The Fart of the Stare Down

Written by Ameer Grice

Why do black men in NYC stare at each other in general public with so much hate?

As I came of age in Flatbush Brooklyn walking through the streets to get wherever, I became conditioned to the stare down, mean muggin’, whatever one wants to call it. It was a means of silent self defense, a primitive, “I don’t know you, do you mean to hurt me, I’ll fuck you up.”

Usually it ended in nothing but an affirmation of toughness particularly if you weren’t the first one to look away.

Ok I get it; it’s some primitive male domination thing.

Well, pick up or shut it down is what comes out my mouth now. What I see is fear, fear of a man one thinks is stronger. Maybe the stare down is to figure out who’s bottom or top.

I figured out a long time ago (about seven years old) that I like to look at women, and my dad told me not to stare – I will make her uncomfortable. Ok dad, but she’s so nice to look at. Back to the freak boys, by my age now it’s usually some young buck mean muggin’.

I look away (dare you to try something), or look away. If I see a male of my age (48) engaging is such behavior, I assume they have mental issues. We’re not in jail or the octagon – knock it off.

In the south or out west some will say hello, or “what’s up.” To see what’s really good with the mean mug.

I have caught myself. My own inside issues grinding at me, because of our close public proximity in NYC I caught myself looking at someone and apologized like, “oh shit that wasn’t for you.” Now I’m the crazy fucker. Ha.

Long story short, I’ve read that this happens across the board of race. I’ve held myself back for years as not to land in jail or lose my life on the streets. I respect the streets, one never knows what’s laying in the wings to change one’s life for the worse. I pray I never haul off and smack the shit out of someone in the streets because they could just be admiring me but don’t know how to identify their admiration.

As I walk, I walk in peace and fear will not prevail. I am not the aggressor but if attacked, I will fight with those who fight with me and if I must fight, I will fight to survive!

Let’s start greeting each other with love. It is supposed to conquer all.