What do you think about the issues discussed in the "Being a Black Man" series?

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As a business owner of a computer firm I have been struggling to make a living. It is hard for a Black Man to go through the craziness of thins United States citizen. You have to be five steps better in everything you do. I have learned that you don't give up "period". This special issue on the Blight of the Black Man is awesome. Thank you so much.

Posted by: J. Walker | June 5, 2006 04:42 PM

Thank you! THANK YOU! As a relatively young black man, I was thankful to read this piece and look forward to more in the series. There is so much work to do but I am inspired and re-energized, knowing that I am not alone in the struggle!

Posted by: G. Mitchell | June 5, 2006 04:43 PM

What a surprise to wake up to the front cover today with a beautiful picture of black men on the cover. I especially liked the video series on the website - the new wave in news I think. Mr. Brown's video was particularly interesting to me. Can't wait to read more.

Though you may have all the articles written in advance, you may wish to highlight a "regular," hardworking, and successful generation of men. My husband, William Miner is from such a family and his grandfather and father (both deceased) were well regarded in Washington, DC - his great grandfather fought in the civil war. Now our son is on his way. I just would like to see something that highlighted generational success and what that looks like for African American men.

Posted by: A. Miner | June 5, 2006 04:47 PM

Thanks for this super coverage of our men. I have two sons and I worry about them, not because they are ignorant, uneducated or criminally involved. I worry because they are having a rough time getting ahead financially and realizing their dreams of family, children, society and so on.

I am their mother and have had a hard time helping them to move along, not give up. Neither has finished college. Both of them want to finish. They work, have their own places and seem determined and persevering.

I've traveled with them; we lived in Africa, in Michigan where I attended graduate school. D.C. is our home. Rather, I should say D.C. use to be our home. Not anymore because traditions and heritance bequeathed to us by my parents, we were robbed of. Those were the "turbulent days of our lives".

As I look back and peruse the present, I find I am most fortunate to have raised my sons largely by myself (certainly, not happy about this) - they are good people, they love diversity, largely conservative in manner, have good aesthetics and have served their country.

Fortunately, as a women I like men, have grown up mostly among men, have watched them closely, etc. I find black men to have a very high regard, love and caring for each other. I wish women were this way. We are not though. But this is another topic which could easily appear somewhere in your coverage of Being a Black Man in America, being a black man in the World.

Thus far, all I have said is just a small aspect or jot of what Being a Black Man in America or the World is all about. The other aspect of what "Being a Black Man" is troublesome for me. It entails what I see as Black men not being in control of their families, community, and to be sure, being a black man is not being in control of the political economy, the economics, foreign policy. Why, we are still taking up time about the vote. For instance, a good chunk of men/black men - formerly incarcerated men can't vote. Now this is really a stupid policy, a form of robbery in my view.

Thanks again

Keep Up the Good Work

Posted by: The Mother of Two Grown Sons | June 5, 2006 04:50 PM

The series "Being a Black Man" looks good but I noticed one glaring omission. "Chronology of Black Men in America" does not include the 1995 Million Man March. That march was monumental, historical and pivotal in the history of the Black man and should not be ignored.

Posted by: M. Aljuwani | June 5, 2006 04:52 PM

QUIT BLAMING EVERYONE ELSE BUT YOURSELVES! THE RACE CARD IS SURE GETTING OLD IN AMERICA. THE SAME CRAP HAPPENS TO EVERY MAN IN AMERICA. SEE WHAT BILL COSBY THINKS ABOUT YOUR ARTICLE. NOW, ASK THE BLACK WOMEN IN AMERICA THEIR OPINIONS ABOUT THEIR BLACK MEN AND THE REASONS AND NUANCES BEHIND THEIR FAILURES.

Posted by: G. BUTLER | June 5, 2006 04:53 PM

I read the article today in the news paper and the thing I most remember is black boys are basically taught they are nothing and useless. Question, how can we as African American reeducate not only our sons but others as well? Why is it that we have a church on every corner however they are doing NOTHING for our youth? They are more concerned with their own pockets then helping our children. How can we help the parents, help their children? We are in serious trouble; we all have to be reeducated to love ourselves unconditionally, that is first and foremost. And then we will be better teachers for our children. Parents have to take a stand, like it or not we have produced a lost generation. The parents are to blame. It really saddens me to see my people hating one another, we are the most beautiful gifted people God has created and we are throwing it all away. Why why why?

Posted by: M. Swangin | June 5, 2006 04:54 PM

This is a wonderful project!!!! I will follow it carefully

You are to applauded for profiling this critical issue in America.

Posted by: B. Jouhari | June 5, 2006 04:55 PM

I think this series is a terrific idea. I truly would like to understand more about what it means to be a black man. I'm waiting to see how the series develops.

I would also like the Post to do a series on what it means to be a white man in America. Both my parents emigrated from Italy in the 1920's. My dad, a waiter, died of appendicitis four months before I was born in 1940. Life for me was extremely difficult. But I worked at it and made what I consider a success of myself. Yes, I had much help along the way, my 10 year older brother for one, and the New York City public school system for another. My entire education from kindergarten through MBA was taken at NYC schools. I believe that a series on a white man, such as me or anyone of millions of others would be extremely interesting and informative.

Posted by: G. DeRossi | June 5, 2006 04:57 PM

As an Ivy League educated black man I will feel vindicated if this great pillar (The Washington Post) of journalism represents the true essence of Black male's existence. I challenge this paper to focus on the millions of Black males who have "pulled themselves up by their proverbial bootstraps" to earn a living in America. I also hope that you will discuss how all Black males regardless of education, income, and morality face prejudice and racism on a daily basis. One idea for future stories is how being a black male is akin to being an "Invisible Man". Simple stated, without suits and other accoutrements of middle and professional class attire we are overlooked and not recognized by our white colleagues.

Thank you in advance for what promises to be a wonderful series and discussion on race.

Posted by: J. Brice | June 5, 2006 05:01 PM

I read the article on-line at msn.com and I totally related to the story
because it hit me from all side. I am educated (AAS, BS and MBA), but I
have been to prison, but my conviction was overturned, which makes me
wrongfully convicted, yet I am struggling to find employment. I woud
love for you all to continue this series. I would be more than happy to
share my struggles.

Posted by: F. Dunston | June 5, 2006 05:04 PM

Hey Washingtonpost, I just wanted to say, I ate up every single article and
video you posted about black men in the US...keep up the amazing work, and
I'll definitely be back to check when more features are completed.

Thanks so much for the great article

Posted by: F. Bohsali | June 5, 2006 05:05 PM

I believe that your topic is severely limited in scope. When
discussing African Americans, the focus is always directed towards
black men with little attention directed towards the struggles and
triumphs of black women. Though I applaud the newspaper's attempt at
an interesting topic, it is extremely lazy for the writers and editors
to continue to concentrate on the problems black men encounter without
a companion piece about black women. If the newspaper really wanted
to engage in a large scale project, they would challenge themselves to
address the disrespectful manner in which African American women are
treated in the media, academia, and in society at large. With your
planned ongoing series focusing on black men you display a complete
lack of respect for the history of black women.

Sadly, I doubt that you will rectify this problem any time in the near
future.

Your series on black men is a slap in the face to current and future
scholars like myself who devout their time to the study of African
American women's history.

Posted by: H. Ashby | June 5, 2006 05:06 PM

This series has started on a very strong note and I'm looking forward to
including some of the articles and media in a class that I'm teaching in
the fall. I don't know if there is any intent on examining health and
health-related behaviors among Black men...this should be included at
some point in the series and there are several experts who are doing
cutting-edge work in this area.

Posted by: S. Bediako | June 5, 2006 05:09 PM

To The Editors and Writers of This Much-Needed Series:

Thank you so much for your skillful reporting and your attention to detail in your report. I say "attention to detail" because I feel you focus as much on the individual as you do on group trends - something a number of reporters and academics fail to do.

However, I hope that you will also address the disparity between first generation American black men, immigrant black men and black men with more firmly planted family roots in America. There are subtle differences there that I feel go mostly unnoticed.

I also hope that you plan on addressing the lives of black women with equal candor. No honest discussion of black men is complete without addressing the lives of black women.

I sincerely hope you will bring your formidable reporting skills to bear on these two important points.

Posted by: E. Kolawole | June 5, 2006 05:10 PM

A very interesting article. This article appealed to me so-o-o; you see I am a mother of a young black man who has fared well. From the time I realized he understood words, I began to discuss and speak of the plight of the black man in America. I did this so that nothing he encountered would be a surprise to him as he grew and matured in this world. Also, from early childhood I emphasized the facts that he is SOMEBODY, the love and fear of God, self pride, respect for others and held him accountable for otherwise. More importantly, he was told that he could accomplish any goal he set forth for himself and that education was and is the key to attaining those goals, and that because certain objects were placed in his path, he did not have to partake. I (and the village) exposed him to many experiences and opportunities to prepare him for stepping out in the world. Likewise I taught him what I learned from my parents, and was and still is an example of what I teach. Presently, my son is a rising senior at Morehouse College and I know that he is becoming one strong black man.

Not only did I foster my son, but his friends and other black males I encountered. There is a role in developing males that women must play. We as mothers must, I repeat, must continue to do as our foremothers, and that is keeping our hands never remove them from nurturing and rising of our children and especially now days. And we are "At the Corner of Progress and Peril" as BLACK Americans to succeed, where will we go, how will we get there, for no man is an island. This journey will need all of our hands, will and expertise.

Posted by: E. Ware | June 5, 2006 05:10 PM

As I sit here in my office, I just happen to click on Washingtonpost.com and saw this article. I'm glad that this is being done and I'm glad that it is being done with a wide spectrum of what it means to be a Black Man. There are many different walks of life that we all come from, and I think it is important to highlight them all. I also think it is important to portray some more youth doing positive work in their communities. Too often they are portrayed in a negative fashion, but we have a whole lot of young brothers doing positive things everyday.

Posted by: B. Stokes | June 5, 2006 05:12 PM

Mr. Merida, Hamil Harris et al,

I am thrilled to have this series to share with my 15-year old rising 11th grader. To have the opportunity to read with him about black men who are more than today's media stereotypes: criminals, rappers, or sports figures in the daily paper is very welcome. I hope it provokes discussions at home and among his friends. As his mom, I must soon face the fear you (Kevin Merida) expressed this morning on C-span - when he starts driving, moving further out into this America and must deal with being "questioned" by police.
I hope there are high school classes that will take advantage of this series and explore the issues raised. And I hope your series provokes hope.

Hamil, I just saw the video presentation "What does it mean to be a black Man?" I look forward to the next.

Posted by: C. S. Lewis | June 5, 2006 05:13 PM

As a member of the group in question, I feel a serious and thoughtful examination on the subject is well past due. I look forward to seeing where the journey takes us all.

