“Keith Brown” by Kaluhua Brown

Kahluha BrownPremise to interview:
For my interview on a progressive black man, I chose my dad, Keith Brown. I think my dad meets what I consider to be progressive. In the beginning I changed my feelings toward interviewing him because his answers might not be as truthful since I am his daughter. Those feelings changed once the interview begun because he was real in his answers. The types of questions I asked in the interview were chosen from a variety of topics addressed in class, in our readings and videos we have seen.

Interview:
What to you describes a progressive black man?

Wow. Progressive? That would be a developing…I don’t know. Progressive would be one that is developing to today’s standards. That’s matching today’s…what you call that? Progressive black man

What is your experience as a black man in the work place? Experience with finding a job or working period from a black man’s point of view?
I feel work is good. From a black man’s perspective I feel like a have had equal opportunity. Where at least where I work

Do you feel the need to prove yourself against stereotypes or what other people expect of you? Do you try to prove stereotypes wrong or do you live up to them, about black man?
Well the good ones. I don’t feel any pressure at all to live up to the stereotypes, in fact I don’t even attempt to.

To live up to them or to prove them wrong?
I don’t try to prove them wrong at all. If I live by them, it is what it is. If they want to call me on it they can, it is what it is. I don’t try to prove it or disprove it, because they could be wrong. Maybe one or two of the stereotypes fit but the other seven don’t.

As a man or a black man, can you describe men’s relationships between one another? Why don’t man show each other affection even when having been in each other’s lives for so long?
That’s programing- that’s society programing what men should be. Men are supposed to be providers, not the caregivers. The mothers are more like the caregivers. It’s not that a man cant, it’s what society does even when we are kids. You don’t run to your dad, you run to your mom “mommy, mommy” when you go to your daddy, he will tell you “go knock somebody out”. In fact he doesn’t even want to hear that garbage. But that’s all programing. He really cares. The answer you want me to give, I don’t know the answer too. I don’t really have the answer, but like I said I’m not trying to live up to the stereotypes. I try not live up to the stereotypes even when I’m aware of it. It just shows in today’s time others peoples ignorance. Back to that question about progressive black man that would be a black man that uses the tools that are available to  them today and stays current and abreast of new things developing that might further his progression.

Can you describe your relationships with black women? And also, what is your opinion about the stereotype of “angry black women?”
It is not true. I know how it developed. In fact it is true it just doesn’t apply to all black women. It doesn’t apply to all women.

Why do you think interracial relationships are frowned upon in the black community?
Typically because of lack of information. People think you should always be pro Black, pro White, pro Indian or whatever you are. Which is really in a way reverse-racism. But we should be able to see what is below the skin but once again we are showing ignorance. Even someone like me that has dated a white women, but does that mean that I don’t like black women. I think the misconception is once you go out with someone from a different race it is assumed you don’t like your own race anymore. That is what leads the stereotype. Whoever you like is who you like. Say you are dating a Mexican or a White guy. Does that mean you don’t like black men? Do we assume if you’re not with a black man that you don’t like black men? That just makes it an easier pill to swallow

Why is the “dead beat dad” an acceptable part of the black community?
Wow that’s a good question. And I kind of know why. It’s expected because the way the intercity society is constructed. When the welfare system came in, they wanted dads to not be present. For black women that needed welfare to feed their children, they had to put the fathers out. So the dead beat dad thing came when, for example, LA County said we can’t feed you, we can’t take care of you because we have a man living with you. From that point on, the men had to take the back door. They couldn’t live with their women or take the backseat and act as if they weren’t present when lots of times they really were. I think we accepted that as the truth and never took the time to investigate. A lot of stereotypes are just that, people not knowing the truth

Do you consider yourself a progressive black man?
Yes I do.

Why do you?
Because I am accepted change by which each day brings to me. Having possibilities of greatness still available to me, because I’m not done.

Analysis of the interview:
Asking similar questions that have been addressed in the classroom was interesting being answered by an older black man. That was because in the class the students consist of very young men and a lot of women. The first question seemed to be the hardest to answer. “What is a progressive black man?” As discussed prior to the interview a progressive black man is one that is not defined by stereotypes, takes life’s obstacles and makes that best out a situation within ruining ones integrity. I also think that what it means to be progressive is relative to who the question is being addressed, what is going on in society and also the individual answering the question.

From the answers I received in the interview I was able to figure out why we had to interview a man over forty years old. It seemed as if he answered each of the questions because of an experience he went through in his life. We had to interview someone who most likely had been through the areas we had went over in class such as discrimination in the work place, the “angry black women,” and also the “dead beat dad.” Younger men obvious face similar situations but interviewing an older man allowed the answers to come from a reflected experience.

The reason I chose Keith as my interviewee was not because he is my dad. As we all know just because a man has a child does not make him progressive. He is progressive because he did not let society define him. Growing up poor and in the ghetto, it was in no one’s imagination that he would one day be a home owner and great father. In the black community it is almost expected to let situations define us. What I consider a progressive black man is one who is not defined, and against odds of the community still makes a way for himself and his family.

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