Stop Blaming Will Smith for what YOU did.

It’s trending on all the platforms. An angry Will Smith assaulted Chris Rock and then yelled profane threats at him on national TV. I do not deny this happened, and I am not advocating for violence. However, Will Smith is not the root cause of this issue. You are.

The entanglement

You will find social media trending about toxic masculinity in the black community in this day and age. I am not just talking about CNN and The Washington Post either. Scientists are proving how toxic masculinity has torn apart the black community. It’s not new to the black community. Activists have been saying that we need to allow our black men to feel.

A year ago, news broke of Jada and August’s “entanglement”. Will Smith appeared heartbroken with tears as his wife confessed her entanglement with another man. Will did not lash out or attack his wife. He understood. He empathized. He allowed himself to be vulnerable.

So when Will Smith allowed himself to feel the pain and expressed it openly, people supported him. They praised him for helping to end the toxicity in the black community. Will Smith received specials and developed partnerships with many mental health organizations. You may remember the commercial he got in September of last year advocating for black men to feel comfortable crying. He was celebrated for his heroism.

RIP Uncle Phil

Or maybe you don’t remember any of that. As you shouldn’t. It never happened. What happened is Will Smith was emasculated. He was called weak for crying. They said he wasn’t a man if he couldn’t keep his wife. They created a meme and ridiculed him across news sites and every social media platform.

Well, these people would have made fun of anyone, right? People laugh at your bad news if you are a high-profile celebrity. Wrong. When Beyonce opened up about being cheated on and her pain. She was uplifted, praised, and there were open discussions all over the internet about the plight of black women. Where is this same response for Black men?

I wish we could see this was a one-off scenario, but it’s not. From Tyrese to Kanye West. Black men are ridiculed for having emotions. America does not love the black man.

The pain

We all have those painful childhood memories of name-calling. Things that should be insignificant but that we can’t seem to shake.

I remember at my best friend’s house with my foster sister. He had some additional friends over, and we were all going to watch movies together. I must have been around eight at the time. Well, his friends decided to pick on me. I was a kid with quick wit, so quick most people never went toe-to-toe with me verbally. However, this time, I didn’t have much to say. He began to attack me based on the color of my skin. Telling me, I looked dirty, like I was smeared in poop. It sounds silly that I even remember this. I feel even sillier sharing it, as I don’t talk about it. However, I still remember the pain of being hated.

The long-term effects of bullying are well documented and are taught in just about every elementary school.

  • Depression/ Low self-esteem
  • Anger
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Problems in school

There are many more areas that bullying affects. Now let’s look at the mental health issues that plague black men according to studies.

  • Depression/ Low self-esteem
  • Anger
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Problems in school

Are we noticing something? Black men are facing the same effects as bullying. However, black men don’t just face hate from a$$**** kid at our best friend’s house; the world hates us. Starting as a child, when we leave our house to go on a run (Ahmaud Arber), play in the park (Tamir Rice), or get a cup of coffee (Donte Robinson, Rashon Nelson), we risk being assaulted or killed by a society that hates us.

The problem

You aren’t like everyone else, though, right? You didn’t create or share any memes. You never killed a black man. You may even have donated money to #BlackLivesMatter. So you aren’t part of the problem; you are part of the solution. Right?

Well, most likely not. What was so painful about that memory you just had when you were picked on as a child? Bullying is a given, but what sticks most is the embarrassment. Everyone around you watching, maybe even laughing. You felt alone and betrayed.

Now imagine that same scenario, with millions watching. Millions are laughing and nobody stands up to defend you. Now understand the pain of Will Smith and every other black man in America. We have to see another of our brothers killed, ridiculed for being emotional, face their mental health issues alone.

(Part of) The solution

It’s pretty simple. Stop treating Black men as if we are not human. We have feelings, emotions, families, and life as every other one of you. The next time you see a post ridiculing a black man for being emotional, ignore it. Then post a comment spreading genuine love for black men. Change the popular narrative. Help heal the pain. Ensure that every virtual or physical space is a safe place for black men to feel.

Soul Food

Side Note:
It sucks I have to say this, but Black women face their struggles in our community and society. While this post mentions one scenario where black men and women are treated differently, it is not because either side has it better. We are in this together. Black love is essential. We must love and protect each other.
The problems faced go even deeper than I can go to in a single post. This just scratches the surface.

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Adrian Le'Roy Devezin

Adrian Le'Roy Devezin

77 Followers

A nonprofit founder, activist, and lover of my black community.