Home Featured Why Men Don’t & Won’t Support Other Men

Why Men Don’t & Won’t Support Other Men

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It goes beyond this.

We spend a lot of time talking about how, what, and who women should be doing, why men do the things they do to women, and how a man should act and behave in public…ultimately so that he can get a woman. But we spend very little time discussing men in relation to each other. Of course we have our discussions about man law, the g-code, and other related rules of testosterone. Yet for whatever reason the topic of men supporting and helping one another rarely gets an ear (or eye) on this side of the blogosphere. Writing for a predominantly female audience has its challenges, but I’d hate to think that’s the only reason topics like this don’t get much play.

For some of you reading, seeing the words “men in relation to each other” or “men supporting and helping one another” may have made you do a double take or envision a circle of men with arms around each other singing Kumbaya. If this didn’t happen, congratulations. You’re not hypersensitive about this topic. If you did react, this post is especially for you regardless of your gender.

As a member of the most testosterone-abundant fraternity in the world, I understand the emphasis on manhood and ensuring that no one can question it. Men will often go the extra mile to prove what they were born. Sometimes it works out in our favor. Sometimes we’re just plain extra. But there are a few things that are undeniable when it comes to men: nobody likes the downlow, women love manly men, and fathers should take care of their kids. What else is new? But let me quickly go back to the fraternity bit.

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At its core, a fraternity is defined as a body of people associated for a common goal or interest. But as we understand it today, it’s more narrowly defined as a group of men associated for a common mission, set of principles, and/or networking. Yeah, there are coed fraternities but that’s not what this post is about.

What’s ridiculously lacking amongst men inside and outside these organizations is true and unequivocal support. We know that in most instances we can count on the homies, chapter frat brothers, family, and often members of our respective churches if we need assistance, but there’s still a multifaceted problem. We still aren’t adept at supporting each other and here are a few reasons why:

We’re selfish as sh*t and competitive as hell.

Men are competitive. Doesn’t matter if it’s videogames, sports, bench pressing, or drunk rapping. But often times when someone’s trying to move up in the same field or niche, we don’t wanna share information or teach the next man how to get ahead. We take on the “I’m not carrying you to victory at the expense of myself” attitude. We’ll see someone struggling and say “He gotta learn the way I learned” or “He should be able to handle this on his own.” Little do we know that were abdicating one of the many responsibilities that comes with manhood and not just raising our children.

We think we know what another man should have and should be capable of.

There are things that a man should have and should be capable of or have a plan for by a certain age, but everyone doesn’t learn the same, wasn’t raised the same, and certainly doesn’t have the same set of priorities. And most importantly, we never know what someone else’s situation is. We bypass that and assume what it should be. A teaching opportunity becomes a judgment opportunity. You shouldn’t judge what you haven’t tried to change. That’s a motto I’m trying to live by. I acknowledge that it’s much easier said than done.

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It doesn’t get us any sweet succulent poon…or anything else for that matter.

“What’s in it for me?” is a fair and important question when it comes to sacrifices and commitment of time. However, we often won’t help or support another man because it doesn’t directly benefit us in the moment or the near future. We need to remember that if we wanna succeed in our own lives then we need to help others succeed. Put more simply, the more people you help become successful the more likely you are to be successful yourself.

We don’t like to support outside our circles.

“Negro, I don’t know you” is a popular phrase many of us have uttered when someone we didn’t know asked us for something. Sh*t, I said it a few days ago in response to a random email I got with 21 questions. I’ve found that this is 1 area where women constantly “outperform” men. As cliquish as chicks may be, they’re always more interested in helping each other than men are. The evidence is all over the internet. Everywhere you look women are joining together to form Lady Voltron. There are organizations and networks like BlogHer and budding — yet controversial — groups like Pi Nappa Kappa (Whether this is a legit group isn’t up for debate). What do men have? A few websites geared toward us that are read and supported mainly by women.

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I can’t help but think of the frat brother that is reluctant to help anybody outside his chapter or ally chapters, the dude who only works with people at his church, the friend that only helps his friends, and the family member that only helps his blood relatives. We think we’re doing so much but we’re doing so little. But hey, a little is better than nothing at all.

