The road of Black male success is an obstacle course of steep mountains to climb, raging rivers to swim, and demons to slay single-handed. The mountain to climb appears in the form of overcoming the subliminal messages of failure that society has whispered in his ear and flashed before his eyes since birth. And though the river to conquer is swarming with piranhas, his main fear is the fact that he lacked a father to teach him to swim in raging waters.
Finally, he must defeat the demons, which are often disguised as easy money, the easy-way-out, harmless affairs, gang-family, and friends. On this obstacle course of life, the black man is usually supported and encouraged by his mother. She is the source of his refuge in times of trouble. And his mother is also the first to shed tears over him as she witnesses his less than sane behavior time and time again. She went to the school and eventually the police station - defended her son against the charges of being a juvenile delinquent.
Mother – to no immediate avail - took him to church. She prayed at the altar while he slept in the pew.
Seldom does a Black male cross the threshold of adulthood and maturity without first exploring several self-destructive popular choices such as marijuana, criminality, dropping out of school, the wrong crowd, and often premature parenthood. Statistics constantly remind America that black males are conspicuously and grossly underrepresented on college campuses and overrepresented in prison yards throughout the country. The United States Census reported in 2000 that 70% of African American children are living in single female-headed households; God only knows what the 2010 census will report.
Yet, against all odds, some make it over the mountain, across the river, and stand victorious over their demons. President Obama has admitted publicly on several occasions that he smoked and inhaled marijuana. He said, “Inhaling was the point.”
Obama also constantly praise his mother. Popular TV judge and civil rights advocate Judge Greg Mathis often publicly share his youthful criminal past and period of incarceration. Mathis never fails to tell everyone that it was his mother that inspired him to do better with his life. Even Tiger Woods, who many now call Cheetah Woods, has reportedly source the solace of his mother in his time of trouble as his wife runs the other way.
Black entertainers, especially rappers, and athletes are notorious for their past criminal behavior and public indiscretions but most publicly praise their mom. Girlfriends and wives come and go. In many cases they are only there because the man have achieved and will abandon him in the absence of achievement and/or success or in the presence of indiscretions. Thank God for the woman or ‘help mate’ God put into a man’s life with the tenacity to endure to the end; however, every man owes it to his mother to present her the pleasant surprise of his success. – Even if it’s not academically, financially but merely ethically. To quote the late actor Ossie Davis from a movie by the same title, “Do the right thing.”
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