Thug U. - 2019; Reflections On The On-Going War For The Loyalty And Allegiance Of American-American Male Collegians.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Thug U. – 2019; Reflections On The On-Going War For The Loyalty And Allegiance Of American-American Male Collegians.

March 25, 2019 by  
Filed under Education, Ent., Music, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( There is a crude joke told by poor and working-class Black urbanites. The joke goes as follows. When someone from our “community” goes to prison, others humorously state that they are on their way to ‘college’. Put simply; this is our way of saying that the prison sentence is akin to receiving a scholarship to pursue a B.A. in theft or M.A. in strong arm robbery.

Make no mistake about it, for the longest time Black America has existed in a never-ending state of crisis regarding Black males. I can attest to the existence of programs aimed at saving “endangered Black males” as I was a participant in such endeavors over three decades ago.

Such an outreach program paved the way for me to visit a collegiate campus, participate in an academic conference, and receive mentorship at both the undergraduate and graduate levels by unbelievable faculty members at THE Ohio State University.

With the benefit of hindsight it is obvious that such mentorship was a pivotal moment in my life as it taught me how to “be” inside of a collegiate classroom, an academic conference, a workshop, and the purpose of a symposium. Of course, such socialization was buttressed by many closed door meetings where I was reminded of the undeniable reality that I’d done nothing to earn the opportunities in front of me; the credit for such things belonged to an extended line of ancestors and elders who paved the path that I was presently walking on. That message carried an undeniable insinuation that since I hadn’t created these opportunities, I had no right to squander them. I owed a debt that I could never repay and should never behave in a questionable manner that disrespected those unknown heroes of yesterday.

I am currently a tenured professor of African-American studies at a Historically Black University and focused on extending the rich tradition from whence I emerged.

Although I and many of my colleagues concentrate on keeping the tradition of producing the next generation of Black leaders, intellectuals, and activists at the forefront of our minds, the unspoken truth is that the process of mentoring today’s African-American male collegian is markedly different and more problematized than at any earlier moment. It saddens me to write that during the past decade I have witnessed collegiate campuses transform into entities that could be termed “Thug University” for a certain portion of African-American male collegians who are desperately seeking to serve two masters.

The stages that I lecture on have provided me with an unobstructed view of a dynamic change in the persona of African-American male collegians; the alluded to shift has been encouraged by a host of factors including a market-driven Hip-Hop Culture that betrays its very origins by promoting materialism, Capitalism, and ends-justify-the-means behavior. Put simply; it is my belief that much of the ignorance infecting many African-American male collegians flows from the fountain of Hip-Hop Culture.

As previously discussed, I participated in several initiatives aimed at saving “endangered black males.” One of the foremost arguments for such programs was that they were desperately needed to provide Black males, a historically marginalized group, to higher education institutions. Most agreed that institutionalized racism was the most significant obstacle to Black males successful engagement with higher education. The thinking was that regardless of their best efforts, the vast majority of Black males would never gain access to or matriculate from institutions of higher education. To their credit, policymakers and government officials took decisive action by allocating funds for African-American male initiative programs to combat institutional racism.

I am certain that those battling for the inclusion of males such as myself during the eighties considered institutional racism a formidable opponent, little did they know, decades later there would be a far more enchanting enemy that would make earlier battles with institutional racism look like child’s play.

The latest enemy to the scholastic achievement of Black males is a frightening menace that many Black males have allowed to serve as their life coach. The enemy that I am speaking of is none other than Hip-Hop Culture.

Despite the plethora of outreach programs designed to influence/guide African-American males along a reasonably assured path to success, the truth is that for many of them, contemporary rap icons hold more sway over their developing values, priorities, and worldview than any initiative could ever hope to have. This is most certainly not an attack on programs aimed at uplifting Black males, however, the administrators of such initiatives are in for a rude awakening if they believe that exposure to collegiate campuses or mentorship is a worthy opponent to the omnipresent and omnipotent influence of today’s rap artists on many, certainly not all, of today’s African-American males.

