Note: This is a reprint of Streetbeat, published on Aug. 20, 2009.
“One misconception is a lot of people think there are not a lot of good black men around, and there are. I’m a husband; I’m a father. I work. I consider myself somewhat successful. I finished school. I’m from the West Side of Chicago, went off to college; after college, now I’m a police officer in Oak Park. The things I instill in my kids, I just hope and pray that they grow up to be good men. I try to show them what a good man is overall, whether you’re black or white-it doesn’t matter.”
“The biggest misconception is that black men are not involved in their children’s lives; to guide them, to let them know what is right and wrong. I kinda feel like if we’re not here, how can they expect to learn something if they are not being taught? Men need to sit down and talk to them because if they don’t have an understanding, where can they learn it from?”
“The misconception about black men that troubles me – they are not in the lives of their children. I would like to see more black men come together in unity as far as business, and also the church is still left out. We’ve got to bring black men back to the community and do the things they are called to do. Some of the young men; we are trying to get them to do what is right. There are little things you can do-pull up your pants, speak well, dress for certain occasions; all the things we were taught growing up. So we’re just hoping we can bring back some culture; bring back the lives of our young men before we lose them all.
“It’s like when you’re in the house with your parents, you have got to have that discipline and guidance. I didn’t really have that; that is why I had to go to military school to obtain my diploma. There has got to be discipline and guidance for the foundation of the house to work. Most black men don’t have that. They don’t have a strong male figure in their life.”
George Smith Jr.
“I would like to see more black men in education because if we had more black men educated, we would have more children learning in different fields; and they would give back to the community. Educated black men will help to erode the myth and stereotypes we see every night on television. There are black men out here who are mentoring and giving back but we seldom hear about them.”
“The biggest misconception of our black men in today’s society would be that they cannot succeed and become productive citizens in our community. I believe with the training, with the right education, with the right love and a strong foundation, that they will be able to be productive citizens and great fathers. I think the reason some feel that way is a mixture of school, society and their surroundings that give them a sense of no hope. What we need to give them is a sense of hope-they are somebody.
“When you lose, you’re more motivated. When you win, you fail to see your mistakes and probably no one can tell you anything. “