I heard about President Obama’s initiative last week to “empower boys and young men of color,” but I chose to write a brief synopsis over the Oscars instead. Why? Well honestly hearing about black [male] youth in America is frustrating. From the many who have died in senseless deaths, to those who have been stopped and frisked unnecessarily, to others garnering absurd criminal sentences for an offense, while some are just trying to take a step forward only to be dragged back… it’s astounding. I’ll take you on a jaunt of the eye-opening, [borderline] depressing internet joyrneys I’ve been on in recent weeks.
1. You can die from walking through someone’s yard [after someone chases you down of course]
2. You can get a DUI for having bloodshot eyes [that dang chlorine..]
4. You can basically get a life sentence at the age of 14 [note to self… never commit a crime in FL]
5. You can view 21 other reasons here. This is all too much.
So while there is much negative news out there about growing up a minority male in America, it is great that President Obama has started his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative which joins together local and national leaders in philanthropy, business, government, faith communities, and the media. This team will try to foster solutions that challenge boys and young men of color. General Colin Powell, Michael Bloomberg, Marcia Fudge, and Magic Johnson are just a few leaders who want to evoke change through this program.
While it is quite perplexing that so many people find fault with an initiative that is supposed to move this nation forward (just read the comments in these Washington Post, CNN and CBS articles), one can only hope that only small minded individuals have the time to actually leave comments on news articles.
In recent weeks, it’s crossed my mind that being black can be Frightening, Scary, Depressing, Disadvantageous… however, if you focus only on the bad you overlook all of the progress that has been made. From Obama, to the new ‘it girl’ Lupita, to the numerous accolades the Williams Sisters, LeBron James, Tiger Woods have garnered, one cannot say that progress is not being made. Does racism still exist? Yes. Is there biased injustice in our judicial system? Absolutely. However, the only way we can move forward as a nation is if we band together and quit trying to tear each other down – figuratively and literally.