The Big Debate: The true representation of the black man in American society

Women babble on and on and continuously say, “Men are dogs” and “Men are no good.” The media often portray black men as hustlers, pimps, gangsters or deadbeats. For example, rappers are perceived as the poster children for black men. Viewers see artists like 50 Cent, that take on the “thug” persona and they automatically become the representatives for the black man.

If stereotypes attempt to define a black man, then what does it actually take to be a black man?

The DNA composition of a black man should begin with taking responsibility for our actions. As a black man, it is hard to put aside my pride and admit to my mistakes. A man should never become too proud to realize his wrongdoings.

Something I find myself and other brothers faulty of is the lack of knowledge and drive. Being in a school where women make up majority of the population, we should want to set ourselves apart as knowledge-seekers. The male-to-female ratio on campus should act as a wake up call that men need to thirst for more out of life. A thirst for knowledge always cures an ignorant mind.

According to, there are only 37 percent of black men enrolled [in college]. The graduation rate of black men is lower than any other ethnic group. Many assumptions claim the educational system is geared against black men, but that’s where we have to come in and fight the system. We need to stop becoming victims of the system and fight it in order to succeed.

Also, one of the most important characteristics black men should have is their respect for black women.

In most cases, a black man has so much love for his mother and would do anything for her; he should have the same philosophy for choosing a mate or spouse. Stereotypes portray black men as deadbeat fathers and sperm donors who do not take responsibility of their women or families.

In books like the, Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, men are just portrayed as unfaithful and heartless creatures. But I can honestly say that those works do not accurately convey or represent my fellow brothers or me.

The chain reaction, dating back to slavery, continues to plague the race of black men. I, along with a host of other black men at Florida A&M University, am here to fight against the stereotypes and to prove that there are some of us out here that represent the essence of a black man.

Thank God there are some people of prominence who recognize black men who make positive marks. Artists like Jill Scott and India Arie compose music that speak on the positive nature men possess.

From the everyday male student to the politically involved, the socially involved to the socially inert, all in some way represent the true makeup of a black man. My philosophy stands that a few rotten ones can spoil a whole bunch, but the new generation of college students are saving the stumbled and fallen.

Nyerere Davidson is a junior public relations student from Milwaukee. He can be reached at