A letter to Orville Lloyd Douglas

To Mr. Douglas,

I read your column Why I hate being a Black man at the Guardian.com, and I can’t help but feel bad for you.  Hate is such a strong emotion, and to hate oneself has got to be the worst possible of all forms of hate.  I understand and have experienced situations similar to what you write about, but I fail to understand how you allow the actions of others to determine your self-worth.

I am a Black American male who is 6ft tall and about 250 pounds.  I get the same type of responses such as purse clutching and such, so I know what it feels like.  I have been spit on, cursed at, and even had my life threatened because of the color of my skin.  Instead of seeing such things as a negative to me, I see these incidents as the ignorance of others who are unable to see beyond the pigmentation of my skin.  I learned over time how to use such instances to fuel my drive to succeed and prove them and all other naysayers wrong about who they thought I was or what I represented.

Anybody who judges a person solely by their appearance will seldom give themselves the chance to see who that person truly is on the inside.  You have to realize that you are here on this Earth and the only person you need to make happy is yourself.  If you’re afraid and uncomfortable with who you are on the inside, how do you expect others to be unafraid and comfortable around you anywhere?  You have to let go of the notion that other people determine your worth and realize that you control that value and you set the standard for the way others see you.

Don’t measure yourself against the negative stereotypes as that will only make you view yourself in a negative light.  Look to the positive examples of Black men with broad shoulders.  Black men have been great inventors, great instructors, great pilots, and Black men have even been into space numerous times.  If you don’t like rap and prefer rock, then rock on with the knowledge that many early rock acts took their cues from Black musicians.  Many Blacks don’t like rap either, so don’t think you HAVE to like rap just to be Black.  Don’t allow society and media to feed your mind that the only Black men are thugs and criminals.  There’s an entirely different group of us sitting out there beyond the horizon doing our daily tasks and not seeking the approval of others just to say we are worth something.

Now, I know it’s highly unlikely that you will read this, but maybe this will help anybody else who’s sitting in the same place regardless of their race.  Take the time to learn to love yourself.  Don’t allow others to determine who you are as only you can determine that.  Never even attempt to measure your worth using negative markers as you’ll only end up with a negative view of yourself.  Finally, hold your head up high with the knowledge that you are not alone in seeing those responses from other people around you.  Many of us experience it on a regular basis, but nobody can take anything away from you that you do not willingly give them.  Don’t give them your pride, and you will have no reason to hate yourself.

 

–Brosephus

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13 thoughts on “A letter to Orville Lloyd Douglas

  1. NICE, Brosephus! This a lesson many women have also had to learn, as our subjugation, while not as horrific, was/is no less difficult & painful. Thanks for articulating it so clearly.

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  2. Brosephus:

    This sentence….

    “You have to realize that you are here on this Earth and the only person you need to make happy is yourself.”

    would not go over well with our liberals.

    I find Mr. Douglas’s attitude impossible to fathom.

    A smile will win me over every time. If I smile and don’t receive one in return, chances are I’m not sitting next to the downer regardless of race.

    Life would be boring were we all the same. Nothing to explore outside ourselves.

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    • Your post kinda tickles me because I’m at Bookman’s debating with a conservative who can’t seem to differentiate me with those liberals there. I am the first to admit that I am no flame throwing partisan of either persuasion, but binary thinkers are incapable of seeing beyond either/or thinking.

      When I first read his column, I tried to place myself into his shoes. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get to the point of self hatred. Like you, I love the fact that we are not all one and the same. If that puts me outside mainstream thinking, then I will accept and revel in the fact of being unique.

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  3. Well put, Bro. One of the first things I remember my parents teaching us was that as long as you know you are doing right, it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks.

    I’ve always found self-loathers (for lack of a better term) a little hard to understand, whether it’s somebody like this guy or somebody who constantly puts down the place they are from, or whatever. You are what you are. In spite of whatever drawbacks I have as a human (and like everybody, I’ve got a few), one thing I am is comfortable in my own skin. I feel sorry for people who aren’t, no matter their reason.

