equal, I have friends that are different than me and we are atill cool with it, but I do have to admit that there still is racism in the world, but we just can't stop it. Because we can't change peoples minds. But life isnt perfect and it's life, it shouldn't we go through things just like everyone else and its hard at times but as you get older you learn how to deal with it. So yeah its hard at times but it gets better. Hey im still waiting for another person to be president that isn't an American. You know that he or she would be an Afrivan-American, Mexican, or what ever you know but someone that can really do what they say not like Bush caus i know that he said so many things but he didn't dod them. So thats why almost everyone hates him but ofcourse everyone hates caus of other things right.

Posted by: veronica | June 23, 2006 10:49 AM

Thank you for posting this. It is good to know that anyone still cares about what black folk experience as people of color, and about what we think about those experiences.
I was struck by the similarity of experiences and the diversity of reactions.

Posted by: Gwendolyn Wilson | June 23, 2006 11:28 AM

Based on my life experiences on what it means being a black man is that a positive personality, behavior, higher education as well as most general characteristics of just being a human being requires a higher expectancy. One of that's much greater than what's expected from other races of men. Why I say this (again this is only from my personal life experiences) is because most people look for
any negative common character defects based on black
exploited negative images that America has imposed on blacks, (in this case black men), since the days of slavery. It's like being guilty of being a human being until proven innocent
of being a common man. That proof will be determined by your level of characteristics prior to the black man being accepted as a common man.

Posted by: Marvin Eugene McCants Sr. | June 23, 2006 11:46 AM

Any where else other than the United States, it mean to be treated like a man, some siblance of respect, valued, and in some instances considered. IN AMERICA AS I KNOW IT, PURE PAIN,HELL, LIKE PROPERTY, AS OPPOSE TO BEING CONSIDERED A PERSON.

Posted by: D FRAZIER | June 23, 2006 11:57 AM

Being a Black man is a beautiful thing. Growing up with an invisible dad and a mother that would later succumb to HIV/AIDS.

I confront the struggles of being a Black man in America, head on. I never would imagine that being my best would classify me "over-qualified." Only in America where success can be so feared and marginalized.

Yet, I am a God fearing Black man and I will not let anyone dimish my achievements as par. Nor will I allow my 9-year old son settle of status-quo. I tell him that I love him and that the world can sometimes be very cold but not to stand proud of what he represents.

Being a Black man is understanding that I am in the legacy of some awesome Black men and the baton wont be dropped on my watch.

Posted by: Wendell Mosby | June 23, 2006 12:29 PM

I think the main thing about being a black man in America is to know that you have to depend on yourself on everything. What I mean is, despite the fact that there are no many people willing to open doors for you, you can force them to, by being really good at what you do and also having the right attitude. Don't allow people to set you up with anger, maintain your temper and understands that hate mongers actually hate themselves and it has nothing to do with you.
As a black men from Africa, odds are more than you can imagine when you get here, you have learn and master the way of life within days otherwise you will be homeless. First you realize that you are black, most people will stereotype you at sight and on the first sentence (both black and white), you have to deal with loneliness mostly you have no family or everyone is extremely busy.
But with all this odds you realize that working hard, going to school and being polite is the key to everything, I realized that the lesson my father taught me came in handy .As a young Black boy growing up in Kenya East Africa, he made me understand that without excelling well in school, I will become ordinally, hopeless or poor. The fact is, in most developing nations the opportunities are few, competition is fierce kids especially boys are forced to realize that you have to be very good or you will be phrased out.

Now being a father of a son who has quite a different view of life, I'm telling my son the same thing my dad told me, unless you work hard and excel in school you will become ordinally (which might be ok here in the States) you can be more. I'm also teaching my son to be focused on the results to maintain his temper and to know that unless he accepts and loves himself other people will always define who he is.

Posted by: John | June 23, 2006 03:41 PM

It means congress and law enforcement will target me for jail.jobs will consider me last to be hired first to be fired.Open my own business i will have different rules from others.Even with insurance my health care will be subpar.My kids will be in over-crowded classrooms.My neighborhood will be under funded.My fore fathers worked 400 years for free.Now im the worst thing that ever happened to this racist country.I will be imprisoned poor and black the interpertation of the constitution by white male christians guaranteeds it.Thats what it means to me.

Posted by: Ernest Myers | June 23, 2006 06:31 PM

I take pride in my beautiful uniqueness. My complexion is mahagony, my wife is the color of bronze and our children are golden. No other race of people can dot the horizon like the rainbow in the ski as Black people can with the color of their skin. I've had to suffer just because I am a black man. I have been made to struggle for everything achieved. Had I been a man of any other color than "Black" I would have faultered under the burden of discrimination and racism in America.

Posted by: Bruce Bellamy Sewell | June 23, 2006 10:40 PM

It was okay, I would've have been more convinced if there were a myriad of opinions from various regions. One region is going to have "one" perspective.

And if whites produced this piece I consider it null and void!

Posted by: Bianka | June 24, 2006 02:17 PM

There will always be a struggle for black men this country.With no intent , we cause most of it. We , are our, worst enemy. We were taught long ago not to respect each other and, we don't. We were taught to practise segragation with in our own race because of a difference in skin tone. What a shame that we keep such a terrible lesson so close to our hearts.We were taught not to become attached to anyone for , they may be taken away at any time. So as black men , we don't love our mothers or our women. We lie to them and cheat on them and think that we are doing something "HIP". Yes , we have been taught to disrespect ourselves and we do that in the most grandest ways. We learn a RAP song the first time we hear it but learn math ,science,or just plain english.I hope that someday we learn to love one another.Then we will be a people , but right now we are just some people. Thank you

Posted by: Ronald A. Dean | June 24, 2006 02:21 PM

The most significant problem with being a black man in America is very relevant to this series. It is that no matter who you are as a black man, your image is not under your control. Any time some university study, or major media report, or controversial court case arises, everyone in America is ready, willing and able to change their (shallow) opinions of black men.

Rather than maintain some decent and stable communications with black men, or black people, Americans are always hoping for some willing proxy. And so we have a series of a few black men, and a few ideas about black men, always and forever subusititing for real relationships with real black men.

It doesn't matter if the proxy is positive or negative. It doesn't matter if it's Mike Tyson or Tiger Woods, Cornel West or Tookie Williams, OJ Simpson or Colin Powell, Michael Jordan or Michael Jackson. There's a constant lottery going on about who is black and who is a black man, and what that 'thing' represents or is all about.

And so it is true in 2006 what was true when James Baldwin said it two generations ago:

All you are ever told in this country about being black is that it is a terrible, terrible thing to be. Now, in order to survive this, you have to really dig down into yourself and re-create yourself, really, according to no image which yet exists in America. You have to impose, in fact - this may sound very strange - you have to decide who you are, and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you.

So I would suggest that everyone who has dropped by for a moment to update their black man image software try to get out to blogs and find out what it's like to read what a real black man is thinking and writing EVERY DAY. After all, we are the source. And no newspaper or university study is ever going to know as much about us as we know about ourselves.

All of your abstractions are worthless. We are what we are.

Posted by: Michael David Cobb Bowen | June 24, 2006 05:26 PM

To be a Black Man means you have a responsibility to please your ancestors and make them proud. We must remember that we are a part of such a rich and wonderful legacy. The spirit of Douglas, Robeson, DuBoise, King, Garvey, and Malcolm live within all of us. This historical connection is critical. Black Men must build healthy bridges that lead us from adolescence into mature adulthood. Some of us are not making this transition and choose to remain on the adolescent side.That decision deeply traumatizes our community.

Posted by: Brian G. Easley | June 24, 2006 07:25 PM

I am a Black man,An Afrikan man,Acknowledge my strength,Offer me not prizes for weakness,Do not encourage the superfical, Tempt me not with diversion,If you are my friend-fight by my side or heal my wounds,If you are my ememy-confess

Posted by: Tyrone A Johnson | June 25, 2006 01:42 AM

I am a 25 year old half black and half white man. Although this country will always see me as black I recognize their inability to accept that I am also half white. I grew up in a housing project until I moved away to go to high school. I spent four years in the Army eighteen months of which was spent defending this country in Afghanistan. Now I am finishing up my bachelors degree in accounting followed by a master degree in business management then onto receiving my CPA license.

I cannot answer the question what does it mean to be a black man because I do not look at myself as a color I refer to myself as a human. So what does it mean for me to be a human? It means a lot to me. It means the opportunity to achieve any level of success that I desire with the proper amount of time and effort. I am granted the opportunity to date and someday get married to a woman and have children. I have the opportunity to help mentor those around me and assist them in building a better life for themselves.

I think the biggest problem our society faces is the idea that we still wish to define people by their color or ethnicity instead of recognizing them as people. Will racism every go away? Lets be honest NO it will not. We can only hope that we can continue to improve race relations. Why focus on what we cannot do when we can remain optimistic and focus on what we can do. If when I was a child all I said was I will never get out of these housing projects I would probably be there to this day. I refused to accept that lifestyle and busted my butt to get where I am today. I look at it like this if some people can do it all people can do it. Everyday we hear of success stories of people who have grown up in less than desirable conditions and yet have turned out to be strong productive humans that are successful in their career. We need to stop accepting excuses and start using our energy towards building a better future for ourselves.

There is only so long that we can ride the coattails of slavery and the disadvantages that we face because of it. We all know there are certain things that we face that the average person does not. Instead of allowing those things to break us down and weaken us we need to embrace those things and use them for strength. Would our ancestors have fought so hard to free themselves only to know that their offspring would allow themselves to be mentally enslaved by a society who really doesn't give a damn about them in anyway unless they are contributing to the economy. Would Dr. King Jr. have given his life in the fight for equality if he had known that today many people sit back comfortably and have accepted failure simply because they can? I think we should be ashamed of our lack of achievement and instead of blaming anyone for this problem we should accept the blame and do our best to change it. It is not hard to get an education or a job to help pay for that education. If you do not have the tools necessary to facilitate those things get to the library get on the computer and look for ways to make it happen. I am tired of this and quite frankly disgusted with people who still want to ride excuses instead of taking the responsibility on their own shoulders and make it happen.

By no means is this an attempt to put anyone down, this is intended as a slap in the face to jumpstart a new beginning. If we can lie down and have children and walk away from them then we can take the time to learn how to better ourselves. Every negative thing we do can be turned into a positive with sacrifice and hard work. If people do not want to do it for themselves then do it for the honor of your ancestors and parents who have sacrificed for you. Although some may agree and others may disagree, either way this has been my opinion.

R.L French II

Posted by: R.L French II | June 25, 2006 03:03 AM

Being a black man in America is to on one end have to struggle with the reality that the critical base of one's God, Religion, Culture and Language has been brutally and mercilessly stolen from them but to have to overcome that handicap in a country that is mostly insensitive to that disability.

Being a black man, means having to day after day ask for the children of those that caused that disabiling condition to treat us with REAL freedom, justice, and equality and be met with pure indifference.

Posted by: Tee | June 25, 2006 10:36 AM

I cannot claim to know what it means to be a black man. But as a Middle Eastern man living in post 9/11 America, I have experienced similar things that black men have reported experiencing, i.e., constantly being judged unfairly and looked at with suspicion. I wonder if humans will one day become wise enough to judge other humans based on their individual merits and not paint a whole race of people with a broad brush.

Posted by: Adam | June 25, 2006 12:18 PM

As a Black man, I have had to absorb and endure the unbalanced indignities and inequalities of this society. It has been my fortune to learn and be encouraged about my rich heritage from both African American women and men regardless of their class status. Were it not for them and the availability of an "extended family" that we all possess, I'd have never made it past 21 much less age 55. I was taught in the small city of Petersburg, Va., that a good overall education was always necessary and a way to combat ignorance. We were urged read and write at an early age.
A Black man must endure endless knives in the back, yet be treated as an invisible ghost. He is feared and loathed, yet expected to be a model patriot. He must mask the love-hate relationship with America, yet be true to himself. No matter how much education we achieve, we are still mistaken for the janitor or doorman. What turns my stomach and infuriates me the most is when our own people, family members, and/or elected officials set us up to take a fall because we dare to take the road less traveled.
The issues mentioned above helped sustain me in remaining in the public school area as an artist and educator to assist the youth in developing critical thinking skills about the world, the environment and themselves. Without an education of some kind and knowledge and understanding of self, Black men in this country are doomed to hypocracy and destruction. Mentoring is a method for "giving back" to the community, any community.

Posted by: William E. Harris,Ph.D. | June 25, 2006 12:57 PM

What does it mean to be a black man in America...
Judged before you speak
Fear before you're seen
Purses griped
Sidewalks cleared
Prison majority
School Minority
Dead beat father
Wife beater
Dream deferred

What does it mean to be a Black Man...
Neighborhood protector
Role model
Future President of a Liberal United States
A Man whose path is not defined by stereotypes, ignorance or shame

Posted by: Nadia | June 25, 2006 01:09 PM

To me being a Black man means being ashamed of those who are like me. I am ashamed of their irresponsibility towards children and women.

I am ashamed of them blaming "The Man" for their problems.

I am ashamed of them following their so called "Black Leaders" and the Democratic Party and not thinking independently.

I am ashamed of their prison records.

I am ashamed of what passes as Black music.

I am ashamed of their conduct in public.

Deep down I know that those who are like me are intelligent and physically strong. I know that they are capable of so much more but unable to achieve their goals due to what is inside of them. They are blind and those around them profit from their blindness.

The only shackles that hold them back are in their minds.

Posted by: Patrick Holcombe | June 25, 2006 02:01 PM

Since I'm a black woman, I can only speak from my own perspective on what it means to be a black man in today's society. Black men have it very, very hard in America. From slavery to the present day, black men are the least respected and the most suspected in all areas. My 73-year old father is just so emotionally absent in my life that I could only guess that his own father never taught him the right way to be a man. It's too easy to believe what the media tells us about how black men are. It's too easy for black men to hang on to anger and bitterness. I have a message for all black men: Stop hanging on to the past, stop blaming the white man, stop blaming the black woman. Love yourself and teach positivity to the next generation. Being a man isn't about how many babies you can make. Being a man is about self-love, responsibility and respect.

Posted by: Henrietta R. Hudson | June 25, 2006 03:51 PM

While I Do think it's a difficult time in America for a black man,I also think it's one of the best times,we have more black millionaires than ever before,and better education opportunities,I just feel that there are too many black men with low self worth.That, in my opinion, is caused by racism,and the lack of a loving home environment when growing up,the state of the black child is worse than ever.As a child,I grew up in one of The worst neighborhoods in DC,But I had a loving mother who always told me "You are black and beautiful,and you can be anything you want to be".The black male as a child needs to be taught,nurtured and loved,so he won't have a police record while still in Jr.high school.

Posted by: David Barnes | June 25, 2006 05:20 PM

What does it mean to be a Black Man?

To me, it means that I am invisible when I don't want to be.

And it also means, that I am very visible when I don't want to be.

Nuff said!

Posted by: James Alexander | June 25, 2006 06:28 PM

It means being hated and despised by American Institutions from the moment you take your first breath.

It means you have to fight for everthing a truly free human being takes for granted.

It implies that when it comes to you, the Constitution will be interpreted to shrink your rights and the very essence of your humanity.

It means you have to sleep with one eye open always, lest you are blindsided by the forces of state created to protect every human being herein.

You are almost sure to experience the conflicts of conventional wisdom that posits that "hunger and honesty are strange bedfellows".

It means those who run Congress will shut off the air you breathe, if God had given them the power so to do. Katrina!!

The Jim Crowe laws have been refined, and the KKK and their ilk have changed their robes for silk suits in the pinnacle of world power. Credit, Jobs, Self actualization will be a daunting task for you all your life.

Your women are empowered to meet requirements of the laws, while you are debarred from keeping jobs for which you well qualify; not for lack of trying. You end up on the streets, because the women cant understand how they keep their jobs and you cant. Their sons get thrown out too by the next generation of black women,in continuation of the vicious cycle of despondency.

Should you complain about racial hatred, the system descends on you like a ton of bricks: "How dare you complain? We have improved your lot the past 40 years!?" You quickly become an extremist leftist.

It means the victims of the Holocaust get reparations and apologies from your own Govenrment, for standing by while the pogrom happened. But a refusal by the same Government to admit it's own longer holocaust, albeit on a smaller scale; and its continued dehumanization of your type of skin color, a condition you could not have chosen, or changed even if you wanted to; just for being black.

See "Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare" a Congressional report...

It means you can die for America at wars and still be less than an American. See the treatment of Ms. Johnson, as different from Jessica Lynch!

"To perpetuate evil, pauperize the people" is the mode of ensuring you fit their stereotypes. Completely bourne out of incredible arrogant ignorance.

You always have to bottle up your frustrations and not complain, or question discrimination. If you act out your emotions, the law will put you away for minor infractions. That is really the end of you as a "free man". The lifelong cycle has started. Jailbird.


My America is still the best and most beautiful social contraption ever created by humanity. Look through classical apriori. I liken America to today's Noah's Ark. A society chosen by God Himself, for His own.

America will yet fulfil God's second most improtant law "Thou Shalt Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself".

That day will be here, when America apologizes for its continuum of hate against me.

When the Confederate flag becomes as disdained a symbol of hate which it is; as the swastika.

When I get credit at the same rate as the next guy. When I can live wherever I choose in this land.

When I get jobs like the next guy could in an office, just because I am human.

When a one day old black boy gets the same medical attention as anyone else.

When I can write this piece without being afraid of being branded a "potential terrorist". Which is what Ray Nagin meant when he said "They may send the CIA for my head soon.." or something like that after Katrina hit.

Then America will truly be a diamond that sparkles from a distant shore. Which illuminates the Earth with the kind of Love and true freedom God had in mind; when He inspired it's creation/Constitution over two centuries ago.

God continue to bless my country America.

Posted by: joe reinke | June 25, 2006 07:26 PM

Black men today have more economic and educational opportunities when compared to the past. Our biggest challenge is salvaging our young people, particularly young black men. Issues of race persist in America. It is still often necessary to prove that you are more than qualified to perform a job or profession. We must persevere with dignity and style.

Posted by: James G. McPherson, III, MD | June 25, 2006 07:51 PM

I'm a black man living outside the continental US and I think you don't really exprerience what it's like to be "American" as a black until you leave. At first I was overwhelmed at just how American I am! I often talk to other blacks about being black and American and because I've lived outside the states I'm amazed at how often they forget the latter.

Being black definitely has it's advantages as well as it's disadvantages. One of the biggest advantages is that you're contstantly being underestimated by your competitors, the disadvantage is you have to have a thick skin. You never know howmuch to share with your son about being black. You never know how much is enough or if you've said enough.

Posted by: Leo Slater | June 26, 2006 07:56 AM

We as Black Men have a very important role to fill in our community. That role is as a leader, role model, parent, historian, teacher, and father. Respect given is respect earned. We as Black Men must earn the respect of our families and our communities. We must get inside our schools and understand what is being taught. It is not the responsibility of our schools to teach about the particulars of our culture. If we allow that to take place, it will be through the ruling government's eyes' mind. We do not have enough Afrikan American male teachers in the schools. We must stop allowing others to rasie our sons and daughters. We must come up with new ways to teach the information of old. If we want better fathers, we must teach our sons whtat it is to be a father. It will be very hard to be a good father to a son or daughter if no one has taught our sons how to be a good father. Model fathers must be present in our communities to be the standard for our youth. Consistent monitoring of young fathers must take place by the elders of the community. The energy they have is great. We must use the energy to gain control of our future. We have to stop playing in the garden and begin to plant seeds for the harvest.

Posted by: Jimmie A. Wright, Concerned Black Men of Greater Columbia, S.C. Inc. | June 26, 2006 08:56 AM

Being a black man simply means your future has not been written or paved for you. You will not take over the family business, or pick up the family fortune to live an easy satisfying life. As a black man, your future soley depends on your actions in life and your will to never give in or give up. As a black man, if you do well, you can live well and have the potential to do or become anything you desire. Though the pathway to your acheivements will not be an easy trip, it's filled with turbulence, pitfalls and disappointments.
You will realize that success will not ba as easy a task for you than others you meet. But with perseverance and a strong will to be successfull, you can acheive a stisfying life. Unfortunately, a few of us make the wrong decisions in life or become weak and undetermined to "Do The Right Thing". If we could help each other comprehend or heritage and remove jealousy. We can make great strides in life.

Posted by: Warren McNeil | June 26, 2006 09:49 AM

Being a black man, as I am in Houston, means to be targeted with negative assumptions at all time. While this is possibly true of men from other races, none have been going on longer in this country than that of the Black man.

My value is based on where I am at a given point. If I am at a park playing basketball, I am the one that everyone wants because they assume that I can play. If I am at a party, they assume that I will be the main one dancing or trying to grab the mic and "bust some rhymes". They assume that I am going to be up one the flyest gear.

On the flip side, if a crime is committed, I am a immediate suspect. If I am dating a a white woman, I am not to be trusted. If I am moving up the corporate ladder into the whitest areas of the heirarchy, it is assumed that I got there because they need a black face and not because I am the best candidate for the job. If my black women is seen alone with my children, they assume that I am a deadbeat father.

To me, being a black man should be the same as just being a man. Love, honor, strength, and knowledge makes a man. The only thing that is different is that a black man has to be tougher than our friends from other races to carry on our daily lives.

Posted by: Lorin Perry | June 26, 2006 10:19 AM

To be a Black Man is simple--be a Man! Black Men are held to the same standard as all men have since the beginning of time. We are expected to provide for and protect our families, and contribute to society. However, given our history in America-the way we were brought over here in shackles and enslaved has made it impossible for us to understand and realize what it means to be a Man. I am of the belief that to be a Black Man is to first define yourself as a Man; take ownership for defining who you are; and, not let society dictate who you are or who what you do. We need to drop the term Black Man-we are simply Men! Stand up My Brothers and lets reclaim our role in history-the original Man!

Posted by: J. Harris | June 26, 2006 03:03 PM

Being a Black man means having to work twice as hard as anyone else to get treated equally. Being a black man means being aware at all times whether or not you are being profiled. Being a Black man means being a provider. Being a black man means being stronger than others. Being a black man means being humble.

Posted by: Nargis Fontaine | June 26, 2006 04:14 PM

To be a black man in America is to be caught between two worlds. You are an American, fortunate enough to reside in the greatest nation in the history of the world, a priviledged citizen in one of the most democratic nations during a time period when freedom is at an all-time high. And yet to be a Black man in twenty first century America is also to be a member of a group that is viewed with heightened suspicion, it is to be followed around in shopping centers; it is to be viewed with suspicion by members of your own race as well as by some members of the majority race; it is to be second guessed no matter your level of education or accomplishment.

And yet to be a Black Man in America today is also a great blessing. It is an opportunity to serve your community. It is to better understand the struggles of your more accomplished students - the few minorities in the college prep classes, because you have walked in their shoes already. It is also to understand the "average" students who struggle to earn Cs and Ds because you grew up with thousands of friends who, like these kids, had to overcome the hurdles of single parent homes, drug riddled neighborhoods, trying to study on empty stomachs, all the while trying to believe in an American dream that no one in your neighborhood has attained.

To be a Black Man is to owe a debt of service to a nation that has not always afforded your people equality, but nevertheless is the best hope for democracy the world has ever seen. It is to owe a debt of gratitude to a community that strives to raise its children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, but too often looks to the government to solve its problems. We are a strong people, so we should stengthen our own communities while simultaneously embracing the larger culture. To be a Black Man in America is to be misunderstood, often mistreated and untrusted, but we must not shrink or accept the status assigned to us by others. We are strong men. We must strive to make strong families.

Posted by: M Davis | June 26, 2006 04:26 PM

Being a Black man means you will be the center of unspoken center of attention walking down the street. Either as an object of fear,lust, or usefulness. Of course "objects" have no spirit and therefore do not warrant a consideration of feelings.

It means learning to accept and control the power given you because of this attention. Helping young men and boys understand that we are powerful just because of our presence.

Being a Black man is a fantastic, overwhelming experience that most of us are not taught to handle. Its like being born rich and growing up not truly knowing how to enjoy your riches.

Posted by: Aaron S. Ward | June 26, 2006 04:46 PM

At the outset let me congratulate those at The Washington Post who developed this series. The fact that it is available on the Internet means that people throughout the world can read this insightful series. To be a Black man in the early 21st century in the United States, as indicated by one of the earlier commentators, is complex indeed. The stereotypical view of Black men found in the electronic and print media, and in popular culture as well, frequently portrays us as an all too often belligerent, though skillful athletes - first in basketball, then in football, on occasion in baseball, and rarely in tennis or hockey; as entertainers, particularly rap artists seen in videos, surrounded by scantily clad women and drenched in ostentatious jewelry; or as a criminals who are engaged in the sale of illicit drugs and caught up in attendant violence. These are the stereotypical images that far too many of our young Black men covet, and far too many non-Black folk fear. Black men however are also postmen, firemen, policemen, physical therapists, construction workers (if they can get in the skilled craft unions), writers of fiction and non-fiction, playwrights, janitors, car salesmen, nurses, physicians, dental assistants, teachers, attorneys, entrepreneurs, cab drivers, chefs, florists, actors, dentists, managers, administrators, government workers at all levels of government, bus and subway train operators, draftsmen, architects, artists, ministers, imans, priests, musicians, engineers of all varieties. To be sure, the latter outnumber the former. We are found in all of these walks of life, but what is it that the public all too often sees? We are no longer what we were, we are what are in all of our variety and complexity, and the we are
foundation for what we will become.

Posted by: Joseph P. McCormick, II – Washington, DC | June 26, 2006 08:35 PM

There is no one true meaning to being a black man. However, there are great characteristics that can discribe great black men, such as, courageous, caring, loving, thoughtful, hard working, inventors, intellects, motivators, speechless speakers, investors. Now when you apply these characteristics to black men, you think of, MLK, WEB Dubois, Thurgood Marshall, Sejoyner Truth, Booker T. Washington, Stockley Carmichael, Malcolm X, Bill Cosby, etc... Most importantly, a black man will not and can not be something or exist with out the strong black mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, and nieces that constantly uplift and encourage us black men...So Thank you my BLACK WOMEN...

Posted by: Ricky Wilson | June 27, 2006 06:09 AM

Being a black man means that you have to struggle and fight for everything you get in life and if you become sucessful you then turn away from your black people and willfully give everything you have back to the white man and his white woman so that you will be accepted by him.

Posted by: kmissy | June 27, 2006 10:20 AM

To me being a Black Man means I live as a 21st century middle class and age American, doing and seeking the same things most other Americans do, but with the extra baggage that most other Americans see me as something/someone other than "like them". It means as I walk through life, I both celebrate my African heritage and reference, my haunting slave and discriminatory past, and the only present and future I have: to love and serve my Jesus,my wife, and my children, work hard to raise them well, accel in work, raise the productivity of those around me, help those who don't have what I do, and enjoy life and those around me.

Posted by: larry jenkins | June 27, 2006 01:36 PM

Being a Black Man is not easily defined. The definition has multi levels, in my opinion. There is a spiritual level that defines me. There is a mental level that defines me. There is cultural level that defines me as a black man. These levels are rooted in the Phaorahs, Jesus, and Islam. And are all imperative to my definition of being a Black Man!

Posted by: Kevin | June 27, 2006 01:52 PM

Being a Black Man means that you WILL have to work harder for your goals. At one time or another in your life you will see and hear things from your peers that is directed to you just because you are a black man.

AS for Justice; Let's just hope that you will never get in the system. Once you are in "THE SYSTEM" it will be that much more difficult for you.

Being a Black Man is one of the hardest jobs in the world. You have to humble yourself at times when you may not feel the need to. I really believe that the system is set up for us black males to fail. Education is the only way to beat it and even then it's a hard task to deal with.

Posted by: Robert Smith | June 27, 2006 03:08 PM

I looked at your video and what I saw was truth, and in this present time things have changed. To be a black man is a struggle a hard work that has come a long way. I see better thing in the future but there is still much work that needs to be done. As that preachers said all things are possible thru Christ. I am a white man and I attend a multicultural church where my pstor preaches equality and unity according to Gods word. But there is stil a division amist that needs to be changed.
And thru possitive teaching and equal oppartunity we could be a greater nation than what is today. We can and need to all be one in Christ.

Posted by: Ron Landry | June 27, 2006 08:32 PM

Being a black man is trying to find out where I fit in the American Dream. Not knowing were my faith lies, and that I could become the next success or the next failure as a black man. We have many obstacles that we must face to become productive in this society; obstacles that has and will continue to make it hard for us to just get by on a daily bases.

I often try to convince myself that it doesn't matter what others make think of me as a black man, but knowing deep within it affects my daily being. I have been blessed and fortunate to take the opportunities given to me, even if I didn't realize at the time that they were opportunities.

The success I have today is a direct result of me joining the Air Force after graduating from high school. I like most of our young black brothers, was confused about who I was and what I would become after graduating from high school.

I am ambivalent about anyone joining the military especially with what they may face today. But I also recognized that it provided me with opportunities and skills I probably would not have received otherwise.

Being black also disheartens and angers me when I hear and see the loss and the destruction of our communities. I often empathize with black tragedy I hear about, knowing that it could have been me, and pissed that it is happening on a daily basis.

As successful as I, I know that I am a police stop away from becoming a victim, an accusation away from someone mistakenly identifying me as a rapist, thief or murderer. Most of all, the sad part of being a black man is, having to look at other young black men and viewing them no differently than mainstream society view all black men.

All that said, being a black man is knowing that my father and others great black men in our society have and will continue to provide me with the guidance I need to make in this world. Knowing that there are more success stories in the black community, than there are tragedies. I truly feel blessed being a black man, because I have learned to celebrate all our successes, it is what keeps me going.

Posted by: M. Greer, Bowie, MD via Chatt. TN | June 28, 2006 08:37 AM

Being a black man means having responsibility. Accountability. It means capitalizing on the opportunities we have, that were not afforded to our parents and grandparents, and accepting that you, no matter how unfairly, will eventually be measured by your complexion. It means that no matter your financial, academic or social standing in the community, some people will avoid getting in elevators with you, and even clutch their purses in your presence. It means daily battles with public perception, holding one's head up high, eyes on the prize.

Posted by: A. Johnson | June 28, 2006 10:57 AM

Being a black man is code for being resilient... resiliency as manifest by CONFIDENCE. I am not referring to a confidence that projects being better than someone else, but a confidence that carries you through life's highs and lows. A confidence that feeds your character and builds internal strength allowing you to overcome negative perceptions. The type of confidence that communicates in word and action "I am important, my family is important," and like a beautiful spirit we will continue to thrive no matter what, so help me GOD!

Posted by: David T. Jones | June 28, 2006 03:18 PM

Being a Black Man is having the ultimate honor.... First and foremost a Black Man is proud of his Black existance. Being a Black Man is having the ability to educate his peers along with others about the rich culture and history we have built, and to watch others duplicate and try to image themselves as we are...that is most gratifying as a Black Man. As a Producer of television, my role as a black man, is to make sure that the correct information about our race is correctly and fairly being portrayed through such an influencial and predominantely one sided medium. Being a Black man means to live as the King's that we rightfully are... despite challenges and obstacles set out by wrongful doers. A Black Man most protect, serve and honor his Black women, children and Black neighbors. A Black Man as mentioned by my brothers is powerful, feared, and motivated to strive through music, poetry, culture, arts, religion and mere determination. I'm proud to be a Black Man. Thank you God for giving me the opportunity to be "Black".

Posted by: Mark Lindesay | June 28, 2006 04:26 PM

I am not sure there is any "special" meaning to being a black man. In fact, once we both realize and diffuse "what it means to be a black man," we can start creating our own more successful and positive persona...rather than letting the pre-existing ideas dictate our actions!

Posted by: Gregory R. Jones Jr. | June 28, 2006 04:55 PM

The Black Man's beauty nestles snuggly in his soul
Ever within reach, ever out control
Brought to life by love all around
It is boundless, unbridled and gleams like a crown

The Black Man's beauty croons a haunting lament
Ever fusing and adapting with ageless intent
By living in truth and in being himself
He holds fast to wisdom, he gains in wealth

The Black Man's beauty garners prize after prize
Ever buoyed by the passion clearly glowing in his eyes
Born to indifference and/or utopian dreams
He is always more, never less than he seems

The Black Man's beauty can be worn in every style
Ever warming, forever unfolding over time or just for a while
Be it youthful exuberance or an aged experience of bliss
It is God smiling at us through beauty such as this

Posted by: Steven E Brown | June 29, 2006 11:11 AM

Being a Black man means always having to be a cut above the rest. Always having to prove you're not the stereotype. It means being subject to hatred, betrayal, general mistreatment and mistrust even mistaken identity. It means being less than to some and nothing to others. It means struggle...but, I think the reason for all of that is because being a black man is indeed strength. It's overcomming obstacles by leaps and bounds. Being a Black man is power that some have seen and fear. Being a Black man is working hard. Being a Black man is Art, music, dance, politics, society...family.
Being a Black man is my father taking care of his family everyday of his life like his father before him. It's responsibility. Being a Black man is me being the best I know I can be regardless of the hate and envy of those who want to be me...Being a Black man is magnificent.

Posted by: Boris L. Hunter | June 29, 2006 01:54 PM

In this day and time, just like in the past. The meaning of being a black man is simple. To be accountable, responsible and aware of selfworth, power and authority that lies within is the genesis of being a black man.

Posted by: M.W.Moore | June 29, 2006 09:20 PM

It mean you may have no human right,you may have no good job,and you may have no...everything that maybe the White man is easyier to get.

Posted by: MICHELE | June 30, 2006 09:14 AM

What does it mean to be a black man? Well when I think about this question several things come to mind. But what stands out the most is that being a black man means being a strong man,rightoues man who stands up for justice when there is injustice. It mean taking on responsiblities that we ought to take on (i.e. taking care of our family, being a mentor to the younger brother).

As a young black man, I believe that young black men are born expecting to become a statistic. I don't want to say that its hard for a blck man but I want to say its challenging. With slavery long gone we still are having intangible after affect in this nation.

A Black man with a vision in mind and determination can bring about a powerful change within his community and in the nation.

Being born and rasied in the heart of DC where graduating from High School is equvalent to a College degree, to graduating Valedictorian of my graduating class this year is such an accomplishment. But I truly believe that I accomplished this task to help other young brothers. To be an example and positive role model that our black community lacks. I know that I can't, overnight, change the problems facing our black brothers but I can continue on with Dr. King and other influential personal dreams.

Being positive,Being strong,Being determined,having intergrity is what it means to be a black man.

Posted by: Theodore Trice | June 30, 2006 10:43 AM

I've found that it means supressing some very strong destructive impulses because of frustration and disgust for what I still see in terms of people's subtle attempts to affect, infect, weaken, and break the spirit of the black man. We get no respect just because we're human, we dont get judged as individuals. If we aren't famous, wealthy, or infleuntial we are still viewed as less than and treated with disdain. Sometimes it just gets heavy.

Posted by: Carl Anthony | June 30, 2006 12:16 PM

Being a Black Man:

To have foresight and vision, when there may seem little grounds by you for such a perspective,
To have love of the Infinite, self, famiy, and people you may like or dislike-- keeping it real and choosing your battle,
To dwell above bitterness, revenge, and hurt when misunderstood or possibly framed in a demeaning manner -- stand above dropping to level of an ignorant and negative accuser while being willing to forgive them and yourself

Posted by: HB | July 1, 2006 08:20 PM

As a black man, at times it is our very own communities that shun us the most. We need to become more conscious of the worth of black men as Men first, fathers, and Leaders lastly. If a man can't lead his own household how can he lead a nation? Being a Black man requires a strong spirit and an even stronger mentality, as I have learned the road is wrought with obstacles, from within as well as without. Becoming more business savvy is another key social acceptability through financial prosperity and economic parity.

Posted by: Darry D. Henderson Sr. | July 2, 2006 06:59 PM

If you want to know what it means to be a black man in this country, ask Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X.
If you want to know what it means to be a black man in America, ask Huey Newton and Martin King.
If you want to know what it means to be a black man in the US, ask the one million black men locked in their cells.
If you really want to know what it means to be a black man, don't ask, just go to hell.

Posted by: glenn h | July 2, 2006 10:33 PM

To be a black man means that you have less room for error in your life. Every race overcomes obstacles in life , but black men don't have that luxary because we are already starting the "game" "10 points behind". Our fathers are not plugged into the mainstream business world to pull us in or tutor us. We can't afford to take that year off to "find" ourselves.If we fall behind in college then we better make immediate adjustments or else financial aide is over. That one indescretion or bad judgement will put us in a situation that will lock us into our financial or social standing for life. We don't have a judge in front of us that sees himself at an earlier age looking for direction.

Posted by: David Watson | July 3, 2006 12:30 PM

The question and the fact that some editor at a "white" newspaper finds it appropriate to ask the question says more about how warped our socioeconomic, political, imperialist caste system continues to be, and is far more relevant to any discussion of race and manhood than all the possible answers themselves. Why would it mean anything different to be a "Black Man" than any other type of man, if it were not for the historical continuum of white society using blackness to victimize, marginalize and deny manhood and humanity to the man who is Black. Black men are responsible for defining their own individual manhood. They always have been, they like all men always will. Today the relevant question is not "What does it mean to be a Black Man?" it should be "What does it mean to be personally responsible for uplifting the black community?" Black men need to be responsible for that, as do black women, as do black children, as do white people and all people. Blacks have to do it for themselves first because if we dont care why would anyone else. Our race continues to be crippled despite the advances that have been made because not enough black men have educated themselves on becoming politically and economically viable. If we had less rap and more reading, less basketball and more biology, less football and more philosphy, less T.V. and more technical training, then nobody would ask such a ridiculous question. What it should mean to be a black man is that on the occasions that the world attempts to minimizes you because of your outside, you still continue to maximize you on the inside. Many of us haven't gotten there yet and I am still working on it.

Posted by: Derrick Page, Esq. | July 4, 2006 11:59 AM

It means the same as being any other man.
Life is hard for everyone, and blacks must learn to to conquer and survive despite of any biases and existing racism.
But, most importantly, no one has a patent on black men or people, or ever has. So, with that said, all people are leaders, and not just media generated individuals.

Posted by: | July 4, 2006 12:14 PM

Even though I am not a black man, I don't believe there is an answer for that question. There are so many facets to being a black man, just as there are for being a Hispanic man or an Asian American woman. Another thing to realize is that black should not be synonymous with the term African American. There are many people that are black and at the same not African American, for example people whose parents are Dominican or Haitian. I think a better question to pose would be "What characteristics represent a black man in today's American society?" This widespread frenzy to define who the "black man" is seems to only be in America, though one must take into account that I am speaking from an "African American" female's point of view, whom which has never traveled the world. There are so many thoughts, theories, opinions, facts, ideologies and other philosophies that I could touch upon, but none quite explains what it means to be "black", let alone a "black man."

Posted by: Meagan | July 5, 2006 05:24 PM

To me being a black man is always having to be better than competition! Always having to be able to kick it up levels above other races for the same or less reward. Going into the world knowing I am the __________ black guy! Last but not least is never being accepted as norm and being regarded as forbidden fruit or venom of the devil.

Posted by: Paul Samms | July 5, 2006 05:44 PM

To me , its knowing your rights and the law . They are obtainable and should be read by all black males young and old . Once we all know our rights and the law , we may benefit from knowing it . I am in a childsupport case and I don't know all my rights and I am about to loose my house over a peice of fun . I said and we agreed no children . Blackmen must remember that its not our choice , its the ladys' choice to have the baby or not . The blackman will have to pay against his/our will .

Posted by: Scott | July 5, 2006 07:33 PM

Being a black man is like being in a gun fight with maybe half the bullets! Deal with it! Aim real good and quicker than most and you get by.

