A servant leader, Isaiah Thomas refutes the idea that men are failing society.
Are men failing us as a society? The answer depends on what version of the story you tell… or read. On Monday the Philadelphia Daily News published a story on their front page about a woman who was organizing a rally to demonstrate her frustration with the recent string of fatal purse snatchings—the article was titled: “Men are failing us, says woman planning demonstration.” The basis of the story focused on a woman who didn’t believe men in the city were doing enough to protect women from crime.
Later that day, Techbook Online published a story on called: “Men Denounce Philly Daily News Article: “It’s Not About Purses.” The later article not only rejected the idea that somehow men are failing society because of recent violent crimes, but put it context—using critical thinking and thought-leadership—why these crimes were happening—the economy and the “routine activity theory” were cited.
Pardon my bias, but I had a father—as a mentor—in addition to six caring and protective older brothers; so the conversation of men failing was not something I was around often. My teachers, the men in my church and others who impacted my life growing up were not men who failed.
The only failing men I witnessed growing up and the only failing men I’m exposed to now be men whom I encounter through my interactions with certain family members—who I rarely speak to—and people on television. It was not a common occurrence for me, as young man, to come across men who were considered failures. That foundation has created a level of expectations and standards for me, so I only surround myself with the same type of men I was exposed to growing up.
My perception of men does not look like the article that boasts about men failing society. My view on men takes into consideration the impact of the new Jim Crow – the institution of mass incarceration that specifically targets men of color—which in turn has a devastating impact on society. These racist and divisive policies have locked away a generation of geniuses and leaders that possessed the power to change the world.
My version of the story narrates the tale of a society which is failing on almost every level—despite any individual’s gender, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual preference, social economic status or any other Willie-Lynch-like tool used to put people against one another.
We have too many fundamental breakdowns in our communities that we must unite to address. For one, we don’t guarantee all of our children a quality education or anything close to it. We do, however, guarantee them a prison cell (or detention center) when they do something wrong. We don’t vote in every election and when we do vote we’re often misguided as to what candidate has the people’s best interest at heart. The fact that the majority of those in our communities are not educated voters allows persons with the most money to get into office and pass laws that harm the constituents they serve.
As a present father, family man, coach, brother, mentor and everyday black man, I am pleading for us to refrain from using divisive words and messages as solutions to addressing social problems. We must take this time to improve the public perception of men—particularly those of color. We need the next generation to be better and more inclusive than we were; this can’t happen if we continue to degrade a certain group of people.
I would hate for my son to be writing an opinion editorial in 25 years about the same problems and solutions presented in this piece, and others like it published by Techbook Online. Let’s be the inter-generation that changes our society for the better; let’s be the change we want to see. You’re never too young, nor ever too old, for generation NOW!
Thanks for reading!
B.O.L.D member Isaiah Thomas is a former City Council candidate and the Executive Director for Mature Cradle, Inc. Learn more about Isaiah Thomas in a new online publication presented in part by Good Men Project, entitled: “The Black His-Story Book: A Collection of Narratives from Black Male Mentors.”
Source: TBO Inc®
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Photo: C. Norris