Ego is a muggafugga.

Support doesn’t always mean pitching someone a few bucks or taking an hour to help them on a project. It can be as simple as offering a few words of encouragement or complimenting a job well done. It can mean buying someone’s book or contributing the minimum to their fundraising campaign. But because our egos get the best of us, we sit back and watch others — usually women — take action while we do nothing. The idea of supporting another man we don’t know at that level sickens us into apathy.

This post isn’t an attempt to man bash or panty pander. It’s a reality that gets swept under the rug to make space for what’s pop. And given the recent Troy Davis saga and what this could mean for other young Black men, you should be able to see the value of supporting someone on the most basic level regardless of who they are. And if you can’t help them yourself, then at least try to point them in the right direction. It’s not just altruism, it’s what’s expected of you as a man.

Constantly Evolving,

 

Comment(52)

  1. Good article Slim. True on so many levels; I am myself guilty of the above. –Maybe its just me but I find the picture hilarious ..2 men drinking out of champagne/wine glasses WHILE playing PS3?? lol..really??

    1. Thank you. The first thing I thought when I saw that picture was, SUSPECT. They are sitting on a love seat decorated with animal print throws, tropical fake foliage in the background and all that champagne. Looks like a set-up for the morning after when they say to each other " Don't tell nobody about this." I'm just sayin'.

      As far as the article goes, I don't think this applies to the majority of men. Most men I know don't mind helping or assisting in any way within their power. Then there is always those super selfish people who do anything unless it benefits them in some way whether those people are in their circle or not.

    2. Unless they are celebrating paying off their college loans, I'm not sure why you'd be drinking champagne (or whatever that is) while playing Playstation.

  2. I don't know my friend…i tend to think differently. Granted I am not in any fraternity or male organization yet I have never hesitated to offer help or assist from man to man and not just between black men but men in general…white, asian, hispanic, etc. I won't go on a limb and say that I am Mr. Progressive but I just have never seen the fault in men building as men. Of course I have my circle of friends who never hesitate to offer help if any one of us needs it but just in a general sense. Unfortunately I have spent some time behind that big iron wall and even in that testosterone fueled atmosphere I found that men oft times respect men as men. Not to say that there werent disagreements of the verbal or physical type but just in general I think it comes down to a respect thing. If as a man you respect yourself then you recognize and return that respect to another man regardless of the nature in which he needs help i.e. money, motivation or otherwise.

  3. I don't wanna say too much so I'll keep it short. I can't say I understand your struggle but from time to time, I see some guys displaying "bromance" on Twitter but looking all the way from the outside in, maybe there's more to this bromancing & there's more support between you guys than I know. I know I see some guys in frats giving back to the community by helping to keep other young men out the streets and out of trouble. But that ego sh!t? Tough man..

    Good luck! 🙂
    My recent post Black Women Are Losing? A Theory Explained

  4. There’s also the “self-made” aspect of the ego. We have this twisted notion of having to become a success without help, especially from another man, though nobody succeeds on their own.

  5. I agree with the post in some aspects but there are some notable exceptions

    Thugs- A thug will scream money over beaches but one of their own…nah. I guess its the obvious adversity but the bonds within a hood trumps even blood.

    White guys- Amongst my friends, white guys are alot more supportive and open to helping.

    Myself- I consider myself a supportive friend if not too damn much. idk what it is but im always the one that got a ninja crashin on my couch or loaning money or giving a ride to.

    1. I was just thinking today that it is easier to give (encouraging words, a couch, a meal, money) when you know for sure you have more coming in; fact is, white guys fit into that category more than anyone else.

      With frats, you have yourself open to the possibility of helping a multitude of people; one needs (or may feel pressured to) be selective. (Black) non-frat men I know are very generous because 1) the people asking for their help are usually familiar with their capacity to do so, and 2) the men themselves aren’t worried that another frat “brother” is gonna come begging.

  6. I appreciate this post.

    I do think men support each other, and could we do more? Certainly. It may be because we are in different circles and Fraternities, but I see my brothers helping out more than just their own, especially on the Alumni level.I feel like, if Men approach men for help, they will receive it. The difficulty may lie in our egos to seek support.