It's like waking up for work everyday and seeing heavy rain out the window. You still gotta go! What? You want to wait to see if it'll stop? Put your rain coat on and get moving! The alternative is unacceptable.

Yes, folks are surprised when YOU show up after the phone calls. 'He didn't sound black'. Whatever...smile inside and stay focused.

It involves dealing with a group of women who can seem (I admit, it's anecdotal), harsh and quick to anger. Perhaps that's a natural by-product of being the life partner of America's most marginalized male sub-population. I'd be mad too, I think.

It means, even you can't find a way to stay with your children's mother; YOU CANNOT LEAVE THEM! Even when momma (or her new man), are giving you hell. And they will! That doesn't mean break the law either fellas. You get in trouble and your children are now two time losers.

It means knowing that inspite of everything that has happened to us, it's the guy you see in the mirror everyday who can help you MORE than anyone else.

Saddle up fellas! Welcome to Manhood.

Posted by: Mark Jackson Sr. | July 6, 2006 02:08 AM

To be a black or a white man means that the essence of what it means to be human is missing from our teaching/learning process from the home, to the church and on to the schools at every level.

Maia Ajanaku-Locke

Posted by: Maia Ajanaku-Locke | July 6, 2006 03:44 PM

It means nothing to be a black man minus racism.
Circa 1970 homosapien was thought to be maybe 30,000 years thus far. By 1980 it was fifty thousand years, 1990 a hundred thousand years same critter walking streets of New York. Lately, it is called 200,000 years same guy. Because they found some older skeletons. While a child can look into the faces of people and know they are homosapien, many adults are too damaged to do so. Consequently, before anyone carries on about black history et al, they might save time bringing up the anthropology.
What an unbelievable mess.

Posted by: bill blackolive | July 7, 2006 02:39 PM

It really means absolutely nothing. There will come a time when race no longer carries any real significance. Race no longer carries the "shared experience" that it may have some time ago in the US. I am Black and Male, but I feel no particular bond to other Black people simply for the fact that they are Black. And irrespective of how I am judged, I judge people only by their character. Do not call me "Brother" if we were not born of the same mother and father.

Posted by: Anthony Diamond | July 8, 2006 09:48 AM

It means having people -- black and white -- make presumptions about you from what you eat, wear, listen to, and how you should act. This attitude is as pervasive amongst fellow blacks as it is from other racial groups sitting in judgment from you viscerally. The over-arching thing that bonds all black men is that we are almost never assumed to be individuals.

I still do not know what "being black" means in definitive terms. For some of my fellow black men, it means reinforcing negative stereotypes about us with negative actions lending credibility to those stereotypes. For others, it means a strict set of exacting cultural criteria that not all of us feel comfortable in explaining the diversity of thought of the individual. Still for others, it is a way to find brotherhood and interrelatedness in a country where many of our ancestors have forgotten or never knew their origin.

I do not know what being a black man is given those parameters. For me, it means that I am not allowed to be myself without someone being suprised by my indiviuality.

Posted by: gladstone payton | July 10, 2006 01:16 PM

This is a difficult question to answer, for being a black man is real burden at times. For our actions or deeds can either pave the way for others or hender their progress. Take this for instance, I was just recently hired from a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) and I am the only black in my office. My performance will either have my company continue to look for young men from HBCU or stop all together. That is a lot of pressure on a young man.

Black men in today's society mean you must show patience and stop feeling like the world owe you something. For nothing in this life is free and we, black men, must work twice as hard as the next person. There is already one strike against us and that is being black, the second is being male. For most people believe the stereo-type about us: we are lazy, do not take care of our children, and are violent.

With all that said, being a black male in today world is quit difficult, because of all the hoops we must jump through. But if we are able to make it through the hoops, please reach back and help another. Let the younger generation of black males see how successful we can be.

Posted by: Eddie | July 10, 2006 02:07 PM

As a black man, I think being a black man means many things. In academia it sometimes means "isolation," or "underestimation," when you venture outside of Historically Black Institutions. In mixed social gatherings it has taken a bipolar meaning; either you're the coolest guy at the party and part of the center of attention, or the pariah in the corner that people are reluctant (if not afraid) to talk to. But, in a certain real sense, being a black man is what you make it because you can use the natural conclusions & expectations (good and bad) that some people may draw about you before you open your mouth, to your ultimate advantage. Your perspective about yourself is the most significant factor of how others will view you, in the end.

Posted by: Jonathan L. Webb | July 10, 2006 03:41 PM

Unfortunately, due to this online forum there is a large segment of American black males that will be unable to share their experience as black men, because of their low education levels, income status or incarceration status.

I believe that for this growing segment of black men, to be a black male is to be "Without Sanctuary". Black males of moderate to low incomes and limited education are subjected to a very ugly and unfair criminal justice system that routinely jails them and often provides no justice. Coupled with biased policing practices, the quality of lives for many black males in this country is very poor.

Unfortunately this type of profiling for black males begins very early in their lives with many school teachers and administrators subtly and overtly providing discriminatory treatment with a negative bias toward black male school children.

As a result of these experiences the humanity of many young blacks men is often ignored.

Posted by: Ms. Conway | July 10, 2006 04:47 PM

Unfortunately, due to this online forum there is a large segment of American black males that will be unable to share their experience as black men, because of their low education levels, income status or incarceration status.

I believe that for this growing segment of black men, to be a black male is to be "Without Sanctuary". Black males of moderate to low incomes and limited education are subjected to a very ugly and unfair criminal justice system that routinely jails them and often provides no justice. Coupled with biased policing practices, the quality of lives for many black males in this country is very poor.

Unfortunately this type of profiling for black males begins very early in their lives with many school teachers and administrators subtly and overtly providing discriminatory treatment with a negative bias toward black male school children.

As a result of these experiences the humanity of many young blacks men is often ignored.

Posted by: Ms. Conway | July 10, 2006 05:55 PM

This project has been helpful for those that don't have an insight on what really goes on being a black man in america. They say racial prejuidice is gone and it is not. Movies made and produced still show black men coming out of jail on third strike to going back or viloent to the third degree or dealing drugs or raised by foster or single parent homes, not educated and always eboincally gifted which is not always the case. To show how hard we have to fight to break stereo types and to find positions that are worth while getting whether it is political or management or ownership. Once broke to also prove that we are capable of doing the job better or higher standard than our counterparts to keep the job. We have been set back because of our nations past so we are to play catch up and that all falls on us to change or help change to help ourselves than to complain. But the biggest thing about being black is accepting who are different with culture and also accepting other black men and encouraging them to keep up the good work and do better as much as possible. A "stay alive competitive" nature. What is it to be a black man...it is to be better than the rest in what we do.

Posted by: Mark Artis | July 10, 2006 10:46 PM

It is difficult at all levels. It is also relative.
Even as a Federal employee of 35 years the battle continues. The quality and the quantity of opportunities are greater. But all things equal, the African American Male ends up on the bottom. How bad is it in 2006? Check the mortality rates for Black Males, the incarceration rate, the jobless rate and ..................the extinction rate. Racism, discrimination and hatred is alive and well in the US.

Posted by: Gary Dingle | July 11, 2006 09:48 AM

As a black man who grew up in the suburbs, it gave me hope and a positive insight for my future. Environment matters when you're a child growing into man hood. I learned that I did not have to be a stereo-typical black man. I did not have to live up to what was defined by white america or hip hop culture on what I should dress like, walk like, talk like or be. Even though hip-hop culture glamourize negative images of being a black man or a thug, I knew better and thrive to be better than what they protray.

To be a black man, means sink or swim. You have to be strong to be a black man, and I'm not talking just physical strength. To be good black man, and a survivor, you must be rooted in God's word, pursue education, and your own self acceptance, self respect, with perseverance. Never give up, neve give in.

I learned as a black man who grew up in a predominately white neighborhood, went to a predominately white school, and later worked with predominately black co-workers, living in a all black neighborhood I learned; "I am not white enough to be in & I'm not black enough to be down."

As a adult black man, I learned that my people have serious issued with self-hate that they project onto others, henceforth the violence toward each other. I've learned as a black man, that my people seem to have a problem with the truth about us, how we are, how we act, how we treat each other. Blacks seem to get upset when Bill Cosby speaks the truth. The truth is the truth no matter who it comes from. The real question is what are we as a people going to do about it?

I learned as an adult black man, that we are the most sexually coveted object on the planet by women & men, and at the same time the most hated & feared. My fellow brothers and I are look at as a slab of meat for everyone's sexual appetite, sports entertainment, and heavy labor.

I learned as an adult black man, that white corporate america will promote my female counter part over me time and time again, and that our females counter parts waste no time rubbing your face in it.

I learned as an adult black man that white america attacks us daily in all kinds of ways indirectly, mentally, emotionally, & subliminally. It is impossible for my brothers to defend themselves from an attack, when they don't know they are being attacked. Henceforth they fall victim to a racist society.

I learned that as a black man that we as a people need to learn how to love ourselves, accept yourself, and in turn you can love and accept others. We've been taugt self-hate for hundreds of years, and we struggle with loving ourselves and others to this day. The churches and black communities have not tackled this issue. They need to do so and soon, my brothers are dying and killing each other out here.

I've learned as a black man who grew up around predominately whites community, that we as black are concerned about the wrong things and our priorites are off. In the white neighborhoods, they care bout their neighborhood and look out for each other. In black neighborhoods, we seem to care more about who is sleeping with who and other petty gossip, instead of the crime in the community thats killing our children and loved ones.

In the black community, when it comes to who is sleeping with who, who is cheating, who is gay, who has & who does not have; we seem to know. But when a murder or crime happens, "we don't know nothing or have not seen nothing." Funny, they see and know everthing else. It would not go down like that in a white neighborhood.

Stop killing each others brothers and sister, not only physically but emotionally and spiritually. Stop moving out to the suburbs to escape urban crime when you and your kids are the criminals committing the crime. If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. Know that. Why move out of the ghetto if you are going to take your ghetto ways with you? Stay where you are.

As a Christian Black Man who loves the Lord Jesus and himself; I've learned that my brothers don't know that there is nothering weak nor wrong about showing love, support, and compassion for your fellow brothers. Talk to each other, let each other know you understand what another brother may be going through.

It takes a REAL MAN to show love for his fellow brothers, family, friends, neighbors. Brothers hug each other from time to time, the love and support will make you strong, and there is nothing wrong with a hug. A REAL MAN is a Protector, and does rob, kill, steal, and attack others in his community or anywhere else. Ladies you all need to enforce that. I am your keeper & your are mine. Peace be unto you my Brothers, in Jesus' name. Peace.

Posted by: Keith A. Robinson | July 11, 2006 02:38 PM

What about being a dark skinned black man?
Your in trouble coming and going. You just can't win.

Posted by: Malone | July 11, 2006 02:41 PM

To be a Black Man is to be a person fully knowledgeable and aware of his history, its past, present and future; this person also understands how the concept of "Visioning" plays an imporant role contextually in promoting the cultural, spiritual and aesthetic side of the African American male experience. A Black man is a person whose life style & practice dipicts love & respect of family, children, parents, community and commitment to future survival of African American people. He serves as a positive role model by his actions, practices, values and beliefs.

Posted by: Dr. Tony Ingram, Dean of Academic & Student Services | July 11, 2006 02:45 PM


Posted by: BENAMIN MOSES | July 11, 2006 03:45 PM

Very poignant and real!

Posted by: Terri | July 11, 2006 06:31 PM

The commentaries touch only the surface of what it means to be a black man. There is the black man in corporate america, street sweeper, day laborer, private investor, etc. It's nice that the men are mostly positive about their existence in America. It is obvious to me that some black men (street guys)are having a hard time assimilating into mainstream society; the more they isolate themselves from education, marriage, and black woman, negative stereotypes will prevail.

Posted by: Kathy Mullins | July 11, 2006 09:06 PM

As a person that is a dual citizen of a country in Africa and the United States,the first experience that I had was the shock that a race could be profiled so relentlessly. Then the society's apparent total disregard for their rights of a black man to a better life and access to the means to do so.
The greatest currency in this society as I discovered was information that was intentionally hidden from you.
There is so much development here in Arizona but you could never be involved in developmental contracts.Regional offices would never ever allow you to be approved to have the franchises with famous names. There was always somebody more qualified than you,even if you made their requirements.
If you showed any signs of wealth apparently you are a basketball player. There is no other way you could have made it.
On the other hand as a black man riding a luxurious car all you deserved was a traffic ticket just to take off that smile on your face.
I have taken solace in religion with the belief that a race could not have been created solely to be on the recieving end of such subtle and highly damaging games of racism.
After a big fight to get through college and believe me it was a fight against stereotypes and assumpions being used agaainst one's race. I am have come away from my experience with a fear for my children and what they may face out there with a society that delights in playing with Idealogies to the extreme.

Posted by: Idiongo Udoh | July 12, 2006 02:50 AM

What does it mean to be a black man? As a former staff sergeant of 13 years in the United States Air Force and presently a Safety Supervisor for a local construction company, I think, crucially so, that there are really two distinct questions one has to look at in order to accurately respond to the "question." First, lets establish what it means to ba "a man." Regardless of race, color or creed, a man must be nurtured in the sincere milk of maturity. He must be tempered with titanium tenured experiences and responsibilities that have marked his thoughts and actions to excel beyond the present bounds he finds himself, in a valiant effort to maximize his families position in society. Finally, he must posses the humility to recognize a supreme being, and demonstrate a labor of love to lead his family towards it. Now, being all that while being black poses social, economic and spiritual challenges. Socially, the "black man" is challenged by his, in many cases, deprived or under privilaged past. This type of past, often cripling, has lacked "in-home" male leadership to mold, chasten, and positively develop young thoughts to the place which leads to sound judgements, actions and choices necessary to "make it" in society. Consequently, the social deprevation is enhanced by economic abatement. Because of poor choices in the past of many black men, propogated by the social conditions aforementioned, many find themselves unprepared or "unqualified" to compete and attain employment of substantial means to better their place in society. A lack of educational direction by both parents and school systems has further restricted many of the hopes and dream of social and economic succes of many black men. Spritually, "letting go and letting God" is a scary proposition in that often they don't see immediate relief, change or restitution. Hence, many resort to "making it the best way they can," which is oftentimes unspiritual and most unfortunatley, for many of my black brothers, has been on the "wrong" side of the law. I think also that due to the overwhelming and disproportionate number of black men who have taken this road, a "predeposed" notion of "lacking something" or "guilty by race" has plagued many innocent black men who have enjoyed an alternately positive and successful upbringing. What does it mean to be a black man? It means directly or indirectly being perpetually cognizant of the poor social, economic and spiritual condition that too many black men are in. The impact of those conditions and the fact that many people of other races transpose those conditions onto all black men. It means realizing that these misattributed conditions have delivered some social limitations (warranted or unwarranted), economic obstacles, opposing forces, limited windows of opportunity, etc. It means praying daily for the salvation of your loved ones and deliverence from physiological and psychological chains as you struggle to elevate yourself, your immediate and expanded family to be a productive and active part of the society in which you live despite the negative inferrences of many. I dare say that even the most successful black men can never escape the social stigma and ever-present skepticism of presumed "unfit" or "unlikely a candidate" simply because of being a black man.

Posted by: Michael E. Washington | July 12, 2006 12:51 PM

This question needs some qualifying variables. I am a black man with these variables. 45 to 55 years old, divorced, FATHER (not baby daddy)of 3 sons 1 daughter, midwest (Central Illinois). I listened to part of the NPR conversation and I am in agreement that there are many flavors of Black men. I am a child of the Civil Rights Movement and what I see is that many things that soceity views a a norm kicks a black man when he is down. The blatant injustices we indure primarily because we are stereotyped before we walk into a courtroom for anything from a traffic ticket to child custody. I think being treated as an equal is one facet of life in this society that is necessary. Something that changed and has gone backwards is how Black Men are viewed in the media. Society is obviously content with the sexually charged "Black Buck" or the pimp, banger or whatever criminal element they can come up with. This is a stereotype that we as Black men have to fight against every day. In the 60s and 70s there was Blacksploitation in the media. In the 80s we had Cosby and all of the spinoffs. In the 90s many of the Hip-Hop artists glamorized the criminal element right back into the media and reinforced the stereotypes that we spent a generation trying to dispell. There is undoubtably a generation gap. Part of this is our fault as Black Men. We failed to educate ourchildren on what the struggles in the 60s and 70s provided as far as future opportunities are concerned. We laid the opportunities out there, but never taught our children how to take advantage of them. Many of our children lack the work ethic that we have. In many instances we have done our children a disservice by not educating them. This also reinforces the "lazy" stereotype that we have spent countless years trying to disspell. Being a tweener is difficult. I see the sacrifices our parents made, the way our children are not being educated and I'm in between; reaping the benefits of one generations' blood and sweat and not being able to pass on the legacy that was left me because many of our children don't want to do anything but party and play. I could ramble on for hours, but it is more difficult being Black in America than most poeple think.

Posted by: Paul S. Hursey, Jr. | July 12, 2006 02:45 PM

I think this was a very thought provoking series and I wonder if it is all true that as a black man you can rise as high as you want and that all the men committing crime in this country are black. As a black woman who works in social service I see black men and women not taking advantage of things that they should but I also see lots of raod blacks and believe it that discrimination is still the main reason. For black men it starts when they are black boys in the education system and if they don't have a strong advocacy group behind them which includes family, friends and community, it is easy to fail. One of the easiest things for a black man to do in this country is go to jail and it is not always based on him being guilty, it is lots of times based on his skin color. Lots of black men are stopped by the police on a daily basis across the country who have never and would never committ a crime; why? ............... I do think though that there are more opportunities and black men should take advantage of them; they should strive for greatness, however it should not be based on white ideaology of what is great.

Posted by: Ramona Wilkins | July 12, 2006 03:42 PM

Ok. The question is limiting in nature but I'll give it a try.

I was raised in the Deep South during the sixties and came of age in the mid-seventies a mere stale biscuit's throw from the banks of the Mississippi River. I never had to ponder such a question until I left the place of my birth as a product of a HBCU (Southern University). I didn't come close to an answer until I won the Black Man's lottery--I am still alive, I am not on drugs, and I am not in prison. That's as close as I'll get to the thinking of the collective.

The answer is in who I am. I am a product of my experiences. I love everything about the South, the good, the bad, and the otherwise. I am a true Son of the South and I am a black man. I was allowed to flourish and be successful because of the then segregated community that was my extended family and provided mentors not just role models. My focus then was not to be a black man but a man. This may belie all the stereotypes imposed on the South and the people of the South (black and white) but I wanted for nothing, I blame no one anything that's happened to me because I am the owner of the final decision, and I am not a victim of "The Man" or a product of slavery and I have never been able to "keep it real" if it means embracing anything thing but the work ethic my father taught me. I am who I say I am. I am a writer, a son, a father, a Republican, a husband, a Department of the Army civilian, an elder of a predominantly white Presbyterian church (yes Virginia, race does matter), an ex-stand-up comic, a radio commentator, a success, a failure, a potential anything I can imagine and willing to break a sweat over. I am an American first and foremost. I love people. I question the meaning of life--all life. I rail out at God for being absent and ever-present in my life and my world. I've been loved and hated. I've been rejected and accepted by as many as I've encountered. I am a product of my experiences not those of the collective. I've had my race-card pulled, punched, and cancelled. I love me.

If you are one of those who are actually trying to define the existence of a black man...you will never understand. Look at the back of you driver's license. If you are an organ donor then you know the answer--we're all the same inside and out. We're more a like than we are different. We want the same things. The answer is as simple as telling me who you are.

Posted by: C.W. Holmes | July 12, 2006 06:23 PM

As a black man, to quote W.E.B.Dubois in the Souls of Black Folk, I "simply wish to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon ... without having the doors of Opportunity closed roughly in [my]face." To be a Black man is to feel the strife of trying to reconcile manhood with race. Do I define myself as a man? Or do I define myself as a Black man? As a man I attempt to see the world through color-blind lenses that suprisingly allow me to see the multi-colored nature of American diversity. As I Black man I see the world through broken lenses that distort my vision,allowing only a clear view of the color line that seperates me--the Black man--from the rest of humanity.

Posted by: Rashid Fai'Sal | July 12, 2006 10:43 PM

Being black man makes me think that I'll face a lot of difficulties in any non African community or society. In schools I'll be doubted by non Africans about my abilities especially in science and technology. Encyclopedias will tell me that great chances are that on average I have a low IQ compared to other races. I know that the world is not fair but when it comes to a black, the world seems to be mercilessly harsh. I am convinced that my survival will depend on less emotion, more facts and more hard work.

Posted by: Bazeyi Hategekimana | July 13, 2006 09:28 AM

To be a black man in America means you have to accept the sterotypes that you'll perpetually encounter. People-who are mostly non-black-will doubt your abilities when first coming in contact with you, especially in professional level careers. For example, I'm currently a business reporting intern at a mid-size newspaper in Rockford, IL. When I first began my internship I sensed that there were doubts about my journalistic ability. The doubt wasn't derived from the fact that I'm still in college, but rather because I'm a black man. Anyhow, once I began to produce quality articles the racial tension seemed to dissolved somewhat. But that didn't eliminate some of my co-workers (even black women) averting their eyes when in walking distance of me. So to be a black man is a challenge.

Posted by: Brandon Watson | July 13, 2006 10:46 AM

To be a Black Man means to have courage, understanding and the inner strength to overcome all obstacles in the face of adversity. It can be hard really hard at times, but if God were to make me again not making me a Black Man would be a mistake. To be a Black Man means to have a love for who you are for what your culture represents on all levels and being able to stand by your word since that is all that we really ever had from the beginning. You can just call it a Black Mans credo.

Posted by: Scott Lowry | July 13, 2006 07:54 PM

I am a " Black Female ". I am well aware of the endless list of what everyone thinks it means to be my Great- Grand Father, Grand- father, My Father, My Uncles, and My Brother. Amongst Four generations of black men this meaning is ever changing :The history "repetitious". Meaning the same elements = a different solution. The truth is "no one knows what it means to be a black man" as the final solution has not been resolved. No human on earth can tell me what an Evolutionary process "is " that has not englufed final selection/ completion!

Posted by: La Toya D | July 14, 2006 03:37 PM

Being considered "Black" in, not only America, but also around the world, means being labeled. By labeled I mean we fall into the stereotypes that many perceive to be gospel. "Black" men in America are slated to the bottom rings of our society. Granted, there are brothers out there who do not know how strong they are, but there others who do and have had to face "white privilege" head on. It is as if dumb "Niggas" are expected and accepted, but educated intelligent "black" men are a threat not only to the stereotypes, but also to the perceived superiority. White men are confident while "black" men are arrogant. White men are forceful while "black" men have a chip on their shoulders. The old adage of working twice as hard for half the recognition is true and natural. Humans have a habit of liking those who are like themselves. In America white is the dominant race and any other race looks different. There are many who cannot see past skin color and breaking both social programming and natural law is difficult at best.

Being "black" in America is being patted on the head by the HR manager on one occasion and by the Admiral's Chief of Staff on another. It is being called "Nigger" though you have tried to assimilate and do the "right" thing. It is the hurt experienced at job interviews. It is being told a racial joke by your manager and an elder woman even though you have requested not to hear it. That is what being "black" in America is like.

Ronald Duane

Posted by: Ronald Duane | July 15, 2006 01:44 AM

For most it means not being able to trace your heritage more than two or three generations back. It means dealing with historical and ongoing perceptions that your forefathers were victimized because they were not smart enough or strong enough. It means always being outnumbered in a democratic society. It means that you have to look inward for strength, approval and self worth. It means that you are part of a segmented group that fails to use its' collective clout to deal with important matters. it means that like all endangered species, you have to pay special attention to understanding and adapting to the world.

Posted by: Rob Robinson | July 15, 2006 05:28 AM

We were jusst this morning having a discussion with a Jewish lady. I agree completly with her when she says, blacks carry the same blood in their veins as any other race(so called). They are totally equal with everyone else. For G-d is not a respecter of persons.

Posted by: Richard Haynes | July 15, 2006 01:56 PM

Mediocre is for White people

Imagine a life where you are only provided two levels of reality.

One, grants you success and a comfortable life. Don't get ahead of yourself however, as you're not allowed to have exactly the same as the "Other" guy. Appearances can be deceiving.

You have to perform at 110% at all times. You are by definition an overachiever. You cannot afford to make a mistake, not even the slightest little misdirection or you will be set back. Your every action and reaction are open for interpretation by all and all will decide your fate accordingly. However, no matter how much you succeed, there are majorities in this world that still inherently view you only as a N*****. That's reality.

Two, grants you nothing. Poverty, ignorance and little opportunity to remove yourself from the trappings of a desolate existence; you are in fact held in indifference and as a "less than" even in the minds of your Brothers and Sisters.

You are exactly what they said you are. From the days they stole you from the shores of Africa to present day. A number, a statistic. Possessing no real worth, other than one assigned to you by your masters.

There is no mediocre level of existence for a Black man. We can't "just get by". We can't be "Average" and "Unremarkable". We have to succeed or else. Just like the Post Office, the Ghetto is always looking for people. We can no longer afford to have that association.

Posted by: Bobby C | July 15, 2006 02:19 PM

I think it is very difficult to be an African American man, I am glad to see that there is discussion about all the bias that exists toward Black men, how Black men are more likely than their white counter parts, of the same background...ect...who commit or do not commit the same crimes are much more likely to end up in prison. This is not whining, this is reality. Having said all of that, why not do a series on African American women, who are subject not only to racism, but to sexism (many in the African American community will deny this because they don't want to appear as traitors to the Black cause, but sexism most definitely exists and in large proportion). And by the way when doing the series please expose the stereotypes of Black women...things like "Welfare Queen", "Sapphire" ect...and most of all the stereotype that strong Black women are the primary cause of Black male emasculation. A strong Black man, who is committed to family, mental and emotional health does not have to fear a strong Black woman, he will embrace her as would any strong man, from any race or ethnicity.

Posted by: Ann Erickson | July 15, 2006 05:26 PM

I remain very impressed by your video collection of commkents from my brothers in the US. However to beg the question must also demand an answer from non US black men like myself (let alone black sisters and white people).

Posted by: Damian Bryan | July 16, 2006 03:25 PM

I loved this series, it evoked so many feelings in me, as a black woman (baby boomer) from DC who has witnessed and can testify to the validity of the struggle the Black Man in DC has faced. So many obstacles for many to have overcome, (The Welfare Man, Drugs, Jail, Self-hatred, etc.) and the legacy that remains as a result of the struggles. Non minorities may view this piece of work as more of the same-black people playing the victum role. However, for me, and I'm sure many others, this series made me feel proud that the struggle and celebration of black men, in particular in DC, was written and presented in an exemplary fashion, thanks to the writers, contributors and editors at the Washinton Post. DC Home Girl, Paula G.

Posted by: Paula G | July 17, 2006 08:37 AM

It's always the struggle that keeps us moving. To be truly african (blackman) means to discredit all notions taught in the past that blacks are less intelligent. It means going back to reclaim our lost history, while looking for survival of the race in the future but teaching young black children the right way to excellence.

Posted by: Herbert Magombe | July 17, 2006 11:37 AM

Being a black man is taking the thousands of conflicting visions, influences and expectations into focus and attempting to see your own path. Being a black man is a unique struggle for everyone with many commonalities that are shared or disputed in barbershops and stoops and office buildings. Being a black man is looking up amazed to be a statistic. Being a blackman is like being a psychic, with the ability to see untold truths and forced to carry the burden of knowledge on your back. Being a black man is feeling hate so often it becomes part of who you are. Being a black man is having pride in who you are and all that says about you. Being a black man is walking through Georgetown and thinking "did my ancestors once live here as slaves for this white guy's family", then listening to police remarks that you don't even belong there, that you must be watched, like a criminal, for the color of your skin. All the while, white people wonder why there is resentment, why we don't get over it, why we don't realize how lucky we are to get welfare and affirmative action and big NBA dollars... I'm not resentful, but I'm no fool either. I'm a damn Black American. And naw, you won't know what its like, even if you read every word of this Washington Post special. The most important thing to remember, a black man can be anything he wants, a nerd, a thug, a rapper, a doctor, a vets assistant, a poet, a mathematician.... just like white people, so lets stop trying to define a race... after all, what does it mean to be a "pacific islander", or an "octoroon"? How does it feel to be white in California and no longer a majority? As usual, thinking about race does one thing, confuse the hell out of me. I guess that's how it feels to be black in a white mans world.

Posted by: Rosavel Rusan | July 17, 2006 11:43 AM

All men have red blood flowing through their viens. All men have equal potential
for learning and performing at high levels of efficiency despite theories to the contrary pedaled by those who seek to suppress and oppress the progress of black people. Whenever favorable things are said about black people they said in a vein as though recepients should be grateful for the compliments. Even in church, if the pastor speaks on the evils of racism the effects last no longer than the sermon. I strongly believe that men should be judged by their behavior rather than their color but in this society wealth is the only factor that brings respect to non-whites.

Posted by: Frank Small | July 17, 2006 11:44 AM

What does it means to be a black man?
In the United States of America, this question will be answered in numerous ways. But to me it means to be labeled as a "black man" which tends to mean less than a man. It means the opportunities that are guaranteed must be secured by legal action instead of gratuity as they are to all others. It means being left behind, which is the result of growing up in a single-parent home with no father. It means to have no identity of your own, but only the one forced upon you. It means surviving day to day by trial and error in a society that is extremely critical of our very existence. It means to subject yourself to unfair treatment by others because of your skin color. It means to be overlooked even when you're the obvious better choice. It means being talked around as if you can't or don't have anything important to say or to contribute. It means to be ignored when you are making a comment or a statement of importance. It means to be oppressed and held in check by the very ones who are commissioned to help you. It means to be locked-up in prisons if you make the slightest mistake and inadvertently cross the lines of the law. It means to be denied access and excluded from participation in a supposedly democratic process. It means having no leaders who can be trusted, followed, and emulated because of greed and apathy. Being a black man means to be "lost" in a society where there is no place for him to be recognized as a "man."

Posted by: Anthony C. Bradley | July 17, 2006 12:25 PM

Being a black man means being part of a great nation through a rough history. A black man is more American than he thinks.

As a non-black and a foreign national, I see the black man as someone who went from enslavement to international cultural supremacy. Whether he is an equal right activists, an athlete,a musician, or a scholar, the black man has the power to dominate in each and every aspect of the modern man's life.

Unfortunately, the black man also carries a lot of negative stereotypes re-enforced by the media and pop culture. As a result, the regular Joe fails to recognize the same friendliness, politeness and willingess to help of every American in a black man.

Posted by: Amar Beeharry | July 17, 2006 02:23 PM

What does it mean to be a black man?

It is a great honor and priviledge to be a black in America for me. Being rise by one of the greatest black men I know, my father (James W. Dawson); whom I admire and contribute to leading me in the right direction, knowing right from wrong, what's equal and fair, love thy neighbor, get an education beyond his which was a six grade, but went on to build our 2nd house, understanding blueprints although he couldn't read,install A/C Heating units, do all the electrical work, landscape, plumbing.. the list goes on and on:(I have my Bachelor in Computer Management) and to pass these types of blessings on to my kids and friends alike..
Of course, this answer will be different from man to man depending on their up bringing and situations they found themselves involved in to the present point they are in as of today...
I have had little known or acknowledge levels of racism call this native,but don't get me wrong; I am not blinded by polite racism I know it's there and if confronted I try to educate or bring it to their attention. I went to segregate schools and have friends of all nationalities to this day.. So not only am I proud to be a Black man, hopefully my history will shed some light on my kids and others...

47 years old and counting.....

Posted by: Don D | July 17, 2006 03:37 PM

I am from azerbaijan.I am 25.A black man is a man like us.when I read these articles I get sad a little.because I didnt know that they always must face this problem.all my respect to all human beings

Posted by: SEVINC ISMAILOVA | July 18, 2006 04:34 AM

Its tough being a man period, but to be a Black man hell, also to be one with issues beyond ones control, such as hearing loss, vocal chord condition makes life a stressful struggle daily.

Posted by: Bob Shipman | July 18, 2006 03:47 PM

I recall reading a book several years ago about free blacks during the days of slavery. The author commented that free blacks were a third party in a system built for two: Free white people and enslaved black people. There was never any intention that they (free blacks) have a place in society.
And so it is today. For all that we have contributed to America and for all that we have taken from America, we are still interlopers in a place that was not planned to accomodate us. Black men have had to fight so hard for so many years because there was no share of the pie that was supposed to go to us if we "just did our part". Scraps, leftovers, slave quarters and wages -- that was our intended due.
Ah, but you ask: "Haven't things changed since those bad old days, hasn't the plight of black men improved?" The answer, my answer is no, we still don't fit. We are failing to thrive in this land because we are of an alien culture and appearance that is too different, to repugnant for the dominant culture to ever fully accept. What it means to me to be a black man in America is to know that at best and finally, America can only offer me material success. Spiritually, I am a 3rd party in a system built for two.

Posted by: Harold Austin Jackson | July 18, 2006 07:50 PM

What does it mean to be a black man?
To be a black man means: social limitations, many times unfair labels and often unequal playing grounds.

A reasonable part of being a black man is
being aware that you will be thrust into
a world not designed for your survival.

Another essential of what it means to be a black man is carrying unlimited potential
in the face of overwhelming odds.

Posted by: Rev. Damien Maurice Mason | July 19, 2006 11:05 AM

What it means to be a black man

As a black man living in Texas and who lived through the Jim Crow era, I've learned not to spend a whole lot of time worrying about whether I'm excepted by other cultures or not. The world to me is neither black nor white for I know of no one who controls the direction it turns. Thus I've determined that I have to thrive just like the white man to make my own happiness. I don't sit around waiting for someone to do things for me, I don't point fingers at others and say its your fault that I don't have adequate housing or food or transportation. I just happen to be a proud black man living in an America with problems. However please note that being a black man is not equivalent to having a desease so the premise of this whole question is insulting. Being a black man means the same thing as being a white man everybody has to fight through the obstacles set before them and make the best with the cards they have been dealt.

Posted by: Lawrence | July 19, 2006 12:49 PM

To me it's twofold: 1.) It is carrying on the strong culture and tradition brought by our ancestors and introducing that into our everyday lives within our community, workplace, and home. 2.) Proving to myself that I am more than a jump shot, or a music deal, or a sterotypical black man that "made it." That I have the intelligence and fortitude to be on the same level as every other "man" in this society of the United States of America.

Posted by: Marcus Rudolph | July 19, 2006 04:39 PM

Being a black man has a lot of meaning, just the word black has a definition to it.When you read the word black in the dictionnary it gives you many meaning of it like 1.LACKING HUE AND BRIGHTNESS 2.ENVELOPED IN DARKNESS 3.EVIL OR WICKED then they would wrote a sign of mourning and put of or belonging to any of the dark-skinned peoples of africa.Now the question is why are we so attached of claiming that we are black and it actually represent a color and evil darkness, now how did they come about to a point that now in this generation consider ourselves as black.It all start in slavery, when our forefathers were in slavery they knew who they were and they knew they were not considerate as a black man,they were considerate as a nation of people, and that nation our forefathers were considerate as, was HEBREW ISRAELITES. How do i know that the people that have been brought to a land called america in SLAVESHIP are HEBREW ISRAELITE because it was prophecy in the bible,"DEUTERONOMY 28:68 AND THE LORD SHALL BRING THEE INTO EGYPT AGAIN WITH SHIPS",now the word egypt mean bondage or slavery EXODUS 20:2 tell you the meaning of egypt, and it mentioned again with ships, meaning WE as a NATION OF PEPOLE will go in slavery again but this time in SHIPS,this is the clue "SHIPS" we were the only people that have been carried from one continent to another continent in cargo slaveships, check your history they even teach that in high schools."BY THE WAY WHEREOF I SPAKE UNTO THEE,THOU SHALT SEE IT NO MORE AGAIN" meaning you will not recognized that JERUSALEM as your homeland,what do black in america claimed,attached and consider as their homeland "africa"."AND THERE YE SHALL BE SOLD UNTO YOUR ENEMIES FOR BONDMEN AND BONDWOMEN" now who sold us to our ENEMIES?it was the black africans people wich are known as HAMITES they are the descendant of HAM one of the sons of NOAH, the arabs people wich are known as ISHMAELITES they are the descendant of ISHMAEL on of the sons of ABRAHAM, they sold us unto our enemies, now who are our enemies? the caucasians people or so-called white people, they not white but they actually red and they known as EDOMITES they are descendant of ESAU one of the sons of ISAAC,the bible itself give the description of their forefathers ESAU as being red and hairy on GENESIS 25:23-25. And you wanna know why we as a people are treated the worsed and why they called us minorities and why they giving us hard time in life because, 1-we are the people of GOD the true israelites the real jews according to the bible, and 2-they our enemies.let me continue"AND NO MAN SHALL BUY YOU" meaning nobody shall be able to get us out of this misery condition that we in, martin luther king try and his dreams has not come thru, the black panther try and they have been overthrow by putting drugs in our communities, farrakon try and still ain't going no-where got to a point that they being called terrorists if they follow the koran and called themselves muslim or nation of islam who create this nation called islam who's islam? for you to become in the nation of islam you have to be a descendant of a man name islam. you cannot make yourself a nation. jesse jackson try and failed even al sharpton. BUT there's only one man could deliver us out of this misery and is a DARK SKINNED COLOR MAN NAME JESUS CHRIST in REVELATION 1:1,13to15 give the description of JESUS CHRIST AS A MAN OF COLOR,this is another reason why they look at us as low-self esteem or minorities.Did you know that we black people are descendant of great people in the bible like NOAH,ABRAHAM,ISAAC,JACOB,MOSES,DAVID,SOLOMON DANIEL,JEREMIAH,and they were BLACK,"JEREMIAH 14:2,SONG OF SOLOMONS 1:5,JOB 30:30,DANIEL 10:5-6. Is so much that i could show you in the bible, but if you wanna learn more about you true history your true identity just log on our website www.theholyconceptionunit.org and just to remind you the bible is not a book of religion but a book of laws, commandments, judgements, prophecies and history.AND THE REAL JEWS ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE ARE NOT ONLY THE NEGROES BUT ALSO THE HISPANIC AND THE NATIVE AMERICAN INDIANS AND SEMINOLE INDIANS. COME LEARN THE TRUTH AT THE *ISRAELITE CHURCH OF GOD AND JESUS CHRIST* WAKE UP IT'S TIME FOR US TO RISE AS A NATION BECAUSE JESUS CHRIST IS COMING BACK TO DELIVER US THE ISRAELITES OUT OF THIS CAPTIVITY "ROMANS 13:11 AND ZEPHANIAH 2:1TO3"

Posted by: BARAK | July 20, 2006 09:00 AM

To be an endangered species.

Posted by: Shawn Smith | July 20, 2006 01:51 PM

Almost like the Army - everday is a new adventure

Posted by: Rick | July 20, 2006 02:49 PM

From reading through these, it appears to be a black man in America is like being a white man in Prince Georges County, Maryland. I've experienced many of these same issues on both sides. My wife is black and I've raised both her son and daughter. I've lived in and among the black community for the last 20 years and had NEVER experienced, until we moved to this area in late 2000, the open racism that exists to such an extent in this area. I thought we had stepped back 60 years in time. Along with teaching our children to be strong, we also must teach them to respect people of all races - not everyone is evil, nor out to "stick it to them".

Unfortunately, I lost my stepson to America's unbalanced legal system - a black judge wanting to keep all the politicians happy was quick to make an example of yet another young, black male - giving him 99 years, convicting him with no physical evidence and when the sentence was overturned on appeal, restructured the sentence so that it still added up to 99 years.

Posted by: A Man | July 21, 2006 12:33 PM

That is a very complex question to articulate - mainly because we are born into a world were race and (color coding) defines how people deal with us. So, as you grow you must first understand the dynamics of how blacks came to be the target.

