Harlem movie and the hard question: Does indigenous African-American culture support academic success?

8 Jan

In Hard question: Does indigenous African-American culture support academic success? Moi opined:

Jesse Washington of AP has written a comprehensive article which details the magnitude of the disaster which is occurring in the African-American community. In the article, BlacksStruggle With 72% Unwed Mother Rate  which was reprinted at SeattlePI.Com Washington sounds an alarm which if you can’t hear it, makes you deaf.

This is not about racism or being elitist. This is about survival of an indigenous American culture. This is not about speaking the truth to power, it is about speaking the truth. The truth is children need two parents to help them develop properly and the majority of single parent headed families will live in poverty. Children from single parent homes have more difficult lives. So called “progressives” who want to make their “Sex and the City” life style choices the norm because they have a difficult time dealing with the emotional wreckage of their lives, need to shut-up when it comes to the survival of the African American community. This is an issue that the so called educated classes and religious communities have to get involved in.

Trip Gabriel reported about more fallout from the failure of the African-American family in the New York Times. In Proficiency of Black Students Is Found to Be Far Lower Than Expected 

Brian M. Rosenthal’s  Seattle Times article reports about the achievement gap between native African-Americans and immigrant African ethnic groups in Seattle.

In the article, ‘Alarming’ new test-score gap discovered in Seattle schools, Rosenthal reports:

African-American students whose primary language is English perform significantly worse in math and reading than black students who speak another language at home — typically immigrants or refugees — according to new numbers released by Seattle Public Schools.

This Washington Post article made me think about the importance of healthy male role models in a child’s life. This article is about a good male role model, a hero. Number of Black Male Teachers Belies Their Influence

“I love teaching, and I feel like I am needed,” said Thomas, 33, of Bowie. “We need black male teachers in our classrooms because that is the closest connection we are able to make to children. It is critical for all students to see black men in the classrooms involved in trying to make sure they learn and enjoy being in school.”

The shortage of black male teachers compounds the difficulties that many African American boys face in school. About half of black male students do not complete high school in four years, statistics show. Black males also tend to score lower on standardized tests, take fewer Advanced Placement courses and are suspended and expelled at higher rates than other groups, officials said.

Educators said black male teachers expose students to black men as authority figures, help minority students feel that they belong, motivate black students to achieve, demonstrate positive male-female relationships to black girls and provide African American youths with role models and mentors.

The reason that teachers like Will Thomas are needed, not just for African American kids, is because the number of households headed by single parents, particularly single women is growing. Not all single parent households are unsuccessful in raising children, but enough of them are in crisis that society should be concerned. The principle issues with single parenting are a division of labor and poverty. Two parents can share parenting responsibilities and often provide two incomes, which lift many families out of poverty. Families that have above poverty level incomes face fewer challenges than families living in poverty. Still, all families face the issue of providing good role models for their children. As a society, we are like the Marines, looking for a few good men.

Jennifer Aniston got into a flap about her opinion regarding single motherhood. As reported by the Celebitchy blog in the post, Bill O’Reilly Takes On Jennifer Aniston’s Pro-Single MotherComments Aniston said:

Women are realizing it more and more knowing that they don’t have to settle with a man just to have that child. Times have changed and that is also what is amazing… that we do have so many options these days, as opposed to our parents’ days when you can’t have children because you have waited too long. The point of the movie is what is it that defines family? It isn’t necessarily the traditional mother, father, two children and a dog named Spot. Love is love and family is what is around you and who is in your immediate sphere. That is what I love about this movie. It is saying it is not the traditional sort of stereotype of what we have been taught as a society of what family is.

See, Andrea Peyser’s Gals Being Lost in ‘No Man’ Land

Children need role models of both genders to develop a healthy self-esteem.

Niesha Lofing of Mc Clatchy Newspapers has a wonderful article which was reprinted in the Seattle Times, Father-Son Bonding Key to Development The article begins with the story of Mike and Brandon Mc Nealy, a father and son who built their relationship by working on 1979 Lincoln Continental and then describes their road trip across the country to the 30 major league baseball stadiums. The article has some great advice on how dads can connect with kids:

Why does the culture think that the opinion of any celebrity should be valued above common sense? Celebrities will often repeat the mantra that they are not role models and really want to work on their art or their craft. But, many young people look up to these babbling heads as if they are an example of the best way to live. For most young folks, a more realistic picture of single motherhood can be found at MTV’s Teen Mom.

Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. writes in the Psych Central article, Fathering in America: What’s A Father Supposed to Do?

What’s a Father To Do?

  • Embrace your responsibility. Once you are a father, you are a father for life. The knowledge of fatherhood changes a man. It can be a source of pride and maturity or a source of shame and regret. Even if you have good reasons for not being actively involved, acknowledging your paternity is a minimal gift you can provide to your child. With it come many legal, psychological, and financial benefits. If you want to be in your child’s life, it also protects your rights to have time with your child should you and the child’s mother have a falling out.

  • Be there. In study after study, kids consistently say they would like to have more time with their dads. Regardless of whether a dad shares a home with the children and their mother, the kids need dad time. Working together on a chore or simply hanging out can be as meaningful as attending events or having adventures. Kids want to know their fathers. Just as important, they want their fathers to know them.

  • Be there throughout their childhoods. There is no time in a child’s life that doesn’t count. Research has shown that even infants know and respond to their fathers differently than they do to their mothers. The bond you make with a baby sets the foundation for a lifetime. As the kids get older, they’ll need you in different ways but they will always need you. Insistent toddler, curious preschooler, growing child, prickly adolescent: Each age and stage will have its challenges and rewards. Kids whose parents let them know that they are worth their parents’ time and attention are kids who grow up healthy and strong. Boys and girls who grow up with attention and approval from their dads as well as their moms tend to be more successful in life.