    Competitive spirit is just apart of our nature, and for many gives us the drive to get out the bed in the morning and go hard in whatever our endeavors bring. We need competition to keep us sharp, to learn new skills and to keep us humble. I rather be over-competitive than not in the race at all.

    To all the other things… I'll just say Testosterone is one helluva drug.

  7. I prob suffer from this one the most: "We’re selfish as sh*t and competitive as hell"

    I think us men look at each other as a our own individual lil Island..you do what you do on ya island and imma do what i do on mine..stay the hell away from my island and I'll stay away from yours…unless you want war!!

    sad but true..lol

  8. Great post Sir Jackson! Mr. Jackson, I applaud this post as it takes guts to call your fellow brothers out on this issue. I see this phenomenon play out in the mentoring area. Our young men are mostly LOST due to this very reason. Seriously, most only receive mentoring from the D-boy in the hood which in turn creates more d-boys.

    Maybe if the professional brothers took more brothers under their wing…..our community would be better off. I imagine that once most brothers reach a certain status, they forget about the little boys. Maybe this leaves the young boys to wonder if that's the road they should take? I have learned that not everybody wants to leave to hood, so sometime we have to go to them. Sometimes all it takes it someone to show interest and love.

    It's the little things that make big things happen.

  9. Yeah i think this post calls attn to a really important issue. Personally I see the sororities doing way more community work and mentoring than the fraternities in my area. The frats tend to throw more parties. I think mentorship is so important. I have one mentor who is a black male, and he is so amazing. He has had a huge impact on so many people lives, IATA hblong. I wish there were more like him.

  10. Great post, Slim. I've pondered this for a long time. I just came to the conclusion that I have to continually work at eliminating expectation from my life. I'm willing to help people because nobody helped me. I believe in paying it forward. Everyone doesn't feel that way. It makes for better relationships when you run into someone of like mind. I think faith also plays a big part in how men view helping out other men. The more seeded ones faith is, the less important ego and competition are.
    My recent post Royce Castro – "So Many Scenes"

  11. Just killer! Preciate it, Slim! You done took this to a whole 'nother level mane.

    I'm not going to sit here and pretend I'm Philanthropoid Prime. I can admit that I have been doing an 'in and out' type of role when it comes to contributing to youth. I do make it a point to reach out to students at the highschool where I graduated. Old teachers love to have former students doing well to talk to their classes. I did that ONCE right after I lost everything to that flood. It was HARD b/c I'm an anomaly in many ways. The black boys and girls there NEEDED to hear someone who came from beginnings similar to theirs AND needed someone to say "I didn't always know what I wanted to be. I went to college and it showed me ____". So many of our children lose hope in college and bettering themselves b/c they think I should already know what they want to do. They're deterred from looking forward to college b/c they're around people who seem so sure of themselves and their futures. I set my plans for life back in 3rd-4th grade and rolled with it. They didn't need to hear that. When one of the students asked me whether or not I knew what I wanted to be, I told them yes. I could SEE the hope leave their eyes. They did a collective groan!!! 🙁 I could tell they felt like: "He's not like me. I could not be like that." I tried to explain that not knowing what you want at all times is OK but I'm sure it was taken as fluff. I also mentioned that plans change. I could see a few that smiled when I mentioned how things didn't turn out how I wanted them to in the first place. That I looked my my own life as a task of cultivation. Something to the effect: "Everything I chose to do, according to my plan or not was to cultivate myself. We are flowers, and in order to grow stronger we would have to start down a path that challenges us to change. What we change into isn't yet written." I STILL feel like I should've lied though. 🙁

    I did answer some other question that seemed to make some students happy. I was happy that the black boys were so eager to ask questions.

