Do We All Have The Same Opportunities To Be Successful?

I was reading the NY Times last week when I came across this article. Here’s an excerpt:

But a new report focusing on black males suggests that the picture is even bleaker than generally known.

Only 12 percent of black fourth-grade boys are proficient in reading, compared with 38 percent of white boys, and only 12 percent of black eighth-grade boys are proficient in math, compared with 44 percent of white boys.

Poverty alone does not seem to explain the differences: poor white boys do just as well as African-American boys who do not live in poverty, measured by whether they qualify for subsidized school lunches. (you can read the rest of the article HERE)

So we hear about this all the time right? Black boys are falling further and further behind in the achievement gap. But if it isn’t about the poverty, what is it about? Experts say that sociological and historical forces are to blame, and I tend to agree.

You know the smart boy in the neighborhood is always called a lame, a geek, a nerd or whatever, simply because he is excelling in the classroom. Of course, more often than not, the people teasing are jealous of the other kids success. A kid is not going to know that though, especially in the formative years when self-esteem can be a little bit shaky. Some people in our community have been conditioned to believe that ball or music are the only way out of “the hood” which in turn leads kids to a life a misplaced priorities and delusion. Everyone can not be in the NBA/NFL, and contrary to popular belief, everyone can not be a (successful) rapper. We’ve got to have higher goals.

The question today, is are black boys at a disadvantage to the rest of the students in America…including their black female counterparts? The Times article suggests that because many black males are raised in single parent households, normally with their mother, they have had less developmental time with a parent in the home, which puts them behind students who’ve had time at home with their parents.

That theory would be ok if black girls were not placed in the same situations and continuing to excel.

So what is the key, because in my opinion, black boys are at a disadvantage, and by circumstance, may not have the same opportunity to be successful as others. That doesn’t, however mean that black boys can not and should not be successful. For hundreds of years, black men have been torn down, only to return from the ashes stronger than ever. My solution to the problem? We need more positive male influences to mentor other young men. I know hundreds of successful black men whom I’ve met through my experiences in school and in the community who actually have the power and influence to change the mentalities of the young brothers that are coming behind them. Now, it’s just time to mobilize and make it happen.

What do you think?


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