Our black males in high school are lacking proper support from parents, school, their communities and within. I've been working on those solutions. Dedicated my life to it. In addition to the work I do with males of color, I wanted to facilitate a larger conversation where we explore solutions. Join me. Let's #DoWork.
This is how you become an #EnergyConvertor.
Our Black Boys Lacking Proper Support from Parents: We need our parents to become the captain of their child's support team. The issue is many black parents lack an appropriate level of academic self-confidence. Without that confidence, many parents do not feel qualified to lead their child's educational support team. Our job as community support is to instill that confidence. When my business partner and I started Black Males Achieve, that was the goal: To give parents the tools they need to lead their child's team. We wanted our parents to be confident advocating for their children regardless of how much or little education they had. The parents that we worked with left our workshop with a clear plan of action regarding their child's education. Our parents learned how to read and interpret a transcript, how to tap into the school's resources and how to formally request regular meetings with teachers and administrators.
Our Black Boys Lacking Proper Support from Schools: Our schools are not properly equipped to work with our boys. For starters, a school's expectations for black males is incredibly low. When we start from a place of detriment we can only hope to rise in relation to that expectation. Meaning, we set these young boys up for failure before they even hit the school doors.
We have to retrain our schools on how to work effectively with our boys. That cannot be negotiable and it doesn't have to be at the detriment of other groups. Here's a secret, it isn't that difficult to ensure that these schools are better equipped (notice I didn't say fixed) to serve our boys. It isn't difficult to make curriculum both rigorous and culturally relevant (Are we really still talking about the great friendship between Pilgrims and Native Americans?). It isn't difficult to stop ignoring the settings our children live in. Let me be clear, I am in no way saying that will not difficult to fix a defunct system. Not at all. What I am asking you to acknowledge is that we are not even addressing the things that are relatively easier to address.
Our Black Boys Lacking Proper Support from their Communities: Our communities have to do a much better job nurturing and cultivating our black boys. One example, when a black boy signs on to go play basketball at a college, the entire school is there along with ESPN for signing day. This type of affirmation communicates that sports are valued far more than education. Example two, black men coming out of prison are often revered in the hood while many times those coming out of college are often whitified. Their blackness is often attacked for wanting and succeeding at being educated. This isn't always the case however, it happens enough to have a profound effect. What makes this more tragic is that these examples often happen in conjunction, how can our black boys NOT be confused?!? Feel me?
Our Black Boys Lacking Proper Support from...Themselves: Let's face it, nihilism is alive and well and it has been for a while. This isn't the first generation that has suffered from it but I'd love for it to be the last. The issue at the very core of this problem is that young black boys have not been taught to love themselves. They've been conditioned to believe we deserve the worst. Look around, we die earlier than everyone else, we're the least educated, we pack out prisons and so on. These detriments have become normalized and that translates into self-hatred.
How do we break that?
We show these boys that they matter. We show them that these negative trends are not only NOT normal but they don't have to happen to them. We show them that they have a purpose in this world and the decisions they make now will inform their futures. It means that we, as the community they look to, has to be consistent in lifting these boys up. We have to teach discipline and duty. DISCIPLINE AND DUTY. That starts by us being present around the folks that need us most. God Bless.
Please leave your ideas in the comments section.