The second issue to consider would be the great diversity that we have as a people (i.e., our backgrounds, environments, family history - etc.) For example, we have different statuses therefore we would get a diverse answer to the question. So how would the Black politicians, entertainers, the working class; the college educated, the drug users and the blacks who have frequent prison passes - how would they answer the question? Would it be clear and accurate or based upon their failures and/or successes? So, for some being black can be easy and for others very difficult.

For myself, I have realized that in life humans in general have a strong need to control the minds, opinions and actions of others and that is a difficult issue to understand. Without any doubts it can be very difficult being a Black man even if you are doing the right thing, but that has nothing to do with the color of our skin, but rather due to pride, arrogance and evil of humans. Unfortunately, many Black are still career victims to the deception and focus of the word "Racism."

I have come to love being born with my skin color (not out of pride or because blacks are the "chosen" people) but because that is how God created me, and there is a fundamental understanding in my statement whether people believe in God or not, and that is no one could have done anything to change how we came into existence. So that issue is clear for me. Again it is a matter of truly understanding the real issues, and not what others want you to see.

Then, I love being black because I realize that every race group has its share of issues, and I have witnessed this first hand because I travel a lot - from America to Europe to the Middle East. More important, as I look around across the globe and especially among the whites who are at the head of this issue - then I see many non-blacks trying to look, act dance, dress, style and even using black terms in their everyday conversations. But that is my story.

Posted by: Dawud Makonnen | July 24, 2006 06:49 AM

As a white woman I have visted Being A Black Man multiple times. I have viewed the individual features over and over again. Thank you for a series that will stay with me the rest of my life.

Posted by: Katherine Harvey | July 24, 2006 11:42 AM

Being a black man in America means that one's journey is intrinisically impositioned with assumptions about personal habits, experiences, and attitudes that are devoid of truth and are mere generalized expressions of abject fear. In many cases these euchered fears are spawned by persons of other races and ethnicities who exert an irrational need to control and dominate others without conscience that their toxic expressionisms betray a serious character flaw. They succeed because of the perceived safety of that shared umbrella of commonality by and with others in the majority and who are of the same mind set. Many are stereotypical hand-me-down biases that are the offspring of societal conditioning which characterizes the exclusion based amalgamated subcultures of American society. Those who harbor these enigmatic traits and who are the most obessive compulsives on skin color are usually low self esteem social rejects in their own right who need a buy-in to their biased phobia to differentiate themselves and to esteem themselves higher despite their morally depraved imprisonment in which they find sanctuary. Being a black man means choosing to be prayed up in Jesus to glorfy OUR Father in hope for the prize of spiritual maturity that objectively recognizes intended harm, distinguishes it as a contrivance of fear ladened minds, rises above its debasing temptations and goes on to teach all in love by how we live out lives in the way that leads to a level of sobriety in relationships that in turn can be modelled, copied and perpetuated for the strenghtening of humankind.

Posted by: Philip | July 24, 2006 12:05 PM

My experiences from being born and raised in the New York, being a young adult, going to college and having transitioned into adulthood in the South, and starting my career, becoming a husband and a father in the D.C. area has helped to define what a Black man means to me.
As a Black man, I can recount being told your never going to amount to anything. I can relate to being stereotyped and prejudiced while attending undergraduate and graduate school. I share with those that have been racially profiled and discriminated against. I know all too well how to "CROSS-SWITCH" because I love hip-hop, rap and R&B, but my colleagues engage in classical, jazz and soft-rock.
As a Black man, I grew to appreciate, tolerate, and respect persons that create the rich, diverse multicultural society I was raised in, and now found in virtually every city throughout the United States.
As a Black man, I gained knowledge and understanding so that I could comprehensively and emotionally attest to struggles my ancestors, grandparents and parents went through so that I could have a "better life" and more "opportunities" than they had.
As a Black man, I learned the importance of striving for excellence and setting and achieving goals, but only to look around to see few of my peers that resemble me.
As a Black man, I am elated to be a loving and supportive husband, a proud and nurturing father, and live in a community that many feel I don't deserve to reside in because of the complexion of my skin.
As a Black man, I want nothing more than to raise a future Black man, my son, to keep God first, be proud of who is and where he comes from, to love and respect man-kind (no matter a person's race/ethnicity), dream big, gain knowledge, wisdom and understanding, be accountable for his actions, blame no one for his short comings, be a productive member of society, be a loving husband, a nurturing father, and help the next man to achieve his goals. That to me is what it means to be a Black man.


Posted by: Will Washington | July 25, 2006 01:04 AM

What it means to me: You must be ready to constantly see and be reminded of and endure the continued silent racism that we face everyday. When we think we are operating in circles of fairness and justice, all of a sudden we are again shakened/shocked into the reality that we are not where, or who we thought we were. After 56 years of struggling in this type environment, I must admit that I find it hard to continue with the mind that "I am Somebody", in a world that seems to belong only to the rich and the powerful, or the place reserved for the "bootlickers". I better understand what effect oppression and depression can have on a person who is considered a normal and rational being.

Posted by: Dan Marbury | July 25, 2006 10:21 PM

Although the man whose job it was to show me what it means to be a black man failed at his job, I think I'm learning more everyday. Being a black man means remaining strong. I must recognize that there is racism and other obstacles in the world but not let it hold me back.

As I always say to myself, "life is all about perception." Being a black man means understanding yourself and others around you and dealing with it in a productive manner. I recognize the world that I live in and maintain a strong enough mind and body so I am not be consumed by it. As a black man, I can not afford to make excuses.

My black teacher didn't show me a path to walk, but, before he neglected his role in my life he imparted on me the value of movement. I can not remain still. Not having a path is not an excuse. I know right from wrong. I will continue to move towards what's right and if there's no path before me, I will make one. That's what a real black man must do!

Posted by: Paul | July 26, 2006 03:28 PM

continuation. As I progressed in age I saw that Grandma and Grandpa were learning to read and what a help it was in their lives. I moved on to higher grades and was awarded buttons and ribbons for my acheivements in math and reading and attendance. Troubled however by the system used by teachers to march students in and out and around the school.For some reason I always felt underpriviledged by virture of position in the line. Never was their a Black student in the front of the line leading the class. Lining up acording to height or alphabet or gender always made black students last. Except if you were a short and named Adams. Then you still didn't lead the line you were made a hall monitor or patrole person. Later it was your speech that removed you from the classroom for speech therapy if you were too smart. Anything to slow your progress. Now in the 2006 year it is called nintendo and xbox and mtv reality tv etc etc. No need to teach each other anything we have Doctor Phill for that. Being a black man to is a rare thing in our society. No the don't call us boy anymore but the sure think it. Go to the store and see how many supposed to be men are in the tv and or gaming section watching a game or playing one on demo xboxes and nintendos. See how many of them are playing against their children. Doomed to never reach maturity until well after 35 yrs old if a black man can remain out of jail that long. He may br able to then get a job as a mailman,garbageman,deliveryman, or any other general servant. Education last on the list employment even lower. First priority is whos winning the game. Being a black man is recognizing that the game is the same old Jim Crowe except that this time we volunteer to be enslaved. Captured by ignorance and advertising.We used to laugh at the old cowboy movies when the Indians were winning a fight and then the cowboy would give them liquor and they would be defeated. Well he gave us crack and marijuana. Both for which the sell of will get you jailed. If you were too smart to fall for that they had a system of timed released violations that if you were complacent would get you jailed. Missing jury duty,traffic court,draft cards,etc etc..And just when you thought you were up on all the mess. Here came the war to claim all that they couldn't sucker into jail they sent to war. Never to be the same again, home with murder and drugs and stress syndroms. I am a black man by abstintion from drugs gangs violence ebonics sacriligious behavior and all out general subdued acts of behavior that kept me below the radar screens of those in control. I learned this behavior from Sam Greeley's book. The spook who sat behind the door. Next week I will join black men and women whom dare to be black at the National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees who along with Organization of Black Airline Pilots, Black flight Attendants, and all the other Blacks in the aviation industry will meet and discuss our plight and plan for the future of blacks in aviation. Well I can rightfully say that if you had no knowledge of this meeting taking place we have failed to be black enough and representative enough. What good is it to be black and successful if it is only you who knows it. Only you who serves with no openings for the future of thoses that we blaze a trail for. Who was LeRoy Homer? O.K. He was a Black Man and Pilot that parished in a crash on September 11, 2001 Flight 93. The movie didn't show you that part so as you realized that he was a factor. History will not show him but passengers whom supposedly stormed the cockpit and attempted to save the day. Don't be niave. LeRoy a former militay pilot would never have went out like the movie stated. His training would not have allowed it. Flight 93 was not and I believe has never been taken over and crashed in a field. Planes do not disenegrate in crashes. Being a black man means being responsible for those who depend on you for all things righteous and strong, humble and intelligent, with self a lower priority than family and community, which are all in the same of themselves. I am a professional with income well above the average black mans low six digits, and responsible for a family of large purportions. I still am true to my GOD and my Family and my Race. Put the toys away black man and walk the hard road to success not the shorcut to shame.

Posted by: MARVIN S. DOUGLAS JR. | July 26, 2006 11:43 PM

black man is couragious human, born in Africa, travelled and moved through out the world, became slaved, in order to face the world and make his identity, reamin always in struggle, even today, united, face all trouble and hindrances but prefer to live their own.
sonewhere is successful and somewhere in the process but always ready to face the world. It can be moved anywhere in the world, all continents are approachable for a black man. No doubt BB is great

Posted by: akhlaq qureshi | July 27, 2006 01:52 PM

Being black means; intelligence,outspokeness,hardworking,trustworthy and educated.i.e a blackman can always be counted in any situation in the global world and they can archieve the results expected.It also tells of the civilization that the blackman introduced or practiced before the coming into acceptance of the western civilization that is the photocopy of what the whiteman claims to discovered.therefore,being black is being in control of the globe.{Kofi Anna}

Posted by: Moses Adolphus Massaboi Massaquoi Jr. | July 27, 2006 02:00 PM

A black man is man created in the image of God. By the grace of God, he has all the potentials to be a great man. A black man has faith,but... "faith without work is dead...

Posted by: Charles L. Massaquoi | July 29, 2006 02:24 AM

Thank you for trying to deal with a difficult question.

Posted by: Daniel Cary | July 30, 2006 12:21 AM

being a black man in america is like being a white man on a basketball court.

Posted by: | July 30, 2006 01:49 PM

30 years ago I would have responded to the question differently than today. As a college student at the University of Alabama in the early 70s, I believed the world was growing toward a color blind society. I was wrong. The civil rignts and voting rights acts have made things better for both minority groups and females. However, the predisoposition of society to judge black males as the most difficult to work with on jobs or to live next door to has been slower to change. As a Black males I must think about how colleagues will respond to questions I ask or my responses to comments that may have nothing to do with ethnicity. The only time in my life when this was not the first idea that came to my mind were the years I was a student at Meharry Medical College in Nashville Tennessee.
To be a Black males means to over look racist comments at work, or in the neighborhoods that we live. Other wise many of us would be angry all the time. To always have to believe it is just ignorance for individuals to tell ethnic jokes that are insults or for those same individuals to steretype an ethnic group based on derogatory images seen in a movie or television program.
The fact is many bigots will never change and those who do not openly dissagree with the bigots are also to blame. The silent majority who probably do not judge people based on racial steretypes should be more vocal if the society is to become color blind. However, I have little hope of this happening;all we need to do is survey the situation in the middle east to determine how long the hearts, minds and philosophy of competing groups will change. I can only hope the silent majority will find the courage to make the world a better place for my children than it has been for me.

Posted by: preston Gadson | July 30, 2006 02:17 PM

To hold on tight to those who love you.

Posted by: | July 30, 2006 11:05 PM

It means that in order to succeed a black man especially in this area has to cow-tow and shuffle foot around his white counterparts and those in authoritative positions. It goes further than mere respect from one human being to another. VA.,MD. and yes DC. has the same confederate/slave mentality toward black men. Black men has always been the white mans enemy, always feared by the white man, and yes, white men will do anything in their power to oppress the black man. Including abuse that power in order to perpetuate their cause. I watched your commentary last night and it seems to me that you skirt the main issue concerning the black mans succcess. And that is how white society sabotages the black mans'success. It seems to me that the Media doesen't discuss the true issues of basic human rights being denied, all because this cause of white supremacy must prevail. I don't believe you are looking at the whole picture.

Posted by: Charles Williams | July 31, 2006 09:17 AM

I am a Black Man
therefore, unique
allow me to speak.
Let me borrow your ears
listen to my hopes and fears.
Observe what is on my mind,
search thoroughly and you will find...
My Spirit.
There is no other kind.
For it is like a precious diamond
rare and divine.
You have analyzed me and yes,
even tried to define me.
There are far too many words
that describe who I am
but nothing gives me hono and dignity
of being labled as
a Black Man.

Posted by: Bakari Haynes | July 31, 2006 10:55 AM

Waking up to a everyday struggle!

Posted by: SG | July 31, 2006 12:20 PM

What does it mean to be a black man?

Being a black man is living in the reality of my ancestors to invest in the future of other black youth, so they intern, can be riased up to be proud of whom they are.

Posted by: Robert K. Freeman | August 1, 2006 01:24 AM

to be a blackman or consider oneself as
a blackman means to exclude oneself from
humanity.worship Allah and except the truth
and everything else will eventually fall
right in place with the dark hued people.

Posted by: Abdul shaheed Gray | August 1, 2006 10:28 AM

I am a 35 year old Blackman with a loving wife and beautiful children. I worked hard to purchase a home and my biggest concern is the future of my children and giving them the life they deserve. With the inequality in pay I am forced to work 3 jobs to make sure that my family has the basic necessity's. When will I be able to have equal pay and spend more time with my family.

Posted by: Kevin | August 1, 2006 02:07 PM

Being a black man in America with a degree and a resume full of experiences does not truly alliveate the fear of being passed over. For 14 years I pastored in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church before "going forth" because of discovering and believing in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Thus, I am now trying to get my credential to pastor in the Assembly of God Church. My aspiration is to pastor a multi-racial, interracial church. Although white pastors seem to fare well pastoring a multi-racial church, my fear is that white couples, especially white men, are not able to overcome their fear of an assertive and strong willed black man. Too often I have experienced or seen my peers being label "arrogant" just because we are confident of what we are capable of accomplishing. I am certain people of all ages, races and nationalities have obstacles they have to hurdle to achieve. But the obstacle many black men have to first conquer is one of self doubt in a society that is already doubting a black man can be anything but an entainer, jock, deadbeat dad or a convict.

Posted by: Steven Mayhorn | August 1, 2006 10:47 PM

To be a black man means to work hard,to strive, to be responsible, to act with considerable caution and skill in your undertakings and to know that your results will always be viewed differently from the various perspectives. To be a success you have to put on the extra effort and to outstand in your field of calling - because you are black. However being proud in blackness and knowing that you are as good as any colour indicates that u appreciate God's working ways and you are here and in that skin for a purpose.

Posted by: Bernard Oyoo | August 2, 2006 01:41 AM

Where I live in Lesotho being a black man was not an issue before racism came through the Dutch and apartheid in the years 1652 up to 1990 when Apartheid was removed as a government policy. In the time of racism, even though Lesotho has always been politically independent, her economic dependence of south Africa meant that Basotho always suffered the racist classification and treatment when they visited South Africa.
So from this race related perspective being a black man has meant racial inferiority in he eyes of white colonial settlers. it has meant lower and underprivileged political, economic and soocial status. It has meant that a black man has to work beyond this classification and underprivilege to succeed and be recognised as human a being and equal to any pink, yellow and brown humans on the planet. Clearly racism is rooted in economic and historical domination of dark complexion people by pink complexioned people. Change in the economic conditions of groups would bring equality and banish racism for good from the planet. For me as a teacher and a professional being black is just a pigmentation. What matters in a person is the intellectual capacity which is the same for all peopple on earth. Then history, eonomic and social backgrounds give us different conditions and opportunities of development. Iam sure that as different parts of the world such as China and India develop they will show that economic wealth can be enjoyed without turning it into an instrument of racism and oppression as the pale complexioned people used it in the past. From thispremise theoretically, economic success of Africa stands to liberate Africans who are still looked down upon from the inferiority classification to equal human beings.

Posted by: Teboho Motaboli | August 2, 2006 03:02 AM

As black men we are often excluded from the American Dream. Instead of being a man, we will always be black men. That would be fine if white men were always referred to as white men. However, they are usually termed, men. This means that we are scrutinized at every turn; in the classroom, at work, at shopping malls, and even in our homes. We realize that we are America's "whipping boys". Nevertheless, we have the strength and dignity to strive and succeed at times in spite of the conditions. It is not a coincidence that the majority of America's inmates are black men. We are the "bucks" descended from slavery who are so despised by Whites that even some Blacks have been conditioned to despise us. For this reason, black men have become keepers of our own dream. Do not believe for one moment that black men are not good fathers, hard workers, honest citizens, and every other positive term attributed to our counterparts. Understand though, that black men must struggle against the hatred and oppression that continues to plague America.

Posted by: Sheldon Hull | August 2, 2006 09:55 AM

I think we do ourselves a disservice by qualifiying ourselves as just black men. Hence, I believe the definition of the a black man to be first and foremost a human being. This is a creature who has overcome the " psychological effects of slavery to be successful politicians, scholars, writers as well as other professions to forge a positive role in Western Culture.

I am a AA male who grew in poor urban America to a single uneducated mother and a drug-addicted father. The odds of success of a male with the aforementioned profile was very small. I have gone on to accomplish a bachelor's and master's degree and a long, successful higher education career inspite of those "odds". I would define myself as a successful human being who was born African American(proudly)but I
don't limit my definition to race alone.

Posted by: Desmond Buford | August 2, 2006 11:09 AM

Being a black man in Neo-Conservative America is the worst expererince one can ever imagine. Being in the midsts of Immagration Compassionate Conservative Cromprehensive Immagration Reform bill, better known as AMNESTY, and most of white America along with racist Vancenti Fox urging the house to pass this bill before the mid-term-elections and being an ethnic group that is really no longer welcomed in America is the most unpleasant and discomforting experience one can ever fathom.
What does Iraq, Immagration, and Israel have in common? The three I (s) have benefit white Capitalism. Some may not like my critism of the C-word. But
racism is caused by slavery, and slavery was caused by Capitalism.

Posted by: Christopher Hamner | August 2, 2006 12:31 PM

What does it mean to be a black man? The meaning is a technical term that should be explainable, but is not. Can you find it in a dictionary? Can you find it in the Holy Bible? What does it mean to be a black man? One person can be assured that he is a person. A human being. How all black men feel at the same time while living in the same lifetime can only be determined by one individual black man. The name of a man comes to my mind ...Jesus Christ, but he was a Jew. A black man who judges will be judged by those who judge him. When a black man judges himself first of all, he certainly will not be the last man to do it. Thus, "what a black man means to a black man is what a black man means to him". This then is only one black man. When you can see only one black man and you can see no other, then you can see for yourself, can't you, what it means to be a black man!

Posted by: Beverly Guilford Bedder | August 2, 2006 07:50 PM

being a black man means a lot of things because all black men are not alike even though we share simular experiences.one thing I think that we all share is a daily barrage of intended and unintended slights and insults from ALL groups of humanity.I find that ONLY my faith in GOD through Jesus Christ is powerful enough to defeat what Im confronted with daily.IT WORKS!!

Posted by: bobby jackson | August 2, 2006 09:57 PM

For my opinion, it is lucky for some people to black man,for example he can get education that is better than most people can get in other countries.

Posted by: HUANG Xiao-bo | August 3, 2006 09:40 AM

As a Black Man - African American - from the Inner-city of Watts, California, I find myself very proud of my culture but very disheartened by how we are portrayed -especially in the media. The only time you hear about my area is when someone is killed or rioting. They never show the positive, hard-working people who take care of their families or have uplifting activities like Block parties or the outreach of its many churches.

I'm a college graduate, youth pastor, a husband, a father, and entreprenuer. I've never been in a gang, smoked weed, drank, or been in jail. But you will never see me for all the gang-bangers, dealers, rappers, or even athletes. We are more than these.

Our forefathers died so that we could vote and have the opportunities that we've never had in our history. But because we're ignorant of our history and the only time we're portrayed is in a sitcom or if it's drama, it's about negativity. Thank God, we have men like Tyler Perry giving a message with the humor; Kirk Franklin utilizing today's music with the message of Life more abundantly; or A.C. Green and David Robinson, men of integrity in sports. These are my heroes and I endevour to be that for my daughter and an example to the young men I mentor.

Posted by: Dion Richardson | August 3, 2006 03:52 PM

I think if we ever hope for 'racism' to die, we need to stop thinking about ourselves as 'black men' or 'white men', and realize that we are simply men. What does it mean to be a black man? It mean to be a man whose skin is darker than some other's. What does it mean to be a white man? It means to be a man whose skin is lighter than some others. Black, white, brown, whatever. We are all men and women who have been created in the 'image' of God, and should see each other as such, not as a color.

Posted by: Ronald White | August 4, 2006 11:47 AM


Posted by: ROD LOUD DDS | August 4, 2006 03:16 PM

To be a Black man in America means that a powerful, racist, white supremacy society simply does not wish you well. If you try to stand up and be a man, it will try to bring you down. That society is not very comfortable seeing you standing on your feet. They are comfortable only when you Kow Tow.

Posted by: Grady C. Jordan | August 5, 2006 10:43 AM

First of all,I have no idea what it's like to be a black man,since I am a white woman.In fact I am Conservative/ Republican,middle income, suburbanite.However,I work with a few black men and because I work on the dock I interact with black men who drive trucks all day long.I just have a couple of observations.Our company is a Jewish family owned business.It is made up of about half white workers and half black.For a total of about 15 workers.There are two black males who are in the top five pay positions because they have skills that deserve that kind of pay.They are both married and have been, for each, at least 25 years to the same women.Their children are grown and either already college educated or in the process of being college educated.I also notice the black drivers that I interact with are also married with children and all own their own homes.All of these men treat me with respect and in return I treat them with respect.Genuine respect.On the other hand when work gets busy we have to bring in temporary workers who are usually unskilled and undereducated and I will tell you I do avoid those guys when they bring them in.Out of fear mostly.They are very disrespectful and especially to the black men who are viewed as successful with this company and in life.Most of these temporary workers are not interested in permanant work with this company since you get a daily cash payout with the temp. service and you need cash daily to feed drug habits.Which most of these temps have serious drug problems.
I just think this whole racism thing is really blown out of proportion.The American dream is there for any American who wants it.Stop blaming society for bad parenting and dumbed down education.The one difference that is constant between successful blacks and unsuccessful blacks,is the successful come from good parenting with strong family ties and the unsuccessful have usually come from single mother homes where fathers are sperm donors and nothing else.I am sure there are still white people out there that are racist and that will never change.But we have came a long way and in return for white people changing their hearts and minds toward black people we get reverse racism.Believe me I get it everyday when I stop in the morning to get a cup of coffee in a store who's workforce is 100% black.Until we get some mutual respect we will probably always keep our distance from each other.It's not racist to expect someone to treat you with same kindness and respect that you treat them with.I wouldn't want to be around white people who treat me bad either.

Posted by: Sylvia Smith | August 6, 2006 11:21 AM

It means living in 2 worlds and trying to recocile them enough to maintain one's sanity.

Posted by: David Wallace | August 6, 2006 01:47 PM

I just finished watching the documentary on "What It Means To Be A Black Man." It was interesting, however, I felt the documentary could have expounded more. This may have included interviewing other men to get a full perspective of being a black man. Some of the comments appeared redundant and superficial. When I see documentaries such as this, it is good to get to the "heart and depth" of the subject. Overall, however, I will say it was a good start, but maybe you can do a Part II and get to the depth of "What It Means To Be A Black Man." I would like to add in closing that I am a beautiful black woman who will always love "The Black Man."
Thank you.

Posted by: | August 7, 2006 10:26 AM

This is a great piece of journalism that lends insight into the lives of others. It is important for people to understand and have compassion for one another. A part of that is for those that are not black to understand what it means for some. It is painful to see people suffering no matter who they are, especially children, and we were are children at some point. Good journalism and responsible citizens are part of the solution.

Posted by: Rob from NH | August 7, 2006 10:44 AM

I loved reading the series of articles in the post. I loved all of the articulate responses and I was overall impressed with the responses. Too bad, in my real life I have not been so impressed. I wonder how can a professional black man (making six figures) whom I dated for many years and eventually bore a son for, had no intention of ever marrying me (his son's mother) or even live together as a family. This man chose to have his own apartment, and yet still have keys to my place that he felt he was entitled to. He gave me 33% of my rent expense. (his figure) and as far as he was concerned he was doing his part. When I finally got sick and tired of his crap. I told him to hand over the keys and I started dating someone else. To this day, he is so angry with me for breaking up his "family". He does spend a lot of time with his son, but I suspect his motiviation is that he feels that he does not have to give me child support because he feels he is helping me take care of his son physically. I know this is a really personal story, but since this is a forum about black men, can someone tell me where did this mentality come from???

Posted by: | August 7, 2006 02:17 PM


Posted by: TED BAKER | August 7, 2006 05:13 PM

Being a Black Man in America is struggling to survive in a society that's obsessed with it's distorted image of you, while incessently denying your Humanity. this is the unreconstructed part of the Denial mechanism America created when it decided to use Race as a defining factor, for it's conquests. Whites are the superior group, to all other groups, and must have a right to do whatever they please.
If you choose to live(and sadly, it is a choice) you will be viewed by all whites you encounter as a violent threat to their body politic. From their standpoint you are not suppose to exist. In meeting your eyes, the world that was carefully constructed to insolate & protect them, has been breeched & violated, especially if your a Black Man.
To survive as a Human Being in this hostile enviroment is difficult at the best of times, and impossible the rest. America is a White/ european Society and that message is thrown at you from every angle, all the days/every moment of your life. To survive you must become a Warrior/Artist;creating life, where there is none, gathering seeds & fragments of the the old, discarded, and worthless, to conjure, grow, and sustain new seasons, to harmonize, dance, and Sing in rythem to our broken spirits, and become one again.

Posted by: Michael P. Johsnon | August 8, 2006 07:12 AM

The entire series has been thought provoking ,especially since I have three sons: one teenager, and two younger sons. I am very concerned as to where we are today and what the future holds for them tomorrow. I have my teenager reading every article.

I am glad to see the attempt by the Post to capture a true cross section of Black men. Especially since each one of their stories is our own.

I would like to reflect that I believe the success of the future of our race rests with the Black man. It disturbs me that when I do volunteer work in and around Maryland; mentoring and motivating our youth I do not see more middle class Brothers involved. The upside the ones involved are very engaged. We have to take the responsibility and operate with the attitude that no matter what we must move the race forward. No matter what.

Posted by: Charles Turner | August 8, 2006 10:22 AM

there is nothing wrong with the system but you also must keep in mind what you are taught is all you can use. It first starts in the home and then goes abroad. Every person on the face of this earth from the neck down are created equally but the difference is from the neck up. what comes out of the mouth can destroy us- first impression makes a different and we are all guilty of steotyoe. A good place to start to make a difference is not foccussing on our rights, but respecting our privilages

Posted by: zeno lockett | August 8, 2006 12:25 PM

quitters never win and winners never quits We all are not created equal/dna proves it/color proves it/your speech proves it/your statue proves it/and our concerns proves it. But always keep in mind we all can't be at the top, but I don't want to be at the bottom. Dealing with merchandise to be sold on the market are all the same. To repair problems you use sop to repair it. But people or any other living cell can not be repaired in this manner because we all are different. If you truely want to be a leader (be a leader of leaders)from your family on up--signed old school

Posted by: zeno lockett | August 8, 2006 12:55 PM

I've read alot of different meaning in what it means to be black and in return I noticed and I felt the true issue within yourself is look at me. Look at where I work and what I've accomplished. The question is why dont you have followers/ because the answer to the question is that when you make it you are hording that information from others and refuse within your self to lend a helping hand to teach the younger generation--signed I Quit

Posted by: zeno lockett | August 8, 2006 01:05 PM

At its genesis, what it means to be a black man is both beautiful and painful. It is like a tale of two cities,the best of times and many times the worst of times. I have made a conscious decision to choose the former. Thanks God for the great black men that paved the way for us to be anything we want to work hard and strive for. Thanks for a hand up and not a hand out thanks for empowering us to self-sufficiency thanks for God's will thanks for our Mothers who many times had to be both parents. What it means to be a black man is being thankful for the opportunity to have chance to become and evolve into something great. Thanks to all those that faught the good fight. Thank God!

Posted by: Michael Andrews | August 8, 2006 02:37 PM

In the q/a session w/ Dr. Dyson a statistic from the Bureau of Prisons was given citing a nationwide prison population of over 2.4 million people and of those 75% being black/brown. This is one of many not-so-subtle tools of a racist society using "the system" to perpetuate a deep hatred that has not been seriously confronted for more than thirty years. My grandparents, like hundreds of thousands of Heroes from the Civil Right's Era worked through and endured daily struggles that many could hardly fathom. In my humble opinion it is nothing less than outlandish to look to the opinion of one individual for "the" solution to our troubles. However the recognition that they are our troubles must become more paramount. The Civil Right's struggle with its wide victories did not happen via the benevolence of white politicians but rather in spite of. It was propelled by the unmovable wills of black men and women along w/ reasonable whites who wanted nothing more than the promises the Constitution, our Constitution promised. These victories were achieved by a society that valued faith, family and education. Upon that foundation, blacks have and will always succeed. Equally as important, when blacks succeed, America succeeds. To be a black man means daily carrying the cross our ancestors bore in not escaping back to Africa, our first home, but inspite of subtle yet very powerful and widespread opposition making America, our new home, right for the next generation of blacks. How this is done I articulated previously minus one element, unity. Black people are people and thus will never agree on everything. That said, we should agree on the main thing. Fixing us...

Posted by: Tramaine J. Oden | August 8, 2006 04:32 PM

It means you are human.

Posted by: Mike | August 8, 2006 04:49 PM

It would not be fair to just define what it means to be a black man without some background. I am a man born at the crest of the 1960's civil rights movement. This movement and the events of those times shaped me primarily in two ways. I was not going to be portrayed by any Black male stereotype "I do not play basketball". I was surrounded by my step father and father, two strong Black male high achieving role models. Their presense made my life easier because I did not have to wonder how to be how to work hard or how to act. They demonstated education commitment and work ethic beat all the negative odds every day.

This has had a high impact on my life. I realized early with the death of Martin Luther King and the Kennedy brothers the world is not always a good place.

You have to believe in yourself and maximize the opportunities every day. I did this when I washed dishes and scrubbed floor for a living.

You will be Black every day of your life so don't make an excuse about it. Break the stereotypes: PRAY, be the best , go the extra yard, come early, stay late, become the expert, consume education and knowledge,surround yourself with like minded people, and have tenacity " a no matter what attitude."

The only disappointment is day to day in the careers I have enjoyed I am usually the only Black man but my network of Brothers and I have made it.

Posted by: Charles Turner | August 8, 2006 06:37 PM

Ultimately, it means being male and being a member of the African Diaspora. Supplementally, it means being stigmatized; it means living with what Du Bois called the "double consciousness". In effect, as the social divide within the African American community that pits one group of Black Americans with another expands, we as Black men live with a kind of TRIPLE consciousness. I'm alluding to the rift in class that Henry Louis Gates discussed in "The Two Nations of Black America". For the sake of brevity, I won't discuss this in full detail.
But we also deal with the traps of the criminal justice system; the absence of familial wealth in knowledge; and such neglected epidemics as hypertension, cancer and the AIDS virus. All of which have as a determinant the lack of the kind of accumulated assets that whites, by design and consequence, have been able to compound for centuries.

Posted by: Tyrone Collier | August 9, 2006 07:04 PM

Many of my "lighter skinned" brothers have told me they would rather be penniless and homeless than be black! Enough said.

This was not said because they hate balck people but because they have been told and they have seen how the deck is stacked in employment, law and life in general against black people.

Posted by: Jim Bond | August 10, 2006 08:56 AM

Excellent work!!!!!

Posted by: John Clark | August 10, 2006 10:25 AM

to be a black man is to live with scrutiny. to work hard to be independant and productive, with the the reality that your still a black man that will be scrtinized no matter what we do or what we become, especially if we do not conform and humble ourselves to how the white man whats us to think or act. To be a black man is to trust in God and pray for the strenth to take the hate away

Posted by: Roy Barnes | August 10, 2006 04:12 PM

To be a black man means to be connected it means a shared bond, experiences that whether you are the very wealthy or gut-bucket poor you still can look in each other's eyes and understand the shared daily struggle. It means sharing family, food, and love with each other.

Posted by: GMann | August 10, 2006 06:59 PM

I really enjoyed this story. I hope the post continues with this story. We all need to hear the experiences of black men; I believe they have the hardest time out of all groups in society today. We are really losing a large population to gun violence, drugs, and prison. I am raising a black male, who is twelve years old. At the age of ten he lost his father to black on black crime. Of course, this occured in PG county, and to this day the case is an unsolved murder. I try to teach my son as best I can. I was blessed to marry a good Black man who is also helping me, but stories like this expose my son to all types of black men. Bottom line everyone has a story we can all learn from.

Posted by: Monica Proctor | August 10, 2006 10:43 PM

What does it mean to be a black man?
Tell us what you think it means to be a black man.

What does it... what is it?
... mean to be...is that, the meaning of it being?
...a black man...a white man...a red man...a yellow man...a polka dot man...does that mean to be separate as in separatism?
The point is what is the real meaning of the question?
The question appears to me to be asking for a definition rather than what does it mean to me or you to be a black man; or rather to be labeled as a black man, which carries it's stereotypically imposed meaning. Why ask if that is the case? Take for instance the word "nigger", which as a word in itself as a word has the connotation given to it, be it good or bad. But look in the "Merr*** Web****" dictionary definition and connotation of the word:
Main Entry:nigger
Etymology:alteration of earlier neger, from Middle French negre, from Spanish or Portuguese negro, from negro black, from Latin niger
1 usually offensive , see usage paragraph below : a black person
2 usually offensive , see usage paragraph below : a member of any dark-skinned race
3 : a member of a socially disadvantaged class of persons *it's time for somebody to lead all of America's niggersT all the people who feel left out of the political process Ron Dellums*
usage Nigger in senses 1 and 2 can be found in the works of such writers of the past as Joseph Conrad, Mark Twain, and Charles Dickens, but it now ranks as perhaps the most offensive and inflammatory racial slur in English. Its use by and among blacks is not always intended or taken as offensive, but, except in sense 3, it is otherwise a word expressive of racial hatred and bigotry.

How interesting. The point is that the word in itself according the etymology of it does express distinctness, but later, especially according to our American history, had come to mean a whole lot more. Now let us not be naïve about what it means to be a black man, that is, the definition of our time perpetuated by the very media that ask the question. Why ask or is this just a quiz? Why don't you, the media of our bourgeois propaganda, tell me. I'm not trying to be confrontational but just want to know what are you really are asking, or really trying to do? Or maybe the question just upsets me because I know that there really is a stereotypical definition and view impressed by our media that is mostly one sided and not ours. Are you asking, "What does it mean to me, or it, to be, live as, or be labeled as a black man? I don't know, the questions seem to me to be distinctly different questions. I could be wrong and I am willing to be corrected. I'm just looking for clarity and the real truth behind it. But if the question is about people, then I would like to know what the financially well to do black people say as well as the homeless black people say to get a truer representation to the question. But let me guess, either they do not think of themselves as "black" or they don't have a computer to even know of the question that is being asked which is suppose to be representative of them also. I don't know, I think that this is superficial or will be dealt with superficially as often is the standard of our media regarding a positive represenatation and true voice of and about "black" people; or maybe this is a real attempt. We will definitely see in time.

Posted by: Dudwells | August 11, 2006 04:09 AM

It means alot to be a black man. To be one of the most dominating focuses that the world have ever seen. Despite some of the stereotypes that many other ethnicities describes or associate us (black men) as, we the positive black men, carry the legacy of positive, motivative black men that came before us to uphold the tradition of hard-work,change, and strength. It means so much to be a black man. It means even more if you a educated, single black man who is driven for elevation. Being a black is soulful, scarce in a sense that it's not too many true black men who stays in the community and assist with growth of younger blacks. I'm not at all racist, however, I'll help my brother man quicker than the other man. I can't change who and what I am and wouldn't want it any other way.

Posted by: Deonte' | August 11, 2006 04:17 PM

Despite the rampant Negrophobia that is woven into the fabric of our society, I consider it a great privilege to be a black man in America. Sure I can site many historical reasons for this pride, but I'll make it quite simple. If one where to see the world only through the eyes of the dominant ethnicity here in America, I believe it is quite possible to miss, or even to be unaware of what life is like for those that are not so heralded in their assigned place in society. Without this perspective I truly believe you are not able to 'feel' all that life has to offer or to completely appreciate it. When one occupies the top rung of the ladder by birthright, they most likely miss the beautiful experiences and images that take place below the 'catbird seat'.

Posted by: Larry Lunsford | August 14, 2006 05:24 PM

It means Strength, happyness, love, Being an example to our future offsprings and dedication to And, Heart and soul, And Life Struggle

Posted by: Antoine Burton | August 14, 2006 05:39 PM

Being a black man means leaving a legacy for our future generations that we can be proud of.

Posted by: Thomas C Kantha | August 15, 2006 12:51 AM

How the world became a black or white culture is diffucult to comprehend. I can understand more what a Blackfoot or a Blackhawk are than a black or white. I think its redicoulous labeling groups of people as such when actually our specific orgins are lost by being black or white.

Posted by: Dan Nardi | August 15, 2006 09:29 PM

being a black man means no more than being a white man, blacks have private colleges,get more scholarships, then can get a job as good or better than whites because companys have to hire so many blacks but not whites..an every time something happens an it involves a black an white if it goes toward the white person then it is rasist.Al Sharpten, an jackson have made a fortune off of black people an have done nothing for them. when you live in the projects theys say they don't have a chance--well i don't guess so when everything is paid for an u don't have to work, there is thousands of wonderful black people an i mean thousands an they were raised in poverty an now are some of the most productive people in the world the world is open to become anything u want to be but it isn't free u have to at least put an effort to get there an i don't beleave that most blacks want to see the stupidity that some blacks create because it makes them look bad when they are not----thank you

Posted by: jerry spillars | August 16, 2006 09:37 AM

The black people are one of the disorganised people or race of the world.
A race or people must have to identify itself with Religion, culture developed and written language and should know their history.All that the black people do is to learn someones´s language starting from english to german. The language is the basics for any technological development too.
Religion which is the moto of the soul is adandoned. Christianity and othher religions were adopted only to cause confusion.Why learn about Moses and the Jews when we can learn about the Black Pharaohs who achieved a lot in history and build upon their achievements?
Why not work out a marshall plan ass a race to wijthstand the challeges of this century and come out as race of which to be proud of??
Being a black man now means a begger, a poverty-stricken person living, a life-long struggling being living only at the mercy of the white exploiters.

Posted by: Komla Newland Gudu | August 16, 2006 11:29 AM

To be a Black man in America today is trying and difficult. As a post graduate educated and a well experienced professional African American, I am still not accepted within White corporate America. I am questioned well beyond that of my White peers and with purpose I am often not invited or informed of orgaizational decisions or policy. Being a Black man can be exampled to being and island. You are alone and surrounded with no escape. Saddly we are not accepted by Whites and other Blacks view us as not being Black enough. I now understand why some Blaock men fight and struggle with depression.

