A Black Man Living

Here’s another in my series on Black Men by Black Men.

Being a black man… I don’t even know where to start or how to begin. I guess I will just say that those issues you speak of never really bother me. (AMELDA NOTE: he’s referring to the email I send outlining daily BS that Black men may encounter such as being denied entry to a bar/club, being mistaken for a sales guy or waiter or more important ish like being passed over for promotions or bank loans.)  Maybe it’s my apathetic attitude. If a cab driver doesn’t want to pick me up? So what?  If I’m alone, then it sucks…but the truth is if I were a cabbie I wouldn’t really want to drive to a “bad” neighborhood either.  And right now it’s perceived that if I’m Black, then I live in a bad neighborhood or I won’t pay. The cabbie can have that attitude. I could care less.  I have money and if that cabbie don’t want it, so be it.

It’s the same at a club. I walk up to the door for this club in Miami. It’s no line. The bouncer has me waiting, so I’m like “ok.”  A group of White people walk up, they get let in.  I’m like ‘ok, maybe they were already inside?’  So I’m still standing there-it’s like 45 second to a minute now– and the bouncer won’t even look at me.  Now I’m like ‘what the fuck?’  Two more white girls get let in. What the fuck?” At this point I get mad, but I don’t show it. If they don’t want my money, then eff it.  I am not going to force someone to take my money.

I called the person I was supposed to be meeting inside, told her that I was outside and the bouncer wouldn’t even look at me to let me in and  I was leaving. The bouncer and the promoter overheard me and tell me that they didn’t know I wanted to come in. I could give a rat’s ass by then. Me and my money are going somewhere else.

When incidents like that happen to me, I never really think it’s about me.  I give the benefit of the doubt that it’s a mistake. But sometimes I look at the situation, analyze it,  and try to figure out IF I did come off a certain way that caused someone to treat me poorly or mistake me for something I’m not. For instance, if  I am in TGI Fridays with a black shirt and red tie, well of course I will be mistaken for a waiter (in case you don’t know that is the Friday’s uniform. I’m  addicted to the Jack Daniels burger so I have been there a lot lately).  I have been mistaken for a shoe salesmen and a bathroom attendant too.

Of course, I have been wrongly accused, unfairly treated and by all kinds of  people (European, Russian, American, etc) but I never (or try to never) take it personal.  I guess I think like mothers say: “you catch more bees with honey” or the “kill ’em with kindness.” It doesn’t matter what people think of me. I’m still me.  I don’t pretend to be something different.  I don’t remove the bass from my voice when I meet people, I don’t pretend to know about the latest white band to fit in.

Sometimes I think Black people are harder on each other than anybody else ever will be. My first interview for a job out of college, I interviewed with the head of the department. She was a 40-50 year old white lady. I blew her away; she loved me.  I walked away from that interview just knowing I had the job.  But I had one more interview, this time with my immediate supervisor.  She was a young black woman, no older than 26 or 27, which was about three years older than me at the time.  The woman tore me a new a- hole. To this day, she was the hardest interview I have ever had in my life. She was cutting me off and moving on to the next question while I was mid- answer to the current one. When I left the interview, I was like no effing way I’m getting that job.

I was like that bitch, she was just mad that some black dude or her man did something to her and she took it out on me. Maybe she was looking for a fight. Then I wondered if I had frustrated her because maybe I wasn’t prepared like I should have been.  From that experience, I decided to not give anyone fuel to ignite their own personal fires against me.  If someone wants to be ignorant and take it out on me so I turn into The Angry Black Man, I won’t be that for them. I will be me. And when someone does me wrong, I’ll at least take into consideration that I may have actually done something to cause them to treat me that way.

I’m me. I’m comfortable in that.  I understand that society looks at me a certain way just because I am a Black man. But getting upset over that just perpetuates the cycle. Just break it already. I’m more concerned with someone’s perception of me after they meet me, not before.


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