Friday, November 30, 2007

"Lost Boys"


America Has Lost a Generation of Black Boys By: Phillip Jackson


"There is no longer a need for dire predictions, hand-wringing, or apprehension about losing a generation of Black boys. It is too late. In education, employment, economics, incarceration, health, housing, and parenting, we have lost a generation of young Black men. The question that remains is will we lose the next two or three generations, or possibly every generation of Black boys hereafter to the streets, negative media, gangs, drugs, poor education, unemployment, father absence, crime, violence and death. Most young Black men in the United States don't graduate from high school. Only 35% of Black male students graduated from high school in Chicago and only 26% in New York City, according to a 2006 report by The Sch ott Foundation for Public Education. Only a few Black boys who finish high school actually attend college, and of those few Black boys who enter college, nationally, only 22% of them finish college. Young Black male students have the worst grades, the lowest test scores, and the highest dropout rates of all students in the country. When these young Black men don't succeed in school, they are much more likely to succeed in the nation's criminal justice and penitentiary system. And it was discovered recently that even when a young Black man graduates from a U.S. College, there is a good chance that he is from Africa, the Caribbean or Europe, and not the United States. Black men in prison in America have become as American as apple pie. There are more Black men in prisons and jails in the United States (about 1.1 million) than there are Black men incarcerated in the rest of the world combined. This criminalization process now starts in elementary schools with Black male children as young as six and seven years old being arrested in staggering numbers according to a 2005 report, Education on Lockdown by the Advancement Project.



The rest of the world is watching and following the lead of America. Other countries including England, Canada, Jamaica, Brazil and South Africa are adopting American social policies that encourage the> incarceration and destruction of young Black men. This is leading to a world-wide catastrophe. But still, there is no adequate response from the American or global Black community. Worst of all is the passivity, neglect and disengagement of the Black community concerning the future of our Black boys. We do little while the future lives of Black boys are being destroyed in record numbers. The schools that Black boys a ttend prepare them with skills that will make them obsolete before, and if, they graduate. In a strange and perverse way, the Black community, itself, has started to wage a kind of war against young Black men and has become part of this destructive process. Who are young Black women going to marry? Who is going to build and maintain the economies of Black communities? Who is going to anchor strong families in the Black community? Who will young Black boys emulate as they grow into men? Where is the outrage of the Black> community at the destruction of its Black boys? Where are the plans and the supportive actions to change this? Is this the beginning of the end of the Black people in America? The list of those who have failed young Black men includes our government, our foundations, our schools, our media, our Black churches, our Black leaders, and even o ur parents. Ironically, experts say that the solutions to the problems of young Black men are simple and relatively inexpensive, but they may not be easy, practical or popular. It is not that we lack solutions as much as it is that we lack the will to implement these solutions to save Black boys. It seems that government is willing to pay billions of dollars to lock up young Black men, rather than the millions it would take to prepare them to become viable contributors and alued members of our society.



Please consider these simple goals that can lead to solutions for fixing the problems of young Black men: Short term 1) Teach all Black boys to read at grade level by the third grade and to embrace education. 2) Provide positive role models for Black boys. 3) Create a stable home environment for Black boys that includes contact with their fathers. 4) Ensure that Black boys have a strong spiritual base. 5) Control the negative media influences on Black boys. 6) Teach Black boys to respect all girls and women. Long term 1) Invest as much money in educating Black boys as in locking up Black men. 2) Help connect Black boys to a positive vision of themselves in the future. 3) Create high expectations and help Black boys live into those high expectations. 4) Build a positive peer culture for Black boys. 5) Teach Black boys self-discipline, culture and history. 6) Teach Black boys and the communities in which they live to embrace education and life-long learning. More Facts: 37.7% of Black men in the United States are not working (2006 Joint Economic Committee Study chaired by Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY)). 58% of Black boys in the United States do not grad uate from high school (2006 Report from the Schott Foundation for Public Education). Almost 70% of Black children are born into female, single parent households (2000 Census Report). About 1 million Black men in the United States are in prison (U.S. Justice Department). I would add to these: 1. Teach Black boys that about 1 in 1,000,000 (my statistics, not official) are successful in professional sports (i.e. baseball, basketball, football, etc.). 2. Teach Black boys that about 1 in 1,000,000,000 (my stats, not official) are successful in the entertainment industry (i.e. actor, recording Artist, RAPPER, etc.). 3. Teach Black boys that about 1 in 1,000,000,000, 000 (my stats, not official) are successful as a drug dealer.....IF ANY 'If you don't stand for something, you will fall for everything.' Life is not always perfect, but when you have it, thank God for it."


Problems followed by some solutions. Now I am encouraged.


68 comments:

Negro Down Under said...

While these observations are pertinent and the solutions quite creative and long overdue, the response needs to come from within the black community, not from government. Clearly history has taught us that government is much more of a problem rather than a solution. While I am not a Black Conservative or Republican, I think that we would all agree that it would be delusional to think that any government let alone the United States Government is designed or willing to tackle such a complex problem.

august said...

Wow I Was just in the middle of watching malcom X.

Well a proven solution, boys of baraka! I am not so sure the state of black america is as bad as we think. The media wants us to lose hope.

What the young kids need are just boundaries. Good parenting will give you boundaries. I don't believe fathers are that important as long as they are not absent in all families in the entire neighbourhood then we have a problem. I have a very close friend of mine who grew up in a single family he turned out alright.

What racism does to one's psyche is unbelievable. Hats off to all black americans for growing up and surviving in a society where you have to constantly prove your humanity let alone your right to be alive.

Why are black women outdoing black men? MY little theory is that black women know they don't have a chance on the social ladder so they try harder in education. Black guys h/v [let us be real here]seem to have a much better chance on the social ladder. Become a famous rapper b/ball star and you can earn a spot on the social ladder oh and of course add a nice touch to that by marrying a white woman right? What they don't realize it is just a mirage- as your statistics prove -but by the time they realize this life has caught up with them.

H/v most important thing is good parenting boundaries boundaries boundaries.

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The First Domino said...

Iceberg Slim rules the streets.

I can't speak about this definitively, although I worked for several years in the California Youth Authority for juvenile delinquents, and have observed those around me with a quizzical eye.

I'm aware that things have changed, and when I was there at CYA "rap" was little more than a passing fad that young black wards aspired to do.

"Hey, man," a young black man said to me, as he leaned back in his chair proudly, "I make babies, and I let another weak minded ni**er take care of them."

The pimp values (which disrespect women) have to be countered somehow, but the task is so big as to be discouraging. Here is how some of them currently stack up:

Embrace education : embrace a woman long enough to turn her into a whore.
Respect girls and women : all women are whores, they just don't know it yet.
A positive vision : a large stable of whores, a pimp mobile, fly clothes, bling, and money to flash.
Embrace education and life-long learning : learn your trade, how to keep a whore whoring, and competing pimps at bay.

These perceptions of women extend to all women whether they walk the mean streets or not.

Typical statements of non-pimps I've met: "I have a b**ch that makes love to me, one that cooks for me and one that keeps me in the style I've become accustom to. And they all know I come and go as I please, and that I'll kick their ass if they as much as talk to another ni**er."

I've observed that the exploitation of women is considered a badge of honor by many black men I have encountered over the years, and something to boast about.

The goals presented here for rescuing our black boys are practical, and useful, but for them to work the pimp values embraced by the streets have to be countered, and the countering has to start at an early age. Starting in the cradle is not too soon.

4merPhillyResident said...

I'm up early in the morning fighting a cold and checked this blog. WONDERFUL article. I think much of the answer is really simple and three-fold for my family. My only son is a little over one year old.

The first part is that I expect him to LEAVE my house a man. That entails both leaving my house and being prepared for headship and taking over a family when he does. I'm so sick of grown black women with these grown behind dudes living with their mommas, not even paying any bills. What the? Girls, here's a clue. If his mom doesn't have a man she loves or loved, who was good to her, guess what? Your man is her man. That's why he's still at home. And she's not willing to let him become head of your household, because he's head of hers.

The second is that we can't continue to "spoil our sons and raise our daughters". The same academic, social and moral criteria should be high for all our children, regardless of gender. My daughter is an honor student, thank the Lord. I expect the same from my son.

Lastly, I think black kids have lost the cultural knowledge about what they will face in America. The myth of this Kumbayaa world where racism is a thing of the past is ridiculous. Racism is still at work.

