7 Lies We Need to Stop Telling About Young African-American Men

Last week Long Island teenager Kwasi Enin captured national headlines after becoming part of an impressive club: high school seniors who have been accepted into all eight Ivy League schools. However, while many celebrated Enin’s achievement, a bitter minority griped that the teenager had somehow gamed the system. The racial subtext was obvious: Enin couldn’t have actually have gotten into all those schools by himself. Why? Well, because he’s black.

This type of harmful and wholly inaccurate narrative has been constructed around African-American male student achievement for years. Enin is just the latest high-profile example of how it hurts all young men, high school high achievers or not, by implying that the majority of African-American boys are hopelessly behind and may never be able to narrow the achievement gap.

There are, of course, legitimate issues that African-American male students face due to a confluence of factors. But even data that show the more dire aspects of black male achievement do not exist in a vacuum, with researchers misrepresenting or not calculating for the experiences of African-American male students.

The good news is that bright spots like Enin may help raise the profile of America’s African-American young men. However, there is a lot of work to be done, beginning with rethinking the way we use these seven common “facts.”

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The Mis-Education of the NegroAfter you finish reading this wonderful article, the staff of MahoganyBooks suggests you read the classic book, The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson for deeper insight into this topic. This book delves into the many ways the American education system disabuses African-American children of the self-esteem needed to be engaged learners because of the disingenuous representation of their history and heritage as non-relevant.

About Derrick Young 19 Articles
I am the CEO and Co-Founder of the award-winning online bookstore, MahoganyBooks.

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