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Author Topic: America Has Lost a Generation of Black Boys  (Read 4864 times)

ohstacey

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Re: America Has Lost a Generation of Black Boys
« Reply #30 on: July 25, 2007, 01:29:17 PM »

I definitely agree that there are innumerable forces working against the formation of healthy families in general and black families in particular.  As for the latter, however, there has never really been a period in our country when this was not the case.  What I believe has changed, however, is the fact that black families are now decaying from within (not simply without) at an alarming rate.  In the span of a few decades, we have begun to do to ourselves what even generations upon generations of slavery and segregation couldn't do.  I think this is something for which we, and only we, are ultimately responsible. The flip side of this, however, is that we have the power to restore, heal, and rebuild our families. We don't have to (and indeed cannot afford to) wait for the government, the white man, or the nameless, faceless "society" to do for us what we ought to have the sense to do for ourselves.  Just my $0.02...   

Right on, sista. <insert black fist> 8)
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sc3pt0r

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Re: America Has Lost a Generation of Black Boys
« Reply #31 on: July 25, 2007, 01:39:44 PM »
Naturallybeyoutiful, your response to my post, was the most direct response to every aspect of my post.  I seriously appreciate it.  Often this message board is full of lost points/arguments, that people would like to see completed.  So, thank you.

I do understand the difficulties with the "one-size fits all approach".  However, the same can be said with "white".  There are vast differences between German and Irish culture, just as there are vast differences between Kenyan and Nigerian culture.

It often seems as if America has no true unique culture.  Perhaps this is the reason for many of the societal problems that we (Americans) face.  Or perhaps it is just that we (Americans) are so accustomed to complaining and getting results, and scared of "true hard work" that we let ourselves get lazy.

I know that this "laziness" is having profound consequences in Black America (if there is such an entity), but it is having dire consequences in all aspects of our society.  The fact that entertainment is our biggest commodity is perhaps the most undermining of all our qualities.  We, as a country, are not producing enough quality minds.

What is the solution?
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naturallybeyoutiful

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Re: America Has Lost a Generation of Black Boys
« Reply #32 on: July 25, 2007, 01:47:27 PM »
The second point: It's true that there are individuals who could and do overcome an unstable family background, poverty, lack of good social networks etc. To expect that to happen at a population level without an external stimulus is pie-in-the-sky and doesn't amount to much more than rhetoric.


In general, I agree with what you say here. Yet, I find it interesting that you include "unstable family background" in your list of factors that do not promote cultural success for AAs.  See, blacks have always been entrenched in poverty.  We have historically been denied access to "good" (or shall we say, white) social networks.  What has not always been true, however, is this notion of an "unstable family background."  Before the era of baby-mamas and baby-daddies, cohabitation, more black males in jail than school/employment, and teenage pregnancy -- blacks fought for their families and for the betterment of their children.  This was true from the days of the slave quarters to the days of Jim Crow.  Stable families helped lift AAs out of some of the quagmires to which poverty and lack of access to social networks inevitably lead.  Any attempt to address the current problems facing the black community without realistically acknowledging that blacks have to take responsibility for their own families is destined to fail.  I could go on and on why I believe that the family, as the first institution God ordained, is so critical to this effort...  Suffice it to say for now, however, that the black family is both the cause and cure for many of the ills facing our community. 
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ohstacey

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Re: America Has Lost a Generation of Black Boys
« Reply #33 on: July 25, 2007, 01:49:02 PM »

Like I said, it's just my thoughts.  You're free to disagree.  If you want to share what you think though, I'm open to hearing you out.  :)

You yourself say the following:

To the extent that you see African students with families doing this, they will be successful (or at least have had every opportunity to do so).  To the extend that you've seen African-American students without this, they tend to be, on the whole, unsuccessful.  I thank God every day for an African-American family that has preserved and transmitted the cultural, spiritual, and educational values that have helped me become the person I am.  I have plenty of family and friends who can say the same.  Unfortunately, I have another plenty that cannot.  It is the latter group that concerns me. 

In other words a stable family background regenerates itself down the generations and an unstable one doesn't.  That's an uncontroversial statement and yet the main thrust of your post challenges it. You are implying, in your first major post, that the disintegration of the black family is new and self-inflicted. It is neither.

The second point: It's true that there are individuals who could and do overcome an unstable family background, poverty, lack of good social networks etc. To expect that to happen at a population level without an external stimulus is pie-in-the-sky and doesn't amount to much more than rhetoric.

My .02

At what point should black families take responsibility for their own disintegration, though? I mean yes, there are historical reasons for it, and parties to blame, no doubt. But we are responsible for understanding how we got here and how we will move forward.

