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Black Boys & Heroes

By on June 9, 2011
Brothers Arm in Arm

We are finally here. We are officially living in the future. Our American landscape supports the rise of traditional billion-dollar  businesses like Coke, McDonalds and Microsoft to new “untamed” models like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Literally, news and personal mishaps happen around the globe and can be related to us all through a text or a tweet within minutes. The American worker works not only long hours at the office but telecommutes, giving homework new, deeper meaning. In the last twenty years, our nation has gotten richer, fatter, increasingly diverse, and since electing our first non-white President, more divided.

How well are we in this new future? Given the analytical, even cynical nature of 24-hour media coverage can Americans ever experience Camelot again? Has the very nature of past transgressions of public figures killed any opportunity for children today to have a legitimate hero?  Even as parents shape their kids values and morals (and they should), the idea of having a hero like Reggie Jackson, John F. Kennedy, or Muhammad Ali is something most black boys and girls needed and cherished. All of us are flawed for sure, no getting around it. The idea of having someone who inspires you as a kid can motivate young kids out of poverty, bad neighborhoods, and even their own failings.

Heroes matter. Especially to black children (and other minorities) who are not reflected and often disrespected in media portrayals. American society is flawed with racism and bias that plagues our systems. But the opportunities and critical need to  ignite success in our black boys particularly requires aggressive care and planning to support and nurture black boys to healthy black men.

There are too few who can pass media scrutiny today. I wonder if we, the public know way too much about the finances, marriages, and inner workings of famous people. It’s titilating but is it creating a vulture-like mentality in society? Is it a wonder that in the age of “reality TV” more and more “average people” are famous for nothing but poor behavior—arguing, fighting, promiscuity, sex tapes, etc. These are the new celebrities? Really?

For the sake of young people, I challenge parents and guardians alike to counter images attacking your impressionable children at home by increasing access to “real role models” whom your boys (and girls) can spend time with, learn from, and yes become inspired. Don’t let Snooki get that job!


  1. Sheena

    October 5, 2016 at 10:37 am

    I’m using the image of the boys in a piece of art I am working on. I wanted to make sure that is cool/consensual. I found it in a random google search.I tried to email y’all but couldn’t follow the link.

  2. Haven Clayborne

    July 13, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Great article !

  3. South beach

    August 18, 2011 at 5:10 am

    Wooooooooow Thanks for da info

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