I think we can all agree that Black men in the public eye taking accountability for their bad behavior is a rarity. With the combination of forces like society’s unrealistic and stifling expectations of what it means to be a man, an aversion to mental health services, and ego, it just doesn’t happen all that often.
Thankfully, as we age and become more still and more reflective, we think about the ramifications of our actions and how they often impact the ones we love the most the hardest.
Recently, legendary boxer Mike Tyson sat down on T.I.’s podcast ExpediTIously to discuss a few topics that seem to be plaguing him.
In a conversation that covered a range of topics from Tyson being faithful to his wife, to being an egomaniac, and extraterrestrial life, Tyson said to T.I.: “You know what bothers me too, man? And I gotta say this: Why my kids don’t like black kids? They don’t date Black kids. Why is that?”
“Sometimes I look at my daughter, and I see that she’s attracted to white guys, and I say to myself, ‘I didn’t set a good example as a Black man then.’”
T.I., who arguably has his own issues with accountability, said, “I don’t think that’s it.”
Tyson said, “That’s just the way my mind goes. They must have seen sometimes when I was vulnerable and said, ‘Hey, I don’t wanna be with no one like that… He’s scary.’ I think it’s the aggressiveness, I think it’s confrontational stuff, they think.”
T.I. asks if children associate those tendencies with race.
“They’re smarter than you think, yes. My son said, ‘Cuz I see how my sister act.’ I said, ‘Whoa!’ That blew my mind. I said, ‘How does your sister act? Your sister’s awesome.’ I think it’s the aggressiveness. I think it’s the confrontational stuff. I don’t see that. I see Black women and I see lust and stuff. I don’t want to fight with them. It’s so weird they see confrontation. They don’t think it’s going to be cool. I’m like, ‘What the f–k is wrong with you? You don’t like her?’ And I don’t understand the concept… Their vision, what they see. … That’s what confuses me with my kids.”
None of us can say for sure. In America, there are thousands of ways a Black child could find they don’t have an affinity for other Black people: lack of diversity in their environments, media, lack of pro-Black education, etc. And the behavior of our Black parents does impact our relationships with everyone else.
What do you make of Mike Tyson’s thoughts?
You can listen to the full conversation, here. The conversation about his children begins around the 33 min mark.