Raising Black Boys: Exploring the journey from boys to men

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Chicago, IL – A three-year-old boy struts down the street wearing “gangsta” gear. A fourth grade boy can’t read the comic book he holds in his hands. A teen male sells drugs to support his mother. A high school senior won’t be going to college because his parents can’t afford to send him. The old saying, “Boys will be boys,” takes on new meaning in the Black community, where boys are suffering from academic failure, low self-esteem, frustration, and a lack of direction.


According to Jawanza Kunjufu, author of the bestselling Raising Black Boys and a father of two sons, “The spirits of too many of our boys have been broken. During the preschool and kindergarten years, our boys are energetic and curious. They love learning and ask thousands of questions. There’s a glow in their eyes. By the time they reach high school, however, that glow has been replaced with suspicion and anger.”


The statistics paint a disturbing picture of life for Black boys:


  • 72 percent of African American boys lack a father in the home.
  • Nationally, African American males have a 53 percent chance of dropping out of high school. In some districts, the rates are significantly higher.
  • While African Americans make up 17 percent of the total school population, they account for 32 percent of the suspensions and 30 percent of all expulsions.
  • One of three Black males are involved with the penal system.
  • African American male teens are placed in remedial or special education classes at triple the rate of their white counterparts, and they are underrepresented in gifted and honors classes.

The top three influences on African American boys today are peer pressure, rap music, and television. However, Kunjufu believes that the greatest problems facing Black boys are a lack of spirituality and fatherlessness.


“If you look at all the woes in our society-drug addiction, teen pregnancy, illiteracy, grade retention, incarceration-the common thread running through them all is the absence of the father in a child’s life,” says Kunjufu.


The 9 Types of Fathers Explained in Raising Black Boys

  • Sperm Donors – define their masculinity based on the quantity of children they create, not the quality of their childrearing.
  • No-Show Dads – promise to pick the child up for the weekend, but they don’t show.
  • Ice Cream Dads – instead of spending quality time with the child, they buy presents out of guilt.
  • Dead Broke Dads – may be penniless, but they still want to participate in the child’s life. Some mothers’ “pay to play” philosophy prevents the Dead Broke Dad from raising his child.
  • Dork Dads – are physically in the home but are not emotionally present.
  • Divorced Dads – although divorced from their wives, they would never abandon their children.
  • Stepfathers – often see their wives’ children as their own.
  • Daddies – stay with their spouses, and they enjoy being fully involved fathers.
  • Single-Parent Dads – assume full responsibility for the children when the mother walks. Single-Parent Dads demonstrate that men, too, can develop a strong bond with their children.

Using research and examples from his own life and the lives of prominent African American men such as neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Kunjufu goes beyond the gloom and doom reports that haunt the Black community and provides sound strategies and a ray of hope for parents, teachers, ministers, and mentors who are struggling to raise Black boys against tremendous odds.


“Educating the African American and Hispanic Male Child National Conference”, May 3-4, 2011, Chicago, Illinois.


About the Author

National bestselling author of more than 30 books and consultant to most urban school districts, Dr. Kunjufu has been a guest twice on Oprah and a frequent guest on the Michael Baisden and Rev. Al Sharpton radio programs.


For additional information, contact 1-800-552-1991, Fax# (708) 672-0466, P.O. Box 1799, Chicago Heights, IL 60412. Website: http://www.africanamericanimages.com, Email: customersvc@africanamericanimages.com.


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