Everyone already knows that there are more women than men going to college and graduating.
However, the gap between black women and men seems to be much wider. There are more black women that see college as a way to get out of their horrible environments, but unfortunately black men are not getting this memo as quickly.
Why is this?
It’s sad to say that many black men where I live do not seem to be as focused on education as their female counterparts. The majority of the top students in all of the schools I attended, including college, are females.
These females strongly believe that education is the way to a much better, less stressful life. They see education has a power.
Many of the males that I encounter, on the other hand, view other things as being powerful. Being a gangster and owning guns, having stashes of weed and money, are what they equate with power. These young men think that if they have these materialistic objects, they too can have better lives.
Thus, many young black males often wonder, “What’s the point?” when thinking of getting a degree.
And this is where my question comes in, “What will it take for young minority males to equate education to power – and not violence or illegal activity?”
First, we must understand the root of why many black males don’t seem to take their education very seriously. This reason can be dated back centuries ago. For many years now, black men have been told that they are not as intellectual as others. Europeans even used to say that enslaved African men were dumber than them, which is why their penises were larger. This thought then made these Africans and their descendants develop low self-esteem. And as time progressed, this feeling unfortunately has not completely gone away. And the product of this centuries’ old belief? The lack of interest in education.
And because of this belief, education is being disregarded to this day. For example, the fact that the majority of the time when young black men see others that look just like them, they are rappers, NBA ballers, or pubic figures that have the nicest cars, wear the iciest bling and have a thug mentality. This doesn’t help these young men see that education has any real value to them.
Another reason is the fact that there are a lot of young minority males that don’t feel welcomed in school. School should be a place where students, and even sometimes their parents, can come when they are seeking guidance. School should be a place where they can be nourished and anticipate being developed.
However, it is often times the opposite emotion they have about school. The truth is that minority students are three times more likely to get kicked out of school when compared to Caucasian students. Minority male students are getting pushed out of the education system and into the streets more often than others and this is only causing them to resent school.
In order for these males to begin seeing education as something that can give them power, they are going to have to realize that old stereotypes of themselves are just that, stereotypes that are absolutely incorrect. They need to understand that the ignorance does not define who they are as human beings. They are more than an ignorant person’s thoughts.
They need to stop seeing the blinged-out celebrities as their role models and mentors. They must understand that with a proper education, they have the possibility of earning more money than these people they see on TV (and that later end up bankrupt years later) who probably didn’t graduate college.
These young men need to see that with education, they can be these people’s agents, lawyers, personal trainers, publicists and so much more.
Schools need to begin making these male minority students feel that they are actually there to help them change for the better. Young minority males might need more encouragement than anyone else that they actually are worthy and have the capabilities of having a great power that many people around them probably don’t. They should know that they have the world at their fingertips, even though they rarely hear people tell them so.
When young men come to this realization, they will discover personally that they can still be a boss, and truly understand that the pen is without a doubt mightier than the sword – or gun.
Isha Thorpe (pronounced eye-shah) is a News/Politics Editorial intern at GlobalGrind. She is also a contributing writer at Yahoo! and Examiner. Follow her on Twitter for all things news @IshawThorpe