Wise & Young

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Where my brothas at?!?!?!!?!?!?

Okay so I live near chocolate city which is rapidly becoming more beige due to gentrification but I digress. So every happy hour I go to that is geared towards young urban professional African-Americans (read 21-32) the women outnumber the men like 2 to 1 ratio. So I’m like where my brothas at?!?!?!?!?!?!?! The sorry state of African-American men is at critical mass, in my opinion we, as a people need to make some drastic changes. I think one is that we can not trust the current public education system. There are high disparity amount of young African-American boys in classes designed for those with mental, emotional, or learning disabilities.

Perfect example is myself; up until I was in the 8th grade I had teachers, only white teachers, suggest to my Mom that I needed to be put in classes geared toward those with the aforementioned issues. Now, unbeknownst to them my Mom had an Ed.D from Columbia University and was not about to let Becky who barely graduated from some college out in the boondocks tell her about the capacities of her children. So until the 8th grade I had to take emotional and IQ tests, which would basically state that I was well adjusted and more mature for my age, and that intellectually I was bright. But now if my Mom was someone who did not know how to work the system, and believed that the teachers had my best interest at heart then there is no telling where I would have ended up or what I would have become.

I know one instance that really was instrumental in my development was knowledge of what you are, and what that meant. I was fortunate enough to have been enrolled in a private all African-American run and enrolled school while growing up at various times in my life, and while there we were taught the basics, got the personal attention that we needed for whatever we were lacking, but more than that or just as important everything we did regardless of the subject we learned how our people African-American contributed to society in all aspects. Now, there are some that would argue that this African-American centric way of thought and schooling does not serve any real purpose in a more globalize world. All I know is every single one of the kids I who went to Greenhill Farms Academy not only graduated from College but all of us are either in grad school, gearing up for grad school, or finished with it. I think we need more Greenhill Farms Academies with a concentrated focus on aiding and helping our young boys.
Another big thing that changed my idea about college was going to colleges and visiting them, not just the ones nearest to your home, but to a variety of college and universities. Too often, we tell our youth go to college that is the best way to better your circumstance, and ultimately improve the quality of life for your family. Now, short of programs like upward bound, there are not too many ways for young, African-American boys to get out there and believe that it possible for them to go to college, to succeed, and to get that great job to help their family.

Now I do not profess to have the answers, or the reasons why African-American girls are doing better than the boys, I do not know. There is a nation wide crisis with the state of men going on and because there are so few African-Americans we feel it a lot harder than Whites. Unfortunately, this situation with the lack of African-American men seems to be something that started to occur during the Vietnam War, I cannot say for certain. All I know is that if we are to save ourselves we need to first help ourselves.

Just my thoughts


  • This is a great blog and I encourage you to continue posting. I am glad your Mother had the ability to see that the recommendations of the school regarding her black male child were not in your best interests. I had a similar experience working with the middle school for my younger son's education. The counselors had me come in to sign papers to exempt him from the high school competency tests. I knew that doing so would also mean that he would never be a high school graduate but instead simply have a certificate of attendance. Although he had some learning disabilities, they were not severe by any means. He only needed additional supports systems to help overcome the mild limitations. I am proud to say that by the end of his high school year, he passed those state exams and has a high school diploma. So many parents, especially from disadvantagd backgrounds, trust the school personnel to put the best interest of their children at the forefront of the decisions. These parents blindly sign papers committing their children to programs that lead nowhere. It is unfortunate. There needs to be child advocates who do not work for the public school systems similar to guardians ad litem. Keep up the good work young man. Shem hotep.

    By Blogger fratman1906, at 12:20 AM  

  • Btw, I hold an M.Ed. in School Administration, am ABD, and had taught for 7 years in public schools, but the counselors didn't know that when I was meeting with them about my son's individual education plan (IEP).

    By Blogger fratman1906, at 12:23 AM  

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