By Janks Morton. Producer/Director of What Black Men Think. He can be reached through his Web site, www.whatblackmenthink.com

“Be Careful What You Say”

“You know what you are saying makes perfect sense. For years we have constantly given young black girls a message that you have to be better, you have to stand on your own two feet, no one is looking out for you, not even black men; while on the other hand, we have told young black boys, just don’t go to jail and if you graduate high school you have accomplished something. The theory you are advancing probably requires some serious academic and clinical examination.” Dr. Janet, Psychologist

I was invited to speak at the Community Healing Network in New Haven, Connecticut this past weekend, to talk on the subject of – you guessed it – the healing of the Black community. It was situated on the campus of the prestigious Yale University, and I was part of a very distinguished panel, a psychologist, a pastor, a community activist, and me. Yep the crazy film maker who has the audacity to tell Black America that the crisis of Black American males may be the result of the culmination of redefined interpersonal and relationship dynamics, the recycling of stock panacea better known as poor social and political ideologies which have become applauded policy, and the hyper-vilification of the mainstream media. I also subtly suggest that the extraordinary amount of time, resources and energy we commit to the problem may perhaps be feeding the flames of this tragic circumstance.

In simpler (and somewhat biblical) terms, I have a wonderful support system of Black women surrounding me, who constantly remind me of the power of the tongue, especially in relation to handling the challenges of trying to remain optimistic and positive about opportunities to promote the message of the film. They tell me constantly things like “Life and Death reside in the power of it”, “Watch what you are claiming”, “You’re going to speak that into existence if you are not careful”, I hear that said from the Post Office to the Old Country Buffet. So maybe, just maybe as I try to offset about 400 years of focusing on the shortcomings of Black males, (of which I believe is owed to a systemic and inculcated predisposition of a hierarchal society, used to augment and segment groups into exploitable classes), should we not instead consider equally the exploitation of the triumphs and achievements of a group of Black Men who we never hear about on the 6 o’clock news?

My point is, while we are constantly bombarded by negative images and information from the government, the media and leadership about the crisis of Black men, are we not allowing or empowering a mind set by lowering the level of expectations of these same individuals we are trying to inspire? If more Black Americans just knew that more Black men are enrolled in college than are incarcerated, would that not start a paradigm shift in the perception of the expected outcome, as opposed to being redefined as an exceptional achievement? I’m not saying to turn away from the crisis, but lets try adding some levity to the equation like Louis Armstrong said over 50 years ago….accentuate the positive!

Categories: PRESS
  1. November 13, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    i think it is time for Black men to step there game up and act like men. we don’t have to live our lives based on what or how other people think we should live it. we have a great history prior to colonialism and although colonialism has done an grusome job on us, we are still great. this is why i’ve started “black-sheep a&P” to show people that there is something different from what society want us to see. please check it out http://www.blacksheepanp.com. thank you.

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