Charles Blow on Black Masculinity & Sεxuality: “There’s Room Enough for Everyone”

New York Times writer Charles Blow has a memoir coming out soon and one of the surprises Charles Blowtherein was an admission that Blow is bisεxual. In an interview with Mother Jones, Blow discusses his own thoughts on black masculinity and overcoming the pressure to fit in.

“I’m trying to illuminate how perilously narrow we draw the concepts of masculinity and sεxuality in our male culture—particularly in black male culture—and to help people to see that there’s room enough for everyone. Part of the book is to highlight all of these very tricky social settings that young men navigate, including that hazing session, which is about brυtality but also about bending yourself until you break in order to fit in—blending instead of standing up and standing out. I guess what I’m trying to do is say, “I know that life, I’ve done all those things, and I can still tell you that just being you is perfectly fine.”‘

In Blow’s memoir, Fire Shut Up in My Bones: A Memoir, he says coming to terms with his sεxuality almost cost him his future.

“In addition to being attracted to women, I could also be attracted to men. There it was, all of it. That possibility of male attraction was such a simple little harmless idea, the fight against which I had allowed to consume and almost ruin my life. The attraction and my futile attempts to ‘fix it’ had cost me my dreams. The anguish, combined with a lifetime of watching hotheads brandishing cold steel, had put me within minutes of kιlling a man. . . .”

He continues: “To me it seemed too narrowly drawn in the collective consciousness, suggesting an identity fixed precisely in the middle between straight and gay, giving equal weight to each, bearing no resemblance to what I felt.”