Ghetto men have a reputation for being tough guys. To the untrained eye it may seem the problems many ghetto guys have with violence and the legal system are a result of them being textbook alpha males. But that’s only partly to blame. These problems actually come about not totally because of manhood run wild but because a combination of testosterone running wild and the feminine side running wild.
The black community in general has a high illegitimacy rate. And if you isolated the illegitimacy rates to just the ghetto, the percentage of single mother homes would be even higher. Thus, the ghetto tends to be a very matriarchal community. There aren’t many men, and most of the men you do find tend to be young. As Tariq Nasheed says in his book The Mack Within, you hardly see older men in the hood. This is because when most guys get past a certain age in the hood, they have either worked their way out, gone to jail, entered the military or died from violence or drugs. The few old men you do still see in the hood tend to be burnouts. So not only do young ghetto guys lack fathers to instruct them in how to be men, but they also lack older male authority figures outside their family to look up to (most teachers are female too) in their neighborhood.
Like all young men of all races, they have testosterone surges making them aggressive and competitive. However they don’t have reliable older men to teach them how to channel this testosterone-fueled aggression positively, and this creates an insecurity in their male identity causing them to create their own hyperexaggerated ideal of what a man should be. Supermacho, obnoxious, fearless to the point of knuckleheaded, overaggressive…basically the parody of manhood we see in gangster rap. It’s overcompensation to the worst degree.
But even though they are doing their best to be superthug, they still end up doing things in a subtly feminine (not effeminate) way because feminine influences are most of what they know. Most of their role models and involved family members are women, and the few men in their lives were likely raised by only women too. And it shows in how they handle conflict: grudges are held forever, they never know how to let anything slide, they think primarily with emotion and are prone to outbursts, drama and confrontation and most importantly, they don’t know how to choose their battles.
True male behavior isn’t being a drama queen, emotional outbursts and holding onto grudges; true male behavior is picking your battles, knowing when to fight and when to let things slide, analyzing things calmly and logically and having discipline over your moods and emotions and exercising emotional restraint. There are times when it’s acceptable to lose your shit and times when it’s not. These are things that a true mature male influence teaches you, and such influences have almost disappeared completely from the hood.
A chick in the hood can get away with all the drama queen meltdowns and public displays of emotion and confrontation because most people, guys and girls, don’t feel as threatened by a woman and are more likely to let her just yap without serious repercussions. Or at worst just argue back and never let it escalate to a physical level (although it does happen on occasion). When guys are the ones getting overly emotional and confrontational, it’s a lot scarier and it invites a much more serious retaliation, because now the behavior’s coming from a man, which means possible escalation into serious, possibly fatal, violence. That’s why a society of men learning to manage conflict and emotions from women is a disaster waiting to happen, because what’s an acceptable conflict resolution style for a woman can get a young man arrested or killed.
Sure a lot of male tendencies are going to show on the surface. These guys are young and are bursting with testosterone after all. But look at a lot of the other behaviors that are there also.
- Tariq Nasheed’s The Mack Within drops some serious knowledge.
- Also of interest is his brutally frank dating advice book for women Play or Be Played: What Every Female Should Know About Men, Dating, and Relationships, which I highly recommend.
- Men and Marriage by George Gilder goes even deeper than either this post or Nasheed’s books into the dynamics of illegitimacy on the black ghetto community, and goes further into describing how the ills of the black community are actually the canary in the coalmine showing the future dysfunctions awaiting the rest of the civilized world. Highly recommended.