Posted by: P. Hill | June 5, 2006 05:18 PM

Hey Guys great article.

I am the president of our local school board last year. We live in a small community, we have 4000 kids in our school, and of the 4000 children we will graduate 225. As you can see the senior class started out with 330 kids. Of the 330 kids 64 are African Americans. On graduation day we had roughly 20 African Americans graduate, and I think Five were males.

We Have a "Head Start" Program for all Kids. If they make a mistake we send them to Fresh Start, and If they want they can take Alternative Education to obtain their degree. When we expel the kids for drugs or violence, we give them the opportunity to go in front of the board with their parents, and we may get one or two a year that try and appeal their case. Our board approved a summer school and money for a early learners program.

The sad part is we loose 100 kids between the 9th grade and when they graduate. Some of them do move but there are a lot of children that fall through the cracks. I am not an educator but am PRO EDUCATION, and feel the Head Start is a Joke. You have to get to these kids between birth and when they start school.

I own my own business and we employ 350 people. These 100 kids can not pass the math test or the drug test. Our town once had a large industrial base. They are all gone-China and Mexico. They use to get out of school and go to work. The jobs aren't there anymore.

I feel some how we have to raise these 100 kids. Thet are not being raised in the home. It may be against their rights, but what we are doing now isn't working. I raised two kids and just put them through college. I got to tell you it was the hardest job that I have ever done, and I own my own business.

These are some of my thoughts. Our community is about as blue collar middle class as it gets. God only knows the problems in larger towns.

Posted by: M. Dreher | June 5, 2006 05:20 PM

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

Posted by: J. Mcneeley | June 5, 2006 05:20 PM

I had to fight through tears while reading today's article. To say that I can relate is an understatement. I am a Black Man that has worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for over thirty years. We often refer to it (USDA) as the "Last Plantation." Some of the experiences that I, and other 'REAL BLACK MEN" have experienced here and throughout society is beyond belief. I too am a father and husband, my daughter has graduated college and yet, we still have to struggle with things that should have disappeared by now. It is as if nobody wants to acknowledge that this "slavery" mentality still exists. It does. Your expose is powerful and well written. I look forward to more. It struck a cord with me.

Posted by: R.C. | June 5, 2006 05:24 PM

The series on black men has enormous potential. As the mother of a 19
year-old black man I appreciate the Post's decision to do it. My own son
is a child of privilege. He and all of his friends are college
students. But they regularly experience the slights and suspicions that
burden all black men.

I know your challenges include sounding an alarm about the circumstances
of most black men while acknowledging those who have achieved or are
pursuing productive lives at jobs and success in their social
interactions. However, the initial photo series was disappointing. Two
are photos of men "shooting the breeze" outside a bookstore. In another
they're in a sports cafe. The only photos in which black men are in
suits were taken at church service. (The men "not shown" are long dead,
by the way). The photo of men at 5th and Q reinforces stereotypical,
negative impressions visually and by implication: T-shirts, a do-rag,
dreds, a cap on backwards, and, most disturbing, the notion that they
have nothing better to do with their lives than hang out on the corner.
Finally, there is a group of men training to be chefs. There are
several messages in this photo gallery: Black men hang out together a lot
shooting the breeze. Black men are big on sports. To see a significant
number of black men in suits you have to go to a black church. The food
service industry is a promising career direction for black men seeking to
move up in the world.

Other messages could have come through. The bookstore owner is evidently
a successful entrepreneur. He and his friends often talk about important
issues. The men in the sports cafe could perhaps have been photographed
at a sports event with young men (their sons or nephews or kids they are
mentoring). There could have been a group of black men in suits in any
number of white collar settings. There could have been a photo of young
men living at 5th and Q who work full-time for pay that doesn't get their
families out of poverty. (Perhaps that's the situation of the men
pictured but the caption conveys something quite different.) I would
have had no problem with the photo of the men in chef's training if it
were not for my concerns about the collective effect of the six other
photos.

I don't attribute the photo selections and captions to bad intentions on
anyone's part. In particular my guess is that black reporters and
photographers are and will be deeply involved in the development of the
series. Nor do I believe that the purpose of the series is to promote my
or anyone else's social policy agenda. But I believe the photo gallery
illustrates how stereotyped images of black men are ingrained in the
culture and infect choices made every day by people with no conscious
pernicious intent.

Posted by: M. Morisey | June 5, 2006 05:26 PM

Staff:

I am truly excited about the prospect of dialoged and the exchange of philosophy and experience that this series is bringing about. As the only black Industrial Engineer out of about 38 engineers in my company, I can identify with the uniqueness of being black in a professional setting and appreciate anyone that tries to recognize and examine our unique experience (both professionally and casually).

...Bravo!

Posted by: L. Kelsey | June 5, 2006 05:28 PM

Some writers for newspapers make the mistake of not forming a good beginning and end idea in their articles. If you considered the black male in a healthy community as a frame for such an article the word peril would not be necessary. Obviously it was used to get the attention of your readers. It is irresponsible to use such a word and for me it was used with the same effect as AIDS, a real threat, is used. It is not right to scream fire in a theatre. The people who exit the theater exit with the same problems. A clear definition of a man comes out of the legend created by men in small and large communities.

The Post article "Being a Black Man" is full of outstanding individual images, but doesn't get to the heart of the definition of a man as it is defined throughout communities of black and brown people through the world. A better article would have focused on communities of black and brown people, people who are of the same texture and color of black Americans.

Find the community with great respect for the sacred. Then look for the sacred, respected male figure. Write about those black men and it will be clear to all that the black man isn't going anywhere. That article or those articles will help to reestablish the tribal definitions of a man. The rappers will then have something to sing about.

Let me also say that all black communities created as a result of the civil war were not equal. Some blacks coming out of slavery were ready to grab the brass ring. There were other communities in which the black man never had a chance and the children of those slaves have never seen a man even to this day.

Posted by: R. Thomas | June 5, 2006 05:30 PM

I am stunned (in a great way) that this article is allowed to run in our present political climate. I applaud your use of the venue to collect oral histories. Please find a way to compile these works for perpetuity. I will be glued in anticipation for the next article in the series.

Posted by: L. DeLeon | June 5, 2006 05:30 PM

The very inclusion of this article on the front of the washington post website is racist. Should we also celebrate what it is to be a white man, an asian man, a spanish man?!?!? I was actually getting ready to subscribe to the print edition but you changed my mind.

Posted by: Jackie | June 5, 2006 05:33 PM

Thank you for having the foresight, courage, and love to do this series. I am looking at it for the first time online, as I missed the initial release in the newspaper due to being on business travel. I am, in my secular job, a manager at a law enforcement association. I soon pray that I will be a minister in my church. I have a Bachelor's of Science and Masters of Divinity. My wife and I are blessed to live in a prominent Virginia suburb. I know well, and first-hand what this speaks of. And, because of that, I would offer that to be a Black man is proud blessing in a cursed world. And thank God, I have been called by my God to be a Black man. Every day that we live is a blessing, and everyday that we are able to come home with some semblance of mind, dignity, and faith is a blessing from our Lord and a victory over all that would mock us. Not just what we do, but who we are. Our very being.

Thank you. I wait with an eager anticipation for your next article in this series.

Posted by: From a Black man | June 5, 2006 05:35 PM

I have bookmarked the web page and look forward to reading more. One topic I am curious to see if (and how) it is covered is how black men such as myself have to deal with members of our race (and others) when we marry outside of our race. Once again good article.

Posted by: R. Calvin | June 5, 2006 05:35 PM

I just want to write that I thoroughly enjoyed the article and embrace all of these analysis of Black men in America. They are usually depressing, but its important to know what is going on with my brethern never the less.

Posted by: D. Bridges | June 5, 2006 05:36 PM

This looks to be a wonderful positive and honest portrayal of black men in America - will there be a book, anthology, dvd or some other way to capture this information once it is complete? I teach an African American Culture Class and would love access to this for educational and personal purposes. Will you do other ethnic groups male portrayal as well??

Posted by: L. Williams | June 5, 2006 05:37 PM

Thank you so much for this series. I will be following this throughout the year and look forward to the articles.

I'm a daughter, wife and mother to African American males. There is nothing like an African American male. The strength, persona, communication style, interaction with family, drive and ambition. I love black men and I'm so proud of you for taking the bold step to let the world know how multifaceted you are. You really honor my father, husband and son. As a black woman I hear and feel the pain black men go through in spite of their "worldly success". People would like to think we live in a color blind world, but that just isn't the reality and I'm so glad you will be showing the world the issues your brothers face and just how wonderful our brothers are in spite of the issues they face or their station in life.

My dad is a retired teacher and a musician who writes music as well as sings with the Twin City Choristers in Winston-Salem, NC. My husband attended Virginia Union College where he played football, he joined the Marine Corps where he was a Scout Sniper and veteran of the Gulf War and he now works as a Letter Carrier for the Postal Service. My beautiful son is 5 years old and is so excited about life and learning and is told daily that there's absolutely nothing he can't do (of course he's a genius:)

My father and husband are awesome examples of great black men, and I respect and honor them and was taught that I should respect and honor them. Both of my grandfathers were family men, hard workers and active in their churches. My husband is an awesome man of God, wonderful provider, excellent father and the husband I prayed for. I come from a family that has strong black men and I've seen so many strong families headed by men, not just in my family, but many others. I'm so glad that these men will finally be affirmed.

I'm also glad that black men that are successful in their own right are reaching out to our young brothers that may not have fatherly guidance. These young men have such an issue with trusting other black men and I'm praying that the Lord will soften these brothers hearts to bring healing and unite them with other men who will stand in the gap for their absent fathers. I feel a shift for our young brothers and I'm excited about the opportunities for them with guidance from brothers like you and the men who are committed to seeing them succeed.

I have faith that the state of our communities will change when the state of our men changes. Our community has taken on values that are contrary to our success and wellbeing, and I'm prayerful that this series will bring us back to valuing the family (the foundation).


I have told everyone I know to read the series this year. Be blessed as you bless African American men this year. I feel a call going out to our black men. Please don't get discouraged during this series. You will always have people that are not happy with what you're doing, but please know that you are making a difference in the minds and hearts of people throughout the country.

Thank you so much and I'm keeping you in my prayers.

Much success!

Posted by: T. Murphy | June 5, 2006 05:39 PM

Dear Washington Post:

What a wonderful topic to choose. As a New York City Police Officer, and as a Blackman myself, I too often wonder what the future holds for a Blackman in America. The random acts of violence, the senseless homicides and the rate of incarceration should alarm anyone that considers themselves Americans.Its articles like this, that makes me continue my pursuit of photojournalism.

