Dear black people, let me tell you why hypermasculinity is ridiculous.

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Frank Ocean’s blonde album cover.

When I first heard about YouTube series, Bk chat London, I was extremely excited because I thought to myself “the UK needs something like this”. I hoped and wished that it would be a platform to really encourage, educate and empower people particularly the younger generation, after all, their slogan is, Real people. Real topic. Real talk. After watching weekly episodes and the recent reunion, I can say that the show has no substance and moral lessons to it or whatsoever; indeed, the show has taken totally different direction from what they portrayed it would be. Since watching the show, (mainly season 2) there has been many issues that keep surfacing but the one I would like to address and focus on is the issue that Adreyn (one of the cast members) doesn’t fit the ideology of hypermasculinity that dominantly exists in the black (African) community so he is very much disrespected and mistreated on the show.

So, what is exactly is hypermasculinity? Wikipedia describes Hypermasculinity as a psychological term for the exaggeration of male stereotypical behaviours, such as an emphasis on physical strength, aggression, and sexuality. In other words, hypermasculinity is the belief that in order for a man to be classified as a man (or as Lucas would say an “Alpha male”) you must in no way possess traits such as tenderness, sensitivity, emotional, “softness” which are commonly considered feminine. Instead, men are allowed to have characteristics such as lust to present sexual prowess, rage to show off strength, and bravado to display courage.

I don’t know why (probably stems from slavery because a strong black man with no emotions who obeyed the orders of their master at any minute was a slave owners dream) but when black boys are soft and in touch with your feminine side then, it was (is) seen as a weakness in society. Moreover, due to their inability to fit in with the norm of how a black man should be, then people, (particularly black women and men) become intimidated. Why? Because they cannot bring themselves to fathom their individuality and they don’t know how to accept that difference. Therefore, they would do anything in their power to make the person conform and this is my problem.

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Hypermasculinity is a problem because it comes from insecurity in oneself and their masculinity, so much that they have to project their attitude onto the next man. The hypermasculine man does police other men with what they believe to be masculine. This also goes hand in hand with policing women and telling women what their role in society. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a masculine man, but once you start needing to project that onto others then, you’re approaching hypermasculinity. Richey Collazo said it best when he said:

Because of this viewpoint of black men, they are immediately assumed and mistaken as criminals by police. They are immediately seen as suspicious when they walk into a store. They are immediately presumed to be ready to attack someone just for wearing a hoodie in public and this thought process that a black man has to be hard as steel with no emotions that is perpetuated by black and non-black people is getting our boys and men killed (or having them kill themselves). It’s making black men appear to be inherently dangerous and up to no good to society and devaluing us down to something who will be nothing but a criminal who fails out of school and ends up in jail.

Even our own black community, mock, tease and dismiss black boys for exhibiting humanness and that must end.
I read a self-explanatory poem by Nayyirah Waheed which basically puts things in perspective for me. It goes like this:
“What
massacre
happens to my son
between
him
living within my skin.
drinking my cells.
my water.
my organs.
and
his soft psyche turning cruel.
does he not remember
he
is half woman.”
— from

Therefore, in order to abolish this ongoing stigma, we must let black boys show their emotions. We must let them be soft. We must let them show their happiness. We must let them show their softness. We must let them show their sensitivity. We must let them show their sadness. We must let them show their tears. We must let them show their feelings without criticising them because feelings are an integral facet of manifesting humanness.

Why I am no longer accepting being called “OREO”.

oreoFirstly, I would like to put out a disclaimer that this blog post is not to complain or insult anyone but rather to educate and hopefully raise awareness as to why the term “OREO” should not be used to describe black people.

The word “Oreo” was introduced to me when I was in a sixth form when my group were playing a game where we discussed the partners (relationship wise) we were going to end up with. When it was my turn, a black girl said the following to me:

“Oh, I only see Angelina with a white guy and not black guy”. And to my surprise, everyone at the table agreed. Of course, I asked her why she came to that conclusion and her response was “you can’t handle black guys, you’re too nice, innocent and quiet; basically, you are an Oreo.” I thought that was the most absurd thing that a person could ever say. However, inevitably, over time, I began to believe it and take it a compliment because that is what I was being taught by society. At the time, everything was taken and done so lightly that I myself didn’t know I was being brainwashed by society and with the negative stereotypes that are associated with being black who would want to be one of those stereotypes? Certainly, not me.

For those of you who are lost, when someone calls a black person an “Oreo” it means that you are ‘black on the outside, white on the inside’ (i.e. you are a black person who ‘acts white’). Although such remarks may be harmless jokes, they’re reflective of society’s narrow understanding of black people and how it manages to infect black communities themselves. I think that it is extremely sad that society has managed to influence people to think there are certain criteria that a black person has to fit into before they can be classified as “being black” and if they do not fit those criteria (which are just a bunch of stereotypes) then they are “not black enough”.

This notion is rather damaging as it limits the potential for young black children to express and follow their genuine interests and dreams but most importantly, to be themselves.

