The Assault of Black Masculinity and It’s Impact of Black Boys
The Assault of Black Masculinity and It’s Impact of Black Boys ~ It is no secret that I take issue with the nefarious machinations that are in play and aimed at African American males. I have expressed my concerns in two books (The Mis-education of Black Youth in America, and Born in Captivity: Psychopathology as a Legacy of Slavery), as well as spelling it out in numerous articles over the years. Additionally, several years ago, I wrote a position paper addressing the disproportionality in special education referrals for Black boys.
When evaluating the current plight of Black men in America, it is important to gain a lucid perspicacity of two things; the historical relationship between American society and the Black male, as well as the impact this relationship has had on young Black boys.
It was Frederick Douglass that said, “it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” There is a wealth of truth in this statement. Unfortunately, we have not produced any efficacious results in this area on any grand scale. While we tend to focus on the elite performers to assess the whole, our situation is best understood by anatomizing the state of Black men as a collective group. As long as elite performers continue to be an anomaly among Black men, we must continue to ask why.
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No matter where you look, the Black male is under assault. As early as 5-years-old, Black males are targeted in the public-school system. They are referred for special education assessments at a disproportionate rate. They are often viewed as non-compliant — especially by White middle-age female teachers. They are erroneously diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed psychotropic drugs that are meant to make them more docile and pliable. There is a wealth of pragmatic and empirical data that suggests that students learn better in dynamic environments, but the powers that be continue to support an outdated idea that forces children to sit still for hours despite diminishing returns.
Whether young Black males are being labeled with ADHD or oppositional defiant disorder, the results are the same. They are being alienated by the academic process, leading to a high drop out rate. Males who fail to graduate from high school are at an increased risk of becoming incarcerated.
Currently, it is estimated that there are 1.5 million Black men missing in the Black community, creating a shortage of potential mates for Black women and leaving a void of properly modeled manhood.
The rise of the new term, “toxic masculinity” also contributes to the marginalization of true Black masculinity, which is so prevalent to the growth and empowerment of the race as a whole. Any form of poor behavior by Black men is categorized as toxic masculinity when in truth it is simply poor behavior. The idea of true Black masculinity is being buried under a concept that Black men who are not docile and compliant are displaying toxic behavior.
In the Black Men Lead rite of passage initiative, we teach young Black boys that the aggression that they sense as they move through puberty is a good thing — it is preparing them to be defenders and protectors of our women, children, and elders. Docility is something that the Black community can ill-afford to experience in its men.
Don’t get me wrong. We definitely have a problem when it comes to the failure of Black men to provide a secure environment for the Black woman. The Black woman continues to tell us that she does not feel protected. The statistics associated with childhood sexual abuse and domestic abuse are far from flattering. This poor behavior is not due to toxic masculinity but to an unfettered pathology that has gone unchecked for generations.
We must understand that the rise of the Black race requires the uniting of two forces — the masculine energy of its men and the feminine energy of its women. We will never get any higher than our women can lift us, and we will never get any further than our men can lead us.
In order to achieve the synergy of the syncing of masculine and feminine energy, we must do a better job of protecting the younger generation from direct attacks from a system that is designed to destroy them. We must address the enemy within. There is an old African proverb that states, “where there is no enemy on the inside, the enemy on the outside can do us no harm.”
We live in a time in which a false paradigm of colorblindness has emerged; however, the election of Donald Trump and the fall out associated with it has cast a luminous light on the evolution of racism rather than confirming the destruction of it.
From a socioeconomic perspective, no group has suffered more over the past 50 years than Black men. The same could be said for the world of academia.
There are many who believe that the Black-White intergenerational mobility gap is a phenomenon that is predominantly male-driven. To a certain extent, this is true, but we cannot ignore the mechanisms and machinations that are at play that contribute to this growing disproportionality. Black men are harassed, hassled, strangled, beaten, and arrested far more than their White counterparts. Per capita, Black men are more likely to be shot by police officers and sentenced to longer sentences for the same offenses.
You don’t have to make a great leap in order to draw a conclusion of how a run-in with law enforcement can negatively impact employability and admission into institutions of higher learning.
I don’t think we understand just how much we expose our children, especially our boys when we send them to a public school to be prepared to compete in life. Remember, these Black male students will be competing with White males for positions and opportunities. To postulate that a system created by the competition would train our children to compete on an even field with their own is not reasonable.
Although poverty definitely plays a role in crime and incarceration, there are still certain oppressions that can’t be accounted for solely through economic indicators. For instance, Black men, in comparison to all other impoverished males, are unique in the level at which they are brutalized by the criminal justice system.
At Black Men Lead, we focus on preparing young Black males to navigate through the labyrinthine corridors of a racial caste system that is designed to exploit any and every deficiency. We must teach them what proper manhood looks like by modeling it as much as we speak it. We must answer their cries for help emphatically and decisively. ~ Rick Wallace, Ph.D., Psy.D.
Support the Black Men Lead rite of passage program for young Black males at https://www.theodysseyproject21.top/black-men-lead or you can contribute directly through the Cash app at $TheOdysseyProject21