Posted by: Al Bridges | August 16, 2006 12:52 PM

To be a 'Black Man', in America (USA)is to be left with a sense of wonder. I wonder why it is important for Whites to always see us a 'different' or not 'true Americans'? I wonder why Whites in America believe that there's a need for even one of us to 'prove' our worthiness to even one of them? I wonder why Whites can only feel comfortable with Blacks if they are a numerical majority? Why are Whites happy, only when they feel that they are in a position of superiority over Blacks? I wonder why Blacks seem to intimidate Whites, even when they are not in the vicinity?

Most of all, as an American of Afro heritage, I wonder when we that live here in the USA will one day embrace a common identity, as Americans, and recognize that our 'roots', though important, and makes one feel good, does little in molding a common identity with the goal to help develop the potential of ALL of our children and citizens and to work collectively in figuring out why this country, with all of its power and might, is now one of the most disliked countries on this planet.

Leroy Williams

Posted by: Leroy Williams | August 16, 2006 07:51 PM

Great message, I'm a 47 yr. old white fellow living at the head of the hollow in Lincoln County, West Virginia.
I've know friends and coworkers who are black, some stellar others less than so.

Always they have a rough row to hoe.

Your video inspires me to affirm that all hill billies are members of the KKK.

Up this holler, we don't go for that racist shit.
In the coal mines it's said that all miners are black, meaning that we're all equal, under the yoke of the oppressor.

Yep, there's a big difference in culture (black folk are pretty loud... ) but we're all 2nd class citizens whether you're a "darky" or a "redneck hill billy".

We all sit at the railroad crossing and watch the rich man haul his stolen treasure out of our mountains, leaving gaping holes in the landscape and our hearts.

Our mountain homes supply more soldiers for the rich folk's war, without complaint or question, matched only by the Native American's devotion to our Flag.

Please, don't let the propaganda spread by the wealthy prevail, here in the hills we don't judge a man for the coler of his skin, but rather by his conduct in our society.

Thanks for helping to foster the dialog between the citizens of our country, in order to form a more perfect union...

Posted by: Jeff Bosley | August 16, 2006 08:49 PM

A black man is a jewel: strong, vulnerable, and revered. I believe the vulnerability comes from not quite knowing what we (society) deem necessary for him to be successful, yet wanting so desperately to be loved and respected for who he truly is. The black man is respected on some level, yet feared for this strength on another. I am a black woman who would very much like for my black brothers to know that it is okay to be intelligent, witty, strong yet gentle, loving, handsome, and successful. It's what we all want and need. I am blessed to share my life with a jewel and I want the same for my black sisters.

Posted by: Inza Graves | August 18, 2006 08:24 AM

First, being a man means that you are born with biological, psychological, and spiritual traits that are a part of you. Then, you are socialized by caregivers. Depended upon what race you are, you have societal beliefs and expectations that subtly govern some peoples ways of thinking that motivates the very question asked.

Being a black man means different things in different places. In a household, neighborhood, community, district/county/ ward/ ect., state, country, and/or continent, being a black man can mean totally different things.

In America, being a black man means dealing with being resilient, misunderstood, miseducated, labeled, tough skinned, held accountable for others mistakes, and being resilient again--in short.

Posted by: Donald Clark | August 19, 2006 07:59 PM

From a mother's perspective - I've seen a lot I used to envy men their testosterone gets them in the doors, but more so for a black man behind iron bars, in classrooms set aside for the labeled etc.
The young men have not hope, they have been abadoned and disappointed by many. They are feared yet they are fearful. If you look beyond their fascade you can see the need - they are drawn when they see a glimpse of hope. The aged are tired and weary from their battles and the in-between some work hard and stand tall. We commend them for that. Some don't want to work or be responsible for anything or anyone they have created -we hate them for that. We've enabled you, we loved you, we've both lifted and defeated you ... best quotes lately - Del Eleanor Holmes Norton said be a father to your children and marry their mother (paraphrased) and Jill Scott said We need you Black man that's what it all boils down to - to be a Black man is to be needed in every aspect of the term. You are needed

Posted by: Jerilyn Hampton-Sawyer | August 20, 2006 12:16 AM

hi. well, I was in the army when I first was introduced to a black person. I have come a long way since but, not enough. a little more.

Posted by: sylvain | August 20, 2006 12:53 PM

I think to be a black man means that you will face discrimination constantly, and that you would have to be strong to overcome this. You would have to be highly spiritual not to let this kind of marginalization lead you to the path of hatred and retaliation.

Posted by: Lily Maskew | August 20, 2006 02:50 PM

I am a 51 year old Black Male originally from Washington DC, now living in a suburb of Atlanta Georgia. I have enjoyed much success in my career of 31 years, worked for the same company for over 25 years before making a career move to join another company. After 4 years, being the only team mate on a 5 person team who is black, I was "reduced in force". There is no hard evidence that the company I worked for did anything unfair in it's treating of me, and certainly I took every ounce of what I am from a celebrated 25 year career into this new opportunity, but this epitomizes what I think it takes and certainly what it means to be a Black male in todays society. There were many instances where in very subtle ways, I was reminded that I was different, priviledged, even taken care of to be where I was. I have now been working for another major corporation in the management ranks in a job similar to the one I held with the company for four years, and even today am approached with diversity issues, similar to conversations most non Blacks start with a Black man about sports, and only sports. It is the ticket into who I am, although I am by no means the only component of diversity. I see it as a priveledge and a curse. I think to be a Black man in todays society, you must be capable of facing the most discreet form of racism that still persists. You must be able to suck it up to be your personal best, and when knocked down from what's real or imagined, get up and keep striving for the real cause, for when I go to bed at night and review my day, I don't think of myself as a Black man, but as the best man I could have been that day.

Posted by: Tony Williams | August 21, 2006 12:49 PM

To be a black man means to be angry. On the inside and the outside. Many see you as a threat, some see you as an outcast, and far too many see you as something you will never become.

Posted by: Michael | August 21, 2006 06:13 PM

Being a Black Man in White America:

- means having to dispel and combat the ignorant behaviors and images (ie: Lil Jon) being transmitted to white america.

- means still facing "in your face" racism with white american. I.E.: Sen. George Allen's 'Macaca' Slur or CNN's commentator's "so Black" reference.

- means being asked to define what the newest "slang" jargon.

- means having to have 2 to 3 times the qualifications of white counterparts and STILL having to deal with assumuptions of affirminative action.

- means still seeing white women holding their purses closer even when dress in business attire.

- means seeing other minority groups taking advantage of rights fought for with Black blood yet those same minority groups carry on racist views.

- means maybe one day, My children will be looked as a Man and not judged first by their color.

Posted by: Lee | August 22, 2006 11:53 AM

Being a black man means you are fully aware there are places you can't go, houses you can't buy, neighborhoods you can't live in, banks you can't use, equal treatment under the law you can't hope for, schools to which you won't gain admittance, medical treatment you won't get, and worst of all, being on your guard and in full awareness of racist behavior. The happy talk and hyprocrisy that this country spews around the world is not what happens to black men here.

Posted by: Virgil L. Franklin, Ed. D. | August 22, 2006 01:34 PM

Don't be too quick to judge that white man that you see on the train or bus - he may just be going home to a black family, many times raising children that another black man has abandoned, showing them love that they otherwise would not have had, educating them to be prepared to be a productive member of society - while fighting the disease of anti-intellectualism and separatism that is constantly poured into their heads by the media, black educators and self-proclaimed "leaders" of the black community.

Posted by: The Other Man | August 23, 2006 01:52 PM

What does it mean to be a black man? It means that my responsibility as a 37 year old Black Father is to receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior and do what He has instructed me to do according to His Word. To be honest with you, the problems that we as black men face are not economic, they are not social, they're not even political, they are spiritual. In Ephesians 6:12 Paul lets us know that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities,powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness in High places. In other words you can't shoot, bribe, or beat demonic entities with carnal tangible weapons. We as black men have traded in our spirituality for a dollar bill. We SIN more now than ever,and the payment or the salary for those SINS is death.(Romans 6:23) We lay with these women who can't help themselves and we love that because of our foolish pride. Instead of telling our beautiful black queens that we want to wait until marriage to lay with them, we go around sleeping with these women and scaring most of them for life. So when a brother like myself comes along trying to do right by them they are already on the defensive. Please don't get me started about these beautiful God given black children who are growing up in a wicked and perverse home environment, and I am not even speaking about what they encounter outside of the home. To make it plain we as Black Men have a huge responsibility and we will never know how to take care of that responsibility by watching videos on BET or MTV. (((((Our mandate as Black Men is to worship the Lord our God and serve Him only!))))) So by getting our vertical relationship together our horizontal relationships will get much better. Thank you for your time. Peace! Jesus is coming are we ready?

Posted by: Minister Harlan | August 23, 2006 03:22 PM

.comWhat it means to be a black man? To me it means to stop and open your minds eye,and see the self distructive acts and deeds we have borrowed from the white-man,now using them to poison our own ,example gangta rap,drug dealing,pimping,thug acting,promoting bad and incorrect english,which all are self-distructive to our very existence.ephesians 4ch v5 says ONE LORD,ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM. ITS TIME TO GET RIGHT ! NOT ONLY AS BLACK MEN BUT BE OF THE GOD FEARING MEN ,BEFORE ITS TOO LATE.

Posted by: ROD | August 23, 2006 09:12 PM

First let me say that I cannot understand fully what it means to be a black man because I am not one. I would like to say that there are some amazing black men in our country that I respect and admire. I know that my ancestors wronged the african american people and I also know that prejudices are still very much alive on both sides of the issue of race. This to me is extremely sad I have known men and women of all races that have both won my respect and admiration and also those that have only left a bad taste in my mouth. Being black is not something to be ashamed of nor is being any other race or religion. What is to be ashamed of on all sides is non acceptance and prejudging anyone due to race or religion.

Posted by: Steven Kent Lee | August 24, 2006 10:02 AM

In theory, it means nothing special,but;in actual life, it means a lot: discrimination,predjudice....the list's too long!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: med | August 24, 2006 03:58 PM

It all depends on which part of the world you may be.Geographic positions may determine to a point, but black men are everywhere.In societies where other races, but black, are dominant a black man has to stand out or to the contrary,be the wretched as expected of us.To be a black man you have to live the black thing ,no borrowed lifestyles, except in the manner of dressing because that has to be an acceptable thing.Living the black culture and imposing in whatever I do.

Posted by: Khathutshelo Tshivhase | August 25, 2006 10:07 AM

yes they do have to be "extra strong" - it is heartbreaking - and their young men are in trouble.....I can't imagine and my heart goes out to all

Posted by: | August 27, 2006 12:27 PM


Being a black man in the United States keeps you constantly think about how you are perceived in the eyes of others not just whites but other ethnic groups, which only know about the broadcast negative propaganda that circulates around black men. Some of the simplest things in life, like going to the grocery store become uncomfortable or even dreadful. A black man can have a wallet full of cash, a house, and a doctorate degree, but still get the "look". The look of what are you doing here? How did you get here? What are you going to do; now that you are here?

After you learn to manage your emotions of having to live in the aforementioned "fish tank" with every one looking in, you begin to find your way. Since everyone is looking, blacks included, a black man must decide what road to travel. Being a black man is discovering that I am SOMEBODY and I have the genetic make up to be a scientist, educator, professional athlete, astronaut, entertainer, doctor, lawyer, shucks President of the United States.

Being a black man strengths your heart or cripples your drive
Opportunity is everything or nothing for a black man!
Time is everything or nothing for a black man!

Posted by: Seth A. Thompson, MSED | August 30, 2006 02:47 PM

As a 26 year-old black woman, I refuse to love any other species. It isn't about racism. My father is black and all I know is his kind of love. Despite the challenges of loving a black man, a man of color is the only man I know who will take care of all of his kids, if he has the means to do so. As an educator, it takes something different to reach black males. From a very young age many black males are forced to be men. It's no secret that many black families lack a strong male figure, so young black boys are forced to be substitute fathers for their siblings and protectors of their mother's hearts. The sad reality is that this country is fearful of what a black man can do when he is fully equipped with a solid education. So, we have the worse school systems in areas with dense populations of blacks. We have schools that do not have enough black male role models, but instead have caucasian female teachers whom don't know how to address the needs or understand the psyche of the black male (some do). In schools that I have taught in, the only male figures were the coaches and janitors--and the coaches weren't regular Ed. teachers. Last, and by no means least, is this common epidemic of putting young black males in Special Education classrooms! None of my students of color that were labeled were ever special ed., they just needed behavior modification. I could on, but I will end here. As long as we black women continue to nurture and hang in there with our black men, they will know who they are. He is an endangered species that I would do anything to protect.

Posted by: Ms. Harris | August 31, 2006 11:43 AM

Being a black man is no more than being a man, yet you do have your challenges. As a 40 year old, my priority is not my blackness but being a responsible and productive man to my family, while being conscious and proud of I am. Along the way, my Blackness can be viewed as a curse and a blessing depending on who is on the other side of the door. I have grown to understand and not necessarily accept that will sometimes be the case, but I do not allow those issues to deter my ultimate purpose. For me, there lies the difference. My goal is to be a man, and as a man I will overcome any obstacle along the way to reach my goal and take care of my responsibility.

Posted by: Robert G. | August 31, 2006 03:42 PM

What does it mean to be a Black man? Constant struggle.

Posted by: B. Man | August 31, 2006 05:40 PM

I think it means quite a few things if you look through the eyes of society's portrayal of them:

It means:
1. Having an ancestry that you aren't to sure how to feel about--mostly out of ignorance regarding ones own ancestry and living with a bombardment of negative stereotypes about Africans from their intelligence to their looks--a lack of pride in oneself and a lack of initiative to develop it.
2. Not having a strong sense of who you are racially or culturally due to having to conform to another cultures values and standards in order to be materially happy and socially respected.
3. Always having to be viewed as the lesser man in society except when it comes to sexually--so much so that now many of them put all their pride in their sexuality.
4. Living with an over emphasis on sexuality and to little on intelligence, character and strengths for his community instead of just himself--not just by other members of society but by his own peers.
5. Being taught to have extremely little value for black women (sexism but being the "lesser group" sexism towards the minority like himself with reverential fear of the women of the majority) (having poor male role models and lack of mentally and emotionally healthy men in their upbringing coupled with internalized racism)
6. Being continually stereotyped and presented with low expectations in school systems and the workforce
7. Living with the reality that black men have (largely throughout their history in America) not been in a position of strength in the family. Most grow up with single mothers and will leave the women who bare their children as single mothers too--living with many negative self-fulfilling prophesies.
8. having to acknowledge and conform to the fact that survival, success, and favorability often seems (emphasis on seems) to depend on being extremely articulate (more than necessary--perfect), disassociated from blacks who display stereotypical characteristics and attitudes of what's thought of as black "ghetto" behavior, and denouncing other blacks specifically black women as suitable friends and mates
9. It means having your intelligence scrutinized and your faults displayed under a microscope. Even if the majority of black men don't fit anything I wrote they will be labeled as such just because the emphasis is always on their failures within themselves and in their communities.
10. It means any way you turn your dammed if you do and dammed if you don't.

I am not a black man and I grew up in two parent black home. I have a great father who was not afraid to fail/succeed and fail/succeed with us until we all made it together. There are many, many black families like that and many much better than my own. However, if strong black men refuse to collectively stand up for themselves as better men than what is emphasized through the media, they will always be portrayed as "messed up" and will (like self-fulfilling prophesies) create more black men in society that are. The plight of black men--where he's at and where he's going--are his own choices individually and collectively. I don't pity men. God made them the heads and not the tails. When a man wants more for himself and his community, he gets more. When a man respects the community he grows up in, he does what he can to lift that community up. When a man respects his mother he respects other women especially those like his mother. He can pass good traits to his sons by teaching him strong values, self respect, and love for himself and his community or he can not. Choices--many black men make good ones. It is just too bad that the ones we hear about are the ones who don't and thus all get treated like stereotypes far too many times in life and as the dominos fall many become the stereotypes.

Posted by: Angel | August 31, 2006 06:49 PM

To be second guessed every step of my life. Feeling as if I am a last class person. Afraid to drive anywhere in this country. Fear of being alone in a elevator with white woman or anywhere. Being locked up for something that I did not do because I fit a profile. Being a black man is all the above and a lot more!

Posted by: Reggie Reg | September 2, 2006 04:00 PM

To be a black man is to ba a part of a dying breed that has no real sense of what they could have been. To be a black man you have to have a very strong sense of self and a sense of unity. Our black males need a support unit that helps them to develop after they reach the age of 18, the age where they are considered adults, yet they are not fully formed. To be black man in America, you need the support of the entire black race to keep us united in order to fight the systematically negative dynamic that is the American culture.

Posted by: Felton Warren | September 2, 2006 07:47 PM

Being a black man should be no different from being any other man. We're ALL the same.
However, unfortunately, we view ourselves(and our children) as "VICTIMS". We have had some help from the society in general, but WE(black men and women) bare the primary responsibility for allowing this to continue!! And, when you add the issues associated with poverty(such as divorce, gang violence, crime, lack of self esteem), the problem only gets worse.
Until we, as a black society, look inward and recognize that we have the "cancer of victimization" eating away at the soul of our very being, we will never be able to "CURE OURSELVES" or contribute to the rest of society. We must learn to help ourselves(and each other).
We need more leaders who will direct us to "look in the mirror" instead of pointing the finger of blame outward.
We must do this soon. Our CHILDREN are counting on us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: John A. Alexander | September 4, 2006 12:32 PM

As a black female, home grown in the ghetto of brooklyn, it is very hard for the black male to achieve and overcome the sterotype that has been passed down from generation to generation. However, with much determination and goals in life it can be achieved. As a widowed black female, the meaning of being a black male is almost a mute point, in that out of every 10 black males i see walking the streets, 8 are involved in a relationship with a female of a different race, thus being a black male is almost a non-existant attribute. I ask my black brothers who were raised by black females, when did the sense of being a black male mean that to be accepted in society today, that you had to have a female other than one that looked like your ancestors to survive. Maybe because i was married to a black man for 23 plus years who took the responsibility of raising another black man's children, yes i had two children when i meet him, he accepted the responsibilty of raising another man's children as his own, teaching them the values of life and hard work, accepting the full responsibility of a wife and children. Nurtured me to become a true black female, who loved and encouraged her man to be all he could be. I thank God that he blessed me for so many years with this man. My father was a black man that walked from North Carolina to New York, to ensure that his family had the best opportunities in life. Last but not least, as a black man accept who, what you are and be proud of it, leave your children a legacy that they can be proud of.

Posted by: diane bremby | September 4, 2006 10:53 PM

Being a black man means being able to read, understand, and acknowledge what happened to our forefathers and still teach our children the power of faith and forgiveness and have it come from the heart. Being able to shake your neighbors hand and say thank you when he helps you no matter what color he is.......... and mean it. Being able to teach the next generation that being a black man in this day and time is just like being a man in any other race, society choses to put black in front of it to make it seem different.

Posted by: Cathy Nixon | September 5, 2006 01:00 PM

Being a black man for me is a kaleidoscope of transparent refusals and insults which try to ilfiltrate the profoundness of my dark complexion on a daily basis. It's the hypocrisy of the hatred and ignorance which cannot resist the imitation of my folk. Being a black man means that I absorb negativity, process it with well measured doses of pride and wisdom, and then transform it into the physical materialisation of a genuine smile. Being a black man is the lesson that reminds me that history is the future and the future is present. Being a black man for me means being on guard, being strong, working generally 3 times as hard, being aware that whatever I do or say could be used as a building block to strenghten another's stereotype of me. Being a black man means that my colour description negates when placed in front of a noun. Being a black man means that even if I don't accept this it will not change the effects of a Black Sunday. As a Guyanese black residing in Europe being a black man sometimes can be advantageous but usually for the wrong reasons. Nevertheless, I would never want to be anything else but a black man because only then do I believe I could fully appreciate the effects of very simple things that many take for granted like; receiving that genuine smile back from a total stranger when I gave one.

Posted by: Andy Ninvalle | September 5, 2006 03:36 PM

Being a black man is awsome !!!

it mean being battle tested,almost neglected,god protected,racial profiling affected,misunderstood by some and envy by the rest (WAKE UP ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE)

Posted by: ALEX PELZER | September 7, 2006 02:09 PM

I think to be a black man is amazing, first is because we were the first men to be in earth, so this bring a lot of things, that we are in a very extensive part of the planet; for example I´m latino and black that means a lot to be part of two cultures; but I have to said also that Black american people has to struggle day by day his condition of be a black in jis jobs, on the streets or in the school, u know is hard sometimes because may be in our constitution said that we have the same rights, but I don´t think so...we are still having problems with this issue....thanks

Posted by: Jonathan Tapia | September 8, 2006 05:11 PM

to be a black man can have many different meanings due to the fact that we are we be we exist on all echelons of life here on this chaotic but strangely beautiful planet we all dwell upon but for me James here in Macon GA to be a black man means to be a survivor I was hurt pretty badly( fractured larynx and trachea collapsed lungs head and back injuries 14 years ago while serving in the united states marine corps I was on the passsenger side of a car when the driver fell asleep and we crashed into the back of an 18wheeler rig I remained in the hospital for almost a year discharged "administative" and I have been fighting for veteran's benefits every since imagine the horrrors of being sent right back to the place you fought so hard to grow and rise above from injured back to da ghetto thatz now worse than ever with family members who only look down on you no real friends even church members trippin I am in school here for 3D/multimedia design I 've always loved all forms of art and graphics and am doing well in my classes and I do have a loving wife and 5 kids we strugggle but we fight to rise the esssence of being a black man to rise in spite of,some days my family has no idea how we are gonna make it we've faced evictions and other hardships but THANK GOD we still are and we will overcome to be inspiration to others who are going through to let the children look up and see not dead-beats but real men FATHERS HUSBANDS LOVERS brothers this and so much more be THE black man by the way if anyone got a job in graphic design for me out there feel free to get at me !!!!!

Posted by: James Ridgeway | September 10, 2006 10:30 PM

I can best put it in a song I recently created...

Black Man in America, they think my ideas are frivolous
Athletes and entertainers are taken serious
Since I got no 'handle' and my speed ain't 4-3
It's just a beat and nice flow for me

Black Man in America, not a lot of options,
It's like I'm running the single back offense,
People always talking if you're breathing there's hope,
Yeah I'll start believing with some ki's of coke,
Ain't too much succeeding 'cept the underworld hey,
Lemme try to hustle cuz robbing ain't my forte,
My folks couldn't afford to send me to school full-time,
So community college by day fostered by crime,
My parents struggled but we s'pose to be middle class,
Yeah I'm in the 'burbs but middle-class my azz,
Needed a student and risk too much debt,
In the negative and I ain't even work yet,
Plus I needed textbook help,
$400 a semester made me tighten my belt,
Nah dawg I ain't hungry I think I'll pass on lunch,
Settle for the snack bar and get a Nestle's Crunch.

Black man yeah a lawyer sounds cool,
But the only thing appealing is I like to argue,
But they didn't teach that in public schools,
Graduating on time was the golden rule,
The system per se ain't to be blamed for my views,
But my family's education didn't exceed high school,
I guess I'll go to college it's just something to do,
Though waiting four years for pay didn't sound cool,
Cuz practicing patience wasn't my virtue,
Hopefully I'll be blessed beyond AH-CHOO,
I'll adapt quick 'cuz I learn the game,
Polos and khakis and other stuff that's lame,
Clean shave my face beard and mustacheo,
Learn to talk "cool beans" and other corporate lingo,
Don't sellout but survive so my bucks ain't dead,
I'd rather cater to my own people but instead...

Bowie state bachelor's same job for me,
Went to strayer for my master's better opportunity,
For my self esteem being Black meant more,
It's still who you know to get your azz in the door,
I got the credentials to help me choose my route,
But I always gotta prove myself beyond doubt,
I got a little known school at the top of my degree,
Maybe I'd get more respect if it was ivy league,
Nothing to me but to Blacks it meant much,
I learned from Carter it might make me lose touch,
And there won't be 'the miseducation of Verbal Kent',
If I get in politics won't be Republican shyt,
Like Clarence and Condi they wish you luck,
They got their azz in but won't pull you up,
Enjoy the house I'll keep my azz in the field,
Phuck Strom's boy Armstrong I'll advance wit' skill.

Verbal Kent

Posted by: Verbal | September 13, 2006 12:32 PM

Being a black man today required you to rise above bad or negative environments and people. All too often we are stereotyped and associated with a preconceived notion of what type of response we are expected to make in a particular situation. And if we are not aware of ourselves we may become a victim of ourselves by exhibiting an attitude that is not us but has become us because of the actions exhibited by us. Many of us did not have a support group that lead us to understand and believe that a positive role model would be the tool in helping one to rise above a situation vises teaching direct confrontation fostered by frustration. Knowledge plays a major role, knowledge about us, knowledge about the world and knowledge about people. Being a black man today you must believe that you can make a difference and if the expected change does not come during your watch it will come for your children because you are laying the ground work. Someone must build the foundation. We must get past the notion that we want it now, knowing we have not laid the proper ground work for making it happens now. Many times this lead to illegal acts and short lived programs. We must build more pride in ourselves and our children to do the right things rather that being big, being bad, and being able to take the punishment. We must spend more time teaching our children how to make positive decision and how to create unity rather than teaching them that going to jail and beating a brother down and disrespecting our children mothers makes them a man. We must remember that we are strong and powerful when unified and knowledgeable. We are defeating the cause when we allow ourselves to go back and not take advantage of the opportunities that our fore fathers sacrifice to this date. Being a black man requires us to believe in each other but we refuse to do so because we do not believe in ourselves. All black men today should go out their way to save our next generation because as one writer put it "we lost too many black men in the last generation, let us strive to help the next"

Posted by: Rufus Spratling | September 14, 2006 10:40 AM

Our preoccupation in trying to define what it means by 'Being a Black Man' is totally overrated within the context of today's society!

What if we were to shift the paradigm and dump the history of our existence and embrace a new reality--thereby, enabling us a new birth?

We could then free ourselves of the painful past--and look beyond the socially-stratified limitations to which we have been cultured to accept as the norm; and congruently, embrace our new selves as God's purposeful creations.

Then, we could aspire, strive, rise up and take our rightful places amongst the stars up above--as willed by our Father.

Thus, far more important, for me, is 'Being a man of God'--who, incidentally, simply happens to be Black.



Posted by: Lazarus M. Christfruend | September 14, 2006 02:35 PM

First I would like to state that the term 'blackman' is a misnomer. Many Afro-American's are far from having a black complextion.

I think it is important to use the term Afro-American. Many in Europe and Asia, view the person spoken about and fail to see a blackman. Many examples: General Powell, for instant, have stated 'I am an Afro-American, obviously I am not black.

The American nonmenclature inherited from
the anti-bellum period has designated as 'black' any Afro-American with 'a drop of African blood, negro, (small 'n'). To get around placing the planter societies men as parents to the slave child they sired.

We, Afro-Americans, need to define out own
description of ourselves. I don't believe the designation 'black' fits the bill.

Posted by: Ron Steele | September 15, 2006 08:42 PM

I love being a Black Man, there is nothing else I WOULD RATHER BE !!!! to my majority white enemies (and minority allies) I would like to as a Black Male reguire one thing from you no good cretians, LEAVE US ALONE !!!!! I don't want to hear your phony racial rhetoric like you would accept us If we..

1. Pulled yourself by your bootstraps
2. Stop Whining
3. Jesse and Al (that boardway duo)
4. Thug Rap

Like bad seafood all you people are doing is giving me a stomach ache and verbal diaherra. Most of you cretians will never accept us as human beings BECAUSE IT'S NOT IN YOUR INTEREST, also some of the black female harpies judging 16 million black men for the actions of a few.

I FRANKLY DON'T CARE IF YOU ACCEPT ME AS A HUMAN BEING, AMERICAN OR NOT. As Machavelli wrote in "The Prince", It is better to be feared than loved!!! Black Men embrace America's hatred of us like a fine wine.


Posted by: eric daniels | September 20, 2006 05:01 AM

Being a Black man is to physically live one life but spend a lifetime negotiating the many relationships between our natural character and male responsibilities. Negotiating who we are in relationships with 1) our family, 2) our wife or life partner 3) our friends, coworkers, classmates and 4) all together or in separate pieces. We do this while attempting to bridge our natural wants and needs with society's expectations. Being a Black man is tough when these relationships are in conflict and you're left managing an inconsistent reality. This is a major issue for Black men everyday. Most Americans only have this issue once a year on Thanksgiving Day.

Posted by: Kirk Clay | September 22, 2006 03:35 PM

I don't think that the black man feals any different than I do. I am Mexican American. I am always angry and I cry Inside at how this country and white americans treat Mexicans and Mexican Ameicans. The verbal lashings and physical abuse hurts inside. And to legalize these acts makes it even worse. So everyday when I read or hear the news that has my people on the headline raises my blood pressure.

So I do note feel that the Black man is no different. His history was awful. and, I am sure he asks himself frequently. When is this racism going to end? SO, the anger is always there for the black man. You can't blame him. This country has not learned from its mistakes.

Posted by: alfredo Ortiz | September 23, 2006 02:01 PM

Many times the requirements of being a Black man fall in line with the responsibilities of being a man at all. To say that a Black man must handle his responsibilities implies that that is unique to being black. We know that it is not but it is a popular stereotype that Black's shun their responsibilities to continue living the kind of lives that garnered us the responsibilities that we so easily shun. To be a man of any kind is a difficult task to achieve on it's own, but to be a Black man is an awesome undertaking.

To be a black man you must embrace your heritage and culture, while conforming to societies views, you must teach your brothers and children why we must remain different while we accept americanized values. Embrace the culture, wear a larger cut. But wear a larger cut suit, make our culture look good in the boardroom.

Posted by: Gabe | September 26, 2006 12:40 PM


Posted by: STEVEMATTHEWS | September 26, 2006 10:44 PM

As a black man living in the District for nearly 5 years, I encountered more self-hatred, discrimination, Jim Crowism, Willie Lynchism not only from Caucasians and Asians but from OUR kind. I love myself and my race but it appears that we don't share enough information and love due to fear of change in society. There are times which a black man have to commit a homicide and/or suicide to validate their pain and frustration. Then our stories are finally told.

Posted by: Al Davis | September 27, 2006 09:50 AM

For me being a black man means a hard strugle but I can make it. At 45 I have the potential of being a great man of any color. It is even more alarming to know that the information was not far from me but nobody ever told me how or where to get it. Being a black man also means teaching older and younger black men how to find the information that they seek to improve their lives without them having to wait 45 years to figuer it out. Now I believe I am and will continue o become a better father, husband, business man, community man, friend, and Godly Man!

Posted by: Tim Wheeler | September 28, 2006 07:51 AM

To be a black man is to be a walking problem and a living contradiction. We are hated, despised, misunderstood, mistreated, but what we represent is cutting edge, avant grade. We are what everyone wants to be like but no one wants to be. We are very exclusionary because no one else understands except another black man.

We are fathers and baby daddies, college degreed and street savvy, respectful of our mothers, sometimes disrespectful toward women, and wary of our fathers.

We are vulnerable but hide behind a facade of cool and invulnerability. We long to find a good woman to be with but will take what's right now.

We are embodied in the lyrics of Jimi, Nas, Chuck, Tupac, Martin, and Malcolm. We are capable of greatness but too willing to settle for mediocrity.

We are entertainers; world famous or known round the way. We are competitive, extremely. We have physical gifts and abilities that bewilder even other black men. We are survivors. We are here through strength of will. We are all this and more.

Posted by: C. Wesley Becks | September 28, 2006 10:38 PM

black man ;warrior defender,provider,deciver,greatinnovators , addictive ,creators, soulmate, brother,friend,proclaimer,desirable,risk taker,beliver,lost, searching,these qualities describe amany black men and what it takes to be a black man in todays society. Some of the same struggles our forefathers fought we still are fighting today . Being a black man in todays we must outsmart society. we must learn how to fight the injustices that throwed at us daily.i really dont think you can call yourself a black man and have never pulled another young old middleage black male under your wing and explained the trails and the tribulation black men face. i dont your are a black man and agree with mr johnson and his bet network which has distorted the lives of many of our black youth . why no tv programs on entrepernuship.no empowerment programs nothing but teaching our young men to degrade our women the same women who nurished us to life . men it is time to become men.the distorted pitcure that has been painted on the minds of our youth and adults must be erased and a new canvas new paint new brushes so the men can really function as black men. the picture of black men is so distorted that a new black has been allowed to come over illegaly because society doesnt want the black man anymore. you better face the facts black men.what will we as black men do about this geonicide. Black men when will we wake up? after they have locked us all up or when we have all been shot in this mans war.or when we smoke, drink, snort our self to death shall we continue to murder our seed every day in the street fo a 20 dollar hit or some turf we dont owm. wake up black men our forefathers struggled too hard for the results we are returning to them. time to regain our focus.broken focus has cost us dearly.

Posted by: pastor joseph m whitley jr | September 29, 2006 06:57 PM

It means to beat the odds when everything is stacked against you. The American black man is another one of history's examples of how the human spirit cannot be broken.

Posted by: Ken Wyatt | September 29, 2006 10:12 PM

I am from India where it is unfortunate to be from the lowest strata of society classified as 'sceduled',which is based on a 1000 year system called'caste'.You still cant enter temples of worship or even drink from the same mugs at hotels forget entering the house of a 'forward caste' Indian.But what is disturbing is that once he lands a good job,he marries a higher caste girl who cannot afford the costly dowry and conveniently forgets his roots.His parents may be lucky if ever he sends home money. Its as though he is shamed of his ancestral belongings.
Is this the same with the Blacks community here?

Posted by: chandrasekharan.v | September 30, 2006 02:24 PM

What does it mean to be a black man? Depending on your background and where you were raised, the answer can vary. I am 40, I was born in Hartford, Connecticut in a middle class environment. We moved to D.C. in 1978. My mother use to say we were going to "chocolate city." Once we moved to D.C., my family immediately became part of the welfare system. We lived in public housing (Sursum Corda) on First Terrace in N.W. because there were nine of us. The best way to describe Sursum Corda back then was that most people had no hope and when people feel that there's no hope they can become desperate. What ever hope we had was in Marion Barry. Every day someone got shot or stabbed. People fought regularly and even though guns are illegal in D.C, it seemed like everyone owned one. I could not believe we left Connecticut for that life style, especially since I had five sisters. We received the usual - food stamps, wic coupons, govt. cheese, etc. The transition from Connecticut to Washington D.C was like night and day. Back then D.C was a dump. Drugs and prostitution were everywhere. In 1978 I remember getting off at the Greyhound bus station on Eleventh Street N.W and seeing prostitutes and transexuals just standing in the bathroom stalls and I wondered, "why are they dressed like that, why don't the police get them out of here." Prostitution and peep show houses were everywhere. I was eleven years old and it was the first time I'd ever seen anything like that. I attended D.C. public schools and was one of the smartest kids in my class. In Connecticut I was just average, but down here I realized I had an edge on most of my classmates because a lot of my teachers didn't care. There was always peer pressure to do crime, smoke weed, fight and get a gun etc. I couldn't understand it at first, but eventually I caught on. Going to jail was the equivalent to a white boy being the captain of his high school football team. It's just the way it was growing up in the hood. If you went to jail, you were respected when you got out. At fifteen I became a victim of crime for the first time in my life. A man much older than me put a gun to my head and robbed me. All I had was seven dollars and my school bus tokens. I was fifteen and I begged for my life. It was so surreal, I thought I was dreaming. Living in D.C, I've been held up at gun point or shot at a total of four times. In high school I was in the WECEP program, which was similar to the stay in school program. It helped me out a lot. People always bash Marion Barry for his problems, but if it wasn't for his programs, I'd probably be a statistic like most of my friends. Most of the friends that I grew up with are in jail or dead. I'm not exaggerating, there in jail or dead. The sad part about it is that most of them never saw twenty-one. None of them died from natural causes, most of them got shot or died, a few died of AIDS. Back then crack was everywhere and everyone wanted to take the easy way out and sell drugs. It was real easy because the police didn't care. They were scared to come in Sursum Corda because of all the violence. My friends that are in jail usually get out for a few months and realize that D.C. is not the same playground that it was twenty years ago, so they end up going back to jail for doing another crime because they couldn't adapt. These men had the same opportunities that I had, but they chose a different path. I didn't go to college and I'm not rich, but I'm ALIVE! One of my best friends said "If you were a black man growing up in the inner city of D.C. in the 1980s and 90s and you are still living, you should feel lucky because so many did not make it. Like I said in the beginning of this article, depending on your background, the answer can vary. As for me personally, being a black man means that there's no situation that I cannot endure and over come because the worst is over. Being a black man, means being a survivor!

Posted by: Omar | October 1, 2006 12:57 PM

A Black Man Is:

A Creation of God

The Head of the Household

A Husband to His Wife

A Father to His Kid(s)

A Symbol of His Family Name

A Symbol of His Ancestral History


Concerned About His Community





A Black Man Is This & So Much More

Posted by: Joshua Maye | October 2, 2006 12:39 PM

What does it mean to be a Black man?

I have been black all my life! Not because I choose to be, but rather because that is what I have been caste as. I am of mixed heritage. Some of my ancestors were of Spanish, Chinese, Caucasian, African, Portuguese, and East Indian descent. I was born in America and because my family was brown-skinned I was designated as Black.

That means that I have, by the disposition of my forbearers, inherited the Black man's minority status in a predominately white society.

I am identifiable and that means that I have assumed all of the stereotypical characteristics attributed to most Black men. I have lived more than a half a century with the stigma and pride that being black embodies.

No amount of intelligence, education, accomplishment, financial success or status in this country changes that condition. Being black in America means that you are in most cases, suspect, inadequate, disfavored, lazy, shiftless, and worthless. There is a constant need to prove yourself and to bury your insecurities deserved or not.

Being a Black man means a life of struggle, fear, bravery, cunning, compassion, anger, purpose, and living with a sense of potential disaster ― despite the advancements that we have struggled to achieve and a legacy of triumphs that have been erased from our history.

Posted by: Terrence D Samuel | October 2, 2006 05:16 PM

Being a black man is America means going thru life with a 30lb sack on your back.

Its a burden that wears down the average individual. Thus only the cream of the crop can make it to at least middle class status.

If you take away all the black men employed in govt. jobs; then the prospects look even bleaker ( govt. jobs have stronger incentive to hire minorities than the private sector)

The true measure of opportunity is in the private sector not the public sector jobs

When we have a black president, commercials on tv that show black men with white wives/girl friends using products, when black families can easily adopt white children, when police chiefs take a no nonsense approach to driving while black law enforcement.

When white children will learn to look up to black men in the media besides athletes.

When the black male unemployment rate matches the total of white males and the same goes for the imprisoned rate and homicide rate then and only then will it be easier for the black man.

No more 30lb sack on his back to carry

Posted by: chad | October 3, 2006 07:00 AM

I feel that what it means to be a black man is to be honest. Any man regardless of color any man that is not honest is not a man at all. If we are honest we would see that we are our enemies. The black man in today's society has influence. Turn to every music station on the radio and then look at America the black men are influencing this society. But with that comes responsibility and honest people take responsibility not just for themselves but for the people they influence. Our black father's have left home and that has influenced a generation.
To be a black man is to be honest and to be honest the real question is what does it mean to be a man at all? If all men are created equally then all men have the same responsibilites. To be a black is to be honest. Honest to God, Yourself, Your family, and Your world.

Posted by: Nicholas Maddox | October 4, 2006 10:16 AM

Aside from the obvious...the answer is this;

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

- The Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776
Man - A man is a male human adult, in contrast to an adult female, which is a woman. The term man (irregular plural: men) is a term used to indicate either a person generally, or a male person specifically.
Black - total darkness: total absence of light; being of the achromatic color of maximum darkness; stemming from evil characteristics or forces; marked by anger or resentment or hostility;

What is a black man? What is a white man? I've learned early on in church that names carry much weight. Be careful what you call someone because one day maybe they'll answer. I also learned that you cannot define people with a crayola box. I am a man, plain and simple. However the question is what does it mean to be a black man.