Thank you and I look forward to reading your articles throughout the series.

Posted by: K. Matthews | June 5, 2006 05:40 PM

As a black man that reads the Post religiously, I admire this
series. Rarely does the Post make a great effort to peer into the AA
sphere, and this is a great endeavor. I hope that you eventually put
this on a data cd or DVD that people can buy at a modest price or for
free so that they can use it for schools and youth groups (if so,
please be sure to add lesson plans for teachers at all 3 levels of
schooling).

Posted by: L. McMahan | June 5, 2006 05:43 PM

I think I am going to find this series very interesting. I am African, and have never really identified with black Americans, because, frankly, I have had a very different experience growing up in a society offering very different cultural and family experiences and circumstances. This is not to say I have not faced racial discrimination here in the US both from whites and blacks. But I am reading your series with deep interest because I have a four-year old son who is growing up in this society and is already facing issues of race and exclusion. So while we his parents are at home teaching him that he can be/do anything he wants to be/do, he is being faced with subtle racial discrimination at his school. Sometimes, I wonder whether it is all just my imagination.

Anyhow, I look forward to reading the whole series. I want to understand what my son is bound to face, growing up black in America.

Posted by: Name Withheld | June 5, 2006 05:51 PM

As an administrator in Northern Virginia, I find and experience the lack of affirmation for black males in every aspect of public education. This is the one area that we should place a lot of our energy for change. Problems experienced by young black males begin in school and lead to failure or the lack of success. There is a shortage of men in administrative positions in public education. Young black males need to see themselves meet with success at an early age. Public schools can provide that experience. A good wake up call for the area would be to see the number of black men that are principals in all of the school systems surrounding the D. C. Metropolitan area.

Next, black men need to view themselves in reference to the world, not only America. This could avail some opportunities that might not present itself in America. Outside of America we are view quite differently. We need to become part of the global movement, and again, this should start with education of our young men. Prior to being an administrator, I was a high school basket coach. Three young men that I coached are making a living playing basketball in outside the U.S..

The project is long overdue, and I admire your staff for letting the world know what we face everyday. America needs to take a look at herself. What happens to one group will eventually touch others.

Posted by: | June 5, 2006 05:52 PM

being a black woman, I was intrigued by the feature. I just finished
reading the profiles and looking at the photos. Then I did the poll.
It was a fascinating experience. I have 3 brothers and they are all
very different. While we grew up poor, they are all successful in
their own way. I know that I was influence by their lives in the way
that I answered the questions. As far as the national poll data went I
was off as far as crime and responsibility responses. I will keep
going back and following the series. I am going to email it to one of
my brothers and another friend. Getting off to a great and interesting
start. Good luck and God bless.

Posted by: R. Clark | June 5, 2006 06:12 PM

My congratulations on an excellent series of videos online on black men. I
enjoyed them all -- the wonderful selection of interviewees, the questions
asked and answered, the production quality in how the videos were shot and
edited. This is one of your best series because you picked real people,
ordinary black men and not some idiots with no teeth or 4 children by 6
different women. This is a refreshing change! Thank you! Paula Matabane

Posted by: P. Matabone | June 5, 2006 06:17 PM

The questions in my opinion are too nebulous, the percent polled will be thought as how all black men think and feel and that is all to wrong. There are too many mitigating factors to get a true synopsis of the true state of black men in this country. I for one have experienced a great deal in my 58 years and I do not believe that you will touch on the experiences of my life and the lives of my friends and relatives.

Posted by: K. Sapp | June 5, 2006 06:18 PM

My husband and I, who are both African American attorneys who specialize in civil rights law with a praticular personal focus on issues of race, were ecstatic to see this level of attention now being paid to the dire issue of the plight of Black men in America by the Post. You are to be commended for tackling this very difficult subject, one which many may find uncompelling. It is great to see an issue of concern to Black America receiving treatment as an issue of concern to all of America. We look forward to the stories and articles to come.

Posted by: Nicole and Alexander Hillery | June 5, 2006 06:20 PM

This is a wonderful series. I couldn't wait to open up Sunday's Washington Post to read what black men have to say about themselves. Moreover, I'm interested in what this will produce in the future by way of other media enteties writing stories of a similar nature. A nice cap off to this would be a story on 20/20 or something of that nature. Thanks for doing this series!

Posted by: LaVenia Rice | June 5, 2006 06:51 PM

Thumbs up on your project, "Being a Black Man." As a mother of three black young boys, I am all ears toward issues concerning black men. Fortunately, my boys are part of a strong patriarchal legacy. My husband, their father, is a well- educated, highly successful and spiritually grounded, beautiful black man. He has followed in the footsteps of his father and uncles, each of whom are successful and highly educated. My boys are destined for greatness regardless of their color. I think the experiences of the black male run the full spectrum and I commend you on addressing various perspectives.

Posted by: N. Oden | June 5, 2006 06:55 PM

IT IS WITHOUT QUESTION THAT WE AS BLACKMEN HAVE COME A MIGHTY LONG WAY; BUT THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES. WE MUST NOT ONLY DEAL WITH THE BLATENT DIREPECT OF RACISM BUT ALSO THE CLASSIZM THAT PERPETUATES OUR BROTHERS EVERYDAY ESP. EDUCATED BROTHERS VS NON-EDUCATED; SORT OF THE HAVES VS. THE HAVE NOTS. FREDERICK DOUGLAS SAID IT BEST:" WITHOUT STRUGGLE THERE IS NO PRGOGRESS" WE (BROTHERS) MUST CONTINUE TO STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE IN EVERY WAY, BUT ALSO BE MINDFUL TO UPLIFT OUR YOUNGER BROTHERS IN ALL THAT WE DO AND ACHIEVE. "NO BROTHER LEFT BEHIND" SHOULD BE THE PREAMBLE FOR ALL OF US TO MODEL OURSELVES AFTER. STAY TRUE TO OURSELVES AND TO OUR HOMES AND COMMUNITIES. MUCH THANXS TO THE WASHINGTON POST FOR THIS GREAT SEGMENT AND TO CONTINUE WITH THE GREAT MUST READ ARTICLES CONCERNING MY AFRICAN AMERICAN BROTHERS.

Posted by: R. ADAMS JR. | June 5, 2006 07:08 PM

This "project" is what I include in my label "Black Deja Vu."

Posted by: Dr. J. M. Griffin | June 5, 2006 07:14 PM

good work

Posted by: D. Oriola | June 5, 2006 10:52 PM

The following excerpt is from your article named:

"Poll Reveals a Contradictory Portrait Shaded With Promise and Doubt"
"But black women were not entirely sympathetic. More than half of black women said one big reason the average black woman is better-educated and makes more money than the average black man is that black women simply work harder."

The underlined statement is a falsehood in regards to income.

I would refer you to US Census data.

http://www.census.gov/hhes/income/histinc/p05b.html.

I hear everyone from my mother to every other angry Black Woman stating that they earn more than black men but the data does not piont in that direction. Will you please amend your article. Thank you.

Posted by: Ricky Butler | June 5, 2006 10:54 PM

I am a member of the National Organization of Concerned Black Men Inc.
Our National Headquarters in located in D.C. We are starting an
initiative called: Young Black Males Achievement Gap Initiative. It is
our goal to assist in the hoalistic approach with our young black males.
Their are several components to this issue. Schools, Family, Community
and the individuals themselves. We all have a part to play in the over
all success of our youth. Societies ills have plague our families and
communities for centuries. We as Afrikan Americans have bought into the
Amrican dream. Our dream to be free must start from within our selves.
We cannot depend on others to come up with answers for our situation, we
are the answer. We have enough professionals, in all fields of work to
help overcome any obstacle that comes before us. We must work together
to achieve success. Our youth very seldom see black men and women
working together towards a common goal. Leading by example is the
coined phrase that we preach to our youth. Until our young black men
see black men helping them, encouraging them, disciplining them and
loving them, they will continue to lack the knowledge and self esteem to
move forward.

Posted by: Jimmie A. Wright | June 5, 2006 10:55 PM

In a series that purports to provide a balanced portrait of black men, why is it that the jailed population of black men, that represents a relatively significant proportion of total black population, are not given a voice in the results? Is this another form of imprisonment?

Posted by: | June 5, 2006 10:55 PM

I would like to see a discussion of the contributions or the value of the black man in the popular culture (not just entertainment, but lifestyles, economics, and education) as it is defined today. More specifically an analysis of the industries that we contribute to the most. As well a conceptualization of what our culture would look like if so many of the black men were not in prison or dying at a young age. Also if you could spotlight a community that is working in the benefit of black men. Or perhaps spotlight the communities in which many of today's influential black men are coming from.

I must say that this series that you have put together is groundbreaking and I appreciate the approach that you have taken in putting this together. Kudos to the Washington Post and its editors for getting beneath the surface on a topic that much of the mass media is afraid to touch.

God Bless

Posted by: Javarro Russell | June 5, 2006 10:56 PM

Dear Washington Post,
First, I want to thank you for your series on Being a Black Man. Second, while I did not grow up in the D.C. area, this was the home of my maternal grandmother and I have cousins that have lived here for years. I was born and raised in New York City, but now live in Silver Spring, MD. I consider myself a successful black man who has achieved much with the help of God. Yet, there are times that I consider myself a failure for fully achieving what I love to do and that is sing professionally. I am current a Group Manager with BAE Systems, Inc. a Defense contractor leading and managing the work of 62 engineers of various disciplines.
How did I get to this position? I firmly believe that education, which Martin Luther King spoke so eloquently of, has helped me to achieve my goals. Of the six children in our family, I am the oldest. My ticket to getting out of a rat race in the Bronx was an education and military service. I chose as different path, one less traveled by most black men. I chose to serve in the U.S. Navy and be one of the handful of black submariners. I took the opportunity to see the world, both east and west and to criss-cross these United States. Along the way, there were trials and troubles, but I managed to overcome.
Since retiring in 1998, I have worked in business as a General Manager of a fast food restaurant, taught in South Carolina and traveled with my current company training sailors and civilians in submarine strategic weapons systems.
Out of all of this two things stand out. One, my youngest brother, who never graduated from high school, who had the same opportunities that I did, for years called me a "white boy" because I chose to go to college, serve in the military and earn an education. Second, black children whom I taught in South Carolina, always wondered why I "talked white". I never understood why some black men resented me for trying to get ahead that they would stoop to calling me "white boy" in a derogatory manner, or make fun of the way I speak. Yet some of those same black men were equally proud of the fact that I did not end up on the corner in front of the Hispanic owned grocery store sipping on a 40 ounce everyday, becoming an alcoholic like so many of our brothers do. I lost a brother to that corner store and those 40 ounce malt liquors five years ago. A sad ending to what could have been a beautiful life had he chose to take the opportunities handed to him.
More and more I see us black men, especially our younger brothers failing to capitalize on the opportunities presented. As a result, we have a lot of brothers unemployed and in jail. Just last week, when the news reported the crime wave on the National Mall, I commented to my wife, "I bet there going to say it was three black men committing the robberies". When the news reported it, my only comment to my wife was, "why do it always have to be three black men?"
I think your series is going in the right direction. We need this kind of dialogue among ourselves. Black people in America has had some much taken from them; our heritage, identities and even our spirits. We have contributed much to this nation in sweat, blood and tears. We deserved to be rewarded with the fruits of our labors.