My husband is white, as are my nieces and nephew. But I have told my oldest, who is thirteen, that the world out there by and large isn't as kind as our white family. Because of racism, she will have to work harder, be excellent and not expect that what her peers get away with is available to her. It's not fair, but that's real. I intend to share that message with my son as well. My husband supports me in this.

I kind of feel that racism becomes a shock for our kids because so many parents give them no cultural armor nor context, nor history. This leaves them unprepared. So many kids are watching MTV and BET thinking they can get away with the behavior of spoiled, rich and indulged types, who are largely white. So many of our kids don't realize that the "gangster rapper" selling that crap by and large works at the whims of a white CEO, white retailers and white distributers who love to hear them debase us.

There's enough blame to go around. I've been saying for some time that there's a generation of black folks that is beyond repair except on an individual level. They were mostly raised by women, abandoned by the men in their lives, told in school that they were animals and told by the media to celebrate that fact. Too many folks have bought into that.

True story: last year I had to take my kid out of a private school which was 80% black kids from the town "next door". Every day, these kids went into how "white" she was because she liked reading, did well in school and can't wear certain things. She was miserable.

I moved her to our local school up the block. It's 3% black. She's excelling, she's student of the month at one point, she just won the 8th grade spelling bee. I'm happy for her, but it breaks my heart. She was surrounded by people who looked like her but hated learning. What is the lesson in that?

We are the descendants of people who came out of slavery alive, intact, with businesses and marriages and goals. Nothing we faced is as hard as the lash. Nothing. We owe it to those folks to be excellent, not because we have to show white folks anything. But because we come from excellent stock.

Former Philly Resident

The Angry Independent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Angry Independent said...

Contradicting yourself again Field.

On one hand, you seem to embrace the solutions that were mentioned in the article (solutions which have been mentioned by others). But on the other hand you are constantly expressing your love for Hip Hop & Hip Hop culture...all the while ignoring the fact that the values of Hip Hop culture don't jive with the values that the author says are needed as part of the solution.

You can't have it both ways....

The solutions in the article were pretty good... but they will mean nothing as long as Black folks keep turning a blind eye to the things poisoning their community. So called "Black America" will continue to lose its young men as long as folks refuse to recognize Hip Hop culture as the Cancer that it is.

NSangoma said...

august said...
... I am not so sure the state of black ameriica is as bad as we think. The media wants us to lose hope.
2:37 AM

Oh yeah!! Well spend some time at your local black high school. Not a black magnet high school, nor a black charter high school; but a black public high school that has lost its accreditation. (Some black charter high schools are as bad as the non-autonomous black high schools.)

Such schools are looking for black men with degrees in the hard sciences, especially mathematics; try it for a few days as a substitute teacher.

You can get a job as a substitute teacher if you do not have a police record or any abuse complaints filed and recorded against you.

Just do it!! Try it, and then get back to us; not so sure the state of black america is as bad as we think, indeed.

TLWman said...

A generation lost huh? Damn that is depressing. As a 21 year old Black male I just want to say thanks for giving up on us, now point us to the nearest island so we won't poison anyone else with our existence.

Christopher said...

There's a war against boys in our post-feminist culture.

The Boston Globe writes:

Today, it's the "boy crisis" that's making headlines, from The Weekly Standard to Newsweek. We are presented with alarming numbers: 58 percent of first-year college students are female.

Because male students are more likely to drop out, their share will shrink to 40 percent by graduation. "Man shortage" is the new bane of campuses. While the gender gap in academic achievement has long been a serious problem in the black community -- by the mid-1990s, two-thirds of college diplomas earned by African-Americans went to women -- it has been growing among Hispanics and whites as well.

What's going on? Some blame an antimale bias in education. A few years ago, Christina Hoff Sommers, a scholar at the right-of-center American Enterprise Institute, wrote a book, "The War Against Boys," arguing that feminist zeal is causing many teachers to treat maleness as "toxic" and to try to reshape boys in a female image.

Gender differences in the "wiring" of the human brain are an increasingly popular explanation as well. Psychologist and author Michael Gurian is a leading proponent of the view that boys and girls learn differently and that these differences must be taken into account if we want to ensure a quality education for everyone. Some believe that in many instances, single-sex classes are the answer.

For years, the justified celebrations of female achievement have overshadowed the fact that boys and young men were starting to lag behind. Many feminists have dismissed the college attendance gap as insignificant, arguing that men can get well-paying jobs even without college while women need a degree just to catch up. Yet the fact is that in this knowledge-based economy, men without a higher education are increasingly falling behind.

What about the remedies? No possible solution should be off-limits. It would be ridiculous, for instance, to refuse to consider the possibility of biological sex differences in learning styles because of political correctness. Yet it's also important to remember such differences are often dwarfed by individual variation. Helen Smith, a psychologist and blogger who has championed the cause of boys in school, cautions that, while recognizing differences, we should not lapse into stereotyping: In general, boys may be more physically active and girls may be more verbal, but a lot of children will not fit those patterns.

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2006/02/06/the_lost_boys/

Will Divide said...

The solution for lost young blacks is the same as for dysfunctional white kids - turn off the fucking TV. Pack it up and send it back to CNN, BET, MTV, or ABC.

Next, and I hate to put this so bluntly but it's early, the goddamn reverends take up too much space, turning moral dead ends into bountry for the lord. If we can finally separate community morality from expressions of private spirituality (and it CAN be done) maybe we can fucking grow up as a nation.

Telling an at-risk 16-year-old just to pray harder everyday (as I overheard one rev. counciling a young man at the library a couple weeks ago) is, to my mind, as disrespectful, and pointless, as hitting him.

guerreiranigeriana said...

interesting piece...i haven't given up on our black babies, nationally or internationally...a connection/wisdom wasn't passed/was lost along the way...a complacency grasped a hold of a generation and we have degenerated into this...

...i think that it is also key in addressing the state of black america and the world (with this damned globalization=westernization=united statesization) the fact that society in general is preparing its constituents for mass consumption and mass consumption only...thus, you don't encourage nor provide avenues for true critical thought/analysis/problem-solving...that's how you can you can get people who glorify stupid and devaluing music and those that make it...you produce people who mindlessly copy/obey, a la military style...you get men who don't think about their actions, just act, women too...an education system that has never and was never intended to educate, yet the masses believe so...embrace education but not just this fallacy of education they feed us...true education, which most times does not occur in the classroom...being able to read and analyze helps...thought, and deep and profound thought helps...i keep saying it and people don't believe...but when people stop thinking and challenging, you are left with, well, just look around...authority figues must stop punishing children for thinking and questioning and rather encourage it...it produces better, tastier and more successful fruit...

...as 'black' people, we must recognize what is going on, both for us as a 'race' and as a human race...responsibility and accountability go a long way...

...and we must be wary of the divisive forces in place...with articles like these, there is always this need to distinguish between american blacks and 'other' blacks...that always bothers me...(i may be overly sensitive since my parents are immigrants to this country...no...).i have even seen articles that describe the immigrant blacks or the black children of immigrants as the 'wrong kind' of black...i don't know if that tactic will help in getting 'those' people on board with the struggles in america or even recognizing the struggle, when they are alienated as such by what should be 'their own kind'...somehow, i don't think so (don't get me wrong...i'm not stupid enough to think that all black immigrants come with open arms to embrace their diasporic brothers and sisters...must remember that they are also being fed the same stupid shit)...i often wonder if they can't serve as positive role models because they are foreigners...they still have black skin like black americans...they also still suffer from racism and the other fuckery black americans are subjected to, and they have strong accents sometimes to boot...as you can tell, it's a bit of a soapbox for me and i could go on for days...it just bothers me that even in all this, there is a need to distingush 'which' blacks are 'suffering' and which aren't...considering the way this country categorizes shit, black men in prison could very well be immigrant blacks too or the children of immigrants...shall i remind you of cases where black immigrants have been ill-treated...no, instead i'll stop here...

David Sullivan said...

Somebody has to break the cycle. But the cold hard fact is that no one wants to be the one to do it.

Its easier to stay enslaved then to go into uncharted territory.

Black men need to stop thinking that they are inferior and victims and assert themselves as intelligent, thinking, human beings and not just performers and athletes.

Machismo and bravado is born out of insecurity and for many young black men it is their mantra. I used to work educating gang members in Hartford, most of whom were hispanic, but some black and white. The biggest obstacle to changing their behavior was getting past peer influences and breaking down their attitude of "I am the toughest, baddest, motherfucker you ever met and I will kill you and your family if you don't get your white ass out of my face", false bravado.

