1001 Black Men–#61

The other day I was in downtown Oakland, when I ran into this brother I know. He is incredibly tall; and big too. He’s the kind of guy who probably never gets messed with, because he looks like he could take out any and all comers. When I say he’s tall, I mean the kind of tall that would make him a star on his high school  basketball team even if he wasn’t particular good at shooting. On a rugby team, he would be the secret weapon, and in the boxing ring, his reach would throw a wrench in the technique of all but the most experienced fighters…Only, this guy isn’t really in sports. He’s bookish and kind, passionate about writing and active in anti-sexist and anti-racist social change.  Knowing him makes me wonder what it’s like to be big, tall, black, and male.  What is it like to be the vessel of so many stereotypes and expectations from people of a races and nations, to be the object of so many fantasies and fears, but to manifest so few? The way my friend moves through the world, it is clear that he is aware of but untouched by the expectations that even strangers place upon him. They swirl around him without every truly penetrating his own sense of self; and this graceful defiance is a beautiful thing to behold.


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