Posted by: A. Glover | June 5, 2006 10:57 PM

Bravo! I think that you should publish a "coffee" table book of the series: Being a Black Man. As a young black woman, I see the lives of black men being painted as derelict portraits and rarely as dutiful. So far the series has presented a canvas of innovators, such as Chuck Brow, international leaders, such a Colin Powell and educators like Philip Brown. It is amazing to see the many faces and positive personalities of the black man. Still today, it seems that the only time you see a black man's name mentioned is as a contributor to history instead of as a maker of history for the generation to come. I am impressed by the pioneering efforts of telling the tale of black men... you should write a counter piece Being a Black Women!

Posted by: M. Mackey | June 5, 2006 10:58 PM

I've been following this series since I first encountered a snippet on mnbc.
I admire the work done, in part because in my view this brings to light
some of the issues facing black men and - in general the black community as
a whole. I could only hope the program directors at Black Entertainment
Television will highlight this survey and engage in dialog which seek
solutions to what I believe is a fundamental issue with the black family.
You ask me, Bill Cosby is right. Most of these kids aren't raised well.

Sadly, one of the things that we as Caribbeans despise surrounds the fact
that we're lumped in with Black Americans. In my opinion it would help if
the survey differentiated between the two. In general we don't understand
their ( African Americans ) thought process and don't subscribe to a host of
their theories. It's a unwritten rule in the Caribbean community that we
stay away from African Americans.

You see as a software engineer for a defense contractor, I find it appaling
that all software engineers under age 35 are foreigners ( well immigrants
who became citizens ). Come to think of it, and if my recollection proves
correct. The vast majority of blacks at my former university were
foreigners. The African Americans were too busy hanging out at the
'student union', and for those athletes - preparing for football/basketball
games.

Excellent work. Kudos to the Washington post.

Posted by: Mark | June 5, 2006 10:59 PM

Dear Washington Post,

Your front page article caught my attention today as I am being kicked out of the house for dating a black man and am in the process of looking for a place to rent. I would very much appreciate any articles about interracial relationships. Please don't keep it to white and black relationships, as I am Korean (which I know is uncommon). Also, I would like to see articles about men who are partially black or about raising a mixed child.

Posted by: Amanda | June 5, 2006 11:00 PM

I hope that at least one article in this series will focus on gay men. There may not be much in your poll to work from but I imagine there would be plenty of other sources and topics; personally, I recommend Keith Boykin's blog.

I will enjoy the series either way so please keep it coming.

Posted by: Nicholas | June 5, 2006 11:01 PM

I may stop reading the Washington Post for the remainder of the year since I'm tired of pity parties from black Americans. And you are "Americans" not "Africian-Americans". When was the last time a black brother or sister has set foot in Africa to get the "African-experience"?

If I had as many incentives as a middle-class white girl that a single black (unwed) mother or father receives, I'd be living the high life and not struggling. And yes, I have a college degree. Where in the hell has it gotten me? Now, if I was black with/or without children, I'd be actively recruited for jobs, internships, etc, etc. etc. The worst thing you can be in today's world is white and middle class. You will not get anywhere!

Posted by: | June 5, 2006 11:04 PM

Please maintain an easy-to-access archive file of this series, so that if someone misses an issue or two they can retrieve them. Or, if someone has been living under a rock and don't find out about the series until well into it's existence, they can go back and read the whole series. It would also be helpful to know in advance when the next article is going to be published.

This is really important stuff. We are beginning a Black Youth Leadership program called the Young Lions. This series will be an important part of our curriculum.

You all are on to something really important! Asante.

Posted by: Sala | June 5, 2006 11:05 PM

Black men's behavior is changing and how it affects the mentality of our
younger black generation can be understood only by living within the
society.

Brothers are trapped in the struggle of making a living for themselves on
one hand and are trying to adopting the American lifestyle on the other.
They are lured in with the fast life culture while a stable family life is
being ignored. Trapped in disparities these brothers tend not to build
lasting relationships. Brothers put a lot of emphasis on sex and money.

I am troubled by this double standard way of life that we as Black men are
facing. What is being a Black man about? I believe the family is the key. I
view him as a leader in his household. Respected by his wife. A provider and
role model for his children. One problem is aparent; the breakdown of the
family structure. Brothers are indulging in sex outside of marriage which
leads to conflict. Premarital relationships give rise to a host of problems.
These affairs remain alive in their life and creates a cancer in their
personality. Some brothers view marriage as a burden, and they think that
they have a positive understanding of a family. This approach leads them to
living with women and having children outside of wedlock. For such
relationships, lives are entangle with lots of trouble. These relationships
do not have any commitment, devotion, and when there is a problem with each
other, the relationship becomes a burden leading to separation and a cause
for mental and financial distress.

It has taken many years for Black men to evolve from slavery, developing his
emotional and social needs to build relationships for his personal growth
and family. Physical relationship involves emotional bondage. This bond
without the sanctity of marriage will definitely be full of problems.
Marriage is not easy, but it is the foundation to a strong family unit that
produces strong fruit. If you take a look at the family structure over the
last 50 years you will find a direct link to this fact.

A marriage that work provides security and confidence to children. It has a
definite scientific value of stability, physical satisfaction and emotional
attachments. The Black family that embrace this concept will be more
productive and focus on their responsibilities. Life will take on a new
meaning and direction. Strongholds will be broken and the cycle of curses
will be erased.

Posted by: John Anderson | June 5, 2006 11:05 PM

To Washington Post Editors and Journalists:

I discovered your series on the Web while getting my daily news fix of all things Washington. Currently, I reside in
Phoenix, but grew up in the Washington area, lower Prince Georges County to be exact. I was completely fascinated
by your work in describing the black man's experience in America, although it is definitely limited in nature.

I'm a Black Man, mid-30's and I love it. As the James Brown Song, "Say it Loud, I am Black and I am Proud".
I grew up poor, but had a strong work ethic (also I had running talent) and was able to attend and graduate from the Virginia Military Institute, a very white, southern conservative school, probably one of the last schools in the country to integrate.
I love my alma-mater.

Also, I have been involved in interracial relationships and friendships, although I don't be hatin' on black women. I never had
these women many of whom I was the first black guy they were ever close to believe in the stereotypes.

Now, I bring this up because I strongly feel that the crippling racism that our parent has been replaced in a more subtle form; however, I feel black men need to "get of their butts" and hit the books and stop blaming others for their problems.

I have experienced racial slights, although, I make it a point to never let it go unanswered because I become extremely
"pissed" excuse the term if something ever think they are going to treat me differently because of the color of my skin.
However, I was able to achieve and be "successful and productive" whatever that means.

Posted by: | June 5, 2006 11:07 PM

My words leave me when I attempt to describe the unbridled impact such a series will have, and I am guessing, is having on America.

Hopefully, every American will take this opportunity to understand: empathize and maybe even sympathize with black men. But most of all, I hope black men take it as a deeply personal opportunity to understand the reflection that mesmerizes and haunts us all on every one of God's mornings.

Posted by: Greg | June 5, 2006 11:10 PM

As a PROUD 51 year old Black Woman and mother that has had the honor and privilege to participate in raising of a Honest, Hard Working, Lawful, and Prayerful 24 year old Black Man, let me add a couple of comments to the questions that are being raised?

The education of a black male starts as soon as he is born into this world. You know the old school ways like saying please and thank -you, excuse me, addressing adults as Mr. & Mrs. communicating with your child. As a single mother his father was murdered when he was 6 years old. I knew that I had to make sure he not only knows who he is, but what is expected of him as he goes through this life. I introduced him to our rich culture from the age of 2 when he started kindergarten his teachers could not believe that he could parts words together to make complete sentences. We also talked about different situations that will occur growing up a black man in America. I also knew that I needed to get my son in front of as many positive black men as I could, so I put him in a Rites of Passage program through the local chapter of the Black United Front in Kansas City, Mo. My 24 year old son has started 2 businesses and planning a 3rd he and his partners have 21 part time employees. They provide consulting work for night club owners and also provide unarmed security. I won't go into any more detail about his business.

Posted by: | June 5, 2006 11:11 PM

Gentlemen,
Thank you for a very enjoyable and thought-provoking article. But I would suggest that your UCLA political scientist who did the "mock newscast" to prove how racist our society's perceptions of black men are, to watch a REAL newscast from the past few days - what would we have seen, for the major stories,in the area of crime?
1)The Indiana black man who robbed and murdered a family of 7 in cold blood.
2)In Maryland, a sentence of 7 life sentences given to a black man who went on a killing spree 4 years ago, with his young balck accomplice.
3)Two black men,one who is in for mureder,escaping from DC jail
4) A black man sentenced to life for trying to kill his wife in a horrific way- burning her to death by throwing gasoline on her face and lighting it.

I could go on, but you get the point- sometimes perceptions have a very real reason for their existence, and it is not based on ignorance or racism.

Posted by: Douglas | June 5, 2006 11:12 PM

I can not say enough about this series it is like a God-send. I am requiring that my 15-year old son read each article and turn in a write-up to me on each one. I was a teenage mother by the age of 18. By the age of 25 I was unwed and the mother of two young children. Along came my husband, we now have four children and he loves them all just as if they were his (we don't live by the step-parent thing). He is a very hard working man and he does so to provide for his family.

I may not like all of the things that my brothers do (and I don't). But lawd'knows that I love em :). Thank you again for putting the spotlight on the them. I know that in taking on a project of this magnitude comes a lot of kudos along with criticism and maybe a little bit of second guessing. But I truly believe that this series has a greater purpose than you realize -- many will benefit from you labor. Be encouraged.


Posted by: Lisa | June 5, 2006 11:14 PM

This is a very difficult subject to convey across many groups of viewers/readers.

To be frank, what jumped out were two things: 1) when the young man said, "Women love us, all kinds." I have noticed this. Black men are very romantic and this appeals to women. 2) the physicians who said: "Black men are human" and that they live out their lives like everybody else. While this is very obvious, stereotyping glosses over this most important point.