    Man…. I wasn't even trying to get into that story… that wasn't even my point… The point I wanted to originally make was that I reach out and support adults but I have to do better with the younger folks. I feel bad. But that's good. That means I'll make some changes.
    My recent post How to implement an OODBMS (pt. 1)

  12. Good read! I can say that I have seen this first hand with "x". He and friends created a "self formed" click where they so-called worshipped the word "loyalty" and how all the "bruhs" were so loyal towards one another as far as helping out when needed, so forth and blah blah. However being the g/f and having pillow talks at night, there was always a deeper feeling behind all of that proclaimed loyalty, which didn't seem so loyal to me. It's good to see that a man (you) can actually recognize the flaws in what most would try to look past.
    My recent post My Confession: 2 Men, 1 Body, 1 Love

  13. Good post!

    And I co-sign the comments about black men doing a better job of/putting more effort into mentoring young black boys.

    I mean…look at it like you're helping yourself…they might grow up and run into your daughters one day, lol…

    Ijs…

  14. Great post, Slim. I’m honestly guilty of a lot of what you said because, well, I’m a man and it’s also how I was raised. You all have heard me say more than a few times, “He is a grown ass man,” which basically means to me he is perfectly capable of living his own life without my help or influence. I do have this notion that men are inherently suppose to grow and learn on their own through trial and error if need be because that is what makes a man a man. I’m willing to admit this logic may be flawed and it has been reviewed over the years. I do hope to eventually become a mentor of some kind but I don’t think I’m there, yet. Informally, I may inspire a few men here or there but I’d like to make it a formal reality too. Beyond whatever relationship I may have with my future son or daughter.

    Lastly, this was a great quote man. Will remember this:

    “You shouldn’t judge what you haven’t tried to change.”

  15. My willingness to help other people in general, and men specifically, has dwindled tremendously. I only offer two conditions for giving help: You have to be willing to admit you need help and have the ability to ask for further elaboration if you don't understand what the other person is trying to safe. Neither sex seems to have that ability.

    Once my father retired and I moved out of military housing the caliber of men, peer and elders, around me then plummeted. Always felt that there was very little character among the majority of them. I don't know. It might just be that my standards are far too high.

  16. awesome post. not much commentary needed but I'm glad you were able to articulate your thoughts in such a well crafted post. I guess women will dominate the commenting too but as long as the message is internalized and provokes thought I'd say you were successful.
    My recent post I Give Her That Insomnia…

  17. Great post, Slim.

    Many people, including myself, can subscribe to the adage, "Each one teach one" when it comes to our peers more often they we are already doing. I am not as proactive as I should be seeking out opportunities to help, however I have always been the type if someone asks a favor or for help I would do so no problem (within reason of course). I do volunteer with the Urban League off and on and have been active with the United Way and the local NSBE chapter here, but never a volunteer programnarrowly focused on other black males…although I'm sure I have reached a few with the other civic activies I did. I want to get more involved with black youth, for sure.

    I always got a great feeling when I would give workshops/seminars on financial planning and answered questions revolving around those avenues. As far as supporting other grown men, I always try to support events/ programs that are being thrown here locally (and no I'm not talking about hitting the club my buddy is promoting that week, lol)…I can do a lot more, though.

      1. i hear what you're saying…but at the same time, some guys might not see the benefit in paying to go a speaking event/discussion, when said speaking event/discussion just become one gender shoutin' down the other..

        (not saying this happens, but i wouldn't be surprised if it did happen)
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  18. "A teaching opportunity becomes a judgment opportunity"

    Well I can co-sign that. I'll just say brother sometimes get leadership confused with self importance. Sometime's people views tend to be too subjective. Everyone excepts their logic to fit the world. Its not helping to make the world more like you.

    Being a leader is a self-less position, however I seen as a Haitian too many times a ninja get into power and try to lead the group to his benefit. You have seen it too, in a Church setting, Frats, Clubs, Community Activist, whoever.

    But this was a great post.

  19. You don't have to go out looking for mentor-ship opportunities because they are always there. Sometimes it's about the long-term relationship you build with another person, but most times it's just that one-off conversation that could change a life or reinforce a path.

    For example, in DC the youth go around and ask you to buy cookies to help keep them off the street. I remember I was with this guy when the kid came up. This 7 yo boy went through his entire spiel with his head down and mumbling. The "date" let him finish and then said to him: next time, little dude, keep your head up, look me in my eye, and give me a firm handshake. And wouldn't you know the kid walked away a little taller. Of course I got all starry-eyed, but that's another story.