When you feel like your pride is all you have, then all you cultivate is this over inflated view of self, which explains the bravado, lack of empathy (therefore treating women poorly and abandoning children) and disregard for self improvement.

Most Black people hate or at the very least don't trust White people (as many of you feel right now reading this written by a white boy on a "black" blog), so the only people that can get through to Black boys are strong Black men. Strong emotionally, mentally, physically.

For this to happen individual Black men are going to have to make a concious effort to stifle their impulses of having to look good around their homeboys and do things like take care of their families, call out people who are negatively affecting their communities or just plain leaving communities that are dragging them down.

Its scary to have to go out on your own, but blacks have always been regulated by their slave holders or by themselves. They have never had to make a concious effort to leave everything behind, of their own free will and start over, like all of the other immigrant groups who have come to this country did.

Maybe its time for Black individuals to make that journey.

field negro said...

"I think that we would all agree that it would be delusional to think that any government let alone the United States Government is designed or willing to tackle such a complex problem."

True statement. But there are certain things that government can do (such as putting the proper prgrams in place) to make the process easier.

august, the state of "black america" IS as bad as we think, and part of it does have to do with growing up with racism and what it does to the psyche.

"On one hand, you seem to embrace the solutions that were mentioned in the article (solutions which have been mentioned by others). But on the other hand you are constantly expressing your love for Hip Hop & Hip Hop culture...all the while ignoring the fact that the values of Hip Hop culture don't jive with the values that the author says are needed as part of the solution."

The solutions given in the article and hip hop culture do not contradict each other. Honestly A.I., you are starting to sound like the Hip Hop Lou Dobbs. Where did you get this notion that hip hop culture's values are so bad? I think you confuse gangster rap, and some of the ignorant sh** these record companies put out and prmote with hip hop and positive music.

Why can't we embrace all the
things mentioned in the article and enjoy our music as well? I bet some of the top CEO's in this country were "dead heads" back in the day. Listen, I love Dolphy,Coltrane,Miles,Marvin, blues, R&B, big band,funk, reggae,ska, you name it. But I also love dancehall, Hip Hop,dub poetry, and rap. And I am quite comfortable with what "true" hip hop represents.

"Next, and I hate to put this so bluntly but it's early, the goddamn reverends take up too much space, turning moral dead ends into bountry for the lord. If we can finally separate community morality from expressions of private spirituality (and it CAN be done) maybe we can fucking grow up as a nation."

AMEN!!

Julie P. said...

When it comes to employment for youth, I see some good opportunities beginning in the neighborhoods. Cities could set up summer clean up crews, employing young people to help maintain playgrounds, parks, etc. I've seen and participated in these kinds of activities when I was younger, but they were church or youth group sponsored. I always wondered why this wasn't more widespread.

This would not only give youth a way to earn money, it would also help instill pride in where they live. If you worked hard to make something nice, you're not going to let someone else come and trash it.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Field, specifically, I'm hearing, "education, education, education."
If inner city and rural schools were up to the same standards as suburban schools, we would have well educated and motivated young people in all facets of our society. How could that be bad?
Unfortunately, education is not one of the "family values" embraced by our current set of power mongers.
The numbers you have provided are unforgivable to our society.

Dark & Stormy said...

"Every day, these kids went into how "white" she was because she liked reading, did well in school and can't wear certain things. She was miserable."

4merphilly resident: How will your daughter learn how to deal with these types of kids when they've grown into adults and she doesn't have the option to "move" away from them? I was once the little black girl who was smart, articulate, started reading at 4 yrs old, always in gifted & talented (GT)classes or magnet programs. On average, there were about 4 or 5 of us black kids in a GT class of 30.

I attended a public school in the suburbs in one of the best school districts on the east coast. Every summer, my mother sent me to summer camp in the city. My dance class, kung-fu, girl scouts (an all black troop), all my extra curricular activities were in the city, within "our community". Full of black folks. And not the Jack & Jill kind.

When I was 8 yrs old, the kids would tease me for "talking white." They told me I thought I was better than them 'cause I went to a good school and was academically advanced. I was bullied for having nice clothes (not designer, just clean & ironed) and envied because my mom dropped me off & picked me up each day while they had to walk or catch the bus.

I went home UPSET. My mother dropped me off the next day and told me I had to find a way to get along with them 'cause we'd be together all summer. She told me that we (me and those 80 percenters you referred to) needed each other. I didn't understand that then but I do now.

I needed those kids to remind me of the plight of my people. So that I wouldn't take my privilege for granted and so that I would have a real connection with my community. Those of us who are removed from our people cannot solve problems such as the epidemic of our black men because we're not connected. They needed me to show them they could succeed despite how they looked and where they came from. I showed them that I was one of them. I could've went to camp at my school with the same homogenous make-up as my class. But instead I chose (or moms) to be with them.

That's love. And we don't have enough of if going around. Do you not sacrifice and work hard for those you love? When we start loving each other, maybe we can achieve some of the goals FN listed.

bygpowis said...

i see the comments. i'm an educated black man trying to note all the things field wants black boys to possess. i recognized the value of education real early on and began searching for my humanity in america. i try to recall that journey through the videos here: http://youtube.com/profile?user=bygINCpresents.

the boys ain't reading this column. they're watching tv or surfing the net. i' trying to reach them in their language.

if you care, are looking for ways to reach the boys, go to the link, look, and if you think there's value there for the boys, pass it along. thanks.

Lynn said...

I am so glad to see you blog about this because this very subject has been weighing heavily on my mind lately.

I don’t want to give in to despair or hopelessness. However, I think the problems have gotten too big for black communities to solve alone. Yes, there are things we can do, but the system is broken. Not just education, but what little social safety net we had no longer functions for those that need it most.

I am sick of people throwing out simplistic solutions without knowing what many poor peoples lives are like. In fact, I think I might slap the next white person that says, “Bill Cosby had it right”, because every time they that, I am hearing, “If ya’ll would get up off your lazy black asses you could solve your own problems”. Umm, thanks for that Bill.

Something as simple as “read to your children each night” carries assumptions. It assumes the parent can read. It assumes the parent is at home and not working at night. It assumes the household has books or access to a library. It assumes the household has lights.

Until recently, I worked in a public school system in a very poor district. Many poor children have barriers to learning that have nothing to do with the laziness or neglect of their caregivers or parents.

The fact that 58% of young black men drop out of high school tells you everything you need to know about the magnitude of the problems in our educational system. This means that each year in high schools all around the country we are allowing children to go out into society unprepared--consigning thousands of black men EACH YEAR to a life of poverty, unemployment, crime, incarceration, and in many cases early death.

For some reason, many Americans think it is okay to let our poor communities be destroyed. But guess what middle class America? You will not remain untouched by this forever.

When this flood of problems begins to overflow black communities and washes onto white America’s doorsteps, they will begin to pay attention. When “our” problem becomes their problem and the government can’t build prisons quickly enough or fund enough additional police to control black communities or the middle class can no longer afford to move far enough away, they will pay attention. I hope it will not be too late.

In the meantime, we have to work as individuals to save whomever we can.

RedLipstick said...

“I needed those kids to remind me of the plight of my people.” Dark & Stormy

I am one of those disconnected people D&S because I just can’t bring myself to feel like what is happening with many young Black boys and men is somehow “my” responsibility. I am unable to take ownership of their “plight”. Poverty and coming up in the “old neighborhood” does not precipitate a criminal lifestyle or lackluster performance in school. I’m looking for an explanation as to why some Black boys and girls remain crime free their whole lives, manage to graduate high school and college and go on to lead productive lives in spite of their socioeconomic status and the sometimes unfavorable conditions of their upbringing. I recently posted about my young brother and his prison experience, yet I have another brother who is the exact opposite of him and they are twins. My best conclusion: it all boils down to personal choice.

It is counterintuitive to a reasonable person that any individual would employ and embrace destructive behaviors and attitudes. Nevertheless, the evidence presented here and elsewhere is strikingly clear…some Black boys and men CHOOSE to behave and think a certain way and many do so even in the face of contrary examples that would lead to far more positive outcomes. Maybe it’s pathological and thus curable/treatable but it most certainly is not a state of being that I see that either I as an individual or all Black persons as a group can somehow overcome. I think a “grassroots” effort such as each person working within their own families/extended families will work more effectively in the long run. These things always seem to work better from the bottom up rather than top down.

