ScienceDaily (Aug. 22, 2011) — A new University of Missouri study finds that boys feel that discussing problems is a waste of time.”For years, popular psychologists have insisted that boys and men would like to talk about their problems but are held back by fears of embarrassment or appearing weak,” said Amanda J. Rose, associate professor of psychological sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science. “However, when we asked young people how talking about their problems would make them feel, boys didn’t express angst or distress about discussing problems any more than girls. Instead, boys’ responses suggest that they just don’t see talking about problems to be a particularly useful activity.”
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From the article…“Stanley Howard, the founder of the Chicago-based Law and Civics Literacy Institute for Urban Males, wondered how educators can best boost educational outcomes for African-American males in a political context in which many Americans seem to be thinking: “Now you have a black president. What are you still crying about, bellyaching about?” He added, “What if black boys are economically obsolete?”
Black boys who become men (If homicide or suicide doesn’t fall upon them) are economically viable in our society: They feed the prison industrial complex, Black men are incarcerated at an alarming rate in America. We know that there more than likely to be locked up six times more than their white counterpart. The rate among Black men is 3,119 per 100,000. (Heather West, William J. Sabol, and Sarah J. Greenman, “Prisoners in 2009,” Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin, December 2010.)
The Rise of Prison-Industrial Complex
- In the last 3 decades – prison industrial complex had been developed in the US– confluence of special interests that has given prison construction in the United States a seemingly unstoppable momentum.
- Since 1991 the rate of violent crime in the United States has fallen by about 20 percent, while the number of people in prison or jail has risen by 50 percent. Increase because of imprisonment of people who have committed nonviolent offenses. Instead of community service, fines, or drug treatment – to a prison term, by far the most expensive form of punishment.
- politicians, both liberal and conservative, who have used the fear of crime to gain votes;
- impoverished rural areas where prisons have become a cornerstone of economic development;
- private companies tap into $35 billion a year spending on prisons
- Spending on corrections since 1980s increased 5 times; there are more than 1000 vendors that sell corrections paraphernalia;
- The growth projected 5-10% annually;
- Private prisons keep 90,000 prisoners from 27 states
- “Bed brokers,” rent a cell facilities ($20 to $60 a day with $2.50-5.50 commission per man-day); trucking prisoners hundreds of miles through the country – threat to public order; escapes;
- Wackenhut Corrections, second largest private-prison company has ravenous $1 billion a year;
- U.S. Corrections Corporation – the largest private-prison company wants to buy and run all state of Taxes’ prisons;
- globalization of the private-prison business: British private-prison company, Securicor, operates two facilities in Florida; Wackenhut Corrections is now under contract to operate prison in England; three prisons in Australia; and a prison in Scotland. It is actively seeking prison contracts in South Africa.
- 1 pay phone in prison generates $15,000 a year; MCI installs phones for free;
- Government officials whose fiefdoms have expanded along with the inmate population.
The Invisible Dragon
One should not force their heroes upon others
Beside my deceased father four men immeasurable influences continue to shape my life. A hero is a strong word treading ever so close to mythical character worshipping. Real are my heroes. The four individuals below were simple humans who possessed incredible talents. They lacked flawlessness we suspect but however their personal lives aside, the tremendous contributions to society were enormous. Nevertheless, the present written remembrance view their impact on the author’s life.
“In life there are ways of getting almost anywhere
you want to go, if you really want to go.”
James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) novelist, playwright, short story writer, and columnist. Reading his material opened my mental sinus to the written word. Hughes’ writings became relevant later in life; his book “The Ways of Whites Folks” is marvelous.
There are many accomplished writers but I am careful not to select baseless rhetoric to form opinions. Thus selecting black authors to learn about the past remain strictly guarded. Langston is one of the few on my bookshelf. He stated in a untangle rhythm great fiction and opinions about the negro life in the 20th century. His writing continues to position itself as the vital foundation to storytelling by this author. He compositions appear effortless, smooth, and simple. His writing style was magnificence.
“And now, I feel at 85, I really feel that I’m just ready to start.”
Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks (November 30, 1912 – March 7, 2006) photographer, musician, poet, novelist, journalist, activist and film director. Gordon Parks created two movies, “The Learning Tree” and “Shaft” that exploded race relations on an innocent boy. “The Learning Tree” introduced racism in an unforgiving manner.
Discovering my skin color as a negative through the character “Newt” sucked the air out of me.
People infamously remember where they were when tragic events occurred (e.g., JFK, MLK, Malcolm X, 9-11). I will never forget discovering being perceived as less than human and called a ‘nigger’ for clarity through the Learning Tree.
“Shaft” was the first movie of its kind, a powerful black man in the lead. A first time in America movie history. Gordon Parks wrote and directed the highly successful neophyte movie. My dad and mom took me to see it.
