For years I ignored the bleak forecast for the future of Black men because
- I came from a single parent home ruled by my moms (Pops was never-forever-ever around his bad)
- I eventually graduated from college
- I never smoked weed (ok I didn't inhale [it work for B. Clinton, why not me?])
- Didn't go to prison (no strikes).
Basically, I seemed to overachieve the pessimistic outlook I overheard, read, or what I was sometimes forced to swallow and chew after it was stuffed in down my mouth and down my throat. Still, I saw the world contrary to what was being said or published. I'm saying, If I were to accept the popular statistics of the studied African-American Male future from the 1990's, I wouldn'ta' had a chance. But I did. In fact I like to believe that I made chance my reality.
But, I wasn't alone in performing these feats of "reality." For the most part, my friends did the same thing.
Then my girlfriend got pregnant (she my baby's mama now). I was 23 and I thought that very statics that I defied for years were finally closing in on me. Well, the dark cloud of the African-American Male destiny never really rained on me. It ain't been easy. But if I can say so myself, I've been blessed.
- I don't have AIDS
- I haven't been to prison
- I ain't killed nobody or made a living robbing banks (sometimes I think I've come close though--to all of the above)
Nonetheless, I've sat back and watched brothas directly and abstractly connected to me affected by all of the above and more...
Meanwhile, I've done my best, sometimes a little less, but I've persevered and I continue to do so today.
What's real is that although I've been blessed with sound company, and inspirational mother, good friends, a beautiful son and a cat for a roommate, I've witnessed many Black men fall victim to what used to be unthinkables for me: AIDS, Crack and Prison.
The lack of quality inner-city education combined with broken and impoverished households have begun--in my opinion--to chip away at the rock of our African-American community: Our motivation.
Much of this erosion can be seen in the deepening plight of Black men.
I read this article, and unlike my attitude of old, I can't deny these statistics anymore...I'm not embracing it but I am acknowledging that it's only getting tougher.
If anything, I hope this article can serve as fuel for the Black community to continue to push against the machine of American society that has created a history of oppressing us.