Based on the history and culture that Black men have endured/experienced, they are doing well under the circumstances. But most important to remember, people are different. The strong will survive no matter what, others can be very influenced by the negative aspects, like racism, and become beaten down. It takes individual responsibility, but it also takes removing structural impediments that put barriers in people's way, preventing them from realizing their potentials.

Most of us are so vulnerable to stereotyping, so showing different types is important. We need to do the same thing showing White males and not stereotyping here too, i.e., showing the worst, the best and those in the middle. The only thing, they don't have race bias to contend with.

Posted by: Malaika B. Horne | June 5, 2006 11:18 PM

"Black women," she said, are "less threatening than black men."

Did you read the next article in Being a Black Man????
Just read it and Ive always felt like this and Ive seen and witnessed black women getting treated differently from an early age.
Its like this for me, boys and girls are socialized differently, girls no matter what race or background are always told to sit still, behave and act like a lady. Boys are not socailized like that, they are told to be aggressive, play with war toys and act out. So when a different culutre or cultural system (schools) intereacts with these boys they are afraid of them because they are aggressive and of another culture, they are all of a sudden, "un-cooperative" "unable to learn" "slow" and a whole bunch of other negative connotations.
As these boys get older the fear with inside another culture or insitution deepens. Ive been in many classrooms with all middle class black kids and see the teacher be afraid to teach which just makes a bunch of teenages use that to their advantage whenever they see the authority figure as weak. So the teachers dont teach them and jsut pass them along because they are too afraid to get to know them they just label them as troublemakers.

American insitutions are afraid of black men and they have systematically put black men in positions to fail (I say positions because every man has a choice, just because they are given negative conditions doesnt mean he has to live down to those conditions)

America fears change. Blackmen are going to bring change no matter what we do because we are from another culture an value system and they fear that. Black leadership is frightening to them because they are afraid of black men leading the masses into their power structure inflicting change they dont want to see happen.

Posted by: Donnell T. Zeigler | June 5, 2006 11:19 PM

Try writing a feature on being a White man in today's America next. The first amendment, Freedom of Speech, is limited and always being scrutinized. Zero benefits when creating a small business for a white man. Constantly being bashed year after year, decade after decade on TV, in newspapers, and in public which in today's world seems to be ok but bash another race and we are raciest. Using a great word for its meaning correctly towards a white man is taboo but it's ok to be an n-word among black friends. Have to put up with hatred towards us when we haven't done anything to deserve it except for being born white. To have a club, group, class, or bar with just white people is being a raciest group but having the NAACP is ok. I wish I had a deck of white cards that I could play each time I found myself in a legal or verbal jam. Being poor doesn't discriminate, you are just poor regardless of race. A black man not doing well in a business is just a man not good in business. We are all American's and the only country that fights over race and not religion. This 'oh I'm a poor poor black man not getting a fair deal' type of favoritism has become really old in today's America especially since we have an enemy that wants to kill all of us not because of color but we are Americans, period. God Bless our Troops, all of THEM!

Posted by: Joe American | June 5, 2006 11:32 PM

Please explain to your readers the basis for the remark in the Sunday, 4 June 06 feature to the effect that 'trends suggest a third of black males born today will spend time in prison.'

This is a devastating charge and one that deserves more than the casual, offhand treatment it is given in your article. I mean, think about it. Based on what you report as fact it would be entirely reasonable and rational for Americans of all races to shun young black males because one out of three of them is bound to be a criminal.

You either need to provide substantiation for this charge or have the decency to repudiate it.

Posted by: joseph Ramsey | June 5, 2006 11:33 PM

dear washpost------------as a motivational speaker who is blessed to have spoken at over 3oo colleges and universities nationwide-------i was extremely impressed with the being a black man project--------for over 30 years i have attended and spoken at numerous conferences on the state of blackmen in america---------the blackman is a genius----he is the father of civilization---malcolm,garvey,elijah muhammad,paulrobeson,min farrakhan,jessejackson ,drking,barry gordy,marvin gaye,muhammad ali,johnhope franklin,al sharpton,web dubois,among thousands of other great blackmen were sent to lift up the blackman--------the future of black men is great for those who believe--------the black womans rise and the black womans co-operation and respect for black men will be the fire needed to reignite the power ,beuty and magic of the black family-----------until the senseless violence-----------and 24 hr nonstop need for sex ,drugs and profanity is erased,reduced and checked-------the black man will be unable to make progress any where----black male preachers must step out of their holiness and comfort zones and become militant activists-------and allow their churches to used as re-education centers to save black men--------the worship of cars ,money,and materialism is destroying the image of black men------we need a council of elders in every neighbor hood to give wisdom,guidance and direction to young black men--------i applaud the wash post and it's writers for a powerful,brilliant series-----------kudos to minister louis farrakhan for setting the stage for the ressurection of the black man -------whether he wants to rise,succeed,excel,achieve,overcome or not-------the black man has to get up ,clean up and stand up and grow up if he is ever to command the respect ,honor and admiration of his children and brothers all across the planet earth

Posted by: dennis rahiim watson | June 6, 2006 01:28 AM

I'm a white male. I remember growing up on the east coast and in my young years seeing a magazine cover with a black man being roasted alive over a fire tied to a spit. There were several white racists standing around; being interviewed. I believe it was the cover of Life Magazine. We've come a long way since that terrible moment. But until we have reached the point where we don't think about starting with the statement: I'm a white male in response to an project entitled: Being a Black Man --- we have not come far enough.

Posted by: Don West | June 6, 2006 04:09 AM

This series is extremely relevant today in discussions in homes, churches, community and political groups. There is a range of experiences and perspectives portrayed but the bottom line is at some point, you have to make the decision to do what you have to do in order to be what you want to be.
This can happen with support, spiritual strength and keeping your "eyes on the prize". It would have also been nice to have videos on each of those featured, especially the young man from Oxon Hill. I would also agree with the gentleman who said perspectives may be different for first generation immigrants, depending on the circumstances that brought them here and the time period in which they came and Black men whose have a longer generational history being in this country. However, I think it is time to applaud all Black men who understand and can relate to the historical struggles for equity here in America and keep on lving life as best they can.

Posted by: D. Denboba | June 6, 2006 07:08 AM

Excellent, well timed, and definitely needed seried! Please continue to produce pieces that shine a light on significant social issues.

Posted by: Joan Y. Reede | June 6, 2006 07:57 AM

Thanks Washington Post for recognizes us. As a black man living in the District for nearly 5 years, I encountered more self-hatred, discrimination, Jim Crowism, Willie Lynchism not only from Caucasians and Asians but from OUR kind. I love myself and my race but it appears that we don't share enough information and love due to fear of change in society. There are times which a black man have to commit a homicide and/or suicide to validate their pain and frustration. Then our stories are finally told.

Posted by: Al Davis | June 6, 2006 08:33 AM

I applaud the Washington Post for exceeding the odds of publishing the "good news" of Black men. Most times we find an article it is the negative instead of the positive....Great article....I will share this with the many youths at my church and email this to my community pastors and mentoring programs. Being the single mother of a young black male, I truly enjoyed this article.

Posted by: VPertell | June 6, 2006 09:11 AM

I am very skeptical about the the merits of this "project"

We black (I prefer African-American as my reality is international in scope) men are not some sound bite to be neatly packaged into a few generalized statements.

We are diverse, complex individuals who are part of a non-homogeneous fabric just like the rest of humanity.

My race is not my destiny as I am master of my universe. This project fails to showcase this important reality.

Posted by: Irvin Hicks Jr. | June 6, 2006 02:31 PM

"The night is beautiful, So the faces of my people. The stars are beautiful, So the eyes of my people. Beautiful, also is the sun. Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people."
- My people- By: Langston Hughes

My people, my people, my people, as a young man escaping the unknown realities of teenage naiveness I am no longer blindfolded by the few that are in the "know".

"Being a Black Man"- a series that not only will explore the present but I look forward to this piece of art work discussing the resolutions and cures as well. Thank you- we are our Brother's Keeper, regardless of skin color, our blood is the same color.

Posted by: C. A. Stewart | June 6, 2006 03:16 PM

Thank you for writing this story. It is important that the plight of Black people be at the forefront of society and news. And the positive aspects need to be shown more often than most. We are under attack, Black people in general and Black men in particular. Black people, their struggles and successes need to be discussed all the times. Then and only then can we address the issues improve them. Knowledge is power!

Posted by: C. Tate | June 6, 2006 03:21 PM

I love that the Washington Post took the initiative to explore a subject as controversial and complex as the plight of Black men in America. As a Black woman, I really appreciate the chance to learn more about my male counterparts--straight from their mouths. Simply put, I just wanted to say thank you.

Posted by: Miss Jones | June 6, 2006 03:34 PM

Thank you for the article. I wish I knew what if anything I could say, or do, to wake-up and shake-up Black America. As a Black Woman in Washington, DC, I am oftentime appalled at how we as Black Americans treat one another. Everything bad, or negative that happens to us, is not ALWAYS from the hand of a White person! We, Black America - have become out-of-control. Our attitudes, STINK. Our language is UNFATHOMABLE. Everything that our 'forefathers' fought for, everyone younger than 30, care nothing at all about. We know more about the personal business of entertainers, than we do about how to get our children to school on time..We know how to manipulate the system to our own advantage, yet, when things don't go "our" way - it is always someone else' fault!! WHY?? How many young blacks know that it was only in 1965 that we were "given" the right to vote, yet we built this country? How many BAmericans know every 'stat' of their fav Ball player? I say that because all of Black America was upset when Bill Cosby spoke out - BUT, HE was 1000% correct. I am a Mother and GrandMother of 6. What the hell happened to us?? Sometimes, I am hurt and ashamed. This is not the way it should BE!!
The sad thing is, the Parents refuse to take responsibility..WAKE-UP BLACK AMERICA..Prove them wrong!!

Posted by: R Warren | June 6, 2006 03:52 PM

I am a woman and still, I have no ill feelings towards this series, which focuses on men---black men. I find it strange that some have responded with a "what about ME!!!" mentality. I applaud the post/the staff for having the courage to do this series and to do this at this time.

What is especially heart warming for me is that the series looks at black men of different social-economic statuses. Some are homeless, some are working class, some are middle class...but at least through this venue, they have all been given a voice! A voice that I believe white men and white women may have taken for granted---a powerful voice that is used everyday to disseminate certain messages (negative/positive? intentional/unintentional?) about themselves, black people, brown people, etc. "far and wide."
Furthermore, I can easily see what it means to be a white man (or woman) in America. Americans are surrounded with this message everywhere we go---even in our own living rooms. Yes, I can reverberate back to any white person how to care for their hair, what they watch on t.v. regularly, what products are best for their skin, what teaching methods are best their kids, what they consider beautiful...
HOWEVER, I do not think that white people are affording the same opportunity to get to know real black people---real black men. I appreciate this opportunity and will take advantage of it. Thank you.

