Opinions are the writer’s own and not those of Blavity's.
I’m a Fortune 50 leader. An executive producer of documentary films. An author. A motivational speaker. A good friend and neighbor.
I’m also a Black man.
Though it is simply one piece of many, that facet of my identity runs through every other piece, because that is the prism through which the world views me. When people look at me, they see me as a Black man, and that comes with assumptions and biases.
In nearly every situation, I am keenly aware of this fact, and so I carefully consider my every word and action. I know that if I say or do the wrong thing, I will be seen as unprofessional, difficult, dangerous or any number of other assumptions that would not be made about me if I were of another race.
It feels like walking a tightrope, with every step precisely placed in a constant balancing act. It is frustrating, sometimes terrifying, and utterly exhausting.
This tightrope is something that most people of color can relate to, but if you haven’t lived the experience, it can be hard to understand. In sharing a bit about what it feels like to be a Black man in America, I hope to encourage more empathy and understanding, and to help others walking the tightrope feel less alone.