Saturday, September 30, 2023

Countering the Thug Consciousness in Young Black Males.

May 31, 2018 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Relationships, Weekly Columns

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

( Mentality. Mind-set. These two words point to a type of approach to a given task. A basketball player must have the right mindset to play the game at an optimal level. A politician must approach a town hall meeting with the correct mentality if he or she wishes to connect with constituents on more than a granular level.

Either approach is a type of consciousness.

As a mentor, I’ve come across hundreds of young men in our community, from fifth grade up to high school through young adult age groups. These encounters included one on one as well as group interaction.

The dominant characteristic I have run across in these young brothers is one of non-chalant disengagement. Too often, they subscribe to an identity marked by staged behavior, masking their true intention with what authors Richard Majors and Janet Billson termed “cool pose” (Cool Pose: The Dilemmas of Black Manhood in America, Touchstone 1992).

While most black adult men are not thugs, too many of our young black males have adopted the consciousness of ‘thug’ life to communicate their wants, needs and expectations. In far too many cases, this identity is beginning at alarmingly early ages.

‘Thug’ life is the adversarial behavior adopted by some men as a means of communicating an antisocial attitude toward the greater society and made infamous by imagery associated with cinematic and music presentation.

How must our young black men approach the peculiar task of living while black and male in America without taking on the peculiar and often negative antics of thug life? We must develop the consciousness necessary for academic and personal success that will motivate and inspire our young black males to achieve in spite of the odds against them. The pillars of this consciousness are communication, conflict resolution and community service.

Mindset versus identity.

In many ways and in many of our communities this is happening – but not enough!

We tell our kids to be different, to excel in what they believe to be the best route for success. The problem is these young, immature mindsets are given to latch on to the most convenient means to forming an identity – so why not the ‘thug’ life, the lingua franca of the streets.

One of the most significant factors surrounding the rise of the thug identity is the decline of church attendance by black families over the past two decades.

Church attendance for blacks has been declining for years, especially impacting the homes of single mothers raising sons, while the imagery of thug identity has coalesced in the media and cinema (e.g. the rise of hip hop, high viewership of films such as Menace to Society etc.)

It would be simple to argue that the decline in black church attendance is due to the insufficiency of what the black church offers in terms of ministry for black males. Unfortunately, in most cases, that may very well be the case.

What harm, though, can an environment where Christian ethics and morality is taught on a consistent basis, do to a young man? Moreover, what is the alternative to not placing a young mind in a church environment? Watching television? Xbox?

The point is that just the mere exposure of black young males to a church environment evinces some degree of positive results. According to a recent study, black boys who attend church are 30% less likely to engage in a life of crime.

Think about that. You reduce by thirty percent the likelihood of your son reverting to ‘street life’ as a means of getting what he wants by simply exposing him to a church environment. Those who do not place their children into a positive position for successful outcomes do more harm than good to those children.

When I was a kid, church was not an option; my two older brothers and I were in church practically every night of the week and all day on Sunday. Back then, it wasn’t what the church offered, it was just the fact that we were in church that mattered.

We need a fresh approach to responding to the crisis of our young black males. Maybe, though, that ‘new approach’ just needs to be rediscovered.

Staff Writer; W. Eric Croomes

This talented brother is a holistic lifestyle exercise expert and founder and executive coach of Infinite Strategies LLC, a multi-level coaching firm that develops and executes strategies for fitness training, youth achievement and lifestyle management. Eric is an author, fitness professional, holistic life coach and motivational speaker.

In October 2015, Eric released Life’s A Gym: Seven Fitness Principles to Get the Best of Both, which shows readers how to use exercise to attract a feeling of wellness, success and freedom (Infinite Strategies Coaching LLC, 2015) –


2 Responses to “Countering the Thug Consciousness in Young Black Males.”
  1. Marque-Anthony says:

    AFRICAN AMERICANS ARE NOT BLACK: Open Your Eyes / Look At Your Hands

    It amazes me how many of you are still brainwashed to call yourselves BLACK. Black is not an identity and scientifically black is not even a color. It is next to nothing. Black is the “color” of your car tires, not your skin. The white oppressive slave trader called you black and himself white to set up a contrast and to attach negative images and denotations to you based on a lie about color. Look up BLACK in the dictionary.

    Research even shows that blacks are perceived by other groups as very different from African Americans. But we still keep calling ourselves what someone else defined us as, what we are not and what has a negative dictionary denotation in society. WAKE UP. LOOK AT THE REAL COLOR OF YOUR SKIN. YOU ARE NOT BLACK. You are an African American. The lie of calling us black and defining us by color (the wrong color) has been in place so long that our people accept it as truth – but it’s not. Know your colors.

    Native Americans do not allow others to call them red men. Asians do not accept being called yellow men. Hispanics do not answer to “what’s up brown man”. And Caucasians are not white, notebook paper is white. Wake up and see the plan where white racist supremacists plotted to redefine our people from Africa. STOP CALLING YOURSELF SOMETHING THAT YOU ARE NOT!

    Black is the “color” of your car tires, not your skin author. Being called “black” is a lie and it should be offensive. Haitians, Jamaicans and even Africans do not accept being called “black”, Why do you think that is? They are identified by tribes, klans, geographic areas and their respective countries. By using the very term black to describe us, we are doing the following:
    1. Using a term white oppressors and slave masters gave us.
    2. Letting someone else define us other than our own people.
    3. Calling ourselves something we are not.
    4. Buying into thee lie and the negative denotation. Check the dictionary.
    5. Being set apart in a way that no other ethnic group allows. Native Americans are not called Red Man. Asians are not called Yellow Man. Hispanics are not called Brown Man. They do not and will not accept being defined by color and by some other race or ethnic group at that.
    6. Ignoring our actual color (brown) which means brainwashing has worked. Any time someone can get an entire race, ethnic group or culture to ignore what they are and call themselves what they factually are not, THEY HAVE BEEN INDOCTRINATED, ASSIMILATED AND BRAINWASHED.
    7. Playing right into the oppressor’s profiles and stereotypes. Did you know studies show there is a different perception of black people than there is of African Americans? Words create perceptions and perceptions create actions towards us.

    • David Kerr says:

      In response to your comment relating to whether a person of color wants, and or chooses to be called is TOTALLY up to that person. Personally I would NOT accept anything OTHER than BLACK, do NOT call me no African American, i know where i was born, what hospital i was delivered in, where i was raised and schooled and MOST importantly where i will be buried when i die, with that being said, i personally am not brainwashed by no one in society, it’s what i know about myself and my own idenity as a BLACK and proud AMERICAN.

      I personally is a LOT more closer to the identity of the color of that black tire you mentioned, than i am to being born in Africa, and yes I am very much aware of the Africa ancestry history, but all skin folks are not kin folks just because we share the same skin color that’s a historical proven fact. I can’t and will NOT speak for all black people, but my HOPE is that those of us that hasn’t woke up yet and realize that African Americans are a race of people from a foreign country ,a native birthplace that has NO connection to America as being on the United States map.

      If a person of African decent, born in African but has migrated to America for a better life where he/ she receives proper citizenship documents to BECOME an American citizen then THAT person will be know as and African American through received citizenship. So why do WE call white people WHITE when they themselves are European ? or some other native place, THEY should be refered by European-American if that’s the case, just like Mexican-American, Asian-Americans, getting my point. Let us STOP calling ourselves something we are NOT as black Americans, however, again one has the RIGHT to be called ANYTHING they choose, but BORN American blacks need to know who and WHAT they are.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!