What I want to do is compare overall statistics to some of the remedies/enhancements boys to men can get from fathers and male mentors. Unfortunately poverty has become matriarchal more to the point Black & Latino families expect to be single parent headed, mainly by women. While we revere the women for doing this we never connect what their lack of abilities in key areas creates as an outcome.
We're going to assume that fathers referenced below in the abstract are good, healthy men even if maybe they divorce the mother of their children. They still stay intensely devoted and supportive to their children.
- If 30 to 40% of Blacks and Latinos in America are in poverty and 70% of their households are women headed, what does that create?
- If only 35% of men of color are college educated, what does that bode for their families/children?
- If for 20 years the CDC has been tracking that men of color are increasing in HIV and other STI infection through MSM, why is that? That men below 30 are potentially as high as 45% infected amongst Black and Latino communtieis, , what does that say for the ones infecting them? Who are they? And if they're the same race as the ones they infect, why would a Black or Latino man infect another Black or Latino man?
- Why is it so difficult for you to find a Good Man?
- WHat's going on? What's really going on?
Lack of Education
As a teacher, I'm biased to education. In fact I often tease my students that like a criminal profiler I can identify educational levels by quick observation of people in public or in fast social contact. But I also can see in my Black and Latino students what a lack of fathers has done to them. Grown men are what boys want to emulate. Boys want to be men, particularly the men in their immediate range. If the man is educated, he wants his sons to be educated, to be able to navigate the world, to understand what he does and even progress further than he has. What I learned personally from my father was that there was no whining, there was no simpering, there was no mewling when it was time to go to school because he'd grown up in a segregated South where education was not a guarantee to brown children and I sure as hell wasn't going to take education for granted. (He'd worked his way from Louisiana to New York to a bachelors and then a Masters degree, no education wasn't even a remote possibility.)
Because I wanted to live basically. lol
Lack of Motivation
Because men see the boys/males under their wings as representations of themselves A healthy man can't have no busted, flagrant foolishness under his aegis. Even as a mentor, I jettison young males who I discuss decorum and decency with who continuously breech that. Mentoring allows one the space to understand that you can't save everyone and there's always someone new behind the jettisoned one to help. The jettisoned rarely understand that they've lost out on a lifetime enhancing relationship and all I've just lost is a little time but I am refining my mentoring skill.
Lack of Manhood (Addiction to Masculinity)
MSM are often raging about wanting masculine men, checking the masculinity level of men, guys being effeminate, not being real men---and then they rush to the gym to pump up their bodies to look as masculine as possible However in contrast look around you at all shapes and sizes of men, fathers with their children. Manhood is generosity and strength and caring and going to work to support and provide for children and spouses and family. The distortion of lack of men teaching males, even homosexual males, about manhood means that boys/males will grasp at whatever they can. Whatever they can translate to hyper-sexuality hyper concern over masculinity, and even the fear of intimacy.
When you have a solid male figure in your early life, you have a solid manhood figure as part of your festishization scope---all that Oedipal and Elektra complex stuff really does apply throughout a lot of our psyche and sexuality.
Lack of Resources (Poverty)
There was a rule in my house growing up. Everyone worked. Me, my mother, my father, my stepfathers, even when a cousin stayed with us for a year. Everyone worked. My parents made enough money to give me the trinkets I wanted without big stress (comics, action figures, movies, toys, candy money) but they engineered a system for me to learn the prime rule of life.
You have to work for what you want.
At 7, I wanted some more action figures, more comics, just more, dammit! My parents sat me down and first we worked out a chore list but eventually there was only so much I could do so they were like let's create something you can do to earn the money you want for this other stuff. My mother wrote up a contract and they loaned me $5 to start a Sunday newspaper delivery business. Buy for 50 cents, sell for 75, keep the shopping cart in front of you when they open their doors. In a week I'd made and paid back my investors plus moved on to hiring the babysitter's children to franchise out to other buildings.
At 17, during summer vacation from high school I was jobless and my mother told me that she had the perfect job for me. The plan was simple: get up at 7am, she'd made me breakfast, be dressed to impress and have my resume and copies on me. I did. I was scared (my mother can cook but doesn't so this solicitousness was frightening). We stepped outside, she locked the door, took my keys and told me to start on the left hand side of Flatbush Avenue at 8am. Walk up it and at every store stop and ask for work. She handed me $5 and said at 1pm stop and get some lunch. Then cross the street and work my way back doing the same thing. I had 3 jobs by the end of that day. My father thought this was a great plan.
Men teach boys that it's safe and expected for them to go explore the world, to take risks and to support themselves. Boys without fathers are left to their own devices about what to do with their time and energy. And boys have a lot of energy. Fathers teach you how to focus that energy.
My father explained to me at the age of 7 that while as my parents they were responsible for the big things (food, roof, school/clothes)---boys who were becoming men didn't take money from women. Real men didn't. Women, unfortunately because of disparities in society, can't always earn the same as men or more than enough to support herself and children. Women left by men overwhelmingly end up in poverty because they haven't had the time to develop and nurture education.careers while also being full time parents. HEnce why Welfare rolls are inundated with women and children and now, a generation later, men who haven't been socialized by healthy men in how to survive and generate resources.
How do we change this? How do we encourage and develop men of color to be active involved parents to one or a dozen children? More importantly, why should we consider this an emergency? Black and Latino males will become the permanent underclass. Sure there will always be a small percentage of men of color, regardless of their sexuality and family origin who survive, thrive and find male mentors who teach them the manhood transitioning skills that their single mothers can't. But let's conservatively flip that 70% boys of color in mother headed households to 70% of Black and Latino men won't progress to manhood.
1. No viable mates for women and/or other men. Can't find a Good Man? It might have to do with the fact that two thirds are trying to find and mate with the good one third.
3. Men move families and communities along to higher education because fathers have money, time and resources (motivational, mental and spiritual) to move their families to the next level. If you don't have men who are responsible back to their communities and children then they aren't advancing the communities nor the individuals. Hence the cycle will beget itself again.
Welfare/HASA is not helping anyone, in fact it's destroying them. Destroying someone's natural capabilities to work and progress means that they develop the habits of complacency and helplessness. Not of power, not of empowerment. Manhood though is built on one's sense of power and integrity and value. If you don't have those as a constant in your identity and goal, what are you? Safety nets should assist, help and develop not incubate weakness.
2. Getting skills and education. You're on the Internet---you should know how to use all Microsoft Office programs because the lessons are free on YouTube. In fact the equivalent of a doctoral education is available on the internet. Find a college, get some syllabi and between the library and internet fill in the holes in your education.
3. Give back to boys. As uncomfortable as it may make you, because you didn't have the experience go volunteer with some boys or teens. If you can't play basketball you can still referee If you can't walk, you can still teach a boy how to read, how to find a job, how to tie a tie. In order to save your people, you must as much as possible take the place of absent fathers. Teach a boy how to use a checking account, how you use a credit card, how to fill out a job application, how to drive a car. You have valuable skills and most importantly that mentorship will teach you how to patiently parent boys, how to care for them, how to nurture and enhance them and that will help to heal your own loss and wounds.
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