Not to overlook, Gordon Parks was a highly awarded photographer for Time Magazine for years. An artistic genius his black and whites shots influence my present photography. His cultural footprints creates envy.
“No society can smash the social contract and be exempt from the consequences,
and the consequences are chaos for everybody in the society.”
James Arthur Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist. James Baldwin like Langston Hughes developed later in my life. A small man in stature Mr. Baldwin’s large love of black folks and Americans seethes through his writings and speeches.
In addition, like Langston, a valued referenced person to provide insight on race and America history in the 20th century. He chronicled the precise steps of blacks and a nation at odds. No other author influence my microscope on race more than James Baldwin.
His homosexuality I applaud, his fierceness for inequity I applaud, his strength to write and speak of a nation in pain, I dully applaud. Mr. Baldwin is possibly the greatest writer of his time, surly he is in my opinion.
“Hating people because of their color is wrong.
And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”
Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.; January 17, 1942) is a former three-time World Heavyweight Champion. Quite frankly, “The greatest heavyweight championship boxers of all time.” No man outside my father influenced my personal life more than “Ali”. His boxing career set aside, it was his brashness to be black that stroked blacks’ collective self-love aspirations. Growing up in America in the 60’-70s racism suppressed numerous positive variables associated with black people. We needed people like Ali telling us we were people of status.
Our skin color through all forms of media indicated evil, lazy, shiftless, ugly, and untrustworthy. Although I never prescribed to this nonsense, Muhammad Ali announced those similar anti-sentiments to the world. As the most famous face on earth at the time, he pushed blackness like dope in Harlem, unapologetic.
To be clear, no black athletic or celebrity before or since measured the magnitude of Ali’s global social influence. Even more important, I needed Ali after losing my father at age 15. He was a surrogate regardless of distance and personal unfamiliarity. I learned how to play football from him, how to stand up for people, and how to be a leader. He is the most influential person to my sport and personal life outside my parents.
Robert A. Williams
“If only you shut up and listen to me” or “I’ll be quiet, why you destroy your life.” Regardless of the syntax, these statements wreak egotism. In fact, they often appear as helpful proposals but cloaked in the almighty ego of “I know what’s best for you”, they are self-centered wrappings of pride and fear. As a result, a difficult narcissus mental tool to surrender is the belief, “We know what’s best for others.” Without question, untold relationships have dissolved under this false notion.
Do you know the ego instructs the mind to “Know All?” Often, for some, we follow the ego’s instructions as we collect life’s memories. In the closely held materials reside accomplishments, adverse situations, hard knocks, triumphs and defeats. We however, unintentionally, become entrenched with a false sense authority; in fact, we become bloated with the false perception of all-encompassing wisdom.
In other words, we now know what is best for others and ourselves because of our memories. As such, we become possess with “Special Talents of Foreseeing the Future.” It may sound absurd but let us ‘chop it up’ like my friend Clarence would say.
For example, “Only an addict can talk to an addict about life changes.” Alternatively, “the religious person who formerly was astray can now help one change their lives.” In addition, the adult knows what is best for the child or the teacher is the master to the student. These are all monomers. They are all false assumptions of wisdom.
Nevertheless, all these noble assumptions and likewise appear genuine, nevertheless, these self-absorbed beliefs may lead to absolutism. Also, above all else, these arrogant beliefs blanket all people alike and once categorized the people are easily demonized if they refuse to listen to the “Special Person”, or the one “Who knows what’s best for them.”
For instance, we may demonized husbands, wives, co-workers and friends when they refuse our counsel, in fact, the closer the relations, the more intense the feeling of dissent may become.
We literally hate, yes hate, when love ones refuse our counsels and predictions. As a result, we may condemn them to a life of sadness and despair; in addition, subconsciously desiring God to prove us right by bringing his wrath on the person.
In fact, we call it, “rock bottom,” this not only indicate we’re right, but that God supports our beliefs of “We know what’s best.” Let us not deceive ourselves, the egotistical mind will defend those beliefs of being right till death. Countless relationships snap under such duress each day. Sadly, some would rather be right, than to accept and surrender the egotistical thought of fortune-telling.
However, what is it we should accept and surrender too? Simple, we do not know what is best for anyone and we cannot predict his or her outcome. Regardless of our relations, titles, abilities, and accomplishments we lack the ability to see the final outcome.
Moreover, to make it more clear, the drug addict and convicted felon today becomes a writer and scholar tomorrow and who shall deny God’s proclamation. On the flip side, if you want to help someone, quiet your egotistical mind and self-righteous mouth and get to work on yourself. Because, remarkably, the so-call righteous “Know-it-All” person today is the addict and felon tomorrow, now who would have predicted that?
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