Weeks ago I wrote this post about the hotep (read: pro-black but anti-progress) man who cornered my friend and I at a bar in D.C. to tell us about the wisdom of his ways. I left that encounter believing him to be an extreme case, someone who was an exception but not a rule. But, in a way that seems very much like the universe wanted this to happen, since then I have had countless experiences that have led me to the conclusion that not only was his viewpoint not exceptional, but was actually quite a common thought.
The only uncommon thing about it was his willingness to express his thoughts in a situation where he knew but didn't care that he'd be judged. From books, to YouTube videos, to Black Twitter showdowns, to reflecting back on men I've dated, I realize toxic masculinity is all around me, cleverly hidden amongst the "wokeness" and "confidence" I once thought I perceived.
Now, at the risk of sounding like another black woman bashing black men, I have to acknowledge that I am surrounded by problematic black men. But this is not an attack. This is an acceptance that I must still put the onus on myself to revisit the values I once prioritized, in order to ensure that I am better able to recognize then promptly avoid the men who have these misogynistic and archaic thought processes.