Touré Is Tired of Being A ‘Proper Negro’

by Britni Danielle

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During a recent episode of MSNBC’s midday show, “The Cycle” Touré took a moment to address his critics who feel he is too preoccupied with discussing the rampant racism black men still face in America.

Speaking about two extremely charged trials that confront the intersection of black men and stereotypes head-on—Florida vs. George Zimmerman for the slaying of Trayvon Martin, and the lawsuit leveied against New York City for its controversial ‘Stop and Frisk’ program—Touré riffed on “the assumption of black male criminality” and how it contributes to extremely difficult, and sometimes deadly, situations for black men.

He lamented, “Once, somebody asked me when would I stop talking so much about injustice against black men. I said, ‘I will when this country stops the tsunami of injustice against black men.’”

Touré, who has written and spoken extensively about race and blackness in American, went on to discuss the burden of being black in this country and how many black men are taught to actively make everyone around them—shopkeepers, police, white folks—more comfortable.

“All that can lead to what some have called, ‘proper negro fatigue,’” Touré explained. “Because I have to go around mollifying everyone around me and letting them know I won’t rob them.”

“And trust me, it’s tiring. Because, no matter how good I am at that, I still know I may end up dead.”

Take a look at Touré’s statement and let us know what you think.

  • talaktochoba

    a son to be proud of;

  • Camryn

    I wish you’d stfu w/this son, granddaughter & daughter bullshit.

    No one told Toure to speak on behalf of all black people. Give me a break.

  • Anthony

    No matter what some think of Toure, what he said is 100% true! Although I have been blessed in my life to have never been humiliated in a confrontation with the police, it is something that even at my AARP age, is not far from my mind because although I am old, I am still very large and somewhat fit (I can do behind the neck presses with 100 lbs. twenty times for four or five sets back to back.) Even as an old man, I can intimidate young white guys when I want to, so I know in the wrong situation, a cop would not hesitate to shoot me down.

    I’m sorry for getting off topic, but Toure is right, carrying yourself the right way is tiring and unfair.

  • Dom D. McAuliffe

    I lived overseas for a long time. When I went back to the states I was in a CVS to pick up a prescription. I had my hands in my pockets, and as I approached the pharmacist’s counter, I literally saw the old white pharmacist look at me, look at my hands in my pockets, and twist his face up in fear. That was wild. I slowly pulled out my money and handed it to him.

    The f*cked up thing is, no matter where we are in the world, black men are seen as criminals. The relationship America has with black America is personal, but in these other nations they literally only see black people on television. And all they see on television are the stereotypes.

    But I digress; my point is, black men are viewed the same everywhere we go. I’m lucky to have grown up traveling as I did, because it opened my eyes to just how widespread the hatred against black people is.

  • The Comment

    *Oh Lawd*

    I’m sooo tired of this “douche bag* as his bro-hams would call him.

  • Anthony

    It trips me out when I run into that criminal thing overseas, like I’m going to spend $1,000+ on a plane ticket to rob some damn store of $200 in a country where I can barely read the road signs!

  • MLI

    As much as I dislike Touré he has a point. Not just for black men, but for black women also.

  • BeanBean

    American Media is very powerful. America has always had a problem with blacks, everyone knows that. If they can’t own us, they will own the image of blacks instead. They do this by making sure every image of a black person, particularly men is dangerous, scary, unflattering, ghetto, criminal ect. Unfortunately the victor always writes the story and gets to portray the defeated anyway he wants. We can’t fix white people. But I hope that one day blacks will take control of our own image for once.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    “black men are seen as criminals”

    while white guys steal ENTIRE COUNTRIES…..

  • http:tontonmichel.tumblr.com Tonton Michel

    “All that can lead to what some have called, ‘proper negro fatigue,’”

    One of his better moments and words of wisdom that really speaks to black men being exhausted at constantly trying to assure every non black, (cause it ain’t just white folks), that we are safe, for those who care what they think, just to be treated like criminals anyway. I know how that feels and remembered when I was younger not giving an F what those non blacks felt even playing into their fears as a form of rebellion. Just like these kids today do. The thing is that any minority can relate to this donning of the mask. I am sure Muslims wear it, gays, Hispanics, and so on, all attempting to appear normal and safe to counter stereotypes placed upon them. It’s about how much isht are you willing to eat before spitting it back at them. Some people fill up rather quickly.

  • Anthony

    James, if you steal the whole country, they call you “sir.”

  • Sarah

    He lamented, “Once, somebody asked me when would I stop talking so much about injustice giant black men. I said, ‘I will when this country stops the tsunami of injustice against black men.’”

    Pretty sure that is supposed to read injustice AGAINST black men not giant black men. Not sure perhaps it was a tiny pixy asking the question or perhaps Touré is secretly like 8 feet tall.

  • RaiseTheBar

    I don’t know Touré, but as a Black Woman I can relate to the, “PROPER Negro Behavior”.

    I refer to my circumstance as, “Corporate House Niggra-ism” when subjected to working in America’s corporate work environment for crumbs from the table to keep a roof over my head and food in my stomach.

    Being told, “They ‘LIKE’ me” is an insult NOT a compliment.

