Houston We Have A Problem: What the Snatching of Steve Francis’ Chain Tells Us About Black Males

One of the primary problems affecting Black males today is that African-American men hesitate to speak up about the foolishness they witness daily; in fairness, many of African-American men have tired of repeatedly attempting to correct Black males in their foolish ways. One of the most significant concerns that leads African-foiAmerican men to not chastise the few is an extreme desire to avoid substantiating the discriminatory thoughts and stereotypical constructs of a hostile white community. However, there is near consensus among African-American men that is only discussed behind closed doors or in barber shops, that there is a segment of Black males who must not only be considered the wretched of the earth, but also should be immediately ostracized if the race is to progress, let alone survive.

The late Dwight Errington Myers, commonly known as Heavy-D, once recorded the following lyrics on the classic tune Self-Destruction that was aimed at uplifting the Black community.

Aayyyo, here’s the situation: Idiodicy
Nonsense, violence, not a good policy
Therefore we must ignore, fighting and fussing
Hev’ is at the door so there’ll be no bum-rushing
Let’s get together or we’ll be falling apart
I heard a brother shot another. It broke my heart
I don’t understand the difficulty, people
Love your brother, treat him as an equal
They call us animals mmm mmm I don’t agree with them
I’ll prove them wrong, but right is what your proving them
Take heed to what I’m sayin
Or we’ll all be on our knees, praying.

I am certain that you are wondering why I chose to write about this matter. Well the answer to that is two-fold: (a) I have tired of the niggardly culture enveloping many Black males within my community, a culture that is predicated upon little more than disrespecting one another — currently it appears that the most significant sign of Stevedisrespect is the snatching of a person’s chain that they wear around their neck as some sort of spoils of war or trophy; truthfully this has been occurring for some time in the hip-hop community, (b) the latest victim of a chain snatching is former NBA player Steve Francis.

Now this crime is fertile ground for myriad questions such as what is a 38-year-old Stevesteve 2Francis doing on the stage at a Sauce Twinz concert? Big K.R.I.T. I could understand, Sauce Twinz not so much. However, that is not the most important thing that occurred on that stage.

Experts have repeatedly related that the repeated viewing of violence in Hollywood movies and video games leads one to become desensitized to violence. Put simply, repeated exposure to such mediums will potentially leave their kids with little sensitivity to senseless violence; in fact, those who are repeatedly exposed to such events will adapt and often pursue such encounters in their personal lives.

I see a similar process that has led many Black males to become desensitized to the immorality that envelopes their entire existence. Unfortunately, the alluded to individuals pimp c1have adapted to their surroundings and created a culture that Richard Majors terms the ‘Cool Pose’. According to Majors, the ‘Cool Pose’ is a set of language, mannerisms, gestures and movements that “exaggerate or ritualize masculinity. The Essence of cool is to appear in control, whether through a fearless style of walking, an aloof facial expression, the clothes you wear, a haircut, your gestures or the way you talk. The cool pose shows the dominant culture that you are strong and proud, despite your status in American society.”

Majors goes further in his analysis when he relates that Black males who assume the Cool Pose “…can appear competent and in steve 3control in the face of adversity…It may be his only source of dignity and worth, a mark that hides the sting of failure and frustration. Much of cool pose is ritualistic imitation of peers. If you’re not seen as cool, you’re an outsider. It’s a way to be included.”

Noted newspaper columnist Clarence Page chimed in on this matter when he related that those who chose to make this a hallmark of their life generally, “lack the education, income or social status that comprise real power. Black cool was born as a reaction to the denial of these opportunities. (Clarence Page — Chicago Tribune 11/30/86).

Unfortunately for Black males who have chosen to adopt the Cool Pose, they apparently spend so much time attempting to pretend to be the part that they fail to Steve 7ever step back from their game of charades and spend any time actually developing the tools needed to be the part. Put simply, they are ‘all sizzle and no steak.’ However, they are the most loud and boisterous populace within a highly diverse population of African-American males and in many ways set the standard of manhood.

And that is most certainly a very scary prospect to the nation, particularly their indigenous community that is continually under politico economic attack from outsiders who have no need to Steve 6participate in a charade such as the ‘Cool Pose’ because they have the politico economic power that Black males pretend to possess. What makes it truly ironic is that the ever increasing power that outside communities wield like an Excalibur in their pursuit of additional power comes from the cowardice of these Black males who are so busily being ‘cool’ that they are for all intents and purposes irrelevant when it comes to truly important educational, political, economic, and social power, the ingredients that create real power, not this façade that they have not only enveloped themselves within, but also are afraid to leave out of fear that their powerlessness would be on display for the entire nation.

James Thomas Jones III


©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2015

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