Stop Being Lazy About Black Men and Boys

August 30, 2010  |  

A commentary in the “New York Times” about the state of black boys, an article on the “Detroit Free Press” about NFL star Antonio Cromartie who has trouble recalling the names of his eight kids (by six moms), and our Secretary of Education saying that we need more black male teachers in America are all key points in unpacking our brothers.

Earlier this year, the media was having a field day with the dating/relationship/love lives of the black woman. There was so much said about how we women need to look, act, work, and provide. Now, it now seems time for the press to take a swipe at our brothers. And, the truth is that our black men are in more trouble than we may want to admit.

The state of our men—our fathers, brothers, uncles, and sons—goes way beyond any newspaper or television coverage could ever muster. We are seeing it in our families and in our communities and the fact remains that our men need help, they need each other, and they need us.

In his column for the “New York Times,” Bob Herbert’s article “Too Long Ignored” touches on the crises that black men and boys are facing in America.  “Parental neglect, racial discrimination and an orgy of self-destructive behavior have left an extraordinary portion of the black male population in an ever-deepening pit of social and economic degradation,” he says.

Among other things, Herbert suggests that education is the key. Coincidence or not, just this weekend, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that he plans to recruit more African American and Latino teachers to try to help close the achievement gaps among students.

“Because so many of our young men grow up in single parent families, they grow up without a strong male presence in their household. They need to be surrounded by mentors and role models who can help them envision a positive future for themselves,” Duncan told CNN.

African-American males make up less than 2 percent of teachers nationwide while African-American and Latino males — combined — represent roughly 3.5 percent of all U.S. teachers.

Yes, Mesdames, we bare the burden of so much already. We can complain and blame all we want, but the fact is that something has got to give; the repairing and healing starts at home. Though you may have all your ducks in order and are raising your sons in a healthy, positive environment, undoubtedly there’s someone you know intimately or casually who needs some help.

The thing about getting ourselves together is that we have to do it ourselves. No one is going to make these changes in our communities but us, so stop being complacent and demand better education and just better lives in general. We must act to help turn the lives of our men around.

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