Recently, protests decrying the tragic and untimely deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner at the hands of White police officers have spread around the world, but the officers involved in these killings seem to think that they acted appropriately.
The testimony given by the officer involved in each case implies that both Michael Brown and Eric Garner were thought to be particularly threatening because of their bulky stature. Therefore, both police officers may have overreacted based on their subconscious notions of what large Black men represent and the violence that they are capable of. This calls into question the subconscious impact of both size and race, particularly with respect to Black men.
In “Brown Boy Bad((?),” we will interview successful Black fathers about race-, size- and appearance-based assumption, as well how the deaths of men like Michael Brown and Eric Garner have impacted them personally—especially as it relates to parenting their children. The participants will be filmed while they drive themselves around their hometown dressed in hoodies, to subconsciously convey the message that just because a Black man is dressed in a hoodie does not necessarily make him a threat.
Through “Brown Boy Bad(?),” we plan to provide a variety of Black men with a platform to express their feelings about the current state of race relations and fatherhood in a personal way.
By featuring intelligent, articulate, accomplished Black men who may, at first glance, seem intimidating to some, we hope to re-teach the age-old lesson of not judging a book by its cover and challenge America to think critically about its race- and size-based assumptions. We also plan to spark a dialogue with young Black men about how they are perceived by society.
“Brown Boy Bad(?)” is envisioned as one part of a multifaceted body of creative work that will address some of the race-based assumptions that affect Black men. We hope to at least add a question mark to a phrase that might arise in the minds of some people when confronted by Black men: “Brown Boy Bad.”
We plan to shoot approximately 10 episodes of “Brown Boy Bad(?)” and post them online. Additionally, we’d like to screen each episode at a physical event.
[You can help make this project a reality by donating at: gofundme.com/brownboybad. Whether you can donate or not, please (!) spread the word far and wide. Forward, tag, post and promote this project as much as you can. Help get the word out. I believe this project matters. I hope you do, too.]
* Brown Boy Bad(?) is envisioned as a multifaceted body of creative work that will address some of the race-based assumptions that affect Black men. We hope to at least add a question mark to the phrase that may arise in the minds of some people when confronted by Black men: “Brown Boy Bad.”