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.