From the blog post: “Who are young Black women going to marry?”

I married a wonderful African man. I further encourage my Black female relatives, friends and acquaintances to consider men from another culture or ethnicity. There are certainly American born Black men that are available. Furthermore, I know some fine and upstanding Black men who have embraced the challenges of marriage and family and are in fact thriving. On the other hand I know of far too many who are not drawn to the idea of settling down and for this reason I think it’s appropriate for Black women to find a mate who shares their values and goals without regard to culture or ethnicity.

Anonymous said...

Some of you may have read this, but I think Al From Bayshore is really putting it down. This is his response to the most recent posting on Blackprof and it seems to fit right in with this discussion.

If, however, no radio station every played another hip-hop song, public schools for poor kids would still be miserable. Black women and men would still suffer mass incarceration.”

C’mon Mr. Butler, let’s be fair. What’s missing here is behavior. Bad behavior lands you in jail. While there are examples of black people being incarcerated unjustly (just ask Yusef Salaam, Kharey Wise, and Geronimo Pratt) not every black person is a victim of unjustified incarceration.

As far as schools are concerned, behavior is once again the major issue. All you need to do is visit a middle school in the inner city. In most cases, the school is “off the hook”. I am a school teacher and I have seen this for most of my teaching career (eight years of which was spent in a middle school in Bed Stuy). The schools are miserable for one main reason, a substantial minority of disruptive kids. This problem is further compounded by their good for nothing parents (I’m really being nice here because two parent families in these environs are a rarity). Additionally, these good for nothing parents (I’m being nice again) are rarely involved in the life of their kids except when they come to school to argue with administrators when their child gets busted doing something wrong (ie: smoking pot, criminal activity, assaulting a teacher, assaulting students - these incidents are the norm). THEN the problem is further exacerbated when know nothing educrats and adminstrators make discipline and stable learning environs a “non-priority”. Instead, they believe that instructional fads that serve the purpose of instituting “social justice” are adequate substitutes for the bread and butter instructional basics under which they learned. In short, poor behavior and disruptive learning environments are to be tolerated because “the kids have to be given a chance”. This also means that the hard working good students, who are in the majority, are subjected to disruptive learning environments in which learning proceeds at a snail’s pace. Then there is the issue of the development of peer groups and their ancillary values. Borderline kids (average to below average students) tend to get swept up in the disfunctions and pathologies that are introduced into the schools by the disruptive students who, by the way, are products of their good for nothing parent(s).

C’mon Paul, you are being just as simplistic as Whitlock. The issue of miserble schools has nothing to do with technology and crumbling facilities. An environment that is conducive to learning is overwhelmingly dependent upon student behavior and discipline, as well as the way in which the school addresses student misbehavior (at this moment, New York City has almost no response to these issues in spite of what the Bloomberg propoganda machine generates). When you have a safe and stable learning environment, you can teach symbolic logic to a 12 year old inside of a cardboard box.

You guys are mad at the Cosby-esque rhetoric but that is merely a collective voice on the part of black folks. After years of endorsing the politics of racial solidarity, black folks in black neighborhoods are beginning to realize that the thugs, hoochies, and ghetto trash are not our brothers and sisters. We cannot afford them at all because THOSE PEOPLE, though small in number, wreak disproportionate havoc upon our communities. Its very hard to condemn the white man and talk about systemic racism while Laquan is brutalizing your son and Shaniqua is pumping out a litter of ghetto bastards with no means of supporting them.

Whitlock’s identification of the black KKK is nothing but an outgrowth of an undercurrent of black rage that is directed at that rabble that is destroying our neighborhoods and terrorizing our families. The black leftist leaders and academics are the real Afristocracy and they are completely out of touch. Did you see the surprised look on Jesse’s face at the NAAC P convention when black folks were agreeing with Cosby as he delivered his legendary “poundcake speech”. That shows that the times have completely passed him by.

Its nice to hear Sharpton, Jesse, and Dyson talk their fancy sounding rhetoric but for some reason, they can never account for the fact that I have to sleep with a loaded shotgun under my bed. Instead, they choose to make Imus, the preferential treatment of Paris Hilton by the Califorinia judicial system, and six thugs in Jena, Louisiana THE paramount issue in their quest for black liberation.

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

OT:

HOSTAGE SITUATION OVER AT HILLARY CLINTON'S CAMPAIGN HEADQUARTERS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE - STORY BREAKING HERE:

http://www.cnn.com

Somebody's scared the Borg Queen might dang well win the White House...

Anonymous said...

At least we arent shooting up schools & molesting children & driving drunk."WHITE MALES RULE IN THESE AREAS OF SICKNESS.Dont give up hope on the brothers yet.the DEVIL IS STILL THE MOST VILE EXCUSE FOR A MAN ON THE PLANET.

Dirty Red said...

"After years of endorsing the politics of racial solidarity, black folks in black neighborhoods are beginning to realize that the thugs, hoochies, and ghetto trash are not our brothers and sisters. We cannot afford them at all because THOSE PEOPLE, though small in number, wreak disproportionate havoc upon our communities. Its very hard to condemn the white man and talk about systemic racism while Laquan is brutalizing your son and Shaniqua is pumping out a litter of ghetto bastards with no means of supporting them".

Amen.
I could not have said this better.
Education is the key to all this mess. I agree with damn near every comment here, (including nsagoma).However, (I have posted about this on my blog),We as Black MEN have to step up. We are the soultion to all of the above mentioned problems. It is up to us, Black Men, to educate our kids, disipline our kids, provide for our kids, and respect our women. The Government is not going to help us, but they will continue to come up with social programs that keep us enslaved to them. The Government is not in the buisness of helping the poor. The government is in buisness to make money for the government by any means necessary. As long as we continue to march and protest in front of government buildings, we are doing exactly what they want us to do. While we are marching and singing "we shall overcome" or Shouting "no justice no peace" who is educating our children? Who is taking care of our elderly? We as black men have to fight to get back the respect our Grandfathers and Great Granfathers had.How can we expect other races to respect us, when we don't respect ourselves? It is up to every black man that commented on this post to take back what our fore fathers died for. There is no excuse as to why our children are failing in record numbers. It is our fault, BLACK MEN. Our children are not failing, we are failing our children.

David Sullivan said...

Where is my gun? Oh, yeah. I left it in in my car next to the bottle of Whiskey I was slugging down while stalking children in the school yard I was going to shoot up, Columbine style.

Blanket statements are ridiculous.

field negro said...

"It is up to every black man that commented on this post to take back what our fore fathers died for. There is no excuse as to why our children are failing in record numbers. It is our fault, BLACK MEN. Our children are not failing, we are failing our children."

Damn! Now that was profound. in fact, there are so many powerful and side bar worthy quotes about this post that I really don't knnow where to start.

lynn, that shit you put down was brilliant.

redlipstick,I don't agree with everything you say, but you are also making me think.

anon. I think I am familiar with Al from Bay Shore, and he usually has SOME good things to say. I think he posts over at that BR site, so don't let chris see this :)

You know what's sad; everyone posting here already gets it. It's like soneone above said; the people who need to hear this shit aint reading some blog with a bunch of preachy "uppity" black folks, and progressive white folks putting it down.

We have to get the messge out there folks, we just do.

Anonymous said...

David Sullivan said...
Where is my gun? Oh, yeah. I left it in in my car next to the bottle of Whiskey I was slugging down while stalking children in the school yard I was going to shoot up, Columbine style.

Blanket statements are ridicul
STILL THE TRUTH,whitey loves to group all black people into little statistical groups,but he sure hates when it's done to his flat ass.& since when is the black male the biggest,woman hating male of all?white people do the same shit.fuckn hypocrites.LETS FACE SOME FACTS,Some of our black bros are too far gone to help.locked in ghettos & poverty,poor education,you name it.GANGSTA RAP,DRUG DEALING.There is no helping these lost generations.but we can start with our babies now,fuck the rest.thier already dead.

James said...

Read Jason Whitlock's piece on the death of Sean Taylor - "Taylor's death a grim reminder for us all".
It's our fault!!!! We are to blame for what is happening to us. In Atlanta five people were killed in Bowen Homes in a four week period. Not one of the crimes were solved. Witnesses scared. "Don't snitch" Bulls*&^. No one is offering a reward. WE might as well have pulled the trigger ourselves.

