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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When I Don't Support My Sisters

An editorial contemplating a supposed tenant of feminism in light of a corrupt administration

Picture for a moment, if you will, going back to the year 2016. It’s a bit painful, I know, but bear with me.

Political debates were heated. Bernie supporters were noticeably upset. Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump were supposed to be having intelligent arguments that seemed to mostly consist of out-shouting matches. Jill Stein was gunning for raising money to recount votes in an effort to combat Russian-influenced or otherwise-influenced voter fraud. I heard a lot of talk about voting third party “to rebel”…and we all know how that ended up.

I attend an emphasis-on-liberal liberal arts college, but was still in connection with my old school, an all-girls Catholic high school. I’ll admit I got caught up the fervor of rooting for our potential “first woman president!” and though I voted for Bernie in the primaries, I generally understood the importance of not splitting the vote, so I voted for Hillary in the general election.

Again, we all know how this worked out.

After several weeks, Trump came out with his cabinet appointments. And someone, in the grand sphere of the internet who figured out how to get a decent amount of attention on social media (I forget who), decided it was a good idea to clump Betsy Devos, Ivanka Trump, and Melania Trump in with Hilary and say that if we, Hilary’s voters, did not root for these women, then clearly we were hypocrites for doing the whole “women must support each other” thing for only Hilary. “Give them a chance,” they said.

At risk of the Lord blasting me with lightning (please, He knows me already), I’d like to point out that this is not the first time I’ve heard this sort of message. A variation of it was popular in my high school: “We must support our sisters. We must bring each other up instead of tearing each other down.”

To be clear, this is by no means a bad message and no, no one from my school brought up the warped variation of it in favor of the aforementioned women…as far as I know. In this dog-eat-dog economy and this country that still really needs to work on being more gender inclusive, racially inclusive, religiously inclusive, and every other kind of inclusive, some help from your fellow humans should always be welcome.

This message was basically my high school’s motto, for all intents and purposes.

As a person with anxiety, especially, I felt the genuineness of the message. “Real” women would be supportive or at least mature when I was struggling, and I was 100% for lifting up other people because I knew no one really wants to be left alone on the sidelines and struggling.

It felt really dirty that someone would throw my school’s motto at me like an unwanted crucifix. That was my motto, too. No one should get to do that.

In light of Illinois having a Republican woman running for governor who seems to think helping and acknowledging LGBTQ people is bad and Trump calling Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas,” I am really questioning the whole “support my sisters” thing.

Because sometimes, I have realized, I definitely do not want to support my “sisters” – as a morally sound person. Not that Elizabeth Warren should have been called Pocahontas – she shouldn’t have, and that still makes me angry for all cultures and genders involved – but just this idea of all women being my sisters. That I shouldn’t disagree with their decisions and lifestyles on the grounds of “family.” It must be more complicated than that.

Things I do agree with:

We should not tear down a woman because she was cheated on in the past.

We should not tear down a woman because some extremist in her culture, religion, or race in another part of the world decided to commit a horrible crime.

We should not tear down a woman if she made mistakes in the past and is trying to improve herself.

We should not tear down a woman because she had or still has an illness of any sort.

We should not tear down a woman for not being cis-gendered.

We should not tear down a woman because she came from a “bad” (by any definition of the word) family or a bad place.

We should not tear down a woman for struggling with school or finances.

We should not tear down a woman for putting her motherhood first.

We should not tear down a woman for showing emotions.

These truths I hold to be self-evident, because in this way we women were all created equal (see what I did there?). To tear down a woman for something she cannot help is just dirty and cruel. As for the school and money part, what human on Earth hasn’t, at some point, been short on money or gotten a bad grade or struggled to understand an academic concept? Okay, possibly don’t answer that, but you get my point. No one is perfect. Struggle makes us human. Emotions also make us human, and are completely healthy.

On the other hand, things I do not agree with include supporting a woman who does not care about the negative consequences of her actions on the people she is supposed to serve.

