Reaching Up For Manhood Essay

2724 words - 11 pages

By: Anonymous Under-privileged, African-American boys are more prevalent in today's society than the typical person would like to recognize or admit. These boys seem to be faced with an ideal in which they need to follow or conform to as any and all cultures have. However, the problem is that for these boys, this ideal or way of living is believed to be met. Black boys growing up in Harlem are expected to act tough, not take any crap from anybody, and always seem to be strong no matter what they may be faced with. Along with this pressure to not express emotion and feeling, people wonder why they take this aggression out on their loved ones. Even though it may seem sexist it is a known fact that males are more likely to partake in violence than the average female. In order to prevent violence, it needs to stop before it starts. To do this, we start at childhood. The social, family, and educational environment must change for the better. This is not an easy task and no one is saying that it is going to take place over night. However, it is known that what we are, what we know, and how we act all reflects on the way in which we grow up and develop. Not to state the obvious, but I was raised very different from what the novel describes as an African-American male. Considering I am a Caucasian female, I was not raised with the attitude that I need to fend for myself. I did not need to learn self-defense in order to stay safe on the playground. My mother did not coach me on which ways to walk home from school. I didn't have to worry about it since the schools were well equipped with buses and money was not a problem for any of the school districts in the area I call home. I could not imagine telling a child not to go to the playground and play after school because it wasn't safe. If put in this type of culture, I would feel like I'd have to shield my child from everything when the reality of it would be that I am not the educator. The "tough" boys on that playground are the educators in a younger boy's eyes and the older boys come from homes that are either struggling or non-existing. Canada tells an eye-opening story about a little boy, Ronaldo, who was constantly told by his mother never to go to this certain street to play football with most of his classmates. Ronaldo wanted so much to be a part of the group that one day he and his close friend snuck over to that "forbidden" street and started playing football with the other boys. Ronaldo was having so much fun, felt so much apart of a group, and almost forgot that he wasn't supposed to be there. That is, he almost forgot until he experienced the most horrifying incident that had taken place right before his very eyes. The boys were laughing and running when they suddenly heard an old beat up Buick come screeching down the street. There were four adolescent boys with their bodies half way out of the windows. Thinking that they possibly could be on a harmless joy ride, the boys playing stepped to...

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