The Plight of the African-American Male
An Informative Guide to Healing and Restoration
E-Book (available as PDF, Mobi, and ePub files)
This book addresses the internal and external forces that work to prevent the African-American male from fully engaging positively in society. It addresses, openly, sensitive issues that are surely discussed privately within the confines of our (African-American, Hispanic, Caucasian, etc.) homes. The hope is that this book will help to create a space for dialogue, as it is my belief that if we talk openly and honestly about these issues, without fear of reprisal or retaliation, we will begin to create pathways that lead to healing not just fixing socio-cultural pathologies. I attempt to present methods and life events that will help the reader to deconstruct destructive social constructs that prevade society, with the hope that re-construction toward positive social behaviors that work for the common good will begin to take place in the reader's life.
This book begins with a lay approach to addressing issues that work to divide and defeat and that work to the demise of the African-American male, his family and community. It journeys much of my life in rural Mississippi as a means for illustrating the impact of these issues on the psychological, behavioral and relational capacity of the African-American male; then transitions to an educational and academic approach to identifying, analyzing, addressing and overcoming these issues. Subsequently, it addresses, first-hand, internal forces that work against the African-American male in being positive contributors to family in particular and to his community at large, such as our attitudes towards sexuality and gender identity-based cultures. Lastly, it examines the role and effectiveness of the African-American church as an instrument of healing, as spirituality is central to the African-American community.
This is a book for everyone. Please approach it with an open mind and you will experience increasing liberation with each page that you read.
The State of African-American Men
Innate to and subconsciously working within every African American male is the spirit of the African ideals regarding family and community. The tradition of African people is one that embraces close-knit communities where everyone, the African male in particular, is expected to live a life that sacrifices for the greater good of the community. The close, yet expanding family unit is essential, but it exists so that all might contribute to the betterment of the greater community. For the African family, it can be said that the more the merrier.
This African ideal regarding family and community has been transferred to or inherited by their descendants. It is encoded within the DNA, if you will, of the African American male the ideals of family and the importance of community. The African American male by nature has an attitude of reverence towards family and community. For the African American male, the family and community are the places where his identity is established and affirmed. It is within the family and community where his net worth is gained and shared. Traditionally, the role of man within the family has placed him as a central figure. Therefore it is expected and understood that his role within the family and community has to be one in which he actively contributes in a positive way. It should be understood that the male was to live a life of sacrifice for the greater good of the community. For the African American male, there is an inate desire to belong to something greater that has traversed generations and lands. This desire begins with, is supported by, and has been influenced by African tradition, and by the African cultural belief system regarding family.
God almighty has created humankind to exist in relationship. The need to belong to a group or social structure is written upon the hearts of man by the creative finger of God. This notion of existing within community is evidenced throughout biblical passages, and has been studied by many sociologist and psychologists. The mother must bond with her newborn child, or else there exists a chance that the child may be emotionally and/or mentally underdeveloped. (Bowlby 1958) In addition to mother-child bonding, the father plays an active role in the development of the child, which is equally important. The absence of the father within the family structure has been shown to have devastating consequences on the child’s development, and may result in destructive behavior during adolescence and/or adulthood. (National Center for Children in Poverty) It is therefore within the human experience, the necessity of existing within family structure, for it lends to emotionally and mentally stable progeny. Ingrained in the male’s DNA, particularly the African American male’<SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial; mso-hansi-font-family:
Larry McCullum is an ordained Elder at The Cathedral International Church in Perth Amboy, New Jersey where Bishop Donald Hilliard, Jr. is the Senior Pastor. Larry holds a Master of Divinity degree from Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, New Jersey, a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Delta State University, Cleveland, Mississippi, and a degree in Pharmacy from Howard University, Washington, DC.
Larry's life journey has been a first-hand experience in breaking out and breaking through the socio-political constructs of racism, discrimination and systematic oppression prevalent these United States of America. Despite being raised by parents who were not high school graduates and despite living below the poverty level for much of his life, Larry beat the odds and has three earned degrees.
Larry has a unique understanding of the plight of the African-American male through his own personal journey that began in the fields of rural Mississippi. He knows very well the psychological toll that discrimination, racism and disenfranchisement has on the African-American male. Additionally, Larry has overcome a history of family dysfunctionality to become an involved, engaged and loving father of two beautiful daughters and one incredible son. Larry is a positive contributor of his time, talents, and treasure towards the rebuilding of families and communities.
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