The Plight of Young Black Males in America

Raspberry shows just how confused one can become when one's own cultural perspective has been lost.

Raspberry's comments, like those of many elitist conservatives, totally ignore the real reasons for the chronic academic underachievement of young black males.

Raspberry says, "I doubt that substituting Chinua Achebe, James Baldwin or Mary Frances Berry for William Shakespeare, Nathaniel Hawthorne or the white authors of high-school history texts would significantly raise the relative academic performance of black boys."

He later says the problem is caused by a lack of role models. The fact that Raspberry does not see the connection between strong cultural self-knowledge through reading the works of people like oneself, and how well one feels about oneself is painful. The fact that he seems to not view Achebe, Baldwin and Berry as role models is frightening.

Raspberry says black males ". . . confuse manliness with machismo . . ," that being able to "take care of themselves" equates with manhood.

In many areas of the inner city, being able to fight well (or giving that appearance) is simply a survival skill. Often, the brash manner of behavior Raspberry refers to is only a type of body language designed to ward off attack.

GEORGE BLAINE JR.

Los Angeles

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