This is why I want to speak/teach/talk with young white males. I know, I know. Some of you are like wait, I thought you worked with girls? I do but, it has been on my heart for quite some time to speak with white males, specifically those in the 10th grade or younger. I have a theory and it looks like it’s being proven more and more every day.
If we don’t talk with them, teach them, and yes, even listen to them when they are middle school age, but especially by the time they’re sophomores in high school, we will lose them.
If we don’t include them in the work of inclusion, diversity, equity, and justice, we will lose them.
If we don’t put our egos aside or the negative thoughts about bad parenting and how they parents shoulda/woulda/coulda, we will lose them.
If we don’t take the time to explain and listen to them “gripe” about feeling invisible, we will lose them.
If we don’t let them ask the hard questions that we feel like they should have the answers to our questions they shoulda been taught or questions they’re afraid to ask, we will lose them.
Why is this important? Because when they get to their college campus (because THEY are going to college), there will be a group of people who look like them who will tell them how important they really are.
Who will tell them they should never feel invisible let alone be treated as if they are invisible. Who will tell them how much power they have and how they should even take what appears to be a threat to them.
Who will tell them they can march down any street in any city with tiki torches that they happen to have on their fraternity house patio and give them the weapon they need to feel powerful. They won’t need a gun. They will have a torch from Party City. And they will march together. They will be surrounded by young men who look like them and who will validate their feelings of uncertainty, insecurity, and doubt.
Those same young men will encourage them to stare others down, not to understand; to back down even when there isn’t a fight; to not give up, even when there isn’t a battle; to stay focused on pleasing his peers, not treating the person who doesn’t look like him with dignity. Those guys are waiting to welcome them in!
All I’m saying is, I want to talk. I want to listen. I want to help them understand or at least try. Someone has to because this…this is another example of our country repeating its ugly history.
Who’s with me?