What is it about the idea of non-sexual intimacy, and friendship, that scares Black men from embracing other Black men?
written by Rashad Mubarak
“Black Men don’t do that”
Have you hugged a Black Man today? Four days ago the internet lost its mind when Vanity Fair released a photo of Michael B Jordan and Ryan Coogler on it’s Instagram feed.
Aside from the dilapidated feel of a tired yesteryear, the black and white imagery seemed pretty non-revolutionary, until I noticed MBJ’s Friday Night Light’s glove pulling at the back of Ryan Coogler’s thoughts. Then I really yawned, as I couldn’t understand all of the “Black men don’t do that”, “f##” responses on the internet. Personally I thought it was pretty silly, like that’s pretty crazy, I palm my nephew’s head all of the time and that dude is considerably taller than my very proud stature of 5’8" inches.
But as I counted the 100 + responses of bitter disdain for the image of brotherly love, I took a different approach and looked internally, wondering how would I feel if another man put his hand on my head? Immediately defensive, I preached “absolutely nothing” if that was my homey, silencing all of the times that I’ve ‘curved’ very dear friends with a hand shake, knowing that they were reaching for a well meaning hug. Forgetting all of the children’s basketball game head grabs …
Although Oxytocin can be gotten from stray dogs, drugs, and probably sex workers, I’d argue that hugging a Black man is probably a much safer route.
What is it about the idea of non-sexual intimacy, and friendship, that scares Black men from embracing other Black men? It took some meditation and soul searching to FINALLY accept that maybe I, Rashad Mubarak, the Producer of many social justice projects that have helped free my LGBT, Women, Latino, African and Muslim brethren, might be hiding a bit of indirect homophobia that probably started from a subtle distrust of men in general, with a special emphasis on Black men considering that I felt no judgment, only relief, when a very good Caucasian male friend of mine hugged me after not seeing me since child hood. My heart breaks every time I hear a single mother say man up to their child during moments of emotional expression, as I fear for the future wife or husband that may have to deal with an emotional zombie that is just not there. But so is the story of another impressionable mind that we slowly train to be Anti-EMOTION and Anti-AFFECTION, never expecting it to end in Anti-LOVE, changing the relationship between men and women, beyond the simple ideas of who we are sleeping with. And athough the 'man-up' epidemic is typical of adult testicle bearers, as a victim of a single parent household I stress with special concern for the women that have been suffocated by reoccurring chauvinistic trauma that cannot be considered post.
Scientifically speaking, touching another human being, for less than 20 seconds, naturally releases Oxytocin, which is known as the feel good hormone, as it increases the overall happiness of human beings. Although Oxytocin, a bonding glue that helps human beings want to stay connected with others, can be gotten from various sources such as stray dogs, drugs, and probably sex workers, I’d argue that hugging a Black man, or any guy or gal for that matter, is probably a much safer route. Many people point out the lack of unity in the black community, with no analysis of what role friendships play into the whole so called debacle of self hate.
Again, I ask, have you hugged a Black man today?
Beyond not so low key homophobia, please understand what the whole issue of these two powerful Black men not being allowed to be affectionate towards each other represents: If we are not allowed to care for one another, then hate seems to be the next appropriate step on the ladder of self-destruction that was designed long ago by effectively unequal government policies.
Through their recent work on “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed”, the Actor-Director duo have been changing Hollywood’s expectations of how we see Black men in a way nostalgic of what Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro did for Italians in the early 1990’s, yet they’re still not able to float above the singular notion of what black masculinity should be, which makes me concerned for the mental health of all of the working class hero’s out there that definitely wont be allowed to feel all of the feels, or deal with that growing ball of stress that’s hiding behind his Yeezy’s and Timberlands.
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Rashad Mubarak is an Atlanta based Writer/Producer