Posted by: J.B. | June 6, 2006 04:01 PM

This validates what much of us already know. People wonder why black men have a higher risk of heart problems or stress related health issues that ultimately shorten our lives. I'm also hunted with images of the police pulling me over only to find that I'm a legit citizen that happen to be black and yet to get caught up in the system due to their lack of entrapment.. When they see I'm clean they seem disappointed and frustrated. I've had to assimilate myself or act as "white" as possible in interviews so I could have a slightly better chance at getting the job.. I've had to change my first name when applying because it sounds "too black".

G. BUTLER, several post below says, "to stop blaming everyone else". My response to this it is simple.. When America was being cultivated into an emerging world economic power my people were held back form the race to open Grocery stores, restaurant chains, small cities and community and I don't mean the projects that were built to again enslave a people from achieving what most white America from the beginning have had access to.. Now more importantly should you not rant and rave about the complaints of racism but watch out for Classism.. Soon enough will most of our pale brothers feel the pain of economic turmoil in the near future.. Thanks for the opportunity to be heard..
..

Posted by: Demetrius G Nickleberry | June 6, 2006 04:31 PM

I think in a city known as "chocolate city" that is was a wonderful idea to look into what makes up that name. I have forwarded the articles to various men I know around the country (NY

Posted by: Karen M. Wallace | June 6, 2006 04:56 PM

I think in a city known as "chocolate city" that is was a wonderful idea to look into what makes up that name. I have forwarded the articles to various men I know around the country (NY, PA, VA, IL, FL,TX, CA) to get their feed back on it and for the most part, the men have felt that the articles have proven to be true. There are some slight variations of course,but so far they, like myself are intrigued, fascinated, honored and pleased to see them be the focus of something intelligent and honorable and enlightening.

Posted by: Karen M. Wallace | June 6, 2006 05:03 PM

I would like to see a new project ask quesitons that explore the future for Black men in America. Survey Questions should be answered by all races -- Why are White people afraid of Black Men? Why are Music Videos so disrespectful of young Black Women? What makes young Black men place small importance on a good education? What makes younger Black women want to avoid marriage to Black men?

Posted by: C. Wilson | June 6, 2006 06:05 PM

I think the Washinhton Post has taken on a project that is long overdue. I've read a number of the submissions posted here, both negative and positive.
First I want to say that a successful Black man I've never used the race card, however I know that we as African American men, as well as women, we have to work harder thatn our conterparts to get ahead. I grew up in the inner city of Newark, New Jersey, had a job as a dishwasher but realized early that I did not want to that job all my life. In 1980 I enlisted in the Navy, transferred to the Fleet Reserve in 2000, and then acqired a job in workforce development- teaching the Navy.
The negative attributes of African American men is so often capitalized on, that the positive attributes are often overshadowed and become absent from our daily thought. The few of us African American men who chose to be different, and rise above the negative attributes that we are so often characterized with, carry not only the burden of hopes that will be judged and respected for our content of character and not our exterior, but also the burden of hopes that our sons will grow up and emulate the character that we possess.
This project should not be viewed a slap in the face to African American women, but an opportunity to explore, evaluate, and understand what African American men want from our women. While there are some men that disrespect women, the situation is vice versa. There are some African American women who lack respect Black men. First and formost we as Black men and women must find a common ground, possess and maintain a mutual respect for each other.
I read a post that unless we're in a suit and tie we're overlooked. While there are visible successful Black men in the corporate world, we must not forget those African American men in uniform, providing the blanket of freedom that we so justly benefit from on a daily They're holding positions of Commanding General, Commanding Officer, Fleet Force Master Chief. They have become an indispensible link in the leadership chain from the lowest level to the general staff.
I look forward to other articles in this series.

Posted by: Andre Grisham | June 6, 2006 09:05 PM

I know all about being a black man. What Id like to know is how to how to attain the milk and honey of being just an American. When I do well, Im a credit to my race. When I screw up, Im all over the news and the status quo. Id just like to be me. American.....Free.....

Oh yeah, currently Im a credit to my race.

Posted by: K. | June 6, 2006 09:08 PM

The project is a good one, and very much-needed. We're always bombarded with negative images of black men. No one has really focused on their other images. And of course there are some. Your series is showing black men with a variety of educational backgrounds, in a variety of situations, all talking about their their own experience. One thing I liked is that your respondents seem to know that they themselves have to step up and make changes for themselves. Young black men especially need to do this. They've got to let that negative peer pressure go and do something meaningful. They could have a good future if they would just do that. The opportunities are out there. They can start by reading The Pact.

Posted by: Jeanette Madison | June 6, 2006 10:14 PM

The Post's project to explore "Being a Black Man" is a demanding and difficult endeavor. The role of the Black Man in American society is fraught with so many at once conflicting, paradoxical perceptions, more than perhaps any other single culture, that even white America has difficult sorting out its reactions. I only hope that at some point in this project, the Post asks about the regard of Black Men for Black Women and the impact this might have on the perception of Black Men by other cultures.

Posted by: Syd | June 7, 2006 12:04 AM

I concur with the moral issues that is beingimplemented in the article, but it always seem that we tend to tread this road call life, without any acknowledgement of God. You see, I still believe that man can do an accomplish a lot of things, but it really does not matter if God is not in it. We may be taking life for granted and depending upon our own things that we are lead to believe came from our in-depth abilities, but it is only by the grace of God that "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; (Acts 17:28)

Posted by: Boyd | June 7, 2006 12:18 AM

Whoa,
I must say an opporunity to take part in this exact affair is exiciting, challenging, yet vital. As a Black Men 21 in school this fall for 4 years studying Social Work, I recommend this Nation undergoing a change. Black men need first strong families. Families built on Core and Fundamental Vaules. Those inspired by the Protestant, Catholic, and Anglo-Saxon cultures are fine. Vaules rather different in style, history, and expression are also fine. This country's Freedom, politics, economics, and social well-being are all vital components to the success of this discussion and future intervention into the Black Man's life, in hope of saving him from what seems to be despair, poverty, and igorance due to the lack of Higher Education. Our Nation's history is both telling and complex. We have freed slaves arguably the last straw to break the camels back leading to a civil war. Alongside the change in lifestyles as we moved from an argicultural to a industrial society. Not to forget the Civil Rights Movement were Dr. Martin Luther King was murder before he could gather up the country's poor and March on down to Capital Hill. For What? Certainly to demand justice, freedom and equality some almost 50 years ago. There is the complexity. So we have strived and still we are faced with grave dangers. Black men are citizens of the United States first. Black men are strong. They can be broken. History has proven this and however silly, demonic, and truthfull it may sound it is still evident that The Black Race has yet to achieve. By whom standards young man? I am not sure it is very much under the surface hidden maybe closer to institutionalized Racial and Discriminatory practices/realities.
The Black Man can also rise, as Thurgoos Marshall, Gen. Colin Powell, and Mr. Kanye West. Charmingly and Greatfully may I note that each of these Men have Oprah Winfrey's in there Black Women first to support them. They have them to seek encouragement to bear there children granted to them by God here on this Earth rightfully and righetously so.
Black Men being Gay and having the right to be recongized as a couple with the same rights as Husband and Wife is at best complexed. It will remind everybody of a struggle eventually erroded away by our progressive way of life in depending on liberty, and the pursuit of happiness ensured to all of us in our founding documents. However, it is very serious and probably most damging to the elderly and the children our roadmaps to our productive and successful future as a Nation. To allow Gay to be reconigzed as they are now demanding will tear mainstream traditional values and maybe and nature out the door. It will result in choas or just mayhem but some weighty disagreements and scaring psychological effects on the children. Not mentioning that I am gay and should have a right as my heterosexual counter part but the children are going to be expected to accept and change after being socialized into the norm. This is a very important time for our Nation at all it's fronts: Education and Recovery for the Black Man, Terrorism, and Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. We must as a Nation come together assess our crap develop a plan of action implement this plan and as we work to restore or state of social welfare and well- being in our Nation we will be free world leadrs headed or the stars and beyond.

Posted by: Perkins, Edward | June 7, 2006 03:05 AM

The Post has taken a bold initiative to run these series and i applaud you for doing that. As a start again, hopefully we (blackmen around the world) will be heard by America.

Posted by: DJ | June 7, 2006 03:25 AM

It is my personal belief that the series although somewhat truncated is grabbing at the core of Black American Males. Being from the South(Texas in particular) we have the misfortune of not necessrily being exposed to forums such as this one. I love the fact questions are being offered in a study which makes us think from teens to seniors as Blacks/African Americans. It's vastly needed and oh how I wish we could truly find beyond measure the true meaning of being black not just a black man. I applaud this study and Pray it will induce a wave affect in the minds of many a human being living in this country.

Posted by: Anthony J. Reed | June 7, 2006 03:26 AM

I am Black man with a Degree and I own my own business. I am also a Reservist in the U.S. Army Reserves who has been activated to the great country of Iraq. I would like to share my veiw on you story. I think it was very accurate and timely. Many people play down the race issue and blame the Black Man for his own recourse. I sympathized with many and agreed with most in your interviews. Being from Mississippi the perception from the masses is that we are all still living in the 1960's. We have progressed over the years and should hold society for some of our failures. Being Black has taught me several things in life. First I am a man. I am just as smart as any man in our society. I will compete against any man in our society and I am equal to every man in our society. Being Black has helped me keep driving forward. It was too easy to stop and take the easy road out. Yes, I have had to work harder than my counterparts in some areas in my life and other parts of life came naturally. Being in the military has shone me that people with a lack of education still have that White Man/black boy mentality. I disfuse them with my broad range of education. The numbers in your article speak for themselves and seems acurate for the Black Man in our society. Who is to blame? I don't know. All I know is I don't follow the trends that lead nowhere and no man will stop me. I know to give 110 percent in anything I do. It is a good tome to be Black in America only if you are willing to contribute to the society to prove those numbers wrong. I do ask those who are not contributing to wake up and pull your load.

Benny Hubbard, LUTCF

Posted by: Benny Hubbard | June 7, 2006 05:37 AM

I think it is a great project. Far too long society has neglected the race question. The American soiety should be a big melting pot and race be inclusive. It is not of course so, your article is written in a timely manner and the project should be a wake up call not only to the Black Man, but to our society as well. Our society promotes equality of all men and we fight for equality of others in foriegn countries, we just do not live by our own creed. I am a Black Man that don't look at the typical sterotype of what the American Society say I should be. I don't sit around and blame society and I definetly don't take what hand society deals me. There were several subjects discussed in this project. It is a wake up call for the American Society as well as the Black Man. I have the same dreams as most in that I want a quality education, a productive family, an award winning career, and the respect of a man. I demand nonthing else. The article I hope is not taken negatively. It is not meant to be that way in my eyes. It show that we the Black men in America have a lot of opportunities for success. It is strictly up to us. We don't need to blame no one for failure but us. We have to use any anger to make things better in our pursuit of happeness and justice. I feel only then, when the American society see us stand up and demand equality across the board, they will recognize and uderstand the Black Man. I support this project tremendously. I hpoe our society make a change for the best and the Black Man stands and appreciate what opportunity that God has given us. I thank the Washington Post and The Stars and Stripes for re-publishing this story for all the Troops and myself in IRAQ.

