- Politics and Social Issues»
- Social Issues
Reversing the Deepening Plight of Young African-American Males
A Generation in Danger
The deepening plight of young black males in America is alarming, threatening to wipe out an entire generation. Racialism, unemployment, illiteracy, lack of responsibility, lack of vision, black on black crime and incarceration threaten to destroy young black males as a legitimate factor in the progressive of their race. If this is allowed to occur, the value of the black family as well as any positive contributions to mainstream America is doomed. Without the leadership of a strong black male in the home the African American family will continue head down a dwindling spiral until its very existence is in danger of being destroyed.
Black men find themselves constantly entrapped in several precarious situations. The first precarious situation, although it may not be the most important, at least not right now is still racism. Although there been a degree of acceptance of black men in society, the elements of racism are still strong enough to keep young black men without much hope. Black men are not given the same opportunities in many sectors of society as their white counterparts. For instance, banks still prefer to lend more small business loans to white males than black males.
Rating the Status of Young Black Men
Do You Think the Plight of Young Black Men is Getting Worse?
As a result , small black businesses struggle to grow or fail only after a few years of operation. Black males also continue to play only a token role in many business corporations across the country. Because black women appear less of a threat than black males they are often hired in prestigious position above black males. However, such condition places undo stress on black women as primary bread winners, an inadequate situation that may cause further conflict within the black family. Black males who are unemployed must endure the stress of not being able to provide for his family. Therefore, he must cope with a certain degree of disrespect and resentment on the part of his spouse and children.
Illiteracy is another precarious situation black males face. In the black community, a large of percentage of young black males cannot read or white. Many drop out of high school to pursue a life of drugs and crime. Programs such as No Child Left Behind and High Stakes Testing have failed to improve the situation of black males in the community. Black males need more leadership and guidance, a privilege that is largely absence from the black family. Many are incarcerated or hooked on alcohol or drugs. Some are simply deadbeat fathers who can not comprehend the value of raising competent children. As a result, a majority of young black males drop out of school , join gangs and other delinquent groups for acceptance and direction. Studies show that “6 in 10 black men in their mid-30's who had dropped out of college had spent time in prison.” (Eckholm) In a society where education is the key to success, the future of young black males looks increasingly grim.
Black on Black Crime
Black on black crime is one of the most destructive factors operating against the successful initiation of black males into mainstream society. According to criminologist at Northeastern University, “the number of young black men or teenagers who either killed or were killed in shootings has risen since 2000” (AP). Growing up in a crime infested environment places a tremendous amount of pressure on young black males to impress their peers for the sake of acceptance. Otherwise, they will risk being an outcast. Therefore, many young black men and teenagers face an ever increasing chance of killing someone or getting killed themselves. In fact, going against the intimidation of a crime ridden community makes one a likely target of crime. Young black males who desire a brighter future must strike a balance between pleasing their peers and planning for a successful future. This is definitely a precarious situation. Usually, a complete exit out of such oppressive environment is necessary for progress.
Turf and Power
It appears that the misconception of power among black males are leading to their own self destruction. Killing each other over turf violations has become a normal operation among gangs. A great number of young black males across the American die violate deaths for the sake of turf and power, leaving thousands of children fatherless and aimless. Such violence is due an implant of debilitating attitudes and negative values originating from low self-esteem. This is the mindset that must be drastically changed if young black men desire to prevent destruction of a generation and rise to embrace unity and brotherhood and most of all, prevent destruction of an entire generation of black males.
The Alternatives: A Paradigm Shift
What is the solution regarding black men in a precarious situation? Several alternative exist. First, a dynamic paradigm shift must occur in the mentality of young black men. Black men must become aware of their true identity as well as their responsibility to God, family and society. But this is only the beginning. Black men must embrace brotherhood. In stead of separating themselves from one another through crime and violence, they must become one and acknowledge the divine nature instilled within their souls with great respect, realizing that a ll people are made in the image of God. To destroy others is an abomination to God that is rarely forgiven. In every community across the nation, young black men must come to the realization that psychological and moral transformation are the beginning of deliverance for an endangered culture.
Positive Intervention: The Community
A mental transformation among young black men cannot occur without tremendous a undertaken. If this awakening was so easy, it would have happened a long time ago. Instead it will take a collective intervention by a caring community to influence such a change. Churches, youth programs, schools, businesses, teachers and parents must come together in a massive show of support for young black males. The community must come strongly against this sense of alienation and disrespect for life that young black male has acquired over time. This is no time for waiting to see what happens. All of the community, in one way or another, responsible for the state of citizens who live among us. Invoking a sense of importance can go along way in changing the hearts and minds of these young black men. This massive show of positive force by the whole community can change the balance of power in any social dynamic. When young black males are confronted by such force of stern love and support, the heart and mind can not refuse change without great cost. It will beg for transformation. Strong, sincere love offers no justification for hardness and rebellion. However, the spiritual community must lead the way, putting God as the leader in this equation. Prayer changes people as well as the community. Spirituality brings good values and creates great character, spreading a sense of love in the community.
Positive Social Outlook
The social implication of such positive community intervention will be revolutionary. The transformation will mean improved social conditions and less and less violence. Less violence means corporation among young black males and the beginning of great responsibility and positive command value in the community. Black communities will become stronger and more innovative in the American society. Strong families and communities are important contributing factors to prosperous and powerful nations. Therefore, not only will a positive transformation in the black community benefit the African American culture but also the entire nation. However, youth programs and local businesses must play their part as well, inspiriting job training and creating job opportunities for young black males to support their families and communities. Teachers and parents must play the greater role of creating curriculum that provide the knowledge and skills that will enable black males to become positive role models within their communities as well as in the American society.
The Cost of Unconcern
The American society can no longer remain an unconcerned, individualistic society while these young black men continue to suffer from poverty, oppression and crime. Such situations will always create highly dysfunctional families and crime infested communities saturated with fear. Weak communities stand a great chance of bringing a nation to destruction. Furthermore, the plight of young black males are not the only minority group suffering in society. Hispanics, Mexicans and other cultures also endure the struggles of their young males in this country. However, the bottom line is that communities must come together, forcing the balance of power and offering positive alternatives to a young male population who lingers on the edge of destruction.
Nevertheless, the past election of a black American president offered a glimmer of hope to young African American males who had rarely seen the level of acceptance lavished upon a black man.
Eckholm, Erik . “Plight Deepens for Black Men, Studies Warn” . 20 March. 2006.
Associated Press. “Studies, Murder Among Black Youth, On the Rise.” 29 Dec. 2008