The issue of the “Crisis of The Black Male” is truly one that is tearing at my heart, and provoking my aggression to cause a change, “by any means necessary.” I recently read an article that quite frankly expressed that we have lost a generation of black boys. It further expressed that the adverse effects of factors such as negative media, gangs, drugs, poor education, unemployment, father absence, crime, violence and death have snatched the unlimited potential that our young black males have inside them. Strikingly, statistics show that young black men are graduating from high school at all time lows, which testifies that the dropout is high. Which further connects to the low percentage of black males who attend and complete higher education. At a deeper glance, it is these statistics that gives strong explanation to the causes of the filtration system into U.S. penitentiaries of our black males, which is now well over a million in population. As a young black man and a father of a son, this reality is heartbreaking and scary to say the least. It is clear that as a whole we have to get aggressive about ensuring that we do not lose any more generations of black boys.
As we now take a look into ourselves, and look into the eyes of our black boys to effectively set them on the path to success let’s look at strengthening “Self Image”. It is first crucial that we strengthen not only the self-image of our black boys but also our own self-image. In self-image, I am simply talking about our self-conception or how we see ourselves. It is the emotional and mental view that one has of his or herself. As fathers, mothers, teachers and mentors for these black boys we should have the confidence in our own ability to reach our highest potential. It is just as important for us to express to our young men our goals and aspirations and allow them to experience and be exposed to our journey to reach greatness or our “pursuit of happiness.” The first stage of life for our young black males is extremely educational, through what is seen and heard. Think about it, if you are a dominant figure in a young brother’s life and what he receives from you is mainly complaints about your life, job, relationships and your should have, could have, and would haves, then the chances that he will connect his self-image to the possibility of success is lowered. Believe me, I know that there are many obstacles that confront us in life and many more come when you are walking in purpose in pursuit of your passion. But complaining and making excuses only perpetuates a cycle of low self-images in those who look to us for guidance.
As a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, I know that before troops can go into a hostile situation they are “Briefed” to make sure that they are prepared, focused and confident about accomplishing the mission at hand. Consequently, saving our black boys is a battle with live ammunition and as fathers, mothers, teachers and mentors, we have to be “Briefed” in which we must get prepared, focused and confident in ourselves and in our ability to accomplish the mission.
So attention! We are faced with the mission of “Saving our Black Boys,” so get into full combat gear and build Self Image…..
Battle Practice 1:
Let’s evaluate and write down our goals and aspirations for our own life and begin to figure out the sources of our happiness as well as our unhappiness. Figure out the sacrifices and additions we must make to begin or future the pursuit of our highest potential. It is key that we include our black males in this process and explain to them the importance of building Self-Image. In addition let’s challenge ourselves to stop complaining and spend that energy finding the solutions to our frustration.
The next “The Empowerment Vessel” will continue exploring the importance of building Self-Image in “Saving our Black Boys.”
Always remember that “We were not put here to toss pebbles, we were put here to move mountains.”
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