The above assertion is particularly disconcerting for many of my colleagues and I with a long-standing love for Rap Music. It is no stretch of the truth to assert that I was incubated by Hip-Hop culture and its musical wing, Rap Music. I am unashamed to state that Rap music paved the way for both my politicization and the subsequent decision to pursue a life of the mind.

Outside of my parents voluminous influence, my mind was most impacted by Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Boogie Down Productions Edutainment, Brand Nubian’s One for All, X-Clan’s To The East Blackwards, and Paris’ The Devil Made Me Do It. As I reconstruct my past, it is clear that the youth culture I was steeped in was created by an insurgent generation of young African-Americans to serve the interests of their community. Unfortunately, yesteryear is long gone.

If there is any validity to the statement that a tree is best known by the fruit it bears is true, one needs to look no further than the current state of young African-American males to discern that Hip-Hop Culture is doing untold damage. A convincing argument could be made that it is Hip-Hop Culture that serves as a primary agent in the curtailing of the innate genius of Black males.

As stated in Notorious B.I.G.’s tour de force, Things Done Changed“Back in the days, our parents used to take care of us. Look at ‘em now, they even fucking scared of us.” It is a gross understatement to assert that the antics/attitude/actions of African-American males have made many of their parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles afraid of them. This sad situation brings forth a larger question of why should previous generations of Black America not be afraid of these recent manifestations of African-American manhood with its proclivity for drug abuse, alcoholism, misogyny, profanity, sagging pants and anti-social behavior? Older African-Americans realize that all of the above characteristics are foreign to how Black America has lived through the annals of time.

Unbeknownst to the young men who are attempting to serve two masters, one being the altar of academia and the other a siren called Hip-Hop Culture, they have signed up for an impossible task. The young black men currently in the throes of a nihilistic homo-erotic thug culture fail to realize that they are an aberration to the way that educated African-American men have lived for centuries. The alluded to individuals entire existence contradicts storied traditions of honorable, smooth, articulate, educated, and well-dressed brothers who were in leadership positions in both their public and private lives. The smooth suave and debonair African-American man has been replaced with young men whose lack of style, and trust me a measure of style is not conveyed by adorning one’s body with overpriced gaudy European clothing that was not created with you in mind, is rivaled only by their inability to verbally express themselves.

The proverbial elephant in the room regarding African-American collegians desperation to be included in a criminal minded anti-intellectual lifestyle is an often ignored query of “What is the payoff for relinquishing long-standing African-American cultural traditions in favor of adopting behavior that would shame a nation of uncultured savages?” Apparently, the impetus behind the actions and mindset of so many African-American male collegians is a pursuit of ‘street credibility’ among those that they desperately desire to emulate. This motley lot can be termed nothing other than an uneducated lot of thugs and hoodlums on the fast track to nowhere.

It is my fervent hope and prayer that African-American collegians eventually conclude that there is no salvation to be found in the streets of America, let alone any feelings of admiration to be hewn from a segment of criminal-minded African-American males who actually loathe their existence. If nothing else, I wish that the young men sitting in my classes realized that they are the best and brightest that our Race has to offer and their mimicking and admiration of those with dubious cultural values and life goals makes as much sense as a tail wagging a dog. Young collegiate brothers’ you are supposed to be the head and not the tail. So take your rightful places as the trend-setters and leaders within our community. The reversal of this tide of cultural dysfunction and flawed political priorities begins with you.

Staff Writer; Dr. James Thomas Jones III

Official website;

One may also connect with this brother via TwitterDrJamestJones.


One Response to “Thug U. – 2019; Reflections On The On-Going War For The Loyalty And Allegiance Of American-American Male Collegians.”
  1. HonestM says:

    Brilliant as always doctor.

    You are well appreciated

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