1001 Black Men–#416

According to [the] leadership book Management by Chuck Williams, although only 14.5% of American men are six feet tall, 58% of male CEOs running the 500 largest U.S. companies stand six feet or taller—four times the average. —Forbes Magazine

I am a Fortune 500 company? I admit that I have a bias toward tall people, and not just men. For sure, when it comes to tall men, I do notice them more than I do guys of average height. Most of the men in my family are tall, as are a critical mass of my male friends. Consequently, tall guys feel familiar to me. But, when it comes to tall Black men–especially really tall, really big Black men, like the size of professional football players and MMA fighters–I also feel a little protective. Given the prevailing stereotypes of Black men–that they are violent, scary, intimidating–I can only imagine the types of reactions that particularly large brothers elicit from the people around them. A lot of the big guys I know are really, truly gentle men; and it hurts me to think of people responding to them with fear and distrust. Makes me wonder if the advantages experienced by tall white men in the corporate sphere extend to tall Black men, as well. Certainly, some of the same qualities that people admire in one group can appear distasteful in another. I guess that’s what people mean when they refer to a double standard.

Ajuan Mance

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