Black Male Responsibility Mentoring Development (BMRMD) is a strength-based psycho-education model that is gender and cultural specific. Being strength-based, BMRMD assesses the inherent strengths of young African American males including their culture of Hip-Hop and builds on them. BMRMD instills spirituality and cultural pride: it uses their personal strengths along with character development to aid in resiliency, empowerment, and delinquency prevention. Through the process of psycho-education, BMRMD seeks to reframe the perception of young Black males to be positively motivated; to find good and a chance of success even in the worst situation. BMRMD is based on the 4R’s of Reality, Responsibility, Respect, and Righteousness with the learning objectives of (1) Maturing to the facts of life, (2) Accountability and Self-Control, (3) Sense of Self-Worth and the worthiness of others, and (4) Moral conduct.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Importance of Mentoring Black Boys

by Matthew Lynch

Like many Black boys growing up in Cincinnati, Wesley Gallaher had dreams of becoming a star basketball player. However, soon after he entered the University of Cincinnati, he was contacted by members of a group called the Hearts and Minds Pipeline Program, which has teamed up with Mercy Health to provide minority students with exposure to medical professions. 

As founder Gary Favors says, “Our Black boys can do more than play athletics. We have to stop pigeon-holing them and start exposing them to other areas of interest.” 

African Americans are underrepresented in the medicine; in fact, only 2.5 percent of medical school entrants are Black, a number that appears to have stagnated a number that appears to have stagnate in recent years.

Favors worked closely with Gallaher, encouraging him to enter the medical field. Gallaher said, “A medical career was never in our scope growing up. It was never about being a doctor or engineer. It was all about being the next LeBron.” 

What Favors and other members of the mentoring group did for Gallaher was broaden that scope. Following Favors encouragement, Gallaher got his degree in medical science and now works as a technician in a lab at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He, in turn, has acted as a mentor in the Hearts and Minds program, offering others the chance to broaden their scope.

In a study of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program published in Sage Journal, researchers Jean Grossman and Joseph Tierney stated: “Over the 18-month follow-up period, youths participating in Big Brothers Big Sisters Programs were significantly less likely to have started using illegal drugs or alcohol, hit someone, or skipped school. They were also more confident about their school performance and got along better with their families” (Grossman and Tierney 1998).

Other studies have turned up similar results. For example, Yolanda Barbier Gibson writes in the Journal of Mason Graduate Research
that African American males in mentoring programs tend to show higher self-esteem, higher levels of academic motivation, and performance. 

Also, evidence shows that when African American males have been given the opportunity to participate in higher education, and when well-conceived and formatted support systems such as mentoring programs are in place, they have been successful.”

At its best, mentoring redirects the focus from sports, music, and video games, giving Black boys support for intellectual pursuit they often lack at home or among their peers. 

An ideal mentor is a successful person in the community: someone who has completed his education and now has a solid job. 

These mentors offer tangible alternatives to the sports-and-entertainment visions Black boys obsess over and are often the only such role models the boys will encounter.

Do you think that providing Black boys with mentors will help them diversify their career options, as opposed to blindly choosing sports or entertainment?

Saturday, September 9, 2017

4 troubling Truths About Black Boys and the US Educational System

by Matthew Lynch

Most people like to think that American K-12 schools, workplaces and courthouses are pillars of fairness, but statistic after statistic all point to a crisis among the young, Black men of the nation. 

This crisis begins in homes, stretches to K-12 educational experiences, and leads straight to the cycle of incarceration in increasingly high numbers.

In America's prison systems, black citizens are incarcerated at six times the rates of white ones - and the NAACP predicts that one in three of this generation of Black men will spend some time locked up.

Decreasing the rates of incarceration for black men may actually be a matter of improving educational outcomes for black boys in America. In his piece "A Broken Windows Approach to Education Reform," Forbes writer James Marshall Crotty makes a direct connection between drop-out and crime rates.

Crotty argues that if educators will simply take a highly organized approach to keeping kids in school, it will make a difference in the crime statistics of the future.

While there are many areas of improvement that we could look at changing for more successful outcomes for black men, I will discuss just four indicators that illustrate the current situation for black boys in the U.S., with the hope of starting a conversation about what we can do to produce a stronger generation of Black young men in our society.

1. Black boys are more likely to be placed in special education

While it is true that Black boys often arrive in Kindergarten classrooms with inherent disadvantages, they continue to experience a "behind the 8-ball" mentality as their school careers progress.

Black boys are more likely than any other group to be placed in special education classes, with 80 percent of all special education students being Black or Hispanic males.

Learning disabilities are just a part of the whole picture. Black students (and particularly boys) experience disconnection when it comes to the authority figures in their classrooms.

The K-12 teaching profession is dominated by white women, many of whom are very qualified and very interested in helping all their students succeed but lack the first-hand experience needed to connect with their Black male students.

2. Black boys are more likely to attend schools without the adequate resources to educate them. 

Schools with majority Black students tend to have lower numbers of teachers who are certified in their degree areas. A U.S. Department of Education report found that in schools with at least 50 percent Black students, only 48 percent were certified in the subject, compared with 65 percent in majority white schools. In English, the numbers were 59 and 68 percent, respectively and in science, they were 57 percent and 73 percent.

3. Black boys are not reading at an adequate level. 

In 2014, the Black Star Project published findings that just 10 percent of eighth-grade Black boys in the U.S. are considered "proficient" in reading. In urban areas like Chicago and Detroit, that number was even lower. 

By contrast, the 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress found that 46 percent of white students are adequate readers by eighth grade, and 17 percent of Black students as a whole are too.

