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 does the vitriol, racial animus and stereotypical behavior do to your manhood and psyche?
HOST: "What does it feel like to be vilified by your culture, based solely on the color of your skin?"
VOICEDEPAW#3, responded to this question with the usage of the word nullification to describe how society voids out rules, processes, practices that are guaranteed to all, but nullified when it comes to African-American men. He referenced federal laws that are meant to protect under-represented populations in the workplace from harassment and discrimination. "Those rules are nullified when I create a disciplinary action for subordinates in my role as a supervisor. I am not protected by those laws - but instead accused of sexual harassment without any protection or recourse. (paraphrased)."
He also shared an interesting story about the traditional practice of welcoming new home buyers like himself with baskets of freshly-baked bread or the likes. In this case, he experienced a neighbor who called the city and complained that there was lead in the paint, after he and wife finished painting their newly remodeled home. The call from the neighbor resulted in an additional payment of $3000 to his painting company to test his newly painted home for lead. It turns out that there was no lead in the paint. Other neighbors, walked up to them and boldly asked if they were renters in an upscale neighborhood with six-figure prices for homes. This question persisted despite for a SOLD sign that was positioned in their front yard. His overall assessment of the vitriol that he experiences is that it is there - but it is not an excuse to not thrive and achieve.
Thank you VOICEDEPAW#3, for your honesty and your candid expression of your personal experiences as a man of color. Your family and our community as a whole is blessed to have you in a leadership role, as, INVOLVED PARENT, husband, father and an employee with one organization for over 37 years. #race, #african american #black man, #racial animus, #lead paint, #vitriol.