Raising Black Boys to Men

A Mother's Guide to Raising Thugless Sons

Archive for the category “Knowledge”

Why Black Parents Should Teach Kids to Love Self!

Not too long ago, I wrote a post: “When Will Black Lives Matter to Other Black People?,” in response to the killing of Tavin Rivers, 19, who lost his life over a pair of red, Chuck Taylor sneakers. His grieving mother, asked the very same question, as she languished over his lifeless body.

Weekly, I’m increasingly reading articles in which this very valid question is asked. As horrible as it is for the killing of Black men by police officers, it’s even more heartbreaking for Black men to continually kill each other, in senseless crimes.

In a recent Washington Post article, D.C. Council member LaRuby May (D-Ward 8) asked a similar profound question:”How do you make black lives matter to black people who have come to believe that they — and those who look like them — don’t matter?” In other words, how do you teach Black people to love self.

Just asking this type of question shows the complexity of the problems that exist in some Black communities — problems that stem from a deeply-rooted existence of self-hatred. Yep, I said it; now, let’s deal with it!

A love of self should be taught at an early age. This is a family value that is the responsibility of every Black parent, and impacts how children grow, learn, and interact with others in the world.

We’re witnessing a generation raised on reality TV and a pop culture far removed from a social climate that sparked lyrics such as James Brown’s “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m proud, and Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler).”

Expecting a person to value the life of others, when they have no love for self, is like expecting a baby to run, when they haven’t learned to walk — it ain’t gonna happen without proper knowledge.

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Knowledge of Self is the Beginning of Knowledge!

I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against. — Malcolm X

A friend of mine recently asked me what I thought of the petition to eradicate the word “thug?” I knew that she was referring to the Baltimore Mayor and President Obama referring to the protestors as thugs, but I decided to play devil’s advocate and ask: “Why is that now a bad term when our youth have embraced thuglife since Tupac first introduced that word?”

Since its origin, the word thug has referred to a criminal, mobster, gangster, badboy, or anyone involved in criminal activity, or roughneck behavior. The action or actions define the individual. For instance, any woman can have a child, but the actions of that woman define her as a mother, as in the case of Toya Graham.

From the moment Tupac introduced ‘thuglife,’ the music industry and Black culture have embraced the label ‘thug’ as a street cred, or badge of honor. We watched as gangsta rap artists profited from the glorification of thuglife, while Black youth seemingly destined to live life on the frays of society, called each other the N-word or thug, as a term of endearment. During this time, we were silent.

Now, Blacks are at a crossroad asking: “Where do we go from here?” As the debate continues about the use of the word thug, the real question is: “How do Blacks want to define and represent themselves to the rest of the world?” The answer to that question begins with knowledge of self!

The world is watching!

 

Thug Life: A One-Way Road to Prison

Earlier this week, Aaron Hernandez, former tight end for the New England Patriots, was sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole.

His sentencing should serve as a lesson for all young, black men that there is a price to pay for living the thug life.

Aaron had a promising career and a 40 million dollar contract, but the temptations of the streets had more attraction. What he needed was a circle of friends, who weren’t afraid to say “Man, take your ass home!”

Our sons are vulnerable to those same temptations in society waiting to devour them. We should educate them to the reality that a criminal path leads to prison — one stupid mistake could change their lives forever!

Peer pressure plays a big part in the decisions that our sons make. But, we should constantly teach our sons to be leaders and not  followers.

Every son lost to prison represents another mother with a broken heart!

Where’s the Damn Reset Button?

Today, the issues that impact Black youth: crime, drugs, police brutality, lack of jobs, limited access to quality healthcare and education are the norm and take center stage in the news. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hearing the same depressing news — never anything positive!

If Black boys deserve a future, and they do, then it’s time to hit the damn reset button and bring about a new change!

The issues I mentioned earlier shouldn’t be the norm to define the future life for our sons — they deserve better. Our sons should be hopeful and excited about their future, dreaming of one day becoming a doctor, scientist, professor, teacher, or CEO of a company. Notice that I didn’t say dreaming of one day becoming a rapper, or athlete? Not that there’s anything wrong with these professions. But, they shouldn’t serve as a carrot dangling before our sons, as if they can’t aspire to be anything else.

God doesn’t change the condition of a people until they themselves change!

Is Education the Key to Saving Our Sons?

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” — Malcolm X

Black males are in crisis! Today, many are asking the question: “How do we save and uplift young, Black men?” Many believe that the answer to that question is education.

Historically, Black males have lagged behind their counterparts, in educational achievement. Far too many lose interest in education, and end up not graduating from high school — this cycle must end! But, what’s the solution?

BLACK LIVES MATTER, the fifth edition of the Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males addresses disparities in education, and provides a national, overview of the state of Black and Latino male students.

 

 

Nothing In = Nothing Out!

In order for Black boys to grow into responsible, young men, they must have the necessary knowledge and guidance, which helps in their development.

Children aren’t raised in a vacuum — they must be taught values (respect, honesty, integrity, acceptance of others, etc.) and principles that help them to make the best decisions, as they grow into young adults. If we leave their development to chance, hoping that they’ll just turn out okay, then we shouldn’t expect much.

Raising sons demands direct involvement from parents, particularly mothers; since she is the first teacher. She builds the foundation upon which her son will stand and grow into a young, Black man. If she teaches him nothing, then it’s only a matter of time before we see what he’s been taught. And, by that time it may just be too late!

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