The Need For Role Models In The Black Community

The Need For Role Models In The Black Community

Having A Role Model, Especially While Being An African American Is Necessary.

Growing up black, outside of my parents, I didn’t have a role model. Looking up to your parents/guardian as role models while growing up is definitely not a bad thing. The benefits I got from looking up to my parents as my role models were learning how not to depend on anybody for anything and always, at least, attempt or try to do it yourself. Another valuable lesson, I got from my parents/role models was to always respect others and not to lose focus in school.

The problem I see in today’s community is the lack of role models in society. I asked my 10-year-old brother who does he look up to? He simply said he doesn’t know. The typical answers I receive from this question is either athletes or rappers. While having these type of people as role models are acceptable, it's hard to name role models in the black community that are not rappers or athletes, with the exception of Barack Obama. Barack Obama is a great person for young African-American men to look up to because he has all the attributes of a successful person and can relate to many people growing up in these minority communities. In addition to having these type of role models, I believe that it is necessary for kids and adolescents to have a hands-on role model. There needs to be more role models, with a business and educational backgrounds. With the increase of single mother households, a lot of boys don’t have the opportunity to have a masculine role model in the house, which can lead to several consequences. According to the U.S Census Bureau, in the African American community, 64 percent of kids live in father-absent homes. It has been proven that boys without father figures in their life try to raise themselves. This may be due to several reasons including the mother not being able to raise him, or with them being at a financial disadvantage.

With violence and drugs at almost every corner due to the lack of employment and equal educational opportunities, an overwhelming percentage of African Americans teenagers get involved in the street life. It is astonishing that in one community a child can say, “ it’s easier to find drugs and violence than to find a positive role model as a male in the black community”. Anthony King, a Detroit PTA President said in a meeting that this shift in households where households were father-absent occurred 30-40 years ago. I say all of this not to discredit the strong positive men in these communities who are focused on providing for their families. With this being said, these men are not obligated to volunteer in the community.

Research has shown that kids with father-figures or role models are more motivated about school and even get better grades while also raising the chances of college attendance.To solve this there should be a movement where strong, positive black men who have the ability to change many kids lives become active in the community, even if it is minimal involvement. These type of men need to become more visible in the community because it seems as if they are almost invisible. Churches and other organizations can organize programs that can guide and keep these adolescent and kids on the right path.

Cover Image Credit: On Point

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.

It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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All Good Things Are Wild And Free, Right?

Free your soul and be happy.

The word 'free' can allude to many things. My mom always says that nothing is ever free. But what about your soul? Is it free? Does everyone have a free soul? I think that everyone has the potential to have a free soul but whether or not they decide to live that lifestyle is up to them.

Until recently, I never thought of myself as a free spirit, but I am. Although I didn’t begin with a free soul, I evolved into one. Life throws you trials and tribulations and it's meant for you to grow from these obstacles. And I have.

People always question me about my careless attitude. Careless meaning that I don’t care what others think. I never actually answer the question, but here’s the answer: once you figure out that you can’t make everyone happy by the decisions you make and start doing the things that make you happy is when you become free from others.

The phrase “damned if you, damned if you don’t” applies here perfectly. People will find something wrong with you and your life decisions no matter what you decide. There’s no way to make everyone happy, it's just not possible.

I don’t wake up in the mornings to please anyone but myself. To have a free soul you must do the things that make you and you alone happy.

Free souls are happy souls. Finding inner happiness takes time. It takes being at rock bottom to find your own happiness. Being happy within means that you don’t have to rely on anyone to be happy, and that’s how it should be.

When you give other people the privilege of holding the key to your happiness chances are they’ll fail you. Other people can contribute to your overall happiness but always remember who you are and put your happiness first because if you’re not happy with yourself then how do you expect to keep someone else happy?

Do you, boo. It’s so cheesy, I know, but it’s how to keep you and your soul free from others control. Live your life and live it like there’s no tomorrow. Don’t live your days full of worry, regret, and unhappiness. Do the things that are necessary for you to be happy, who cares what other people think. If you’re unhappy and they’re happy, how is this benefitting you? It’s not.

Be selfish. Be selfish with your happiness and your freedom.

You don’t owe anything to anyone. Once you figure out that your own happiness should come first that’s when you begin to be free. And just a hint, the people that you’re trying so hard to please and make happy, don’t care about your happiness. So why should you care about theirs?

If you want to be free, then do you. Do the things that make you happy, stop caring about what others think. Find that inner happiness that is guaranteed every day, because it’s your own.

Cover Image Credit: Kallee Gambrel

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