‘Raising Black Males’
By Sabrina Jackson
I am so very disturbed by the issue regarding the Cass Tech quarterback, Jayru Campbell. I have seen the video of the body slam of the security guard. I watched as Jayru’s single mother was interviewed, sharing how her son does not know how to release his anger appropriately. Then, I watched as the media, law enforcement, educational professionals and students have weighed in on the charges filed by the Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.
As a community, I believe we must get serious about making sure our Black males do not become a statistic. Some of the statistics we must fight against are:
- 32 percent of all suspended students are Black (mostly males)
- Only 45 percent of Black men graduated from high school in the United States
- Just 22 percent of Black males who began a four-year college graduate within six years.
- The Justice Department estimates that one out of every 21 Black men can expect to be murdered
As I think of these statistics and this young man with so much potential, my heart aches for him as well as his mother. We hear so often that as a single mother raising a Black male, you should expect for him to fall into one of the negative statistics as mentioned above. I want to encourage this mother as well as the thousands of other single moms raising Black males in this society. In my book, “He is Not a Statistic: 12 Laws for Single Mothers Raising Black Males,” I provide proven strategies for mothers to implement as they navigate their sons through the maze of issues facing them in this society.
In the book, Law # 9 addresses teaching young men to use intellect to handle conflict. This strategy is major, as many parents teach their child “If someone hits you, hit them back.” This message does not encourage our youth to use their intellect when in conflict. Just think how different the situation could have turned out if Jayru stopped and thought instead of reacting to emotions. As a single mother of a successful, college athlete, I have experienced many situations where my son was in conflict and it could have become an extremely ugly situation. I am reminded of the time he was stabbed, yes stabbed, in school during his senior year of high school. He was the starting point guard as well as the team captain of the basketball team. He was a very popular kid and when the incident happened several students wanted to hurt the young person who stabbed him. Due to my son’s training and his ability to think calmly, he was successful in putting to rest the emotions and anger the other students were feeling at the time and to defuse a potentially volatile situation.
As parents, media, teachers, pastors, coaches and business professionals, we must use these moments not to argue and fight against one another, but to use this as a teaching/learning situation. All of us can use this opportunity to initiate dialogue addressing the issues of violence, anger management, and the implementation of effective problem solving strategies. I feel that Jayru should experience consequences for his actions and obtain help for his impulsive behaviors of lashing out. I do not think it will benefit anyone for this young man to go to prison or to have a felony on his record. It is clear this young man needs help. Not because he is a talented football player, but because he is one of our young Black men, worth saving. If we turn our back on this young man, he will become a statistic and he does not have to! Together, we can help turn Jayru around and ensure he becomes a productive member of society.
Sabrina Jackson is an author, trainer and evangelist. She can be reached at sabrinajackson.com or 800.456.5495.