2014: The Dearth of Black Role Models For Inner-City Youth

Published on 10th January 2014

When President Obama took office, many in the black community and some in the white community, were convinced that he would be a role model for black youth.  But my years of working with inner-city young people and inner-city gang members taught me that Obama would have little to no influence on our black youth.  My experience has shown me that black youth are influenced  more by those who live in their communities and the images that they see on the screen than they are by successful blacks who move out of their community with no commitment to come back to work in the community (on a regular basis). As I said before, a black teacher or black adults who work with the youth in the inner-city would have more influence on our black youth, than President Obama, Beyoncé, JayZ, Hallie Berry, Dentzel Washington, Ice Cube, Lebron James, or any other successful black.
 
On Christmas I watched several NBA (basketball) games and during breaks, television stations would highlight black basketball stars giving Christmas gifts to inner-city black kids - which was nice.  But the question is:  Where are these athletes and where is the NBA during the rest of the year when bored black youth are participating in the "Knock-Out Game" (beating innocent people) or during "Flash Mobs" where groups of black youth either beat innocent victims or raid convenience stores in many inner-city communities?  In addition to showing inner-city kids receiving Christmas presents from NBA players, the networks also featured Nike's latest Lebron James' tennis shoes (and shoes from other NBA /stars), shoes that most inner-city kids can only steal because most do not have the money or the jobs to purchase these expensive shoes - unless they are a drug dealer or part of an inner-city gang.  Have you noticed that Nike primarily produces flashy tennis shoes for black ball players only?  
 
Where is Beyoncé, Lebron James, JayZ, Ice Cube and President Obama (the black role models) when our black youth are failing in school, and when others are involved in drive by shootings or when they destroy the windows of cars just for fun.  Yes, all of these things are taking place during the administration of our first Black President whom many swore that he would be a role model for black youth even though he never goes into the black community.
 
During the Obama administration we have had several discussions as to whether it was ok for black and white ball players to use the word "Nigger" while condemning inner-city youth and fining black ball players for using the word "gay" "fag" or "Queer."
 
While tens of thousands of black ministers are doing their best to improve the conditions in the inner-city, they are receiving very little support from the black president and the so-called role models, and little to no support from either of the two  political parties.  President Obama spends more time traveling to Hollywood, attending high class fund raising dinners than he does traveling to the inner-cities to address their problems.  Those attending these fund raising events are the same movie producers, record producers, television producers and entertainers who are responsible for producing the negative images that are affecting our black youth.  President Obama (the so-called black role model) spends more time on the golf course playing golf than he does spending time in the inner-city to reach the same black youth whom many thought he would inspire.
 
Is President Obama the problem?  No.  As I said before, many of the problems existed before he took office.  But he and the other successful blacks could be part of the solution if they cared as much about our black youth as they have about the rights of our gay brothers and sisters. Obama: Black President - he is,  - black role model for the millions of inner-city black youth - he is not.
 
Not only are our black youth suffering because of the lack of concern by our rich successful blacks (and our President), black businesses in the inner-city are also suffering because unlike Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver, today's successful blacks have chosen not invest in the black businesses in the states where they reside.
 
Rev. Wayne Perryman

Rev. Wayne Perryman is an author, lecturer, a former newspaper publisher and radio talk show host and  heads his own consulting firm specializing in conducting fact-finding investigations on behalf of inner city plaintiffs.


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