Posted by: Benny Hubbard | June 7, 2006 06:07 AM

I think this is an interesting project. When I read that black men as a group are diversed in their points of view and outlook this peaks my interests. I think each generation of black men think differently and each age group should be discussed seperately. I think people act base on their self interest, programming and generally respond to their environment the best way the know how. Blackmen are a set of individuals who due to a need to be classified by the lager society are being place together into a common group that I don't feel exist.

Posted by: HMiller | June 7, 2006 09:09 AM

I think you are being racist,,unless you intend to have similar projects, "being a white man", "being a hispanic/latino man", "being an asian man". Being a white man is harder today then it is being black, because everyone goes out of there way to not discriminate against the black man, that the white man is the one being discriminated against now. This goes for the white woman as well.

Posted by: Ginger | June 7, 2006 09:13 AM

How do we explain the current reality of the black man? The issues that plague the black man are complicated and intertwined with one another. Is it racism? broken homes? poverty? lack of respect? drugs? laziness? government? The problem is not just one of these things but all of these things. Using the white priveledge as a crunch provides an easy excuse for the perception of downfall for black men. Sure a black man may have to work two, three or even four times harder than his white counterpart but it's been accomplished by many so it's not impossible. Sure growing up without a strong father in the home is a hinderance but again many have achieved success in spite of the absence. I could go on and on but the bottom line is this, we as black men need to take responsibilty for our own actions and for the actions of those that we are responsible for. Life is not supposed to be easy. The challenge and honor of being a black man should be accepted with pride and a sense of entitlement. Overcoming the obstacles that face us should instill self confidence and glory. I am a black man and I wouldn't change that for the world. Thank you.

Posted by: J. Ashford | June 7, 2006 09:31 AM

Great project, i've shared with my son and can't wait for the future articles. Growing up in this city I can attest to the different views of my fellow Black Brothers and at one time in my life was struggling to find my place in society as well.

Posted by: danny | June 7, 2006 10:22 AM

I AM AN ATLANTA PERSON AND I AM SURE I GOT INTO THIS LATE AS I HAVE THE POST BOOKMARKED IN MY BROWSER AS WELL AS NEWS MEDIA WORLDWISE SO IN MY SURFING IT TAKES A WHILE TO GET TO ALL,BUT I WAS WELL TAKEN BY THIS ENTRY,HAVING GROWN UP ON THE EASTERN SHORE PEOPLE I KNEW WELL CONSIDERED THE POST AS HARD CORE RIGHT AND BIASED ;SO AS I READ THIS ARTICLE I WAS INSPIRED TO PARTICIPATE. I AM A JAZZ MUSICIAN UNKNOWN BUT TO MY LOCAL FANS, I DO HAVE A SMALL PART IN THE MOTION PICTURE {THE FIGHTING TEMPTATIONS}I PLAY HARMONICA IN THE BARBERSHOP WITH THE O,JAY,S AND I HAVE TAUGHT MYSELF TO PLAY AT LEAST 12 INSTRUMENTS, AND I NEVER EVER BLAME OTHER RACES FOR MY UNDEVELOPED TALENTS,AND I ALWAYS BELIEVE THAT IF I GET ENOUGH TIME FOR PRACTICE I COULD DO ANYTHING ANYBODY ELSE COULD DO ,WHY NOT?IF I THINK OF AN ADVANTAGE AS AN ADVERSITY IS IT NOT DOOMED TO FAILURE?I BELIEVE THAT MOST YOUNG BLACK MEN HAVE NOT BEEN STRUCTURED IN WHAT IS AN ADVANTAGE OR HOW TO RECOGNIZE EITHER,I BELIEVE FAMILY STRUCTURE HAS A LOT TO DO WITH IT,FORTUNATELY I HAD MY MOM AND DAD TILL THEY WENT HOME.

Posted by: charles spencer | June 7, 2006 11:19 AM

I am a mother of 2 African-American sons,and grandmother of 2grandsons (18 & 15). I found the articles very,infomative and shared it with many others. Thank you for this series.

Posted by: Elaine Clarke | June 7, 2006 11:23 AM

I commend the Washington Post on this series, because it is very thorough and your team used various sources to generate the information. I specifically enjoyed the testimonials, because they authenticate the series; therefore, driving the message home to your readers.

I will definitely subscribe to the Washington Post because as a black woman raising a young black man, this is information that pertains to me, as well.

Kudos to your team.

Only one question: Are your writers African-American?

Posted by: Valentina Kibuyaga | June 7, 2006 11:40 AM

This is a worthwhile study regarding the status of Black Men in America, Albeit nothing has significiantly changed regarding the negative attitude that is seen in young African American males since the seventies, I am hoping that somewhere, before I die, we'll see Black people taking charge of their lives.

Posted by: Clyde Wilson | June 7, 2006 11:54 AM

"Being a Black Man" was an interesting project and it was groundbreaking on many fronts. The problem I have is with the Poll and how the Poll was constructed. I am a Social Scientist with multiple, advanced social science degrees and I could not for the life of me see why it was necessary to include White Males, White Females or Black Females in a scientific survey of Black Males. The only group experience of Black Males in this country is put upon the shoulders of Black Males. I fail to see how a privileged White Female could understand even 15 minutes of what it means to be Black and Male in this country. If I constructed a survey of the problems of Fortune 100 companies, I would be hard pressed to explain why I included small businesses, non-profits and state governments in my sample group. Given the large number(over 400) of Black Males in the sample group, I would prefer to see there part of the survey set as its own poll. Then and only then would we see the extent of the "mobilization of bias" that exists in the United States of America against Black Males.

David A. Scott

Columbus, Ohio - "The Home of Racial Profiling In The United States of America"

Posted by: David A. Scott | June 7, 2006 12:24 PM

It pains me, as an African American man, that my one point of contention with the otherwise insightful article that appeared on th the front page of the Post on June 6 is with a quote by the venerable Hugh Price. Mr. Price maintains that "this country is filled with highly successful black men who are leading balanced, stable, productive lives working all over the labor market," a point with which I certainly agree. However, he goes on to cite "stringing fiber-optic cable" and "working the floor at Home Depot" as examples of the work being done by these ostensibly "highly successful" black men.

Clearly, there's no shame in stringing cable, or in working retail, and hopefully individuals in these positions earn a decent living wage. But I'd wager a good deal of my own earnings that there's no other population in America for which these particular jobs would be accepted as a metric for having achieved a high level of success. Sadly, in his comment Mr. Price undermines the notion that the American dream is attainable for young black men. No young black man--no young person--would be inspired, much less motivated, by such middling goals.

I strongly believe that a key factor in my own ability to achieve my goals squarely rests with my parents's refusal to accept less than excellence from me when I was gorwing up, whether in school or in my extracurricular activities. Our leaders of the past, from Frederick Douglass forward, similarly emhasized the importance of education, and of excellence, as the key to African American progress. Let's not undermine the potential of our young black men to excel and transcend the stereotypes we've so clearly internalized about ourselves as black men - let's set goals for them that can inspire and motvate them to succeed.

Posted by: Jubi Headley | June 7, 2006 12:36 PM

Please could someone write on the experience of being a Dark black man!

The articles are well written I must admit, and they explained situation that are difficult to put in words, even verbally much less written. I will develop my experience as a DARK black man but it will take me more time to develop than those writers that have so far contributed to this cause. I am a very disappointed black male when it comes to our leadership (meaning black leadership). I've suffered more living among blacks than any other race on the face of this earth and I would hope that someone addresses the discriminatory treatment that Dark blacks receive within their own race. Regards,

George F. D. Kingston

Posted by: George F. D. kingston | June 7, 2006 01:47 PM

I find the article and the on-going project interesting overall, but also slanted. Sometimes polls get good information on the questions they ask, as is true for this project, however there is far more gray area on the topic of black men than what has shown up. For example, are we black men dispproportionately incarcerated because we are criminally minded, lack restraint, lack positive opportunities in their neighborhoods, or racism? What are the factors affecting our drop out rate? What prevents our success rate from improving? I can ask a million more questions. Yet for the Post, this is a start.

Posted by: George Langston Cook | June 7, 2006 01:50 PM

Although I do commend you on your efforts to define the make-up of a Black Man, I really do not think that much was revealed which can be used to develop a strategy that will embellish our existence. Some people react towards getting needed attention with smiles and admiration. However, when that attention does not delve into substance of the issues, the effort only produces superfluous results. I am impressed over the notion of directing resources towards identifying the issues; I am not impressed over the dearth reasons given to substantiate those issues. I do note that you plan to continue and am hopeful that more effort will be give towards examining the reasons why significant statistical deviations exist. In other words, tell us something that we do not know. Tell us how for instance, the women's movement has affected the Black Man. Tell us why Black men have become oblivions to the notion of brotherhood. Tell us why Black men are more inclined to be charged, convicted and sentenced for alleged crimes that are equally conducted by others. Tell us why Black men are not spending as much time with their children. Tell us why Black Men with degrees are less likely to get that job than a White male with a criminal record; no it goes beyond one degree of racism. Tell us why a Black Man with a degree puts more emphasis on education when education alone has not strengthened our economic condition. And please, tell us who and why these Black men state that justice is blind. Get my drift?

Posted by: Torrence Borum | June 7, 2006 02:08 PM

As a Black Profession Female, my views on "Being a Black Man" should mean being proud and standing up for what you honestly believe in. If a Black Man continues to use racism for being held back or as a issue for not being employed than there should be other methods to rise above and continue on, as they say if one door closes another will open. I hear all the time about the White Man will not give "US" anything. We should not want hand outs, we have been around long enough to see "We" have to earn what we get. If we do not want higher learning than what do we expect especially in the work place. I have grown sons who I have talked to from day one about education and not letting negativity get in the way of your realistic dreams and goals. They have familes and know what it takes to provide as a role model and productive male. Racism to me is a scape goat for not getting what we want if we don't work for it. Why did so many Strong Black Men die for us, to get us where we are today if we won't continue the struggle and fight to exist honestly and productively. Why are we complaining, no one can keep "US" down if we don't let them. If you can't go around the mountain, go over it. A littel sweat never hurt anyone.

