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Yes Virginia, there is Black Male Privilege

By Guest Contributor L’Heureux Dumi Lewis, originally published at Uptown Notes

A few days ago, my talk at the 143rd Morehouse Founder’s Day Symposium went up on the web. The talk was entitled, “Shadowboxing the Self: Confronting Black Male Privilege.” I was very excited to give the talk because I knew that it would ruffle some feathers, but I viewed it as a labor of love.  My goal is to speak truth that inspires thoughts and actions. While not everyone will agree with me, this is not a surprise, I do think the conversations that Black Male Privilege (BMP) has generated thus far are good. The responses have been overwhelmingly positive and many are asking for clarification. I’ve decided to respond to three thematic questions I’ve received, most often from incredulous Black men. I highly recommend that you watch the video of the talk below. This is an emergent area of research for me, though I’ve been living Black male privilege (BMP) for some time now. There are a number of great talks from the Founder’s Day symposium with was a 4 hour plus affair (My talk was only 35 minutes). Please do check them out.

Response:

1) What is Black Male Privilege? Is that like irregardless?*

I got this question a bunch. I think its because, on its face, the placement of the words Black male and privilege close together appears contradictory. Indeed, I want you to think about the juxtaposition and open up to the possibility of its existence. While most of us are used to the crisis narrative of Black men in America, we continue to overlook the ways that male privilege is experienced and leveraged by Black men in our everyday lives. While most folks who asked this question didn’t watch the video (all you have to do is click play). I’ll write out the working definition I gave during the talk, “a system of built in and often overlooked systematic advantages that center the experience and concerns of Black men while minimizing the power that Black males hold.”**

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