We are not all afraid to step up. Everyday one of us leaves work to go coach a black youngman in football, baseball, basketball etc., For most that will be our salvation - seeing a man who's not his father care about his well being.

Thank the guys that are coaching YOUR kids. They are always the ones forgotten. They are trying to make a difference for a lost generation.

James C. Collier said...

Field: One last thing to add to your post. Black women need to keep their legs crossed (tightly), until black men earn the right to procreate, by getting their shit together as you say.

David Sullivan said...

Anon: I tend to get into pissing contests over here in the Field, so all I'll say is my ass is nice and round.

I don't think that anyone said that Black men are any more misogynistic than men of any other color. As far as "Whitey" goes, you tend to do a lot of things that are hypocritical like using racial epithets and perpetuating stereotypes. Look at yourself before you judge others.

Anonymous said...

Field: One last thing to add to your post. Black women need to keep their legs crossed (tightly), until black men earn the right to procreate, by getting their shit together as you say. whats so together about white men? surely,you jest!all men are fucked up on one level or another,& you woman know you got more issues than sports illustrated.so what the fuck are you sayn'hell,havn children period is a bad idea,just watch the news.most of you have kids becuase ''you want them'' sounds pretty selfish to bring a child into a fucked up world,becuase you want one.

Anonymous said...

Anon: I tend to get into pissing contests over here in the Field, so all I'll say is my ass is nice and round.

I don't think that anyone said that Black men are any more misogynistic than men of any other color. As far as "Whitey" goes, you tend to do a lot of things that are hypocritical like using racial epithets and perpetuating stereotypes. Look at yourself before you judge First off,aint shit you can tell me,my hate is justified.and face to face,you have no wins,on any level with me. your people are the masters of perpetrating stereotypes so piss off.

The First Domino said...

D.S. wrote:
Its scary to have to go out on your own, but blacks have always been regulated by their slave holders or by themselves. They have never had to make a conscious effort to leave everything behind, of their own free will and start over, like all of the other immigrant groups who have come to this country did.

Maybe its time for Black individuals to make that journey..



David Sullivan, I believe that you mean well, but you're dead wrong.

Surely, as chattel, we didn't have the Ellis Island experience as many whites in this country did and now celebrate, but I don't believe that returning to Africa, and coming back here will somehow magically transform us into "you."

Have you heard of the "underground railroad"? All those blacks that made "a conscious effort to leave everything behind, of their own free will and start over...."

Sure you have.

Have you heard of the "Exodusters," blacks who made a "conscious effort" to leave an inhospitable, postbellum South and create settlements in other locations -- in Kansas, and as far West as California, the Black Township of Allensworth.

Obviously not.

Just because immigrant groups came from other lands to settle here doesn't make the voluntary resettlement of blacks in this country less courages, less arduous, and less sacrificial.

White immigrants came to this country knowing that they were at least wanted, would encounter a people that looked like them, and over time would be embraced by these people as one of them.

They all had one thing in common--their color. Whites could use this "color" as a way to suppress those blacks that were equally skilled, and equally ambitious to partake of the American dream.

Blacks didn't enjoy this new-immigrant acceptance, before or after the civil war, before or after the emancipation proclamation.

Incidentally, poor whites were allowed to come to this country to displace those black workers recently freed, and they came under the banner and rallying cry of "America for whites."

After the Civil War, blacks were to be returned to Africa. They weren't needed here any longer.

If blacks have a problem it is trying to eke out an existence in a society that didn't want them (except for the cheap labor they provided), that did everything it could to hold them back and deny them the American dream, that used Black Codes to regulate black and white behavior, and that used violence (KKK and other white supremacists groups) to intimidate and keep them in their place.

Unfortunately, taking the white foot off of our neck, while at the same time affirming our womanhood and manhood, creating families and strong communities within such a hostile environment, has led to some physical and psychic scarring, and some regrettable pathologies. But all in all, we have made uncommon strides, and will, despite occasional setbacks, affirm our humanity as well as yours.

I would like to see your highly-touted white immigrants do the same under similar conditions.

I would urge you, however, to get your facts straight on the next occasion you get the urge to make a statement like the following:

Its easier to stay enslaved then [sic] to go into uncharted territory.

Anonymous said...

If blacks have a problem it is trying to eke out an existence in a society that didn't want them (except for the cheap labor they provided), that did everything it could to hold them back and deny them the American dream, that used Black Codes to regulate black and white behavior, and that used violence (KKK and other white supremacists groups) to intimidate and keep them in their place.

Unfortunately, taking the white foot off of our neck, while at the same time affirming our womanhood and manhood, creating families and strong communities within such a hostile environment, has led to some physical and psychic scarring, and some regrettable pathologies. But all in all, we have made uncommon strides, and will, despite occasional setbacks, affirm our humanity as well as yours Thanks for breaking it down for the priviledged mutants of amerikkka.blacks as well as native americans have the right to hate & they seldomly act on it.the pot is boiling thou.

Anonymous said...

Most Black people hate or at the very least don't trust White people (as many of you feel right now reading this written by a white boy on a "black" blog) Would you trust black people if we put your people thru the SHIT,yours have drug us thru? of course not,you would be a fool if you did.So call me a racist if ya like.It all remains true.

David Sullivan said...

First Domino:
I stand corrected, however, I wasn't waxing poetic about "White" immigrants. On the contrary people of my lineage (Irish) were not welcomed here and if you think they were you are sadly mistaken. Into the 19300's if you had the last name with a Mc then you could barely find work even in the heavily Irish Boston. Are you telling me that an off the boat Italian looked like an of the boat Irishman? You mustn't realize the amount of animosity there was (and sometimes still is) between "Whites". Try telling my grandmother that Irish are the same as Polish or Italians or French or Germans or most of all English. Europe hasn't hosted more wars than any other part of the world because "Whites" all love each other and are accepting.


"Its easier to stay enslaved then to go into uncharted territory" is not about the physical journey's people have made including Black people, but the mental slavery that is still here today.

I have many black friends I grew up with in the projects who did not have the peer pressure to conform to the ghetto norm because they had strong Mom's who beat their ass if they were disrepsectful and valued education and conformity over hate for "whitey" and complaisency. We also had equal numbers of Black, Hispanic and White kids growing up together so there was no majority and we were all poor as shit. Are my Black friends any less Black because they liked Whites and Puerto Ricans, did well in school and settled down in mixed neighborhoods with jobs as Firemen, head Chefs, Engineers at IBM etc..? Living in a mixed neighborhood bred understanding and empathy that could not be duplicated by living in homogenious situations. My Black friends never felt as if they were acting too "White" because we all acted the same way. It wasn't until they left our neigborhood and went to all black colleges or visited relatives in all black neighborhoods did they realize that they were different and had different attitudes due to living with a mix of people.

Liz said...

I'm not giving up hope. I hate to put it bluntly but fcuk this article's doom and gloom prospects for this generation of black boys.

Maybe I feel this way because I have two sons, nephews, cousins, etc., and I'm not giving up hope on any of them. Plus, I spend my time doing more than writing about what needs to change in America. First and foremost, I'm a parent to my two sons. And that doesn't mean throwing them in front of the playstation when they come home from school. Second, I'm committed to the black man I married. And he's not playing when it comes to being a black father. Every black woman I'm friends with is married --and her husband, the father of her children, is still around. Sorry if that doesn't mesh with the statistics, but that's how we're rolling.

I've taught school and the kids are not the problem. There are some lazy, ineffective dumb-ass teachers working in schools and even lazier folks working as district officials. I sit on a few school leadership committees and see how these folks aren't really interested in student achievement for the kids. They have no expectation that the kids are going to do anything with their lives, and so they teach accordingly. All those off the hook kids would NOT act like that if racist adults didn't deep down think that it's okay.

As far as white folks...their lives are not all rosy and perfect. They are losing THEIR sons to coke and crystal meth addiction. Their sons aren't all going to college either. They're trying to drop out and become emo rock stars.

Those short term and long term solutions are sort of no brainers and if we all do our part, we can make a difference. And our entire society needs those kinds of solutions, not just black folks.

David Sullivan said...

Anon: Me, I don't judge groups of people. Should I hate all Black people beacuse when I was 9 I was jumped outside of Burger King for $1 by six Black kids and beaten so badly I had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital. Even then I knew that these kids were bad kids and it had nothing to do with race. So by your creedo I should hate you. I should never hire anyone Black. I shouldn't treat any Black person with respect. When I see a drunk Black guy at a bar should I pick a fight and beat him senseless to return the favor?

