Boys' Rites of Passage

Our Sons' Futures

Posts Tagged ‘black’

Black Boy Myths Debunked

Posted by Thomas on May 11, 2010

Unfortunately our world categorizes young black men like they all belong in the same bucket. Even when you look for positive headlines about black teens the information isn’t readily accessible. A Rites of Passage Program helps debunk black boy myths by empowering a positive, radiant self-view for the teen.
Not all black males between the ages of 14 and 25 are trafficking or peddling drugs. Not all black male teenagers disrespect their mother. Not all young black men disregard the law. They don’t all carry guns. They aren’t all gang members and gang-bangers. To an extent these truths seem obvious. But that isn’t what we download from contemporary media.

The positive is not accentuated. The low and despicable deeds are. Why—because we (society) expect it. As a young adult (twenty-something) my friends loved their wives and children and honored their parents and worked regular jobs and obeyed the law and… These guys were no different from me. My experience was truth. But we were invisible. Only hoodlums were seen in the media. Nothing has changed. So, it isn’t surprising no positive black teen news readily came up during my recent online search.

The search engine can’t search real life. The search engine doesn’t know me or my son Glynne or his friends. It doesn’t know the half-dozen married men in my life, who I respect and admire for their family commitment. The search engine perpetuates the black boy myths that strangle our collective consciousness (collective now in a world-wide sense).

Fact. Instead of gang-bangers I know worshippers of God. Instead of high school dropouts I know collegians. Instead of criminals I know civic-minded boys. Instead of teen fathers I know young men interested in learning about true fatherhood. Instead of “players” I know young men that respect young women. Instead of homeboys I know global-thinking boys. Instead of societal burdens I know societal benefits.

My reality is reality. We bring into existence what our collective consciousness feeds on; I prefer a diet of positivity. Look into your reality, your family, your neighborhood, your place of worship and instead of seeing a pimp see a President in that black boy who just walked pass.

A Rites of Passage Program helps our young men see themselves as they ought: responsible, contributors to society. Let’s embrace this vision together.


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The Plight of Young Black Males

Posted by Thomas on February 17, 2010

A dear friend forwarded this article to me (thanks Gerry). Walter Dean Myers, a long time children’s literature author pens his concerns facing our young men. Mr. Myers based his article on his personal accounts.

After reading the article—which states many things all of us already know—I wondered “Where does it stop and where does it begin?” Is the plight of African American youth, especially boys, a system issue; a governmental issue; a communal issue; a church issue…?

Or rather, is all the throwing around of facts and figures and study results reflect a-lack-of-individual-responsibility-issue. As much as my heart bleeds for our young people, I also ask earnestly “What about individual accountability?” When do we say to our boys and girls “Wake up! This is not about your mother or your father; this isn’t about where you were born or what school you attended; this is about what you choose to do with the life God has entrusted you with.”

Before getting home and reading the Myers’ article I listened to a portion of the Michael Baisden show. He is promoting the One Million Mentors: National Campaign to Save Our Kids. As I travelled home in rush-hour traffic, Michael’s program caused me to think about parents that shun their God-given job of raising their children. Once we become parents our life is no longer our own—and yet, often time, we blame young people for missing the mark.

What do you think? Is the plight of our youth their fault or ours? Chime in on this topic, would love to hear your thoughts.


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