Where Are All The Black Men?

By La-Tonya Slack

The sun is shining, children are laughing and the barbecue grill is smoking. It’s time for the annual family barbecue. However, you’re not that excited to go. Why is that? When you get there all you see is mostly women, children, a few young guys and maybe one or 2 grown men…..then you remember why the excitement is muted. Has that ever happened to you? If not, consider yourself blessed and you should be thankful.

You begin to wonder where all the grown black men are. You remember as a young child sitting on grandpa’s lap and listening to the old stories, or being excited when a great uncle came for a visit. Wanting those days back you realize in your family it may never be. Why? The dynamics of the family has changed over the last 50 years or so.

There are no fathers around, maybe one or 2 distant uncles and a few cousins. What happened to all the granddads, dads, brothers, uncles and cousins? If your family is anything like mine they don’t exist in 2011 and perhaps they never did. Some are dead, some are in jail, others never come around….and you’ve got some that you don’t want to come around.  When you consider men that are in your family who are in jail or strung out on drugs you get attendance that’s close to nothing.

Why is this? Why are there so many black families being lead by grandma and mom? Why are so many children being raised by grandma instead of mom and dad?  Let us stop asking why, and start spearheading positive change.

It’s time for our black men to stand up and take your position as the head of our families. We need you. With strong black men we get strong families, with strong families we build strong neighborhoods; strong neighborhoods lead to strong communities. Right now the black community is at the bottom of the food chain. Obama can’t do it for us. We’ve got to do more and it starts at home. What will you do to incorporate positive change within the black community and in your home?

VIDEO:Public School District Institutes 1st Of Its Kind “African American Male Achievement” Program

By Team BLAM:

VIDEO: This is BIG. This is HISTORIC. A first ever we’ve been told. A public school district in Oakland, CA has embedded an “African American Male Achievement” (AAMA) program throughout its entire system, the only district in the nation to do so. Pendarvis Harshaw, the Grio.com’s Oakland-based Game Changer Fellow, produced this video profile on Chris Chatmon, the AAMA’s program director, and learned more about what is needed to take young African American males to the next level and close the achievement gap in this country.

BLAM salutes Chris Chatmon and the Oakland, California school District for all the work they’re doing to change the game for African American male students. They definitely understand that if we stand any chance at healing the hurts and pains of our young black males we must first acknowledge the harsh realities of where they are academically and then proceed with an open mind and unwavering commitment to shift the current statistics. EDUCATION IS INDEED THE GREAT EQUALIZER.

Pledge To Participate In The President’s Fatherhood And Mentoring Initiative

By Team BLAM

Being a dad is one of the most important jobs any man can have. As the father of two young girls and someone who grew up without his dad in the home, President Obama knows firsthand the power of a father’s presence in the lives of his children – and the holes dads leave when they are absent.

That’s why he launched the President’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative. Its goal : to encourage individuals, especially fathers, to be involved in the lives of their children, and to be positive role models and mentors for other children in their lives and communities.

Signing the Pledge is just one way to show that you will do your part to be a positive and supportive figure in the lives of children to help them reach their full potential.

Join the President’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative by signing the pledge at: www.fatherhood.gov/initiative

What do you get when you sign up?

· Information on local and national events that support fatherhood and mentorship

· Links to exceptional fatherhood and mentoring resources

· Access to unique content

When you take the President’s Fatherhood Pledge, you’ll receive updates, tips and resources from fatherhood organizations, prominent dads and other supporters of responsible fatherhood around the nation. Join with the President and fathers, mothers, and other role models from across the country by signing the President’s Fatherhood Pledge today.

Fatherhood Is A Journey

By Lome Aseron

Whether you’re expecting your first child or your kids are grown and on their own, being a dad is a new experience.  When my wife was pregnant, we decided to have a homebirth.  We hired a doula and two midwives.  I won’t tell you how much it cost.  According to them and other experts, labor was going to last 10-12 hours.  My son had other plans.  My wife’s labor was so short that the only other person in the room when he was born was – guess who? – me.  After nine months of preparing to support my wife in the birth of my first child, there I was, with no medical training, serving as midwife, doula, and doctor.  I fought off the strong desire to run out of the room as fast as possible.  When I caught Joaquin, I experienced pure exhilaration and love.

