in Contemporary Black Popular Culture
Just another Black man caught up in the mix
Tryin' to make a dollar outta fifteen cents.
- Tupac Shakur, "I Get Around"
When Tupac commented on the plight of the Black man in contemporary society, his implications were not lost. Instead of discussing Black masculinity in its most extreme form, Tupac measured the arduous task of being Black and male in America in its generality. We are, indeed, Black men caught up in a mix that is often confusing, even to those of us who study these sorts of things for a living.
The overriding sentiment has to do with the difficulty of trying to make "a dollar outta fifteen cents," or as the colloquial phrase has often signified, trying to run through hell in gasoline drawers—the chances of getting burned increase substantially with every step. In other words,