What it means to me is to give it your all every time you try. It means no room for mistakes. It means succeeding against all odds. It means the world is against you anticipating your downfall. It means working with what you have to get what you want. It means feared by man loved by GOD. It means struggle, because nothing will ever come easy. It means humbling yourself in the light of humility. It means no matter how far you go nor how high you climb will never change the stereotype the world has placed upon you. It means excepting but not identifying with what society perceives you to be. It means getting up everytime you fall or are knocked down. It means not giving way to pain. It means setting examples because the world is watching.
It means putting all your faith in GOD, man will fail you. Black is new and unchartered terrain. And I am the man who resides there.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

- The Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776

Posted by: Donald Harris | October 27, 2006 06:03 PM

Just the fact that the question exists, means that we as Americans have a long way to go as far as race relations. I cannot be anything but a black man; this is my birthright, this is my blessing as well as my curse. I wish that this was not the case, but it is. I am constantly reminded that I am a black man by the media, the government, even my own people at times. I have been fortunate enough to travel across the globe, and the treatment I received from others had been more with honor and respect, than the treatment I get here living in the nation's capital. I work, pay taxes, and aheed to treating others as I want to be treated. But, that's not always the case. Only in America will I always be reminded that to some, I am just another 'invisible man', until someone needs a boogie-man to be scared of. Or a body to fight in THEIR wars.

Posted by: Gregory T. Watson | October 29, 2006 07:32 AM

being a black man in America is like being a white man in HARLEM:)

Posted by: calamity | October 31, 2006 10:44 PM

What it means to me is simply this; I want to have lived my life with all it American circumstraints, in a way that my children will recommend me to my grandchildren.

Posted by: Joel Williams, San Antonio, TX | November 2, 2006 11:19 AM

What does it mean to be a black man?

I think you must first identify what it means to be a man. Someone who is progressive in his thinking. Someone who takes responsibility for his thoughts and his actions. One who is a provider for his family as well as for himself. A pillar of strength and a leader within his community. Someone seeking to make a positive contribution to society as a whole.

To be black man in this country for me can be broken down into two catagories:

The external, means you start out with a set of obsticles to overcome from the begining. You are hampered in your quest for education, employment opportunities, and overall access to a higher quality of life. You are viewed as inferior and threatning by most.

The internal, means a higher percentage of black males start out in a fight just to survive. Housing conditions, educational opportunties, and the overall job market are bleak.

But, being a man means you embrace the fight whatever it happens to be. If being a black man means you have to strive harder, work longer, study more, then you accept the challenge. If not for yourself, than for your forefathers and for your children.

Posted by: Duane L. Dyer | November 3, 2006 01:45 PM

Being a black man, in this country, is a long road to toll. Being a black man not only means you have to be like any other man, but you also have to endure obstacles, circumstances and unwanted pressures you otherwise wouldn't have to deal with. Growing up in Indiana was an ultimate prototype for what I deal with across the country as an adult. Things such as: Not getting noticed for great grades in school, expecting to participate and do well in sports, being asked to explain the behavior of the whole black community, being asked 'why did O.J. do it,' having people feel my hair, being watched in department stores (when I'm sure I make 3-4 times as more as the person watching me), being pulled over by a police officer (for no real reason), trying to catch a taxi, not getting good service in a restaurant (when in fact I waited tables in college and would tip them well) etc..... That is just a "short list" of items I've had to deal with on a regular basis since I can remember. Then, of course, there is the job environment where I have to work 2-3 times as hard as the next guy. Even then it's hard to get promoted or recognized for better work. Although it makes me and other black men in this country tougher for going through it, it sure does leave a bitter taste in your mouth.

Posted by: Thomas M. Cox II | November 3, 2006 04:00 PM


Posted by: Hugo Caicedo | November 3, 2006 10:44 PM

It means that your one of God's Creation,and a part of this world.

Posted by: Jack Mitchell | November 4, 2006 09:38 AM

I enjoyed the expose' on "What does it mean to be a black man." The individual views showed how diverse this topic is and how although we are all linked by this common thread, diversity is quite an individual perspective of ownership. It would have been great to be able to view the names and positions of each participant as they were speaking. This would have given the viewers a greater platform of understanding maybe why they felt as they did. I had no problem identifying the doctor and ex-Mayor Berry, but being able to put a name with the face of some of the others would have been nice. Thanks for the forum. Yolanda Allen in Arkansas.


Posted by: Yolanda Allen | November 5, 2006 08:24 AM

Being a Black man means having to learn to live life on lifes terms.I thank God every day for being born a Black man in America. I have learned that people are at their best when they do the worst things to other human beings. Every day is a challange, life is never boring. If I want to be reminded that things have not changed for me as a Black man in America I could take a walk in Howard Beach New York City at night for a little excitement. Or I could try to hail a cab next to a white person to see who the cab will pickup first. If I get really bored I could tell my employer that I am not going to train some young white guy to take over my job. Fear is also what it means to be a black man in America. The fear that as a Police officer I will not be shot by friendly fire, or be attacked by a mob in Broad Channel Queens New york for doing my job. Yes being a Black man in America is never boring, I just pray to God evry day for a little respect and a chance to see my children grow into adulthhood.

Posted by: Mr. Wright | November 5, 2006 10:50 PM

What does it mean to be a black man? It means I don't get the benefit of the doubt. It means that I'm guilty until proven innocent, it means that it don't get the second chance. It means I have to laugh @ a lady grab her bag closer in the elevator. It means I have to be twice as good as the other man. It means that most people that come to this country and tell their daughters not to bring me home. It means I have to watch & read the negatives images put out by the media. It means that if I can't afford a good lawyer I don't have a chance. It means I have to teach my son how walk down the life's minefield -America. It means I always have to fight to be free. It means that I'm on the bottom of the pole and that I have to climb the pole with grease on my hands. Being a black man when I win I know I what I had to over come. It means I should have a jump hot but not a degree. I also know that know matter how rich I may get most will always see me the black man as America nightmare...it means I have come a long way in a short time. But the rules to game are not the same for me and the rest of the world....I just wonder if the playing field will ever be even!

Posted by: will lue | November 6, 2006 04:09 PM

What it means to be a black man. Well, being a black man myself means sometimes being marginalized and signaled out. It also means being a loving husband to my wife and a caring, loving and paticipatory father in the life of my three children. And a soon to be grandfather of a baby girl. It means strength, courage and understanding. It means struggle and warfare seing that we are constantly battling for equality in an unequal world dominated by the powerful elite. It means spirituaality and a deep sence of family, and family historian and keeper of the our heritage and bloodline through which the next generation of black men will come. It means being father and teacher to my children and the world. The one who is responsible for bringing up men and women of african descent. It also means challenge because for everything good thing that we receive there will be a challange by some as to if we have earned what we have or if what we have has been given to us when the answer is clear that what we have has been earned becuase the world is not that generouse to us in their giving. But, in my view it semply means "being" and sharing in the God given gift of manhood.

Posted by: Eddie Sloan | November 6, 2006 04:39 PM

I suppose my answer to this is that it seems to me my first obligation is to be a good man. This is how I perceive myself. As a man who happens to be black. Not a BLACK man. I think identity is something that emanates from your soul not your skin color. I am black and I'm very glad to be black, but being black has nothing whatsoever to do with the kind of person I am or aspire to be. This may be because I was raised in a Hispanic household where English was not the first language and because of that it was imperative that we learned to speak very good English to get along in American society. I've come to realize that even though I was born here in America, I was not raised with a Black American sensibility. I appreciate and am sympatico with the black experience in this country, but I also feel somewhat removed from it because I wasn't raised to think of myself as somehow less because of the color of my skin. However, I was given that shame that many black men feel in this country because my step-father, an American Black and a World War 2 veteran was always on about how tough it would be for me as a black person. One could argue that he was trying to prepare me for a tough world, but the legacy was shame and crippling self-doubt that I've only recently begun to fully shed. My stepfather died nearly 10 years ago at 73. Black men of his generation lived in a world where you weren't safe anywhere in this country, North, South, East, or West. When the world changed in the 1960s and 70s, he had the hardest time living in it. And he had the hardest time trying to raise two boys to be strong black men in a world that was rethinking the rules for men in general and black men in particular. He tried to transfer his machismo to us and it didn't take. I aspired to be an artist. My brother, it turned out, was gay. Not at all like the steely, hardened man my father was. But now, you don't have to be that way in these days I've learned. You can lead with your heart and not be afraid to feel. I think that's true of men in general and black men in particular. I do think there is a very particular kind of pride that black men distinctively have and carry with them. I was taught that kind of pride and I try to carry it with me as well. I see it in men like Barack Obama and Deval Patrick and it inspires me. It's a quiet kind of strength that is distinctive and unique. I hope that when people encounter me they feel it. It's a soul force, and I think it's something that we as black men grow into. I just hope to keep growing into it.

Posted by: Ken Dyier | November 6, 2006 09:00 PM

Being a man, who happens to be black, has many repercussions, some pronounced and others embedded in the perceptions of those bearing prejudices not under control. My personal life was a struggle to combat these pre-dispositions and myths about Black men.

I joined the Navy at the age of twenty. While in Boot Camp, my Boot Camp Company Commander, a white man, saw something in my character that enticed him to select me, a Black from New Orleans, LA, as the person that could successful lead his company of ninety men. I used that opportunity to be the best that I could be.

My first duty assignment was in San Diego at the Navy's School for Sonarmen. At the gate, I saw three Black young men leaving the compound for the last time. They had completed four year in the Navy. Two of these men were Seamen First Class (E-3) and one was a Seamen Second Class (E-2). I decided right then, and there that I would not spend four years in the Navy without obtaining the highest rank that I could possible achieve.

Being Black means that you must achieve under duress; there are no other options.

Rod Davis STSC (E-7) USN Retired

Posted by: Rodney A. Davis | November 7, 2006 12:18 PM

The color of ones skin has no sting that Purpose, Destiny, Integrity, Character, Determination, Will, and Perserverance cannot Overcome. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he, no matter the skin color. The Power of Life or Death lies within the tongue-and those who love it eat it's fruit. Obstacles are stepping stones. Our color/race was never meant to Divide, but Unite and Distinguish...which adds Beauty to Creation, and bring Glory and Honor to God our Maker.

Posted by: Tracy E. | November 7, 2006 03:32 PM

As a white man, I think white people need to talk to white people about racism. The subject rarely arises when whites get together. Most whites are either racist or recovering racists and we need to do something about the racism that still persists.

Posted by: Conrad P. Pritscher | November 7, 2006 05:09 PM

being a black man to me it means not forgeting your calture and always practice your rituals responding from frican poin of view.and also being a life time provider to our fellow blacks,morally,educational and financialy.
(majakaneng South Africa)

Posted by: tshepo modise | November 8, 2006 07:22 AM


Posted by: Justo Efraín Cortés Alphonse | November 8, 2006 01:35 PM

First and foremost it means coming to terms with the fact that a lot of responsibilities have been thrust upon you before you even get to the starting gate. The next step is to look in the
mirror and see a man. Too many of us are caught up in the 'Peter Pan mindset', we don't want to grow up. You have to
accept the fact that while the clothes make the man, you cannot go around and be taken seriously with your pants hanging down around your ankles. After you have 'seen'the man in you, ,start taking some responsibility for your actions. Things won't happen to you, if you're not there. Start putting yourself into 'positive situations' and know you belong there. And finally, stop being embarrassed about being black, there is nothing wrong with being a Black man, that a little integrity won't fix.

Posted by: Jimmy L. Fisher | November 10, 2006 12:34 PM

Being a black man means preparing myself for the known as well as the unknown. It is no secret that there are many negative associations in today's society that suggest; being a black man in America is a "recipe for disaster". But there are far more positive reasons to defeat the "rumors" and make the best of life for myself. I can remember in the spring of 2002 at a meeting with several european american men, and one of them, after listening to my explanation to a question raised, felt the need to say "you speak very well." I found myself pondering his comment, therefore I decided to explore the intent further. Inevitably, my thoughts were confirmed, he noted that he had not come across too many blacks, especially boys and men that could articulate well. I responded "if there are more like you,then we are in for a tough fight." All in all, it is a pleasure to be a black man, despite the stereotypes that come along with it. Because, to hang my hat on the negatives, will only allow me to succomb to the stereotypes and the unrealistic expectations that others may have for me. Therefore, I made my journey through college (undergraduate and graduate school), to become an accomplished professional, while accepting the responsibility of educating our young black men through modeling and encouragement. It may seem that this may not be enough, but I can assure you that it is more than what many are getting from those men that decided to bring these young men into this world. being a black man, means being me, and that is what I will continue to do.

Posted by: Tyrone Allen | November 10, 2006 12:47 PM

The answer to this question is long, but not as complex as some people claim. First to Be a Black man is to face the reality that life is not "fair and balanced", so Black men must be willing to fight battles on 3 fronts of life: a Black man will have to fight against internalized oppression within his own community, common human problems, and racism. To deny this fact is to live in a fantasy world, which could cause a Black man to be ill equipped to survive in, or raise his own children to survive in a world that is anti-humane and is DOUBLY anti-Black!

To be a Black man, especially in America, means that expressing any remnant of the African culture of your anscestors will be met by severe hostility by non-Black people and Black people who have been taught to hate all things African about their African ancestors who fought and died for them to live with dignity and self-determination.

To be a Black man means to understand that Black men must do whatever is necessary to solve the problems in their own community...otherwise, the non-Black world will continue to view a Black man as a child or "boy" instead of a man.

Finally, to be a Black man is to realize that because life is not fair and the Black man lives in an "anti-Black" world, he must be tenacious to the point of death, in order to achive the goals mentioned above and to be respected as a human being.

Posted by: sb | November 10, 2006 08:04 PM

It's good to help people in need. China helped over 400 million of its poor people (most of them were not homeless before the help either) climb out of poverty by building factories for them to work in. Did you know that most of those factories were built in the last 25 years using American money?

That's right, America paid to build enough factories in China to raise 400 million poor Chinese out of poverty. Why can't America do that for our poor people? I'll tell you why, it's because America does not want to help its own people. Well, why does America help Chinese and not its own
people in need? I've thought this over very carefully and the best reason I can come up with is that America does not want to help its poor because many of them are black and America does not want to help black people cause the well to do don't want them living near them and mixing with
them. I know all you bleeding heart liberals don't want to hear that but it must be the truth.

Why else would America go on such a building frenzy in the last 40 years ever since the Civil Rights Laws went into effect to build homes so expensive that black people could not live near them.

Yes, that's the reason America does so little to help its poor compared to the rest of the industrial world -- race hate and most of it against black people.

I also think the Affirmative Action Laws that went into effect in 1974 is a main reason so many American companies built
factories in Asia -- to avoid giving black people jobs to keep them out of their neighborhoods.

Disagree and cuss me out if you want but I honestly feel this is the main reason America don't care about poor people -- many of them are black. Location, Location, Location means avoid blacks,
avoid blacks, avoid blacks. You know it's true, you know it!

Posted by: George S | November 12, 2006 08:31 PM

Being a Black Man is a responsibility to yourself, your family, community, and ancestors. It means that if you're a Dad, you should also be a father, if you're a student, you should also be a teacher, it means looking out for your fellow man without a need for reimbursement or acknowledgement. Being a Black Man means respecting a woman the same way you would expect a man to treat your mother or sister. Being a Black Man in American also means that despite how well dressed you are, how many degrees you carry, how much money you earn, and how honorable your employment, you're first thought of as a threat as opposed to an ally. There's nothing worse than walking in a parking lot behind a non-African American woman and feeling the need to jingle your keys loudly so you're not perceived as an attacker. But that is the perception that society has put into the minds of people. Being a Black Man means teaching and guiding our youth (especially young men) to become men - to stand up for themselves and not place the blame on society as an easy way out. Having A job is better than having NO job at all. Going to school and getting an education does not make you weak, it levels the playing field. Speaking well does not make you sound white, it makes you coherent and conversive. Making a baby does not make you a man, taking care of those babies does. Being a Black Man means the ability to walk into a room and create positive change in every field of human endeavor. It means commanding respect with your mind, not with your weaponry, it means knowing when to pull up your pants and stand up, when to leave the corner and go into the classroom. It means being able to look yourself in the mirror and know that your ancestors are proud of the outcome.

Posted by: Wayne P. Henry | November 13, 2006 02:57 PM

I am a Black Man!
1. I am responsible for my actions and the consequences that arise from them.
2. Self-improvement is a MUST and I will feed my mind with every bit of knowledge that comes my way and is relevant to improving myself. This includes Career-related, technical, spiritual, and worldly knowledge.
3. I have only ONE body and will do all that I am able to take care of it and keep it whole and strong.
4. I will NEVER turn my back on a Black brother as long as he is honestly reaching out to me for help, advice, or mentoring.
5. If life knocks me on the ground, I will keep getting up, I WILL STOP WHINING about the inequities of life or my current situation and keep on fighting and move forward.
6. I will strengthen my self spiritually.
7. If I am a husband, then I am the sole protector and defender of my Wife. PERIOD!
8. If I am thinking about Marrying, I will apply this requirement: If I am NOT willing to give my life to save hers, SHE'S NOT WORTH MARRYING AND I WILL MOVE ON!
9. I will always understand that as a Black Man I'll be judged everyday. SO BE IT!
10. I will not dishonor my People, My Family, Myself and THOSE WHOSE SHOULDERS I STAND ON THIS VERY DAY!
11. I will ALWAYS vote! And will be knowledgeable as which candidates or party parallel my views and the direction of my people.
12. I will ALWAYS be faithful to my country and my flag.

Posted by: Reginald C. Wright | November 13, 2006 10:53 PM

After years in the trenches during the Movement as a Black civil rights attorney I feel betrayed by our leadership. The masses of Black people in America, according to a recent article on the economic disparities between Blacks and Whites, are as bad off today, if not worse than they were when the Movement started, and our Black leadership is doing little about correcting that issue.
The problem is that our leadership has been coopted by the very institutions that perpetuate this disparity through donations from these offending agencies.
Most of our leaders live good lives on the salaries they earn from the organizations they represent (NAACP, Rainbow Coalition, etc.) To do the job they were hired to do, namely to direct social and economic forces against these institutions to eliminate these crippling differences, they must risk shutting off of the racist fountain that supports their organization and possibly losing a "good job". This has not happened and likely will not happen in the remainder of my lifetime. What we need is to open a fresh can of leaders and go forward. Until then, disparity and despair will remain in my mind.
If Blacks were allowed to earn what Whites earn, Black Ghettos would disappear along with the Ghetto attitudes Bill Cosby seeks to unfairly castigate.
Perhaps my children will be able to goad our leadership in a different direction.

Henry William Sands

Posted by: Henry William Sands, Esq. (Ret.) | November 16, 2006 06:26 PM

Well... Let me just say this I am and old Black Woman full of pain when I see our young Black men struggling trying to survive in this here country. All are a product of their environment not knowing how to pull themselves up by there boot strings just to get on tract. When I stop and talk with them trying to give them some sort of vision that this is not what life surposed to be they truly lesson. These are smart young men with the proper guidence there is no telling how far they would go. There are so many of them that feel there is no way out. Standing on the corner hoping and wishing that there is gold at the end of that rainbow call life. If only I could get there they would say to me. Yes, there are many that make it but there are more that fall by the wayside struggling trying to make it day by day. When I try to tell them to go to school education is power. They would say "To school, school is worse than the streets Ms B." "How sad" said I would say to myself. What's going to become of our fine strong young Black Males who find there security in the street alone. How sad... I do hope this segment would help our young men.

Posted by: Ms. "B" thank you for alllowing be to write this note | November 16, 2006 07:25 PM

To be a Black man in America is to be, first and foremost, a proud man. It means that you never let your condition determine your position. It means that you have the power to rise up, overcome, and be a credit to American Black culture and humanity. It means to recognize the obstacles, but not get hung up on the obstacles. It means that you have the potential to be an overcomer in every aspect of your life.

Posted by: Akhenaton06 | November 17, 2006 04:19 AM

I feel being a Black man encompasses more than the complexity of Melanin and how it is the determinant of race. This question has been asked and answered by those who have stood taller than I but (of course) I have an opinion. The meaning of being a Black man is shouldering the responsibility of ensuring the safety and security of our history (both in Africa and here in america), family and community. NEVER compromising on the realities of how we got where we are along with being ever mindful of the work that is to come. Thank you for taking this time to address a wonderful topic.

Posted by: Michael D. Bridges | November 17, 2006 10:29 AM

Being a black man means harvesting self confidence and self reliance in situations when you look around and see no else looks like you. It's having a connection with God on a personal level. Being a black man is being able to laugh to yourself when a white female runs to her car when she sees you pulling into a mall parking lot when no one else is around. There are some elements of feeling unappreciated when people don't understand the lonely road you may have to take to become "successful". Among other things it is remembering those who came before you, and honoring them by trying to meet challenges thrown in your way.

Posted by: A Hill | November 17, 2006 12:19 PM

Being a black man is an expression of God. We are strong and determine to live a life which we create regarless of the circumstance. To be a black man is to not be a carbon copy of another. Finally we are the desendents of Adam which gives us dominion over all. Unfortunetly we have forgoten this and have become the enemy of ourselves.

Posted by: Roy McCain | November 17, 2006 10:21 PM

As a white female, I could never begin to understand what non-white people, especially Black Men, experience in the US today.

As you've stated on the home page, Black Men have been studied more than any other group in US society. What was not stated on the home page, however, was that as the 'role,' and 'identity' of being a 'Black Man' is defined, we are simultaneously and implicity defining what it means to be a 'white man' in US culture.

Only we never talk about this. As we discuss what 'Black Men' do and don't have in US culture, we are simultaneously defining what 'White Men' do and don't have. However, this is rarely explicitly stated.

For example, the discussion about discrimination against black men in our justice system is always defined on these terms---and never talked about in terms of the non-discrimination (or privilge) white men receive. (and if this does come up, it's a rather charged conversation--if white people are involved)

I believe an essential part of any conversation defining what it means to be a 'Black Man' must include a conversation about how this defines what it means to be white.

I grew up in a 'white' privileged area---I know that we, white people, do not talk about race. We are uncomfortable when it comes up---and say things like, 'it's not my fault slavery happened' and 'I'm not racist, I have black friends'. Just the mere fact that we, white people, have been able to grow up without thinking about race--or without thinking, I'm white' and for me this means... (as white people do when defining 'other' races), demonstrates the massive privilege we enjoy. That privilege is inherent in nearly all of our institutions and systems---and impacts our thoughts and behaviors.

I think this is an essential conversation---and one in which to bring up not just 'what it means to be a Black Man' but also 'what it means to be white'. The chance to reach a broad number of (white) people who may have never thought about this topic in these terms is so important.

I hope this is a well facilitated conversation--that leaves readers informed not only about what people of non-white races experience in the US but also what it means to be white. From personal experience I know this can be uncomfortable to talk about for white people---and I sincerely hope to see something accessible on the web page that will begin this thought process and faciliate much needed awareness about our role as white people in the discussion about race in the US.

Thank you for your time--and for this feature.

Best Wishes,
Elizabeth Weidling

Posted by: Elizabeth Weidling | November 18, 2006 04:18 AM

I just wonder if you had an "off the cuff" section and said:

What does it mean to be a white man?

The answer is not so simple. White men from all walks of life explore the meaning of race, culture and identity...

I don't want to take ANOTHER thing and make it for the white man---i just dont think it's a conversation white men would have any idea what to do with. I think it would get a lot of confused and uncomfortable looks---and that says a lot about how we, white people, think of race....we don't. The clear consequences of unspoken, unacknowledged privilege.

Posted by: Elizabeth Weidling | November 18, 2006 04:25 AM

Simply...an extraordinary human being!

Posted by: | November 18, 2006 08:23 AM

As a black man in America struggling to survive is not an option but a way of life. This survival and ultimately acceptance is contingent upon one's ability to successfuly integrate into White America's society. The only way for a white man to truly appreciate the intensity of this struggle were if integration into a black society was a prerequisite for survival.

Having been fortunate to travel around the world in the United States Air Force I have observed that a Black American is viewed quite differently than a man of color from other parts of the world. While there are still white people who would judge a black man simply by the color of his skin (regardless of his heritage), fortunately this is no longer the prevelant view within our society. There are still however a significant number of people (of all races) who look upon a Black American male differently than men of color from other parts of the world. Even those who are darker than I from other parts of the world, often look down on black American males in general as though they are somehow inferior. After so many years of negative sterotyping of the black male within our society, I guess it would be hard for the world to look at us differently.

While there are those who would quickly dismiss the Black American males struggle as something that we have brought and continue to bring upon ourselves. I would respond by saying that there is no other race in history (with possibly the exception of the American Indian) where the male was torn from their family, humiliated in front of their family, and dismissed by society as being less than a man. These actions have continued to occur long after the physical bonds of slavery were removed and are evidenced by the disproportionate number of black males who fill our jails today for often the same or a lesser offense than their white counterparts.

While I believe these actions can be partially attributed to economics (the need to maintain a free or low-paid workforce), I also feel that the Black American male was intentionally made to look inferior so as to eliminate any direct or indirect challenges or competition to his white male counterparts. To some respect that situation continues to exist today, but through the use of more sophisticated techniques (i.e., denial of jobs, passed over for a deserved promotion, etc). This is the reason why most blacks believe they have to be twice as good as their white counterparts to receive equal treatment and recognition.

While there are some who would not agree with the merits of this arguement, I believe scholars will acknowledge the psychological benefits that humans derive from having some form of ancestrial basis (positive or negative) from which to build on and that having this identity provides a source of inner strength during periods of struggle. Unlike any other race the Black American male must constantly struggle to find his identity or look at a time within our society where he can see something other than hate, anger and discrimination. The civil rights movement was partially an attempt to establish an identity for the Black American as something other than slaves, niggers, or colored. It is unlikely that any human could take pride or comfort from an ancestory as slaves with no records of family lineage.

Even during periods when the black man experience an injustice, he is required to provide proof beyond that of his white counterpart that an injustice has occurred. An example is the way our society reacts to accussations of discrimation by our Jewish counterparts. Our society becomes very defensive whenever there is a claim of discrimination made by a Black American. Why does our society respond differently when Jews point to cases of anti-semitic views or actions than when blacks point to views or acts of discrimination, as if these words somehow have different meanings? Is the reason for this inconsistent response because America was not directly responsible for the phlight of the jews and therefore feels no sense of guilt when the word anti-semitic is used? Or on the other hand is it because there has been such a long history of mistreatment towards Black Americans which brings about feelings of intense internal guilt that our society in general refuses to acknowledge. While I believe most individuals within our society fully recognize the double standards that have always and continue to exist it is unlikely that our society will acknowledge their long term affects.

As a society, our reluctance and refusal to acknowledge the existence of prejudice and discrimination (that continues to exist today)is the reason why being Black in America, especially as a black male will always be a struggle. Any problem must first be acknowledged before a solution can be realized. The fact that there are a number of black males within our society who have achieved success despite these conditions does not in any way invalidate the existence of this problem or its affects on the Black American male.

So the struggle contines!

Posted by: Michael Ball | November 18, 2006 09:49 PM

what is it like to be a black man in america,it mean that you get up every morning knowing that you will be judged by
the color of your skin first and formost,but regardless the will to keep going.for yourself,your family your people
knowing that what you do and how you carry
yourself will be magnified many times over
because you are seen as a black man first andaccording to the law man second.and because of all the obstacles we go through.jumping through loops etc. we always win the BATTLE OF THE SUPERSTARS.

Posted by: JK | November 19, 2006 12:27 PM

Being Black to me means being able to feel really proud of my culture. Right now I don't. For a black man who is really trying to do the right thing there is no where to go for help. A place or a organization that will look at your situation and realize that all you need is a break. Or another chance. Being black means feeling unsafe around folks that look just like you. If not that, feeling inferior around folks that look just like you. It means not relating well with the women of our race. Who judge us by what they can get from us and how we look on the outside. Being black to me means life will always be tough......and getting back on track may not be possible for a lot of us.

Posted by: Glenn R. Shepherd | November 19, 2006 02:27 PM

The black man in America is consistly face with institutionalize racism, in which privilges are bestowed based on skin color. Thus, the historical relationship between blacks and whites have been antagonistic due to chattel slavery, which was designed to make blacks inferior and whites superior. This historical relationship was steeped in human equality and injustices; moreover, it still serves as an artificial barrier on how black men are perceived in America. The majority of the negative sterotypes had their evil inceptions in chattel slavery. You as a black man always feel, like all eyes are on you and in a white supremacy society, it's required that black men accept the dominantsociety culture, values, norms, folkways, mores, etc., in particular if you are seeking acceptability. Dr. WEB Dubois wrote about our duality of being black and American and how both of these realities are contradictory in psychological make-up of the United States

Posted by: Fahim A. Knight | November 19, 2006 07:30 PM

To be a Black man, particularly in America, is to have everyone think they know you before they take the time to get to know you.

While this is true for almost everyone, as a Black man, 90 percent of the time, you have to prove them wrong.

Posted by: Trevor Gadson | November 19, 2006 11:52 PM

Why is being a black man truly different from being a Latino man or an Asian man or......a white man? What is it really that separates us or makes us so different, so special? After reading the tedious responses of the answers to the question, "What does it mean to be a Black man?" I find myself tired, worn out, and angry at the same time. Take JULEIN GORDON's 24 step program to be a black man for example, which includes: 1. A Black man accepts the consequences of his actions 11. A Black man studies and reads 14. A Black man respects women. Are these actions exclusive to 'black' men only? Can a white man not respect women, read, and accept consequences for his actions, or are these ethical guidelines which only blacks have a trademark on? Ironically, in some circles, a black man who respects women, reads, and accepts consequences for his actions might be called 'white'.

I smell excuses, but I

According to the UCLA AFRICAN MEN'S COLLECTIVE, who puts together something of a Boy Scouts creed of values including, "is a learner, is confident, is strong, and takes care of his responsibilities," says a black man, "Is made in the image of God." Who have become the racists now? In a world of a 'white' Jesus and expectantly white God, would the UCLA AMC now supplant that image for a black one, or can the ideas of God and Jesus be bigger than race and less about image? And going beyond religion to something more concrete, why do we focus on image so much? Why do we even acknowledge comparisons of athleticism and rap music with black Americans? In sports are there no white athletes which perform equally or better than blacks, or do we just wear 'black' lenses, seeing them and not caring? If Michael Vick is hot, why not Peyton Manning? In music, do we judge white people by county or rock music? Possibly. Music does not just come out of thin air and it is generally a reflection of its market. It is unfortunate that black youth now look into the water and do not see their reflection, but the face of rap music instead. Yet, with the obsession with pop culture and who's wearing who, is this only a 'black' phenomenon or have youth and young adults of all races been sucked in the illusion/preflection of pop culture?

My heart buckles under the weight of constant excuses put forth--the "30lb sack on your back," that you've got to be better, stronger, faster, better... It finally breaks with ERIC DANIELS unbridled racial hatred--and stupidity. A sad but inconvenient fact that black people are the most racist people I know. The truth--and since so many thus far have been so intent on comparing 'blacks' to 'whites,' I will not break tradition--is that you will never bet better than a white man. No matter where you are or what you do, there will always be a white man who is smarter, stronger, better, this time or the next--and an Asian, and a Mexican, and an Indian and so forth. When will the tiresome comparisons end? The whining, the complaining, the posturing, the acting--if anything THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A BLACK MAN! An endless string of excuses titled, "I'm not saying its because I'm black....but its because I'm black." This is a hard truth, but what better time to be a pragmatist, if not a realist, with pop culture slowly fading into the background and our country very slowly heading in a new direction. The time for dreams and innovation was back in the days of King and Malcolm X. Today we must realize those dreams. Black Americans are not all athletic, smart, strongly religious, or strong in character or will, and some don't even like rap music (but still have a love for hip-hop), but that doesn't mean they are any less black. Should they try to act 'black,' falling right back into the various stereotypes continuously complained about, or can all people be allowed to be themselves, regardless of their skin color? Must your skin color determine who you are? Any person who goes out into the world today will either break or reinforce the prejudices of there race or culture. Often the prejudices you break only apply to you as an individual. The, "Oh he's different." The greater perception cannot likely be broken by one person, yet every black guy here feels that he carries the fate of black culture on his shoulders. Don't flatter yourself. And don't stress yourself so either. The legacy of "shame ad crippling self-doubt" is something black people must let go of. Our peer and parents do just as much damage in making us feel inferior as the slave-masters of old by placing this burden, this "30lb sack" on our back, telling us you must be better, you must work "10 times harder," and "everyone else is going to make it 100 times harder for you," otherwise the white man will beat you out, because everything is easier for him. If DJ can't be comfortable with being only black guy in his office, how can he expect anybody else to be comfortable around him? That uneasiness is palpable. Black Americans will never achieve the mindset of equality as long as we continue to burden ourselves and our children with distrust, subdued racism, and a "30lb sack." The single greatest factor that holds Black Americans down is their own mind. Oddly enough this is not a 'black' affliction either. The honest truth is that the perceptions of black men are there for a reason. Yet, in America today, we look into the water and are so focused on the reflection saying "Why do I look like that?" instead of saying, "How do I change that?" While the reflection may be imperfect, it's not the water that has the problem.

Eventually the time must come to shed the supposed 'blackness' of our culture and to be just people--instead of black people, quarterbacks--instead of black quarterbacks and Presidents--instead of black Presidents. LAZARUS has a good idea to good start. To be sure, racism does exist in our country and our world to varying degrees depending on where you go. To be sure, the general perception of black men is a derogatory one, based in violence, laziness, and disrespect toward women. And to be sure, this perception is based in fact and there is nothing any one man can do to change it. But instead of focusing on this perception, let us focus on why schools in black areas are educationally bankrupt as compared to diverse schools, or schools in white areas. Is it funding? Is it the quality of the educators? How are Ward 8 schools different from schools in NW? If the children of Ward 8 in SW switched places in school with the children in NW, would there be a difference in their education and how they grew as children into adolescents and adults? Maybe they would learn in their history books that slavery is not only a 'black' thing and as a human race we have so much more in common than we will ever have differences. What about if you took everybody in the 7th police district in SW and placed them in 2nd police district in Georgetown? Would the rampant crime and violence to the tune of 341 murders in the 7th from 2000-2005 compared with only 11 of Georgetown still take place? Let us not even speak of 2006. Yes, the reality is that SW is not NW, but does that mean that our schools, police, and government services should be any different? Why do we expect and accept less? In my experience, dumb schools are dumb schools no matter what background of the children who go there, and dumb schools put out dumb kids and dumb kids are easily mislead into anything. The same can be said for neighborhoods.

So there is no need to attack rap music--it's a reflection and it will change and there is no need to attack the perception of black people either--it's a reflection and it also will change, but now more than ever we must attack the source, the root causes for our dumb and violent schools and neighborhoods, because that is us--it is where we live and where we grow and it will never change as long as we accept the current, honest situation, and continue to be angry at the reflections instead of the source. CHAD has a great dream of the future. KEN DYIER and BYGPOWIS are almost there. Its time to start making it happen now.

Posted by: Mannewell Darby | November 20, 2006 12:38 AM

Being a Black Man in America is a difficult task. I have been working since the age of 14 years old. I have a clean criminal, driving and financial record and still have a hard time applying to new jobs/positions. Now working for more than 22 years, I still am faced with racism, daily. Reguardless of how many diplomas, certificates and achievement I have made through personal sacrifice. My every move, decision and/or reaction will be put under a microscope at NASA to be interpret by others to never be forgotten, if a mistake was made. I have colleagues with less experience, skill and/or time on the job moving forward and upward and sometimes become my boss/team leader. I am slapped in the face when a tough/difficult project comes around. I am selected for these projects due to my skill and experience along with my attention for details. In short, I am the man for the job if the companys butt/financing is on the line. I am not bitter with all the stumble blocks that have been laid in front of my path. I continue to prove the stereo-type of a Black Man to be wrong. I carry this burden like a mole on my face. It's there and will not go way. Yes, I am frustrated when employers choose the weaker candidate for that new promotion. I just try to work inside the system to bring about change.

M. A. Crawford
Washington, DC and Baltimore Area

Posted by: Michael A. Crawford | November 20, 2006 06:51 AM

There are times when I want to yell to the top of my voice, to all the young black men that have lost hope, given up, and dropped out, pleas stop, think, dream, and for God's sake work to make your dreams come true. There are no short cut, my lake of patience has caused me more harm than you could ever imagine throughout the years of my life. Changes in our life come with a decision we make for ourselves, to be different than we are now. Sometimes that might mean meeting new friends in a different environment. This dosen't mean you stop respecting and loving the people of your past, it only means you accept the responsibility for youself first, to learn something new and different. You make a comment to expand your own mind and as often as the opportunities present themselves share your new knowledge and your story with thoes who will listen. Whatever you do don't become depressed when family and friends become somewhat crtical and unsupporting of you. Hopefully your family will embrase you just as mine did. Your old friends on the other hand might have a problem with your new direction. I have been s father since the age of sixteen and I've come to realize that the responsibility of being a father will last me until the day I die. Think about that young men when you decide to have that moment of fun and pleasure with your lady friend; it last a life time. To accept the responsibility of fatherhood has its good times and bad. Sharing your life with another little humanbeing requires you first to love yourself, to show love unconditionally, to have a profound sense of humor and last but not least a strong foundation of fath that will hold you up during thoes down times that will surly come. If you have children tell them you love them, especially your boy child. Don't be afriad to cry and show your emotions, and most of all become a good listner the girls and women in your life have something to say.

I think I've said more than my share at this point so I'll stop. God bless the Washington Post.

Posted by: Norman R. Mason, Sr. | November 20, 2006 10:25 AM

To be a black man in America means you have to feel good about yourself because rarely will he find it anywhere else. The only hope for the black man is a renewed faith in the God who made him,confidence in the gifts God has bestowed upon him, and fortitude to use his gifts for the good of his family, community and the world.

Posted by: Terrence | November 20, 2006 10:28 AM

I feel like there are still many hurdles to overcome even though we are in the 21st century. I am working daily to better myself and to erase the image that seems to follow us as a group: Negative stereotypes that plague us. People are still amazed that I am an architect with actually alot of talent. My talents have always been scrutinized. An the way we treat each other is appaling at best. Its so bad that I choose to look elsewhere for a mate: Europe, Asia, Latin America. These woman have given me more worth than the society in which I live. I feel better about myself.

Posted by: makeba gaines-kelly | November 20, 2006 11:05 AM

What does it mean to be a black man?
A Black Man is the living embodiment of the most extreme experiment of the American experience. Unique to this country has a single group of people endured almost every political, social, and economic hardship, and still have the opportunity to surpass them and arise to the upper rungs of society. A Black Man is not the sum of these experiences, nor the consequence of them, but instead a living chance to succeed. Every division of peoples in this country, if they study, can see that the progression of blacks as a whole is remarkable weighed against the odds they had to overcome. From their anguish, opportunity exists for all people. In their struggle, reside our fore father's sprit and basic intent described in the words that declared us free. Sure, it could have been another way, one less dehumanizing, void of bastardization and mutilation, but that adds to a Black Man uniqueness. People get confused with that packaging at times, the skin's hue. Then the marketing causes argument; whether to call them Black, Negro, Colored, Afro-American, or any myriad of racial slurs that litter our language. But however you look at it, our ancestor's shared experiences have allowed the chance to be great, or not, just like everyone else.

