Sunday, May 20, 2007

Finding Ways to Better School African American Boys

Finding Ways to Better School African American Boys - Washington Post

I just drove a black male classmate of my sixteen year-old daughter to his home, after he and my girl worked together on a class project, under the watchful eye of her mother. Our not-so-baby-girl has not earnestly begun dating, so this boy captured my yet-to-be-throttled interest.

He is in the process of transferring to a better school, in academics and sports, so we had something else to talk about, aside from any hidden hormone-driven agenda I might ferret out, accidentally (of course). The fact that the boy was damn handsome, in a geeky sort of way, did not help his case one bit.

Not too surprising to me, I liked the boy. He is smart, serious and funny, respectful, proud, and best of all, he wants to make something out of himself. Now clearly, he was putting on a show for me, but damn if he did not put a very good display of what success in a young black male might present, 3.6 GPA and all.

This boy was so impressive that I introduced the subject of my son, age 12, and some of his growing pains, firmly planted in my backside. Again, the kid stepped up. He gave me some advice, base on his own experience, which I will surely try to utilize on my son.

All this is to say that meeting this kid gave me optimism that I have not felt for a long time regarding what will become of black boys-to-men in this country. He is just one kid, and certainly he is lucky to have parents who care greatly for his well-being. However, I parted with him thinking that this kid will succeed in life, and just maybe my daughter will be fortunate to fall in love with someone like him, when they are ready.

James C. Collier


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Anonymous said...

My son is a graduating high school senior from the a high achievers academic magnet program. I can assure you that there are a number of excellent young black men preparing to enter society.

"The report cites several statistics to bolster the contention that more needs to be done. Of the 32,000 African American boys in the 10th, 11th and 12th grades eligible to take an Advanced Placement exam in 2005, the report says, only 1,229 did so. The report also notes that in 2004-05, six of every 10 suspensions involved a black student."

Unfortunately my son and his few male counterparts are indeed the minority. As the report indicates, there is more inclination to put Black male students on the punishment track rather than the education track. Check out the link to an article by Michael Fisher called where the Boyz at. We as Black men have got to understand that the U.S. Constitution has a loophole that allows us to be re-enslaved. The 13th Amendment says "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

If as the study suggests more of our boys are being put on the punishment track where should we expect the Black male population to eventually end up. Keep them uneducated, call them behavior problems from an early age, and then act surprised about the overall decline of the group.

Protect your son by giving him the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. He is in a war for his freedom and he needs to understand it like that. It's got to be real to him from an early age, that he is specifically under attack, and that the attacks will get worse as he gets older. The only defense is knowledge. Not the BS education they force feed our kids in most public schools. Real knowledge of self, real information that will help him understand the ways of this world and not fall prey to the traps that are set all around specifically for him.

In the end there's nothing I expect this society to do to help educate Black men. What needs to be done has to be done by the few of us Black men who know the truth and can reach out to help a young brother.

Mammy said...

Awww...James Collier, you are a sweet daddy. You remind me of my husband hovering over our teen girls.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I truly wonder sometimes when I hear Black Folks, White Folks and Pink Folks too, say something along the lines of "He was a different kind of black man or young black youth."

The young African American male, which was referenced in your post, is the very kind of young black man which I'm accustomed to knowing, meeting etc.

At one time I had hordes of promising, intellectual, keeping their eye on the prize and full of dreams & hope young black men flocking into my home. I have 2 grown sons. However, I continue to know the same as & for the adults.

Here in Cincinnati our local news begins at 4am. Starting with the overnight crime perpetrated by our african american men--Cut To--another sad loss of a white families tragedy of losing their son by war--Cut To--young black male arrested for selling dope--Cut To--a wonderful Human Interest story about our White citizens of Cincinnati. Often times, it a wonderful human interest story of our minor age white kids--Cut To--you get my picture...

Media chooses to overlook our good.

I consider myself well educated, street wise & who has lived outside of my native home. And, I still continued to meet the same kinds of Black Men and Folk.

I wanted to prove something to the African American race, that I could write & report crime without ever reporting a story on Black on Black crime. Guess what I did it and for many years. I never once ran out of stories to report on White on White crime. It wasn't enough hours in the day for me to be able to report it.

My apologies for such a long post, but I'm tired of hearing, 'He was a different kind of black man and youth.

Have a Blessed Day, My Friend
I luv your blog

plez... said...

i have a 5-year old daughter and i can only PRAY that 10 years from now, that i will be able to recount a similar incident. thanks for sharing that warm and uplifting story.

Anonymous said...

I for one can't get enough stories of people of African descent leading normal lives, for obvious reasons.

It WAS a warm and uplifting post, and damn funny too. I am not a parent, so I can only imagine what it must be like to shepherd a teenage girl to adulthood. I really appreciate your concerns that your daughter will find a good husband when the time comes especially when one considers the number of unmarried AA women who can't find viable partners.

As I've mentioned in my comments elsewhere on this blog, its interesting how the concerns you raise are very similar to those experienced by people of African ancestry in the Caribbean and in Europe.