Physicality and crafting the Black Male Identity

Physicality and crafting the Black Male Identity

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Hyper-Masculinity is widespread and deeply rooted in Black culture. A huge component of this is if based on being physically able, strong, fast and skillful, it's easy to see how this has translated into black cult followings of Heroes and Leaders such as Goku from dragonball z, naruto, and countless athletes. Black men and black people in general has dominated the athletic field and significantly carries major sports industries such as basketball and football. Society holds Black men and, physical and sexual vitality very closely together as a construction of the Mandingo; who is tall, dark ripped but also empty. This is not to take away in away form from their idols, peak physical fitness is often complimented with other positive qualities like wealth, activism and academics. All aspects accumulated there is a significant obsession with being hyper-masculine within the black community, paired with a damaging societal perception of being primal beasts.

The myth of black mental inferiority is taken very seriously to the point where many university professors such as Phillip Rushton releases reports of race and mental capability. On July 18th 1950 UNESCO formally denounced any relations to specific races and mental capabilities in a statement called The Race Question. This idea is not new or easily ignorable but deeply rooted and embedded in culture and is coined as scientific racism. 

Scientific Racism is a racial essentialism to justify stereotypes, cultural and socioeconomic structures. This concept pertaining to black people roughly boils down to the ideology that Black people are bodies not minds. This is a cultural myth that persisted covertly and overtly since slavery. It attempts to negate the systemic oppression the Black community faces in the educational system, and reinforces the racial hierarchy that we experience today.

Last Chance U is a netflix docuseries follows a primarily black football team in Alabama, who's goal is to get players into division 1 teams and later advance to the NFL. In this series it's notable to state that many players abandon doing schoolwork to fulfill their purpose of athletes. This instilled defeatist nature when it comes to education is stemmed from years of reinforced ideas that one is stupid by teachers and adults, but physical prowess is rarely debated due to clear evidence and the ability to excel without extensive cost of books and computers, whilst athletic resources are more encouraged and cheaper to do. This mixed with the ample amounts of representation in the athletic sector and scarce representation in the managerial and economic sector has created a strong culture of physicality of strength and physiological attributes which has translated into a core component of hyper-masculinity in black culture. 

Dragonball-z and Naruto are identifiers of this concept of power through physicality as they rise and are emboldened from highly disadvantaged positions in society through their sheer physical power and good intentions fighting through the ranks to be widely regarded as heroes, mimicking sport journeys of many athletes. Heroes such as batman, and superman rely on institutions of justice and patriotism of white America which is highly skepticized in black culture. These primarily white American heroes are born into positions of inherent power be it through class or lineage harbour a deeply Caucasian ideology of being born special versus Goku and Naruto's narrative of training and rising above. Goku and Naruto have to consistently prove themselves to the world and step by step they build their reputation. There's a culture of competition to reach the scarce few seats that black people hold on the higher positions of society. There's a notable culture of white children being raised with the ideology that they are inherently special whereas black children are born into a culture where society consistently reminds us that we are viewed disposable. Naruto the orphan must struggle and force himself to victory despite having an entire social structure not believing in him or viewing him as weak, superman is the story of a man he just born above everyone else society is scared of his power and might, and although as much people excuse racism through fear, the black man is then put in this bind of being physically feared yet somehow still being seen as a disposable animal to be hoarded by officers. This unspoken sense of weakness in a structure causes extreme amounts of resonance and cult style fandom within the black male  community to the platform of anime due to their common themes of essentialism and characters that push through their societal class structures and labels. Goku and Naruto once proven to be recognized by society themselves no longer have to deal with constant insults on their intelligence and more than slightly shows their worth to the world. This can also be brought into perspective to loosely resemble professional athletes, whom could rely on their physical attributes. Physical attributes are very respectable but there in the black community resides a notion that if i'm physically strong enough everything else does not have to matter.

There is an accumulating amount of components that have created a dangerous emphasis on the importance of masculinity in the black community resulting in incapability to process or express emotional trauma, and aggressive homophobia. Black men are consistently trying to prove one's masculinity and trying to disprove their opponents. The black male idol has to maintain a level of physical aptitude and capability or if not translates masculinity into being dangerous through violence to create an aspect of prowess seen in roles such as Ghost 'James St. Patrick from Power, Lucious Lyon from Empire. It's not uncommon for music videos in Hip Hop to display obscene amounts of weapons with no real reason but to create a perception of hyper-masculine power. These cultural aspects play into a much larger structure of demonstrating masculinity through violence 

Toxic hyper-masculinity plagues the black community and is an active restraint Moonlight which is an Oscar best picture winning film highlights this as it depicts the story of a black gay man growing up and how restricting the community can be on policing identities into a uniformed character of ' a man'. There is this ongoing debate on how feminism is destroying the black community, but there's an ongoing conflict of toxic-masculinity within black men that need to be addressed to move forward as a group. The core of this cultural fallacy is the fact that Black Men are more than bodies and need to both  self identify and be perceived as body, mind and soul

Image taken from GQ, The Ken doll reboot


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