By Reginald Williams
Have you ever asked a man how he’s doing and he says, ‘I’m alright?’”
That was the question posed in a viral video popular on YouTube.
Colion Noir, a video producer and self-confessed “responsible gun owner” narrated a video shown at the start of Kean University’s tenth Annual Union County Fatherhood Conference that divulged real answers from hundreds of Black men to the standard question “how ya’ doing?”
“I’m here to tell you that man is not alright,” said Noir. “That man is battling demons that you cannot possibly imagine.”
“That man is struggling every single day to find a reason to keep going. And the reason we say we’re alright is that as a man, nobody really cares what you’re going through,” the video clip continued.
The video represented a salient fact: mental fitness among Black men is a fleeting reality for some.
The suicide rate for Black men is rising faster than the rate for other ethnic groups. It has risen even more sharply during the pandemic according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Suicide by Black men, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, was four times greater than for African American women in 2018.
Many mental health professionals agree that Black men’s predisposition to chain themselves to societal and cultural ideologies serves as the primary reason why men, Black fathers, too often suffer in silence. Human biology professor Judy U. Chu, of Stanford University, shared “that boys are socialized to mask their sweetness and emotional attachments.” One central message taught to boys is that “big boys don’t cry.”