Posted by: Keith Maddox | November 20, 2006 11:10 AM

Being a black man...means that you are gifted in ways that no other man on the planet is. Some people are intimidated by this these talents of intelligence, athletism, and spirituallity. The fact of the matter is that people including most black people would have you to believe that black men are only good for certain things like rapping, thugging, running, and jumping. But we are gifted. We bend but don't break when faced with adversity. Our survival skills are impeccable. You can't count us out and we are highly dependable when the right situation presents itself. Being a black man means that we may have to work harder to prove ourselves, but so what, it makes us better men, better fathers, and better friends when we finish. Depend on God always.

Army Soldier

Posted by: Thomas Roberts | November 20, 2006 12:53 PM

Being a Black Man means being born in to a society where love, hate, joy, anger, triumph and tragedy lives on one accord each and every passing day. It means hoping that one day in your lifetime, you will see the first Black Man become that U.S. President that you're momma told you you can be and you tell your son he can be. It is being angry at your community for not doing better and angry at yourself for not finding your where you fit in to make it happen. It is praying that God allows you to journey down that unknown path without losing focusing on what matters and what is right. It is simply being something that no other but a Black man can feel -- never to be able put into the words that the rest of the world can comprehend. Like no other, it is a fraternity of perseverence whose initiation is simply by birthright.

Posted by: Craig Ballard | November 20, 2006 01:07 PM

It is not in our best intrest to blame everything on whites,We must stand up and take responsibility for our own actions,sure racisum plays a big part but if we keep saying "its the white man fault,its the white man fault" we will never take responsibility for what is "our fault".If any other race went through what we have they would never make it,so you see we are strong just not united.Drugs,jail,aids,fatherhood,killings these are not the white mans fault its ours,can we overcome them yes,only united.The question was "What does it mean to be a black man? Taking total responsibility.

Posted by: Terry Dairsow | November 20, 2006 03:12 PM

Being a black man usually means being stereotyped right right of the box. Having an education, a good upbringing, a high IQ or having superior ethics or skills will still have us pidgeon-holed into unrealistic images of who we really are. One problem is that many the stereotypes and negative images are perpetuated and internalized by our own people...that's the worse!

Posted by: | November 20, 2006 05:29 PM

Being a black man means you have to relay to your children the best and the worst that you have seen throughout your life and then point them towards what you think will make them successful.

Being a black man means that you have to inspire the younger generation by making sure they are in touch with the diaspora.

They need to see what other black people are doing in other parts of the world. Not all black people are rappers, athletes and hustlers.

They need to know that black people are investment bankers, pilots, strategic thinkers in think tanks etc.

Posted by: C Onyango | November 20, 2006 05:41 PM

To be a black man is to understand that everyday you awake you will be faced with the challenge of trying to win a game were the deck has been stacked against you.We must make smart decisions with the cards that are dealt to us on a daily basis.One wrong played hand could prove to be costly. The good news is that we have a great history as a people. We are a strong, resilent and proud race of men. We also have great leaders before us who have played and won this game. All we need to do is draw on this knowledge. That my brother's is our "Ace In the Hole".

Posted by: Michael Kenner | November 21, 2006 12:25 AM

I am of the opinion that there is nothing wrong being blank man, except that we have all failed to recognise our commoon identity,"Black Skin". Our skin is more superior than any other race, which i belive should give us a common identity and if all Black man can unit all over the world, not to say in America alone we will be the best. Think positive, aspire to greater heignt and render selfless services to black first and humaninty. I am proud to be a black man living in Africa and hope to contribute my quota to the black race of the world with my own unique philosophy. that is Philosophy of the chicken psychology, philosophy of the love of a child and philosophy of the snail. Don ask what are these philosophy? You need to meet the black man in me before you can appriciate what am saying.

Posted by: Falasinnu Stpehen Olorunfemi | November 21, 2006 07:09 AM

It has been my experience in the white-collar workplace that whites are more at ease with stereotypical black men who act cool, walk cool, dress cool, and talk cool. Whites love them because they know these bros. are not a threat to them in terms of competing for promotions and lofty positions.

They do, however, feel threatened by black men who are upright, brainy, and holding comparable credentials.

Even in 2006, many whites do not seem too comortable having to deal with an ambitious, sharp black man who has the nerve to compete with them.

The black man they really want to hold down is the one who is not holding himself down.

Posted by: Chris | November 21, 2006 09:55 PM

On Being A Black Man
I see myself as a man who happen to be a black (*nabab-NAtiveBornAmericanBlack).
As a man who knows the risk of being black (cannot identify with AA) in America and on this planet, I develop a sense of self like the rabbits do and am prepared to defend that SELF against all odds. This I learned from the feminist ideology, and that I own the sea shores, the mountains, the rivers, the lakes and part of the beautiful plantation I came from in the Southland. This what it means to be a man in America-black, white, mixed, gay, straight, and alien from wherever.
The Hispanic community has been moving up the social ladder at an amazing rate, and they promote each other in simple ways and their own images are flashed on their own media. They have a strong collective SENSE OF IDENTITY. Even the process of just sharing low income jobs with each other does not diminish that identity of being Hispanic. It is a model for anyone to copy.
Blacks once had the status of being the largest minority population in the US, but that was recently ascribed to the Hispanics who do not see it as status, but see it as a new opportunity to promote their collective identity. This is what it means to be a Black, White or Hispanic man.
What does it mean to be a black man should not be posed as a question of value because it does not address the crucial issue of SELF IDENTITY which is beyond race, color, class, nationality, status, education or religion.
What does it mean to be a WHITE RABBIT? Just being a rabbit has nothing to do with the color of your coat. Being a rabbit exposes you to certain risks from hunters and non-human predators. Hence learning how to face life by developing your rabbit instincts and sharpening your 'rabbit sense' is what defines you as a rabbit.
Black men need to begin to learn to look within themselves and discover who they are, and not what kind of black man they are supposed to be and learn from the Rabbit.
Unfortunately these psycho-social concepts get lost in black religion and social traditions. Black Churches could play a role in helping black men in this predicament, if they would be willing to re-learn what religion is all about and expose themselves to the cognitive evolution of mental insights into self, spirit, and self identity.

Not to belabor the point, but I do think that the black church needs to begin somehow to raise the consciousness of black people to get them to show up at public venues and claim their public space. Otherwise black people will not know who they are and what their collective image is like in the midst of white people. One thing that the preachers and community leaders could do is to encourage their communities to change their attitude towards low skilled jobs. They are survival icons in this current economic state. Ask the Hispanic man.

Posted by: Bazil gray | November 22, 2006 02:05 AM

Until I visited Jerusalem in 1998, and received devine revelations as to the amount of prophetic data housed in Solomon's Temple and the Torah,, my answer could have matched any of those already posted. I was able to trace all of Abra-ham's seed: the Hamites, the Japhethithes,and the Shemites. I was able to trace the ancestors of, not only Abraham's seed but also I was able to use DNA to identify resilient genes in all humans. My most profound discovery was that I was a direct descendant of the Tribe of Judah that dwelt in the southernmost regions--the hottest part of Israel--where the black beduins have lived and continue to live to this day.
By searching the Torah, I was able to decode the prophetic names of all covenant heirs to find their eventual places of abode. As a result, I am happy to add to the above posts the following:
1. Everything of spiritual and historic significance that happened to the once most-powerful clan, Judah, which just happened to be the blackest of all ancient Israelites were according to specific prophecies.
2. Solomon, the ancient Hamitic King, prophetically encoded the solutions to all Hamitic people's problems in his magnificent temple.
3. Because of the specific promises that God gave to us--we would be the head if we stayed steadfast/obedient and conversely, we would digress from being the richest, healthiest and most blessed, to being the poorest and most disease-prone if we broke His covenant.
4. To sum up: Being a black man means being a direct descendant of God's covenant witness.

Basil Hill

Posted by: Basil Hill | November 22, 2006 03:00 PM

The subject has never change since Slaverly through post Civil War,Jim Scrow,Civil rights movement to today.
America has never address the history,
but debate only to pour more salt into
a wound that had never heal.The biggest
crime ever committed againt another Human
Being is to inslave body and mind,where
Western and Eastern European have advance in america society.Black history and famous Blacks have built this country through their toil,sweat,tears,and blood
including death.Black History should not be celebrated once a year,which many Blacks are Inventors,Doctors,Lawyers are brought to center stage for press and photo opt.
America have a shameful past that she refuse to deal with. I don't need to use
big word to explain for reader to understand.Just look at America at her best.


Posted by: Moses Pitts | November 22, 2006 03:36 PM

I think I got the answer that everyone wants to hear, not what the real concern is:
Being a black man in America means: knowing my place, dumbing down my IQ, staying in church so that America can feel safe, and just sitting on the curb with a joint waiting for Hesus to come and take me home to heaven.

Posted by: Bazil gray | November 22, 2006 11:37 PM

Being a black man in America means having to develop strategies for every day life others need not spend time with. You have to be prepared to deal with rejection just because of who you appear to be to society, before you even have a chance to show who you are. In some cases, beiung black means you may never get the chance because of it.

It's hard when the worst is automatically assumed about you; that in professional situations, you are most likely not as competent as your peers, and that you arrived at your station in life through favors or "affirmative action" having to do with being black. It's even harder in social situations, when the first reaction to your presence is fear and distrust, as black men tend to be judged by the worst travails of the least of us, and thus we are all deemed to be, deep down, violent criminals.

For these reasons, in social and professional settings, as a black man you don't have the luxury of ever letting your guard down, lest you risk being blindsided by some such situation that will hurt even more, because you didn't see it coming. And yet, it is that guardedness that trends to detract from the ability to be intimately involved in situations where you need to be, socially and professionally. It's a balancing act that, as a fifty year old black professional, has taken some time to get a grip on, and yet I don't think you can ever expect to master it.

Then there are the everyday embarrassments. Being passed up for cabs as your white peers whisk in and out of them; being followed around in stores, and talked to as if you are ignorant of some of the most basic things; being approached with absurd caution, for fear that you will explode in violence over the slightest question or disagreement. These slights are neither as bad nor as frequent as they used to be, but woe to the brother who allows himself to think that these are things of the past. It always happens when you least expect it, and at the most inopportune times.

The one positive in my own life, personally, being a black man has taught me is to rely on myself and, where possible, turn negatives into positives. In one of my first professional jobs I worked for a firm where I was the only one in my department. The firm moved to another location and computer equipment came up missing. I was the only one "interviewed" about the theft, even though I had yet to be issued to where the equipment was stored, and others who had bee there longer had. Because of this I was never issued the keys, and for the next 3 plus years I had to suffer the indignity of not being able to explain why I did not have access to equipment that I should have. This was in 1994. When I left the firm I swore I'd never work for a company like that again, and I haven't. I started my own consultancy, and have been self-employed ever since.

Posted by: C. Maxwell | November 24, 2006 04:00 PM

The face of double consciousness, the most examined specimen in the universe, yet the most visible and invisible in society, the pink elephant in the room, the thorn in America's side, the opposite of defeat, the only game in town that keeps this country on the edge of their seat, the envy of everyone unlike us, the team that plays away from home every week with few fans, the one silently yet profoundly loud tear that fell from the face of Denzel Washington in glory, what makes the world uncomfortable yet the comfort we must constantly strive to find living in our own skin, knowing that the time we have here we rent from the Lord and do not own because our lease on life is always subject to re-negotiation.

Posted by: Joseph Richardson | November 24, 2006 07:30 PM

To be a black man in America means you must be strong, tolerant, patient and exceptional inorder to survive in this society. In order to succeed in your career you must withold some of your abilities otherwise you are a threat. You must have twice the ability or experience to get hired, promoted or even considered in the working world. Other nationalities can display their pride but a black man must subdue his pride inorder to fit in corporate America. Society would rather showcase, promote, hire, reward a black woman instead of a black man. Why is it black women are less of a threat than black men? There isnt a black man alive that doesnt receive pressure in one form or another that a caucasian doesnt experience just because of color. Being black means being marked. Black men in general receive less support from their women than their white counterparts. Having said that I wouldnt trade being black for all the riches, power and recognition in the world.

Posted by: Joseph Foots | November 27, 2006 11:44 AM

neverending battle to defend, pretend and not offend. Often, being a black man means not being aware of what true manhood is. Not knowing what true courage, honesty and dignity truly are. Where your enemy is not only the "man", but also the "woman",the black woman, your so called black brother,who'd just as soon cut you as to look at you,andthe black church. The black church has lost its beacon of truth and traded in for videos,expensive conferences,and money. they have sold out. Being a black man means our heroes are snoop dog, dmx and micheal jordan. none of which give a damn about our youth and our culture. their only concern is geeting rich. Being a black man means having leaders with no courage or vision. sellouts

Posted by: Don Payne | November 27, 2006 05:12 PM

Being a 'Black' man is no different from being a 'White' man, or any man for that matter. You have to work hard, get an education, and get a little lucky along the way.

Any man from any background can fall through the cracks and when it comes down to it you need to take responsibility for yourself and just give it your all.

The more time you sit around crying about 'how things are' is time wasted. If your going to go down...you mize well go down giving it everything you have.

It does not matter if you grew up in Flint (MI), Mclean (VA), or Topeka (KA) everyone has a shot to make something of themselves. The only question is how bad do you want it? If it really means something to you...then you will do it...plain and simple...

Posted by: justin | November 28, 2006 09:25 AM

From a black woman's perspective...
Being a black man means there is a responsibility placed on the you to persevere, work hard, persist, desire help, accept help, help oneself, demonstrate accountability-respectability- good character- and intergity because of your past, your future, and the legacy of your future.

Posted by: Rev. Danita R. Phillips | November 28, 2006 10:45 AM

The concept of existentialism comes immediately to mind. To consider the nature of ones own existence and then
to consider the general nature of
existence itself. When placed in the context of a culture that relentlessly, albeit quite often subtely, conveys the message that your very existence requires qualification, the Black Man is placed
in the position of reacting, justifying
and defending. These are but a few of the
detriments that detract from the notion
of self-actualization. Until a Black Man truly becomes a "human being" in the eyes
of all who look upon him, he cannot approach his full potential. To be or not
to be...

Posted by: Toney Blanks | November 28, 2006 01:57 PM

I've read all of the posts and I agree with most of what has been posted. I would add that I have welcomed the challenge of being Black and succeeding in a system geared to impede or eliminate that success. I have always relished the opportunity to test myself against my White counterparts from the time I first started attending school with them in junior high school, until this point where I am enjoying retirement from two major corporations in 44 years of employment. The desire to confound, defy and destroy the Black stereotype, has been the fuel that has always driven me to be better than my White counterparts. In fact my last two corporate supervisors, both of whom were senior divisional vice-presidents, both admitted to me privately, that I was far superior to them, educationally, intellectually and socially. This was their way of admitting that if I had been born White like them, I would have justifiably been their supervisor, rather than their being mine. I thank God for giving me the drive to succeed against the odds that He knew I would face throughout my life. I would not trade places with any White man! Being created Black has been a privilege and an honor that I will always be thankful to God for.

Posted by: luther allman | November 28, 2006 05:34 PM

Being a black man can mean alot of things to alot of black people. But then again, you're asking me, not them. In my opinion, being a black man is all about one thing : PRESERVERANCE. It's about overcoming the hype and the downplay black men get. It's about the young black man working hard for just a grand-LEGALLY, instead of illegally, like some of us like to believe we're about. It's about standing up and taking resposibility for their "mishaps" and accepting them as their own rather than running like so many believe that we're supposed to do. It's about going on five, maybe six interviews a week and being turned down....just to pick your head up and go on that seventh, even eighth. It's about taking your family's responisbility into your own hands rather than laying back or do something illegal just because that's what that person's father was all about. We as black men go through a lot, maybe more than anyone can fathom. But we must press on for those who look to us as their role models. We must mold the path for those following us so that they may choose the right path to travel. We as a people are expected to do wrong, all because of what the statistics show. I think it is about time that we as black men change those stats and actually start to show people what it really is to be a black man. The days of emulating Iceberg Slim are over. It's time to start living the lives that Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X envisioned us living. They believed that the black man envisioned everything good: Strength, leadership, longsuffering, intellegience....and PRESERVERANCE.

Posted by: Joevaughn Walker | November 29, 2006 04:02 PM

LS, 47, Silver Spring, M.D. Topic of Discussion - Why is so hard for black women to find a good black man. Answer-You Black Women run the Black Men away because the way you act. I speak from my own personal experience. This may not reflect the views of any other person. It may be offensive to other black women, take it for what it is, this may help you when dealing with the kindhearted African American Brother. I must tell it like it is. The mothers and grandmothers of todays generation have done an excellent jobs raising us black people to be the best that we can be with our successful. Again, thanks to the all of the African American parents and grandparents. This message is wakeup call to call Black Women who are looking for a Black Man. The black women today have the tendency of wanting to be very controlling and manipulative to the kindhearted African American Brothers. I am speaking from the age groups from the mid 20´s to the 50´s. I have scene this behavior in family dealings, past relationships, and even in movies. Black Women feel as though the have to run the show when comes to dealing with decent black men who tries. I understand we live in a society that Black Women are key figures in the household.. Black Women have to give the Black Men a chance if not here are the facts. If the black women is dealing with knuckle head African Amnercan Brother is using her, wipping her behind, mentally abusing her, intimidating her, she will give that man her best. But if the black man is kindhearted sweet, caring, and giving person brother man you better watch out. Once she finds out that she can get the world from you, this black women is already spoiled and set in her ways, she is ready to control and manipulate you...You Black Women are too busy talking your game plan over with your sisters and girlfriends as to how you deal with the Black Man and his issue at the Beauty Salon or the Telephone. Talking the threatening words, I know how to deal with him. The Black Man is human, he needs you to be supportive, loving, SUBMISSIVE, NOT CONTROLLING, and be kind to him. Black Women that why the other races are stealing the black men. I applaud any Black Men today who is with any women other than a Black Women. I personally take my hat off to these guys. The Black Women who are looking for a Black Men, here is the deal, some of them are locked up, gay, and dead. It is not many of Black Brothers around as you can see it. We are running the White Women, Asian Women, Latin American, who have a decent attitude, and they submissive, supportive, not controlling. Black Women if you don´t change your ways, you can expect to spend more long nights wandering where is that Black Man of mines. Lets take into account that all Black Women are not controlling, there are some good ones, I commend you for being the good Black Women.

Posted by: LS | December 1, 2006 07:30 PM

To be a a black man it is like the milky way system to humanty. we know it is right there. we know we are part of it but yet we know just so little about it.

Posted by: Onaldo Rivas | December 2, 2006 08:46 PM

We are the image of our creator. He crafted and made us beautiful and special. To be a black man means to carry the strength of our forefathers and mothers, our history and past, our glory and and honor. We are able to achieve, able to survive, able to forgive, able to strive, able to live and able to let die. We hold the key to the human civilization and no one can ever take that away. We are walking art, proof that everthing God creates is beautiful; we are strong because the Lord made our hand this way. We are able to fight hard and love even harder. We are descendents of Kings and Queens from the crown of our heads to soles of our feet. We are the head of our families;We have HIS grace.WE ARE BLACK MEN.

Posted by: Kofi Amankwa | December 2, 2006 08:47 PM

That`s really a hard question and i will really try to be honest. I Think that being a black man in america is hard because we have gotten a bad rap for such a long time but it means that you have to be wise and aware of your surrondings. To be a black man it means that you have to be respectful to everyone because all eyes are on you as soon as you make a mistake.being black means that i have come from a strong race that has survived major obstacles for years and still has pride and respect for the people.

Posted by: john l appleby | December 3, 2006 09:01 PM

To be a black man is to know yourself, to know where you came from and who you belong to. Most black men don't come into knowing themselves until they are in twenties/thirties and that depends on where you live and how you were brought up. Knowing yourself means looking back at your history and being knowledgeable at what we went through and the obstacles that we had to overcome. Overcoming those obstacles means looking back into slavery and what our ancestors had to grow through and to determine to make that change. We don't have a lot of good role models out here, majority are in the Church however even as men in the Church we sometimes fail to do a good job because we fail that leadership that every black man needs. Knowing where you came from gives you more of a drive and a purpose to prove the other man wrong, knowing where you came from means that any obstacle you can overtake as a black man. I also feel every black man needs to know you they belong to. To be a black man it takes know you in Christ. I feel as a black man that one needs to have Jesus Christ because he is the key. A black man may be able to find himself in something else, whether its any other religion however when its all said and done those things that aren't centered around Christ wont last, (not getting in a debate however do the research for yourself). I feel as a man of God that my focus shall be on God and being a black man means following Christ, walking the way he walked, talked and carried himself. Many talk about not having the job this and that, Christ was educated (as a black man get some education), many talk about people discriminating (many people hated Jesus) they will hate us. I know as a black man we have to maintain a certain ego, personality and we basically get it from the rap community and stuff. I know many black men that are succeeding and I am on my way to success however as a black man it means to be strong, know your purpose, drive and dedication to what you are loyal too. Being a black man means taking care of your needs, having enough to get it done.

Posted by: K | December 4, 2006 08:05 AM

Culture of Silence:

"We shall have to repent in this generation, not so much for the evil deeds of the wicked people, but for the appalling silence of the good people." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

White people are not all equal.

Black people neither.

"It doesn't matter if you are black or white."

What is really important?

The question should be: What does it mean to be a man?

A man is not defined by his Sexual orientation, his race or his religion, but on his courage to defend his convictions and principles.

Isn't it racist to ask: "What does it mean to be a black man?"

If it ask a black man, maybe it is a selfdiscrimination.

If it ask a white man it is a discrimination.

For me, to be a black man, mean to be just a man. If I would be black, I will remember it, when I would see me in the mirror.
If I would see my skin colour.

Posted by: Dexter | December 4, 2006 06:12 PM

To be a black man is to be misunderstood, be proud and be gifted to prepare yourself for when your season comes. A fond cliche of my grand dad and dad told to me and my male cousins (and there were a lot of us), if you do not stand for something, you will fall for anything.

All these things and others (to numerous to name) have to be understood in its proper context to gain insight. The majority of us are honest to a fault and see things as being black or white (there are very few gray areas with us).

When being bombarded from the media with messages that send mixed signals on what is considerd successful in America's culture and the so called elite, it is no wonder why young black males are confused and angry. We need to step up to the plate and provide mentoring and leadership to our young brothers.

Being a babyboomer, a product of the civil right era and part of the establishment, I can see where great strides have been made during my generational period, but there is so much left to do. We cannot just sit idle and watch as all types of injustices and killing continue. We must get involve constructively to induce change for the better.

Until there is a frank discussion regarding race relations (the ugly and beautiful sides), none of us living in America will truly recognize our full potential to achieve and pursue our destiny and share in all its greatness.

Posted by: | December 5, 2006 11:39 AM

While I am not a black male, however I am a black female who is a bus operator for Metro. My riders are predominately black males, I get to hear first thing in the morning (5 a.m.), they're whoas of going to these low paying jobs, working hard, to support they're families. Sometimes I feel guilty of the job I have, because I feel that one of them should be in this seat driving me to work, making the money I make and sometimes they even tell me so.
I know it's hard for them, some of these guys should have become sports commentators, politicians, and/or in the management field. Of course they haven't been approached or offered such employment, and that's mainly because it was the color of they're skin or lack of education. But I do support them in getting up this early in the morning to try do what's expected of them, I never hear this being one of many positive traits that so many black men have.

Posted by: China | December 5, 2006 05:49 PM

Being a African American man means being the most feared person on the planet. In a survey that asked White males and females and African American males and females, who would be the last person you would want to see walking down the streets with you at night...well, you guessed it...me and African American male. It means that you will be judged by the color of your skin and not the content of your character. It means that if I have children and I am not married to the mother, then people will assume I would be a dead beat father. It means when I walk into a job interview, the job interviewer will think before the interview that I am inferior to them. It means that others often thinks less of me and as time goes on...I even believe the hype and start to think less of my self; therefore, I am nothing...sad, huh?

Posted by: James C. Ward, III | December 6, 2006 11:27 AM

I will never forget the response given by Brother Malcom X, to the question: What do you call a black man with a PHd? Brother Malcom answered: A Nigger!
That is how America looks upon the black race. That is how the system that was established and is maintained by the European American, has used and abused the black race for its own selfish gains.

Posted by: Charles E. Warren | December 6, 2006 08:25 PM

To be a black man in America, you have to be smarter, and more resilent that all others. Please be fanatical (very fanatical) about your strive for perfection, and never settle for less.

Posted by: OLUTAYO MATANMI | December 7, 2006 07:44 PM

This is a very good website, I'll tell all my friends to visit here. Keep up the good work, we need many more websites like yours.

Posted by: Kinard Sypher | December 12, 2006 12:26 PM

dont give me a pitty party . lm no dif ferent then anyone else! thankyou jesus that ls why jesus died on the cross

Posted by: Tony Rogers | December 12, 2006 01:18 PM


Posted by: DENNIS RAHIIM WATSON | December 14, 2006 11:46 AM

To be a black man is to always be under scrutiny. Scrutiny from other blacks and scrutiny from the whites downtown that never, ever have to mingle with a black man. Being a black man is almost like being invisible! We are not the CEO's of the world and we are not the k street lawyers our children see when they venture downtown. Our image in the mass media is that of entertainers and sports figures. If you take a poll in the inner-city, and ask black children who are their heroes, not one public figure would emerge. Our children don't know the Courtland Milloys or the Michael Wilbon's of the world. However, they know Beyonce, Jay-z and any of the myriad other black entertainers that the media showcases. As a black man, I truly believe that blacks are failing our children. We need to deemphasize sports and singing. And really make our children aware that the only way out of poverty is through education. If you don't believe me, take a look at some of the invisible people you see every day. Moreover, look at some of the black children in your neighborhood, they will be invisible in the near future.

Posted by: Mark chisholm | December 15, 2006 01:05 PM

What it means to be a Black Man in America to me, is pain and lost opportunities and you may not get a chance to express or develop your talents. Luck and whom one knowns or meets is a big factor that does not happen to the average inner city Black boy. The ignoring of the poor Blacks in society not just by other but by our own kind. The class game has been used to keep those that many feel do not belong out by our so called Black leaders. And everyone does not get a chance to pursuit happiness in the real world. Drugs are a major factor in discounting Black males potential, by not allowing them to become or promotion of education among all of us as honorable behavior and goals to achieve. We hate ourselves and are very stuck on stupid and getting money without having integrity or being honorable about how or whom we use or take advantage of and discount our own as throw away people if you do not have the education or background to make it. We act like other Americans toward our own when everyone wants Black men to fail. And nowadays we are failing due to lack of education and drugs influence on our community behaviors and the Black church has failed us all with one on every corner in our communities of color.

Posted by: Donald E Cole | December 16, 2006 04:26 AM

I was born into this world as a Black Man. I was born into this world as a Black American Man. Historically Black people have been treated unfairly, and today society does not address the the subject of unfairness, because of their guilt. The issue of ignorance, poverty, and destruction is something that society portrays as if it was a path chosen by some Black Men. I am very fortunate to have a father and a family that stressed getting an education or some sort of skills. In addition, do not get in trouble with the law(STAY OUT OF THE SYSTEM). Those of us that were fortunate to have support systems, have to be role models for some of our peers, as well as, the younger generation of Black Men. Sociey is still afraid of the presence of the Black Man, unfortunatly in 2007 we are initially judged by our skin color rather than our character. I ride the subway to work from VA to DC every morning, and white riders choose not sit by a Black Man. Is it me they fear? Do they think I will harm them? Do they think I will steal from them? Is this fear a result of what some see in the daily news TV/Newspapers. No reason to fear, I am a law abiding citizen, a proud american, and a proud BLACK MAN.

Posted by: Shawn Mason | December 17, 2006 01:15 AM

American black men come from a rich culture that is wrapped in love and strength. They can attest to this by their mere presences. In order to survive they have endured much that has been documented in white society and embedded in their history. There have been other races of men who have endured and have later been recognized for their perserverance. American black men have been struggling since their arrival and are struggling still. Their place remains the bottom of the American rung. As other cultures and races arriving in America will attest, "no one wants to be a black American" even our African kin. But black men are still here and in many individual cases succeeding to climb out of the pit and reaching back and pulling others out. They are loved and honored by their women for their strength and courage to face the odds. If America would embrace them and realize the emence power that could be elevated our country could be at the height of its greatness.

Posted by: Vanita M. Williams | December 17, 2006 07:39 AM

What it means to be a black man is that you understand who you are,where you come from, and where you are going. It means having a vision of the future and making that vision come true. It means that you establish a legacy. It means that you understand that sacrifices where made so that you could have a chance to be someone. A black man recognizes that a woman is to be cherised, loved, and served. A black man is a strong man; knowing that family comes first. A black man must recognize that he was made to handle a variety of issues. A black man must be willing to sacrifice such that his wife feels loved and his children can make it in this world. It means leading by example, showing the world that no matter what is set before him, he will survive. It is accepting any and every challenge and exceeding expectations that others may have had. Being a black man means to challenge yourself to be better than your predecessor. Being a black man means seeing obstacles as stepping stones to success. Being a black man is about respecting, loving, and nurturing yourself when no one else will. It is recognizing that we are are great people and that no one defines us except us.

Posted by: Kevin Williams | December 17, 2006 07:50 PM

It is an honor and a privilege to wake-up each day and look in the mirror and be proud to be a Black Man. Being a black man is sometimes tough, difficult and challenging, but the positives definitely outway the negatives. To be a Black Man is to be a winner, a fighter, a family man and one who will do anything to protect their family and community. We are often misunderstood, ignored, confused and consistently marginalized. But with all that we continue to endure we continue to wake-up each day proud to be a Black man.
So, brothers stand tall and strong because because the victory is already won and our mothers, wives, children and future generations are counting on us.

Posted by: Mark | December 17, 2006 07:59 PM

You have me laughing, do you mean, "What is it 'like' LUIB (Living Under the Influence of Blackness in the new Millenium's World)"? First we've should establish 'common' definitions that qualify the socio-political implications of those words.
'Being' a "Black' 'Man' is truly about being a Steward of this planet. Our original function was as a Healer, this was the ultimate purpose behind the gifts with which we were encoded. The gift of being able to translate emotions into media, speak with the flora and fauna was not accidental nor a cheap thrill.
Raised by a West Indian grandmother in the NYC of the 1960s I am blessed; blessed to be able to see a Before and After and still have Hope and Energy to fostter and nurture those to come who have the huge challenges presented by a world where our 'misrepresentation' is commonplace. View any screen you might want at any time any place, assess the characterization and look in the mirror.

Posted by: Carl 'Djinn' Lewis | December 18, 2006 12:03 PM

A Black man means several different things. For me a black man means respecting woman no matter how that women carrys herself. It means respecting family and putting nothing else first. It means treating your woman the way you would like your mother to be treated. Staying faithful to the woman you love and it means being there for that special person in your life no matter what the circumstances are. Open communication, honesty and I could go on faor hours. These are a few things.

Posted by: Sonia Spurlock | December 18, 2006 01:21 PM

If as many of my brothers were as concerned about what it means to be a man versus what it means to be a man, half of the problems facing our race would disappear. I witnessed a guy I call Bible Man at the grocery store in Forestville this weekend berating - screaming - a white man who was shopping with a black child, telling the man that blacks and whites were never meant to be together. I spoke with the white man afterwards and found that this was his grandson and that the boys father was absent and he and his black wife were helping their daughter raise the child. The child looked happy to me. Too much hate in PG county.

Posted by: Old Man | December 18, 2006 01:56 PM

I agree we as Black men need to be more involveed in our children lives. I am trying to do that myself. I am a single father with custody of 2 of my 3 kids and see my oldest daughter on weekends. I might not be able to fully support them on my pay but at least I try. I am trying to be the oppisite of my father( he was non-existent in my life-my mama and grandma raised me.) I am always there for them. I might be poor,(dont even got a car) but i do the best I can. people always wonder where there mother is, always say to me, well you different( I mean them females), but then get scared away if I try and have a relationship with them( the women). I feed clothe, give stuff to my kids, and make sure they in church every Sunday at First Fellowship Missonary Baptist Church where we are members. I am just trying to defy the sterotype that young Black men are deadbeat dads who maybe only seen they kids a couple times. Also I love my 2 daughters and son with all my heart. my oldest Jamilah, is 12 my son Anthony is 8 and my youngest Aaliyah( yeah me and her mama did name her after the late great R&B singer) is 5 and she is just learning how to read now and her first word was "daddy"
I feel I am projecting a positive image of what it is to be a Black man in America in 2006.

Posted by: Jay | December 18, 2006 03:30 PM

I have seen quite a few sides of the coin, with reference to my opinion of what it means to be a black man. I feel that black men have such a negative opinion through other people's eyes, that it takes more that average for them to truely love themselves. Most black men do have absent fathers, and there mothers are delusional with the thought that they can raise them without there fathers. The fact is that they will grow up, because they can't grow down. But how close to being well adjusted will they be. Men that grow up with single mothers are not given the privledge to see a man in action, now all father and husbands are not the example that you may want your sonto see, but that being the case, why have children by the man in the first place. I feel as though fathers should really begin to take thier jobs seriously, and raise men, and then the fact that they are black would be less of a factor.

Posted by: Marie | December 18, 2006 03:55 PM

What does it mean to be a black man? Its simple. Just be a man. Life bring you obstacles. Everyone have them. If you are a man, you should handle your situations and life obstacles as a man. Being a black man become easy once you truly become a man.

Posted by: zack | December 18, 2006 09:33 PM

To be a Black Man, means several things. My opinion is not all inclusive or totally comprehensive. However, in my slice of life, this is some of what it means to me.

It means that we start out with an uneven social, political and economic system that was originally designed for us to be LESS than a man, and more specifically, a black man. Because of this fact, proper education, positive ambition, determination and perserverance have to be habitual aspects in our lives. "Without struggle, there is no progress....."

To be a Black man means that we are viewed by many as lazy, unapologetic, attention starved and free of structure and discipline.

Being a black man also means that we have a swagger that is unmatched by other races of men. Not only in our walk in the physical sense, but in the way we navigate through our lives, as fathers, sons, business owners, employees, students, athletes, entertainers and leaders.

Our natural aggression is misunderstood by many. Our children are misdiagnosed and over-medicated. Our women are angry with us, somewhat empathetic, but severely impatient. Our fathers are missing. Our role models are normally athletes or hip hop artists.

To be a Black is man is HARD, but gratifying. To be a black man is to be confident, but humble. To be a Black man is just what GOD wanted me to be.

Posted by: Jonathan Pope | December 19, 2006 08:16 AM

Thank you. So many great messages in both video clips. I work in higher education and will use this series in my course. There are multiple points that can be learned from men in this series.
I also learned a few things myself. Wondeful job!

Posted by: Rebecca | December 19, 2006 09:44 AM

A Black man realizes that he has no one in his corner, but himself. The U.S. had almost 150 years to treat us like people and it hasn't happened yet. A Black man realizes it will never happen. We are viewed as a problem that Amerika wishes would disappear. A Black man is faced with the reality that unless he unlocks the creativy and ingenuity to provide for himself and his family, he will parish. Through it all, we amazingly have survived. A Black needs to focus on his own community and take action to improve our overall situation and reestablish some connect with Africa. We need to enjoy our culture and our history and stop trying to gain acceptance by those who despise our very being.

Posted by: Nairobi Evans | December 19, 2006 09:59 AM

As a black man in America, whenever you are in any environment where black men are not the majority, no matter if its a small classroom, a place of work, a resturant, or even a hockey arena filled with thousands of people, you are the most mistrusted, misjudged and mistreated person in the room. And several, if not most, of the other people in that room would prefer and fill much more comfortable if you were not in the room with them.

No other demographic on the planet is subjected to more negative perceptions and flat-out hatred from people who do not know them or anything about them than the black man in America!

Posted by: Darrel C | December 19, 2006 01:52 PM

It means having to try harder and be more educationally prepared than my counterparts. It means striving/having to be better at most professional endeavors yet maintaining a certain amount of patience because of the either perceived or hidden prejudices. It means being aware of other black issues such as parenting and black role models that make you strive to be different. It means showing your children and your spose that you care and love them.

Posted by: Copeland L. Turner | December 19, 2006 02:14 PM


Posted by: JOANNER TUCKER | December 19, 2006 02:14 PM

Being a black man means living with the constant threat of facing open hostility for no real reason. It means bearing the stress of the white majority's beliefs of what a black man is and proving them wrong every day of your life. It means being ignored or dismissed. It means knowing that you aren't welcome if you come to succeed. It means being sometimes openly resented for succeeding by both blacks and whites. It means knowing that you're perceived as a threat by your white peers. It means conforming yourself to behavioral standards and manners of speech that you find stupid as a matter of course. It means knowing deep down in your soul that you are hated, distrusted, and mocked. It means knowing that your character's been assassinated before you ever say a word. It means watching white people be amazed and occasionally outraged when you outperform them; asking you, "How did you do that?" It means people expecting you to be less than them. It means feeling as if you are carrying a heavy mantle of responsibility for the fate of your people. It means having to be twice as good to be seen as okay. It means no matter how high you fly, you'll still be looked down upon. It means having your most precious acquisition be gaining respect. It means watching your community be systematically destroyed and watching your people go along willingly. It means having to walk with the mane and grace of a king. It means having the inner strength to lift yourself above simple mindedness. It means knowing that you're role model for little black boys and adult white men. It means having the will to stay positive. It means constantly pushing yourself to channel your anger and frustration into productive action. It means knowing that the entire world is stacked against you and never giving up. Being a black man is the meaning of the word "dignity".

Posted by: Ernest Perkins | December 19, 2006 02:35 PM

Being a Black man means you were chosen by God to bear unbelievable trials and tribulations with the knowledge that nobody else on the face of this earth could possibly bear. We are looked up to by all other races. They emulate us, they denigrate us, they fear us, yet they don't have what it takes to be us. Being a Black man means being proud of our heritage, of the struggle our ancestors encountered and still we rise! We must realize that we are here simply because of the superhuman strength it took for our people to survive the middle passage. We've got to pass this knowledge on to everybody. A Black man takes care of his family, his home and his community. I am proud that God selected me to be such a man.

Posted by: Tony Brown | December 19, 2006 02:44 PM

Being a Black Man in Americqa is a 24/7 task. You are forever proving yourself. We talk about a level playing field which is just a mith. In reality you have to be twice as good in any job you apply for. But I love the challenge because that is what I was taught as a child growing up in Adel, GA. Education is the key to success for the blackman in America. Howewver, we are doing a poor job of instilling this virture in our young. We must return back to the family unit to insure success and good moral values.

Posted by: Bob White | December 19, 2006 03:02 PM

its means knowing your history before you know his story. being a black man is being able to understand where you are, how you got there, how your getting home, and who is providing challenges from these understandings. being a black man means knowing it wasn't affirmative action that gave that job, it wasn't the hundreds of thousands lynched that gave you chance, it wasn't the president that free'd you, and it isn't jesus who is going to save you its knowing your history before becoming his story

Posted by: Aubrey Modium | December 19, 2006 07:12 PM

To be a Black Man is to understand who and what your are. It means to be strong, confident and know the truth. After knowing the truth be responsible for the truth and live life accordingly. To be a Black Man means to control your own destiny and allow know one to have power over you. The only power that one has over the other is the power that is surrendered.
Being a Black Man means to endure struggle unparalled to others. The Black Man is Asiatic and God of the universe. To be a Black Man is to become familiar with the speech that William Lynch made on the banks of the James River in 1712.

Posted by: John Butler | December 20, 2006 07:09 AM

The question in and of itself is self-defeating because it implies standards to being a black man...while those standards are beneficial to a host of boys discerning identity it strips them of the primal aspect of living, and that is to simply respect life.

