How do we increase the numbers of black men in college?

Discussion in 'Black Men - Fathers - Brothers - Sons' started by panafrica, May 8, 2004.

  1. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    According to many statistics and personal accounts, the numbers of black men on college campuses are decreasing. Equally alarming is the amount of unemployment among black males in cities like New York & Baltimore. Some contribute the decrease of black men in college to a dwindling focus on education in high school. Instead black males are steered towards athletics & entertainment. What can be done to reverse this trend? Is the rising unemployment among black males reflective of the decreasing number of college graduates? Is a college education necessary for a black man to get a good job in American society? Is this indeed a negative trend, or is it no cause for alarm?
     
  2. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I think a solution to this problem would be for professionals, male and female, to come to grade schools and middle schools and talk to our youth about what their options are after high schoo.

    Unfortunately many parents are not giving their children the proper guidance. Some parents believe the schools should raise their children. I don't believe we can wait for these parents to become pro-active. With much that is given much is expected. Perhaps the black churches can step it, but I doubt it!
     
  3. MANASIAC

    MANASIAC Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    This is a Great Topic Brother Pan, thank your for starting. I want to add to Brother Sekhemu’s response:

    Here are some solutions that I think would help increase the number of black men in college.

    However, I would like to point out, before I begin, that this problem is just not exclusive to the African-American Community, this is another problem that affects all races; thus, the opinions provided can be applied to the plethora of races in our society.

    1. Genesis

    I think the root cause of this problem is the lack of encouragement for academic excellence within our nation and our communities. If we start early with programs and structured environments to encourage our young boys to learn, this will stay with them through their middle and high school years; thus leading them to college.

    2. Academic Excellence is looked down upon in this society.

    In the Black Community, people who are seeking to learn are considered nerds and sometimes-even sellouts. It is difficult for some kids because you got one crowd calling you a nerd and then you got another crowd calling you a sellout because you are learning. It is also more difficult for the young Black Male because some Black Females tend not to like you if you are smart or are trying to learn; thus, this negative reaction will cause a lot of young Black Men to pursue other interests which gain approval from their peers.

    3. Pedagogy and Public Education

    I think the Pedagogy of the entire American Education system needs to be revamped. Not every student learns the same. The current state of Public Education is in a crisis. Instead of training teachers to be diversified in their teach style, many colleges are pouring out teachers who lack any skills in recognizing the different learning patterns of our children. Their is also a demanding need for programs which in elementary school which encourage academic excellence. Too many times people try to tell you to learn when you get to HS or College and by then, it is too late. If you do not instill the want and need to learn early in child, it is going to be harder to instill it as an adult.

    4. The Parents must Be Active in Learning.

    I think another fault of this is the lack of parental involvement in their child’s academic affairs. Some parents feel like it is the job of the SCHOOL to teach their children. Parents need the balance the playstation2, Xbox, and other Non-Educational Television Programming that their children intake. A lot of kids are being instructed by their peers and the Media, simply because the parents are not involved. Parents need to create a home environment were academic excellence is excepted, lauded and encouraged. This environment can be created if the parents just took the time to read with their kids, help their kids study. Children from upper classes benefit from these environments and that one reason why they excel greater than that of the proletariat. However, I also think this is a societal issue as well. I think this society needs to address the overworking of parents, families are being decimated by labor in America. How can a parent create a learning environment at home when they always have to work overtime just to pay rent? Companies should be given incentives for giving more Maternity Leave and should create what I call Parental Leave. Parental Leave would enable a parent to take at least one day a week to spend at home with her or his child.

    5. Locking up Wisdom

    I think another problem that our community faces is the Locking up of our Wisdom or what you may call placing our elderly in nursing homes. If you have an elder in your family who is able and willing to help you raise and educate your child, I encourage you to let them assist you. Nowadays it takes a city to raise a child not just a village.

    Thank you for reading my post and thank you Brother PanAfrica for starting this thread it is very important. If any of this is convoluted please let me know and I will clarify. Thank you once again for reading.
     
  4. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thank you Brothers Sekhemu & Manasiac for responding. Both of you made excellent points. In my experience working in schools, I find that Black Males tend to focus on careers making fast money. Specifically they tend to gravitate towards athletics, music...even hustling in the absence of the previous two. I have nothing against Ballers or Rappers; however, considering that there are over 15 million black men in this country. It is unrealistic that every kid on the block is going to be in the NBA, NFL, or form their own record label. More realistic goals would be to become Bankers, Doctors, Lawyers, Office Managers...etc. We are perfectly capable of doing this; however, black boys are discouraged about thinking of these types of careers. Sadly this discouragement takes place not only among teachers (who have a limited view on what black men can achieve), but it is done even in the home. Quite frankly we need more black teachers to broaden the minds of our young black males....to show them there is more to life than what they see on TV.
     
  5. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Great thread. Glad you started it Brother Pan because somewhere else here we've had this discussion before as it's so important. All the comments thus far are excellent and on point. Brother Manasiac, your outline is very thorough and filled with common sense solutions. How simple and direct can it be? If only this problem was that simple though.

    What makes this problem so complicated are the people required to solve it--all of us. I don't know where the problem begins nor where it will end. There was a time in our not so distant past when education was one of our number one priorities. In the past 30 years however, many of us have witnessed a vast difference in our attitudes about and approach to education in the public school system. As Brother Manasiac has pointed out and I agree, there is a combination of issues that are reasons for this change in attitude and behavior. But although Brother Manasiac has pointed out that this isn't just a Black issue but a societal issue, I want to focus my comments on what I think is happening with Black families today.