Also, I am a person who has overcome a disadvantaged background, and I do agree with you that the same is not happening for a large number of people. But what type of 'external stimulus' do you think is in order for a large part of the population to overcome poverty/unstable families?

Not trying to sound corny, but WE are the stimulus needed to make changes in our communities. WE started the Civil Rights movement, and because we took responsibility for our community back then, we now have access to the education, resources, power etc. that we didn't have back then.
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naturallybeyoutiful

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Re: America Has Lost a Generation of Black Boys
« Reply #34 on: July 25, 2007, 01:58:49 PM »
Naturallybeyoutiful, your response to my post, was the most direct response to every aspect of my post.  I seriously appreciate it.  Often this message board is full of lost points/arguments, that people would like to see completed.  So, thank you.

That is the most thoughtful reply I've ever gotten on this board.  For that, I thank you.  :)


I do understand the difficulties with the "one-size fits all approach".  However, the same can be said with "white". There are vast differences between German and Irish culture, just as there are vast differences between Kenyan and Nigerian culture.

I totally agree!  The only difference is that "white" skin, especially in this day and age, tends to give a person (irrespective of their true background or culture) access to certain rights, privileges, networks, etc.  That is just the reality of the way things are.   


It often seems as if America has no true unique culture.  Perhaps this is the reason for many of the societal problems that we (Americans) face.  Or perhaps it is just that we (Americans) are so accustomed to complaining and getting results, and scared of "true hard work" that we let ourselves get lazy.

I know that this "laziness" is having profound consequences in Black America (if there is such an entity), but it is having dire consequences in all aspects of our society.  The fact that entertainment is our biggest commodity is perhaps the most undermining of all our qualities.  We, as a country, are not producing enough quality minds.

What is the solution?

You've raised some important issues and ask an important question.  As for the country not producing quality minds, I wholeheartedly agree!  To some extent, I think state-controlled education (gasp!!!) has something to do with this.  You may be interested in reading Tyranny Through Public Education (another book on my lonnnnng list of things I want to get through) to gain some insight on this notion.

As for the solution, it's no secret to anyone who knows me that I believe that God's way of doing things is the only means to lasting, effective change to all ills of the human condition.  When any product begins to break down, you have to consult its manufacturer and the instructions he has provided in order to return it to optimal functioning.  The same is true with humanity.  Perhaps this is not a popular response, and it may be seeminly too idealistic for those whose sense of religion is too narrow/man-centered to be of divine origin anyway.  To the extent that we stray from God's principles of individuality, family, sexuality, wealth, labor, etc. -- we get problems.  To the extent that we return to them -- we get restoration.  This has been true for me as an individual, and it holds true for families and cultures, too.
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naturallybeyoutiful

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Re: America Has Lost a Generation of Black Boys
« Reply #35 on: July 25, 2007, 02:02:08 PM »
I'd agree that the family unit (broadly defined) is central.  I don't believe that the regeneration can or will happen spontaneously. We -- as a society -- need to do better at discovering, designing, and funding teaching and practicingsupport strategies to help black families achieve parity with other groups. 

The strategies are age-old. Its the teaching, learning, and passing on of them that is not happening on the whole.
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ohstacey

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Re: America Has Lost a Generation of Black Boys
« Reply #36 on: July 25, 2007, 02:09:56 PM »
What exactly is the "white man"?  I'm not trying to be funny, but race is a social construct, and I'd like to know what the parameters of the definition are for this particular conversation.

Also, Naturallybeyoutiful, you say you are an African-American.  What country are you from?  I've never really understood (and I'm not targeting you, I don't know where you are from) why people would call themselves African-Americans, but yet are not from Africa.  I mean, wouldn't they just be Americans?  I attended an HBCU with a large number of Africans, and the cultural differences between Africans in America, and black Americans was like night and day (no pun intended).

see, that's part of the reason that i don't designate myself nor any black person i see on the street as African America
...i just say that I'm black...and if ppl go further, say my dad is from JA

I agree with you there.  Where I grew up, we had blacks and whites.  Period!  And by black, I mean African-Americans...people whose ancestors were slaves in the very town/county in which they live.  When I began to travel during and after college, I began to meet black immigrants from the world over.  That's when it finally hit me that not all blacks are African-Americans.  When I use the term AA though, I am referring to people who are indeed AA (by my definition).  Otherwise, I speak of black people in general.


cool...that wasn't directed at you in particular though!  :)

i was talking to Massa one day, and i realized that i barely know anyone that's straight up African America...most of my friends have parents that r from Africa or the WI

No prob.  I just wanted to clarify in case I wasn't clear though.  :)  As for your experience, I think that's part of the issue, too.  Do you mean people that you've met in elite institutions, programs, and the like?  If so, it would underscore my point that AA are largely out of the game in these arenas.  This is troubling.

