Daunte Henderson, BlackDoctor.org Contributor
She’s invited you over for dinner, spoke highly of you as one of his “cool friends” and allowed you to spend quality time with their family. Your homie’s wife thinks you’re the type of friend her spouse needs in his life. You and your mans have been tight since the third grade, you were the best man in his wedding and play pickup together every week. You’re his ride or die and ultimately trusts you more than most.
As good of a guy that your homie is, he cheats on his wife once in a while. Every time y’all go out, you’re faced with the dilemma of playing wing man or the bird on his left shoulder saying “chill out remember your Mrs. at home.” In your heart you want to say something because you know it ain’t cool. But that’s your guy, and at the end of the day, it’s not your life.
“It isn’t my place to say something.”
“That’s that man’s choice. I ain’t got nothing to do with that.”
“He know what he doing.”
“She probably doing the same thing.”
All common responses I hear when the other friend speaks about their guy who behaves egregiously. It’s not just cheating, there are hundreds of questionable behaviors that brothers overlook in the name of brotherhood. Your homie could be the worst daddy ever, verbally or physically abuse his lady and every other thing, but some men won’t speak up. Guy code is almost as strict as the “no snitching” code in the streets. You might ask, but you damn sure don’t tell.
I asked a group of Black men about why brothers don’t speak up when they see their brother veering off the path. Here’s what they had to say.
Glenn Crawford, 30, St. Louis MO
If the men in your circle don’t hold you accountable for your actions then you need to find a new circle. I say things to guys every now and then, but I don’t often because I see “A LOT” of wrong doing. When I speak on it a couple of times and my words go in one ear and out of the other I just save my breath.
Sometimes people think things that aren’t even true. For instance, I’ll be having a casual conversation with a young woman at work and some of the older men will come over and start dropping hints about my wife. It’s nice to know they care about my marriage, but I’m not flirting or engaging in any forbidden acts with this woman, just conversation.
Josh Morgan, 32, St. Louis MO
Accountability comes down to perspective. A man’s perspective of his role in another man’s life will determine the level of accountability their relationship demands.
Should I be accountable for all Black men? Or the men that I ‘know’ that are Black? I don’t know. In my opinion, Black people need to stop worrying about all Black people and start worrying about our individual communities. (which are ‘actual’ Black people, as oppose to ‘all’)
I think good Black men do hold each other accountable. The ones that know holding each other accountable is of value.There will always be egregious behavior and bad Black men. People in general forfeit their right to speak up against things they don’t agree with all the time. Lastly, an individual’s influence on another can only go so far. Personal choices ultimately fall back on the person making the choice.
Darryl Frierson, 35, St. Louis MO
Dudes have to stay accountable in a general sense their whole life. Most situations in relationships are our fault (which I agree with). We have to hold down a lot, it’s [a] sympathy thing. When we go through s***, it’s just us. So for a man you gotta stay accountable, if you don’t you aren’t a man.
Unnamed Black Male Participant, 26, Chicago
I think there are some men who do this, but they either don’t speak loudly or consistently enough.
Example: Guy is talking about doing dirt with his boys. Some might laugh and there might be that one guy who might allude to him being unfaithful in a sarcastic or joking manner so everybody laughs it off.
I think it all plays into the idea of seeing each man as an autonomous being and not really wanting to meddle too deeply into their decision making process. There seems to be an unspoken rule of how far things can go in terms of telling another man what he should/shouldn’t do, especially when the advice is unsolicited. There may also be an inverse in some cases. There are times when it’s simply because the faithful ones enjoy living vicariously through the stories of their friends. I know some men who don’t cheat on their spouses, but thoroughly enjoy hearing the stories of their bros who live more “freely.” There’s sometimes an attitude of: “couldn’t be me, but go ahead and do you bro”.
Pierre Lewis, 34, Austin Texas
It’s called the blame game which has me divorced at the moment. If you never hold even yourself accountable you will always find yourself by yourself. Now realizing the sin of lying and cheating is the Devil’s work. Love and value self before you can love a woman.
Men, have you ever been in a situation where you saw your boy do something wrong and wanted to say something but didn’t? What kept you from saying something? Would you have wanted someone to pull you to the side? Maybe you’re the homie that does speak up. Even though your guy may or may not listen you still speak up. What propels you to still voice your opinion.
Let us know what you think (and of course we always welcome responses from the women).