We are constantly reminded of the state of negative deteriorating behaviors many young men (especially Black men) are manifesting, questioning their lack of deference for authority. Complain if you must, but in all honesty we as a society must take some responsibility for this spiraling detrimental affront contributing to young Black boys not taking a more responsible and productive route toward their future.
Factors attributing to the negative surge denouncing traditional positive behaviors can be attributed to social, political, economic, educational and psychological factors working against these young boys. You must understand the real culprits leading to these behaviors among Black young men if you are going to address these issues. One must eliminate all the smoke screams and superficial elements and grasp the bull by the horn if we are to combat this ever-proliferating problem.
The negative mindsets of these young boys did not happen overnight. It was a developmental process brought about through their reality—a reality in which they questioned their economical living conditions, their lack of a father in their home, images by the media depicting people like them as inferior and lacking ambition.
A media that constantly presents them in a negative light as gangbangers, drug dealers, dropouts, deadbeats, producing children they cannot take care of, and as robbers and thieves who have little if any morals or productive potential
Young Black boy’s athleticism in sports, not their academic intellect, is often the only thing that is usually highlighted by the media in a positive manner. So it goes to say, that if you don’t know who you are, anyone can define you. Thus you have Black boys emulating what they feel society expects of them: life-imitating art. Many of these young men are victims of an environment where they are deprived of the material things that they see so many of their peers from upper middle class families possessing. Many of them are being raised by mere children themselves and lack a parent or parents with appropriate parenting skills. There are young men with a parent who may not value education or who have parents who value education but lack the means to provide their child with the quality education needed for their child to be productive and successful. Many times we are talking about young men void of cultural exposure and positives experiences limited by parental access to adequate finances.
The Eurocentric curriculum in public schools only adds to this futility and hopelessness, building up in our young Black boys. As it stands now very little is taught about people who look like them and often times Black accomplishments are trivialized. Institutionalized bureaucracies adhering to systemic racist policies and practices are operating in everyday life adding to the negativity and hopelessness prevalent among too many boys of color. The disproportionate display of wealth effecting economics has everything to do with the quality of life—which many Black boys feel they are being deprived from.
Many may see the factors I have mentioned as excuses, because there are some children despite their circumstances who are able to overcome all these negative factors. But too many are not. The problem with our young Black boys spiraling out of control will not be solved by the system but by the Black community.
We must address probably the greatest problem, which is the lack of fathers or positive male role models in these young men’s lives. We as fathers of successful young men, pastors, educators, uncles, grandfathers, and concerned men in the church must not just talk about the problem. We must commit to personally becoming involved to combat the problem. It has everything to do with our survival as a people—our future.
The task ahead will ask of you to devote some of your time to help mold confident, productive, proud and positive young men. At this point, there may be some casualties, because many young men 16 and above may be so set in their ways that they may be immune to help or guidance.
However, the younger we catch these boys, the better chance we have to mold and guide them to live up to the greatness they possess. So I appeal to those who are so quick to say how bad our young boys are to live up to the challenge and mentor a child and make a difference. Kudos to the organizations who are already on board, but the field is crowded and helpers are few.