According to society, to be black means to be loud, ghetto, have a bad attitude, listen to R&B, hip pop and rap as well as have aspirations to be a musician (or in the entertainment industry in general) or a sportsman and with food, you must absolutely love fried chicken! Honestly, if these compositions about black people were true then, personally, I am yet to encounter many black people in my life. The most reprehensible thing is the people who think of it as a sort of compliment. The next time you use the word “Oreo” and imply “you’re not really black”, just be aware that there are many other hidden connotations that include but are not limited to:

  • You aren’t loud
  • You speak eloquently
  • You’re well educated
  • You love to read
  • You strive for success.

Please note that it is not a compliment.

Finally, to answer the question of why I am no longer accepting the term “Oreo” being used to describe me is simple. I believe that there are good and bad people in every race. There is beauty in every race. There is intelligence in every race and within each race, there are differences in personality and character amongst the people because race is not linked to any of the attributes mentioned above. Therefore, insinuating that the colour of an individual’s skin determines how they act is ridiculous and ignorant, so to speak.

 

Angels say trust the detox

forgiveness

Growing up, I heard the phrase forgive and forget so many times and to be honest I did not really have a problem with the act of forgiving and forgetting (especially since I am naturally quite forgetful of things). Now, whether that is a good thing or not, I will let you decide. Anyway, back to this blog post, this academic year was one of the hardest years of my life in terms of my interactions and encounters with people. I have been involved in so many conflicts and misunderstandings which I never thought I would ever encounter as a person because generally, I really do not like conflict and would do anything to avoid it. With some of the conflicts, they were resolved quickly and then we moved on and the others not too much.  I always tell my friends that I am a very sensitive person and I do wear my heart on my sleeves. Thus, for example, if someone offends me, I will let you know about it. I may not approach you in the best way but my intentions are good because I would want you to know how our actions have impacted me and hopefully, by talking about it, we can move on (that’s just me). Of course, things do not always happen the way that we would like and I believe Robert Burns said it best when said “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

I am not going to reveal too much of what happened but I was extremely hurt by someone’s words and behaviour towards me. I felt like my character was being dragged into the mud even to the point that I had to defend myself excessively on numerous occasions. Now if you know or don’t know me, my worst nightmare is being portrayed as someone that I am not. Thus, to have someone close to me portray me in that light, I am not going to lie but that really haunted me for days. I kept reflecting on what I might have done for the person to come to such conclusion but I could not find any reason. Subsequently, I became very disappointed to the point that I could not bring myself to forgive and forget.

Just because something is not going to hurt you does not mean it will not hurt someone else. There are things my friends say to me but I cannot say to them because their feelings would be hurt and mine would not. As part of being in a relationship (whether it be friendship, romantic etc.)  not doing what you think is right but what would not hurt the person you’re in relationship with is one of the key ways of maintaining that relationship because I have come to a realisation that you can be right, but your approach or intention about the situation can make you just as bad as the person who is in the wrong if you act on emotions. Therefore, we ought to be careful with our words and actions when faced with predicaments.

Unfortunately, the topic of forgiveness seems to be more popular among those who know they need to receive it. Those of us in need of giving forgiveness are not always as enthusiastic about the subject and I believe that the hardest part of it all is forgiving someone who never apologised.  In fact, I thought to myself forgiveness in this case means the wrong did not matter. Therefore, I refused to be the better person because I was sick and tired of doing that; I wanted to see a change in behaviour before forgiving but then I realised that the Lord sees all things and knows everything and honestly, I am just as flawed. (JOHN 8:7)

To conclude, the decision to forgive is not a sign of weakness, nor does it make us susceptible to being hurt again. I once read this quote by an Australian poet by the name of Beau Taplin which sums up why forgiveness it vital. It goes like this:

“I forgive you. Not for you, but for me. Because like chains shackling me to the past I will no longer pollute my heart with bitterness, fear, distrust or anger. I forgive you because hate is just another way of holding on, and you don’t belong here anymore.”

Forgiveness does not say, “I am excusing your actions and allowing you to continue to hurt me.” True forgiveness says, “What you did has hurt me, but I will not let the pain you caused me breed any ill will in my heart towards you.” You can distance yourself from people for your own safety, and still forgive them.

 

Welcome.

Hello everyone,
Welcome to my first ever blog post!

First and foremost, I would like to thank all my friends who encouraged me to start blogging even when I did not think that I was competent to do this. I honestly appreciate all the love and support and you must know that I could not have started without the belief you guys have in me. You are all amazing and I appreciate it more than you know!
Okay back to this blog post, it is with great excitement and I take my first step in the world of blogging. I believe that writing is important as it reminds you of the familiar and the unfamiliar and I take absolute pride in familiarising myself with this concept.

My blog will primarily consist of all things relevant to my life. In the short space of time that I have been on the earth, I feel like I have encountered and experienced so many things of which I would like to share my opinion about. I am a firm believer in living in the moment thus my blog will be mainly the current things that I am going in my life or even just the world in general. I like to think to think that I am an honest person who enjoys sharing my opinions, perspective, emotions generally with people who are willing to listen. I am hoping to make this an interactive place where readers can come to share their thoughts on my stories. You can let me know what you liked, what you did not, or what you might be interested in seeing in future posts. Furthermore, I will be sure to keep this blog updated on a regular basis so stay tuned for upcoming blog posts.

I hope you enjoy reading my blog.

Angie x