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    • Sometimes, I have wondered why I don’t harbor hatred for the things I experienced growing up. Then, I realize that my inability to hate that stuff is why I am who I am. I take life warts and all because I know things are not always going to be easy or positive. I was taught to learn from everything around me, so to hate any of my upbringing would be to hate myself. At the risk of sounding conceited, I don’t think life could create a better me if I tried to do it again a thousand times under a thousand different settings.

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  4. Brosephus:

    “Your post kinda tickles me because I’m at Bookman’s debating with a conservative who can’t seem to differentiate me with those liberals there.”

    I rarely read all comments at either blog, but I’ve seen enough to explain why ^^^ that is if you care to read MY opinion.

    It’s a common mistake that too many bloggers make. I experienced it early on and learned from the experience.

    Paul makes it, you make it….Hillbilly does not.

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    • Well, appearances can and are often very deceiving. While on Jay’s, I tend to debate with conservatives because it’s a left-leaning blog. I’ve gone toe-to-toe with liberals on some conservative sites I contribute to.

      I try not to take “sides” although the appearance may be there. I prefer common sense people, their party affiliation or ideololgy isn’t important. I’d like to think that you and I have gotten along pretty well. I got along well with Hillbilly, RW, Paul, and others. The more extreme people I tend to stay away from as I don’t care much for that stuff.

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  5. Hillbilly:

    After spending the last few hours hanging curtain rods…not an easy task for the mathematically challenged (what’s half of 55 inches and two ticky marks), I just realized I put you in the middle.

    My apologies.

    The point I wanted to make is that you don’t run with a pack to attack one side or another. You truly are an individual’s individual.

    Something I miss since you’ve misappeared from the blogs. Although we don’t always agree, you were a soft place to land.

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    • Your measurement is either 27 9/16 or 27 17/32, depending on whether you’re looking at the ticky marks on the top or the bottom of your tape measure. You can buy tape measures that have the true measurement on one set of markings and half scale on the other set. That way you could just go to the half set and go to your 55 and 2 ticky marks. You probably won’t find one of those in a big box place, though.

      Even my closest family and friends will tell you that I go my own way. Whether that is good or bad, depends on who’s looking and it don’t really matter to me one way or the other.

      I finally got sick of the silliness at the other places. I see no sense in the “conflicts” between people on anonymous blogs, who’ll never meet and wouldn’t even know it if they bumped into each other in the real world. Just seems like a waste of time to me. If I’m going to have a conflict, I prefer face to face.

      Both those places were dominated by people who loved anything their side did and hated anything the other side did. I ain’t getting any younger, so I prefer to make better use of my time.

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  6. Oops! Didn’t see your response Brosephus.

    Paul is notorious for engaging in conversations with liberals about a conservative blogger(s) of the liberals choosing. He gloms on to assist jay when he’s going after a conservative blogger(s). It takes on the appearance of a gang attack. I’ve never liked those kind of odds.

    I prefer to stay out of other people’s arguments.

    You’re right in that we (you and I) get along pretty well.

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  7. If you are white, would you become black for any amount of money?? I doubt anyone would answer “Yes”. If you are black, would you become white for no amount of money? Think about it…. I am a white female and can even understand why Mr. Lloyd feels as he does. Would any white male even change lives with him for one day, just so each can experience the vast differences in these 2 lives. I applaud Mr. Lloyd for speaking his mind and heart.
    I wish you happiness in your life and peace.

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  8. ‘If you are white, would you become black for any amount of money?? I doubt anyone would answer “Yes”. ‘

    I would say yes and i’m white.

    Depends on how much money though…

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  9. I read the saddest story about a man names Orvillle Lloyd Douglas, a black from Toronto who hates being a black man and living in a black skin. All I have to say Is God loves you so much Orville that he sent His only son to die for you, so that you may have Eternal life. When Jesus hung on that cross He was thinking of you. So live your life for God not man. Cos oneday you will spend eternity with God your Father, regardless of the colour of your skin, or shape of your nose, God your father sees only the soul of his child, and loves that child no matter what.

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