a Black man in America.
If mainstream America expects the worse from a millionaire like Kanye, what does that say about the rest of us?
It’s a tragedy that in the “land of the free,” Black men like Kanye are still prisoners of the mind. Kanye clearly has a lot of built up rage, but rather than trying to understand him (and Black men in general for that matter), white America sums it up as something to be feared. It’s not a walk in the park navigating this country as a Black man. I cannot count how many times I get stared at by older, presumably wealthy white men in the locker room at Equinox gym when I put on my du-rag after getting out of the shower. I can nearly smell their sense of fear and discomfort. Sometimes I want to snap and say, “No, I’m not going to stick up the joint and steal your prized possessions...I simply want to lay down my BLACK hair so I can look presentable!” I pay the same membership fee as the next guy, and yet I’m treated like I don’t belong...and in turn I often feel like I don’t.
When you’re White and privileged, you don’t have to consider the feelings of Black men. I, and nearly every man of color can relate to Kanye, who is often misrepresented and casted for a role he never signed up for. Kanye may be a lot of things, but one thing he’s not is understood. Can he handle situations better? Sure. As a new father, Kanye has a responsibility to his daughter to be more aware of the consequences of his actions. But Kanye’s macho persona runs far deeper than paparazzi pointing cameras in his face. Sometimes being a Black man in America feels like you’re trapped in a glass snow ball, where the world is constantly turning you upside down, just waiting for you to self-destruct. And when you’re Kanye - perpetually ridiculed by the outside world and harassed by paps all for a quick buck - it’s not surprising that he would lose his cool. Who wouldn’t?
Gerren Keith Gaynor is a freelance writer in New York City and a graduate of Morehouse College and Columbia University Journalism School. Read more of his work on his website, MrGerrenalist.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MrGerrenalist.