After only 2 days into Joaquin’s life, I told my wife, “it’s amazing how something so little can make me feel so inadequate.”  For the next few months, I experienced periods of intense anxiety.  Realizing that I needed to grow just as Joaquin was growing, I started looking for resources to support me in what was sure to be an emotional journey.  To my dismay, I found very little.  Sure, there are father’s advocacy groups and organizations dedicated to maintaining the traditional family structure, but as for resources that addressed the personal development of fatherhood – nothing.  This was a sharp contrast to the wealth of resources for moms.  I found magazines, support groups, books, blogs, and newspaper articles for new and expectant mothers.  What I found for dads was mostly re-packaged how-to guides originally directed to mothers.

Even as a new father, I recognized that failure to acknowledge the inner work that must accompany fatherhood could have dire consequences on my personal and family life.  This is not, of course, a new idea.  In a recent article in Newsweek, a father shared that his wife had to parent him as much as his children, which led to a painful divorce.  My own father told my mother that he wasn’t ready to be a father after I was born.  If we fail to understand, acknowledge, and do something about the emotional challenges that we experience as fathers, we run the risk of alienating our partners, our children, and, most of all, ourselves.  We may end up leaving our loved ones and our emotional well-being behind.  The logistical aspects of fatherhood aren’t what tear families apart through neglect and divorce.  No father ever abandoned his child because he couldn’t figure out how to change a diaper.

The path of fatherhood has never been more rich or challenging.  Provision of shelter and food are no longer acceptable as the standard by which fathers are measured.  Our children, our partners, and our own innate intelligence dare us to be more – to be nurturers, companions, guides, and counselors.  The dramatic increase in stay at home dads proves that the model of fatherhood is changing rapidly for the better.  The fatherhood paradigm shift should not be underestimated.  Without recognition that change requires inner work, we run the risk of missing out on all the opportunities that fatherhood provides to become a better man, a better partner, and a better global citizen.  A fellow new dad once told me that fatherhood was wonderful because it burns up all of your bad habits.  I don’t know if I’ll ever shed all of my negative patterns, but I know that I owe it to myself and my son to be as available as possible both emotionally and physically.  If I don’t, I might just give in to the urge to run out of the room the next time he decides to do something wonderfully unexpected.

Lome Aseron was born as a father on the same day as his son was born, Lome helps dads on the journey of fatherhood through workshops and one-on-one coaching. He recognizes that fatherhood is a personal journey for fathers as well as their children and strives to balance the more traditional responsibilities of bread-winner with more recent models of father as care-taker. To learn more about Lome’s work, visit www.newdadforlife.com

I Hope You Feel Bad On Father’s Day

By Ayize Ma’at

You’re probably thinking WTF!!??!  Like my wife, you may be thinking why would you hope someone feels bad on Father’s Day? As co-owner of this site she expressed that she didn’t like “the energy” of this post on a day like Father’s Day. But, it’s my day and I’m gonna keep it 100. To be honest…. Your recklessness, abandonment, and shameful acts of irresponsibility have become my problem.  Yes…when you don’t do what you are supposed to (i.e. teach your children) someone else does.  What man allows another man to carry his own weight?

As a father raising four children I find myself shielding and protecting my children from a chaotic world that exists in our community because of your negligence.  Boys disrespecting girls in our community exists because of YOU.  High out of wedlock birthrates exists because of YOU.  Bullying exists because of YOU.  Teen pregnancy exists because of YOU. Identity confusion exists because of YOU.  Low self esteem exists because of YOU.  Angry black boys in an assembly line to prison exists because of YOU. Low academic achievement exists because of YOU.

Yes, the aforementioned statements are sweeping generalizations void of the panoramic perspective needed to examine black fathers.  Yes, there are plenty of socio-economic variables that contribute to the host of social issues previously mentioned.  Although I recognize the plethora of contributing factors, today I’ve chosen to focus exclusively on the communal impact of absent black fathers because they need to hear real talk and feel the real pain of neglected children and disappointed black men who have “manned up” because they’ve decided to “man down”.

