With the exception of Black man tears, the Real World Las Vegas finale, which aired Wednesday night, had all the makings of a typical MTV season peace out.

The roomies drank, partied and reflected. There was partial nudity, a shotgun wedding and revelations. They expressed that their realities conflicted with their expectations of each other after living together for three months.

But, even more interesting than the clichés that happy endings are made of, was the moment when Chicago native Leroy received a tear-rendering call. He was informed that his friend was gunned down by a police officer.

The moment was profound in the way that racial realities and confronting common fears tend to be.

While Americans of varying races routinely express displeasure with police officers and their prejudicial power-wielding, history brings transparency to the effects of pigment on policing.

Amadou Diallo. Sean Bell. Oscar Grant. The list goes on.

I do not know the intimate details of Leroy’s friend’s scenario. I was not a witness and am not personally connected to him or his associates; however, I identified with the potent moment where the tall, muscular, “urban,” Black man’s wet face spoke volumes about vulnerability.

I am not a Black man, and although I have experienced racially rooted situations with the po-po, my encounters are not the same as those of my homeboys or of the men in my family.

I am from the South and am all too familiar with stories of Bubbas who massacre first and question or comment later.

On a much smaller scale, I am also accustomed to the occasional awkwardness in racially diverse environments when a person of color, especially a Black person, displays sadness.

Add phallocentric perceptions of robotic manhood and a brotha using Kleenex for anything other than sneezes could seem oxymoronic.

Too often our pain is misconstrued as weakness and our weaknesses are exploited.

I do not believe that including Leroy’s bawling over the loss of his friend during the episode was any more exploitative than other moments on a season that also wrestled with homosexuality, haphazard prophylactic usage, aggression issues and non-traditional families.

His roomies’ initial uncertainty about how to respond to their usually jovial housemate’s sobs echoed the uncertainty many feel when dealing with Black men who openly express their emotions. (Ultimately Michael comforted him during his time of need.)

Leroy’s moment was not the largest segment in the episode, nor was it the focus, but it did provide a necessary talking point.

When the dougieing brotha more known for bedding women and giving BET worthy sound bites dealt with death, his roommates, and viewers alike were presented with a visual that emotionally oppressive socialization does not expose frequently.

If we continue the dialogue about the multiple dimensions of humans, Black men not withstanding, then Leroy’s tears were not in vain.

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  • TPerk

    This article is not about the police or a good black man or black men being criminal. It’s about the expression of emotion from a black man. I think you can even take it one step further and say men in general. I mean, go to a park and watch a little boy fall off his bike. What does his father say? “Oh, no crying. Suck it up. Be a man.” And if a little girl falls off the same bike, she gets “My poor baby. Are you hurt badly?” etc. I think our society is very comfortable with its gender roles and stereotypes, regardless of race. So to see in man cry on TV like this is a culture shock, especially since it’s reality TV. It shows men have actually emotions and express them like women do and that scares people.

  • Future Mrs. Banks

    Watched this episode with my younger sister and when the Latina asked Leroy if he was really crying I wanted to ask her if she was serious for asking that question then explain that Leroy just like her has emotions and its okay for him to cry in fact it’s great that he is crying. We as a people need to let black men know that it is okay to cry and you are still a man if you do. To me a man that can cry is in touch with his feelings and is okay with showing his feelings. The article is not about what his friend did or didn’t do or how he was shot but about how Leroy cried and showed emotion. Crying is like taking your soul to the laundry mat, sometimes after a good cry you just feel better or maybe that’s just me.

    As a side note I would like invite JustSaying to my dinner table or just talk because there seems to be a lot of hurt there. There are lots of good black men out there one happens to be my finance`, others cousins, and friends. How do you take an article about showing emotion and turn it to a beat down of black men because of the actions of a few. Don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch.

  • OCCME

    Whos children (black boys) are on the street, on the corners, not graduating highschool? who are their parents? we know they are black. Yes PDS we all know good black men. My father is one of them but I will not let that make me IGNORE the problems that other black people have that AFFECT black people AS A WHOLE. I used to be always on the black man’s side when there was a situation involving the police, until I was actually in VARIOUS situations and I realized that police officers do not react to anything…something MUST have brought them there. Funny thing too, from what ive seen, those black men who were causing problems were most likely unarmed. Talk to security guards and theyll tell you how disrespectful they are and the crazy things young black men do UNARMED.

    I remember a conversation in a black community centre and a lot of black women said theyd cross the street or avoid a group of black men when they are alone rather than white men. Even some black guys understood why. Some of you should really think about that. This is not a black woman vs black man issue. It is a black issue that every black person should ask themselves when there is a situation with black men and the police. WHAT REALLY HAPPENED AND WHY? AND THEN, WHAT CAN WE DO TO SOLVE IT (or at least minimize)THESE PROBLEMS?

    • JustSaying…

      Thank you and excellent comment. I agree with you 100%.

  • LRS23

    I don’t know if most people who have been commenting are deliberately being ignorant of the subject matter at hand or if they simply cannot read. This article is about how it’s refreshing to see Black men (or men in general) being allowed to express their emotions freely. I have had friends and family members who were lost, confused and made bad decisions and ultimately lost their lives, but it didn’t make me mourn any less. We have to sometimes lay down our literary weapons and our rhetoric and just comment on the fact that there was a man, a person in pain. We should identify with his loss and think about how pain and suffering unites us as human beings. We should also be concerned that true emotions are often censored and gendered in our society instead of embraced.

  • OCCME

    LRS23… I sympathize (everyday if I may add) with strangers I see on TV when they has been a loss and not just one race either. No one is saying we won’t sympathize with a man who lost a friend but when a subject brings up another that has to do with the black community, why should we stop commenting because it is not what the author was focusing on in the original article?