Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Problem With Young Black Boys

It has been discussed numerous times in symposiums, and town hall meetings. It is been a subject that has been dissected, analyzed, and presented with great complexity. It has often been my observation that certain subjects when discussed at length over time become conveniently complicated because the answer is often too simple as it pertains to the matter at hand. Some answers present more questions, and the pain, accountability, and awkwardness often involved in tackling a monumental crisis is easier to avoid than to initiate an open and honest dialogue. The problem with black boys is black men.
 Many in the African-American community openly acknowledge the absence of positive male role models in the home, and site many reasons why. Some legitimate, some far reaching, and some conspiratorial in nature. But there is only a minuscule amount of accountability. It has already been established that as African-American men, we exist in a parallel universe that we must navigate with caution. It probably won't change, and it's not likely to change. Racism, and prejudice, has been manifested through cultural conditioning. This will never change. You can call me a pessimist if you insist on defining my character but if the election of President Obama has taught us anything, it should be apparent that bigotry is alive and well. The post in post racism is nonsense, and is a phrase coined by those who are both frustrated and annoyed by our "whining" who are happy to point to Obama as as a tangible progressive symbol of how far we have come as a country. But given the fact that each and everything the President has does has been met with a kind mean-spirited resistance never before seen in the political arena, I think that it is safe to say that racism is alive and well in the U.S.A.

The fact of the matter is that black men have failed black boys in epic proportions. We can spend another decade debating, analyzing, and elaborating on the reasons why, but in the end it all comes down to personal responsibility. If you are an African-American man who grew up without a father, you know your struggle, and you understand want it is like to "wing it" into manhood. You should want substantially more for your son. You can break the chain of dysfunction. Being a father is not easy, even for those of us who grew up with a father. No man has all of the tools. but real men acquire them through prayer and effort. Despite not having all of those tools, we are all born with an innate sense of right and wrong. There are some lessons that do not require teaching, just patience, understanding, and work. Being a father has nothing to do with direct self gratification, and being a man in general means doing a whole lot of things that are not immediately gratifying, or satisfying, if you're doing it right. But great sacrifice equals great reward, and if we take the time to invest in our children we can make a difference one father at a time.


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