Perhaps it was my personality type. I am an I/ENFP according to Myers Brigg. I am Gemini, born on the 8th day of June in 1993 (the day of new language) at 2:02 p.m. My natal chart sites that my moon sits in Aquarius, Mercury in Cancer, Venus in Taurus, Saturn in Pisces, and my rising sign is Libra. All of this natal chart business (apparently) means that I’m equal parts analytical, expressive, and emotional AF. I am an Enneagram type 7w8: the enthusiast meets the challenger. I am High Dominant Influential, according to DISC. Perhaps, I am too much the strong black woman feminist type who wears her heart on her sleeve. Perhaps I self-victimize. Perhaps my hyper-analyzed patience for men has too many holes in it.
Perhaps it was my fault that almost every black man I'd known had at times chosen silence over softness, but I would wager that this was not the case. I would wager that the relational casualties of every black man I know has less to do with me and everything to do with the systemic emotional economies that people of color have had to negotiate since the beginnings of colonization. Perhaps this issue is much deeper than one of the many contemporary conclusions we draw: "these niggas ain't shit."
how I’ve fed the system
In the months after my relationship ended, I delved deeper into this idea of confronting my relationship to an ideal of how black men show up in our culture. Black men are some of the most beautiful and deeply complex people on earth. Yet, our culture treats them like zoo animals—empty-minded creatures on display who are not to be tampered with. Black masculinity has become costumed in the garments of white distance, lest white fragility be triggered. The integrity of black masculinity as a construct has historically also been called into question.
But here’s the thing, I believe that black men are made in the image of God just like I am. We live in a fallen culture that does not create space for the rehumanizing of their image. The black male image is probed, questioned, and tested for safety. I hate it, because I’ve done it too. I’ve walked into rooms and into conversations with presumptions that are out of line.
Lately, in my photographic work, I've been exploring this topic of black masculinity and it's continued narration of both silence and violence in our culture. It has exposed some deeply wounded parts of me and has called me to question my understanding of the experiences of black men. Despite the major and minor traumas I've experienced with black men in my life, I'm learning my bias has been destructive and bleached in a colonized understanding.