The Plight of the Young African American Male Carteret NJ - Looking through the eyes of the next generation, depending on which side of the fence you’re on, things would look very bleak from the young black man's view point. It would seem as if the issue of black male role models is an issue that is having a hard time being addressed. The next generation has grown up and now they are facing an uncertain future. I don't think that I have to point out the problems as they are many and I am not interested in bringing up the issue just for talking points. Real solutions have been few at best and that is just for those that actually are taking the time to talk. How did we reach here, how did we get to a point in life where young black man's future consist of dropping out of school, working a job that pays minimum wage or finding themselves in the penal system. I had to ask my daughter her point of view as I wanted to see things from her perspective since she is part of that generation. What she said was an eye opener. Basically she said that this is what the end looks like because there are no more role models anymore, nothing to look forward to. We saw this coming, when fathers leave their families for whatever reason, having the mother to raise the child by herself, this action will undoubtedly have consequences. Though there are many wonderful single mothers that have raised their young men to become well rounded citizens, the fact still remains that a male child needs a male figure to look to, so they have a model that they could walk after. It is said that a child copy what they see around them and will do what is shown to them. But what happens in a fatherless home? In this case the child looks outward towards his peers or any father-like figure in his surroundings. This is where gang's perception of "family" becomes appealing in their eyes. We are leaving an entire generation behind who won't be equipped to face some of life's most difficult challenges. One of the main reasons for the generational gap has to do with relationships between the male figures in our community. Being a man from the Caribbean Jamaica, to be exact, I am deeply rooted in my heritage, my dad made sure of that. This was accomplished by him making sure I met most of my family from a young age. This was important because it gave me a sense of belonging, it showed me my identity and it was ingrained in me that I am to be proud of my heritage and who I am and who's name I carry. One could make the argument that if the father is not around then there's no one to show the child his heritage. Well that is where the family gatherings come in. We, as African Americans love to socialize, we have a cookout every chance we get. Now I would go as far as to say that this is an opportunity that has not been taken advantage of in many black families. For example, picture the scene of the average cookout, you have the older ones in group talking about church and bingo, then you have the teenagers talking about hip hop and Jersey Shore and the younger ones playing basketball and other games. When a child comes over amidst the older folks, he or she is told to go play. We have to understand that we, the men in the society have to acknowledge that our heritage is important and has to be cherished. The Jewish people have one of the richest heritages in the world. I am sure they, too, have their family issues but for the most part the kids grow up with a strong sense of family and belonging. These are the very values that they will use to build their families and pass on to their children. The African American fathers can learn from the Jewish family, by coming to grips with the fact that bridging the gap with the next generation is of the utmost importance and it is our duty to show them a clear path forward.