I was sitting in my room contemplating life and thinking about what my first post of this year would be when a good friend sent me a link for a Kevin Samuels video(3) and the decision was made. For those of you who are not aware Kevin is a social media professional as well as an image consultant and lifestyle influencer. He has had several viral videos and well over a million followers on YouTube. Many men and women subscribe to his style of thinking. I also agree that Mr. Samuels frequently has good points that could lead to deeper meaningful conversations, but I feel that he often misses opportunities for connection and true understanding. In the aforementioned video that I received, he has some good insights but presents the information in a divisive manner that does not build understanding. I personally had a deep ah-ha moment and believe that building healthy levels of understanding and community could grow from his conversation under the right circumstances.
I have no desire to promote division but instead, honestly want to have an open dialog that serves to foster understanding and growth. There has been enough finger-pointing in our community it is time to figure this mess out and help one another heal from the traumas inflicted from inside our own community as well as outside. I know negativity and division are exciting and will always be more entertaining but isn’t it time for us as a people to be more than merely entertained or entertainment? Please keep that in mind and read fully what I write, take some time alone to think it over, and then let’s begin a thoughtful conversation and not an argument. There is so much in this particular video to unpack that I am forced to only focus on a few main points in it; the concept of mom vs. dad, the lack of trust for black men, and the male leaders in the family’s role in securing mates for the women of the family.
The battle of the century is apparently between moms and dads. Kevin is correct that statistically and typically the role of nurturing has been the domain of the mother while the role of the man has been discipline and instruction. He asserts that we must then choose one and only one to be the head or the CEO of the family, stating that there are no co-CEOs or co-presidents. He insists that hierarchy is paramount. I understand his statements in the context of the traditional family, one where the man earns money and provides 100% of the finical support for the family and therefore all decisions must be run by him. This finical ability fits one of the key components of his definition of a high-value man but is not the reality for the vast majority of men in the black community. Most households are comprised of men and women who contribute to the household equally. This generates an issue due to the fact that men who only contribute a portion of the household finically still feel that as a man they are the “head” and have the final say on issues within said household, again no co-CEOs. This is one of the key factors in the power struggle within the home, it is rare that someone would want to give half of their pay to a company that they did not have half of the leadership role. I know that Mr. Samuels focuses on “high-value men” but his message is held up by men that do not meet his standard and is generating tension and resentment between men and women. The reality is that couples need to design a system that works for them uniquely. There is no wrong hierarchy only ones that work or don’t work for your household.
To help bring balance to the household Kevin suggests that women need to choose better mates. In another section of the video, he implies that part of the problem is romantic ideals and the lack of input from male leadership in mate selection. He believes that the men in the family would have the woman’s best interest at heart devoid of emotional biases and romanticism. That initially sounds nice, to live in a home with loving men who would choose an ideal situation for you. Yet, if we just take a moment to look back into history or even to look at cultures in contemporary times that still have these types of structures, the men don’t always make choices that ARE actually best for the woman. They instead make choices that have some social or finical benefit for themselves or the other members of the family. One statement he made was “men have to be willing to die for you but all you have to do is to listen.”(3) Sadly, he fails to understand how listening and living one’s life according to the words spoken by another can create one to die, a living death or a literal death at the hands of an abusive mate. This leads to another topic he brought up and my ah-ha! moment.
Mr. Samuels made a statement “ you got to understand your instinct is to distrust a man, her instinct is a low level of respect. A lack of respect and contempt for men to where you don’t trust us.”(3) My initial reaction was denial but taking a few seconds to reflect I understand the truth in his statement. I spent the next few minutes looking into my soul, not for justification but understanding. I concede that I do not have trust in men but why? It only took a few seconds and it hit me. I will be speaking from my personal perspective on this point, I have some insights that can be applied generally to all women, but I know that this perspective is mostly built on the foundations of my life. The first thought that came to mind is that as a woman we live daily with the fact that half of the adult population can kill us with their bare hands, inflict a horrible amount of physical pain, or physically restrain and rape us. No, we aren’t on edge at all times but that fact has been baked into our subconscious throughout the eons so from my perspective being skeptical or having a low level of trust for a man (black or white or any race) is an evolutionary survival tool that is still relevant today. I just had a conversation with my best friend this morning based on a meme (see below). When we read the caption, we were flabbergasted that a WOMAN would shower while an unfamiliar man was in her home! I reflected on how almost every male that I have hired to do work around my home was inappropriate at some point in the exchange and I would always be on guard while they were in my presence. Besides all of that, I don’t know anyone man or woman that just is naturally trusting. “Trust is choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else.”(2) Trust is built by small moments and actions that over time show people that you value what’s important to them and that you care.(1)
My second thought was a harsh reality for me. Looking over my life and all the men in my family and those close to my family when I was growing up, were simply NOT high-value men. The truth is that none of them were even actually good men. All of my uncles, their friends, and even my father were cheaters, deceivers, many failed to maintain consistent legal employment, made many poor life choices, they abused drugs, and or alcohol. These men were good for a good game of spades or a laugh here and there, but I never felt that any of them genuinely cared about my well-being at all and would never have allowed them to choose anything for my life especially a man. I know that this is not the situation for all women and that these men do not represent all men, I am simply trying to understand myself and men better. Looking at my life and understanding my natural setpoint will probably not make me instantly start trusting men because at the end of the day trust takes time and consistency. In the current dating world, it seems as if many want to skip the part where trust is built and most feel as if you should just trust them from the start. I know technology has made lots of things faster but building relationships and trust are not prepackaged instant things. We actually have to talk, spend time, be open, and learn from one another for true trust to form. Because what I have learned is one good man or woman can build trust where there was none before.
So, let’s be open, let’s learn, let’s share…. This is how we grow
I would love to know what you think, please comment below…