Welcome. You are now reading my mind.
The mind of Your Friendly Neighborhood Black Man. Does this title sound familiar? Perhaps. If you know who I am then you probably know that I’ve taken a gander at a comic book or two in my life. Needless to say, one such book features a character that is a teenaged wise-cracking, bright colored masked superhero called SPIDER-MAN.
Spider-Man, whose actual identity, Peter Parker, was originally a high school science geek who was bitten by a radioactive spider that gave him superhuman strength and speed, the ability to climb walls and spin webs. The one thing he decides to do with his new-found powers is to do what any warm-blooded American would; GET PAID. So, he enters a wrestling competition that he knows he’d easily win to make quick cash and fame. What he didn’t count on was his fantasies of fortune would become a nightmarish reality when his actions lead to the death of his uncle. It was only then did his motive of greed turn to one of revenge. He wanted to use his superpowers to maliciously. Fortunately for him, comic-book readers and Hollywood executives everywhere, Spider-Man learned the lesson that with “great power comes even greater responsibility.”
Too bad for him, the real world ain’t that easy. In a real world, where perceptions are realities, a masked man going around beating people up would not play well in the press. Despite his heroics, despite his good nature and best intentions, which were reality, the perception was that he was a menace to society. Spider-Man, in his own way, to remind people he comes across that he is isn’t a bad guy, that he serves the good of his community, he reminds them that he’s your “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man” and not as scary as he’s made out to be in the public eye.
ALL THAT BEING SAID, it’s my way to remind you of who I am and what MY image may be or perceived. In reality, I’m a nice guy. I’m rather harmless. I’m humorous. I’m interesting. I’m a pretty interesting conversation. I’m driven. I’m reserved. I’m a thinker. I’m kind of a nerd sometimes. I am all of these things and more. However often has been the case where the image and perceptions of black men are the complete opposite of what I have become and been able to accomplish in life. I’m proud of it. However, as fully aware of who I am, I am equally aware of how many look at black men and see spite, aggression, shiftless, apathetic, uninspired or otherwise what society wants them to be, instead of what they are.
Anyway. I’m going to stop now. This has gone on much longer than I wanted. I really just wanted to explain the title and the basis of what you’ll read through this diary. My goal will be to give you my perspective. Regardless of whether you like it or not. But remember, there is nothing to fear. This is my reality. This is who I am…
Your Friendly Neighborhood Black Man.