Updated: Sep 20
"They will be what they see"
In this day and time when black people are facing a lot of challenges, the need for mentoring cannot be overemphasized. Recent studies have proven that young black boys are more likely to be seen as adults and less innocent than white boys. The narrative is that black boys are in a constant troubled state looking for ways to survive and that their futures are not certain, this has gone a long way in shaping the way society views young black boys as well as the way these boys see themselves. Another research showed that teachers have lower expectations of black students than other students and are more likely to discipline them more than necessary. It's no wonder that black boys tend to go in the direction that stereotypic fingers point.
Representation is what helps young black boys see that they can achieve their dreams, it helps them think bigger, because of Chadwick Boseman lots of black boys can dream of truly becoming superheroes, because of the former president Barack Obama, black boys can dream of ruling a country that was once marinated in segregation and discrimination of people of color. The presence of a mentor helps shape their thought pattern, pulls them out of the pool of stereotypes.
Mentoring is the closest form of representation black boys can get, young black boys, need a mentor, someone with a lot of experience who is willing to guide them, to take them through decision making, a person who is the personification of all they intend to be. Because the majority of these boys are daily exposed to bad decisions, coupled with personal struggles from family life they tend to go in the direction where the pressure comes from the most and that direction is usually the wrong one. A mentor is necessary to guide, to give them a template for life so that they can say if he didn’t do this then I shouldn’t be doing this. A life they can reference when they are at a crossroads.
· Mentoring gives young black boys a safe space, a safe person, someone they can share their struggles with, and not be judged. It gives a sense of acceptance because they’ve found someone they can trust. There will be countless moments in a young black man’s life where he will need someone to lean on and ask for advice and assistance, mentoring provides him with that someone.
· For growth and development; mentoring will help them develop a positive way to channel their anger. As they are faced with unimaginable difficulties with no one close by to look to for help and comfort they are forced to grow up too quickly so they tend to exert their masculinity negatively. A mentor will teach them, show them that he believes in them, change the narrative they are used to, help them see their potentials by believing in their capabilities, and providing them with the support they need for an epic future.
· Black boys who receive mentoring are less likely to make drastic mistakes, they have a mentor whose life experiences they can learn from. When they see that the person, they trust has been through what they are going through and understands exactly how they feel then they can have real conversations with him/her about anything, given that most important adults in their lives are either absent or view them in a negative light. The approval of one person could go a long way in affecting the decisions they make.
Black boys must have someone they can look up to. Mentoring has been linked to positive outcomes in the life of countless black boys, it transcends just their personal life, it affects their academics, their relationships, their social and emotional well-being, their career and mental health, this is why the need for mentoring in black communities should be emphasized.