“Enough already! We get it, now. Black males are lagging behind. How many times can you say it?” If you are like me, this is how you feel about all the recent articles calling out our black boys for not being educationally up to par. The reality is, we are not just tired of the thousand recent articles popping up in the last few weeks, we are bored of the same stats being repeated over the past few years. There are many black folks who simply say, “Stop beating up our black men in the media and making them look bad.” Then there are some who actually step back, open their eyes to see that numbers don’t lie, and actually realize that there is something very wrong with the achievement of our young black males. Nails digging into a chalkboard sound better than our stats, but we must admit that they are the truth, and we have to figure out a way to fix it.
At an event hosted yesterday by Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African-American Research, The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center released two reports on this very matter. Yeah, more numbers on the poor state of black men, but they actually included a solution to rectify the problem. According to the Los Angeles Times, “The reports suggests that improving outcomes for young men of color must become a national priority and calls for community, business, and school partnerships to provide mentoring and support.” Back in the day, it only took a village to raise a child, but that has gone down the drain. These days, it takes a nation.
The suggestion they make about it taking the help of the whole nation sounds like it could be a good idea. Too often, however, individual people forget that they, too, are a part of the nation. We, as individuals, have power to help our black males elevate their level of academic achievement. Parents need to start taking responsibility for their children. We can start teaching our kids the basics of how to read, write, and count before they ever step foot in a school. When our kids do get to school, parents and other family members need to hold them responsible for their homework and make sure they get it done. Should there be no required homework, as often there is these days, our kids should still be taking at least 30 minutes out of their day to work practice problems in each of their text books. Education needs to take priority in the family unit. This will let our children know that nothing less than excellence is expected of them. Then when they sit in a classroom, this will be their driving force to listen, pay attention, and strive to achieve their very best.
Ayvaunn Penn is a spoken word artist and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, click here.