The troubles facing young black men in many American cities are bound up into such a multifaceted knot that it’s hard to envisage where to begin unraveling it. Inner-city schools habitually fail them. As do the high-crime neighborhoods where they grow up, and the police and justice systems entrenched there. The changing nature of metropolitan economies — which offer few of the firm blue-collar jobs their fathers and grandfathers counted on — has hurt them, too. So, too, has the discrimination that indisputably lingers in the job market.
As a result, the unemployment rate for black men in America ages 20 to 24 has remained more than twice that of their white peers. Among 15- to 24-year-olds, the homicide rate has been about 18 times higher for black than white men. Black men of all ages are six times as likely as whites to be incarcerated. And between incarceration and premature death, some 1.5 million black men in America are effectively missing from their communities.
My young black brother, I want you to know that even in your supposed deficiency, you are worthy of life, born with an exceptional purpose. You were not born to be unsuccessful or carry feelings of inadequacy, you were born a king.
Persistent lack of acknowledgment rears resentment, bitterness and thoughts of inadequacy. Your life is too precious to stay covered in a barrel of disentanglement with your superior purpose. Even in the face of adversity, you still must fight. Must wake up every morning and be aware of the greatness that you are born of.
We can not afford to be broken. We’ve been broken for too long. Develop the courage to stand up and be counted for when uppity jokers make it in this world and become haughty egos, pimping judgment on the black folks who ‘just can’t seem to get it together’. Do not be fooled to think that those faces are white. We have some folks who share the same skin color that carry extreme class issues. They want no parts of the poor or uneducated.
Poverty or not, education is key. Education doesn’t stop in the classroom. Get education to the maximum level achievable. We cannot afford to allow our minds to suffer by not reading for critical consciousness. My young black brother, you are a real man!
Real men are accountable. Real men are a benefit to themselves and community, not a liability. Real men cry. Real men do not relate power with violence against women. Real men search for solutions to problems rather than make excuses. Real men read for important consciousness all through an entire lifetime. Real men study. Real men write. Real men do not let thinking of manliness and patriarchy to become the blood from which they beat. Real men look out for mentors and wise guidance.
My young black brother, make a pledge to rise to excellence. Identify your purpose. Make a mental picture board, post faces of all the people, writers, artists, books, and family members that inspire you. On your ride to fulfilling your purpose, should you forget the greatness from whence you come from, take out that board as a reminder to the inner fire that lays doormat in your soul. No obstacle is too great that you can’t overcome, young black man move to action; you can achieve anything because you are a king!