And who are "my people"? Once again you are making blanket statements. My family didn't emmigrate here until the 1920's so besides fight for scraps at the bottom of the food chain what did my people do to you?

I don't trust "people". I trust individuals. If you trust people based on race alone, good luck. Have you been beaten to within an inch of your life by six white boys? I bet you haven't, but I bet you have older relatives who have had horrible things happen to them. Tell me what you have had to endure? I bet you grew up better financially, had a better childhood and homelife than I and had to deal with less racism than me. How can you argue the fact? You don't know me or what I've endued individually.

There are more and more poor Whites who have the same story as I and don't want to hear about all these injustices "my people" committed.

Just keep hating, that'll make everything better.

Anonymous said...

Ok Mr Sullivan,you came up in mixed ghettos like i did.I dont hate''whitey''how come you get all bent out of shape when blacks talk about white pathologies,thrill killer whiteboys & child molesters/drunken idoits behind the wheel.all this shit is true about your people.white lies about blacks stick for generations to all blacks under the white group scope.It appears that whites are the only individuals in this country.All we do is rape rob & rap, right? the above is some of the shit your brothers do,dont hate participate.Oh yeah,brothers beat you down for a dollar,thats just urban life,you being from the pj's & all should know you got robbed becuase you had money,not for being white.I had six white boys back in missuori try to beat me to death with bats,not for money,hmmmmm,why would they do this?being from the projects you already know why.

The First Domino said...

D.S. asked: Are you telling me that an off the boat Italian looked like an of the boat Irishman?

David, I still think you mean well and I'll say it again--"I think you mean well."

But you'll have a hard time convincing blacks that your Irish background somehow placed you and other Irish at a disadvantage in this country--perhaps for the short term, but not indefinitely.

Mind you, I can't speak for your experience. And what I'm trying to say to you here is this: you can't speak for mine.

You have no idea how it is to grow up black in this country, the mental and psychological hurdles that one must climb just to accept oneself as a person of value.

What we know is that whites have been generally united on one front -- black is black and white is white, and may the twain never meet. And it doesn't matter if they're Italian, Greek, Mexican, (olive or brown skin). For Godsake, Asians enjoy a greater status in this country than blacks.

What you're asking me to do is disown my own experiences and my meticulous observations. If I had done that, I wouldn't be alive today to talk about it.

You want to hear what may come as a shocker to you: I'm not all that empathetic to your statement regarding whites, that

...their lives are not all rosy and perfect. They are losing THEIR sons to coke and crystal meth addiction. Their sons aren't all going to college either. They're trying to drop out and become emo rock stars.

You want to know why? I know the trials and tribulations of blacks, and the difficulties they face to aspire to be somebody in this society. And for you to tell me that your white youth are so disaffected that they're throwing away their biggest advantage, their whiteness, for drugs and a life of irresponsibility, I can only say that I'm disgusted.

At least we can point to our blackness if we fail, but what is their excuse.


I'm pleased that you grew up in a "mixed" neighborhood, where the values of education, respecting one's neighbors regardless of ethnicity, and a desire to make a positive contribution to society were generally accepted, and widely fostered.

I'm sure that it gives you a sensitivity that I hope many whites share. But for the many, I have my doubts.

The First Domino said...

guerreiranigeriana wrote:

...and we must be wary of the divisive forces in place...with articles like these, there is always this need to distinguish between american blacks and 'other' blacks...that always bothers me...

Your comments are spot on. I'm looking forward to reading your blog.

MacDaddy said...

I'm looking forward to reading it to...

Don't forget to write and give it to us.

rikyrah said...

Brother Jackson is a true American Hero. I worry about him, because he's so passionate about this; I don't want him to wear out, but make no mistake, until I hear differently, he's the real deal, working very hard out in the field.

His role model was another inspirational Field Negro by the name is Silas Purnell. Someone Black filmmaker should write a movie about Mr. Purnell, who, from a basement office in the housing projects of Chicago, sent 50,000 Black children to college.

The First Domino said...

TLWman said...
A generation lost huh? Damn that is depressing. As a 21 year old Black male I just want to say thanks for giving up on us, now point us to the nearest island so we won't poison anyone else with our existence.


Hey TLW, chill youngblood. Clearly the whole generation isn't lost. If you're reading this blog, it's because you're involved in your own blackness, and that along is salutary.

Let me tell you what time (a lot of time) has taught me.

Change comes slow and hard. No one changes overnight without some kind of religious conversion or some other kind of epiphanic experience.

. Beliefs create values and values dictate our actions and create our experiences.

. Beliefs are formed at an early age and continue to mature according to the values they form; in short, a vicious circle for some or a blessed circle for other.

Another way of putting it: We see what we believe as surely as we believe what we see.

. To separate a person from those beliefs (and the values they form) often require a lifetime of painstaking effort. See it, if you will, as a kind of "brainwashing."

We haven't given up on our black youth, they have given up on themselves. When we say we need to look to the next generation, we don't mean everyone in the current generation is lost, just those whose belief system is so screwed up as to place them almost beyond help.

Charles Manson, for example, has had many years to think over, and through, his mindset, his values, and his deeds. Has he changed his world view in that time?

I dare say not.

A subplot in the movie "Blood Diamonds" also exploits this theme--how the life of a young man can be twisted at an early age despite the careful grooming of parents.

Without hours of reprogramming, or a willingness on their part to rethink their value system, our street-smart but life-dumb young black boys will continue down the path they have created, and there is nothing either you nor I can do about it.

If that sounds hopeless, so be it. It's just the way things are. I'm sure there are those here who'll disagree and that is just fine. I like optimism too.

I call myself a practical idealist. If that's a contradiction, it's because I live within a paradox--a spiritual being inside a physical world.

rikyrah said...

I am one of those disconnected people D&S because I just can’t bring myself to feel like what is happening with many young Black boys and men is somehow “my” responsibility. I am unable to take ownership of their “plight”. Poverty and coming up in the “old neighborhood” does not precipitate a criminal lifestyle or lackluster performance in school. I’m looking for an explanation as to why some Black boys and girls remain crime free their whole lives, manage to graduate high school and college and go on to lead productive lives in spite of their socioeconomic status and the sometimes unfavorable conditions of their upbringing.

It might not be your ' responsibility', but the likelihood of it spilling over into your life is good, because of the housing patterns in most of the country.

I was listening to Black talk radio this evening, and a gentleman came on with a point about why this violence IS, a CONCERN, if not a RESPONSIBILITY.

See, the 'ilk' of the community doesn't seem to be killing the other 'ilk' of the community. And, that's what separates our community from others. The 'ilk' of our community seems to be killing the 'best and the brightest'; at the very least, they are taking out a good percentage of the ones on a 'positive tip'.

Just had one of these in the past couple of weeks. 3 incidents of robberies in the same neighborhood, same night; 2 involved White students, 1 involved a Black student. Guess which one they KILLED? That's right; the Black PhD in Chemistry. The killers had no idea that the Black guy was a 'student'. Never occurred to them; didn't hesitate to shoot HIM during a robbery, and left the White folks alone.

I'll be blunt; I fully believe if our 'ilk' was only killing our other 'ilk', and folks of a certain class could be certain that only that 'ilk' would be taken out, there would be even more separation in the community than there already is. But, because of housing patterns in most urban areas, Black folk aren't easily able to separate from the 'ilk' in our community, which makes violence a responsibility and burden for us all.

august said...

' Cities could set up summer clean up crews, employing young people to help maintain playgrounds, parks, etc.'
Some of this cities are simply broke! Maintaining parks -if they exist ie- is the last thing on their minds.

Ya'll are scaring me now. I had some hope left but I am almost giving up now.

NSangoma said...

~
Liz said...
I've taught school and the kids are not the problem. There are some lazy, ineffective dumb-ass teachers working in schools and even lazier folks working as district officials.
9:06 PM


Children are victims of their parents; not their teachers nor their district officials. If my children mis-behave at school and elsewhere in society, it is my fault. If my children's academic performances are sub-par, it is my fault. I am their father, I am responsible, not the teachers and not the school district.

Lazy, ineffective dumb-ass teachers and even lazier district officials are due to even more lazier dumb-ass parents.

Better schools begin in the home not at the district office. Parents have to first demand excellence from their children and then in turn demand excellence from their school district.
`

David Sullivan said...

