Wednesday, May 16, 2007

BMD Examines “The Warrior Method”

Nature vs. Nurture vs. Negative Proof*

Part of what “The Warrior Method” seeks to examine is how much of the way in which our boys view themselves and are viewed by our society, has to do with the social (read: racial) forces that gently film over the very eyes through which they perceive their Being. Although the text and it’s author do not allow for wholesale “blaming” of the social order for the behavior and circumstances of black boys in this country, its position begs caution to parents/guardians/educators and concerned citizens, insisting that we not allow the very present effects of society’s personal, political and institutional biases against our boys to go unexamined.

Dr. Winbush writes:

“As an educator who specializes in the development of African American adolescents, I am constantly asked if there are any successful techniques to be used to help raise healthy, confident African American males. Of course. But far from easy because psychologists and educators are reluctant to offer techniques that factor in the role of racism in the development of African American boys. The preferred method of explaining black male behavior is to focus on internal rather than external issues that determine their lifestyles.

“Not so clear however is why explanations of white adolescent behavior are commonly offered in the context of how social forces shape their behavior. Mary Pipher’s best selling book Reviving Ophelia discusses how sexism plays a nefarious role in the development of white females, particularly as it relates to their dependence on male approval. It is nearly unthinkable to exclude social factors in explaining white adolescent behavior, yet explanations of black adolescent behavior often focus on the internal pathologies of black life in America.”

Despite being a mother who is adamant that my son understand and execute an exacting measure of personal responsibility, it is impossible for me to disregard what I see as - more clearly as the years pass - a carefully orchestrated, if unconscious, campaign at the most fundamental levels of society, to see our sons take their place at the awful bottom of all things.

I suspect that there are many mothers who fear acknowledging this fact will relegate them to the ranks of those who buck-pass, shirk or even worse, give their son(s) the impressions that any outside intent could ultimately determine his fate.

Is this a legitimate concern? Are there mamas who feel like this is a phantom dilemma?

*Negative proof is defined as that which occurs when there are two competing explanations, and neither can be confirmed by observation.

Visit your local bookseller and purchase The Warrior Method by Dr. Raymond Winbush

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Blogger Ray said...

Dear BMD,

Thanks for the review of my book The Warrior Method. You are absolutely correct when I say that there is a conscious, carefully orchestrated (though I don't think it is "unconscious" but very deliberate) campaign to see Black boys destroyed in Amerikkka and elsewhere in the world.

Despite Katrina, this is a *very* difficult truth for most Black people to accept since we wish so badly to be a part of a nation that historically attempted to destroy us.

Continue speaking truth to power...

2:41 AM  
Blogger cloudscome said...

Yes this is a dilemma! Thank you for leading this discussion. I am looking forward to learning from others. I find it hard to get this type of discussion going with my white friends and colleagues because there is such a social pressure towards silence and "color blindness". Just identifying reality would be a relief.

3:02 AM  
Anonymous Idrissa said...

I just had this conversation with my 32 year-old nephew who is loving his first week of fatherhood. His son was born into a whirlwind of family love and support last week. This is his first child and nephew already has the focus needed to father his son; despite, thank God. He agrees that there is a conspiracy to destroy AA males in this society, especially since he fights his daily battles in corporate amerikkka. Smiles.

I will be purchasing this book for him to read ASAP!


5:50 AM  
Blogger Being Mama Daily said...

Dr. Winbush,

Thank you for stopping by and sprinkling a bit of light here at BMD. I came across your book in the way that so many other things come to me - by sheer force of simply being present in the moment. At the same time my son was very subtly hinting at wanting to have "something" that acknowledges and celebrates him going from boyhood to manhood as so many of his friends in our southern California suburban community are celebrating their Bar Mitzvah. When I finally went to have my local Barnes and Noble order the book I was blown away by how very careful and specific you were in handling the topic and reality of raising and watching over my son in America.

Please continue to drop in and share in this discussion.

Cloudscome - I have a profound respect and a deep ache in my heart for families in your position, as one part of me knows that you will be able to afford your young sons an opportunity at a life experience that they may have otherwise not be given had god not connected your paths.

But as you stated, the community in which you will invariably be surrounded has a deep fear of what it means to acknowledge that something awful and systemic is happening to black boys in this county. Looking at this will mean telling themselves some truths that they have heretofore been unwilling to speak of or hear. And then the more I live the surer I am that this society at its core seeks to simply consume itself to death and in the minds of many, a deep fear of lack and being pushed to the invisible bottom of things, keeps those on top shoving at the heads of those they perceive to be beneath them.

I know that there are answers to these questions our hearts require us to ask as mothers of black sons and we will explore them here and not wait silently by for the world to change.

Idrissa – So many congratulations and fierce protections over the miracle that your family if currently engaged in. Your nephew is taking his soul on a perfect journey of self-discovery by holding in his heart and hands the gift of fatherhood. It makes me smile to hear that there is a tribe in place to welcome this young son into the world and I would venture to say that if you grow this tribe and seek all of the supports available to it, you all will raise a particular kind of warrior, the likes of which our community knows can, should and will be. Do buy this book. If you can, buy it for every relevant party in this child’s life. I can say for certain that you will not have wasted a single dime. It would be a priceless father’s day gift.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Trula said...

