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.
Labels: black boys, social impact on behavior, The Warrior Method