As Long as I don't get out of character!
In honor of BLACK HISTORY MONTH, I wanted to provide a safe place for African-American men to provide earnest responses to several questions that I posed on the topic of race, racism and being a man of color. Seldom does anyone speak directly to men of color and ask them what affect does the vitriol, racial animus and racism in our society have on their sense of manhood. My hope was to try to help others to understand how societal ills affects their psyche?
HOST: VOICEDEPAW#6, "What attributes did you rely on to help you to become the amazing man that you are today?"
His initial response to me was about the importance of discipline in his life. He reminisced about his experience as a military brat and growing up on a military base. His ability to watch soldiers marching in formation helped to appreciate the importance of self-control and discipline. The guidance of his father as an enlisted soldier and ongoing discussions about his career choices (specifically the decision to not pursue a military career), had a great influence on his life and helped him to pursue a career in engineering.
VOICEDEPAW#6 acknowledged that social ills of racial animus, hatred by some towards others and harassment by some police was considered a norm, when he was growing up in Los Angeles. "Those things are there and many have to respond in kind to them, but that doesn't mean we need to act a fool and tear up things. I just tell myself that if it is necessary I will respond (paraphrased)." Despite exposures to negative experiences growing up in Los Angeles, he determined in his heart to exercise patience and to remain respectful to others, in the same manner he wanted to be respected. His greatest charge to himself was to not allow outside circumstances to cause "him to get out of character."
Of greater importance to him is how well he meets the needs of his community, wife and children. His strong faith in GOD enables him to overcome and live a financially and spiritually fulfilling existence, as, a. man who has remained gainfully employed. in his respective career for 40 plus years. He seldom makes a decision about matters of the heart, until he is sure that he is moving in the. direction that GOD wants him to go. This very important attribute of faith is a common thread in all of his decisions, that have served he and his family well.
Thank you VOICEDEPAW#6 for sharing your experiences with me. Our country is blessed to have a man of your caliber walking the streets of Los Angeles, who discovered early attributes that positively shaped your character. Your dedication to your charge to GUIDE, GUARD. AND GOVERN your family is noteworthy and is something that others can learn from you.