Today, as I scrolled through my Facebook news — God bless it — I came across this disturbing post by an African-American gentleman whom shall remain unnamed. He is outraged that Your Black World news found it within themselves to publicize, in his words, the culturally “self-hating” poster pictured on the left. His post in its exact form reads as follows:
“another bashing of the black man, last year it was black women , if you read this crap long enough you start to hate your own , please dont get me wrong people but think of this we are in a system where you cant even walk down the street as a black man , 1 where unemployment is double , 1 where Blacks are seven times more likely to be in prison than whites , still even are own media writes crap like this self hate is a mf , like i said if you read enough of this crap you will start to hate yourself (peace and love ).”
This brings up a very culturally appropriate debate. Do posters like this strive to build up the people of our culture or tear them down. It is clear what this troubled black male reader thinks. I, on the other hand, believe quite the contrary. Whereas I agree that self-hate is not good for any culture or race of people, this poster is certainly not reminiscent of self-hate. In fact, it is a beacon of self-improvement — better yet, cultural improvement.
Whether we like it or not, we live in a world where a black man cannot acquire the respect of his fellow man if he is dressed in such a manner. Objectively looking at it, the greater percentage of young men dressed this way are not well educated and are not going very far in Corporate America if anywhere at all. If we want to see our young black men do better, we as a culture must lead them away from this lifestyle and into one that embraces not only dressing what is deemed respectable but also acting respectable and intelligent — a REAL force for society to reckon with. No one can get a good job dressed like the young man in this photo. It is what it is. Presenting oneself in that manner associates one with trouble, crime, and prison — whether that be true of the young man or not. How a person dresses and presents him or herself says A LOT about him or her. Dress how you want, but it sends a message, and we are forced to live by the consequences of that message.
What is your take? Is this poster encouraging African-Americans to hate themselves or improve themselves? Feel free to comment below.