|AFROMERICA - A Nation Under One God|
Black Men Should Only Apply|
[A pocket guide for young black men] - By T. Duffy
At the end of the 20th century, black men were still dominate in the prisons, as per population, still dealing with drug use and serious crimes, presumed less educated and employed and most likely to be killed before age 30. To say all this and realize there is never a concerned effort to change this, but I'll ask, where would we have to start? Should we try to restructure the habits and character of those who fit this profile, or should we start with younger men who some may feel are destined to follow in their footstep?
Quoting statistics has no effect, because few realize they have been and still are being discarded; the criminal community on one side and blacks on the other. But this small amount of information will only try to awaken young black men to some pitfalls and conditions that could help to get and keep their lives in order, although realizing life will still throw curves to test them. But it won't come from any social studies, only from my own prospective and experience.
Years ago, black men with nationalistic motives often believed there was a conspiracy set aside for them to fail. In fact there are many underground books written by blacks suggesting there was. But regardless if it's believed by some to be untrue, it isn't a myth. Just observing black women's positions of responsibility over black men would prove there's some truth to it.
But this isn't an opportunity to complain about their part in it. It's to show that for her to be able to function so easily, she has to have been spared from most of the negatives from the society the black man has had to deal with. She's been given almost total freedom to set her own destiny and why I say almost freedom, is because if for some reason she seems to be unappreciative or show that he's not sharing some of the same, she will suffer some of the same consequences as he. It's almost like saying, "I'm giving you a chance so don't blow it helping him."
Seeing young black men making millions of dollars today and enjoying fame, how should concerned black men guide them toward their dreams and try to protect them from the pitfalls that are often waiting to destroy them?
What kind of men could do this without believing it's a waste of time, after possibly looking back on their own lives. Should they only be men who experienced success after failure? Whoever takes the task; someone has to do it. So my suggestion is to start during their adolescent years where most insecurities and neglect begins.
Young black males should be steered towards any meaningful dialogue, especially if it shows why he's believed to be the best example of someone who will fail. Without answers, they wouldn't get the chance to question why they have been denied the basics early in life that would develop positive results as young males of other races. One fact of information is many of them have to know the long-term effect that could be on them being raised in a single parent home, often headed by women.
He has to realize that poor choices of a mate, illicit behavior, and drugs, may be a signal to look for help from other family members, or outside help before he falls prey to the same. So other than explaining the parts that can affect him, it's important to show how it was all brought together and why.
First I'd begin with slavery and move to the present day. I would tell him why any black man who died unnecessarily during slavery shouldn't be forgotten. Because looking at their fate could show him why getting a foothold on his life being young, is important to his future. I will talk about other black men who fought in the wars and still faced discrimination coming home.
I would explain why profiling has kept him under the watchful eyes of society and show how the wrong black women have helped to upgrade his profile. I would stress how education can almost guarantee his avoidance of ending up in jail and how he could become privy to many of the social and economic circumstances as his female counterpart.
I would show him why it's important, primarily because he's the only man on this earth who has to constantly prove himself to be accepted. I would sum it up by telling him why he should learn to network with other men, especially those who may show concerns for his future. Because young black men, growing up in homes headed by women, sometimes end up being a surrogate father, provider and problem solver, before their mature enough to understand it's long term affect on them.
Relationships with other men will often help to balance that out. If they don't learn how to balance their lives from other's being overly depended on them, this kind of dependency can continue most of his life without having a chance to accomplish his own dreams.
Although most of the things I've spoken about so far are important, I must stress again, that education [wisdom] is the key to be able to face all situations, good or bad. Most important is not to attach himself to anyone who chose the wrong way and want to bring him along. His concern about other black men who have unfortunately fell through the cracks, and their failures, can encourage his success.
The first obstacle that causes many young men to fall short is having children out of wedlock and women with preconceived agendas. Women are often motivated by what they [feel] is his potential. While his interest in her is usually because of what he sees and how she will enhance his visual appearance to others.
In many situations like this, it sets up young men to become fathers long before they're considered men. Of course it's a matter of choice, but in most instances he's usually the weakest participant, because he has no power over a woman's persuasion of intimacy. Although he may feel it's tough to refuse, life is tougher when you have a child and can't afford to take care of it.
