T. Hasan Johnson
May 15, 2012
Denying and Defying
Introduction- Jonathon Jonelle Huston was my choice for this project. Huston works at the Supreme Court of Fresno downtown and also happens to have an Africana Studies minor. I have known him as long as I have known my family. He and my dad both went to college together and through the police academy before I was even born. He is just as much a father to me and my biological one because of the wisdoms he has passed on to me. When it comes to being progressive masculinity, this man is the epitome of that in many ways. My decision to interview this man was a no-brainer.
Tell me a little bit about yourself
– I was born in Lompoc on August 17, 1966. Lived with 4 sisters and both of my parents. My parents worked through the day and I rarely got to see them. Life was not easy as a child with deaths and money problems so I often looked to my older sister to pull me through some hard times. When I was 19 I moved out of my house and was working as an intern for the local newspaper which I quickly found out to be a huge waste of time. I decided to try my hand at college and join the academy and that’s when I moved to Fresno and met your dad. I met him through another friend who knew he wanted to enter the academy as well. We both had the same mindset and so becoming friends was inevitable. I’m currently a bailiff for the Fresno Supreme Court downtown.
Can you talk a little bit about your family?
– “I guess I can start off with my mother had a miscarriage when I was about 8 and my only brother died when he was few months old. I remember being sad but I don’t think it affected me as much as it does now that I’m older. I would have really loved to have a brother but I firmly believe everything happens for a reason, whether or not we know it. I was very close to my older sister, aww man. She was my rock. I’m not too sure how I would have survived without her, and she plays a huge role in the sculpting of who I am now. She lives up in New York right now unfortunately she is battling health issues. My mother and father were old school- all work no play. I love them for what they did for me and my sisters. Even though they were strict, I thank god for them because now I get to decide how I am going to be father by using them as a gauge and deciding which of their footsteps I will follow. I have one son. He’s in San Diego State right now as a psychology major. I consider you my son as well and you seem to be doing pretty good yourself. Happily married and at this point, all I have to look forward in is some grandchildren from the both of you! Not now of course!”
So basically you understand this interview is going to tie into black male masculinity and how we as black males are suffering within ourselves, so what do you think it means to be a man?
– As you mentioned manhood is in a state of crisis and I see it, and ill preface this by saying being a man does not mean you should be the Dos Equis man, even though I like the commercials, its leading courageously. A man who in the face of being mocked and ridiculed does the right thing. Men can sometimes shy away from, basically, responsibility for self-preservation. The problem is our men accepting passivity and the solution if taking the initiative. By passivity I mean our men accepting and not questioning the norm of what we think it means to be a man and everyone just wants to be hard nowadays. Being confident in the decisions you make that go against the stereotypes we see nowadays about our brothers. I could go on about what that means but that would be my answer in a nutshell.
This interview could have gone on for ages. There is so much more that could have been shared. Knowing him on a personal level, Mr. Huston is a great man and has always been which is exemplified through his past experiences. Through his family life, Mr. Huston has been through a lot. Just as many African Americans nowadays, he grew up in a poor neighborhood, rarely saw his parents, and has encountered death within his family on multiple occasions. This is the stereotypical black family that you’re constantly reminded of in popular media. The part you don’t hear is how he reacted to it and his actions in response to those situations. We talked about the media-personified black male in class multiple times: physically threatening, lack of Intellect, violent, irrational, unemployable, lazy, silent- all things Mr. Huston defied. These characteristics are very commonly set off by many of the aspects in Huston’s environment. People like him show that there is another side; there is more than one way towards defining masculinity.
Huston mentioned the stereotype comes from men shying away from responsibility for self-preservation, which makes sense coming from him because he is selfless, sacrificing, and always seeing wellbeing of others. He constantly counts others more significant than themselves. It all ties into what we discussed early in the semester when we discussed what it means to be a black male feminist. Truly realizing the concept of black masculinity is hard. Most people don’t just wake up and begin enacting the true black feminist. The great thing about interviewing a man of this caliber is being able to embrace the idea together and knowing there are people out there who are living out the idea. We, including myself, must realize it is not easy to uphold the standard of the issues we discussed in class. We should look outside of ourselves and put our egos down, going back to the idea of being selfless and sacrificial. Through his trials and tribulations, Jonathon Jonelle Huston decided he would take a different path and in my eyes has had a impact in my life, and progressive black masculinity.