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  • Writer's pictureRachel Abel

Reclaiming Black Men

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

There is space in the world for Black men to be all that they are and that is, first and foremost, innately human. Much of western society has created various stereotypes of Black men, such as absentee fathers, criminals and baby daddies. The way Black men carry themselves and move through the world is closely monitored and heavily scrutinised, lest they pose a threat, simply for occupying the skin they’re in. There is a way that Black men can dress that will have them immediately labeled a “thug” but let someone else dress that way and you’ll see it on the runway. This is wrong and has to stop.

It’s past time we reject this false narrative. Black men deserve to be seen in their full humanity, not just as caricatures created by the white supremacist systems which perpetuate a distorted narrative. Black men in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States are incarcerated at higher rates per capita than the percentage of the population they make up. Some will cry ‘but the data?! 😩’ without looking at the story behind the numbers. The truth is much more complicated than the ‘Black men are more likely to *insert typical statement here*’.

The truth is these stereotypes do not represent the majority of Black men.

Black men are doing the same things that non-Black men are doing - in peace and anonymity. They are working and earning a decent living and taking care of their families. They are building their communities. They are leaders and activists. They are politicians and athletes.

They are Sons.

They are Brothers.

They are Husbands

They are Fathers.

Photograph by Marquise Kamanke

We must normalise Black men doing all of these things and being seen as human. Black men shouldn’t have to fit into the boxes assigned to them by the oppressive systems created to keep them down. Systems so unforgiving to their humanity they have decided Black is a threat, too dangerous, too powerful, to be feared and subdued by any means necessary. In the same breath, these very systems also celebrate the wins and rings of Black men on the basketball courts and football fields. So which is it? 🧐

Our men are built the way they are because they are protectors and warriors. Our men have used their stature and strength in many ways that the world has applauded and championed. We love our Black men and we are here to correct the false narrative that has prevailed for far too long.

Dear Black men, your strength is a gift to protect and be protected. Your melanin is beautiful. It is not a threat. Someday the world will see you as more than just a hashtag. You will be remembered for the way you lived and not the way you died. Until that ‘someday’, we love you and will continue to fight for you. Always.


Next up - Reclaiming Black Women

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