The achievement gap between the two races is startling, but the difference between the NAEP report on Black students as a whole and the Black Star findings of just Black boys is troubling too. It is not simply Black children in general who appear to be failing in the basics - like literacy; it is the boys.

Reading is only one piece of the school puzzle, of course, but it is a foundational one. If the eighth graders in our schools cannot read, how will they ever learn other subjects and make it to a college education (or, in reality, to a high school diploma)?

Reading scores tell us so much more than the confines of their statistics. I believe these numbers are key to understanding the plight of young Black men in our society as a whole.

4. Punishment for black boys is harsher than for any other demographic. 

Punishment for Black boys - even first-time offenders - in schools is harsher than any other demographic. Consider these facts:

*Black students make up just 18 percent of children in U.S. preschools, but make up half of those youngsters who are suspended.

*Black boys receive two-thirds of all school suspensions nationwide - all demographics and both genders considered.

*In Chicago, 75 percent of all students arrested in public schools are Black

What's most troubling is that not all of the Black boys taken from their schools in handcuffs are violent, or even criminals.

Increasingly, school-assigned law enforcement officers are leading these students from their schools hallways for minor offenses, including class disruption, tardiness and even non-violent arguments with other students.

It seems that it is easier to remove these students from class through the stigma of suspension or arrest than to look for in-school solutions.

School suspension, and certainly arrest, is just the beginning of a life considered on the wrong side of the law for many Black boys. By 18 years of age, 30 percent of Black males have been arrested at least once, compared to just 22 percent of white males.

Those numbers rise to 49 percent for Black men by the age of 23, and 38 percent of white males. Researchers from several universities concluded earlier this year that arrests early in life often set the course for more crimes and incarceration throughout the rest of the offender's lifetime.

No wonder young black men aren't in college!

These trends are not conducive to improving the numbers of young black men who are able to attend college. In fact, the numbers are dismal when it comes to black young men who attend and graduate from colleges in the U.S.

Statistically speaking, black men have the lowest test scores, the worst grades and the highest dropout rates - in K-12 education, and in college too.

The recognition of this educational crisis has led to some strong initiatives targeted at young black men with the intention of guiding them through the college years and to successful, productive lives that follow.

This is why college motivation within and outside the black community is so vital for these young men. At this point in the nation's history, they are in the greatest need for the lifestyle change that higher education can provide, and not just for individual growth, but also for the benefit of the entire nation.

But in order to get there, black boys must experience the motivation to succeed well before college.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Dr. Umar Johnson on the Destruction of Black Boys

Lost Generation of Young Black Men

by Roger Caldwell

There is a crisis in America in the Black community, because it seems no one cares that black boys and young black men are failing in school. Way too many of them expect to fail and too many of them are preoccupied with being professional basketball and football players, rap stars, or gangsters.

Seventy percent of black families are run by single women, and young brothers have no idea of how to be a man. As blacks it is time to tell the truth about street-life and Black on Black violence that is claiming hundreds of thousands of young black men’s lives in our communities.

”Since 1980 to 2013, more than 260,000 black men have been killed in America” says Mich Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans. America has given up on black boys and young men and the majority of them see no way out of their circumstances.

In 2017, too many black boys and young men cannot read. This impacts them in everything they do, and their mothers are too busy working and paying bills to educate them.

A good friend of mine who has a college degree and a good job in Maryland, mentors a group of 20 Black young men every Tuesday from the community. After talking to them for five weeks about the importance of education, no one in the group had a report card with a GPA higher than 2.0. The young men thought it was funny, and it appeared that they were satisfied with their results.

In many major cities across the country such as Newark, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans and Washington D.C., the schools are not working and there aren’t enough decent-paying jobs in the community. The unemployment rate is over 50% in most cities, and young black men are killing each other because they can’t envision anything better for themselves.

“What you’re going to see is a huge governing failure on the part of our society. This country has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country. That’s failure” says Mayor Landrieu.

Within the black community in every major city across the country, you will find the same pattern. 1 out of 3 Black men will go to prison, and 80% of murder victims are believed to have known their killer. Buying a gun is cheaper than buying a pair of sneakers, and too many young Black men have one.

In Chicago in 2016, the city leads the country with over 500 deaths, and this is directly related to drugs and gang street warfare. Black boys as young as 8 to 10 years old are running and selling guns and drugs. They have already decided how they plan to make their money, and no parent (mostly the woman) is going to stop them.

Black boys and young men are dying for lack of respect from others on the street, and they are out of control, but where are the solutions? It’s more than just institutional racism, poor neighborhoods, police brutality, the hip-hop culture, drugs, and guns, it’s systemic specific genocide that’s the fundamental reason so many Black boys and men are dying in America.

The criminal justice system is the civil rights issue in 2017 in the Black community. “Right now, blacks make up 12% of the population but almost 60% of those doing time are drug related – and according to the Sentencing Project, these Black prisoners are serving almost as much time for their drug offenses as Whites are for actual violent crimes” says reporter Wilbert Cooper. 1.5 million prime-aged black men are missing in America; they’re either behind bars or pushing up daisies.

There is a lost generation of young Black boys and young men in America, there must be crucial conversations and ‘right now’ interventions to save them. Young black men are dying in the streets and/or jails/prisons, and there appears to be no hope.

When it comes to saving young black males it seems the black community has become apathetic, defeatist, and fatalistic. It’s unfortunate it seems that too many young black men feel that “the day they were born, there was a pine box and a prison cell built with their names on it” says reporter Wilbert Cooper.