According to a Newsweek article, “College-educated black women already earn more than the average of all working black men … Only 13.5% of young black women drop out of high school, while more than 17% of young blacks are. “
Black women have climbed the social economic ladder of the United States by leaps and bounds compared to black men. Economically speaking, black women can claim victory by staying focused in an educational setting and working diligently in the workforce for managerial and professional positions. If we, as black women, can claim victory by advancing financially, we must be smart enough, wise enough, and strong enough to claim defeat in raising our young black men.
The black men we leave behind do not belong to another race, culture or ethnicity. These men are not from Mars or from across the sea. The men we leave behind are our sons, brothers, cousins, uncles, and fathers. These are the men who grew up in the same homes as us. Before the black man was thrown into the prison walls, he was fed on the walls of the black woman’s womb. If we have found a way to instill in our daughters to stay in school and not our sons, something is spiritually in the middle of the way we are socializing our black male child.
One of the main mistakes that I have observed black mothers make is that they encourage black boys to take on the responsibilities of black men. Many refer to their children as “mommy’s little man who will one day take care of mommy.” Psychologically, this makes the child feel responsible for the well-being of his mother. The role of parents is being reversed. Before the black boy can become a responsible man, he must first be nurtured and cared for like a child. As mothers and caregivers, we need to worry about curfew hours, homework assignments, and actual participation in social activities with our children, regardless of gender.
I think a lot of young black people feel pressured to earn money at a young age to help their families. As mothers, we must encourage them to do well in school, while doing whatever it takes to take care of them. The late rap artist Tupac Shakur said it best in his song, Dear Momma, “Even though I sell rocks, it feels good to put money in your mailbox.” Many mothers know that their children are struggling to earn money, hoping to get rich to support their family. In my opinion, this is the root of why so many of our young black men are in jail … trying to earn money in the quickest way to please Mom. As black mothers, I feel that we inadvertently encourage this behavior. The black man must first be a nurtured child before he can become a strong man.
The second component is that some black fathers provide the male child with superficial symbols of masculinity, such as encouraging him to have early sex, buying them cars and expensive clothes, and not imposing curfews. They want to mimic the appearance of success without giving the child the opportunities that will develop character, inner strength, and long-term determination.
I have two brothers. The three of us were raised in a two-parent household, the same parent. I have five college degrees, none of my siblings attended college. My father repeatedly told me that my college education would be my husband. My parents expected me to come home at a certain time, even though I was the oldest son and had come back from college. My brothers were allowed to go home whenever they felt like it. My father bought my brothers their first car. I bought my own first car. My parents were concerned about making sure my brothers had the status symbols of masculinity, but not the spiritual strength to overcome obstacles. I feel like my parents raised me, but they spoiled my siblings.
I know that black women are not fully responsible for the social and economic status of black men in American society. Yes, of course black men are partially responsible. Personally, I take my fifty percent blame in hopes of raising my 16-year-old son to be first and foremost a person I can be proud of and secondly a husband any woman would be proud of. arrest.
By Cassandra George Sturges, Psy.D