When Trump was first elected and put Betsy Devos in office, my only objection to her was that she favored charter schools and had never been through or put her children through the public education system. She has now continuously not addressed the tragically growing amount of school shootings that have affected too many educational institutions, instead opting to either not say anything or going to visit only for a photo opportunity. She also seems to have participated in creating recent budgets that have drastically cut funding to public education.

Ivanka Trump was declared – unconstitutionally, I might add – an advisor to the president, despite her status as family, and has been sent on multiple diplomatic missions to foreign countries that seem to end in little gained for our country and something always gained for her clothing business. Something just seems really off about a fashion mogul seemingly using her presidential job to further herself. I’m not even mad about her not being able to influence her father; I just don’t understand why government money is seemingly being spent on a fashion company.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders – daughter of Mike Huckabee and no relation to Bernie – for some odd reason is content with her job of covering for the president, and I don’t understand it. No, I’m not going to use her facial expressions as proof of guilt. I’ve seen perfectly truthful people whose eyes do the same thing. It seems unnerving that someone could be comfortable pretending that a corrupt person’s point of view is the truth for so long, especially given Trump’s latest deeds as president. The same goes for the similar case of Kellyanne Conway, who was Trump’s campaign manager and now is famous for the term “alternate facts” and for promoting Ivanka’s fashion line while in the capacity of working for Donald Trump.

Omarosa Manigault remains a wild card for me. I can see a person being grateful to someone who gave them a big break in their career. I can also see how journalists or social justice leaders would take advantage of the juxtaposition of a black woman with Nigerian parentage willingly working for a racist, sexist, and anti-immigrant boss and go off-topic in interviews. I cannot, however, quite see why a person would buy into a hateful agenda, why she would work as his aide for this long, or why she would only be speaking up now - unless she believes that will somehow get her out of the Mueller investigation, maybe. I can’t figure her out any more than I can figure out Ben Carson.

As you can see, I don’t always support my “sisters.” I also think it’s a bit unfair to call them my sisters. I would think “family” would care for each other’s well-being, and these women do not seem to really be doing that for me.

Cover Image Credit: BRYAN WOOLSTON / Reuters

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National Walkout Day: Students Demand A Call To Action


A month after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that resulted in the deaths of 17 students, the U.S. now sees thousands of students staging a National School Walkout.

On March 14th, 2018, schools permitted high school and college students to leave their classes for 17 minutes, honoring the 17 victims of the shooting and attempting to pressure Congress to pass long-sought-after gun control legislation. Organizers emerged nationwide, but the push is largely attributed to the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in partnership with EMPOWER, the youth department of the Women’s March. Under the title 'March For Our Lives,' students put forth a mission statement “to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues,” as well as to demand that the lives and safety of students be treated as a priority.

They look to send one message:

“Enough. We have seen enough senseless gun violence; we have lived in fear too long. We have buried too many heroes. We demand better.”

Starting at 10 a.m., Eastern time, demonstrations extended beyond school property, leading to marches and, in Washington, large gatherings around the White House. In New York, some public officials took to protest; Governor Andrew Cuomo, Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers, and Michael Mulgrew of the United Federation of Teachers engaged with a student “lie-in.”

Granted, the movement did not garner support from every school administration, some even threatening disciplinary action and facing defiance from student populations. As the numbers indicate, however, many districts allowed students the personal choice to participate, backing them with permission slips and allotted time frames for protest.

The walkout marks one of many continuing demonstrations. The official 'March For Our Lives' is scheduled to take place on the 24th of this month, and is meant to occupy the nation’s capital as well as the “town squares, city centers, rural roads, and village parks” that are available nationwide. The second walkout is set to occur on April 10th, the anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. The protests have clear implications; Florida Governor Rick Scott rebuked the National Rifle Association last week in signing into law a measure that would raise the minimum age from 18 to 21 to purchase a firearm in the state.

The walkout is a clear representation of the youth that is actively working for their cause, and that will not rest until it is seen through. Per their site, “Our voices need to echo into the future if our friends, our siblings, and our bodies are to be safe. Then it will be enough.” We must continue to demand change.
Cover Image Credit: Issac Tafolla / Twitter

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