Successful African American Males and Their Families
I urge every parent and adult to conduct a personal audit to determine whether we are contributing to the crisis our children face or to the solutions they urgently need. Our children don't need or expect us to be perfect. They do need and expect us to be honest, to admit and correct our mistakes, and to share our struggles about the meanings and responsibilities of faith, parenthood, citizenship and life.
Marian Wright Edelman, Guide My Feet
Almost everything we read and hear about young Black males focuses on the problems of crime, violence, drugs, teenage pregnancy, and poor academic achievement. Although many Americans have heard the calamitous statistics on the plight of young African American males, few can pinpoint a single reason for the downward-spiraling trends. Some attribute the problems to the general deterioration of urban communities, problems complicated by drugs (especially the increased use of crack cocaine) and increased crime over the past decades. Some blame racism. Others point their fingers at these young men and suggest that they lack responsibility or that they possess a victim mentality. Sociologist William Julius Wilson focuses on structural problems in the economy that prevent meaningful participation by these young men--the steady decline, for example, in manufacturing jobs in a service- and technology- oriented employment market. 1 Still others believe that without access to the marketplace, with the long, hard road to success closed to them, these young men seek out immediate gratification. No doubt all of these factors contribute to the current status of young Black males.
Millions of Americans daily see the faces of these young men on television and in newspapers, and to many these faces look angry or