Raising Black Boys to Men

A Mother's Guide to Raising Thugless Sons

Archive for the tag “education”

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!

 

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.

 

 

Raising Thugless Sons: Removing Black Male Stereotypes

Raising Thugless Sons Seminar
When did “thug” and “thug-life” become status symbols for Black youth to achieve? This was a question asked at a recent seminar: “Raising Thugless Sons,” of which I was a participant.

The seminar was sponsored by Good Deeds International, and hosted by Dawn “Soy” Kamara, of the Coffee Talk with Soy radio show.

Panelists included: Tiffany Burney-Foy, Ed.S (single, teenage mother of four now Assistant Principal in the Atlanta Public Schools); Dainhen Butler (CEO, Fun Time Moon Walks and radio host); Geoffrey Ingram (co-founder of iCreate Leadership Development Initiative, Inc.); Wilford Y. Smith, Jr., MPA (First Vice Chair of the Douglas County Democratic Party and retired Senior Corrections Officer with the New Jersey Department of Corrections); S. Candee Whitfield (Licensed Professional Counselor); and Benjamin Downs (Social Worker, Langston Hughes High School).

During the discussion, it was evident that there was a generation gap with the  definition of the term “thug.” The question to ask is: Why are we trying to redefine a term, which represents individuals, whose actions have no positive impact on the advancement of the Black community?

One thing that the entire audience could agree on is that a change in the self-destructive behavior and mentality, of young, Black men is needed. I’m still promoting the idea that raising thugless sons begins with the teaching and educating of Black boys, at an early age.

The conversation has begun — time will tell whether the conversations will help bring about change!

Education Is Priority #1

Across the United States, less than 50% of young, Black males graduate from high school. Many of them in the twelfth grade read at a significantly lower level than their counterparts.

It’s really sad that many young, Black men are allowed to graduate from high school without a proper education. They’ve been pushed along in school, for one reason or another, because no one cared enough about them, to invest in their future.

While in college, my daughter had classmates who couldn’t write good, grammatical sentences, let alone write an essay. This is incomprehensible!

A lack of education impacts the quality of living and limits opportunities for success. What type of employment is available for someone who can barely read or write? Education allows a person to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Without education, the road leads to nowhere!

Education Begins at Home!

As a mother, I’m my son’s first teacher. I can’t leave that responsibility to someone else. If my son is lacking in social skills, then that’s a reflection on me; for the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

My job is to nurture and cultivate my son, to take his place in society, and the world, as one who is responsible and productive.

Raising black boys to responsible men takes strong mothers, who are committed and dedicated to raising men. When we, as mothers, fail in our commitment, then our sons lose.

You Can’t Have My Sons

From the moment each of my sons was born, I vowed that I would do everything within my power to prevent them from becoming a victim of homicide, drugs, and prison. To whomever could hear, I made my message loud and clear “You Can’t Have My Sons!”

Raising boys in a large, urban city has its own set of challenges. There is much for a mother to contend with: peer pressure, drugs, and crime. Despite these challenges, I chose to do whatever was necessary to prevent my boys from getting caught up in the thuglife!

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