Friday, October 19, 2018

Stop Telling Me that Black Boys Are Not Important!!!

September 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Education, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( This week, I sat on a Congressional Black Caucus panel for the Janks Morton film “Hoodwinked, starring myself, along with Marc Lamont Hill, Jawanza Kunjufu, Steve Perry and Ivory Toldson.   One of the men on the panel was Dr. Bryant Marks of Morehouse College, a highly-respected scholar who focuses on the success of African American males in his research.

Professor Marks and I had a brief conversation before the panel about the state of black males in America.   One of the other parties to the conversation was John Wilson, the head of President Obama’s initiative on HBCUs. John is a likeable person, and it is my greatest hope that all he said about the president’s commitment to HBCUs was real talk and not just political spin.  Others, such as Professor Darrell Issa, who claims he might be sent to prison by Joe Biden’s son for a peaceful protest at Delaware State, seem to have  concerns about the future of our Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

I envy Dr. Marks, for he has the great honor of educating black men at the greatest generator of black male achievement in the history of the United States.  Morehouse College is second-to-none when it comes to helping our men stake claim to their greatness, humanity and personal power.  You can always tell a Morehouse man when you see one, for he has been built to be a special breed.  Unlike many black students at predominantly white institutions, the Morehouse man is not made to believe that he has to overcome second-class citizenship in order to be respected as a human being.   In many cases, he is built for leadership.

After speaking about my visit to Morehouse that we’ve planned for October 8th, Dr. Marks and I also talked about the fact that many black scholars feel that they almost have to apologize for doing research that focuses on black men.  At white universities, you are typically told that this kind of work is not of significant scholarly importance or that you’re being too narrowly focused in a world that seems determined to believe that is has become sufficiently post-racial.   Black men have the highest unemployment, incarceration and homicide rates in the nation, and we are expected to act as if everything is normal.  To hell with that….our families cannot survive if our future heads of households are having their futures murdered in broad daylight.

One of the reasons I fought so much with my colleagues at Syracuse University is because I was told that my advocacy for black men made me something less of a legitimate scholar than my colleagues.  If I was on CNN talking about black males, there would be no mention of it, even though my colleagues would get accolades for appearing in the local news.  Of course it was easy to ignore the criticism, since I was trained by some of the best scholars in the world in my field and determined to bring my expertise back to my community.  Also, the fact that my business school has not tenured one single black finance professor in over 100 years of existence speaks to the awesome wall of blinding racial inequality that had been built over several decades.  In other words, racism makes people stupid.

Dr. Marks and I came to the same conclusion when it comes to studying black men:  Our boys and men are important and we don’t have to apologize for a damn thing.  We are the husbands, fathers and leaders of our community, and it is critical that we do all we can as scholars to build and equip as many black intellectual warriors as we possibly can.  I see brilliant black men in all walks of life, who’ve been convinced that their intelligence should be used to bust rhymes, throw a football or convert grams to ounces.  So, our unharnessed power is everywhere, and all black parents, scholars and mentors are called to the front lines in the battle to save our children.

Also, black women are a critical part of this fight as well.  Mothers are often the first teachers of a child, and also a woman’s ability to find an adequate husband is largely determined by whether we raise our boys to be responsible men or a pack of reckless “baby daddies.”  As Frederick Douglass once said, “It’s easier to build strong boys than to repair broken men.” So, the protection of our cultural ecosystem is highly contingent upon all of us being committed to raising our children to be strong, responsible, intelligent and productive.  We are all in this game together.

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition. For more information, please visit


3 Responses to “Stop Telling Me that Black Boys Are Not Important!!!”
  1. John says:

    Thanks Bruce for giving us pragmatic solutions! However, I am surprised to see that you are the only one until now who did it! This is something that I can’t stand in our community, very few share their pragmatic knowledge to uplift us and it is definitely part of the problem!!! In addition, it has been at least months that I questioned the fact that there are no job section in this website and it is shameful to see that it is still the case!!!

  2. bruce geiger says:

    Steps to success
    Ladder to success
    You may think of the progression of an individual from childhood to senior citizen status in many different ways. The path can be thought of as progress up a ladder or staircase that leads to a certain result such as parenting, business, sports, education and many others. The individual person can be thought of as climbing or descending all of the possible paths at once.
    On every ladder or staircase the average person must spend some time on each step or rung preparing to transition to the next step. The progress is not always positive, the path to the next step may be blocked by conditions that are not under the control of the climber, the climber may not do the necessary things to climb to the next step or the climber may decide to ignore the next step as undesirable or unreachable.
    If you accept the concept of a staircase or ladder of success; the basic steps that a child finds in the family and the early grades of school can be found at the bottom of all of the ladders and staircases regardless of whether they lead to sports, business or any other goal. The steps of learning will be present and a challenge even if the child does not attend school. A person with talent, initiative and purpose can climb the ladder without formal education; however the same steps must be conquered.
    There are many discouraging influences and barriers to everyone’s progress up the ladder or staircase that leads to their goal. Competition between climbers, lack of innate ability, lack of drive to succeed, and perhaps most of all Government interference prevents many from reaching their goal.
    The minimum wage legislation effectively prevents some people, such as teenagers, from even starting on the first step of the path to success. The initial steps are vital to the climber to experience being punctual, taking orders, learning how to work and helping to support the family.
    Government programs that encourage employers to hire teenagers are unnecessary. All that is needed is to exempt teenagers from the minimum wage law. Not all teens, but teens under 18 years old.
    And do not begin taxing the wages until they are 18 years old. This would open up entry level jobs to millions of teens and everybody would be better off.
    Compare the well being of a family has four kids that do not work with a family with four kids that all have part time jobs.

  3. John says:

    Interesting article! However, Black men have been studied already and now pragmatic solutions to structural racism are required!

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