Frankly Speaking ...
- Robert M. Franklin
- Boys are in trouble. The evidence is abundant and the anecdotes sobering.
Compared with girls, even the sisters in the same households, lower and middle class boys are less likely to graduate from high school, attend college, be employed, or have a good health profile. Boys are more likely to drop out, have run-ins with the law or citizen patrol groups, serve time in jail, engage in risky behavior and live shorter than the average age span.
For some time, researchers have known all of this. But now, the larger society is realizing that we need to do more and do different things to produce different outcomes for our boys and young men. Community leaders in America, especially in black and brown neighborhoods have been sounding the alarm for a long time. Now it is becoming a national conversation. But, based on global data and my observations, it is time to make this an international topic of concern. In saying this, I hasten to emphasize that globally, and in America, girls face enormous and longstanding obstacles to success, and need our support as well. Helping boys in trouble can be done while also continuing to support girls' education and development.
For the past several months I have visited several locations that have a prominent place in global consciousness (Brazil, Haiti and South Africa) asking a few simple questions: What are the obstacles to boys' personal, academic, and moral development? What are the most innovative ideas, institutions and individuals paving pathways to success? What do communities outside the U.S. need to know about best practices elsewhere, and what can Americans learn from other nations and cultures? And, how do these young men do when they immigrate to the U.S.?
The most exciting component of my findings so far has been the list of inspiring and creative leaders who are offering hope to boys and to entire communities through innovative programs and messages. For instance, a group of young men at the Steve Biko Institute in Bahia, Brazil told me that in their community afterschool program they began learning computer systems which is all they had bargained for, but ended up learning about political and economic systems. Now, they are tech savvy and politically conscious. You'll hear more about them later.
In the coming weeks and months I'll be sharing some findings. And, at the end I'll prepare a report. But now, I'd like to know your thoughts and suggestions about this work. Where should this go from here?
- BLOG COMMENTS:
Name of sender: Maria Gitin - The research you are doing on the global state of boys is incredibly vital, especially at a time when vast numbers of young men are drawn into narrow, sometimes extremist views, in order to find meaning and belonging in their lives. This is as true in parts of the US as it is in Israel and Palestine, parts of Africa and other countries. Some who don't die young grow up to be divisive leaders, the very opposite of Gandhi, King and Madela - all who preached equality. Our thoughts are with you and Cheryl as you continue your journey of discovery. We look forward to hearing more.
Peace & blessings, Maria
Name of sender: Kevin Dow - Thats, of course, a full blown question however, I believe we should approach all through the power of love and be stead-fast and stern to the forces that benefit from this dire situation.
Love through learning our (African/Caribbean/Global history and be honest and true...no matter what...start teaching from birth, free parental classes etc...educate
Fight the forces that benefit this dire situation i.e. industrial prison complex etc... through public awareness, boycotts and protests...thats the general answer...and developing a community prototype, a community through our visions of what a community should look like... where we see results and can be viewed by the masses...thus creating a product and service to sell...