Thursday, July 17, 2014

Published 9:30 AM by with 0 comment

Black Male Incarceration Reality

Yes, We Rise| Black male incarceration reality
Lewis Hicks, former slave of Robert Hendry: Fort Green, Florida

I've always believed that, if one works hard enough most situations can be mastered. I also believe that one's works should reach beyond one's own timeline (paying it forward).

The past several years have taught me the art of reevaluation: the economic collapse, the election of a Black President, societal changes (social media, legal precedents) have had a profound impact on everyone's lives. Even though we seem to have made progress there are still issues that truly frighten me. The high rate of incarceration /low graduation rate are two of them.

What can be done about this? 

More Black males are incarcerated than were enslaved in 1850, proportionally and numerically. The overriding issue, is the lack of micro leadership within our community.

Micro leadership - leadership on a familial or community level. i.e. the elder in the community that everyone listens to.

The church, the steadfast center of social justice for generations, seems to be wayward today. Mainstream acceptance of black preachers seems to have muted the progressive stance of the church.  They have become more exclusive and less inclusive.

Our children have been raised by BET.  Their children are being raised by internet sites like World Star Hip Hop or reality shows like Love and Hip Hop. These outlets are not setting good examples of leadership and direction. We look for leadership everywhere but within.

As I stated before micro leadership is missing. What are you doing? Who are you teaching? When your leaders are celebrities that have gotten rich from leading, we have a problem. MLK, Martin, Medger were leaders of the previous generation and they didn't live for the spotlight. Instead, they died for freedom and equality. The least that we can do today is to lead one to enlightenment.

Each one teach one. 

We can stop the 'Chiraq' situation through educating youth and giving them real world survival skills. Skills such as how to fill out an application (college, employment, credit), the value of code switching, cultural duality and the real meaning of 'keeping it real'.

Code switching - the shifting between different cultural and linguistic spaces and different parts of our identities — sometimes within a single interaction.

What are you thoughts about black men and the incarceration issue? Share your thoughts below in the comments.

In support of our brothers...
Dr. Headley

Links and resources for more information:

Article: More black men are in prison today that were enslaved in 1850

Article: Five reasons why people code switch

Book: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness


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