For some reason, I have been having conversations with a trusted friend regarding what he terms “cultural constructs”; a fancy way of saying how black men view themselves. As is so often the case with such matters, God placed the perfect example of this malady in front of me to consider.
Let me preface this posting with an admission that I have changed from the educator who made repeated overtures to black males who openly resist the educational process. On-lookers would have termed my actions a stubborn refusal to allow these young brothers to fall by the wayside. Even when faced with obvious evidence that not even the engaging materials I shared in my African-American History courses was capable of interesting these individuals, I continued to engage and encourage them toward an engagement with academic subjects.
After the alluded to discussions over “cultural constructs” I more fully understand that many black males resistance to educational endeavors flows from a flawed understanding of what a black man ought to be and to do.
Two decades of experience teaching informs my belief that far too many of the black males sitting in my classes arrived with a flawed understanding of black manhood. I believe that it is this flawed understanding that serves as the primary catalyst behind their dour expectations. This gloominess routinely prevents their travel along a path capable of illuminating their minds and significantly improving their lives. Instead of being buoyed by the limitless possibilities that education provides, I have repeatedly witnessed many black males undercut their futures in disingenuous ways.