Society’s Fear of the Black Man

As a fatherhood author and activist, I pride myself on talking about issues that celebrate our similarities instead of focusing on our differences. However, when NPR’s Morning Edition contacted me to discuss society’s fear of the black man, I took them up on it because it plays a role in how I approach being a dad. I hope you’ll take the time to listen to the interview in its entirety and share your thoughts.


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  1. says

    I listen to NPR frequently and i just heard the 2nd part of the fear story this morning. That is what drove me to your website.

    Thank you for contributing to this story, I appreciate stories which aim to expose and remedy (even in the smallest way) this injustice that plagues our country. Thank you as well for the website that you’ve put together and all of the info that is available. I am an expectant dad (first time) and I can totally benefit from your experience and everything that you’ve shared. Your writing really resonates with me, an anxious and frequently depressed dad-to-be. A work in progress just like you and everyone.

    One thing that I wanted to ask you – and I hope that NPR includes this in their story, is what an individual can do to make this fear a thing of the past.

    I am a somewhat sheltered white male who didn’t grow up knowing much diversity and I didn’t have much exposure to African American men or women until I was well into middle age. I am a friendly person usually and I like to make eye contact with passers by and say ‘hello’ when I make eye contact (if i’m not super depressed or anxious). i try to be friendly and smile at strangers as much as i can. i want everyone to feel welcome and safe but i get an odd sense that there are a lot of people out in public who just are either unhappy, scared, or miserable when i look there way (no race in particular). I am naive in many ways when it comes to race inequality and all of the BS that i was never exposed to because my skin color happened to be caucasian. Just writing this post makes me nervous because i don’t want to offend you or disrespect you. What would be something that individuals can do to turn this culture of fear into a culture of love?

    Denver, CO

    • says

      Johnny, thank you so much for the kind words and congrats on your “soon-to-be dadness.” Your question is a really good one, and I think the best thing you can do is take the time to meet people of other races. This can be done in church groups, sports bars, playgrounds, bookstores, etc. In doing so, you’ll learn that we are all more similar than we are different. The reason why I love operating this website is because it’s a resource for ALL parents – not just black parents, white parents, etc. We all have the same hopes, dreams, frustrations, and fears for our children – and my goal is to shed light on them. In other words, I use this blog to bring people together instead of driving them apart. Thank you for being here!

  2. Rebecca says

    I heard this story this morning, which is what brought me to your blog. Thanks for being open with all of us listeners (especially white ones like me) so that we can have a better sense of understanding what the day-to-day is like.

  3. says

    As far as the first comment posted, I can say the only thing one can do, is not to perpetuate what may have been demonstrated to u , either by authority, parent, or friend.. I can only speak from a minority point of view… There are things my father said that were very mean and prejudicial against Blacks.. I was embarassed and angered by it to the point where I promised that I would never repeat, or pass on his prejudice.. That is the only way ignorance, fear is eliminated for any minority…and it goes twofold, the hatred towards whites by minority… When it comes down to it, logic and common sense is what it takes… Then again, common sense may not be that common..
    chris recently posted..They’ve Arrived…My Profile

  4. says

    I heard part of the interview on NPR–good, thoughtful stuff. I think the media bears some responsibility for contributing to the “scary black man” stereotype. For example, on TV there’s easily 10 thugs for every Neil Degrasse Tyson or Larry Wilmore. I think this negative image was probably at its strongest in the 90’s/early 2000’s when every image of a black man in the media was hyper-aggressive and in-your-face, whether it was an athlete, gangster rapper or movie villain (OK, except for “Designing Women’s” Meshach Taylor–although I’m not really sure about that character and stereotypes, either.) Hopefully, the times are changing, and Hollywood is more open now to roles with a greater diversity of characters, but there’s still a long way to go. What’s your take on the media?
    Steve Bruns recently posted..Lt. Data and the Missing Meters TheoryMy Profile

    • says

      Good points, Steve. I believe it starts with the media. There are way more black men doing good than doing bad in our society, but television, movies, and the news tend to focus on the small pocket of knuckleheads. I urge people to spend time with black men to realize we are so similar to everyone else. There’s really nothing to fear but ignorance.

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