I hear everyone here in the Field and respect all opinions. Men will never agree with women 100%, Blacks will never agree with Whites 100%, Poor will never agree with Rich 100%, but its not about agreement, its about empathy and understanding, not sympathy and blame.

David Sullivan said...

One more point Anon, I don't think the things you mentioned are anymore White pathologies, than misogyny, theivery and laziness are Black pathologies. I don't want to focus on any blanket assumptions about groups of people based on any classification of gender, race, color, sexual orientation etc...in my mind the gaps between the have and the have nots is a more important issue that Black vs White. If we don't attempt to dispell stereotypes and find humor in the ridiculousness of assumptions then animosity and hate will never end. You are a man, I am a man and I base my opinion of you on the way we interact, not on the color of your skin, where you live or on the car you drive. Take care and I look forward to the next time we "discuss". Then again you are "Anon" so I'll never know who the fuck you are if we do cross paths again in the Field.

Take care.

Dirty Red said...

You know I have to agree with 'ole David Sullivan on the majority of his comments. It seems to me that he not only "means well" he gets the whole idea of the essence of blogs like this one and the comments of all of frustated and tired black people comenting and reading blogs like this. He did'nt say once that Blacks should leave America, as one person commenting wrongly assumed, he said blacks should try to get out of negative places into a new positive place. Which I took to mean get out of a dangerous situation and try to move to a more positive situation. Of course it is easier said than done, but at least it makes sense. I think that most black people don't want to hear what they need to do to improve their current situation from a white person because we are trained from past experiances and past history not to trust what they say or do. Most of us (me included) doesn't realize that some white people actually have the same background that most of us have had (some but sure as hell not all). But white people do have a huge advantage over us because of their skin color. We assume (me included) that the majority of whites were born with a silver spoon in their mouthes, Because of what we see in the media everyday. So we don't feel them when they say shit like my parents were "poor immigrants". These assumptions are wrong. It is not the average white person we have to worry about. It is our lily white government that is the problem. Hate and fear sells. Our government sells hate and fear better than Microsoft sells computer software. Why do you think our government invaded another country, to the applause of Americans when they showed video of bomb strikes over Bagdad. As long as our government continually broadcasts their hate and fear propoganda to us through the media, T.V. shows, radio shows and in some cases the internet, we will never realize that we are all people, white, hispanic, asian and black. Sooner or later we are going to have to join with people like David Sullivan in order to get the respect that Black People have damn sured earned during our short time in AmeriKKA.

august said...

'Children are victims of their parents; not their teachers nor their district officials. If my children mis-behave at school and elsewhere in society, it is my fault. If my children's academic performances are sub-par, it is my fault. I am their father, I am responsible, not the teachers and not the school district.'

Nsangoma I rarely agree with you on this one but you hit the nail right on the head with this one.

Yep "Breeding is not a job the real job is raising the child"
I am African and trust me I have seen it all- barefoot kids walking miles in the rain in tattered school uniforms and might I add hungry to attend class in bldgs with no windows.
If you have seen that boys of baraka documentary the Baltimore kids are shipped to Kenya(right smack in the middle of nowhere) and they look around and go wow we had it so good and they hit the books like there was no tomorrow. Now R U going to ship every kid over there? I don't think so. The only bad thing as sbd stated is that the people that need to hear the message aren't on this blogs. The big question is how do we reach this people? So it is up to us to reach out to this kids. Maybe people should come up with ways to reach this kids. Tutoring at your local library might be one.

august said...

'Children are victims of their parents; not their teachers nor their district officials. If my children mis-behave at school and elsewhere in society, it is my fault. If my children's academic performances are sub-par, it is my fault. I am their father, I am responsible, not the teachers and not the school district.'

Nsangoma I rarely agree with you on this one but you hit the nail right on the head with this one.

Yep "Breeding is not a job the real job is raising the child"
I am African and trust me I have seen it all- barefoot kids walking miles in the rain in tattered school uniforms and might I add hungry to attend class in bldgs with no windows.
If you have seen that boys of baraka documentary the Baltimore kids are shipped to Kenya(right smack in the middle of nowhere) and they look around and go wow we had it so good and they hit the books like there was no tomorrow. Now R U going to ship every kid over there? I don't think so. The only bad thing as sbd stated is that the people that need to hear the message aren't on this blogs. The big question is how do we reach this people? So it is up to us to reach out to this kids. Maybe people should come up with ways to reach this kids. Tutoring at your local library might be one.

Christopher Chambers said...

Field--this is precisely what Bill Cosby espouses, yet ghettocrats pillory him. Are you now a Cosby-ite? LOL

ms-teacher said...

Jumping in with both feet.

I am a white teacher who teaches in a school in which less than 10% of the students look like me. I've been there seven years and my youngest child now attends this school. Prior to becoming a teacher, I worked at my state capitol in Sacramento for three years. I went into government because I thought I could make a difference. After only three years, I realized the futility of this thought.

That's when I decided to go into teaching. As a white teacher who grew up in a mostly white, middle class background, I am constantly questioning my ability to reach my students in a way that has meaning to them. I'm upfront with my students when I tell them that for the most part, I have (and probably never will) have to struggle in the way that too many of them have had to.

I also relate to them my experience in state politics and how it used to always amaze me at how white it is in comparison to our state population. I tell them that in order for true change to come about, our government needs to start looking like the people it represents. Some rich, white man is not going to make change that may effect his pocketbook and those of his friends.

I tell them that this change will only come about if they become educated and start questioning the injustices that happen on an almost daily basis in our society. I also tell them that nothing would make this white teacher happier than the day when our government(s) starts to look like the them.

Now all three of my children have attending schools in which they are the minority. All three have experienced racism and I'll admit, it's hard a thing to swallow when your child has been told that white people are no good. My kids have been brought up to not prejudge anyone to the best of their abilities.

I'm a white teacher who cares. I want this world to become better than it is. Maybe this is Pollyannish, I don't know.

When I've been called a racist by a black student or their parent, I question my intentions. When I write a referral for a black male student, I hesitate and ask myself would I do the same thing if this were a white male student.

Just know that this white teacher is trying.

field negro said...

I know onw thing; after reading the comments from folks like first domino etc. I know there is some serious f*****g knowledge out here in the fields!

ms. teacher, I appreciate what you do. Trust me, we need more folks in the majority just like you. Because you seem to get it, and you are making an effort to understand. At the end of the day that's all we can ask for.

rikyrah said...

ms-teacher,

have you read Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu?

Look him up on amazon.com.

Don't be afraid of the titles of his books. If you really want to help, his books will challenge you, as they do anyone that read them.

ms-teacher said...

rikyrah, I had not heard of him. Thanks for the heads up. I plan on adding some of his books on my wish list.

The First Domino said...

ms-teacher, I'm afraid you're guilty of being white.

I don't mean that in a demeaning way, which I hope will become clear to you by the end of this post. I wasn't going to post to this thread again but your remarks touched me, so here I am.

I wish there were more people like you, white or black, who realize that we're in this together and that the solution is going to require people of goodwill on both sides.

Here's a commonly accepted definition of racism found on http://www.thefreedictionary.com/racism.

1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.

2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

It's the last part of the first definition that gives me pause. It's the notion that "a particular race is superior to others," or to any other race, that disturbs me. When I look around, I'm struck by the prevalence of white superiority, whether in the city in which I live, or the news media. Of course, I can turn a blind eye to it, and pretend it doesn't exist, but that would be self-deception.

One example: I have read posts on several blogs where blacks have condemned the lack of white, news media coverage on missing young black women. They observe that missing white young women seem to get a mountain of coverage, and that too often missing young black women are ignored or, at best, receive cursory coverage.

If whites would really like to know if they're racist, given the above definition on race superiority, they should ask themselves these question:

Could you spend the rest of your life as a black person?

Would you be willing to exchange places with a black person (I don't mean one with light skin, but really dark.)?

No, I don't mean as Tiger Woods, or Halle Berry, but as yourself with black skin. You see, I'm making it easy for you.

Provided you'd be willing to accept it for yourself, would you be willing to impose it upon your children?

If you can honestly say without reservation that you could do that, then I would offer that you're not a racist, despite your efforts on behalf of black children, efforts which, by the way, I applaud.

You might say that the above questions are unfair, that you can champion black causes without having to change your skin color. True, but consider the following:

Do you know how many blacks in our past who have wanted your white skin, primarily because it would have ended the pain of discrimination? Do you know the thousands who have "passed" (denied who they were) just so that they and their children could avail themselves of white acceptance and greater opportunities?

