While many in our community believe that suicide is a "white person's issue,” more and more research is finding that suicide rates among African-Americans are on the rise, especially among young Black men. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third cause of death among African-American males between ages 15 and 24, behind homicide and accidents. Also, suicide death rates among Black men are five times that of Black women.
I've read a few articles that claim black male suicides are down over the last few years. However, I feel like a lot of things that aren't counted as black male suicide, really are suicide.
One of the most obvious examples suicides-not-counted-as-such being suicide by cop.
Another example of something that could be counted as suicide half the time is when one man challenge's another man's toughness, seeking to fight or pull a gun on someone anytime, anywhere (seeking a killer of any race, mostly like ones own?)
Frankly, other than Alton Sterling who was carrying a gun because somebody in the same line of work got held up recently, I have wondered from time to time if some of the black men shot for simply having a gun bought the gun strictly because it made them feel more masculine.
Not that I'm victim blaming, but I don't believe in having guns around on a day-to-day basis --at least, that's what I think when I'm calm and not thinking every black person should carry one on their hip (Every cop murder of a black person makes me rethink my position.) But the bottom line for me is knowing that white boys can get away with a lot of stupid toxic masculinity crap that black boys can't. And the carrying a gun to make ones penis feel bigger is #1 on the list of things white boys can get away with the black boys can't due to white racism.
Furthermore, I think extreme forms of Toxic Masculinity can wind up being a desire to just die, not death as a side effect of performing hyper-masculinity like carrying a gun and swaggering would be. I think that men, boys really, can feel like they are failing at being a masculine man which means:
--failing at being tough enough
--fail at being provider enough,
--fail at being athlete enough
And rather than failing to compete and win at being masculine, some men choose to die instead. But they aren't failing at being masculine. They are failing at toxic masculinity. And there's nobody around to tell them that collapsing under the weight of that is actually a good thing.
|For black men they say five men die for every black woman|
I've been reading a very tiny book called "How To Slowly Kill Yourself And Others In America" by Kiese Laymon. Right now I'm at the section where four men are writing one another letters, some of which talk about how a father let them know they were failing at being men by not moving into "provider" roll fast enough, not making money fast enough.
These men were smart enough to disconnect from their fathers. One or two of them, once they did that, once they valued themselves enough to remove themselves from the emotional abuse of the father, they were able to function better. Once they were able to function better, life didn't necessarily get easier but they found loving relationships. They found where they fit. Once they functioned better and found where they fit, at least one of the fathers adjusted himself to being worthy of relationship with his son.
I don't think that most men are this mentally and emotionally strong as the ones in this book. I think the author, Kiese Laymon is a unicorn black male feminist and his friends, from the book, lean in the same direction
I think most men go along with the toxic masculinity program. The men that are winning though?
They are the ones that make enough money to sit firmly in the provider role. They are the ones that can control their household, reign as King, and make everybody else be quiet (including the Queen) because they hold the purse strings of a very full purse. Until there is a divorce these the successful toxic masculine men can't afford, the white middle class men are the ones that make toxic masculinity look like it's not toxic.
But toxic masculinity combined with poverty and racism is probably deadly.
Keeping in mind that the black community has three times the poverty rate, a black man is a lot less likely to be able to prove his masculinity using money, control others using money, attract a lot of sexual conquests using money. Instead of just being sure they have masculinity intrinsically, a lot more black men than white have to go out and prove toxic masculinity in ways not linked to money. And the options are limited, aren't they?
- athleticism (0.1% might get professional ball player money? less? )- fighting to prove toughness, - guns to prove toughness, - sexual conquest to prove manhood, - controlling or beating women to prove manhood.Some will go to jail as a result of trying to provide alone (instead of sharing the burden with a feminist) And other men, instead of fighting, guns, domestic violence, sexual conquest, become depressed, collapse, will commit suicide in more standard ways.
To me it seems obvious that men need to figure out that they are primarily afraid of. They need to figure out how to let go of what other men will think of them if they fail to perform as tough, stoic, provider, who doesn't know an emotion from a hole in the ground or being something that is a member of the walking dead on the way to being literally dead.
It seems to me that men like former football player Donald McPherson have figured out how to be mentally and emotionally independent from what the male shaped culture their fathers and grandfathers helped create. (Women simply don't have the power to shape culture in this way)
When a man is strong and he starts seeing women as equals. that's when he recognizes little girls posing as women. When a man is strong the little girls who expect just stay at home and babysit while waiting for the man to make all the hard decisions-- will no longer seem attractive.
Men who are men are men that recognize women who are women, and will choose women partners who can decide to be stay at home moms or work for a wage. Men will choose women who can work at wage paying job and let him be the stay at home father, the primary caretaker of the kids. Men will choose women who can work at higher paying jobs so he can work at a lower paying job or non-paying job, like Community Organizer then build on that to one day become President.
Yes, I'm describing President and First Lady Obama. I don't know when he was last a community organizer. But she was making $100K more than he was in 2006. And then she quit(?) to follow him into to Washington D.C. so he could have a chance at the presidency with his family behind him.
Do you understand the love and trust there has to be between these two feminists?
They are a team no matter who is making the most money. And she trusted him enough to not be making any at all for a whole 8 years yet not mistake himself as "the boss."
A man I respect, but now feel sorry for more than anything, told me he divorced his wife because she felt like she was the one in charge once she started making more money than him. I never met her. And it might be true. But his saying "started thinking she was the one that was supposed to be in charge" implies that he was formerly "the one in charge"
A lot of relationships inside a normalized patriarchy function like this (the one making the most money is the boss) though a lot of people won't admit it.
If the one making the most money is the one that's truly "in charge" and a lot of men can't feel like men unless they are "the one in charge" then men, especially black men, are setting themselves up for failure. Because black women have always sought school and gone to work. Early in our history, a black man leaving to go to work and a black woman going to school was the best way to bring money into a single household.
Men of all colors seek the provider role as a pathway to controlling everybody else. In my mind, it is clear that this is why men refuse to be the primary caretaker of the children, yet are somehow surprised when they don't get primary custody from the legal system (run by men) when divorce comes for them.
Regarding men not seeking custody of children when they divorce? It's not that men love their children or are less emotional when it comes to their children-- though they may be that too. To me it seems obvious that a lot of men find themselves more distant from their children than the mother is because men have been taught to love the feeling of being in charge just a little bit more than they want to be the one doing the hands on raising of the children Again, being in charges requires being the provider bringing in the most money.
And toxic masculinity says that the man must get the money, get the money , get the money and be the provider
- --even if their arm is broken and they work in physical labor job like construction
- --even if their mind is broken from racism (can't allow wife to take over for a while)
- --even if their ability to get a job is decreased by a bad economy
Socially speaking, men are as dominant over women as white people are dominant over black people. So if men thought it was more masculine to raise the children, then man would be the one to stay home when a married couple decided that one of them should stay home with the children instead of vice-versa reality we find ourselves in now.
When a man lets go of toxic masculinity I'd be willing to bet that he probably decreases life's pressures by half -- married or not. Moving to a feminist world view means that half the black population, the female half, becomes partner instead of a burden he must bear.
And if you decrease life's pressures by half, even in the face of racism. you live longer. And you'll want to enjoy living longer, right?