How I Learned To Eschew Self Hate And Embrace My Identity

This post tonight is not just a regular blog post, but an open letter. I normally don’t like to write these, because they often can come off disingenuous. But, considering the topic, I must interject. A few days ago, a gentleman by the name of Orville Lloyd Douglas wrote an article in The Guardian titled “Why I Hate Being A Black Man” In the article, Mr. Douglas eviscerates himself for being a Black male in Candian society. While he starts off the essay with how he is treated, through his piece, we see the various ways in which he has allowed the fears and micro-aggressions of others distort his view of himself.

One of the many things that Orville says, is that Canada has a serious problem with race. You will not be that surprised to hear me say that the country that borders yours also has a deep rooted problem with race as well. America, despite being into its second term with a Black head of state is no racial paradise for Black Americans. Your sister is correct: there are anti-Black hostilities that play themselves out even in such a seemingly minor thing as a seat on the subway. Where you veer off, is when you don’t recognize that such treatment is the issue of the people reacting that way, not yours.

Yes, the way which people react to you can make you feel a certain way if your guard is not up. But, looking at it on the whole, how many ways are you going to allow the views of others contort who you are? Black self-hatred of course is a real thing, and needs to be discussed. We are dealing with it now with a misguided hip-hop artist by the name of Kanye West. When we talk about Black self-hate, what we are really talking about is internalized oppression. Whether you realize it or not Orville, when you loathe yourself, you are doing the work of the exterior forces you spoke of in your article. The same book by Franz Fanon that you quoted reveals this dynamic, but it does not stop there. The work of Fanon and others like him involved pushing back against this oppressive reality of Black life. The analysis is there, now the other part of the equation is to press for things like this to change. When you can die for the simple reason of being in a position to need help, that is a problem of a scope which no one Black person can run from.

As a Black male writer with a platform as widely respected as The Guardian, you owe it to your audience to elevate the conversation to ways in which we can address these issues in an honest and open fashion. You owe it to yourself to address your wounds, and to see yourself as less of an object of fear and more as a person in society that deserves the same rights and protections as others. Black is beautiful, and we need you to realize that as well. That is the way towards authentic pride, despite what others may think of us. Peace.


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  1. Recognize: “When we talk about Black self-hate, what we are really talking about is internalized oppression.” Good writing Marc!

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