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Are There Reasons For Optimism For Black Men In America?

Guest Coach Michael Taylor

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Guest Coach Michael Taylor

Based on the current racial climate in America, one might assume the answer to the question in the title is no. Watching two black men get arrested in a Starbucks coffee shop simply for being black or watching the story of a white woman call the police on a black man for legally having a bar-b-Que in a park, supports the idea there is a conspiracy to suppress or eradicate black men from America. Add to these two incidences our current president who refused to condemn the action of a racist hate group and it’s should be easy to understand why there is so much pessimism and negativity on the minds of black men.

How can we as black men be optimistic when even some of our own celebrity/successful black men are saying things like “slavery was a choice”?

If we pay attention to the current mainstream media it’s easy to fall victim to the negative media generated narratives about black men. We are constantly bombarded with statistics of high incarceration rates, senseless acts of violence and a host of other negative and unsubstantiated evidence that black men are an endangered species.

So once again I pose the question; “Are there reasons for optimism for black men in America?” My answer is an emphatic YES!

It is my fervent belief that black men are actually positioned to experience unprecedented levels of success in America and beyond. Never has the doors of opportunity been open wider for those of us who are willing to walk through them and create the life of our dreams.

As a man who happens to be black, I have been attacked, criticized, vilified and ostracized because of my optimism. I have been accused of being out of touch with reality; I’ve been called a sell-out, Uncle Tom and a host of other names I choose not to share because of their profanity, simply because I choose to see the world through an optimistic lens.

Despite the opposition, I still maintain my position that every black man is capable of living an extraordinary life if he chooses to do so.  

The primary reason for my optimism comes from a lesson I learned from my grandfather. At a very early age he taught me that being black was a hand that God dealt me and it was my responsibility to learn how to play that hand to the best of my ability. He said if God made me black, there was a reason for it and to always remember that God never makes mistakes. He then emphasized that being black was a very good hand and I should be proud and feel privileged to be black. It was this simple lesson that inspired and empowered me to far exceed what society says a black man with limited education and resources could accomplish.

As I see it, the key to our success as black men is to recognize there are things in life we can control and there are things in life we cannot control. We must not allow the things we cannot control to have an impact on the things we can. In other words, I have no control over how the media portrays black men. I do however have complete control over my actions and I must insure that my actions do not act consistent with the negative media stereotypes.

Therefore I commit to dispelling the stereotypes by creating loving monogamous relationships, being a nurturing and caring father, being financially responsible with my wealth, making sure that I commit to constant and never-ending improvement in my intellectual, emotional and spiritual self.

When I take 100% responsibility for my life turning out the way I want it to then I am empowered to embrace infinite possibilities for my life and I can create an extraordinary one.

In summary, we must understand the negative “external” media generated narrative about black men is inaccurate and the only way to create concrete solutions to our challenges is to change the “internal” narrative black men hold about themselves.

Changing the internal narrative to an optimistic outlook is a step in the right direction.


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6 hours ago, Guest Coach Michael Taylor said:

the only way to create concrete solutions to our challenges is to change the “internal” narrative black men hold about themselves.


Changing the internal narrative to an optimistic outlook is a step in the right direction.


 This sentiment is similar to what Kanye said about slavery being a choice -   

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I think for SOME Black men in America the future looks optimistic....and for others more pessimistic.

Some of what happens to us may happen as a group but unlike many cultures in the East where most people have a collective mentality and the group tends to rise and fall together, in the United States emphasis is placed so much on INDIVIDUALISM that even if you belong to an oppressed group you as an individual still can often have opportunities to prosper.

There will ALWAYS be atleast some AfroAmericans who find a way to make money and live nicely.
Even during slavery you had some doing well.

And I'm not talking about those who sold out or collaborated with slave masters, but those who just found a nice little "niche" and focused on it until they became successful.

Look at Madame CJ Walker....a BLACK WOMAN who managed to get rich and do well for herself at a time when not only Black folks were oppressed but women of all races were too.

You're right about the need for Black men to change their mentality and how they view themselves as a necessary part for improvement.
A good example of this can be seen when comparing AfroAmericans with AFRICANS from places like Senegal, Nigeria, and Ghana.

Africans tend to do better in school, earn higher incomes, and have far less social and family problems than AfroAmericans despite the fact that they are not only Black but most of the time tend to be BLACKER than most AfroAmericans!

So obviously much of what's happening with us isn't do to racism only but also involves our line of thinking.

It's really a balance.......

AfroAmericans as a group must unite and change our way of thinking in order to prosper as a people.....both male AND female; but as an individual you should maintain a strong relationship with The Supreme Being and adhere to certain life principles in order to foster your own success.


Am I the only person who thinks the person pictured on the book cover looks a bit like a woman?

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