Saturday, June 22, 2024

Fatherless boys faced with big disadvantage

July 29, 2007 by  
Filed under Health, News, Weekly Columns

( The black males I work with suffer from hopelessness and delusions about life. Many are from single-parent homes and lack positive male role models to encourage, guide, nurture, discipline, and love them.

While I applaud black mothers who have tried for centuries to fill this gap, fatherlessness is a major crisis for black males.

When we look at our educational system, it is often unequipped to work with black males. The drop out rates, suspensions and expulsions for black males are startling. Unlike when I was growing up attending Indianapolis Public Schools’ School 69, it is a rarity to find black male teachers.

Wrong priorities

Excelling in sports has become more important in this society than achieving an education despite the reality that few will make it to the professional ranks. Only 5 percent of high school athletes go on to become college athletes — five out of every 100 high school athletes.

Only 3 percent of college athletes become pros.

Another obstacle facing black males is disparaging sentencing within the criminal justice system, and a lack of opportunity for change once they are released from the penal institutions.

How do we expect them to turn it around when they are unable to find adequate jobs, housing and support once they are released? Instead of encouraging them, we kick them further into the abyss of hopelessness.

Must stand up

Black men need to stand up and be men of integrity, honesty, provision and direction. They need to be mentors who are willing to go into some of these homes that are lacking fathers and set good examples. And not for one day or one year, but for the long haul.

We have to find ways to keep our black males in school and help them to graduate high school and college. More creativity is needed in teaching methods to reach them.

We should reward them for not selling drugs, for not perpetuating illegitimacy and for graduating from school. They must be shown how to make the honor roll, find jobs, become entrepreneurs and serve God and their communities.

Teaching them how to overcome adversity is crucial. Showing them how to handle disagreement without anger and without killing is a necessity. And they must learn to value life.

Earning an honest living to pay for what they need in life is important. In an age of rising gas prices, they must be taught how to be patient and work toward their goals.
Working together

There are churches, schools and others addressing these problems and trying to make a difference.

Sadly, however, they struggle for funding, recognition and volunteers. Some are well-known entities; some are the best-kept secrets in town. Uniting to help those groups save black males is one of the solutions we must embrace.

Black males are becoming extinct. Finger-pointing is no longer acceptable. Hillary Clinton reminded us of something we already know: It takes a village to raise a child. And it takes me — and you. We are their hope for a brighter future.

By Malachi Walker

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