Although most parents are hoping and looking for better things for their children, mostly because of their circumstances, but more often because it's what's believed to be the right thing to do. But there are parents who are motivated with personal agendas as others, hoping for their off springs to provide the finances they couldn't for themselves.
And most of the time it's more notable amongst young black men, where wealth and celebrity happens suddenly, although limited. Yes they have a responsibility to help their parents, if they've been granted wealth, but never to the point where they become more responsible for maintaining the needs of their parents, then their own lives.
When you're young, black and male, the only serious relationship you should be looking forward to or be involved in are those that prepare you to go out into the world. This may seem like I'm suggesting a relationship with a female should be avoided, but any relationship that requires more from you then what the other person is giving is a burden, not a relationship. Learning what restraint means is to allow them to make the right choices and to see it's the essence of having an almost trouble free life.
Leaving Home For The First Time [a must]
In many homes throughout the country, older children are often still depending on their parents to support them. So some feel they have no reason to leave. It may be okay for young women sometimes, but young men should leave as soon as they feel they're ready to make their own decisions.
If they stay longer, not remembering the amount of responsibility he may be experience at the time, he can end up confused, which cause him to rebel when reality sets in. If this happens, they may experience the first stage of domestic turmoil, which can carry over to his own relationships in the future.
Some may feel they don't want the responsibility anymore of being depended upon because remembering past circumstances has left a mark on his character. In the movie, "Baby Boy", about a young black man living at home and his conflict with his mother about her new boyfriend, his real problem was not the presence of another male, it was his reluctance to accept that it was time for him to leave the nest and start out on his own.
The strange thing about this scenario, he had a child and a girlfriend living someplace else. So leaving should have happened without conflict. The reason why it's easy for me to include this is because I didn't leave home, until I was 20 years old. Because of this, I didn't give myself a chance to deal with my own life and dreams, because shortly after leaving I was married. So I went from mother to wife who expected me to be responsible to them and make the same sacrifices I'd made at home. Within a few years, there were children, a home and it took me many years later to realize, and I'd put my own dreams on hold.
So I suggest they not make the same mistake, unless everything's in order, because there's no way they'll be lucky enough to get some unclaimed wealth to make life easier. This may sound selfish, but it gives them a chance to fall down, get up and deal with problems more clearly.
Education versus Playing Sports
Someone may ask, who am I to suggest getting an education offers more than becoming a professional athlete, when the reason most people want an education is to attain wealth. True, but the other side of the coin is many young black men with dreams of becoming a professional athlete have had their dreams end up on the neighborhood playground's concrete.
Because there are many skilled individuals shooting towards the same dream, it's smart to look at other careers to avoid falling prey to the socio-economic, pitfalls that could be waiting for him.
When I lived in New York, in Harlem years ago, I played on 8th street in the Village and Rucker Park on 155th street with guys, who today would be considered some of the best, yet most of them are no longer around. In fact, a few guys I thought would surely make it, ended up using drugs and in jail long before they were 30 years old.
There's no shame becoming a doctor, lawyer, electrician, or plumber, because these professions are with you for the rest of your life. So as you look around the country, and maybe complain about black women occupying most of the well paid positions, just think, a large percentage earn six figures and some more, which should show why other professions may be worth looking into.
The Black Experience in America [Reason to strive forward]
Many years of economic oppression should be a reason to want to succeed. If it's not something they're personally concerned about, it's either because they have no need to provide for themselves, lack of reality or short of believing it means anything. But what a mistake it would be to not believe how important it is to provide for their needs.
Least of all, don't believe the hype, that things are better today. Yes, It may be easier for your black sister and there may be a few of us wealthy enough to identify with the status quo, but in no way will it be easier for you.
They must face each day as a challenge and only be satisfied when they believe they have done their best. Let no one tell you they know how to get over without trying because sometimes they use other means, which have gotten themselves put on the list as statistics.
Positive Attitude Preserves Self Esteem
Some may have strong aggressive attitudes around their peers, but it's more important to be balanced when they're out in the world trying to sell yourself. Remember, when you're on your own, there may not be anyone around who's sincere enough to help to make a difference in your life.
