I've always been humbled by those who'd call me that and still appreciative of the intentions behind it. I've even used the term myself without giving it much thought. But with recent event's cold cup of truth splashed directly into my eyes, I've realized that saying "good, strong black man" is just as destructive if not more so than the original N-word was.
Have you ever heard of a good, strong white man or an educated white woman? Doubt it. Reason being, "white" without any other modifiers is generally accepted to be connoted with those things. On the flip side, why isn't black?
If I have to modify the adjective to include educated, strong, "never been in no trouble", "with my sh*t together", what is it saying about just being default black? Dumb, weak, trouble-maker, worthless? And what is the difference between that and the original N-word?
So when someone black gets killed, could that be the reason we have to verify the value of their lives with college degrees or intent on going to college, no criminal background, and vouchers from those close to them that they were good people?
Trying to counter the notion that being black isn't synonymous with good qualities by listing them upon introducing yourself is to inadvertently condone and perpetuate that notion. I don't want to escape stereotypes, I want to do away with them. In the same way that as citizens we are innocent until proven guilty, as a black person, I want to be deserving of respect and appreciation until proven otherwise as well.
It's going to take some time, but the reconditioning must start somewhere.We learned the current meaning of "black". Let's learn a new one. I am a black man. That, by itself, is more than good enough.