The Life & Times of the Scaaaaary Black Man


During the break that I had away from work over Christmas, I decided to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas. The truth is that I’d never seen it… Yeah, I know. (Sidenote: it took me until 2012 to finally see The Lion King for the first time… Don’t judge me.)

Oogie Boogie2

I thought it was a good movie. But as I watched, something struck me. I found myself asking, “Why does Oogie Boogie sound so… soulful? Is his voice supposed to sound so… black??” If you’re more lame than me, and you’ve never seen the movie, Oogie Boogie is the boogeyman character in the movie. The movie, itself, isn’t meant to be scary, but this character is. I didn’t really think much of it, but it did strike me.

On Sunday, I was watching football with my dad. He’s been a 49ers fan for as far back as I can remember, so I grew up one as well. We were both glued to the set as San Francisco made a last ditch effort to get to the Super Bowl. Time was running out. The 49ers had the ball. Colin Kaepernick drops back to pass. The ball is in the air, headed for Michael Crabtree in the corner of the endzone. Then, suddenly, Richard Sherman leaps up and deflects the ball to a teammate, who intercepts the pass. Game over. The collective hopes of my dad and me = dashed.

Then, it happened. The event that broke Twitter. Chris talked about it on Monday. The post-game interview heard ’round the world. My dad and I sat with blank stares thinking, “This dude is intense!” Since that moment tons of tweets have floated Sherman’s way, and tons of blog posts have been written about how right or wrong he was. The ones that really got my attention, though, were the ones that talked about how terrified Erin Andrews (the white, female reporter giving the interview) must have been. As a sample, I’ll share three with you. (If you only have time to read one of these, read the last one):

The consensus is that Erin Andrews was terrified, but she never mentioned being scared. Why is that? Was she shocked? Yeah, absolutely. Was she afraid? Who knows. But, more importantly, why would she be? One of the tweets in that last blog post I sited claims that Erin Andrews was “scared for her life”. Really? She was afraid that Richard Sherman would murder her right there on live television? Awesome. Good job with that analysis, bro. Now take all the seats.

The truth is that black men are terrifying. Just ask George Zimmerman. It doesn’t matter how we’re dressed, how short/tall, big/small, or whether we have a light or dark skin tone, [white] people tend to be intimidated by us (if they don’t already know us). The degree of fear may change, but it’s there. Innately, we all have a sense of it. For example, I know that if I go to the grocery store; if I don’t smile and/or speak to passersby, there is little chance that anyone will speak to me. If a black man walks around with an expressionless face, it may as well be the same thing as a menacing mean mug.

Don’t believe me? *laughs* Weeeeeeell… Have I got a story for you: So I often joke with my friends that I’m a thug or that I’m gangsta or that I’m just plain terrifying. Honestly, I’m not that tall, and I’m not that mean looking. So when I say those things, it’s purely in jest. But one night during my sophomore year at Oklahoma State (home of America’s brightest orange) I was headed to a study session for one of my classes. It was about 7pm, and the sun had gone down. I had my backpack on, and I was probably dressed like a really lame moron because, in hindsight, that’s what I did in college. Anyway, I was walking across campus toward the study session, and there was a female, white student that was about 20 feet ahead of me. She turned around and saw me behind her, but kept going. We were headed in the same general direction, so when she turned around a little later and still saw me, she got scared. Immediately, she took off running. I don’t know where she was going, but my presence gave her that little push she needed to get there just a little bit quicker.

People just fear us. And when you’re loud and athletic and have tattoos and have dreadlocks, that fear is magnified. That was the case with Richard Sherman. Was Erin Andrews really afraid? I don’t know. She didn’t seem like it to me. She just seemed caught off-guard. Should she have been afraid? Absolutely. Because Oogie Boogie seemed to be black. Black men are scary. Plus you never know when a black man is going to literally rip your head off and eat it on national live television as if you were made of chicken… We’re apparently doing that now.

Share your thoughts below in the comments.

Until next time…

-Erik (@WalkSays)

About Author

Erik Walker

Erik is black.


    • Ruth
      January 23, 2014

      Very well said. I’m still trying to figure why this is continuing to headline.

    • aguilla112
      January 23, 2014

      Good write up. I have all kinds of “being scary” memories from college. My being 225 pounds and musclebound is obviously a sign of my ne’er-do-well intentions to injure and maim everyone that crosses my path.
      I’ve noticed that no matter where I go, for the most part I am viewed as terrifying.
      Sometimes it cracks me up. Sometimes it makes me sad. It always makes me think though.

    • Ruthie
      January 23, 2014

      It’s sad that people have to be judged by their (skin color). Why don’t we just meet them first then you will know their character, at that time you will know if you want a friend or run.

    • Ruthie
      January 23, 2014

      I think people should get to know a (black man) before they are judged. Some do open their mouths too wide and let things come out that shouldn’t, and get embarrassed. But I don’t think you should break and run from a black man, if he hasn’t come after you. He’s probably scared of you too. to break and run, or not to break and run.

    • Mo Coffey
      January 28, 2014

      Sherman is neither a thug, fool, or a threat to white women. He is arguably the best corner in the NFL; he is a Stanford grad, enroute to his Masters. On the otherhand, the PRESS/MEDIA is all of that….read the first sentence. They can and do take a crumb and make a cake….a six-tiered cake!! Any story to embellish, and story to discredit an athlete is their holy grail, especially if he is Black or Minority. Too bad there are millions of knuckleheads out there who believe and hang on every word.

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