There is already so much to unpack in Chapter 1 but a few things that stuck out to me and glad we are addressing through this work is:
1) Black Male Exceptionalism – I think this idea can work both ways (male and female) now with the inauguration of Kamala Harris. This idea that because these particular people were able to navigate the “system” we all can and that’s simply not the case. This puts an undue burden on individuals that may or may not ever reach that pinnacle in life. While it is wonderful that President Obama and VP Harris were able to “make it”, it’s not practical for everyone (especially without reform). It reminds me of the many visuals that depict equality vs. equity. Equality is giving everyone the same exact resources without the knowledge of a person’s background (education, health, wealth, etc.). Equality is providing each person specific resources to get them on a “level playing field”, which means some require more or less than others. It was a good reminder to think about how our black boys are perceived and how we can help them best navigate the “pyramid of respectability”. Even though at every level they will STILL experience racism – also made me think of “All Falls Down” by Ye (a totally different topic).
2)Redlining – This jolted me to focus on the current redistricting happening in City. It’s wild to think about the extent that people will go to restrict access to resources (school, health, wealth, etc.). This is something we need to strap up our boots on and get to work.
I completely agree with your point about exceptionalism. It is not simply black males who deal with overgeneralizations and unwarranted labels. Not everyone has the same resources, support, or (and most importantly) desires in our communities. I believe that it is important that we stop building boxes around our youth and instead focus on providing them with the tools that they need in order to build their own thing.
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