Sunday, April 09, 2006

Plight Deepens For Black Men, Studies Warn

Plight Deepens For Black Men, Studies Warn - The New York Times


Indeed, young Black men are experiencing terrible times, as states the article in the New York Times, on March 20, 2006, by Eric Eckholm. Why would they not? They are at the front of the line of both representing and witnessing the catastrophic failure of their performance in society, beginning in elementary school, with all the unspoken conclusions about Blacks that this brings. No one feels more inferior than do Black men when they look at themselves and the plight of their group. After all, they are suppose to be the leaders and providers for their families, but as the statistics clearly show, they are failing to take care of themselves, not to mention their loved ones.

I disagree, however, with Professor Ronald Mincy, that we are ignoring Black men. More accurately, we are paying them and the rest of our understanding the poorest of watchful attention. Attention that fails to acknowledge the 'elephant in the living room'. The self-image and behavior of Black men is wholly consistent with everyone elses view of them, that of a group that cannot cut it in these competitive United States. But less we fall into a familiar lament, Black men do not hate themselves, rather and in the words of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, they simply hate being losers, albeit in a dysfunctional manner that would certainly distress the Hall of Famer. Like the rest of society, they have no plausible explanation for why they are in their predicament. Telling them to stop hanging on street corners and making babies, while understandable, is not in any way persuasive guidance, against the tide of self-destructiveness. The behaviors we see, by the time Black men become statistics of news articles, are manifestations of frustration from life-long under performance, minus a bankable explanation. White people looking for a place to begin their understanding need only ask themselves how they would feel, and act, if they believed about themselves what Whites and Blacks honestly believe about Blacks.

Now to be fair to all sides, the problem with our beliefs is that they are not malicious, just wrong, only representing society's poor guess at the cause of the problem. Without a doubt, we all see the same thing, with the same conclusion, including our different reactions. The raising of Black male frustration to the art form of self-destructive, prison-inspired, rap culture is only one paradoxical example of what the mix of creativity and utter frustration can bring, while the rest of us busy ourselves chasing the American Dream, and buffering ourselves from these boyz/men-in-the-hood.

What Black men need is what we all need - good answers. Answers that persuade us to stop the wholesale mis-labeling of right, or advancing behaviors, as White. Who died and made rightness the providence of Whites? Answers, that convince us that, while Black and White genes are 99.9% exact duplicates, our willingness to assimilate winning behaviors from anyone, regardless of color, at anytime, is not. Answers that convince Blacks to stop waiting for an invitation that came a long time ago, not as a smile, not as a handshake, not scented with a dinner menu, and certainly not as an apology, but simply as a unlocked door awaiting any earnest turn of the knob, and sometimes a stout shoulder.

For now, Blacks will continue to suffer the high cost of their refusal to play the opportunity game to win, first as kids in school, and finally as adults in a society with power over them. Jackie Robinson, was a student of the game and of winning, with the cards he was dealt, knowing the future would get better, and it did. The start is simple - study the game, play to win, and never be a good loser.

James C. Collier


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Anonymous said...

Amen. You have 100% of my support if you want to take on the black status quo. Sign me up.

Anonymous said...

The realest talk ever, my dude.
I feel you 101% percent.