    For one, I think that the nature of parenting has changed, and two, technology has changed the way we live and view the world. It's too easy to blame the decline of Black males in college to racism. If that was entirely true, then why are there so many sisters in college--aren't they Black? Although I believe that racism could play some role in this, I also think that we have too many opportunities available to us to counter that to a great degree. But it takes focus and willpower to make it through.

    What has changed about parents today that was different among those that focused more on their children's education and welfare? What do we see as major differences among Black parents and why?

    Technology has changed the culture within families today with video games, digital television, computers, etc., as Brother Manasiac wrote already, such that it creates a lot of noise and too many accessible distractions. Today's parents are spending a lot of time sitting as well, doing the same kinds of things.

    I think many of us need to learn the value of diversification and I don't mean in the sense of our financial portfolios but in building our educational arsenal. Do Black people put all of their eggs in one basket instead of practicing "it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it" adage? A college degree may not seem like much to many of us, but what happens to those who find they need one but don't have one?

    If our youth only want this or that--to be in the NBA or NFL, to make a lot of money fast or nothing at all, then don't you think that something is seriously wrong when that only happens to a very small fraction of a percent in this society and the majority who try end up back at home or worse, in the street?

    Our children are diagnosed with ADD and ADHD, but I wonder how much of that is true or simply symptoms that our youth are spending far too much time in front of the television and/or playing video games? True or not though, that type of diagnosis tracks our children in some very negative ways which impacts how they are taught or not taught.

    How many parents try to lessen the amount of time their children spend watching television or playing Xbox or Playstation games to see if their attention improves as it relates to other things? Not to create a double standard, parents need to practice this as well. If our children can't sit still and focus in the classroom, then why can many of them focus on the basketball court or playing field? What's the difference?

    Anyway, these are just a few of my thoughts for now. I'll add more later as the discussion continues.

    Peace,
    Queenie :spinstar:
     
  6. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Both my parents went to college and on to grad school. On my mothers side, women and to a lesser degree, men, have been going to college since reconstruction times. Where as my dad was a second generation college graduate

    Historically black families in the south would send girls to college in larger numbers in order to protect them from the pervasive sexual assault on the part of white employers. The obstacles for males had more to do with not appearing uppity, or God forbid look at a white woman with lust.

    In short the overall safety and future of black children became a determining factor in whether you went to college or did blue collar and/or share cropping.

    What is ironic about this is that, many black people who did own farms no longer own them today, in alarming numbers. But I digress

    Like brotha Pan stated earlier, today the trend seems to be to become an athlete or rapper. Reaching back is a must to help those that have little guidance
     
  7. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Education for the sake of education or education as a means to an end? As many of our young Black men think about college today, what thoughts do you think go through their minds? I've heard many say that they don't want to get caught up in the drudgery of a 9 to 5 job with no guarantees of being able to successfully compete for promotions or raises, in spite of the fact that they may have a college degree and often be over qualified for jobs.

    Many of us come from working class families that have struggled to make ends meet and stretch our paychecks from the beginning of the month to the end of the month. It's only been fairly recent that a few Black people have been allowed to sit at the corporate table and earn above average wages. How many of our youth actually have the opportunity to see who these people are as much as they see Black athletes and rappers?

    Given the amount of abundance that surrounds us and what we see as we compare our average to below average lifestyles (speaking economically) to professional athletes and most successful rappers, our youth's minds are being overly stimulated with what money can buy.

    Fewer and fewer want to go through the challenges they will face if they went to college because some don't think it's worth it. Because of the recent Supreme Court decision in the Univ. of Michigan cases, many colleges and universities plan to discontinue support programs designed to attract Black youth and support them when they arrive to college in many instances unprepared. With tuition steadily rising and federal financial aid in the form of grants, declining, it's getting tougher and tougher for many Black youth--male and female--to attend college.

    Reaching back to our youth is good, but what specific examples can you provide to describe what that entails and at what age does this begin? What's going to change to make our Black male population see the value in obtaining college degrees--undergraduate and graduate professional?

    Queenie :spinstar:
     
  8. Khasm13

    Khasm13 STAFF STAFF

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    the way things are going now...
    we can increase the number of black men in colleges
    by having the rappers make their videos with the scantly clad
    women, at some of the universities...i only jest, but there is truth in these wordz...
    the black male youth are patterning their lives off of what they see on television. televison unfortunately has become the educators of our youth...and this is a crying shame....
    one love
    khasm
     
  9. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    You know Khasm....there is truth to your words. Ironically my desire to attend a Black College (Morgan State University) came from watching A Different World, back in the day. TV definately influences youth, which is why it's important to show positive images.
     
  10. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    On average, there are more than enough Black men in our society who do positive things and seldom are recognized because of it. Many are in our homes helping to raise our Black youth every day and doing a good job of it. Some are uncles, sons and brothers. Not all of them have a formal education, but they know how to promote the value of an education and always encourage our youth to go beyond high school and on to college. Some have made mistakes in choices, learned from them and are doing what they can to prevent other Black males from repeating their mistakes. Many have never seen the inside of a prison and don't intend to if they can help it. They refuse to emulate prison wardrobe or mentality. They've never been accused of rape or charged with murder and therefore, don't need the services of Johnny Cochran. Their faces have not been plastered on television in a criminal mugshot and they don't leave the stadium after playing a professional high paying game to go home to a white wife and bi-racial babies. They refuse to talk using slang that degrades us as a people because they know the harm that it does. They work hard at being the best role model they can without pretense. They know they aren't perfect, but they are better than most people give them credit for. They don't seek recognition but they certainly have earned it. We need to stop confining our hero worshipping to the men we stare at on television and start paying tribute to those kings that we see everyday in our homes.

    In my humble opinion .

    Queenie :spinstar:
     
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