Are our black men losing face? Should we have bumper stickers with colorful slogans such as ‘SAVE OUR MALES’? The problem of lack of progress of black boys and young men has become evident, not only in Dominica and the rest of the Caribbean, but also in Europe and North America. Most social scientists and gender researchers will tell you that they are worried about this new Y-chromosome (male) crop. Due to modern day dynamics and other more complicated issues, a frightening and alarmingly large percentage of our young men unfortunately are losing their way.
Invariably, there are more questions than answers to this disturbing trend. Predictably, the pendulum of cultural correction may have gone too far and now needs to come back towards center. While we are aware that there needs to be a larger forum and a new sense of order for exploring the broader strategies for dealing with his massive issue,we want to be practical and realistic. The home and fathers (daddies) need to be at the forefront of this larger discussion.
Therefore, our strategy should be to begin with a project that is hands-on, product/results -oriented that fulfills and mitigates need in Dominica. Our hope is that this project will lead to broader collaborations among artists, business personnel, promoters, scholars, law enforcers, educators, writers, and archivists, activists at home and in the diaspora.
Girls and young women are winning; boys and young men are losing. The Y-chromosome crop desperately needs to be saved. The fact of the matter is that in recent years, girls and young women have moved ahead in every field and discipline except sports.
Today, a much larger percentage of women in our communities are thriving, happy, well adjusted and are making huge deserved strides. Increasingly, boys and young men have slipped (and are slipping) through the cracks. The societal costs of this time bomb will be monumental. This trend should not only be of concern to law and policy makers, but also to parents with young daughters. How often have you heard a ‘sistah’ say, ‘there are no (eligible) men, or in the dating game there are ‘slim pickings’?
Regardless of which side of the issue you fall on, it is fair to say that an alarmingly increasing number of our men have neglected some of their basic responsibilities. The ‘sisterhood’ and ‘motherhood’ should not give up on the ‘brothers’, at least, not just yet. Our failures and weaknesses are also your failures. The task of getting our men and boys ‘in line’ belongs to all of us. ‘Lock em’ up in jail and throw away the keys should not be a one size fits all approach and option.
Despite it all, I find it exciting to reflect on the varied, interesting, exciting and controversial currents that swirl around the lives of girls, young women, married and soccer moms (as my wife is) as they balance professional and family responsibilities including transporting their kids to piano lessons and soccer games and look to the challenges and tasks that lie ahead.
It is unwise for anyone to conclude that increased successes of women and girls (X- Chromosomes) could mean the disempowerment and marginalization of their male counterparts. On the contrary, men should embrace, appreciate and encourage women more, and strive to be more of an integral part of their teams, personal, romantic and professional lives. In order to do so they have to work harder and be more disciplined.
It is no fun for the’sistahs’ to face these exciting and challenging times alone. Indeed, we need them to be on our sides, but at the end of the day it is incumbent on us men and boys to get it together.
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