    He’s ABSOLUTELY Correct, it’s overwhelmingly exhausting, that’s why I have to take LOOOOOONG breaks in between work assignments.

  • Malik Hemmans

    if you wanna destroy a specific group of people (black men, black women) destroy their image first and the rest will follow…..Hitler did it to the Jews

  • jj

    What is your problem?

  • sixfoota

    But Toure hates black women so like, no matter how truthful THIS is, I can’t rock w him.

  • Eva

    You don’t have to rock with him. Just rock with the message. The message is 100% spot on.

  • RenJennM

    “If they can’t own us, they will own the image of blacks instead.”

    That gave me chills. It is so true.

  • talaktochoba

    all you say is true, but let’s face facts;

    this is not gonna change in our lifetimes, probably not our sons’ lifetimes, either;

    that means it fall upon us like it once did our non-voting grandparents in the 1930s, to fight a holding action, to go the extra mile to assure however unfairly that all non-black men and women are put at laughing if possible ease in our company, to teach our sons to do the same whilst we teach our grandsons how to take the tactical actions ncessary to end this charade when their time comes;

    and yes, that is precisely what i’m doing, sitting my grandson on my knee teaching him about Frederick, Nesta, Brother Malcolm and A. Phillip Randolph…and then my granddaughters about Ida B. Wells, Fannie Lou Hammer, Josephine Baker and Dr. Mae Jemeison;

  • talaktochoba

    i take it you’re jealous, seeing as you were hatched…

  • Marc

    Not if you live in a predominantly black country. But I do take your point.

  • http://gravatar.com/rastaman1967 rastaman

    My general demeanor is a screwface and being tall and dark does nothing to lower that impression. I get the nervous smiles from white women and glancing look from white men but I really don’t invest a lot of effort in trying to put them at ease. I admittedly get a little pleasure out of intimidation, making others nervous because the anxiety they are feeling says more about them and less about me. I just will not expend that much energy worried about how to put some other person at ease because of their own racial fears…you do not know me and I reject you projecting your biases onto me. I maybe tilting at windmills but I do feel a lot better about it.
    It has probably cost me more than I know but I am also less stressed on a daily basis. Because pretending to be happy and relaxed when you are not is a stress inducer and I think I have enough on my plate already: commuting, working hard and just the general ish of living a modern living. Why should I take on more, it does nothing but shorten my life expectancy. The other thing that happens is that you bottle all that ish up and take it home to pollute your home environment that is not fair. I consider myself quite lucky that I have never had to swallow the “bile”. Close my mouth and force a smile as that bitterness raises in my throat because I did not want to make them uneasy. Fck them!
    “You just don’t care?” is something I hear all the time from my lady. But I correct her that I do care, I conduct myself as a gentleman at all times but I do not feel any pressure to adjust it based on the race or gender of the person I am addressing. Why should I?

  • Jay

    Too many blacks don’t realize how much media images matter in real life. They say “it’s just TV” (all my babies mamas and LHHATL) or “it’s just a song.” Negative — it’s a lot more powerful than that.

  • Jay

    I think a lot of black women take your approach also, they aren’t afraid to let their feelings be known in public which is why we get the “angry or bitter black woman” label (unfortunately that also comes from the brothers).

    But you’re right, it’s unhealthy to keep things bottled up inside or wear a fake mask, express yourself. At the same time choose battles wisely

  • dirtychai

    “Being told, “They ‘LIKE’ me” is an insult NOT a compliment.”

    Speak on it!

    Given the history of this country that so-called compliment should be the other way around.
    It’s as if they MUST position themselves as though they are giving you something you didn’t earn. When in actuality they are more likely in positions that THEY didn’t earn.

  • Anthony

    A significant downside of patriarchy is that perceived aggressiveness from men is taken much more seriously than aggressiveness from women. Women tend to be killed at a much lower rate in confrontations with authorities or wannabe like George Zimmerman (allegedly) than men.

    Sometimes a mask is just survival.

  • jcole

    Exactly. .. he has no problem saying problematic things to and about black women. .. so until he fixes that… anything he says in null and void to me…

  • JustAThought

    That sounds good but NO! No other “minority” is affected by the ‘donning of the mask’ as are blacks. Take that gay for example. You cannot seriously tell me that you believe that. Now take that “gay” and add Black to it and tell me those two would be treated the same………..

  • Mademoiselle

    I have to disagree with the gay parallel. I’ve always wondered how it makes gay men feel to hear those “don’t walk behind me” comments that I’ve heard for SO long. I think gay men are forced to prove they aren’t sex-crazed indiscriminant predators to non-gays very often. I even think that’s why so much of the gay image is overrun by effeminate gay men — to show they’re no more threatening than women (i.e. the mousy Anderson Cooper or the diva Ms. Jay types).

  • http:tontonmichel.tumblr.com Tonton Michel

    No there not exactly the same, but I am sure gays have there own mask they have to wear if not out right denial of who they are publicly and to themselves just to navigate society

  • RJ

    Speak – which is why you will never hear me singing the praises of the Jay-Z’s of the world. While Jay-Z has become a businessman – his business for a longtime was in personifying the very behavior that has set the stereotype of black men (and by extension black women) on steriods.

