As times are rapidly changing, we find ourselves questioning those things we’ve always been certain about. One question in particular that comes to mind is whether or not the concept of “Manhood” refers to the member that designates one a male or the title earned by the display of various responsible actions within one’s lifestyle?
While walking down the hall in a public school, I came upon a young male who was standing against the visibly upset and frustrated. As many passed by, he seemed to get more and more agitated, hoping maybe, that someone would stop and inquire about his problem.
His fists were clinched. His tear-filled eyes were squinted and red. His face was blushed. His broad-stocky body was angrily tight and stiff.
I took the bait.
I inquired about his demeaner and as he released the air that was forcefully compacted within his expanded cheeks, he whimpered,
“She keep talking’ about my momma!”
It took everything within me not to let out the ignorant laughter that I had within me. After allowing this student (who happens to be a well-know and professional bully) to express his feelings concerning the actions of his female counterpart—I paused for a while.
And before I knew it, I said something that shocked and puzzled him.
Without hesitation I said to him,
“BOY, MAN UP!”
Looking at his bewildered expression I realized that maybe he didn’t know what the term, Man Up, meant; or even how to go about it.
Maybe he had never seen it done.
My sentiments concerning this are valid considering that 72 percent of black babies are born to unwed mothers and into single-parent environments. Furthermore, 65 percent of divorcing couples have children (that’s about 1 million children annually). This means that 40 percent of American children maybe without the male influence they’ve come to know by age 16.
How will these young men define manhood?
How can they have a fair shot a defining it for themselves or seperating it from that one part of themselves that identifies their gender? (And if that on aspect makes us men, then some of us have exaggerated how much of a man we really are.)
The only way that a young boy can grasp any understanding on what it is to really be a man is to look at the examples he sees around him daily. And to be quite honest that’s what scares me.
He sees more males in prison than in college. He witnesses higher male dropout rates. He experiences more males walking away from the lives they helped create.
He examines how we start college, jobs and relationships; all the while not remaining consistent enough to finish what we’ve began.
He hears women being called bitches and hoes while he tormented and shaped by the image of seeing his mother verbally and physically abused.
He has not desire to do, have or pursue anything of his own, because most of his manhood examples have failed to attain much in their lives due to the fact that they are still very dependent of some kind of a female/mother figure.
He has no desire to leave home. No desire to leave the comforts of what he is used to.
But he, like many, will proudly declare his manhood!
He will declare his manhood wearing pants down to his thighs, blunt in one hand PS2 controller in the other, two chicks pregnant, boasting a 10 grade education with a 3 grade reading ability, living at home all the while having no other ambition than becoming the next Wayne, Jay, Kobe or Lebron; so he can make these other niggas sick!
Everyday we are understanding that manhood is truly more than the tool that is associated with our gender expression, but it is rather the title that we have earned in our pursuit of the fulfillment of our various responsibilities and commitments.
It is time for our young boys to look out and see more examples of young and old men taking their rightful places in the world as well as the homes.
Now is the time where we must cling to self-respect for ourselves and our women.
Now is the time where we must stop conforming and reinventing our swagger to clone the latest status quo.
We must value the fact that if we as men don’t take a stand for something, we as a people and a society will fall for anything.
We should be establishing the tempo, taking the lead and serving as the guard-dog of everything we hold dear and value as a people.
There is a need to show forth some real action-inspired examples to the next generation of men who are proud, possessing confidence, intelligent, articulate, accountable, responsible for and in pursuit of his own, self-sufficient and able to survive with no paternal strings attached, unafraid, unapologetic—with no excuses.
Let us unclench our fists. Release the hot air out of our chests and mouths.
Wipe away the tears and generational excuses.
Let us look life square in the eyes and simply Man Up.
Gentlemen, it is our time and it is our responsibility.
You’re The Change.