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“I have sat on the writing for this piece for over two weeks, and came to realize I might not fully be able to explain my heart behind it, but it still must be eventually shared. First, I always want to make clear that a project like this isn’t anything for me, but I hold a conviction to share some of the narratives I’ve encountered and this would be one of those... "


"How do you think of or how do you visualize a black man?" Years ago I was asked this question, but regarding men in general, and my inner response was answer enough to lead me on a whole journey of acknowledging my misconceptions, and reconciling that place. Our misconceptions come from sometimes a one-sided personal experience, and from what we’re told.

Let’s consider for a moment what we’re told through media. Media.. You know when we look at old advertising, and we laugh at how obvious outdated propaganda is? Depending on the era, it can be anything from reinforcing “a woman’s role” or what a “real man” is— selling a cleaning product to selling enrolment in the army. Laughable (cringe-worthy) now, but it did sell then. Do we recognize, though, how prevalent this same propaganda still is? We may be making headway in questioning bias media, but we still absolutely succumb to racism in media... “If asked what I see most often portrayed of black men in the media, it would be aggression: crime, poverty, anger, uncontrollable, forceful... But what do I see most often of black men in real life? I see a lot of fought-for success, radical perseverance, incomprehensible patience, self-control and self-sacrifice– a “choosing of battles” beyond what should be normal. How damaging is this impact of imbalanced, hype media portrayals in our society?


I chose this drawn form as a visual of physical strength that very well may be present, but that does not equal aggression. Strength that is gentle, controlled, confident yet non-domineering. A strength that is known but not needing to be proven. There is grace, maturity, responsibility in this strength, and I see it regularly lived out in the black men in my world. I challenge us to consider our narrative of people groups. I deeply believe that much of the potential of wholeness within society starts with rewriting these bias narratives- a breaking down of false profiles, possibly beginning with our input and output of media.

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