Please know that I make the above statements without rancor or anger. However, I believe the above statements go to the heart of why black people distrust white people, despite their good intentions.

I went through all of that because of your statement:

Now all three of my children have attending schools in which they are the minority. All three have experienced racism and I'll admit, it's hard a thing to swallow when your child has been told that white people are no good. My kids have been brought up to not prejudge anyone to the best of their abilities.

Now their experiences will do one of two things: (1) make them despise those that taunt them and perhaps come to hold it against the whole group, or (2) cause them to appreciate what it's like to be black in this society.

I contend that it's this lack of knowing what the "other" is feeling that is responsible for all the hate, and counter-hate, that we're seeing. Blacks don't believe that you, being white, can appreciate their plight (especially when we have so many whites telling us that we have no plight, or that we should just shut up, accept it, and quit reminding them of it).

I could tell you horror story after horror story of what it has been like to be black in this society, of all the things that I and other blacks have suffered at the hands of whites, but that wouldn't be important, that's not what's paramount.

What is paramount is that, despite those horror stories, despite all the "hard things" I've "swallowed", I don't hate you. And this should be your message to your children, that when blacks say that "white people are no good," remind them that white's have said even harsher things about blacks, and that if we surrender to hate and hatred, we all lose.

And further, when you say:

When I've been called a racist by a black student or their parent, I question my intentions. When I write a referral for a black male student, I hesitate and ask myself would I do the same thing if this were a white male student.

I offer this: For God sake, don't do what many whites have tried to do over the year, don't become "color blind." I'm not asking that you treat a black person any different than a white person (clearly that would be the ideal)'; what I'm suggesting is that you first "see" him or her.

In your efforts to neutralize your interactions with blacks, don't paint them "invisible," that is, pretend that they're anything but black. See their uniqueness first--that they look different, that their hair may be kinky, their skin black, their lips thick, their eye black or brown--and know that that is alright with you. Different is not bad, and sameness is not necessarily good.

We could end racism tomorrow if we could all look at each other's differences and say within our hearts--it doesn't matter. But, too often, it does.

What we're told everyday, all day, by the white society in which we live is that we don't matter, and that our color, which shouldn't matter, does matter.

I like what you say here:

I'm a white teacher who cares. I want this world to become better than it is. Maybe this is Pollyannish, I don't know.

But I have to ask you: Why do you care?

Do you care because you believe that you're helping underprivileged black children, or because you're helping underprivileged children who happen to be black?

The difference is subtle but very telling.

I'm hoping, too, for a better world, where all of us care for the other because we are the other, regardless of ethnicity, race, national origin, or creed.

In summation, field negro puts it aptly: "Because you seem to get it, and you are making an effort to understand. At the end of the day that's all we can ask for."

Liz said...

Nsangoma,
Children are victims of their parents; not their teachers nor their district officials. If my children mis-behave at school and elsewhere in society, it is my fault.

I agree and disagree with you. Definitely, the role of the parent is a pivotal one, but as a teacher, it is my responsibility to take kids however they come in the door and teach them. I always say that if kids misbehave, it's because a teacher is allowing them to. I taught in Compton, CA and trust me, many of my students had very challenging home lives. But I made sure that got checked at the door so we could do what we came to school to do: learn. Of course, I could've thrown up my hands and put responsibility back on the parents...which is what a whole lot of teachers do. "I can't teach Jamal because his dad is in jail." That's a total excuse when Jamal is sitting in my classroom day in, day out.

David Sullivan said...

This is a great Thread!

Domino: You have great insight and from your comments appear to be a thoughtful and inteligent person.

Of course no one wishes that they had to deal with all of the crap that people of color have had to endure. Therefore the questions you asked of the teacher are unfair.

Racism is about not tolerating differneces and about hating based on the color of ones skin or ethnic background. Asking her if she wanted to change places with Black people are like asking her to run a marathon with one leg; it can be done, but it would be fucking tough. I'd rather run with two legs. (by me saying this I am NOT saying that the Black race is inferior, I am just pointing out the REALITY. The dark skin is not the handicap, its the legacy of hate Black people have had to endure)

Being Black in this country (and many countries) is a handicap, which was inflicted upon the men and women of dark skin by whites. It has been perpetuated by all groups that have come here (in lessening degrees) since the 1600's, perpetuated nonetheless. Why would anyone sign up for that? I am no martyr. It doesn't mean that I can't have empthy and understanding, using whatever experiances I've had (such as being the parent of white kids discriminated against by black kids) to better understand race relations.

I am not color blind, but don't be a hypocrite. By using examples like Halle Berry and Tiger you are downplaying their blackness.

Having black or white skin is a physical condition such as having blue eyes or brown. Being "Black" is about dealing with the legacy of slavery and the mental anguish that goes along with dealing with having to live with, deal with and rely on people who physically look like the people who beat, raped and tortured your ancestors.

Dialouge and discussion can only go so far.

If I could magically have dark skin I would be very much like the men who blog and comment here. I would be in your face and upfront about how my skin affects your response to me, but since I don't have the legacy of hatred and mistrust engrained in my psyche I would not feel like my skin color dictates my actions or controls my life.

My life experiances, living in a mixed community and having educated and responsible Black friends does not make me a template for "Whites". On the contrary, I laugh constantly at the misinformation and ignorance that many whites have about blacks. They act like blacks are from another planet: they don't hate, they have had no interactions with black people, but are curious about THEM and their "customs". I usually pipe up and tell 'em "Black folks watch the same shitty TV, eat the same shitty food get fucked by the same shitty government, they just do it in their own neighborhoods, just like us". We are all Americans (for better or worse)

ms-teacher said...

the first domino,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to me. You have given me much food for thought. One of the things that I wish is that there would be more open and thoughtful discussion about the issue of race in this country.

Too many people see it as taboo and/or are afraid of the consequences for opening up the proverbial Pandora's box. Rather, I think it's white folks who are afraid.

To answer your final question to me, the reasons for my teaching at the particular school that I am at comes down to one simple fact. I believe that all children deserve a quality education. Too many new teachers start at schools like mine because they know they can get a job and then move onto something better. I believe that my students, more than any other group, deserve some stability in their lives. They need to know that if they decide to come back and visit, there's a good chance that ol' ms-teacher is still there.

I am at my school site because I'm there to help all my students be successful, whether they be black or brown, underprivileged or not.

The First Domino said...

ms-teacher, I congratulate you on your life's mission and wish you Godspeed.

You have chosen an honorable and challenging profession, one that doesn't always receive the acclaim that it should.

west coast story said...

WTF? Blaming black female accomplishment for the failure of young black men? This the latest twist for black females--to dumb down for men. Forget about it.

When I opened the comments, I was going to post about how the problem with black boys will be resolved when we spend even half as much time wringing our hands about black girls. There is a sickness that is infecting a significant segment of our community, male and female. Saying it isn't so (or blaming racism) is just the kind of denial that makes it get worse.

I'm turning in my ghetto pass for real. You expect white people to be clueless about these things but I listen to black people and wonder if everyone is on crack when they talk about these issues.

As a footnote, the young black men and women in my family and among my friends who turned out well had parents, or one strong parent, who kept a foot up their ass 24/7. They kept track of where they were, who they were with, and what they were doing. They had curfews. They were EXPECTED to do well in school, meaning do their best. They had responsibilities in the home. They were not allowed to be disrespectful. And they were held accountable for their screw-ups, even when it meant mom and dad ended up paying a price as well. These were parents who were not the slightest bit interested in being their kids' "friend."

There are kids who come from "good" families with stupid parents who end up on the street. There are kids from around these parts who sucked it up and got the hell out. Wouldn't it be nice if life was so simple we could just blame whitey, black women, and corporate American for the destruction of black men? Black men better step up and take their share of the blame by not being fathers to their kids, or role models for anyone's child. Pop culture certainly bears some of the blame but if kids don't get positive values drilled into them at home, pop culture assumes a bigger role in their lives than it should.

Parenting is a full time, huge responsibility, it's not a badge of manhood or womanhood that you made a baby. A german shepard can reproduce itself. Bragging about making a child you cannot feed, clothe, provide health care for, or provide a roof over its head, is over the edge ignorant. If you aren't man or woman enough to be a real parent, then be responsible and don't do it. And don't blame someone else for your failure as a parent. 'Cos we all know you will take credit for your kids success.

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