Working With Black Males


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Working with black males is a challenge for many institutions and service providers. Part of the problem lay in the understanding and articulation of the problem. The lens that views black males as the problem is at the core of the problem. From a critical race lens, the institutions and their approach are more accurately viewed as the problem and this presentation identifies longstanding historical and cultural factors that contribute to this problem.

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Working With Black Males

  1. 1. Working With Black Boys Why are they targeted for discipline? Presenter: Darrick Smith Lincoln Child Center 2010 Lincoln Monthly Training
  2. 2. <ul><li>Introductions </li></ul><ul><li> Who is in the room? </li></ul><ul><li>Education? Social Service? Government agency? Nonprofit? Advocacy agency? </li></ul><ul><li>Educators? Therapists? Case managers? Line staff? Administrators? </li></ul><ul><li>How long? 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? </li></ul><ul><li>How many do you work with? 1-10? Over 10? Over 50? Over 100? </li></ul>Lincoln Monthly Training
  3. 3. Lincoln Monthly Training Why are you here? What are you looking to gain? 1. What do you expect/hope to get out of this training? 2. What is your biggest challenge working with Black boys? 3. What do you personally struggle with in working with black boys? 4. Where have you been particularly successful in working with Black boys?
  4. 4. <ul><li>Training Goals </li></ul><ul><li>Frame the context in which Black boys are served in various settings. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a shared understanding of what impacts our work with Black boys </li></ul><ul><li>Build critical questions that can inform our continued work with Black boys </li></ul>Lincoln Monthly Training
  5. 5. <ul><li>Visioning Activity </li></ul><ul><li>Close your eyes, visualize a Black male student you have worked with that made an impact on you. </li></ul><ul><li>Think about why they impacted you, positively or negatively </li></ul><ul><li>Think about how you responded to this student </li></ul>Lincoln Monthly Training
  6. 6. <ul><li>Paired Share </li></ul><ul><li>Talk about your student and share your reflections: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Who this student was </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Why they impacted you </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How you responded (what was the impact) </li></ul></ul></ul>Lincoln Monthly Training
  7. 7. How are they targeted? Lincoln Monthly Training Suspension/ Expulsion Drop out Low graduation Special Ed/ ADHD Remedial/ Tracking Disease Illness Low quality of life Discrimination is psychological warfare Homicide Prison Environmental hazards Profiling Education Health Safety
  8. 8. <ul><li>The Gaps </li></ul><ul><li>The Achievement Gap (test scores, dropout rates, higher ed) </li></ul><ul><li>The Discipline Gap (suspension and expulsion) </li></ul><ul><li>The Wealth Gap (net worth, income, rates of poverty) </li></ul><ul><li>The Health (mortality) Gap (life expectancy, excess death) </li></ul><ul><li>The Prison Gap (incarceration rates, sentencing, profiling) </li></ul><ul><li>The Employment Gap (unemployment and underemployment rate) </li></ul><ul><li>Clip: </li></ul>Lincoln Monthly Training
  9. 9. <ul><li>Primary Oppressors </li></ul><ul><li>People (interpersonal oppression) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Act of bigotry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ ism’s” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Institutions (institutional oppression) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Police brutality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ ism’s” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ways of thinking (ideological oppression) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>White supremacy (white privilege) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Any thoughts of superiority over others </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Overt domination and exploitation of people, resources, and thought </li></ul>Who is the Oppressor? Lincoln Monthly Training <ul><li>Secondary Oppressors or sub-oppressors </li></ul><ul><li>Internalized oppression </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Black on black crime </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negative self image </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inability to name source of oppression </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inability to identify the existence of being oppressed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Acceptance of negative stereotypes and labels into self concept </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inability to actively resist structural oppression </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. What does oppression look like? Lincoln Monthly Training <ul><li>Negative presupposition </li></ul><ul><li>Escalation </li></ul><ul><li>Ultimatums </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage power and authority </li></ul><ul><li>Threats of consequences </li></ul><ul><li>Deny them a ‘choice or a voice’ </li></ul><ul><li>Forget they are children </li></ul><ul><li>Refuse to apologize </li></ul><ul><li>Treat them like adults </li></ul><ul><li>Intimidate them </li></ul><ul><li>Fail to hold them accountable </li></ul><ul><li>Black boys are limited culturally, in what they can express and how they can express it </li></ul><ul><li>Care, concern, fear, hurt, sadness, shame, embarrassment, </li></ul><ul><li>Most of our students are acutely aware of their positioning in U.S. society (social reproduction) which is the bottom. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Risk vs. Protective Factors Lincoln Monthly Training <ul><li>Risk Factors </li></ul><ul><li>Environment (liquor store) </li></ul><ul><li>SES (income, class, social status) </li></ul><ul><li>Race (“old and black”) </li></ul><ul><li>Poverty </li></ul><ul><li>Community violence </li></ul><ul><li>Trauma </li></ul><ul><li>Neglect </li></ul><ul><li>Poor schools </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of nutrition </li></ul><ul><li>Broken family structure </li></ul><ul><li>Protective Factors </li></ul><ul><li>Supportive relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Positive engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Skills </li></ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul><ul><li>Access to resources </li></ul><ul><li>Internal motivation, drive, determination, talent </li></ul><ul><li>Resilience </li></ul>