ETA As for me though, I barely know (I mean really "know") someone whose parents aren't AA. 

well...i'm from bk, and a good amount of the blacks that live are immigrants or descendants of.  i went to a nondescript catholic school--damn near everyone was WI.  then i went to my ug, and most of the black ppl there were either from/or their parents were from Africa or the WI.  but i don't think that's uncommon at ivies tho.

I attended a small state university in the south, and was surprised at the number of African students and students from the Carribean who attended, compared to black American students.

People always wonder why black people although enslaved, have lived in this country for hundreds of years, and seem to remain 'behind the curve' when compared to other immigrants, whether they be African, Asian,etc... who can come to this country with nothing, and in two generations have successful businesses, highly educated children, etc.

Their family solidarity and sense of responsibility to one another I think has a lot to do with it.

Before marrying into a West Indian family, I had no idea the culture difference was so different from that of black American families, but I think culture and value systems are atronger on my 'Trini' side when I compare to my family or that of most of my black friends...
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LadyKD

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Re: America Has Lost a Generation of Black Boys
« Reply #37 on: July 25, 2007, 02:13:06 PM »
The second point: It's true that there are individuals who could and do overcome an unstable family background, poverty, lack of good social networks etc. To expect that to happen at a population level without an external stimulus is pie-in-the-sky and doesn't amount to much more than rhetoric.


In general, I agree with what you say here. Yet, I find it interesting that you include "unstable family background" in your list of factors that do not promote cultural success for AAs.  See, blacks have always been entrenched in poverty.  We have historically been denied access to "good" (or shall we say, white) social networks.  What has not always been true, however, is this notion of an "unstable family background."  Before the era of baby-mamas and baby-daddies, cohabitation, more black males in jail than school/employment, and teenage pregnancy -- blacks fought for their families and for the betterment of their children.  This was true from the days of the slave quarters to the days of Jim Crow.  Stable families helped lift AAs out of some of the quagmires to which poverty and lack of access to social networks inevitably lead.  Any attempt to address the current problems facing the black community without realistically acknowledging that blacks have to take responsibility for their own families is destined to fail.  I could go on and on why I believe that the family, as the first institution God ordained, is so critical to this effort...  Suffice it to say for now, however, that the black family is both the cause and cure for many of the ills facing our community. 

I'd agree that the family unit (broadly defined) is central.  I don't believe that the regeneration can or will happen spontaneously. We -- as a society -- need to do better at discovering, designing, and funding support strategies to help black families achieve parity with other groups. 

I agree with the bolded response...extremely well stated.

ohstacey

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Re: America Has Lost a Generation of Black Boys
« Reply #38 on: July 25, 2007, 02:13:55 PM »
The second point: It's true that there are individuals who could and do overcome an unstable family background, poverty, lack of good social networks etc. To expect that to happen at a population level without an external stimulus is pie-in-the-sky and doesn't amount to much more than rhetoric.


In general, I agree with what you say here. Yet, I find it interesting that you include "unstable family background" in your list of factors that do not promote cultural success for AAs.  See, blacks have always been entrenched in poverty.  We have historically been denied access to "good" (or shall we say, white) social networks.  What has not always been true, however, is this notion of an "unstable family background."  Before the era of baby-mamas and baby-daddies, cohabitation, more black males in jail than school/employment, and teenage pregnancy -- blacks fought for their families and for the betterment of their children.  This was true from the days of the slave quarters to the days of Jim Crow.  Stable families helped lift AAs out of some of the quagmires to which poverty and lack of access to social networks inevitably lead.  Any attempt to address the current problems facing the black community without realistically acknowledging that blacks have to take responsibility for their own families is destined to fail.  I could go on and on why I believe that the family, as the first institution God ordained, is so critical to this effort...  Suffice it to say for now, however, that the black family is both the cause and cure for many of the ills facing our community. 

I'd agree that the family unit (broadly defined) is central.  I don't believe that the regeneration can or will happen spontaneously. We -- as a society -- need to do better at discovering, designing, and funding support strategies to help black families achieve parity with other groups. 

I agree with the bolded response...extremely well stated.

Seconded.
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naturallybeyoutiful

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Re: America Has Lost a Generation of Black Boys
« Reply #39 on: July 25, 2007, 02:14:04 PM »
Preaching is not enough, Nat.  The evidence of generations speaks for itself.

Preaching is not what I'm advocating.  I'm advocating living it.  There's a world of difference; always has been.
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