Shawn Maxam debunks the common misconception that men of color don’t wear their hearts on their sleeves.
As adults, we hvae many inhibitions against crying. We feel it is an expression of weakness, or femininity or of childishness. The person who is afraid to cry is afraid of pleasure. This is because the person who is afraid to cry holds himself together rigidly so that he won’t cry; that is, the rigid person is as afraid of pleasure as he is afraid to cry…
One of my favorite television moments of all time is seeing Michael Jordan cry uncontrollably after winning his first NBA championship. One of the most prominent stereotypes about Black men is that we are only just angry. This is a myth. I have seen every single one of my Black male friends shed happy and sad tears.
Maybe in previous generations men of color had to show strength and resilience at all times because of the immense amount of discrimination and prejudice they faced but in 2012 I can be vulnerable and emotional and a “man” all at the same time.
From witnessing the birth of their children to signing divorce papers all of my friends have let the water-works flow. I sobbed incessantly in public when I was informed about my younger brother’s death. I have cried on the NYC subway and in the lobby of Columbia University’s counseling service’s office. I even cried when I saw the recent lip-dub proposal video.
Every time I see any of my friends I give them hugs. I tell them I love them at least once a week. We often talk about how much we love our partners, children, parents and each other all the time. We have playfully sat on each other’s laps in the park and given each other shoulder massages at dinner parties.
I have cried at the end of The Iron Giant and Brokeback Mountain. I love those movies. Maybe in previous generations men of color had to show strength and resilience at all times because of the immense amount of discrimination and prejudice they faced but in 2012 I can be vulnerable and emotional and a “man” all at the same time.
I am not a thug or gangsta and have never tried to be. I am just a guy who happens to be Black who doesn’t mind crying publicly and privately from time to time.
Please share this with friends, enemies and temporary allies alike.
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