Black Media: Bashing or Building Black Men? The Public Speaks

      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.

Ayvaunn Penn is an award winning writer pursuing her graduate degrees in dramatic writing and acting. To like The Penn Speaks on Facebook, clickhere. To become Ayvaunn’s Facebook friend, click here.


One response to “Black Media: Bashing or Building Black Men? The Public Speaks

  1. Although I find myself really agreeing with you regarding the young man’s dress or attire, I must mention that the young man is a black man and regardless of what he is wearing (thanks to years of racial discrimination and hatred) he will still be associated with crime and no education, solely based on the color of his skin and/or his body features. But I still agree with you that wearing different clothing might lessen the blow and put him in a somewhat better position when it comes to being taken seriously in Corporate America. Does this poster berate “the black man,” I guess you could say so. But at the same time, it is telling a truth (someone’s truth at least). Negative images of black people (men and women) will always exist, just like they exist for white people. The difference between whites and blacks is that white people have a plethera of images out there that counter the negative. Black people don’t have too many, so negative images like this poster might hurt a little more to the community because that is really all we see. So I guess it is up to one to take on the responsibility of getting those positive images out there.


    -Christina Leona

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