Not Another Statistic.

Being a Black Male in America is by far one the toughest things to deal with in this country. We are stereotyped based on what rappers say in their music or how actors portray us in the latest blockbuster movie. We are judged before we even open our mouths to say our name or where we are from. The Black Male is the most hated but yet the most copied man in America in our generation. We are seen as lazy, drug dealing, fatherless thugs by many people of different races but they don’t understand what we have to go through. We are also seen as “ignorant”,which is having the lack of knowledge or training. But who are the real ignorant people in our society?
I grew up in East Baltimore not the poorest place in Maryland but far from a gated community and I experienced many of the problems our black males have today. Two out Three black children live in poverty stricken neighborhoods while growing up compared to the six percent of white children that live in poverty stricken neighborhoods. (Neighborhoods and the Black-White Mobility Gap.) I lived in a drug infested neighborhood where there were needles or bags used for packaging weed found lying where we would played football. I knew kids that sold drugs with their older siblings but I knew that wasn’t a path I wanted to go down. Not knowing where a next meal will come from is a lot of pressure to put on a young child so the decreases the concentration for other parts of their lives. I was poor for a certain years in my life as a child where as we didn’t have electricity or hot water for periods of time. Also, we would have to constantly live with different relatives or my mother’s friends. I attended four differently elementary schools throughout these times because of the constant relocations. I would make friends one school year then have to make a completely new set of friends the next while worrying about where we were going to live the next months.
The school systems didn’t help build us black boys into young black men because they couldn’t. According to the US Department of Education, 18 percent of post secondary school students attend high poverty schools compared to two percent of white secondary students. In some of the schools I attended we didn’t have working computers, the plumbing was terrible, or there wasn’t enough books for each student. This was extremely difficult for children when we were trying to learn and there were only ten books with a class filled with 25 students. I remember having to share one book with an entire table of students. The books we did have were in poor condition and were outdated. We didn’t receive new books every couple of years like schools in the richer counties did. The Center for American progress reports, schools with 90 percent or more students of color spend $733 less per student per year than schools with 90 percent or more White students. We didn’t receive the same education as our white equals we received the watered down version. Without an acceptable education how does society expect our young black teens to take education seriously. If the government doesn’t believe in our school systems enough to put better teachers and more funding into them why would black males believe it will help them become successful in the future. I went to public schools in baltimore county with a majority of white children attending and there was a huge difference in the teaching styles at those schools. I was one of the lucky people that was able to move to a better neighborhood but many people can’t afford to do that.
There are many obstacles that attempt to keep young black males from being as successful or as wealthy as other races in our country but I continue to better myself to break these barriers. The only positive stereotypes we receive are about sports, hip-hop, or being athletic. We are seen as illiterate, stupid, or just plain ignorant by many people and by our own race. There are many of these problems we have to fix within our own culture first. Growing up as a kid I was told I wasn’t “black enough” by many of my peers because I received good grades or I didn’t wear my pants hanging off my butt. Or I would be called white because I used correct grammar when needed. I want to prove that you don’t have to be stupid or a what society calls a “thug” to earn respect from young black males. I am a full-time college student passing all of my classes with a B or better and sometimes my pants do hang below my waist but that doesn’t define my race.
My final point I want to make is that the statistics are against us whether it is dealing with how many black males drop out or that there is a 32.2% chance of black males going to prison compared to 5.9% of white males. (Black Star Project.) We can either add onto theses numbers or be the reason they change over the next twenty or so years. I have made my decision that I will not be another statistic on these websites and my goal is to inspire other young black males to make the same choices as me or even better choices than I have made.


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