On Feb.14 in N-201, Dr. Darryl Brice examined the stigmas and prejudices attached to black males in a talk under the title: “A curse and a curse: Black masculinity and bipolar prisms.” This event was organized and brought by the Black Student Union on campus for 2013 Black History Month. As a slogan for this month, BSU aims to empower students of color by “Honoring our past to help shape our future.”
Dr. Brice received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Loyola University Chicago, Ill abd is currently an instructor of sociology at Highline Community College.
He highlighted what society in general perceive as an “acceptable” black male and what is assumed of any who do not fit that category.
A main focus was the conforming to white culture a man of color would have to adhere to in order to be deemed “acceptable”.
If, however, this conforming did not occur, the man would be perceived as dangerous and needing surveillance or containment.
Brice explored why this existed, saying, “It relieves the anxiety of whites in a ‘post-racial’ society where racism still exists.”
Examples in the media and in the glorification of certain personas were brought to light. Either the black male is presented completely customized to white culture or as a passionate and potentially dangerous individual.
If looked at carefully, this portrayal is not present only on television and film but in every aspect of society claimed Brice.
Brice presented the cover of a Vogue Magazine along with an aged magazine cover of an ape with a club and a white female in an arm who appears to be fainting, this one with the title ‘Destroy this Mad Brute’ in capitals. The recent Vogue cover showed a black man with the same expression as the ape, mouth wide open and a stance of aggression, on his left arm is a woman—small in proximity leaning back eerily similarly to the female on the ape cover.
Looking at the comparisons of this reoccurring theme, Brice terms those who would say he is a conspiracy theorist “coincidence theorists.”
Touching upon important figures in society, Brice remarked that sitting in a history class, an individual would think only white men have created history. He argued that black men are not accepted higher up in business situations unless they conform to white men normality. The example of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is presented—a man who has been made to represent someone who assimilates.
Students of Brice argued against this, stating Barack Obama is president with the skin color that he claims find difficultly in climbing to positions in present societies. They presented the argument: if he has such an important role then every black male has the same opportunity. Brice responded that this is turning a blind eye to the obstacles black communities face nation wide. He said, “There have been many white presidents, does that mean white people do not have problems?”
Members of the audience asked questions regarding the next steps that must be taken. Brice responded with taking pride in who they are without conforming to what society categorizes as two extremes as a solution.
Having presented an overview of portrayals that attempt to dictate the norm, Brice was able to expand and explain a different, natural and rounded norm.
An audience member expanded on this with his personal experience which he shared in which he recognized his feminine side after having come to the understanding that society has a handicapped image of what it is to be a black man.
BSU is located at student programs above the cafeteria and welcome students with questions and concerns.