We Real Cool 2004-2021

bell hooks’ book on black men and masculinity is spot-on.

It’s making my mind spin at full speed because her solutions to black men embracing a fulfilling life? I did them all. I avoided the traps. I didn’t follow. I created my own. I questioned. I asked. I participated. I listened.

I got lucky. Adoption allowed me to be treated as an experiment, pushing adults around me to do better. To nurture more, without giving me any pass either. My foster family was really like this. Patriarchy was around of course, but it was light and almost every time, turned all the way down when I was around. Growing up, it seemed to me that men and women were equal, except that men were faking more. But that was it.

My parents as a younger couple, were quite amazing. Both doing everything. Both doing manual and intellectual work. Both caring, cooking, cleaning. Both able to fix “anything”.

And the biggest thing: they consistently did that. Both pretty much never failing ever to do the things that need to be done in a household, for the fifteen years or so that we lived together. I’m grateful.

It makes me feel sad as shit too, because I know what my black peers have had to deal with, or are dealing with. We connect well on the abandonment issues, that ALL black folks and adoptees share (in my case I get the 2X multiplier here we go). Without really knowing why –but with strong focus and will, I did find fulfillment in creative stuff and the pit that is game development when my brothers have been trying to “get that money”, no matter what. I understand.

bell hooks’ book really demonstrates how patriarchy and late stage capitalism have destroyed opportunities for other ways to live to be discussed and tried. Her book was written in early 2000s. It is sadly so much truer now.

I keep thinking how the 2010s mobile computing era has enable the once very looked down hustler and pimp cultures (embraced by black America in the late 60s and 70s especially, as a crutch to massive unemployment) to take over the mainstream, fueling a gigantic crowd into working like crazy, most likely screwing over folks, while never questioning anything. Technology flipped the script, took 20 to 30% off people’s hard work, and supercharged every single problem that we had before mobile technology took over in the past decade. What have we done?

When bell hooks talks about black men being seen as violent and predators, I don’t forget that the main computer game field where black men showed up the most in the past twenty years, is the  field of competitive, fighting games. Of course. The stereotypes keep going and black men keep endorsing them.

A lot to ponder on.

Leave a Reply