This sounds like a very good book, I am going to get it ASAP. Have you read Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys series by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu? Very, very good.

I do think there is both a deliberate and subconscious agenda to break the spirt of black boys. I think it's important to acknowledge the white people who are unknowingly racist in their attitudes and beliefs regarding black people just as much as we point out obvious racists and acts of obvious racism because I feel these are the white people our children will encounter the most.

For example, They probably won't ever have a white teacher call them the n-word, but they probably will have a white teacher who says something else just as damaging without even understanding why what they said was wrong. They probably won't ever have a white teacher tell they they are stupid because they are black, but they probably will have white teachers who have low expectations of them and who won't challenge them academically or push them to excel.
They probably won't ever have a white classmate refuse to talk to them or play with them because they are black, but they may have a white classmate not want to share a locker with them because they think all black people steal. Stuff like that.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

I hope I don't go too far off topic, but this reminds me of something I read in a collection of essays of the great Egyptian feminist, Nawal El Saadawi. Entitled "Why Keep Asking Me About My Identity?", she explains how destructive the politics of labels is. She discusses Arabs, but the analysis applies equally to Blacks. There are conferences in the US talking about the state of Arab women, but you've never heard about a conference in Africa about the state of White women in America. It's political; politicizing everything and anything so that the target group defines itself as an amorphous, deindividualized group, destined to rise or fall along with the rest of the deindividuated group. "Oh well, I'm Black and the studies say the teachers don't like us, so why bother?"

In America, there's a study every 2 seconds about the teaching of Black boys, etc. but I don't see anyone doing a study about the proper teaching methods of White boys. This is mental segregation and, with it, we are subconsciously led to believe and internalize those differences.

F#$% the studies. It's time to put an end to being lab rats justifying a psychologist's grant money. Each child learns differently, some visually, some auditorily, etc. Education wants a one-size-fits-all approach because educators are, at worst, lazy or, at best, applying the production line model to the educational system. Therein lies the problem and the solution.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous jasai said...

how do we as parents on the ground change the damaging effects of this very real issue though? We still have children who have to operate and be eductated in this narrow model.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Honestly, it is inherent in the nature of the school system. I truly believe homeschooling or some type of community schooling is going to be the only solution.

The State has no interest in making your child anything more than an objectified statistic. No one cares about your child's intelligence and well-being more than you. Seems like a simple choice, but it's going to require a lot of sacrifice.

Although, and we can talk about this further, this seems like a great opportunity for collective, local action. Groups of parents who homeschool and share the teaching responsibilities. How cool would that be?

11:46 AM  
Anonymous jasai said...

These people aren’t crazy or new to the game of stiffing those who find a way to circumvent the system.

This is why we can’t just “run to the kitchen table” and teach. They will legislate out asses to the field again under the guise that what we teach is not “standard.” I have found that I have to supplement (read: teach all over again at home) along with sending my children to the schools the systems views as “the best” so that they can keep moving forward and not be stopped on bogus “they haven’t learned the appropriate curriculum” charges.

But believe me as a parent, if you feel you have anything else better to do with your time you will reap the pain of that line of thinking. As a matter of fact, the more I give to “teaching them on the side” the more I get and the more excited I am that they are going to kick the rest of these kids ass in life!

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting comment about home schooling. It is a huge sacrifice, but my god daughter is home schooled and she is incredibly brilliant. No lie. Incredible.

Maybe the thing is to make sure that the child's educational foundation and identity are STRONG before school . So, if we can help it, we don't put the kids in day care or school when they are two or three. It's just an idea. Maybe not realistic at all for most of us. But I think I'll put it out there nontheless.

one love,

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, not trying to be anonymous...sorry about that, but I can't remember what my username or password was.

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Keith said...

I work in non-profit so I can't throw a rock without hitting someone that is talking about the black male dilemma. The problem has existed for years. As a father of a four year old boy that will be in public school in 2008 it concerns me to no end that the conspiracy is real. You are not passing the buck; you are assigning (at least) a part of the blame to an unflinchingly racist "system." We must teach our son's to want, and expect, success despite the outside forces that are acting against them.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Trula said...

I think also that as mothers of black sons we don't fall into the trap of spoiling or coddling our sons. That does not help them to deal with racism any nor does it help them to 'man up' and be responsible men when they are grown.

I have seen the effects of such spoiling, sadly, with some men in my family.

10:25 AM  
Blogger upwords said...

The concern is legitimate. I see it more and more with every year that my five sons advance in school. This year, many of the AA boys in kindergarten were considered "too active" and sent to an extra almost all boy class in a portable on the back of the property. True enough, there were too many kindergarteners, but when over 75% of the class is black males, you get the picture. The next teacher quit after two months and the kids were falling like rocks. In January, a black teacher took over and her first proclamation was, "I' m Mrs. ____, and I"m not having it." My son accepted that statement and hasn't looked back. Some of those boys though, have given up already.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Being Mama Daily said...

It is an interesting point you make Trula. Very soon we will discuss the distinction between what Dr. Winbush describes as parenting the “white way” vs. the “gray way” vs. the “black” or “warrior way.”

In examining these distinctions one finds specific ways in which we as parents and caregivers may be shooting ourselves in the foot in our efforts to aid our sons in navigating this tricky terrain and some strategies we can employ in order to secure a more glorious outcome for them.

9:51 PM  
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