  12. 12. Strength-Based Seek to see all behaviors as strengths or hidden strengths Lincoln Monthly Training <ul><li>Name some of the hidden strengths that Black boys exhibit (harmful behaviors)? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Flashy < Creative & expressive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Persistent < Resilient </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bold < Courageous </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outspoken < Honest & transparent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Moody < Passionate & compassionate </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Strength-Based &quot;Men are whipped oftenist who are whipped easiest.“ Lincoln Monthly Training <ul><li>“ The strength of someone who has endured the greatest hardship is best equipped for creating great social change.” </li></ul><ul><li>Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery. A ‘foster’ child, dropped off at 6 by his grandmother who disappeared. </li></ul><ul><li>At 16, he fought back, struggling for 2 hours. </li></ul><ul><li>Douglass escaped slavery and rose to become an advisor to President Lincoln during civil war. </li></ul>Miss. Sen. Blanche Bruce, former slave Ala. Rep. Jeremiah Haralson, former slave 21 elected to House, 10 former slaves 2 elected to Senate, 1 former slave Mississippi, Alabama, Virginia, Florida, North & South Carolina, Louisiana From 1870 - 1901 Booker T Washington founded Tuskeegee in 1881 & met with T. Roosevelt in 1901 WEB DuBois earned a Ph.D. from Harvard 1895
  14. 14. America’s Response Minstrel, Jim Crow 1876, Birth of a Nation 1915 & Lynchings mostly targeting urban Black males Lincoln Monthly Training Slide 13
  15. 15. Nothing New? Lincoln Monthly Training
  16. 16. Nothing New? Lincoln Monthly Training The myth of the juvenile Superpredator, John Dilulio, Princeton 1990’s Crack baby myth, immoral and beastly violent “ Tough on crime” laws target urban Black Males 3- strikes, juveniles as adults, crack laws, gang laws
  17. 17. <ul><li>Internalized Impression </li></ul><ul><li>How our oppression is based on impressions </li></ul><ul><li>Internalized impressions of Black males in the media and broader society do impact and contribute to your impression and assumptions about the Black boys you work with. </li></ul><ul><li>Write down as many Black men in the media, larger culture, world, that you can think of. </li></ul>Lincoln Monthly Training
  18. 18. Internalized Impression Put a – or a + by each name and tally up the results. Lincoln Monthly Training
  19. 19. Lincoln Monthly Training Social Commentary Responses to Current Oppression “ Straight Outta Compton” Historical Connection “ Express Yourself” Why do these N*** have an attitude? Would you run from the police if you haven’t done anything wrong? What if your very existence was treated as “wrong”?
  20. 20. Lincoln Monthly Training Oakland Story His Context Youth Movement Records His Message “ Deep east Oakland” Does THIS brotha have an attitude? Wrong place at the wrong time? How about the wrong Race at the wrong time?
  21. 21. The Persistent Perception Lincoln Monthly Training Hypermasculine Oversexed Violent animal rage Fearless dangerous
  22. 22. The Service Lincoln Monthly Training 1. Too hard on them, negative assumptions 2. Too easy on them, low expectations, feel sorry for them 3. Afraid of them, reinforcing stereotypes Service must be Firm and Caring
  23. 23. Lincoln Monthly Training <ul><li>Vaccum/Silo Approach </li></ul><ul><li>Not effective </li></ul><ul><li>Work harder, longer </li></ul><ul><li>Doing the same thing over and over </li></ul><ul><li>Roller coaster ride (high highs & low lows) </li></ul><ul><li>Consult with no one, not even the client! </li></ul>
  24. 24. Lincoln Monthly Training <ul><li>Strategic Approach </li></ul><ul><li>More effective </li></ul><ul><li>Be deliberate about method & approach </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate effectiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Prioritize strategically </li></ul><ul><li>Firm caring </li></ul><ul><li>Be responsible </li></ul><ul><li>Stop what’s not working or making headway </li></ul><ul><li>Work smarter, work differently </li></ul>
  25. 25. Lincoln Monthly Training <ul><li>Organic Approach </li></ul><ul><li>most effective </li></ul><ul><li>Gather as much info as possible. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Get the facts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Listen, listen, listen </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2. Be upfront, transparent & explicit </li></ul><ul><li>3. Work with & in partnership </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Constantly check in </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Offer options or even choices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Value the process as much as the goal </li></ul></ul><ul><li>4. Seek cultural consultation </li></ul><ul><li>5. Reflect </li></ul>
  26. 26. Lincoln Monthly Training Alignment Program Needs/ Goals Client Needs/ Goals This is where the work should be
  27. 27. The Culture (of black male success) Lincoln Monthly Training The Agencies that support Black Males -Youth UpRising -Leadership Excellence (Camp Akili, Freedom Schools) -Mentoring Center -100 Black Men (Man Up!) -OUSD, Office of African American Achievement The Research that feeds Black Male policy -Urban Strategies Council -Policy Link -Alameda County -Black male scholars -US Census
  28. 28. Strengths Based Practice How can we raise OUR bar? 1. What do you do well with Black boys? 2. Where can you improve? 3. How can you strengthen your work with Black boys? Lincoln Monthly Training
  29. 29. <ul><li>Empathy Activity </li></ul><ul><li>You should not present yourself to students everyday unless you can do the following. </li></ul><ul><li>Imagine the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Your teacher being afraid of you and as a result unable to comfort you appropriately </li></ul><ul><li>Never feeling safe when you see the police even when they are there to “help” </li></ul><ul><li>Any enthusiasm that you express being interpreted as aggressive or even violent </li></ul><ul><li>Passion or excitement that you express being cast as sexually deviant </li></ul><ul><li>People not getting on the elevator with you or getting off as soon as you get on </li></ul><ul><li>People treat you as if you are going to steal something </li></ul><ul><li>Not being allowed to be angry without being viewed as dangerous </li></ul>Lincoln Monthly Training
  30. 30. Thank You <ul><li>Questions? </li></ul><ul><li>Comments? </li></ul><ul><li>Reflections? </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback? </li></ul>