Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Black Boys

Those who Understand history realize that to destroy community you destroy the cohesion of the family. In the United States that is by destroying the foundation of the Black Family via targeting the black man. This is done in many fashions. We cannot afford to loose another generation. I know that it is difficult. For those fathers out there who are separated from the mother of their children I will just say this once, YOU HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING WITHIN YOUR POWER TO STAY IN THEIR LIVES REGARDLESS TO WHOM OR WHAT. It is not enough to plant a seed, you have to direct its growth and development. For those men out there who don't have children hit that block, make time for the youth, adopt a child, get involved with big brother programs.

Has America lost another generation of black boys?

The Truth Clinic

By James W. Breedlove

"Those who control the education of the children control the future of that race."

"If people cannot write well, they cannot think well, and if they cannot think well, others will do their thinking for them."

These George Orwell type aphorisms highlight the potential chasm that Black America is falling into and, if not constructively dealt with, portends a dire black destiny both for the nation and its individuals.

Phillip Jackson, executive director of the Black Star Project in Chicago, believes we have lost another generation of our black boys via poor education, unemployment, economic inequity, incarceration, father absence, lax parenting, gangs, crime, violence and death. His greater concern is we will also lose the next generation or possibly every future generation of black boys to these same societal factors.

In response to this growing crisis Mr. Jackson founded the Black Star Project, a dynamic educational reform organization, whose primary objective is eliminating the racial academic achievement gap by involving parents and communities in the education of children. Founded in Chicago's Southside in 1996, the Black Star model is taking root and even being duplicated in other cities.

Mr. Jackson defines the need for Black Star by referencing statistics comparing blacks to other groups in areas such as standardized test scores and high school/college graduation rates. Only 35 percent of black male students graduated from high school in Chicago and only 26 percent in New York City, according to a 2006 report by The Schott Foundation. Of the few black boys who finish high school and enter college only 22 percent of them finish. Increasingly the statistics show that even when a young black male graduates from a U.S. college, there is a good chance that he is from Africa, the Caribbean or Europe, and not the U.S.

When young black males don't succeed in school, they are more likely to succeed as primary members of the nation's criminal justice system. There are more than 1.1 million black males in prisons and jails in the U.S.; more than all the black men incarcerated in the rest of the world combined. This criminal indoctrination now starts in elementary schools with black male children as young as six and seven entrapped in the net of over zealous zero tolerance criminal focused policies.

Jackson has convinced some well known corporations, foundations and community organizations to become participating partners in the Black Star project. Some of the prominent names are: Toyota Motor Sales USA, ComEd, Schott Foundation for Public Education, OfficeMax, Ariel Capital Management, Quaker/PepsiCo Beverages & Food, and many others listed on the Black Star website.

Toyota contributed $240,000 to help finance and launch the Toyota Black Star Parent University, a new three-year program that will help Chicago parents obtain skills and resources needed to build stronger families.

Classes financed by the Toyota Black Star Program will be held in neighborhoods throughout the city. Local parenting experts serve as "professors" and teach courses that range from educating children about resolving conflict to developing financial literacy. This initiative, if successful in Chicago, will be offered to other cities.

Jackson says the path for Black Star has not been easy. Worst of all is the passivity, neglect and disengagement of the black community. We do little while the future lives of black boys are being destroyed in record numbers. In a strange and perverse way, the black community has started to wage a kind of war against young black men and has become part of this destructive process.

Recently Jackson responded to a statement attributed to Oprah Winfrey: "I became so frustrated with inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn is just not there."

Jackson's response was, "If that sense of wanting to learn is not in the schools, it is not because of the children. Rather, it is because of the adults in their lives or, to be more precise, the adults who are not in their lives.

"I absolutely agree with Ms. Winfrey that this work can be frustrating. That is why the Black Star Project sends hundreds of mentors and role models into the same schools that Oprah shuns to undertake the difficult and sometimes thankless work of inspiring, motivating and encouraging our children to overcome their circumstances. Unlike Oprah, our mentors do not have the luxury of abandoning our inner-city students to poverty, violence, and despair.

"When someone of Oprah's stature publicly makes these kinds of statements that discourage people from volunteering in schools, it makes the job of those working to improve the lives of poor, black, inner-city youth a lot harder, said Jackson."

If this destructive trend continues Jackson wonders, "Who are young black women going to marry? Who is going to build and maintain the economies of black communities? Who is going to anchor strong families in the black community? Who will young black boys emulate as they become men? Where is the outrage of the black community at the functional decimation of its black boys? Where are the action plans and support systems to change this?"

It is Jackson's contention that, "It is not a lack of viable solutions as much as it is we lack the will to implement these solutions to save our black boys."

James W. Breedlove is a former president of the Fort Wayne NAACP. Comments or opinions can be sent to him at

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