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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Jones

Emotional Intelligence of the Black Male

Updated: Apr 10, 2019

As we enter the year of 2017, many Black people are pondering on what is going to happen once President Obama leaves office. Many people have displayed ideals of fear, confusion, frustration, and hopelessness. Which for Black people is understandable. We have been dealing with a significant amount of stress and confusions for many years. However, more recently overt forms of oppression and trauma have seemed to increase up more significantly.

We know what the issues are that the Black community is struggling with. However, the solutions seem to be more difficult to identify and apply. We have been fights the same struggle now for over a century. Our existence in the Western hemisphere has been a continuous struggle. Many people state that we need to “unify” or “come together”. However, this seems more of a difficult task than stated. The trauma that we continue to endure leaves us stuck and unable to “come together” with the force needed to really make a significant impact. 

Our culture as Black Americans is infected with significant amounts of trauma. Which highlights our collective genius with the ability to cope with shortcoming and keep moving forward. Our resilience as a collective of people is impeccable. However, we are slowly making strides to being prosperous collectively and seems to be in worst positions in many areas of our existence. The cycles of dysfunction and pain can be reduced and stopped by adopting a code of conduct to address these areas in a serious manner.

However, we cannot make collective improvements without making constructive strides Individually first. One concept that many African American people are not familiar with is Emotional Intelligence (EQ). This is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you. This is how individual develop into “high achievers” or as famous Psychologist, Abraham Maslow would call, “Self-Actualization”.

Trauma is a huge deterrent for developing quality emotional intelligence skills. Once trauma is introduced into someone’s life (especially during childhood) it distorts the emotional intelligence of that person. This is why it is essential to address the intergenerational trauma we experience in our community when we are having discussions about community empowerment.

The following are four building blocks of emotional intelligence,

1) Self-Awareness

2) Self-Management

3) Social Awareness

4) Relationship Skills

Self-Awareness: We must be able to recognize and understand their moods, emotions, and drives. You would be surprised how often men state “I don't know” to simply questions. If you don't know yourself, you are lost in life. There is no need to not be informed in today's world when most of us literally have a digital library in our pockets at all times. There are a lot of opportunities for self-discovery at our fingertips.

Self-Management: Once one can understand their self, one must have the ability to control and/or redirect impulses, attitudes, and behaviors. This is essential in not allowing manipulation and/or harm to be done to you. Developing more proactive strategies and tactics for your situations prepare you better than having reactive strategies and tactics.

Social Awareness: The key to this area is attention. Black men must know how other people are reacting, and/or anticipating how they are likely to react to what you do and say. We cannot deny the level of anti-blackness we endure on a daily basis. We must not only be honest about this but also adapt as constructively as possible. Once one has the ability to sense how others react, you can be more effective in crafting our own narratives.

Relationship Skills: As the technology brings the world closer it is vital for Black men to be proficiency in managing relationships and building networks. Many other ethnic groups are demonstrating and preparing their children to be global citizens. We must follow suit and do the same. There are melaninated people all across this world. We must be able to have a respected presence in are local, national, and global spaces.

These are all four areas we can individually improve on that will have a significant impact on our collective. This is not the answer to any of the problems that Black people endure on a consistent basis. No, this is just a piece to the puzzle that needs to be put in place to get close to completing a picture of justice, peace, and equilibrium. The work in on us! Keep pushing!

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