You may have read this earlier, but be careful of so-called friends, family members, especially if they seem less supportive. They must give more than their presents. They must not only encourage you, but also tell you when you're getting off track. If you happen to be associated with people who often criticize your efforts, complain or seem jealous, considered them crabs in a barrel; someone who will try to pull you down when you're trying to get out to follow your dreams.
Reputation is the quality of your character as seen by others. This part will determine if you'll be accepted as being a person who's responsible or someone who often uses schemes and excuses to get over. An honest presentation of yourself will often allow you to meet someone who could make a difference in your life. They also could become a valuable friend for life. But also be aware that your character can not only allow you to attracted some of the worse people, it can also keep some of the better one's away.
Bad Habits Create Life Long Burdens
Regardless what your vices are, if you can't control them, it can lead you down the road to destruction. I don't have to explain the dangers of drugs, because for some of you, your friends or family members are caught up in it already. Keeping away from people who participate in it is just as important as avoiding anything else that's bad. If you don't die first, you'll probably be stuck with it for life.
Although there's no monetary reward for this, it allows you to establish the kind of personal profile for people to see what kind of person you are. Regardless if it's working for the elderly or children in an after school program, it establishes a foundation for people to honestly judge you by. It could show that you not only have a personal interest in your future, but also for others who may need a little encouragement from you. Don't be afraid to step up and say, "I'll do it", because somewhere down the line someone may step up and do the same for you.
Clubs and Organization Influence
This in no way suggests that Gang banging will have a positive input in your life. What it means is any organization whose primary reasons are for the improvement of lives and circumstances of people, is worth being a part of. Regardless if it's the PAL, the NAACP, or any other socially driven group, here you may be able to exercise your opinions and beliefs about bettering your circumstances and other's. Being young, they're more apt to pull you in, because your mind is usually filled with new ideas.
Necessary Relationships [Father and older men]
Although somewhere in one of the sections of this, I must have spoken about this, but not to overkill, I'll speak of it again. It's important to understand the more information you get from other men about their circumstances, the more you'll be able to understand some of their difficulties and what may have cause some to fail.
Years ago, even the neighborhood drunk had as much viable information to give as those who looked at him in distaste. It wasn't unusual to see kids standing around listening to their stories about their life, as he emphasized why education was so important. The new slogan, "old school", with the emphasis on "school", should reveal whatever blacks did years ago to succeed and beat the odds; some of the same things can be applied today.
I wrote this because of personal concerns. I'd heard many blacks over the years say someone should do it to help save our young black males from destroying themselves or other's doing the same. But the same procrastination, which has caused many of us to fall short, has prevented any kind of guidance to be established for these young men.
First, I didn't write this to be negative or bias, especially if I chose to talk about the racism and prejudice that still exist in this country. Second, I didn't want any young man to feel they should look down on any other black person because of their circumstances. In addition, I didn't want to show a society that basically had hatred only for them either, maybe causing unnecessary paranoia.
What I tried to do was give them some of the same information I got from family, friends, and men black and white. I tried to show them why it's important to start their lives with minimum problems and show them what can happen near the middle of their life, if they don't follow the rules. Yes there are rules, and rules governing our lives should be heeded because they are precise and unchanging.
These rules are transmitted through the biblical pages to our hearts and minds, although man has found a way to include his own rules, for his own benefit. Although there are some who doubt the above paragraph, but failure to follow any of them will bring consequences sometimes for life.
The social, economic, and often emotional ups and downs we sometimes have to deal with is because we do what we want without asking if it's the right thing to do. The internal war, influenced by some, has gotten front billing over the importance of establishing loving relationships. As long as you teach yourself to deal with the emotional and mental part of who you are, all you have to do is put forth the energy it's going to take to get to where you want to get.
There will be setbacks, but use those times as a reason to determined what caused it and what you should do to avoid it happening again. You are the leaders of tomorrow, plan your future and help along those black young men who have the same determination and desire to erase the stereotype and profiling that has helped to destroy the lives of many young black men in this country for decades.
Peace; A Brother
© 2003 by T. Duffy
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