“When the culture is not your culture.”
I have noticed that over the recent years, young Black males have come under attack from the Black community for the way we have decided to dress. Our attire has been a subject of debate because of the alleged feminine nature of the clothing. From the tight fit of the skinny jeans to wearing the clothing of another culture. As you may notice, there is a photo above of actor Samuel L. Jackson on the red carpet in a traditional kilt worn by Scottish men. But why is it such an issue for Black men to dress this way? Why is our sexuality under question once we dress in way that is not the norm in our community?
For starters, let’s observe us as an ethnic group. When you look at our relationship in the United States, especially as it pertains to our sexuality, there are so many unspoken issues. As Black men, there are stereotypical views about us that make other ethnic groups question once their daughters decide to date or even marry Black men. Then Black women have stereotypes about them that have shaped the way they look at themselves. So anything we do that remotely arises questions is criticized. Observing the way our Black males are dressing today, it is seen as a move that questions his sexuality. In the Black community you are expected to be stronger, and part of that is how you dress. There is nothing strong about wearing clothes that have been deemed attire for women.
But if you are Scottish this is part of the culture for men to wear kilts. We say it’s a skirt in America, yet it actually does not look out of place when Scottish men wear it. And yet here is another aspect of criticism toward men who dress a certain way; culture. The Black culture of America is not kilts, so when someone is wearing something not of our culture we tend to question. Then again, it goes past culture when certain clothes are not cultural appropriation, but clothing considered flat out feminine. Case in point, hip hop artist Lil Uzi Vert has been criticized by the way he dresses. The outfits he wears can easily be mistaken for women’s clothing. And criticized so because he has so many young Black male fans who look up to him. It is seen as a way to emasculate Black males by promoting Black male femininity.
But why, why are we as a community so hard on Black artist? All the great White male rock and roll artist have worn questionable clothing. Look at the glam years of the 1980’s rock scene. The androgynous male look was big in the 1980’s. Yet, these men are not only respected in music, but as men as well. It is seen as totally fine because it all comes down to culture again. We
turn a blind eye as a Black community to White males because what they do is not relevant to us. Why, because it is not seen as our culture and what we do. But just because you come from a certain culture does that mean you have stick to your own culture only? Or, why do you have to be held to a certain form of attire just because of where you come from?
In the end, cultures are changing and norms are changing. We’re in a very different space right now as it pertains to the social landscape of America. It’s hard for so many to change how they live or their beliefs because it’s too much change too fast. And if not too much change too fast, people feel certain things shouldn’t change at all. But no matter how hard people push against it, things are changing, and there is nothing that you can do. You have to adjust, or fade out.