    I am not in anyway shape or form absolving white people of their role in the farming of negative images of black people, but they sure as heck have had a lot of help from our own people who were willling to sell out their own people so that they can afford million dollar nurseries.

  • talaktochoba

    never been said better;

  • cupcakes and shiraz

    Yeah. I could care less about this black woman-hating fool’s “proper negro” plight.

  • talaktochoba

    there is one point you fail to consider;

    homosexuals have the OPTION TO CHANGE their lifestyles back to normal and enjoy all the rights and privileges due any other citizen;

    black men, on the other hand, can change their clothes, hair, diction, political party, minds and even lifestyle, and they will be first and foremost the most feared (or revered, if you’re a white woman) threat this society has to offer, save perhaps for a deranged white man with a gun;

    that is precisely why homosexuals are not now, never were nor will be a legitimate minority and so cannot at all be compared to black people in general, black men in particular;

  • cupcakes and shiraz

    Remember this crap he vomited all over his twitter page:

    “Some [Black women and girl slaves] were cunning and brilliant enough to use their bodies to gain liberation thus fooling massa. Of course most were raped, we know that, but some were sharp enough to trade that good-good for status or liberation.”

    The proper negro role is something that Toure has played along willingly.

  • talaktochoba

    of course there are exceptions–Paul Robeson, Barbara Jordan, Nat King Cole, Geoffrey Holder, Dr. Mae Jemeison, James Earl Jones and now the President;

    these people were the same in both their public and private lives, no matter what company they kept, and so were equally accepted by royalty as skid row;

    it’s called integrity, people, and not one in ten of us has it, me least of all;

    that’s why most of us, me first of all, need two faces;

  • http:tontonmichel.tumblr.com Tonton Michel

    The fact that homosexuals can hide who they are is irrelevant the point is that some feel they have to hide who they are or conduct themselves in a disarming manner to appease a society that disapproves of them because of bias and insecurities.

  • talaktochoba

    no, the point is homosexuals feel that since not everybody likes/approves of their lifestyle, they must force everyone to accept them by trying to glom onto the definition of a “minority” to legislate their particular immorality upon the rest of us;

    i don’t like republicans–does that make me a republicanophobe?

    no, and they have but to change into real people to get my approval;

    so don’t try call me a “homophobe” or any other cutesy clubby term just because i disapprove of your lifestyle;

    i don’t want to kill you, simply because the next bullet sooner or later will be for me;

    just don’t try force me to spend my tax dollars in support of your lifestyle or accept it as normal;

  • http:tontonmichel.tumblr.com Tonton Michel

    Wtf? What the hell does your comment have to do with this post or my comments? You’re not even in the same book as me let alone the same page. This was about people having to hide who they are to make others feel at ease. Nigga ain’t nobody asked you if you accept them or not, or where your tax dollars are going. Where did you even get the idea that this was some sort of comparison between gays and black men? If you can’t stay on topic move on.

  • mEE

    yes I actually do agree with what he’s saying but sometimes the messenger taints the message.

  • RaiseTheBar

    ” . . . I do not feel any pressure to adjust it based on the race or gender of the person I am addressing. Why should I?

    “It has probably cost me more than I know … ”

    You know yourself and are LIVING your personal TRUTH and it seems to be working well for you.

    As for what it has cost you, probably NOTHING of any TRUE significance.

    Those of US who have PROSTITUTED our Souls or continue to prostitute them know — if we are paying attention — the material possessions are taken away in a blink of an eye (i.e., home foreclosures, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes).

  • http://roslynhardyholcomb.com roslynholcomb

    Precisely. I have no interest in anything this negro, proper or otherwise has to say. If that wasn’t proper negroing WTF was it?

  • RoderickMartin

    “You can intimidate young white guys when you want to”

    Is this not an odd and disturbing statement?

  • Cameron

    What role does intrinsic cultural manifestations play on the wider populace’s view? Look at rap music. Who writes and performs this music? What image does it project to the rest of the world? Is there a black american originated concept of Thug culture (which predominates most rap music)?

  • Patterson

    I have not seen anything in our comments about what we can do as a community to uplift and ameliorate our public image, and thus others’ reactions to it. Why are we imposing the blame 100% wholesale on the white media and community?

  • RaiseTheBar

    @Patterson

    “Why…the blame 100% wholesale on the white…”

    Male dominated, exploitive, oppressive, culture — Zeitgeist
    h t t p : / / w w w .
    youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w

    Because that is where it belongs!

    I start and end with the woman in the mirror. I am so world-weary, but whatever time I have remaining on this planet will be spent SHARING what I know/have with as many others as I can in hope it can improve who he/she is as a fellow human being AND MORE IMPORTANTLY he/she will pass it on.

    My challenge is finding the right “energy” to network with. Too often my God-given energy had been WASTED undoing the damages of those whose goal was the MIS-use of my energy to support his/her SELF-promoting, SELF-serving, SELFish agendas.

    SO, I’m still “open”, but extremely wary, so step to me correctly or stay out of my personal space.

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