Supporting Black Boys Through Crisis

Original article September 09, 2007

Aren’t they adorable?!

The crisis? Young American men who are African American and born into poor and working class households. These young boys are not making it. According to figures developed by the Schott Foundation, in an economy that requires more and more education, only 42 percent who enter ninth grade graduate from high school. The old blue-collar jobs that used to provide a family income, secure employment, health care and pensions are disappearing.

These are children increasingly raised by a single parent. Too often they are starved from the start — of adequate nutrition, adequate health care, adequate learning stimulants that are vital for young minds. They go to overcrowded schools stocked with inexperienced teachers. In school, they face discrimination in discipline and in being slated for special-ed courses. They are underrepresented in advanced-placement courses that are key for college. Some will overcome these odds and make it out. Most will not. They are headed toward jail, not toward Yale. Source

We know the problem. Now we need to work towards a solution. By hook or by crook, there must be a reversal of the out-of-wedlock pregnancies. No matter how you look at it, children, and especially male children, need a father. Yes, I understand that many males who grow up minus a father turn out well. But I also know that the vast majority of males who grow up without fathers end up dropping out of school, getting involved in criminal activities, and/or ultimately they go to jail.

In fact, places like California continues to build more jails to house black males. They claim to have financial issues and won’t fix their failing school system, but they are able to find enough funds to continue their jail industry.

Black boys appear to receive the worst end of the stick even during their preschool years:

Pre-kindergarten students are getting kicked out of school at a rate more than three times that of children in grades K-12, and a large percent of those expelled are black boys, according to a recent study by Yale University researchers.

The study by Walter Gilliam of the Yale University Child Study Center showed that blacks attending state-funded pre-kindergartens were twice as likely to be expelled as Latino and Caucasian children and over five times as likely to be expelled as Asian-American children.

The study also said that when child care providers had resources available to help manage behavior intervention, the number of expulsions for all preschoolers was cut in half.

“When a child is an African-American and a boy, it was a double whammy,” Gilliam told Source

Philip Jackson offered the following positive solutions to the problem with black male failure:

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.


I’ll add one more. Encourage black women to wait until after marriage to have children. Use birth control. The statistics are stacked against black males born into single family, woman run homes. God KNEW what He was doing. Boys need fathers.

While there is an ominous “movement” afoot that started here in the world of the internet to have black women deal with the black male problem by marrying white men, I have a more realistic option.

Don’t run away from the problem. Face it so that it won’t come back to bite. Black boys are human beings. They are under attack from day one—even while in preschool. Let’s not label them as “damaged beyond repair”.  Let’s do our own part to try to help in any small way we can!


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