Warning! Black Men and Cops May Have the Same Definition of Power
Power and who gets to have and wield it often get a bad rap.
In our culture, we equate power with the ability to dominate, brutalize and incite fear. With this as our only definition is it any wonder that we allow the brutalization of our young men ?
To be male in this culture is to not be “weak”.
What constitutes weak constantly changes and if you don’t want to get lumped in that category you better know what it is from moment to moment and adjust accordingly.
It is time we redesigned the concept of power and what it can do to improve all of our lives.
All great movements that brought incredible, positive change did not use domination and violence in efforts to uplift and change the status quo.
It is now time for an examination of a new type of power.
It is time for a type of power that some have termed “soft power”.
My soft power approach to leadership often makes people uncomfortable and doubt my abilities and commitment to instituting change.
What seems to really get folks in a snit is when I honestly and shamelessly admit that there is something I don’t know or will need some additional thinking to create a productive solution.
Apparently, the worse thing can say beyond the ago of six is : I don’t know.
American culture believes the loudest, best looking, flashiest is there to pay attention to, worship and fawn over.
Power and its distribution are often decided by people who have the most to gain by wielding it sparingly to those who need it the most and would use it most radically.
Gays, minorities, women, sexual outlaws are all groups who would benefit most from the redistribution of power and its significant and uplifting possibilities.
These same groups would also be wise to unlearn colonized ways of thinking and organizing.
When I have “dared” to write and speak about black male mental health, I have been interrogated by black men who insist that I share my “credentials” and then speak.
When I say : I’m black, gay, HIV negative, been dealing with intimate terrorists since I was 17, homophobic parents, racism, artist oppression and a world that hates direct questions and pure curiosity, this fails to suffice.
When I mention that older white men with Ph.D’s are quoting me on their sites and journals without recognition, the assumption is that I must have something of value to offer the world.
Being questioned about my right to “speak” and share an opinion is all about the policing of my voice and power.
To combat this attempt to “silence”, there must be honesty and discussions around who has power (ability to incite change and gather attention in large amounts).
Another tool to examine and collectively reassign power is the belief that we all have power and to wait for an outside force to grant us access to this power is doing a disservice to the world.
I recently launched a class to teach people about their true power(the ability to make choices) but disguised it as a class on surviving unemployment.
Everyone that I assembled for the class knew a great deal more than me.
I knew very little and was willing to learn as the class progressed.
This is how true power is shared with others and utilized to create serious social change regardless of the context and outside forces interfering.
Black Men and Cops what are your definitions of power?