I just completed reading Midnight: A Gangsters Love Story written by Sister Souljah. I completely enjoyed the read, but seriously asks the question (which by the way I will answer): Is the character Midnight a goal and a standard for men in America?
Answer: Midnight is NOT a goal and standard for men in America!!! A male protagonists in literature whom I would consider a goal and standard would be Grant from A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines. It is important to note that to understand and embody manhood (it's aquisition, practice, and perfection) is a process. The transformation from Boy to Man (as articulated by Naim Ak'bar in his book 'Visions for Black Men - and be mindful that this text can represent ALL MEN regardless of Race) - is as great a challenge as any that we mortals must grapple with. Many have fallen short of achieving the feat of manhood, but remember - only a MALE can truly understand, practice, and perfect manhood. Women have enough of a task trying to aquire, practice, and perfect womanhood, so I usually become weary when a women expresses her opinion concerning what she feels the goals and standards of men should be. I enjoyed the Character of Midnight, but experiencing his weakness in the face of adversity (he kills two men who posed a challenge in the silence of the night) leads me to many questions about his aquisition of manhood, as asserted by brother Ak'bar. There have been many people I have wanted to choke the life from over my years, but in many of these cases time, and emotional healing brought about kindness and friendship. Was Gold and Conflict that big a threat to the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for Midnight and his Umma and Naja? Is Sister Souljah saying through her text that some homicides are 'justifiable' for boy's in the projects? I pray she is not, because it would be as culturally damaging as Beyonce's Soldier which articulates the idea that a SOLDIER is one whose status is HOOD and STREET with the ability to FLIP MONEY THREE WAYS! In my humble opinion MEN who are goals for other men or those who are standards are those who have saved lives or become presidents. I would argue that Grant or Barack Obama would be a goal and standard for manhood, and I doubt very seriously that either of them would conclude (if faced with the same circumstances as Midnight was when he DECIDED on ending Gold and Conflicts life) DEATH TO THEM BOTH! A MAN would have found another way to protect his family, even if it meant recreating the business plan and taking some of the aquired income that Umma Designs secured and moving into a safer community. Midnight had many qualities that MEN have, but unfortunately at the end he was still a BOY not a MAN; so to speak of his as a goal and standard for men raises my eyebrow to Sister Souljah! Question to Sister Souljah: Is Midnight: A Gangster's Love Story and INDICTMENT of men within American culture?