  • Respond to the needs of the kids, not your relationship with their mother. Regardless of whether you are getting along with your girlfriend or wife (present or ex), your relationship with the kids is exactly that: your relationship with the kids. The kids need predictability. They need care. They need a loving relationship with you. They need whatever financial support you can provide. None of these things should depend on whether you’ve had a disagreement or fight with their mom. None of these things should ever be withheld as a way to get even with her.

  • Be in a respectful and appreciative relationship with their mother. Being a good dad is certainly possible both inside and outside of marriage. Regardless of whether you and their mom can work out how to be a committed couple, you can support each other as parents. Kids grow best when their parents treat each other with respect and appreciation. The kids then don’t feel torn between the two people they love.

  • Do your financial share. Kids need to be fed, clothed, housed, and cared for. Children whose parents provide for them live better lives, feel valued, and have better relationships with both their parents. They need the role model of a responsible male acting responsibly. Just as they need you to be present in their lives, regardless of whether you live with their mom, they also need you to live up to financial obligations to the very best of your ability.

  • Balance discipline with fun. Some dads make the mistake of being only the disciplinarian. The kids grow up afraid of their dads and unable to see the man behind the rules. An equal and opposite mistake is being so focused on fun that you become one of the kids, leaving their mother always to be the heavy. Kids need to have fathers who know both how to set reasonable, firm limits and how to relax and have a good time. Give yourself and the kids the stability that comes with clear limits and the good memories that come with play.

  • Be a role model of adult manhood. Both boys and girls need you as a role model for what it means to be adult and male. Make no mistake: The kids are observing you every minute. They are taking in how you treat others, how you manage stress and frustrations, how you fulfill your obligations, and whether you carry yourself with dignity. Consciously or not, the boys will become like you. The girls will look for a man very much like you. Give them an idea of manhood (and relationships) you can be proud of….

Michael J. Feeney writes a jaw-dropping article in the New York Daily News,Baby-faced Harlem teens starring in controversial new film shot uptown; anti-violence advocates threaten boycott: Film shot in the neighborhood features kid actors toting guns:

The streets of Harlem are being run by baby-faced gun-toting kids who aren’t afraid to pull the trigger and leave a bloody trail of bodies in a new independent film that’s quickly making the rounds uptown.

There’s wild shoot outs, drugs and sex in “Toddlers” – shot in Harlem using neighborhood kids as young as 12 making their acting debut.

The DVD, released last month, has anti-violence activists charging the movie glorifies guns. They’re thinking about boycotting the video store selling the film.

Director Termaine (M5) Brown insisted he’s not promoting gun violence, just showing a harsh reality.

“That’s what’s going on, I’m just showing it,” Brown told the Daily News. “You hear about these murders, but people don’t see how it happens. I show how these incidents happen. These are real life situations.

“The parents don’t get to see what these kids are really doing,” said Brown, 29, who was raised in Harlem and shot many scenes on W. 147th St. between Broadway and Amsterdam two summers ago.

The DVD cover features a chubby-cheeked kid holding a gun. In the one-minute trailer, posted on YouTube, kids are brandishing guns; a girl is kidnapped by thugs and a man is shot in the head.

In “Toddlers,” the lead character Pito, played by Jordan Pena, 14 at the time, turns to a life of guns and drugs after his drug dealer father is killed .

Pito, once a promising baseball player, purchases guns with his newfound drug money. He and his friends gun down anyone who gets in their way.

Pena, who said his first-time in front of the camera was a “great experience,” insisted the movie doesn’t promote violence.

“It promotes how to turn into a man; how to take care of a family,” said Pena, now 16. “It promotes how life is out here. It’s definitely reality.”

He said playing the role of Pito wasn’t hard for him.

“It was basically me acting like myself. It wasn’t hard at all. This was like playing my life,” said Pena, who now wants to continue acting. “I was proud of myself for finishing the movie.”

He said his parents and grandmother were also proud of him for doing something “positive….
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/baby-faced-harlem-teens-starring-controversial-film-shot-uptown-anti-violence-advocates-threaten-boycott-article-1.1001571#ixzz1iu7OT3R0

Children, especially boys, need positive male role models. They don’t need another “uncle” or “fiancée” who when the chips are down cashes out. By the way, what is the new definition of “fiancée?” Is that someone who is rented for an indefinite term to introduce the kids from your last “fiancée” to?

Back in the day, “fiancée” meant one was engaged to be married, got married and then had kids. Nowadays, it means some one who hangs around for an indeterminate period of time and who may or may not formalize a relationship with baby mama. Kids don’t need someone in their lives who has as a relationship strategy only dating women with children because they are available and probably desperate. What children, especially boys, need are men who are consistently there for them, who model good behavior and values, and who consistently care for loved ones. They don’t need men who have checked out of building relationships and those who are nothing more than sperm donors.

See:

We give up as a society: Jailing parents because kids are truant

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/we-give-up-as-a-society-jailing-parents-because-kids-are-truant/

Jonathan Cohn’s ‘The Two Year Window’

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/jonathan-cohns-the-two-year-window/

Hard question: Does indigenous African-American culture support academic success?

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/hard-question-does-indigenous-african-american-culture-support-academic-success/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

 

One Response to “Harlem movie and the hard question: Does indigenous African-American culture support academic success?”

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  1. New Virginia education standards are racial profiling « drwilda - August 24, 2012

    […] Harlem movie and the hard question: Does indigenous African-American culture support academic success? https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/harlem-movie-and-the-hard-question-does-indigenous-african-a… […]

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