2009-05-09 12:03:53
The Trouble With Black Boys in The Bahamas
As I look at black boys across the social landscape I feel very sorry for them. For not only are they marginalized but many of them have no sense of who they are or where they are going.

By their behavior, young black males seem always to feel that they must do something outrageous to prove themselves.

As I pass through the various inner-city neighborhoods daily, under every tree, it seems at every corner and behind every wall you will find cumulatively, hundreds if not thousands of young black boys.

Many have never worked or do not plan to do so. Many of them have the BGSCE qualification but are qualified to do nothing. The overall profile represents a colossal waste of human potential which apparently no other race suffers.

In my view, the problem with black boys in The Bahamas has nothing to do with their intellect. Indeed the history of the black race is replete with unsurpassed intellectual brilliance out of which sprung both mathematical and scientific inventions.

The intellectual capacity is there. Part of the problem is that our black boys, and indeed the black race on the whole, have been told a whole heap of lies about themselves that over time they have come to believe and internalize. The minds of black boys must be purged of all the lies and myths, about self and the psyche and must be educated afresh before black boys and black men can emerge as a positive force with which to be reckoned.

The trouble with black boys in The Bahamas is inextricably bound up in the glaring absence of the males, the fathers within their lives. The majority of homes in The Bahamas are headed by females. The fathers from whose loins the "black boys" sprung are absent.

The fact is that boys who have been deprived of the powerful and overwhelming influence of a father can never reflect the benefits of fatherhood and understand the values of responsibility, industry, respect and the call to manhood. In spite of the tremendous impact that single mothers have on boys, not even the greatest mother can teach her son to be a man.

In a strange and perverse way, the black community, itself, has started to wage a kind of war against young black men and has become part of this destructive process.

The trouble with black boys is the trouble with black families. It is the trouble that plagues black communities and the trouble that continues to haunt the black race. It is, in part, the problem of self-doubt, of imitation and a culture of failure for which a strong counter-narrative must be initiated with much urgency. The question as to what is the trouble with black boys cannot remain rhetorical; it must be answered now, if the threat to the social order is to be averted.

As published in The Tribune
Saturday, May 9, 2009
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