14 Dec

imageI just saw the movie DOPE and I must say that it was an amazingly provocative film. Anyone who is a parent, educator, mentor or cares about youth should see it. Without giving away the plot, this movie can be summed up in a phrase: The plight of brown boys in urban communities is very complicated and unsure. One would like to think that great grades, high test scores and diverse interests would all but guarantee a successful future. Although these elements are a recipe for success in some environments DOPE showed how untrue this can be in certain circumstances. This film exposes the intricacies of life when you are raised in an community that is counter-productive, shuns positivity, and constantly is calling out young men like the Sirens’ song to join negativity.  These diversions can be too much for a young child to handle. I see it everyday with youth that I work with in various environments. So eager to become cool, to be accepted, and to fit into what the environment deemed is necessary has aborted too many future doctors lawyers, teachers, scientists and other leaders who could have a huge positive impact on our global society. So as I contemplate my soon to be middle school son’s educational tracks I recall an article I read almost 20 years ago that chronicled the conundrum of what happened to smart brown boys as they matriculate through middle school and secondary school. If I Only Had a Notebook describes the psychological and educational impact of young men who are not esteemed for their intellect or unique interests. The social pressures become too much to handle and they  succumb to the story that is told by media and those around them.

As a parent, youth organization director and educator this movie inspired me to continue to support this nation’s youth.  I will continue on my quest to help a  young boys, who are too often written off by the mainstream, pursue a successful future and change the trajectory of their descendants.  As a mom I will always encourage my young son who has a diverse group of friends, can turn any song into a folk song,  asks imaginative questions, wins spelling bees, and is passionate about playing basketball to value his uniqueness and education.

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