    Sometimes all a person needs is to know that they can do and be better…
    My recent post Fool for you

    1. "For example, in DC the youth go around and ask you to buy cookies to help keep them off the street. I remember I was with this guy when the kid came up. This 7 yo boy went through his entire spiel with his head down and mumbling. The "date" let him finish and then said to him: next time, little dude, keep your head up, look me in my eye, and give me a firm handshake. And wouldn't you know the kid walked away a little taller. Of course I got all starry-eyed, but that's another story."

      Either this really was heartwarming…or PMS is something else, LMBO! Cause I almost got emotional reading this, lol…smh…

      Almost had to wring'em out, didn'tcha? LOL… VERY attractive…

  20. I'm not very good at asking for help. For me I think it just comes from never having anyone I could ask for help as a child. I always just had to figure stuff out. As an adult I'm kinda the same way. It's not that I'm theoretically against the idea of asking for help or support, it's just that it's the last thing that comes to mind for me. What I can't stand are people who ask for help first before even attempting to solve whatever problem or issue or situation they have.

    As far as lending support, I'm always down to look out for other folks – when they ask. I must admit, I'm always too focused on my own stuff to actually notice when someone needs something from me. If they ask tho, i'm there.
    My recent post The Millennial Manifesto: How 80′s Babies Can Save the World

  21. This post was very poignant.

    I've always held the "do unto others' mantra in life. Helping out another man/brother is no different. I've received help and mentorship all throughout my life in different forms, from different male figures. Giving back is the least I can do. I will always help my peoples, and even acquaintences (within reason). I just dont like free loaders, or people who only holla when they need something. I always knew when one of my boys was back in town, because I'd know an event was that day, and I'd get a call around 8pm asking if I was driving that way, smh.
    My recent post [FITNESS] Back to Basics

    1. I'm going to nestle my comment here because of my issues with ID.

      Man… one thing I can say about myself is, I support all my cats. That's really what I attribute to true friendship and comradery. I remember one time explaining to someone who I consider "my team" (I'm about to change the name everybody gotta be a team now, smh… team is better than n*ggas tho), but I said, my team is basically my mentor, a few writers, and just my n*ggas and we all either grew up together or we connect on the same issues outside of the internet. I bounce all my ideas off them so they can tell me if i'm lunching or not. But they some foul and disrespectful cats so we all keep each other honest and we always down to support. Like if I was doing something out of pocket my dudes would let me know almost immediately, they wouldn't drink my liquor and be like, "Damn Jax gonna spend all his advance money." My peoples think like me too. We ain't hopping out of vans though, I still don't know what Cole meant by that, but we all rolling up to the club in Maybachs.

      A lot of men don't have that. All the points Slim said here today are so true. I was just telling my mans the other day. "Don't it suck when your boy is rapping and you in the studio with him all the time, it's wack but you gotta tell him, keep trying you'll get better sooner or later. Yeah, but that's my mans though, so I'm always gonna support until he make it." Funny thing is indirectly one of my mans just made it with his rapping thing. Now we all pop bottles. But real talk, I started this, "That's why you ain't getting tickets to see Oprah" campaign back in the day because of this. Some cats I know wouldn't every read my blog and I would hit them up like, "Yo so ima be on VladTV" and they would be like, "Oh for real, I ain't know, I never read your blog, my bad dog." I would cross them off the list. No support et all. Sometimes you got to even support when you don't want to support.

      I will tell you this much, frat won't always support until you make it. Then they will show up by the boatload. Then again, I have to think about that because I ain't never wanted to grow a readership because I had a bunch of cats who was signing off on my ish because of affiliation. So I rarely ever tell them about my blog and stuff. I just want to be real and then get readers. I love when I meet somebody and tell them and they like, "Wait all this time I been reading this Dr. J character that was you?" And I be like, yeah… It feel better than knowing they just do it to do it.

      I'm about to support ABC though, so i'll holler at y'all. Post on Sunday tho… so look out around NFL Countdown time.