For many of you the instinctive reaction is to turn toward your “baby’s mama” and say she’s the reason why you are not in your child’s life.  I hear you.  I believe she may have made it difficult for you.  I know you probably hate her.  But guess what champ…..GET OVER IT!  IT AIN’T ABOUT HER.  IT AIN’T ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HER.  IT IS ABOUT YOUR CHILD.  It may be hard as hell to get back in your child’s life.  But isn’t your child worth going to hell and back?

Today, tomorrow, next week, next year when I’m walking down the street holding my sons hands or holding my daughters hands and I notice the furtive glances of children who have no father in their life…I WILL BE REMINDED OF YOU.  Their eyes tell a story of disappointment, frustration, anguish, and abandonment.  So yes…I hope you feel bad on Father’s Day…..  because your absence has caused your children to feel bad EVERYDAY.

Men Acting Like Boys…..It’s Everyone’s Problem

By Jay Reding

Has the rise of powerful women turned men into boys? This is the question author Kay Hymowitz asks in her provocative new book, Manning Up. Hymowitz argues that men today are free from the traditional tests of manhood—marrying and providing for children—and this freedom comes at a price: an increasing number of men are stuck in a state of permanent adolescence.

The statistics are shocking. Colleges are reducing the standards for male applicants to balance out the majority of incoming women. Among Americans 25 to 34, 34 percent of women have bachelor’s degrees compared to 27 percent of men. Young women in major cities earn more than fifteen times more than their male peers. And before you think this is good news for women, it also means that the field of eligible bachelors is dwindling.

So, why are men failing to grow up? Is it the fault of radical feminists? Is it the fault of the media? …Should we blame Canada?

Hymowitz argues that the real problem is our changing culture, which has become detrimental to men. Fifty years ago, men in their mid-to-late twenties were expected to be financially independent, married, and well on their way to starting families. Society expected men to grow up—so they did.

The “knowledge economy” has changed all that. The modern world encourages people to stay in school well into their twenties, all the while accumulating debt that makes it even harder to become financially independent and start a family. Plus, the skills required by a knowledge economy are skills that come more naturally to women. Jobs like those in the design and communication fields emphasize traditionally feminine skill sets. Even the traditional male bastions of law and management are becoming increasingly dominated by women.

It’s easy for women to say that the turnabout is fair play, but the fact is this: our economy and our culture are not well-served by a lost generation of American men. A healthy society needs a mix of masculine and feminine values. It was stereotypically masculine daring that invented the Internet and landed men on the moon, and women have reasons of self-interest to want a change in affairs, not the least being the desire for a responsible, dependable romantic partner.

Hymowitz observes how many women are finding the dating scene filled with men who are far from marriageable material. Biology and culture have conspired to make women naturally want to seek higher-status males—a natural biological imperative to find mates that can take care of future offspring. In other words, women don’t usually want to “marry down”.  But what happens when the supply of marriageable men is incredibly low? We are about to find out.

Instead, today’s men are tending to live lives free of most responsibility. Hymowitz criticizes the empty male culture of Maxim magazine, Spike TV, and lives lived with frat-boy abandon. Instead of shouldering responsibility, many American males have become experts at shirking it.

What may well happen is a vicious cycle: as the supply of marriageable college-educated men dwindles, more and more women will decide that they just don’t need men in their lives. This is already starting to happen. There is an increasing trend of women choosing to become single mothers. And the more women who opt out of marriage, the more it encourages men to do the same.

What can we do to arrest these trends? Firstly, we need to fix our educational system. Right now, 60 percent of new college entrants are women, and men are falling further and further behind. This is not a tolerable outcome. Our education system is failing American men in the same way that it once failed women. Secondly, we need a cultural shift. Popular culture may not be the driving reason men are falling behind, but it certainly doesn’t help. Culture needs to put more value on men as husbands and fathers rather than man-children.

People in today’s society are marrying and having children later than ever before, and we don’t really understand the effect that has on society as a whole. Hymowitz’s warnings may be overblown, but leaving an entire generation of American males in a state of semi-adolescence serves neither men nor women.

