Why Black Men Aren’t Allowed to Cry

Contrary to what you learned, you don’t have to suffer in silence

Arah Iloabugichukwu
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Photo: Maskot/Getty Images

We all sat bug-eyed around the living room of my sisters’ tiny two-bedroom apartment, shocked at my father’s unexpected outburst. “I would rather die!” he shouted again. “Go on ’head, leave me here to die!”

My sisters and I sat frozen around my father in fear; I could count on one hand how many times I’d heard the man raise his voice. “Wow, all of this over some french fries,” I thought to myself before my father suddenly began to sob right there on the living room sofa. We immediately poured ourselves onto my father, promising to solve the food problem in the morning, unsure of what more at that moment we could do.

The last time I saw my father cry was when we lost his mother. He spoke of the shame he felt in not being able to have brought her here to America, confessing that his American dream often felt like a nightmare. My father wept with us that day, well before retirement and rough life transitions, college graduations, and funerals for best friends.

That was decades ago; this day was different. “Your father is fine,” my mother morosely explained the next morning. “He’s just disappointed that his daughters don’t consider him.” She continued, “Pray for him if you’re worried, but there’s…

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Arah Iloabugichukwu
LEVEL

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