I am man who is black and since I'm so defined, I am a black man. I grew up without my biological father but, thankfully, his absence was replaced by a surrogate father. A man who I at times abhorred and cherished for his devotion to me, a child not his but in need of a male figure for direction. It is from my step-father, good and bad, that I learned what being a man is. That said, being a man, to me, is acknowledging the presence of humility in your spirit. Being humble and respectful presents to any man the option of living life fully. Which means you accept responsibility; you walk in faith; you speak with presence of mind; and you revel at the miracle every humanbeing is. Such a belief engenders strength, knowledge, and wisdom. Such a belief translates into being seen as human: as someone who accepts who he is, what he has to offer, what he cannot know, and what it means to live.

Posted by: Shernard Robinson | December 20, 2006 01:01 PM

What it means to be a black man is recognizing your road blocks, and in spite of their multitude still handling your responsiblities. In other words beating the odds.

Posted by: | December 20, 2006 01:17 PM

As a man GOD and a Black man I asked myself a tough question a long time ago... if I were White how different would things be for me? 10 years ago I could only speculate what this might be. Today, however, the answer is quite simply no better then I am at this moment. It isn't man that shows favor but GOD that grants it.

Secondly, it would be easy for me to cower from my identity, being witness to the steady proliferation of negative stereotypes that stem from the media, statistical blitzes that suggest that Black men occupy en-masse the lower substratum of the seedy side of civilized society and excel only in areas of sports, criminal behaviors, intellectual inferiority, paternal neglect, and civil dysfunction, but I won't. (The last time I checked this wasn't mutually exclusive to one community)

A man isn't measured by his race (or shouldn't be) but from the divine standard ascribe for all men ages ago. I could say..." I should do this but not that" or "I can follow this, but avoid that", ... but why has this become a Black thing... it isn't; its what every true father wants for his son or daughter; its what every true man desires for his wife; its what every Pastor wants for his congregation and what every leader wants for his followers.

The standard set for all men irrespective of race is the true measure and not the delineations drawn from those who see Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and others, adhering to a different set of guidelines. Those who desire to continue to draw these egregious parallels between Black men and all others, rely on the brutish mechanism of statistics to validate their arguments. Most statistics can be drawn to show or prove whatever argument is the argument de Jour. Sidney Poitier said in his movie "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" when speaking to his father..."that until we can move the dead weight of our father's from our shoulders, we'll continue to pollute the minds of future generations" (ad-lib used). The same holds true today.

Posted by: Bill Anglin | December 20, 2006 03:06 PM

It means to STRUGGLE

Posted by: chris | December 20, 2006 05:03 PM

A man knows about the history of his family ancestors and takes on the challenge of becoming more spiritually, emotionally, and materialistly. Building on the genetic strengths, creates an environment that produces happiness for himself and his love ones.

Posted by: G. Shof | December 20, 2006 06:28 PM

I have thought about this a long time and the gut reaction is the idea that as a black man you always on guard, you have to fight twice as hard for respect and when you fail at something the whole world will point it's finger at you. Being a black man means that you will be the subject of frequent sociological studies and statistics that say nothing to you really only reminding you that you are an endangered species, yet American culture moves and conforms to your tastes while at the same time exorcising you from it's collective concern. Being a black man means that you will be stripped down to stereotype and compared to Asians, Hispanics etc. by the same racists who claim that you are a lazy-hypersexual-sadist-thug-parasite who should be brutalized, locked away forever or simply killed. Being a black man means that you will be passed over continuously for promonition in favor of someone else less qualified but has the added bonus of not being a black man. Being a black man means that you will be evaluated by the actions of countless other black men because it is assumed that we think and act a like, that we vote the same, that we want the government to save us and that a black man who speaks on a podium is a spokesman for all of us. Being a black man means that you will be criticized for even daring to mention racism. That the very accusation is the result of oversensitivity or scape goating. Being a black man means that you will suffer for being a black man and it sometimes it doesn't have to make sense. Being a black man means that people who no idea what it means to be a black man will claim to know what your motivations are and what you will do and how you will do it. Being a black man means that you have to be very careful dealing with the police if you just happen to live in a "good" neighborhood and decent to go for an evening walk. Being a black man means that you have to be on guard, you can wear a suit to work and it's assumed that you are not as intelligent as your non-black co-workers, that you are no different than the stereotypical thug who wears his pants off the crack of his butt. I guess my point is that being a black man is hard and this country and the world is unforgiving, there is no sympathy, there is no justice and there is no peace for is. Amongst us are the most brillant men and women in the history of the world and yet we are still treated like 3rd rate citizens.

Posted by: a.stevens | December 21, 2006 03:00 PM

Unfortunately it means that you must answer to a higher level of understanding of self, a more mature outlook towards life and understand that your trials and tribulations are society induced and no matter what you must persevere.

Posted by: James White | December 22, 2006 08:14 PM

A black man is either forged and purified by the flames of racism or is consumed by his own fear, anger, and hopelessness. I've been on both sides of this equation and have learned that ultimately, I have a choice of either being a victim or becoming a victor who through faith, humility, conviction, and integrity decides his own destiny. Being a black man means walking through the flames each day while serving as America's moral barometer.

Posted by: Derek Scott | December 24, 2006 06:17 AM

For me it is an opportunity to excel and an opportunity to fight back as you are born defeated by societal prejudices and injustice. The bar is too low. A black man doesn't start from zero at birth like every other man in this continent. A black man starts with a negative, with a debt to pay before start to live. It is like to be in a vicious cycle and live in struggle to be in the cycle or get out of it. Unfortunately most of us couldn't.

Posted by: webb | December 24, 2006 12:49 PM

There are a lot of sucessful black men in Washington DC. You do have a percent of black men in unfortunate situations, such as, in crime,in drugs and in sex activities. But, overall, majority of the black mens, especially in the America have been rasied by good families. I see hope and promise for the black men. Being a black man in America is good today. I'm proud of the fact that I am Black. I'm proud that I have accomplished alot in my 45-years as an African-American. I don't have a lot of money, but I do have lot of respect for myself. I'm not well-education, but I able to express myself fairly well. Therefore, I feel if I can accomplished life's challenges, so can they.

Posted by: Silvester Woods | December 25, 2006 10:04 PM

What it means to be a "Black Man" by Allen Martin

What it means to be a Man,
Now listen up my brothers and try to understand,
Man doesn't mean, what kind of clothes you wear,
and it sure doesn't mean how loud you sware,
Man doesn't mean the kind of money your possess,
Nor does it mean the number of women you profess!
Man doesn't mean that you slap your lady around,
It sure doesn't mean how many brothers you've beat to the ground.
Man doesn't mean you are to tough to cry, and being tough doesn't mean that you can not die!
Man doesn't mean that you drop out of school,
and that you brag on the past as a 40 year old fool!
Now what Man is, is a very strong mind,
not a tough disposition, you can still be kind,
What Man is, is taking care of Home,
being there for your children even after they are grown!
What Man is, is that spirit inside,
that helps you stand up with that air of pride!
Now if you think you're a Man, give yourself this test,
then you tell me if you're trying your best.
No 1. Do you respect your elders and understand their worth,
know that their blood, sweet and tears helped to build this earth.
No. 2. Do you know that people died so you can enter the schools,
that you choose not to study because you think it's not Cool.
No. 3. Are you proud of yourself, do you have dignity,
or do you swim in self-petty and promote mind poverty
No. 4. Do stand for which you believe, Do you believe for which you stand,
Ask yourself this question, when a boy looks up at you, do you think he sees a Man!
If any answers to these questions just happen to be No, then you need to re-define what Man is Boy, Cause you have a long way to go!

by Allen Martin, President, AMTS, Inc

Posted by: Allen Martin | December 26, 2006 12:35 PM


Posted by: DARREN TERRELL WALTON | December 28, 2006 01:28 AM

I think as men we are held to the highest responsibilites in our family. The man is the head of the household and you are not a family unless there is a man there. We are responsilbe for own actions, I tell my daughter there are three things you look for in a man and you will never go wrong. (1) If he has to move in with you, he isn't hitting on nothing (2) If he can't take care of his child he would not take care of you (3) If he has no job or car you need to keep on going. I feel proud to be a black man, I look up to Martin Luther King, John Lewis, Joseph Lowry, Fred Shuttlesworth, Jessie Jackson who gave there life work so we can have the same opportunities as other. The opportunities are out there we must make it happen, true there is racism and prejudice but we must continue to fight and take over our household be responsible parents and lead our children in the right direction.

Posted by: Tchaikovsky Ro-Nald Hall | December 28, 2006 11:07 AM

Being a Black man in today's society means
we need to seize our moment in time. My
fore fathers taught me what struggle, commitment, dedication, loyalty, adversity,
weakness, strenght, sadness, loneliness,
hard work, excitment, frusration, depenency, love, hate, patience, and what
being a black man is actually about. I'm a
product of all, which gives me the ability to function with all that I face in my everyday adventures. I must love my god, wife, children, parents, brothers, sisters and friends. I must hate all barriers before me, and use my strenght and anger to tear them down, without causing harm to
the ones that are in front and/or behind me. Being black is being loved and respected, and I always feel both, so when you feel that being a black man isn't all good, remember everything god made is good, it's what we do with it that makes us Black men.

Posted by: Paul Miller | December 28, 2006 12:44 PM

I am a female to male transexual and black. Not many people in this world are clamoring to be black men, but I am. In my soul I have always identified as male unfortunatly for me I have always embodied a female anatomy. The choice for me is to live boldly and embrace my masculinity. To be seen as a black man is more than not being able to catch a cab. It is about walking where I need to go blazing a path of self discovery leading me to be the best husband, father, man and human. I am learning that to be a black professional scholar is to defy racist signifiers and confound. I will continue to embrace my self expression. I am not inadequate that is a myth perpetuated not only in the white world, but in the communities that try to deny my right to be respected for who I feel I am. I am a black man.

Posted by: Mikael | December 28, 2006 12:56 PM

Being a Black Man means being wiser than the framers of such a myopic question.
Regardless of the color, being an adult means responsibility to self and family, reverence for the Devine, respect for your fellows.
It means choosing truth, humility, compassion, forgiveness, and love at every opportunity. It means courage and wisdom.
Being black only heightens the awareness. Around the globe, the odds are not in our favor when it comes to affliction, hunger, injustice, prejudice, and financial well-being. Especially when we live by the rules of others who may not have our collective best interest in mind.

To the God of my understanding, what it means to be black is irrelevant. What does it mean to be a source of love in a world that's lacking? That's a true question.

Posted by: tejah sowelle | December 28, 2006 11:28 PM

wonderfully done.

that's how video should be used. that is the first peice i can remember that kept my interest-- i haven't read the series, but now I will.

Posted by: | December 29, 2006 09:59 AM

I'm not a black man, but I have a black father, two black brothers and a black boyfriend. For centuries black men have had to struggle with being who their women and mothers want them to be, their forefathers expect to be, and what society says they are capable of being. The black man's load is heavy and legendary and unique. I don't feel pity for some black men who find themselves involved with crime, drugs or in prison. But I do understand it. While simultaneously trying to find them selves and live up to expectations the speed at which the black man travels throughout history has often been regressive, loosely progressive and sometimes even stagnate.

Yet, despite societal and cultural expectations/obstacles, overall, it is the responsibility of the black man to move throughout the world at God's speed.

Posted by: Nikki | December 29, 2006 12:48 PM

To sadly be on the bottom of the totem pole decades after the Civil Rights laws were passed.

Posted by: Robert Surface | December 29, 2006 02:21 PM

it means you don't even try to take care of yourself and others and that begging for change on the street is acceptable.

Posted by: Marcia Cross | December 29, 2006 02:25 PM

Being a Black man is an anointing. It is wonderful to be apart of a triumphant heritage of men here in America. Despite being assailed over our history, like all scare commodities, we have become valuable. With'knowledge of self' we can know our worth. All that our legacy of struggle implies for our potential is a wonderful thing. We need to rejoice in our "blackness" because we are still here when we are not supposed to be.

"Up you mighty race..."

Posted by: Darren W. Palmer | December 29, 2006 02:43 PM

I am a Black man but what triggered me to answer this question is that I personally don't see anything different with the exception of the colour.Anything different in behaviour lies with where the person in particular was brought up.This is also true of all other colours.Besides this another influencial factor is the group in which the person falls in.
Being a Blackman has no favours nor advantages just like the other colours.The only problem is racism where some of the other colours look down on the Black man as being inferior or as a symbol of something disgusting due to impoverished Black masses and the way they tend to live to survive.

Posted by: ERNEST ANKOMAH SARKODIE | December 29, 2006 04:54 PM

being a man is like a full-time job...

being a black man like 2 full-time jobs...

it's clear to most what i mean by that. not only do you have all the struggles and worries and dangers and fears, etc. that other men have, but you also have to deal with being black. that's a job you can't quit, no matter how piss-poor a job you do - you will always be black.

where a lot of problems arise is the attitude (whether overt or subconscious) that you CAN quit the job of being a man. you can forget about basic responsibilities. you can walk away from a family. you can disregard the importance of education. you can trample another person's basic human rights.

the secret is that being a responsible man automatically makes you a responsible black man. the key though to unlocking that secret is that your being black necessitates that you work harder; that you give more of yourself; that you sometimes get the sorter end of the stick. as long as you see and understand those things, you can navigate and direct your own destiny. being black also necessitates that we respect and renew and refresh and uplift our physical communities and our mental sense of community.

not all black men live a hard life. but the statistics concerning the brokeness of our families and communities are staggering. So for those that are fortunate enough to have come from a stable family and/or fortunate enough to beat the odds and catch a break have a responsibility to the others that weren't so fortunate. we need to be fostering a much stronger sense of community-mindedness in those folks. we need to live life as if we were immigrants to a foreign country. the model is already laid out: send out your strongest to set roots, and pave the way for the others to come along behind. you see it all the time with european and asian and latin-american immigrants. a few come to the US, get jobs, find housing, scout opportunities, and then bring the rest of the family later.

as a people, we began following that same model with the civil rights movement and desegregation. we sent out our best and brightest out of the community -- which is a legacy we have retained since -- but where we have failed was in part 2. our best and brightest have gotten caught up in the "sense-of-entitlement" and "all-about-self" cultures and have not made directed efforts to come back and bring the rest of us into the 'promised land', as it were. We feel "self-made" if we happen to enjoy some level of success.

So, the question still hangs... what does it mean to be a black man?

it means being responsible for yourself, and being your brother's keeper.

Posted by: LED | December 29, 2006 11:49 PM

simply delicious! thankyou for this artical It truely came at a time in my life that I needed it the most.I am a 40 yr. old black american female....divorced twice with children all grown and way from home,struggling to make the sense of it all.during my first divorce I knew that in order to be a complete person I first had to take a long look at not just my childhood but my heritage as a black female as well as the black males heritage these things help to shape our relations today.Very few wish to admitt this but it is true...slavery played a big part in this

Posted by: sheenice green | December 30, 2006 09:59 AM

in my young lifetime, I have lived in the inner city where 95% of the people I know and deal with day-in-day out are black. i have also lived in the suburbs where the exact opposite is true.

the funny thing is that in both cases i always felt "out of my element". meaning that there were people in certain positions and institutions and practices that did not have my best interest at heart.

white people, and ESPECIALLY white men can never grasp this concept or truly empathize with that feeling. they could never fathom the power of the omnipresence of that incredibly foreboding reality.

to piggy-back off of what another gentleman posted: since high-school I have been in many situations where I was the ONLY black person. i always feel the responsibility [read burden] of "carrying the torch" as it were. i have to been an especially upstanding citizen, and be very mindful of the manner in which I speak. on a core level, everyone wants to express themselves, but most of us have to live such a duplicitous life that my wife and I have coined our own personal term for what it is that a lot of us do without even thinking about it: "un-bruh" (UN-bruh) -- meaning to change your normal manner of relating to and communicating with other people when you are around non-blacks (specifically whites).

Posted by: LED | December 30, 2006 11:18 AM

To be part of a group of whom much is asked, but little is expected.

Posted by: TC | December 30, 2006 02:23 PM

Being a Black Man is both a blessing and a curse. Hopefully, you are born into a situation or at least get to see the difference between the two. Because your life can depend on it. I know of no ther race in the world who is born with such a burden. To be born on the edge of a cliff and one wrong move can send you toppling over.

Posted by: Lewis Williams | December 30, 2006 02:56 PM

Being a Black Man is both a blessing and a curse. Hopefully, you are born into a situation or at least get to see the difference between the two. Because your life can depend on it. I know of no ther race in the world who is born with such a burden. To be born on the edge of a cliff and one wrong move can send you toppling over.

Posted by: Lewis Williams | December 30, 2006 02:57 PM

I'm a very proud black man, 40 years old I grew up in and around the district, I've never really been in much trouble at all, my reason I believe is due to being afraid to get into trouble, but more important disapointing my mother to me was the last thing I wanted to do.
Being a Black man in america has never and probably will never be easy, expectations are low for black men, even within the black community. I've always been annoyed when I hear women give compliments, saying "he's in college" or "he takes care of his kids", to me that's not a compliment, thats what a man should be doing, behind these statments seem to be, thoughts of achievement, and that's why its annoying. My mom raised 5 kids pretty much alone, and to me she did a damn good job, thats my hero, my mom, not Michael Jordon or any other sports hero or movie star. I think if kids understood at an early age the sacrafices and dreams their moms and dads gave up our communities could be closer working together and lifting each other up.
As Black men, sometimes we take the easy way out, or what we think is easy. We have many young men and women who could stand to hear the truth from fathers, uncles or brothers about the obstacles they'll face.

I'd be happy to somehow give my time to help, if I can change the mind of one young man, I'd feel its a step forward.

Anything I can do, contact me

Funny things irritate me, Professional Athletes, who feel they have to sale, or even be around drugs (you've made it out, don't be stupid)
We've all made dumb decisions, I know I have, maybe we can teach the next generation, if they're willing to sit long enough to listen.

The Story about Anthony James broke my heart, I hope he does what it sounds like he wants to do and for some reason I think he's capable of a better life.

Posted by: Anthony Davis | December 31, 2006 05:50 PM

As a white I can't possibly know how tough it can be but I would guess it means having to be better at what you do than a white candidate for a job..It would mean having always to wonder what your white associates really think and feel about you..and, of course, always having to be on your guard when driving because of the normal prejudice one finds among law enforcement personnel..and on and on it goes. It must be just awful to live with.

Posted by: hal | December 31, 2006 07:50 PM

In a puritan society that has its three hierarchies, rich, middle and poor confused on racial and religious ideas, it is not easy to be idealistic about being other than part of the majority of the dominant social groups. I am sure most people understand history, but often people hinder the truth from the masses for self serving ideas. To be a black man in North America is to be aware of the history of black people in North America, the Caribbean, and Africa. Understanding slavery and the history of trade and labor which have occurred numerous times in history, tells of culture change over time as ideas vary due to industry economics. Black men are sometimes caught in a situation of discrimination and confusion due to lack of resources but as education and information is available, knowledge brings new light for black men who had no direction. The ideas of prosperity and knowledge are still yet to be realized due to social engineering from the past. Fathers are very important to all boys for ideas and survival. Most mammals learn from the females as babies but need dominant male figures to teach and encourage the junior males. Animal females do not usually mate with lesser males for survival. Life will prosper for those with knowledge, security and social order and doom those without these traits. Unity does not guarantee success for black men or any race of men, good ideas for future endeavors, security and instruction for society will guarantee happiness. Black men must be socially strong men before being labeled black men. We all know that nothing is created nor destroyed only changed in shape or phase, the same happens with knowledge and understanding the world is cyclical, dynamic and interesting.

Posted by: lex | January 1, 2007 01:49 AM

the number 1 thing a black man has to be, STRONG! stronger than any other class of people.The black man has to be everything and cant afford to be average.The black man has to be fearless. When your from the streets, violence is the one thing that gets you both of these things.I dont know if its from,society,media, our past in this country,or exactly what it is.In the streets of D.C.when you have young men and men all fighting to be the strongest and to have the respect its chaois.

Posted by: | January 2, 2007 12:02 PM

This is a very interesting issue, and although I am having a bit of difficulty in finding a starting point, I'll do my best. Being a Black man has been the biggest challenge I've had to face in my entire 42 years of living. As some of the gentlemen mention, we must go far above and beyond if we're ever going to get "half" the recognition we deserve. We are criticized, ostracized, kicked, stereotyped, and basically robbed of our manhood on so many fronts and by so many different people; white men, black women, white women; it seems that everybody has something negative to say or do to us. Our women are constantly disrespecting our manhood by calling the police to our homes whenever things don't go exactly the way "they" think they should go. They are constantly telling the children that black men are no good, their daddies are "sorry", and perpetuating all sorts of negativity about us. While there are brothers out there who are just dropping children, and then doing nothing to help support them, there are just as many, and I like to think there are even "more", who are doing everything they can to help support the child financially, as well as emotionally and mentally. Many of these brothers still don't stand a chance because of the lies and slander the mothers are feeding the children. Therefore, the bruden only gets heavier, because of the lies that black women are levelling against us. The "system" then takes us, brands us with the label "deadbeat", and throws us in jail. Now, we are in the system. It becomes three times harder to get one's life back together after being placed in this pigeonhole. The white man is placed in total control once again, as everything the black man worked to accomplish has been all but destroyed by a lie told by a black woman, just because after he paid all the money he had to stay current on his child support, he couldn't give her another 40 dollars to get her nails done. Now, according to her, he's nothing. Less than a man. He ain't "takin' care of his business."
I'm a Blues musician in Upstate, New York. Their blues scene consists of a group of white musicians who are all but claiming the art form as their own. I've been playing the guitar for 30 years, so I know what I'm doing, yet I can't even get any stage time up here. I went to an open mic a couple of weeks ago, and was the only Black man in the crowd. I signed up to play in the fifth position. There was a three song maximum, and sets were to be no longer than 15 to 20 minutes, which means I should have been onstage by 9:15. I got there at 6:45, and at 10:30, I still hadn't been allowed to play, so I left. I was told a couple of days later that people were being called up to "jam" with the other players while I sat out in the audience and waited for my opportunity to play, which never came. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't The Blues a Black art form?

Posted by: Dan Higgins | January 2, 2007 02:16 PM

I grew up in PG County where we are a majority and don't know what it means to be anything other than a black man. I think the main thing that it means is having to overcome the constant negative racial brainwashing that we endure growing up. We are as diverse and individual as any other group of men, but I've found that many in our community want all of us to be the same. Are you not as "black" because you, for instance, listen to anything other than what is considered "black" music? When I was 18, I joined the military and left PG County and learned that much of the "hate" preached to me while growing up in PG County was a lie. I was always looking for "Whitey" to hold me back, but found that it was racists within the white community that were the minority. I was able to accel, putting myself through college and have enjoyed a successful career. I found that the truth is people don't want to take responsibility for their own failures so they place the blame elsewhere - funny, this is exactly the same thing that racists do. I now look back and wonder how much farther I'd be now had I not spent my early years watching my back and worrying about what Whitey was up to. People wake up! If we are a majority in PG County, why is it so difficult for many of us to prosper? Our people are in charge, so who is really holding us back?

Posted by: The Awakened Giant | January 2, 2007 04:15 PM

Being a black man in America is quite possibly the most difficult thing that any subculture of humanity has to do. At the end of the day, a jewish person is simply a white person with a different religion. As a 25 year old professional black man, I am fully aware at all times that I represent the most dangerous, misunderstood, and extinct faction of American society. It means having to balance things that others take for granted. If you wear this, whites will fear you and disrespect you. If you wear that, you don't fit into the mold of what society [and we] have convinced ourselves is right. Most importantly, wearing the wrong thing can actually lead to our death, as evidenced by years of gang fighting and robbery. Do I get the car that I want and have earned the right to purchase when I know that it will make me a target of law enforcement and just plain "haters"? All of my life it was nothing to be the only black kid on the baseball team or the only black boy in the advanced class. Still, I was well aware of the way that this rubbed some of my black piers. It was hip to be down, so lifting myself up was not very cool. This is only the tip of the iceberg as I'm sure that most of us could write a novel on the topic.


Posted by: Todd Fleming | January 2, 2007 05:42 PM

This is really well done. The production, interviews, mix of people are fantastic! Congratualations.

The only thing I'd say is I'd like to know who is talking. There's a list on the right but who wants to pair that up with the video.

Anway, great job.

Posted by: Lynne Terry | January 3, 2007 11:49 PM

This question, in my opinion, is too broad to be definitively answered. Nonetheless, a Black man is still a man, and shares that common human bond with men of all colors. A Black man in America does share a common historical experience that centers around the conflicts initiated by slavery, and perpetuated by racism and the promulgation of racial misconceptions. Therein lies the biggest challenge of Black men: disproving the stereotypical perceptions of Black men in society and the media.

Posted by: Adam Vicks | January 4, 2007 09:14 PM

Sista's Battle Cry

Brotha, brotha
Where are you
When all
Is not won
Where did you run
Brotha, brotha
Where are you
My back is tired
I grow weak
Strong shoulders to lean I seek

You dodge responsibility
To your mother, your sister
Entire community
For I am them
They are me
Your absence
A hindrance
To all that could be

I held my fist high
A soldier
In the revolution
Absenteeism, desertion
Not apart of the solution

This nation developed
From the nourishment
Of my breast
Fought for equal rights
Through nonviolence
Civil unrest
When you were in jail
Or shooting that smac
In your vein
I carried you
Understanding the source
Of your pain

I hear your rhythm
The drum beat
Your heart
It's my anthem
Thou we're apart
Do you not miss
The sway in my hips
The kiss of my full lips
The cadence in my walk
The sing song way in which I talk

Laying upon
My caramel colored skin
You feel no conviction
Of living in sin
Not your last name
But your children I carry
Am I not worthy
Not good enough to marry

Strong but weary
My spirit's not meek
Someone submissive
Softer you seek

Our fantasies
Dreams we did share
Sitting between my muscular thighs
I groomed your kinky hair

Our sons are in darkness
Needing you as their guide
To be a man
Did you yet decide

No longer limited to
The corner brotha's
Abandonment you chose
The famous
Educated & wealthy
We epidemically lose

Until your return
The cycle repeats
Can't continue to blame
For our defeats

With our nuclear families
On the extinction list
Your evils
You must resist

No time to cry
I often pray
Though you're complacent
Back home
You will find your way

My wisdom and strength
I lend to no other
With welcoming arms
I still wait for you brotha

Brotha, brotha
Where are you
When all
Is not won
Where did you run
Brotha, brotha
Where are you
My back is tired
I grow weak
Strong shoulders to lean I seek

Posted by: Tonya | January 6, 2007 10:01 PM

This is the wrong question to answer. By answering this question, you define yourself by someone else's standard. No matter how you answer it, you will be fighting upstream against history and society.

I suggest defining yourself as Christian men. By striving to live against that standard, you will be able to educate yourself, have a career, and a responsible family man.

Posted by: TC | January 7, 2007 08:58 PM


it's 5:30 a.m.

got my father's name to better,
got recession's storm to weather,
got my black women to queen,
got affirmative's actions to clean,

got ignorance to un-label,
got calamities to un-table,
got my families to un-break,
got confirmations to un-make,

why must I have to prove, all I said I can do?
why must I fight to be, all I said I can be?

got athletics to un-typecast,
got spiritual gardens to un-fast,
got inferiority's terms to un-instill,
got prison's cells to un-fill,

got video cameras on observe,
got statistics fighting to un-curve,
got inequalities to un-endure,
got predictions of failure to un-secure,

why must I confirm, all I said I could learn?
why must I show to be, all I said I could be?

as a black man--- that's the reality
before my workday
even begins

it's 6 a.m.


Posted by: Mark Anthony Thomas | January 8, 2007 11:45 AM

Living in a world where information gathering is crucial to the development of any agenda, it is encumbered upon the black man to be vigil and educate himself where as he will be in a position to process information and identify what is in his best interest to effectivly compete in a society that promotes his peoples demise. Having the ability to teach his youth the love of self and the meaning of black unity and most of all, the love of the black woman. This is what first comes to mind of the meaning of being a blck man.

Posted by: George | January 9, 2007 10:28 AM

Being Black and male in the US means being truly free. I don't mean free in the sense of "I can ride on the front of the bus if I want" or "freedom to vote." We experience a cultural freedom no other group in this country can fathom.

Popular media - mostly run by whites whose only interaction with Black people is forced on them by Affirmative Action laws passed within the last 20-30 years - has no idea what our freedom really is. Eldridge Cleaver hinted at what the dominant culture thinks our freedom looks like. Most non-Blacks think our freedom is the freedom to sleep with anything that walks, to make loud music where we rant and rave violently, to dress flamboyantly, to act disproportionately macho and to generally be scofflaws. But what else would you think if all you knew about us is what you could download from iTunes? I laugh at my white friends who think I don't act Black enough because I don't wear baggy jeans and ride around in a SUV while smoking copious amounts of weed, loading my Glock so I can make random strangers do the 9mm shuffle. All they know about being Black is what some other white guy told them and that white guy is as ignorant as they are.

Our freedom is the result of being forcefully separated from the various cultures and traditions which shaped the lives of our ancestors prior to the African Diaspora. Without a few thousand years of cultural norms to tell us how to talk, how to dress, what to aspire to, etc we have become a mass of individualists bound by a common pain. We can't claim that our ancestors were part of the British royalty and came here with a land grant from the Queen. We also can't say that in order to gain acceptance from our Chinese grandparents we must marry only within our race and only if they are from a specific region of a country 4000 miles away.

For all our well documented and often lamented losses we, as Black people, have gained the ability to infinitely reinvent ourselves as we see fit. As Black men, that means we can re-imagine what masculinity means to us and we don't need to check with anyone else to see if that's an ok thing to do. We can run around with weird looking perms, wear 4-inch high heels and sequin jumpsuits and nobody would dare think we are gay. Think I'm kidding? Look at Prince (or maybe Al Sharpton but he doesn't sport the jumpsuits). We can be gun wielding intellectuals respected in the international community, patriotic soldiers, religious zealots, crazy painters, or permutations of all these things and still carry a "thug" attitude even if it seems to totally contradict everything else we do. Who else can behave this way without their peers thinking they have lost their minds? Since we ascribe to no single political agenda and no specific cultural tradition we can cherry pick what we believe and how we manifest that belief in our everyday lives. And because it is our own choice and not something forced on us by centuries of "do it this way or else" almost all of us only do that which excites our passions.

Sure we get beat up by cops, live in crappy neighborhoods, and the whites who control all the government money divert funds to their happy little schools in the lily white American suburbs. I would still rather be free and have to fight for everything I have than have it all handed to me like some people in this country and be a brainwashed cultural sycophant. So go ahead and pretend that all Black guys are the cartoon characters portrayed on the evening news and in the entertainment industry. We are laughing at you because we really are free and you aren't.

Posted by: Vin | January 10, 2007 02:06 PM

The hardest job in america is being a black man. You are feared by your white counterparts,have disappointed your black women and you are the most stereotyped race/gender on earth. No one beleives in you................but you!

Posted by: CRAIG D | January 10, 2007 10:50 PM

A Black Man? It is as if you are looking for an adjective, some type of decription to explain why society treats them are act a certain way towards them. Everyone has a story.
In 2003 Morris Brown College lost its accreditation , my brother attended that school, a DeMatha graduate. The situation of the school was of no fault of his, but what was his stand, what efforts did he make. During my high school years I watched my parents making less than $70,000 combined struggled to keep him in private school. It was for many reasons, the number one reason was because he wanted to go there. I, myself his twin attended public school, with no ambition to going to college (military was the plan). The day my Mother went to register him for school at Hampton and he could not enroll because he falled to take a summer course, that my Mother was unaware of, that should have been a sign.
See DeMatha had a program that submitted students to the colleges/universities of their choice automatically. So far do you see the advantages, this Black Man had? She pressed on and continued that day to the next school, and there he enrolled. In the meantime, I get dropped off with my aunts in South Carolina where I discovered she registered me for college, Voorhees College. With only a enough clothes for the weekend I was enrolled in college. Although it didn't have the glamour as ATL, I still liked it, and later transferred to South Carolina State University where I graduated on time 2004.
My Brother never went back to school, not even community college.
Right now I owe my school $2000, because financial aide did not cover it, but I can't afford to pay, and most jobs require a transcript. Until that debt is paid a Black Man says that I can not receive it. Even with me going to college, where are my advantages.
A women put my Brother through school, put her ambitions to the side because she was being consumed by Black Men. Her husband and her son. But in return nothing, for her a Black Woman.
There was a time when a story on the Black Man spoke to my heart. But not today. Sure it's tough, but I've seen other brothers have all the opportunity and use it to their disadvantage.
This editoral should be "What's Wrong Black Man?"

Posted by: Lydia Jefferson | January 12, 2007 02:47 PM

I've worked in offices about 10 years and it seems to me there at least 6 times as many black women as men with office jobs.

Does affirmative action help or hurt black men? Maybe getting into school, but the workplace?

Posted by: Jim Stiene | January 14, 2007 12:34 PM

Dear Sir,
The question is very complex and multilayered, for myself I am in the belief that it is an extreme challenge to be a black man in America today.
I am 47 years old and have spent over 17 years in the prison and penal systems.
I was groomed for this as a youth, I were an individual whom feel that I was so smart in that asking questions and wanting to learn at school led to my being expelled. I ended up being sent to the Boys Farm School for juvenile delinquents,to get me prepared for the penitentary for not going to school, after serving 2 years and released no school wanted me to attend basically and I resorted to being a hustler and street merchant.
I within a couple years did my first bit and the cycle continued until 1989 I was framed for a murder I did not commit and convicted under an accountability theory and served many years, I am now living a thousand miles away from my hometown and going to College seeking my degree in Social Sciences and Human Services field.
I will say that life is really an adventure for the blackman and he may go to hell and back but there is hope if we perservere and faint not, I was declared dead long ago and I am yet alive so through God all things are possible and the Spirituality and Love component of our lives has to be made manifest to overcome the things that may hold us back.
Peace and Love

Posted by: Minister Timothy | January 15, 2007 09:02 AM

I find being a blackman in america has many different sides.The unbelievable belief amongst white and other ethnic groups that blackmen do not stick to or care fore there children. Understandably so we have a large community of black men in prison. Some of this is survival and a lot of this situation is willfulness. It's much easier to blame a bad situation on the so called system.Granted there are times when i have seen a good brother just can not seem to get a hand up. On the other side of that i have also seen that hand pushed away.I myself am employed by a government agency.Only to say in the time that i have been here there has not been another black male even interviewed. his is 2007 is it not? Why i have no answer!
I have three boys from a marriage that did not quite work out.All my fault no positive male influent, My father was never in my life until i was a senior in high school my step dad did the best he could although he had many a demon of his own to deal with. My mom very strong woman cleans houses as a domestic and worked as a civil servant fulltime, for this reason i guess i am the workaholic that i am.
When ever there are trips family reunions on my wife's side of the family i go it's important to my children. WE as blackmen always must do a little more than anyone else to be considered decent. We should pray with our children daily and keep them connected to the church above all things material. I could say so much more but maybe next time. Thank's for letting me share...


Posted by: Albanyman | January 15, 2007 10:03 AM

Being black in America takes being in control and taking accountiblity of your own action work twice as hard as your white female/ male counterparts to gain the respect that is so much desired to prove you are very capable. Being black you face alot of stigmatism but through great efforts and communications being black in America society if you work on all the small things if life can makelife worth living.

Posted by: Tommy | January 15, 2007 12:06 PM

To be a blakc man in America means to be able to stand up against injustice of the social perception of black man.

because the question is aksed indicates the sad staet fo affairs of Black men in america today.

Black men do not have the same opportunities as the majority race in America.

Social inequalities, and financial inequialities.

Posted by: Pat | January 17, 2007 11:08 AM

I am always amazed and disheartened by the manner in which too many black americans describe themselves and their place in America.

We should not be talking about Africa as a magical place where it is a good thing or a proud thing to be black. I have lived in Africa and they are fighting the same battles amongst each other that we are fighting in the states. This phenomenon of light skin, dark skin and envy.

It is my HONOR and profound privilege to be black and this magical place where it is a proud and wonderful thing to be black is in our communities, our homes, America and on a larger scale the world. We are the most imitated people on earth and our skills in not only over-coming obstacles but excelling in the face of obstacles has made us the envy of the world.

And why are we obsessed with being LIKED? Is it not enough that you like and love yourself and that your family and friends love and like you? So I ask again, why are we obsessed with being liked by people we don't even know?

Everyone in life experiences obstacles and stumbling blocks but you know that an object exists only when you fixate on it. My point is that your sucess depends upon you and if you go foward with an urgent determination you won't have to concern yourself with adolescent issues of being LIKED.

My last point is that I am very uncomfortable with a black man attaching his value to how desirable he is to all women in the world. One gentlemen in the film stated this that all the women regardless of origin want to be with a black man.

I hope that his self-esteem and self-worth is not attached to being exotic or fashionable this season. I am sure that, that young man has an abundance of talent and intelligence that his community needs.

Our ancestors did not sacrifice their lives so that we would become complaisant self-doubting negroes. Let us go foward! WE NEED YOU BLACK MEN! KNOW YOUR HISTORY, LOVE YOURSELF AND RESPECT ONE ANOTHER! LET US SHAPE TOGETHER A FUTURE THAT IS BETTER!

Posted by: Sharonda Stith | January 17, 2007 01:28 PM

As a 40 year old father of 6 children and a husban, a veteran of foreign war and a hard worker with a successful federal government career being a black man is about avoiding the pitfalls and negative stigma that plague our gender and our ethnicity. Being a black man is also about being consistent in all we say and do, in ALL our walks of life. When we say we are going to do something be it for our family, our friends, or our employers we do it and we do it well. Being a black man is about being fair minded for ourselves, and ALL that we love. Using wisdom over emotion, and standing by the decisions we have made based on that wisdom. Being a black also means to stay resourceful because much is not just "handed to us", keeping our minds open to learn everything so that we can be just as knowledgeable as our conterparts of ethnic backgrounds.

Being succesful comes with a high price and that is "$Hardwork.Determination for change". As long as a black man realizes that and lives that equation, and provides ample example of that equation for their children, being a black man can be far more tolerable. Not easy, tolerable with hapiness and trustworthy success.

Posted by: Jevon Duncan | January 20, 2007 09:30 AM

What I think it means to be a black man. It means being strong,independent,confident in one's self.It means doing for your self, don't depend on someone else to do it for you.The only person you have to depend on is God.

