Young Black Men are On The Rise: A Few Thoughts about Youth Development


I spend a lot of time thinking about what it means to be a Black man in America. I try my best to separate out my feelings from the black genocide, mass incarceration, police brutality, suicide, poverty, dysfunctional family dynamics, oppression, homicide, and many other experiential traumas’ perpetuated against the black anatomy. What I have come to learn over the last 40 years of living as a Black Man in America is that it is easier to give up than to fight. Without the proper set of tools and support mechanisms fighting against the 10-15 systems structured to downplay the very existence of a black man; makes it extremely difficult to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships with the dynamics of a broken system.

At this point in the game the entire Westernized system must be thrown in the garbage concerning young black men. Success that stems from a broken and oppressive system grants hope to those who otherwise hope one to squeeze water out of a rock. There is no definitive solution to the Black Male crisis in America, but we can create a language that connects with young men directly outside of the scholarly jargon. After reading 10 scholarly researched papers on the plight and urgent care needed concerning the sustainability of young black men; it dawned on me that these incredible insights need to be filtered through a lens that displays the serious nature of premature death, suicide, and homicide amongst black men between the ages of 15-25.

Research is needed to find how the scholarly researched can be matriculated down into the communities that would welcome these insights. What good would it do a young black with all of this information without a central processing unit (CPU)’ to execute these insights into a computer program that speaks to their language surrounding survival. In my assertion young black men need to be trained in cycles in order to make the most of those formative years. Through research-based evidence we are finding that many young black men ages 15-25; are needing an urgent response to this public health crisis.

These 10 years are crucial to the spiritual, psychological, emotional, and financial development that will happen in the 30’s and 40’s of a young black man’s life. I abused that 10 year stretch of my life and almost became a statistic save the hand of God. It’s a slippery road to travel and one that follows a young man to the grave. The young black mind is constantly shadowed by past failures and current traumas. Will he eventually succeed and live to talk about it? Absolutely. The Pain runs deep and at the core young black men are dealing with psychological issues that stems from the Atlantic Slave trade.  

Dr. Joy DeGruy, says that “The emotional pain Black males harbor can be traced back to their traumatic Middle Passage experience where Black men women and children were subjugated, tortured, denigrated, and considered less than human. There are traumatic scars still exist today and while it shouldn’t be used as an excuse; young black men need to have an open discussion into the many factors that could be causing the mental breakdowns at various stages leading into adulthood. In addition, James Hollis, Author of “The Middle Passage” the middle passage explains these mental discrepancies as a form of Neurosis; based on inner trapped feelings that these young men are experiencing due to a separation of the real self-versus a public persona.  

 Until the black men are ushered into their rightful places as Kings; we must fight these mainstream portrayals that paint their own psychotic narratives about our young Kings. Marcelo Diversi and Claudio Moreira wrote a timely piece titled “Betweener Talk Decolonizing Knowledge Production, Pedagogy, and Praxis (2016), which states “Abuse inflicted on Black men for decades by White European oppressors’ and their victimization at the hands of their own Black brothers of African descent have been minimized and unjustly overlooked by mainstream society and justified though White supremacy”. You can’t overlook these types of injustices and shared experiences. When you face a young black man don’t objectify him through a Westernized lens. You are looking at a Warrior, King, Soldier and something that puzzles you based on the machine that has fed you a lie all of these years.

Black Men the time has come, and you will ultimately derive a sense of self from these iron clad experiences. You will be represented in a different light concerning the media. The agenda to silence your voice just isn’t strong enough. No longer will you be repackaged for capitalistic consumption. The premature deaths of young Black males’ with absence of fathers, brothers, uncles, sons, nephews, and cousins will soon be a thing of the past.

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