  22. I wasn’t gonna say nothing because I dont think this has anything to do with me. But since people dont have a lot to say, I’ll say this. My brothers bring tears to my eyes with the enormity of greatness contained in them. I rail and holler and shame black men so much, not because i hate them. But because I know African American men are the greatest people on earth. And we are the second greatest. Excuse me for my racial chauvanism but look at black men. The alpha men of the world. The world. This is undisputable. Anything you put your efforts on, you dominate. Because you are better. You should be running everything. I want to look up to you as the kings you rightly should be. ANd you fool around with trifling matters. I want you to realize the full extent of your greatness. Not in a hundred years. NOW! damnit. You are not common men. You are the greatest beings God created. The original model. Act like it.

  23. Interesting.

    1) I contest the term "men" in this regard. Manhood is conveyed by a community, in the traditions of our people. Most males simply do not qualify.
    2) Why not? Two words: poor socialization. We're raised as baby predators, force fed by mass media and doped up on bad food. That all combines to make us jackasses, and then spend our whole adult lives apologizing for it without ever meaning it.
    3) I've gotten farther with good brothers and friends at my side than I have on my own. Don't believe me? http://www.komplicated.com.

    Hash tag eye jay ess.
    My recent post Webcomics: Freedman, Episode 05 [@pbquach, #thenewblack]

  24. Such an interesting post. I've actually been thinking about it on and off all day – trying to see if I can remember instances where I’ve seen men that prove or disprove your point. I couldn’t, but, honestly, I feel where you're coming from and (since I'm not a man), I can't really comment on what you're saying. That said, there is a part of me that feels like this is just human nature. I know you mentioned that females are willing to help and support one another, but the groups you mentioned do so while limiting others (Phi Nappa Kappa or whatever isn’t gonna reach out and touch my weave-ed up ass.) I generally think folks are self-centered no matter what’s dangling between their legs.

    I think you’re touching on something real and universal – the idea of true altruism. I think true selfless support is something that’s missing these days regardless of gender – at least in America where we’re all far too busy pulling ourselves up by our mythical bootstraps.

    My recent post God/Man Theory Revisited

  25. I also think that Black men don't put enough trust and faith in each other and entrepreneurial spirit. If one man has an idea will his boys support it or just be skeptical that it will be successful? Granted a lot of men have some crazy scheme that don't deserve more than a head shake, but if you have a new venture you want to get off the ground you should know your boys have you back.

  26. Interesting article and I am wondering if it is our generation. I teach an all boy AP class 7th period and these dang boys are so helpful and nice to each other-without prompting. Case in point, if one of them is absent, upon his return one of his classmates gives him the work. They ask me every Friday who has the highest grade (it is the same two boys who are neck and neck every week) and no one pours salt. They applaud and congratulate each other. The class is Afr Amer, Hispanic and my one Caucasian homie. Now is this because they are young and not yet jaded by the male expectation of society. Or is it because they are smart as ish and are truly living by the DuBoisian credo of helping out when you have the skill. I am not quite sure, but I know that in my 6 years of teaching they make me very proud.

  27. deep post man. i had to think before i say something. but to be honest, i suffer more from not supporting outside my circles. i know that for myself, any bruh on my squad, i will roll with them whenever wherever to support if i'm physically able. if i rock with you in ideals, or i know you, and we've broken bread together..then i'll always support. i'm actually starting (next saturday) with a mentoring program for young males (like 6-9 boys) in teaching them things they need to know…and i hope i can at least teach them altruism, and the ability to look out for each other..

    because you're right, altruism, true altruism, is very rare. i don't have it, but most of what i do, i don't expect payment, recognition, &$$, etc. if it's something that needs to be done, if it's something good that someone did, i do my best, you know?

    on a side note, apologies again about your panel on thursday. low gas tank + lirr not working.
    My recent post kjnetic: Yo I didn't know you could print from usb straight to copy machine here…piff (@ Kinkos) <a href="http://t.co/DVB1HVdU” target=”_blank”>http://t.co/DVB1HVdU

  28. i knew of this….women by my side is what I go for, even though they crazy, they would buy albums, books and be great fans…men be hating away.

  29. So how are we going to help brothers get educated, stay out of jail, off drugs, build businesses, become supportive of their immediate families and realize that there is a higher power that they will have to answer to in the end?

    (from a mature female)

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