It’s time to empower young Black men

Casey Thomas | 10/28/2013, 4:15 p.m.
There is an independent film that is coming out that I can’t wait to see. The title is American Promise. ...
Casey Thomas

The Dallas Examiner

There is an independent film that is coming out that I can’t wait to see. The title is American Promise. This film is about two African American boys who go to a suburban private school in New York where they are amongst a small number of boys of color at the school. It follows their journey from kindergarten until they graduate from high school.

The parents of the two young men produced the film. They wanted to tell the story of the challenges and obstacles that Black boys face when they attend school in a predominately White school setting. Beginning in kindergarten, the boys are treated almost as well as the White students are in their class. However, as they get older, they begin to see how different they are.

The film also shows their experience of growing up in a Black neighborhood but carrying themselves differently than others around them. This is the area that I want to spend some time on. We have a lot of gifted Black males who have to act differently to fit in.

We hear time and time again about intelligent African American boys who have to “dumb” themselves down when they go to the gym or play basketball at the park. It is time out for our young men to have to pretend they are someone they are not to be accepted.

This “crab in the barrel” mentality has done irreparable damage to our community. We have lost generations of doctors, lawyers, educators, architects, engineers and scientists because being smart was not cool in their neighborhood. We can no longer stand by and allow this to happen. We don’t have any more time to lose. We must stand up and speak out when we hear anyone put down our intelligent young men because they are jealous of them. We have to let it be known that this will no longer be tolerated. If we want to see our best reach their full potential, we have to stand in the gap for them to make sure that they have the opportunity to fulfill their promise. It is my job and it is your job also. I fully accept this challenge. Will you?