Posted by: Troy Holman | January 21, 2007 02:48 PM

It means i am the original man. Sometimes things are exactly what they seem "Black and White". Whoever reads this may think that i'm talking loosly but i'm sure you heard the term money is the root to all evil before. Black men where kings and queens in Africa. Food was abunded and so were the resources. America and places like it were built by sucking all the reasources out of other regions. Now we have plenty proud Americans who are very happy with the country that was CREATED for them becuase the American dream is to live in suberbia with Acers of land far far away from black people. But black people have strived to be your neighbors. When you see a Successful black man please dont think to yourself that you or any of your white ancestors have anything to do with that mans success. The same cannot be said for a young white male or female in America. America is designed for White men to succeed. You cannot erase History and they way people have been treating eachother for thousands of years. Truth be told There are black and white devels and they blend right in so you cannot tell who is who. the thing that pains me the most is that black men are dying everday at an incredible rate in this Counrty. It is not something that is a secret. So how could a HUMAN person who heart has a beat run for any type of office and not base his platform on the violence in america. Expecaily in the inner city. How can the news reporters alow you to run and not go over these facts. They report the news EVERY DAY! You no why because they dont really care. They go back home to there gated community our wherever they live and brainwash there selves to believe that black people are doing this to them selves! Yes and NO! Every man is responsible for his actions but we didnt build this place(well we kinda did). We didnt make the inner cities the devels playground. We dont own any boats, plans, helicopters, telivision networks, radio stations none of that. The Porn industry, Tabaco the NRA all of that stuff that is currupting the minds of young Americans was introduced to us by the white man. And thats just the truth. So when you get mad when you see these rappers, I even do sometimes but guess what he is exactly what this counrty made him to be.He is the end result! might even be a crack baby( and thats not for laughs) Most of these guys with diamonds all on them had nights during there child hood where they didnt have anything to eat. So when we get money we floss it becuase we have been getting flossed on for so long. How do we live in Democracy where you have to be rich to run for President? Where does that leave the poor? Its all about money! and the corparations that pay to indorse the product on your network and etc etc etc.. yall all our sleeping with eachother and speading that desease like HIV in the Ghetto. Its not by mistake that Crack and Aids has affected Black people like it has. Its not a conspiracy its the truth that will never get told until Jesus comes to save his people. All questions will be answerd then! Thats another thing we totaly seperate god from our everyday! you have to personaly seek him because the media and the news has been so minupulated by the devel. Thats what it really balls down to. Good and Evil.. Godly or ungodly. The bible is the perfect book.. No wrong comes from that book.. A man who didnt even believe in god would be a great man if he just choice to live by the cammandments in the bible! only excepting god will get you to heaven but if everyman just lived by the cammandements in the bible how much better of would we be.. Screw the constitution! it was written by racist @ at time when they said black people were 3/5 of a human!? like i said Godly or ungody good vrs evil

Posted by: Max | January 22, 2007 12:51 PM

Although I am not a black man, I am a black woman nonetheless. A black gay woman. We are often told or steered to do things the "right way", yet no one is going the right way about. To be a black man, to me means just that. You are black, you are a man. Black is just a color, yet people treat it like it is a disease. The key words in Black Man are black and man. To be black means that you are so strong, you can endure anything. And to be a man, means that you have responsibilities to care of yourself and family. That's all. Over the years, black men have experienced intimidation, called boys, and treated like dirt. Yet, our men are still powerful, strong, and beautiful.

Posted by: Syncere | January 24, 2007 11:50 AM

As black men, we have had to endure "the cross," just like Jesus. No matter what people think of us, our legacy shall endure forever. We are the first fruits of the "mother land," earth. We shall endure forever!

Black men understand that we are products of our environments. If we are to improve, we need help in changing our environments. To this end, we pray to God.

Posted by: John Reid | January 25, 2007 03:18 PM

Interesting piece.

One Black man specifically identified himself as Black and gay. Is this the videojournalist's method to bring Black and Gay people together?

If so, why was someone that is Black & bi-racial, Black and handicapped, Blatino, not, also, interviewed?

I actually have seen some of these men around in the DC area.

Overall, I think it's about time DC is starting to do something on video other than news stories!

Posted by: Ros | January 26, 2007 08:52 AM

It means you have the responsibility like all man.It means you must hold your head high,stand tall and be proud of who you are. It means you will be seen in darkness, but must shine your light. It means you are beautifully human. It means you let nothing stand in your way from being the best you can be.IT means you respect all women, especially the black woman. It means life will test you but you must hold your ground and press on like the natural solidier you are. It means you are loved and hated but you must love all. It means you must lead by a positive example to help your people.IT means you educate yourself and others. It means you are a survivor and seed of your ancestors(god rest their souls)It means young black girls and boys look up to you.It means you are my brother,uncle, cousin, grandfather, great-grandfather, husband and/or boyfriend....and I love you.

Posted by: Sheena | January 26, 2007 10:44 PM

As a 28 year old young black man living in Washington DC and originally from Georgia, my personal view is that a young man who is black. Having made friends with many young men of diverse backgrounds here in Washington and throughout my life, it is clear that young men in every race and culture face certain universal challenges such as discovering and creating a vision for their lives, defining who they are and choose to be in the world, deciding how they wish to represent themselves to the world (because the way you PRESENT YOURSELF is the way society will interpret you), and perhaps the most difficult challenge of taking care of their wives and families.

So the question of "what it means to be a black man in America" is up for revision. In fact, it is time for black men to transform the perception of themselves as "being black men in America" to "being men in America who are black". This we must do because the current definition of what it means to be "a black man" is filled with victimhood and blame. Our youth buy into this nonsense at any early age before they can even discover the untapped, unlimited potential that is within them at birth.

The way to defeat the mentality of victim, which is far worse than any drug, is to create a totally new perception of what it means to be "a man who is black". I am not suggesting that we have to "act white", which is another self defeating phrase. I am suggesting that we have to act responsibility, and take our God-given role as leaders and teachers in our communities and society more seriously.

Once "black men" stop arguing over who is "more black than who" (the whole Jesse Jackson vs. Barak Obama debate) and start addressing who is "more responsible than who" then we can finally get our communities moving forward again.

In fact, this is already where we came from. Where do you think the "big mamas" and grandmas of our race come from? They were taught family values and have been able serve as the glue of most our family units because the "black men" in the family dropped the ball or never even stood up to the plate in the first place.

This is where the bitterness between the sexes have played out the most. Black men need to start focusing more on "being men" and less on "being black". They need to start encouraging their children and the youth of our society to dream big, to aspire to become trailblazers in the fields of law, medicine, government, technology, science, industry, and so forth. We stand on the verge of potentially having our real first black president, how can we not look our youth and see more in them than just the next rapper or ballplayer? Rappers and ballplayers entertain, Senators and presidents lead nations. Can you see the difference in the two? Perhaps this is the new challenge of the man in America today, who happens to be black.

Posted by: Gantrick E. Monday | January 28, 2007 03:03 PM

To be a Black man means that I acknowledge the unique physiological design given to me as a blessng from Almighty God! It does not slight or diminish any of the other beautiful designs of God's creation of his very own image.......it demonstrates the deversity, the beauty, the miraculous wonder of Gods incredibl ingenuity.

It means that I am emancipated from being a Negro, or colored, but that I embrace the delicious chocolate complexity of my lineage of Black people all over the world.

It means that I can celebrate the richness of my American heritage of a people who have endured seeming insurmountalbe circumstances to contribute to the success of the most powerful nation on planet earth.

I am thankful that God designed me just as he did.

When I see images of American beauty and prosperity that are in stark contrast to my own......That imply with amazingly clever subliminal craftiness that a standard of success and beauty is restricted to a more European design..... I am evermore compelled to appreciate the uniqueness of my heritage. We are a blending of many cultures. We have made incredible contributions to the greatness of America and humanity itself.

So often we are exposed to less impressive images of Black Men. We must steer away from the Pygmalion Syrens of negative images, and highlight more Appreciateive approaches to what it means to be a Black Man.

Last weekend I spent the day with my fraternity brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha as art of a program called "Project Alpha". This program is ne of many designed to emphasize the posititve attibutes of manhood, and particularly Black manhood. It is good that the group of some 30 young men was a multi cultural gathering. It helps to eliminate some of the negative stereotypes and illuminates the fact that as Gods children we are more alike than we are different.

But I digress.................To be a Black man means that I have to work even harder to overcome the stereotype of intellectual inequity. It is inded an opportunity to help obliterate the perceptions of inferiority and urban street thug type casting.

To be a Black means that God put me here for a reason in this role with this script with the latitude to be director and producer and occasionally the key grip.

I am the master of my fate
I am the Captain of My SOUL!

Posted by: CARL WAMBLE...........Brother of Hamil Harris | February 1, 2007 10:07 AM

In response to the question, What does it mean to be a black man?

Excerts from my new book:
The Enticed Modern Psychology Under Satan

I recall the time when skin color was absoultely irrevelent;

The planet was ruled by dark skin people this was prevalent.

Dark skin people never considered others minorities;

White skins turned it around and made themselves a majority.

Few excepted the times when dark skin people made rules;

Dark skins considered no one colored or called anyone fools.

These were boring times and the world semed to be at rest;

But the white skins know exactly how to serve me best.

There was also a great plan to destroy the dark skin race;

None should make decisions in this world with a black face.

Currently on this planet white skins are considered supreme;

"Tempus" is my plan to keep them in their daydream.

Deeper meaning: The black man is the founder and creator of this planet. He was a peaceful amphibian and strived to maintain order. Many of the first africans wandered from africa far into the north discovering countries today known as Germany, Russia and Ireland losing their pigments and becoming what we now know as the white race. The black man is on a journey to rediscover his roots and orgins but will continue to struggle with little or no success until he himself returns to his original home africa and reunite with the people and the land that has made him what he is today.

Dr.Anthony L. Gordon, A Black Man

Posted by: Anthony L. Gordon | February 4, 2007 02:17 AM

the first to see and feel the rays of the sun the black man the one that science an the laws of nature says that all things came from our thoughts a fetus a seed and life itself came from a black place a blackman is the vessal that the darkness that we cant see chose to show the world itself we must lead by example god is within the atom of life we all are desendants of the same life force which is the black

Posted by: ATOM | February 11, 2007 01:15 PM

Being a black man is like being the Sun. Overtime you've come to realize that your God given gift to the world is bring light and warmth yet constantly are challenged with not blinding or scorching those who get close to you. You are often disrespected and even marginalized and yet there is something inside that daily reminds you that God created you in his image and likeness for the benefit of human kind so we keep getting up from the canvas brushing the dust off our faces and getting back in the sky for another day's work. I'm a 42 year old pastor of a 21st century church where the average age of the people I serve are between 20-35. I'm a father of a 14 year black man and a husband of a black woman. My life is filled with opportunities to serve them all and bask in the knowledge that a Good Black Man leaves an inheritance to his childrens children. That is my charge, vision, and ambition. Leave something strong and powerful for the next generation to stand on. For there is still no stronger creation on earth than a Black Man.

Posted by: Pastor G. W. Hawkins Jr. | February 17, 2007 09:52 AM

A black man to me is one that is made in the image of God. He has made all things and has given the world a lack man to change the wrong in the world. Some may hate the black man but others love the good and willingness of different things. He has learned from the past to be the best he can be. He has enwent through some much hurt and pain. Yes that is a black man and I love what God has made.

Posted by: A black girl | February 21, 2007 03:21 PM

Being a 19-year old black female I look at my beautiful black brothers and see the positive and negative in them. I see the some young black men who are not going down the right track and just wish that they could see the potential they have despite the odds.If they only knew that they have such powerful blood flowing through their vains they would try and over coming the sterotypes and problems. Because I have a younger brother, I gain a better understanding of what it means to be a black male and I want him to be the best person he can be. I also look at my father and see the definition of a wonderful black man. A black man is....
1. a man who embraces his history
2. a person who is proud of who he is and does not let his head hang for anyone,yet he is humble
3.supportive of his family
4.respectful to his self and others
5.A man of God
6.takes responsibility for His self
7.give back to his community either spiritually,financially, or mentatlly
8.is not held back by sterotypes
10. Loves the skin he is in
I know many people may agree others my disagree. Being a female I will never know exactly what it means to be a black man, but I know what I see in so many powerful black men.

Posted by: Torie W. | February 21, 2007 04:08 PM

I have three black men in my life. Well almost, three young boys yet to be men. I worry how will the world see them ? I wonder how will they see the world ? Will blacks see them as too white ? Will whites see them as too black ? Can they live as a black man ? Can they live as a white man ? Must they choose ? I am the grandma they picked tomatoes and rosemary with ? She is the grandma they picked collards and turnips with. Will they be judged by the color of their skin ? Or the content of their character ? Will they choose black or white ?

Posted by: Juanita McKenzie | March 6, 2007 10:17 AM

A sense of strength and sadness. Whether we like it or not we do have limitations as black men in this country, regardless of education, faith or family. Our choices will not be a wide as a white man with real dollars and in some cases average white people. My sadness comes from how we treat each other on a daily basis. Being a black man we never know when racism will strike and most of us do not have millisecond to think how we are going to react or make a proper decision. I chose not to have kids in America. Their is too much potential damage with being black and no parent can be there to help the child 24/7. All parents can do is provide tools and say I really did the best I can. Being black means some choices are just already made from the boardroom to bed room. The darker your skin in America the more challenges you face. You are constantly re-evaluating yourself, trying to close down or quelch the anger and depression. When brothers have good days its a truly good day. In simple terms its COMBAT EVERYDAY for black men everyday. Maybe some one will read this and not judge too harshly because its my heart crying. We are a strong people but this is trial by fire and standing naked

Posted by: Michael Alexander | March 7, 2007 06:51 PM

Being a black man means living up to my potencial, not living down to societies's expectation. The defenition of a black man require knowing ourselves, and if we don't know who we are, we need to create an identity based on the future, not the past. Crime, rings synonomous with black; however, so does hard working slaves. When the other immogrants could not work on plantations, the africans could. We are a resiliant poeple who when united cannot be defeated. Blacks got left behind during the progression from the industrial revolution to the information age. Some of our black men lost out trying to make money when the industries are all overseas. The money is now in information, or performing a trade.
Our men scramble to make money by improvising, and those who don't improvise, are dictated to by the media. Balling, or blinging are now house hold words; however, the means to the goal has not been defined. Drug dealing is the easiest way for a black man to make money, just as prostitution is the easiest way for a woman to make money. The easy route is never the best route; however, when the means to the goal has not been defined, the goal is usually all that is looked at.
Being a black man, means knowing the means to the goal is through education and hard work. Dr. King, Marcus Garvey, and Malcom X are recognized for their revolutionary ideas. They educated themselves and made a difference in society. Being a black man means reversing the role that has been imposed on us by the tragedies of our society. It means the creation of a new black man with forward thinking and empowering ideas. Being a black man means being a man, not to perpetuate adolescence and denegrade the great black leaders who paved the way for us. We need to demonstrate intelligence, control the financial aspect of our industires like sports, music, entertainment, and establish our own banks. Being a new black man means equality must be imposed on the minds of our society by dominating industires and creating opportunities for our up and coming black leaders.
Elcarno Ward

Posted by: Elcarno Ward | March 16, 2007 09:06 PM

Being a Black Man is the hardest job in America, daily as a Black Man I am confronted with a myrid of situations, some good, some not, I have to be strong within myself and not surrender to the impulse to hurt someone knowing that in doing so I would only hurt my family, community and myself. I give my all to every endeavour not just for myself but to inspire others that they may see there is hope if you only believe and keep the faith. Being a Black Man means being a real man, one of strenght, faith, leadership, tenderness and so much more, nut mostly it's allowing the power, love and,glory of GOD to shine through me so that others may see thereby and be free.

Posted by: Ronald Teal | March 20, 2007 06:57 PM

Being a black man in America? Means two opposing things - glamour and grit. Either way, the black man must take the challenge and continue to stand up for his rights. Being black according to a black man is being treated unfairly - but America sees a black man according to his achievement. When a black man rises above his circumstances, he is a hero; but when he fails, he falls alone.

Posted by: Carol Araos | April 9, 2007 01:06 PM

It means to learn and READ your HISTORY FIRST. Before you learn and read about some elses.Because the TRUTH about you is not being TOLD .

Posted by: walter Davis Jr. | April 23, 2007 12:06 PM

A black man is such a unique character. He is powerful beyond measure and once "he" realizes that life and culture for the black community will become better. Guaranteed.

Posted by: Jasmine Storey | May 15, 2007 12:42 PM

To be honest I really didn't get a clear definition of what it means to be a black man. I know that there are struggles on every level. But doesn't that build your character? I believe that man is synonymous with strength. I see that (strength) in every black man, but they themselves don't. I love my black men and when they allow society, obstacles and struggles or circumstances to chip away at the very foundation of what God has wonderfully made (you), I will count it a privilege to aid in rebuilding or patching up those pains. But you first have to see your strength and worth.

Posted by: Sharri Dix | May 16, 2007 04:21 PM

I am a complete outsider to this issue: I am a white woman living in Europe. But I have read ALL comments so far, and I am struck by the beauty of many of them, the strength, the resilience, the love.
Some of the comments seem a bit, well, far-fetched to me: Who says that black men and women were "kings and queens" in Africa? Most tribes had a lot of ordinary tribespeople and only one "king" if at all. Probably if all these people had stayed in Africa, not having been deprived of their historical roots, they would still be living in poverty today. So, longing for Africa as the seat of Black Pride is self-delusion in my opinion. If you need to feel that really you are a king or queen, that only means you cannot feel any self-worth being just another guy, or woman. Which is valuable enough. Right?
What strikes me is that hardly any black person speaking here so far has (been allowed to have) this sense of self that goes without saying. All had to fight for some sense of self. Many black Americans I have met here in Europe can imitate "white speak" to perfection - which made me crack up until I got to know more about the reasons, and then I felt it wasn't funny at all.
It seems to me that Black American males are in much the same situation as American Indians, and Australian aborigines: all stepped on, stripped of their natural societal structures and pride.....I had wondered why it is that the women always cope with this better than men. It's because they don't grow up with this male expectation (and source of self-esteem) in their heads to be "the provider", the "head of the family" etc - so they don't lose so much of their pride when they can't do all that. Am I wrong? Male Vietnamese refugees I was working with all had the same problem: When they came to the US, they couldn't get the high-paying jobs they had when they were still living in Vietnam, and many took to alcohol, or knife fighting...The women coped just fine, because they were a lot less depressed, and ultimately got the better jobs...It's not a BLACK problem, it's a male problem that emerges under certain societal circumstances...
When these guys here complain that black women aren't treating them right, i.e. aren't being "submissive" enough, that only shows how weak these guys are in truth. A strong man needs a strong woman. Not a submissive one. Which is something even a lot of white American men can't stomach...LOL
Stereotypes are always there for a reason. I have lived in many countries, and changing the MAJORITY of people who form a standard of what is acceptable behavior, what is cool, and what isn't, well, that is next to impossible. I tried to "teach" some happy-go-lucky but totally inefficient Filipinos German standards of punctuality, and dependability....fat chance, LOL ...it's human to adjust and be part of the crowd. So I can understand why these guys must want to wear their pants a cerain way, or why they seem to need these gold chains, or brag about their best part...(which should be their brains!! not mentioning their hearts, their compassion).
But each and every one of you guys count if you want to change that. If you want to create a different standard. It's a less than ideal situation. But it won't be improved by playing the blame the others-game. Only YOU can save yourselves. Even if you didn't create the circumstances. Blaming white America (rightly or wrongly) will only perpetuate all that needs to be changed actively, by you, so don't waste your time blaming THEM and pitying yourselves. Even if you could prove beyond any doubt that it's "THEIR" fault (and that all those racists are wrong who say that you are lazy, etc) : That won't change a thing.

I have come to understand you a lot better from reading this - if that's possible at all, being who I am....I also understand a lot better why my black American ex bf from the Bronx needed to drown himself in weed so much, instead of taking my hand and making a life for himself here. He just didn't know who he really was, or what his worth was, or how to make himself vulnerable to someone else.
(Now was that HIS pesonal fault for being so weak? or mine for not being gentle (or "submissive") enough? Or was it white America's fault for crippling him so?)

So, to all of you struggling out there: THANK YOU! Thank you for contributing here. Thank you for being who you are. Hold you heads up high. And don't give up!!
Feel free to send me your comments if you like. And sorry if I was way off base about anything I assumed here. I'm just learning.

Posted by: Doris Ammon | June 8, 2007 10:11 PM

I now know that to be a Black Man in America means having a concreate,positive plan to have an impact on society, and a strong support system of relatives and peers to provide encouragement and assistance when needed. Most young black men grow up in neighborhoods stricken with poverty. As a result of their social economic status, they soon become susceptible to the criminal elements that thrive in those conditions. I've come realize that where there is poverty you will find the criminal element. Like myself, many of our young Blackmen have or will have fallen victim to the strains of their environment at some period of time in their lives. I'm a Black Man, an ex-felon, a husband, a father to four beautiful children and a friend to countless people. For the last 15 years, have been striving to recitfy my past endeavors. I went to the Cuny College of Staten Island, where I earned a B.A. degree in History with a Minor in African-American Studies. I'm presently working towards becoming a certified Teacher. My story as a Black Man in America is a short one; but my opening theme represents Thousands, maybe Millions of Afican-American men whose life journey has brought them face to face with the criminal environment. Being Black in America means constant struggle, constant rage, constant insults, and constant fear. I struggle to undo the stigma brought on by what society thinks of me. I'm in constant rage when after taking ten steps foward, my past is used by society to knock me down. I am constantly insulted every time I turn on the television I, as a Black Man, am being charactorized as an unchanging human being. I am constantly at fear when encountering law enforcement, because everything that I've now become would by wiped clean, leaving only what I once was.

Posted by: Moses Lewis | June 15, 2007 01:29 PM

What it means to be a black man in America?
First to even understand the question, takes many years of experiencing the treatment you recieve from your fellow men. Growing up in the suburbs after moving from a more urban area I started experiencing other races. It was never blatant, but sublties that always made me say Hmmm! Those sublties became louder and more comphrehensible. Names like SPEAR CHUCKER did not register with me until I was a teenager I just knew it was derogatory.
My mom always encouraged me and told me that I would have to work (effort) 3 times as hard to acheive an acceptable level of acheivement that would be recognize by the ones of position and control. She was right! But she didn't tell me that means you have to conform to ideals that you personally don't agree with, which translates, shutup! keep your mouth shut, dont kick up dust! I think our total condition is by design, planned out. The playing field will never be level and eventually disappear from the races. No more nappy hair,only GOOD HAIR and light skin. A lot of us try very hard not be black, because of the stigma it carries. Nappy heads like me are left to fend for our own figure not how be white but invisible. In youth we want to be seen and recognized, hence the gold chains, car rims and designer clothes. Now I try to blend in drawing less attention to myself. How? loosing the jewelry, keeping a car that is unadorned and current, by limiting my travel around after the hours of 10:00 PM, by keeping a constant watch for police while in public and conducting myself in a manner that I think is not intimidating to the general public, rarely does that work, my skin along with my size seems intimidating to white ladies and men. The media has built a stereotypical standard for the world to see. They think we are less and are a danger to society.

So to be a Black man means to me, keep it pushin',give thanks and praise to the Lord GOD and don't let the countless number of obstacles hinder you from accessing and rendering GOD's will as your dreams.

Posted by: Cory | June 17, 2007 03:29 PM

There is really no single answer to this question. There is no answer that can clarify the muddy waters of black man-ness. In fact, the question may blur the lines a bit because it lacks specificity and context. A black man in the United States, the West Indies, Africa, South America, Great Britain? Each of these geographic locations bends the definition a little, and the fractionalization of blacks in America is a small indication that there are yet more differences abound. A black man, like any other human being, sees life through the lens of his own biographical experience. We do share a bond in that many of our experiences are similar; however, our perspective on life may cause us to use those experiences in different ways. For me, being a black man is a beautiful thing. Its struggle and triumph, love and hate, good and bad, the worst conditions and the best results, hopelessness and the hope of glory... I wouldn't want to be anything else.

Posted by: Rev. Frederick A Hanna | June 20, 2007 09:32 AM

The issue of being a black or white or brown or any color man is (for me) very divisive and full of intolerance. America should and must change towards this and all other issues of indifference and bigotry.

One must fully understand that "NONE WAS GIVEN THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE WHAT COLOR OF SKIN, NOR WHEN AND WHERE ON EARTH, NOR WHOSE PARENTS ONE WOULD HAVE BEFORE BIRTH." Everyone was EQUAL before birth and making color, religion and/or social status as an excuse to think or do anything stupid is the problem.

I don't see color on anyone, it's there, it's permanent and nobody can do anything about it, not even Michael Jackson. Loving and respecting each other must be the objective and we can all achieve these if we will be able to fully understand that we are all equal and must be united by this idea of equality among every man.

Posted by: Rene Marcelino | June 25, 2007 11:34 AM


Posted by: Don't worry about it | June 25, 2007 10:16 PM

Being a Black Man means living every day trying to prove yourself to white America if that is the environment that you work, live or associate. This is partly because of what we do to ourselves as uneducated blacks or most frequent, the fact that whites don't want to hear a word we have to say and if they do hear it no respect is given it.
Being a Black Man means having to suppress even your most controlled disagreement for being labled hostile or intimidating.
Being a Black Man means finding God and always leaning on Him for your strength.

Posted by: Hoyte Phifer, Jr. | June 28, 2007 03:24 PM

Being black is the most important thing in my life.I came from Haiti, the land of Toussaint L'Ouverture and Dessalines and many many more Heroes. Being Black and grew in America with my African bothers has helped me understand being black in America. African American struggles has created an Ouverture for US, Blacks , ASIAN ,LATINOS and many other group of people. It is the same OUVERTURE Toussaint L'Ouverture had done for Haiti.our Humanity is our witness and our superiority. In United States Black people have done so much for others with nothing in return. It is the same in Haiti when Simon Bolivar took refuge in Haiti,We gave him everything that he needed in exchanged to free Black from slavery from everywhere. We are nothing but HUMAN it is our superiority.

Queens Village
Claude Moise

Posted by: Claude Moise | July 19, 2007 12:47 PM

Being a black male unfortunately has grown into an almost impossible role. It means to escape the pressures and lures of childhood with your mind set on priorities and your feet marching the straight and narrow. It means not accepting the condemnation on the faces of older generations, not listening to the media image so often voiced by black women, not caring about marginal chances for success in any field. Being a black man currently means tuning out the rest of society in order to "do you". Having your life fit neatly into a bundle that you can carry while you flee from persecution but being able to shelter family along the way. It means never being what those who know you hope you will become while never being what those who would destroy you pray you will become. It means learning spirituality without having a home in the church. It means understanding personal finance without having access to financial success. It means watching as your totem is destroyed over and over as the media maims the very icons it creates. Being a black man is, in essence, growing up in the dark, walking an unknown road alone and knowing that you can't be superman so for the black community you will never be enough.

Posted by: Douglas Hooker | July 19, 2007 01:36 PM

What does it mean to be a black man?

It means perseverance, struggle, unfairness, confidence, insecurity, low expectations, high expectations, beauty, strength, success, failure, jealousy, envy, power and truth.

To me this embodies the black man in this society.

Posted by: Judy Howard | August 7, 2007 05:25 PM

It means...

Understanding the complex social environment in which we live -- the world is not exactly a youthful "black and white."

Knowing that some people are simply just who they are and that's OK; just keep it over there...

Knowing that opinions are just that - opinions - and everybody's got one (or two)...

Owing up to your (our?) mistakes -- and making corrections and overcoming them...

Knowing that it's MOSTLY about attitude -- and sheer force of will for the rest...

Understanding that while the environment may not be completely hostile, I can't afford to be complacent...

Living "provide, protect, honor, obey" -- my family comes FIRST...

Knowing that the real issue is protectionism -- the struggle is about who has the right to which resources (and self-determination); and combating any obstructions to my future direction...

Knowing the REAL historical perspective... without the partisan nonsense.

Knowing that learning is nothing to be feared...

[AND MORE -- but I don't have the time or the space to do it all]

Posted by: Lawrence Beasley | August 9, 2007 01:02 PM

I see an inherent problem with the responses here....its the adjective before the noun Man - Black.

As long as u do this and anyone else does this there will always be a seperation/ division.

Posted by: David | August 10, 2007 04:42 PM

How about this -- if a Black man wants to preserve his race -- why does he avoid his own race? i.e. skin color etc

Posted by: Lance | August 10, 2007 04:45 PM

my name is nolan reddick and i,m a canadian , my father always said ,don,t worry about them , worry about yourself and your family.a blackman is a part of creation that many fear and don,t understand, i have always looked
to god for my strength ,we will only rise to the status of our forefathers ,african kings, when we love each other and ourselves ,bless you all my brothers.

Posted by: nolan reddick | August 12, 2007 05:18 PM

Being a Blackman means totally embracing our Ancient African heritage, education and spirituality on a daily basis and maintaining balance and responsibility for our selves, family and community against the ever-changing socio-political and racist currents which threaten to tear us down. Every day I make sure I maintain the inner joy and listen to the inner voice regardless to obstacles.

Posted by: Kamal Imani | August 21, 2007 12:35 PM


Posted by: ADDAI DARKO | August 22, 2007 12:54 PM

Thank you for this segment. It was thoroughly enjoyable, particularly the piece with Gen. Collen Powell. It was nice to see him joke and publicly identify himself as a black man. I have tremendous respect for him. In addition, I enjoyed the piece that contained the different black women and they shared there thoughts about marriage, availability of black men and other topics. It's nice to see sisters use there minds. I am a black man and rare do I find sisters who think very deep about things or issues. Moreover, it is nice to see happy sisters without kids by different men, moral with values. Recently, I was speaking with a young sister about her relationship with a man who had a girlfriend. The man explained to her that he wasnot going to leave his girlfriend, but the two of them could have sex. The sister whom I was speaking to had sex with the man. When I asked her why? She got mad at me because she said I was labeling her.

Posted by: chris Henderson | August 25, 2007 04:48 PM

well..i think i can answer that with another question :

" what does it mean to be a white girl?"

does it mean I'm girl???
-yes! blame mum and dad for it!!

does it mean I'm white??
-yes! blame melanin for that, is biologically the only thing that colorize my skin!!

But when i look to myself i don't see neither a girl, neither the colour, white.

i'm a human being!

that's what i am.

that's what everybody is!

and what i really think that colorize us, is what we do with our lives.

that... can speak for us.

and no family, or city, or country make us a group with the same quality's.

we are different:)

and each one has to be free in that difference!! and make their one step to human kind!

from the other side of the atlantic:
alice in portugal

abraço de baleia, daqueles que arrastam o mar, num vai-vém :)

Posted by: alice | September 13, 2007 11:24 PM

I feel if I'm respected as a person, there shouldn't be any special reason to narrow it down to me being black or male. This has never been an issue for black women. No one has asked what does it mean to be a black woman. Oddly many have individually prevented that question ever coming up, tagging themselves Diva's or strong black women. I often wonder if God's a woman.

Although the black codes of 1865, may no longer exist. The reason for their existence still apply today. So regardless of the interviews, complaints, suggestions, or personal answers from men alledgely from all social levels. Most only reflect on their own lives, not the condition of black men in general. For many have learned or been taught to be cautious "if he looks like me". Just as important was the removal of the father.
Question: If black men for generations contributed their expertise, lost their lives in wars, lead the most profound movement in the entire world, which have left a mark on everyone who remember it. What caused things to change for them so drastically? That's a question for only the true concerned person to search for. So until we take a closer look at when it began, to understand why it was neccesary. We will never believe any discussion about it, is nothing more than a smoke screen. [It's called divide and conquer. I guess the most profound place to start that division and sustain that division, is to prepare us for prisons, then keep us there.....smile Unfortunately the lost integrity of many blacks have added to this.

Posted by: tomas | September 14, 2007 01:44 AM

A Symbol of unity,Love & Integrity.i am proud to be a black man-Black is Beautiful.

Osatuyi Ayodele

Posted by: Osatuyi Ayodele | September 19, 2007 05:25 AM

I want to say is that,everybody in the world is equal. And being a black man maybe a very proud thing.Because everyone should thanks god who give us life no matter his skin is black or white!

Posted by: kristy | September 21, 2007 04:43 AM

Being a Black Man in this country and at this time simply means we have to constantly and consistently be vigilant with what we do, how we say it and be forever cognizant of spatial differences between people. I'm a 54 year old, 25 year Army veteran who now works in management for a major company. I am not a small man, by no stretch of the imagination and I remember clearly one day, one my my employees did not get paid. As a dutiful manager, I proceeded to the payroll department where work two slightly built white women. I sat down so that I wouldn't tower over them and in a very still soft voice, told them my situation. They in turn informed me that the check had been cut but they were awaiting the appropriate signatures. I offered to hand carry the check to get the signatures, but they indicated that they would indeed take care of my employee; but they also asked if the employee could financial wait until next week for his funds. I, in turn, informed them that I had not access to the financial needs of the employee. As I rose to leave the office and after giving thanks for their continued assistance, I recounted a story that played itself while I served this country in uniform. I told them that as a Sergeant Major responsible for over 700 soldiers, if one soldier did not get their just pay and if we were not in combat, then everything would stop and we would get the soldier paid. I told them that that was the least that I could do, seeing that I could be asking that same soldier to place themselves in harms way.

The same day, I was summoned to my bosses office and reprimanded for getting irate with the payroll staff. I truly believe that this reprimand came as a direct result of being a Black Man in this country and at this time.

Posted by: Mac Williams | October 5, 2007 10:22 AM

Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful series. I was given an assignment to look through your web site for my Master of Arts in Education at Ottawa University. I will share it with my mother, an activist in the Catholic Church in Minnesota.

Posted by: Katie Klomps | October 21, 2007 02:35 PM

Each man defines himself by his word, his work, and his outreach. A Black man has a
level of responsibility, accountability, and scrutiny before him that is unique because each success and failure is linked
to another Black man. We are not product of
our individual identity historically, socially, academically, and professionally.
Our individual identity must not be defined
from moment to moment interactions as the world does. The Black man must live as though he knows his life is greater than a idiocyncratic series of moments in time. We must live knowing that Black men define the destiny of Black Life.

Posted by: F. Boyd | October 27, 2007 03:31 PM

Being a Black Man is being an immigrant anywhere that you go. Rarely do Black Men, in respects to quantity dominate a group except sports, jail, and rap music. And being a Black Man is being the victim of imitation often without the return respect.

Posted by: Jamill Vinson | October 29, 2007 09:40 PM

In my humble opinion to be a black man in america is an extremely frustrating experience. We as a people are lost in this country. I am far from being a racist but I must admit that I harbor resentment towards the white race for compromising us the way they have. I am truly convinced that the majority of them have a very severe superiority complex. White will always be right. A geat deal of black men feel this and know this. They, regardless of how much progress we've made, still hold all the cards. It is them that we must go to for employment, it is them that we must go to for housing. If you walk the wrong way, look the wrong way, or simply make an error in your speech forget about it you are no different than the black guy they saw getting arrested on yesterdays evening news. This is problematic and extremely disturbing. Remember, not to many whites know blacks on an intimate level. Their perception is based on television and music. These images combined with rap music, which is considered to be'' black music'', don't exactly flatter us as a people. We are losing and no one seems to get it. We are such a strong and talented people, if only the world knew. The clock is ticking not much time left, and god knows we have already lost generations upon many. I am a proud black man, wouln't wash it off if I could but what in the hell is going on. Sometimes I feel as though I am dreaming, and if so, someone please wake me up because its getting scary.

Posted by: Che Davis | November 5, 2007 11:28 PM

Wheres the responses of being a Black Man who's a Thug Rapper ( great role model huh ? ), murderer , drunk / drug addict.
What are all of you educated blacks doing to change white peoples image of them ?
NOTHING except making excuses , Marching for their freedom every time a criminal is arrested if he's black ,hes wrongly accused.
When are you going to condemn their actions ?
Then you might get the " Respect " you desire.

Posted by: Alan | November 20, 2007 07:09 PM

What is means to be a black man; it means to be judged by the negative as the general rule, and the positive seen as an abberation. it means that you have to walk on thin ice in corporate american so you don't seem "too black." it means laughing at your white friend's racist jokes, even when you are offended, but you don't want to seem like the hypersensitive guy. It means saying "screw it" before you even try, just because you already know the chips are stacked against. it means, being adored and feared by white americans. it means being afraid of the white and black kkk. it means being beautiful. it just means it is hella-complicated.

Posted by: Michael A. Johnson | December 2, 2007 06:32 PM

I've been blessed with loving parents.

Gifted, with a mind that churns, and blurs "normal" perceptions with conversations of interest.

I KNOW I'm a black man in a white man's world.

And guess what?

I can't be bothered with such petty issues.

If that truly is the situation, then I (and have often) deal with the tiny minds which lamely throw their snide remarks.

Let them.

I have not a problem taking ANYONE on.

I prefer to let my God given blessings, my beliefs, and my efforts to set a positive example speak more than peoples' perceptions.

Posted by: Lance Wright | December 3, 2007 10:52 PM

To be a Black Man means to be proud of your heritage and the strong legacy and fabric from which you came, to be informed and intelligent about where you want to go, and to be determined and persevering on obtaining your goals--in the face of whatever obstacles might present themselves. Present yourself well, but never be ashamed of our rich heritage of mixed dialects and customs. A Black Man must be, both, cautious and strong...for what was once obtrusive, blatant racism is now secretive and subtle--albeit still permitted by the good ol' U.S. of A. and the world. Reality really comes to light when one thinks about how this country was built with the bare, raw hands and sweat of the Black Man--with no machinery at all. Now that machines have been built to do all of the hard labor, a Black Man cannot find a job in that industry. It has not changed. The fruits of the Black Man's labor continue to be exploited...only on another level. If anything is to change, Young Black Men, get into law and politics, for Black Men will forever be slaves if we continue to allow ourselves to continue to be governed and enforced by the powers at hand. VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE. I cannot stress the importance of voting enough. Although the system didn't work efficiently in 2000, it is a Black Man's duty and obligation to never give up for what is right. Ignorance comes in all colors. Knowledge is golden. Knowledge is power.

Posted by: C'bad Dahl | December 11, 2007 03:46 PM

To be honest it's very stressful. I really think being a black man in America is more stressful than it would be to be a black man in Canada, England, Sweden, or Japan.

The biggest stress would be for the fact that I cannot travel in my own country without the fear of being discriminated against or ever harmed solely for my skin.

On a positive note, working with youth in Asia and being a black man has shown me that there is hope. For the 1st time in my life my skin and hair are called beautiful. When people see me they cross the street to wards me to talk rather than walk away.

Given, the American media still manages to show the black man in a negative light there is no hostility or feeling of aggression towards me. All in all, I have felt more at home here than in the states.

I am 27 years old and I was born and raised in NY. I am now living and working in Japan.

Posted by: Phill Bennett | December 18, 2007 08:28 AM

First of all one thing brought us to this website, wanting to make a change in the way things are right now. I am not going to give this sickness no more power, i am killing all the nagtive that has went on in the past. To all who have past this way, enough is enough lets start out by making a change. We must organize and link all that have resources, numbers is our only power. We must link up, that way a man have a choice. That what most of us are feeling, you look around and everyone is gone. We must help each other, because everyone left behind is our faught. The ones that are well off need to organize to help others. We have to start with the basic, getting to no one another. To each man & woman all over the world, Unit Unit it the only way, help me help someone. Being Brown can be postive, it is not about you, it about the problem.

Posted by: Livingston Jones III | December 26, 2007 12:06 PM

To reclaim family values. Many black men are either divorced or never marry and not raising their children. I came from a broken home. I know what it like not to have a father. Black men who are divorced can still raise their children. I have been divorced for 16 yrs and never a day go by in which I am not in my sons life. I help instill values and disciplines. Their mother and I get along for their sake.
We need to tell our children that they can achieve any goal they desire.

Posted by: richard brumfield | December 28, 2007 12:45 AM

this is what i know. the black man is a prince among the people but he does not know it. he is a lover of all men and he desires to see all men set free. his way is the way of royality but he does not know it.and from him came the saviour.to be a blackman in america is to be of the tribe of judah, jacobs 4th born son. for judah yet reigns with God for he is faithful with the saints. Soon the whole world will know that the blackman in America is the House of Judah.

Posted by: Stephen Foebes | January 11, 2008 06:03 PM

Being a "Black Man" means a life-time of feeling misplaced in the world, like you don't belong or are unwelcome here.

In Africa where Black Men are found trying to extinguish each other and often times ignore the threat of HIV and continue to spread the disease even when they know its consequence.

In North America where social and educational gains from the 70s & 80s are now falling back to increased levels of poverty & illiteracy with inner city violence amung Black Men increasing.

Its a struggle between ourselves trying to decide if we want to succeed and take our place on this planet or retreat into extinction.

Being a Black Man means picking a side because the rift has grown so large that we have to let go of those who choose extinction or else we will soon be joining them.

WE CAN NO LONGER BE OUR BROTHER'S KEEPER! If we do not have common cause.

Posted by: Braheem Ackmadia | January 15, 2008 01:34 AM


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