Jay Reding is a contributing writer on the relationship site YourTango To view more of his work CLICK HERE

The 8 Craziest Types Of Men To AVOID

Have you ever been in a relationship with a brotha that you knew wasn’t playing with a full deck?  Question……why were you in a relationship with him in the first place?….smh.  The below article is taken from AOL BlackVoices.  It will give you insight on what type of men to AVOID.

By Shirea L. Carroll

Men have issues that are equal — if not worse than — women because they are socialized to internalize their issues rather than deal with them. That means that entering a relationship with a man that is broken, hurt, weird or angry can be way more of a risk than dating a woman going through the same things. Women are taught to love and, if hurt, taught to love again. For men? Not so much.

Failure and success in love and relationships are to be expected, and are the reasons we all have “issues” in the first place. However, it’s the way we deal with the issues that define our sanity.

The scary thing is that spotting a man with issues is a bit more difficult than vice versa because men know how to “play it cool.” They try to not let their emotions get the best of them and are able to check themselves when they realize they’re going off the deep end. However, their cool-as-a-cucumber demeanor weakens the more they begin to care. Once you spot a man with issues, men are great at “explaining” why they are like this… and women fall for it.

Don’t let them fool you before you find yourself head over heels with a psycho! Here are 8 men you should watch out for.

1. The Disrespectful Dude
If a guy is okay with telling you to “shut the f*ck up” in public or always calling you another name in private (we’re not talking about “baby”), then you clearly have a man who is disrespectful. At some point in his life, he was really disrespected and never handled it, leaving him to think the only way for it not to happen again is to disrespect others.

2. The Unresolved Griever
If your man is a widower or divorcé who felt the best thing to do instead of cry and release his emotions was to get back into the game and replace his lost love, he will have issues. What can happen is you fall head over heels, and the first thing he hits you with is, “I’m not ready for a relationship.” He’ll never be ready if he doesn’t take the time to heal from the wounds his past relationships have left.

3. The Playa’s Playa’
Men communicate through sex, but if your man is the talk of the town, and admits to sleeping with everything that has a vagina, he’s going through something. A man that disposes of women after sex doesn’t realize a woman’s worth, showing you he’s not worth your time.

4. The Mama Hater
We all know that if a man doesn’t treat the woman who gave him life right, he won’t know how to treat the #1 woman in his life correctly. If you ever heard your man call his mom a b*tch or anything similar, this isn’t the guy for you; the issues of his childhood will sneak their way into his adulthood 99.9% of the time.

5. The Macho Macho Man
Does your man feel like he has to prove he’s a man all the time? Is everything a competition? Is he always talking about the guy’s lights he almost punched out? Does he excuse these behaviors by saying, “It’s a man thing?” There are usually two reasons a manly man might be overcompensating: because he’s angry about past issues, or because he’s man’s man… literally. How yoooooouuu doin’?

6. The Angry Man
If your man flies off the handle when you cut your hair short, because he insists he told you he only likes long hair, run for the hills. An uber-angry man not only has issues but poses risks to your safety. Not being able to control his temper is a sign that his issues have already spiraled out of control.

7. The Baby Boy
The only thing worse than a man with issues is a boy who doesn’t think he has any. Grown men who refuse to grow up, preferring to act like children, throw up the most red flags. If he feels you should do literally everything for him, he needs to learn how to grow up. You’re neither his mother nor his teacher.

8. The Gender Generalizer
Be weary of any man who likes to generalize and stereotype women in categories like: all women are liars; all woman are scandalous; or all woman are cheaters. Usually these are the men who really experienced something hurtful from a woman they really loved and have since been left jaded and bitter.

Shirea L. Carroll is a journalist who has written for Essence, VIBE, Washington Post’s TheRoot.com, XXL’s Juicy and AOL. Reporting on everything from music and entertainment to celebrity and love, she has interviewed some of today’s biggest celebrity names. Find the NJ native on her blog Invite Only, or follow her on Twitter @InviteOnly to find out “who is and isn’t invited.”