Posted by: jm | June 7, 2006 02:19 PM

I think that is great.
It brings a "balanced" yet honest look at Black Men.
I would like to see focus on those insitution of learning and devleopment for black men, like the barbershop, that seem to be missing.
I think the articcle should have survied black men in prisons and jails since many balck men are incarserated. This would give some data on what went wrong for them, in there words.

Finally, thanks for shine the light on all of us who have "done the right thing".

Posted by: clyde horton | June 7, 2006 03:02 PM

I think the answer(s) to a couple of these questions are "dependent" upon where a black man is (maturity level) in his life. An "event" could definitely change the direction your life might take and your age and maturity will be significant in how you are able to move forward from that point in time. I also believe that a person's history (up-bringing), how they were raised and by whom, has the most influential effect on how they cope with the challenges of the life they have. It's been said we have to pay taxes and die, if nothing else...I say, and have heard others say...there's only ONE thing we have to do while we are above ground on this earth...MAKE CHOICES! If we're dead, we don't have to do anything. Our lives, regardless of how we think they are or should be, are for praising God for our being and making choices that keep us in His favor. His favor is each of us being a blessing for the other...love thy neighbor as thyself.

Posted by: William Martin | June 7, 2006 03:08 PM

I think White America should be asked, " Why are you afraid of Black Men being successful?"

Posted by: azaan | June 7, 2006 03:58 PM

This is my second post and I am totally amazed of the importance of this topic.
I am very grateful for my father, grandfather, and uncles(who are role models) of 34 years and they are alive and enjoying life. They may not agree with my unmarried status(DAMN PROUD OF IT) and livid feelings against the cruel acts of TERRORISM at all levels directed at US MEN OF COLOR!!!!
Happy Fathers Day and May Lord bless and strenghten us in our daily struggles.

Posted by: Al Davis | June 7, 2006 04:09 PM

Hi,

I am really enjoying reading this series and watching the videos. I think this is a topic that's long overdue and I'm glad to see that it's being given the attention of the Washington Post.

I am a Black woman and I have a son who is now a Black Man. I think these issues will obviously have an effect on me and the black men I choose to interact with--I think they certainly will raise our collective consciences on these matters.
I am also hopeful that it will inspire some retrospective thinking and create a dialogue within the Black Community to try resolving our personal issues within the group. Although I agree with many of the statements that have been made recently by Mr. Bill Cosby, I would like to hear responses from other black men, prominent and not so prominent on these issues as well.

Thanks,
Beverly

Posted by: Beverly Hill | June 7, 2006 04:15 PM

Very intriguing series. As many have stated, I look forward its direction. What I would like to see is the responsibility (or lack thereof) the hip hop community has taken upon itself in how it has formed the black mans identity. For every 15 minutes Russell Simmons and Sean Combs dedicates to fundraisers they are devoting 100 days to a culture that glorifies misogynistic behavior that is degrating to women and themselves. The hip hop community boasts about the billion dollar CULTURE it has created but discards any concerns about its negative impact as simple ENTERTAINMENT. The fact is, when you have young and imperssionable fatherless youth living in poverty they will gravitate toward what is easy and what is glamorous because they arent raised to think of their souls as glamorous and worth the energy to protect it. Black men of power and influence are usually those who have easy access to radio and television. That would be black entertainers. And most black entertainers today with influence are submerged in hip hop. But they are never challenged. Black men and women spend a lot of time challenging white government and demand that white government fix their unhappy lives, but who but black men and women know what needs to be fixed? What can a black person expect from white charity? They dont live the same lives so they cant possibly have the same ideas of picking the black image and black neighorhoods out of despair. Jay-Z, Russell Simmons, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Sean Combs, etc. etc. They all have the power. And so do the Russ Parrs of the world. But they do little. When challeneged they simply crack jokes, insult the questioner, or assume the traditional american male role of talking louder in order to drown out their debater. Please provide a piece about the hip hop community, because, in this day in age when both parents (or the single parent) has to spend so much time away from their children we must force some responsibility onto the hip hop generation. It is not just music and film. It is not just ENTERTAINMENT. It is a culture, and culture digs deeper into the soul.

Posted by: E. Alonzo | June 7, 2006 04:20 PM

The project offers an analysis, but just like most things here in America, it is nothing more than just conjecture and hip analysis. When will the project, " How to survive being a Black Man in America?" be available?

Posted by: Michael White - Philadelphia | June 7, 2006 04:42 PM

I'm glad to see the issue of who we are, the topic of our identity and relevance in today's society as Black men, being discussed in this forum. Too often we get a distorted, one-dimensional view of who we are supposed to be. Supposedly we fall into one of several archetypes of behavior, when the reality is we're a multifacted mix of several of those, each with our own unique blend of experiences.

The really important piece is that we maintain our connection to one another. We should see ourselves as individuals, but at the same time we merely identify our individual role in relation to the connected cause of Black men everywhere. We have to identify the roles we want to play on both the individual and the collective level. We have to examine ourselves personally, professionally, creatively, and spiritually in all our variant roles--as husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, lovers, and friends. We have to consider what our role now and what our legacy for the future will be, and then we have to go about the hard work of making it a reality.

I hope we can create something truly meaningful from this dialogue, and thank you for continuing to inspire us.

Posted by: Jelani Anderson | June 7, 2006 04:46 PM

I thought the survey was very interesting. What I think would also be itneresting is to also look at African immigrants and their descendants as a separate group from descendants of slaves. I think you would find interesting differences between defining a group by skin color than by cultural background.

I have several interesting anecdotes. As a worker on Census 2000, I had to ask interviewees their race, even though they were standing right in front of me. Almost all African immigrants tried their utmost from being labeled black. I got refusals, white, other, and nationalities: Ghanan, for example. I infer that this was not a skin color issue, but not wanting to be associated with black Americans.

My wife was a tour guide for high profile visitors sponsored by the State Department. She conducted tours for many groups of African officials. They were always disgusted with having to meet with African-American groups and leaders in this country. They equated their problems most closely with those of the native Americans. They were often critical and scornful of African-American culture.

Last, I have a brother-in-law who lives in South Africa, a country which obviously is still overcoming the effects of institutionalized racism. Once again, however, blacks there feel something more in common with indigenous people in other countries, like our Native Americans. I was a bit shocked to see the "African-American" character almost always an object of scorn or ridicule on popular sit-coms. They were naive dolts visiting the motherland in traditional garb, without skills, culture, or manners.

Anyway, there is clearly a distinction that needs to be made here that is borne out in eocnomic data. I believe that most median measures of wealth and income of African immigrants exceed those of African-Americans despite the former group having, by several measures, a rougher start. Is it really color a culture?

Blacks are not the only ones still dealing with the legacy of slavery. It might be worth questioning Asians and East Europeans who are descended from slaves.

I am not trying to posit a particular opinion, but slavery and skin color are not unique variables. What is it about slavery, blackness, and America that cause this particular outcome ? I am afraid that you are no closer to answering that question than anyone else, (but I have a suspicion that you might find something valuable in examining religion).

Posted by: Anonymous | June 7, 2006 05:04 PM

The Black Man in america today is still affected in countless ways,by the William Lynch laws.In america the Black Man has been taught to hate each other,and love everything that is not black.However,as a blackmale we have to take a stand and say enough is enough.The Black Man has to take ownership for our actions against each other,and start loving yourself first then others.

Posted by: C.Moore | June 7, 2006 06:23 PM

i think the two articles are interesting to me because the people featured were just trying to better their own lives, as we all are, and were not crying the blues about how they were a victim and everyone took what was theirs. they followed their hearts or they stood by their convictions, either way, both stories were inspiring human stories about how these two people found success in their lives through persistance and faith. i thought they were good stories.

Posted by: isabel smith | June 7, 2006 09:31 PM

This is a very engaging project. I have just begun to explore all that it covers. I applaud the Washington Post for such comprehensive work. I would also like to suggest that the chronology include the founding of the first inter-collegiate fraternity for Black men- Alpha Phi Alpha- at Cornell University in 1906. I recently saw a documentary on this and I know that there will be a major celebration of 100 years in Washington, DC in late July.

Posted by: Paul | June 8, 2006 02:41 AM

frist i want to say that this is the best thing that this newspaper has ever done, so give urslef a pat on the back ... u guys hve addressed an issue that me and my friends argue alot about in school, i attend eleanor roosevelt high school in greenbelt and i'm in the sience and tech progarm , and when i look around at my class mates i see how there are practiaclly no balck males in them . i've always wandered why , and this series has helped me to understand why. i see that it is really hard for black men to make it these days and it's a problem that needs to be addressed before it's to late.

Posted by: becky akinyode | June 8, 2006 05:10 AM

As a young African-American male I have found this series to be eye opening. It's a great service to people like me to be able to understand how other African-American men feel about life in America, and how people of other backgrounds feel about African-American males. As a college student it gives me much to reflect upon as I endeavor to go on my life's journey and strive to make my life one which is of value to me and to others. The experience of being a black man in America is a unique one, and I think you for chronicling some of what this experience can mean for people of different upbringings.

Posted by: Christopher Nelson | June 8, 2006 07:38 AM

I'm a black american male, raised in New York City, educated through the ninth grade, GED recipient, military retiree, GS-13 government employee, have five children that call or have called me Dad. Some might consider that remarkable...I consider it God's blessing. The survey questions provoked thought but the selectable answers seemed to need a caveat like: "dependent" ...upon where a black man is (maturity level) in his life. An "event" (and its likely to be just one) could definitely change the direction your life might take and your age and/or maturity will be significant in how you are able to move forward from that point in time. I also believe that a person's history (up-bringing), how they were raised and by whom, has the most influential effect on how they cope with the challenges of the life they have. It's been said we have to pay taxes and die, if nothing else...I say, and have heard others say...there's only ONE thing we have to do while we are above ground on this earth...MAKE CHOICES! If we're dead, we don't have to do anything. Our lives, regardless of how we think they are or should be, are for praising God for our being and making choices that keep us in His favor. His favor is each of us being a blessing for the other...love thy neighbor as thyself. Have our parents or the people who raised us, helped us become "men", given us sufficient nurturing for us to make the right choices? It doesn't seem so for so many of our youth. This endeavor by the Post has good, maybe even great, potential for making our community, even our society, aware. I applaud that and hope that it reaches beyond the mainstream because it's the inner, the early opportunity to influence our youth that will change the stereotypical façade that black men face because they are black.

Posted by: Bartholomew | June 8, 2006 08:46 AM

great survey - lots of learning embedded in it as a tool for data gathering. Thanks for this!

Posted by: Nina Kern | June 8, 2006 09:51 AM

I await for America to stop, look and listen to the message they constantly send regarding humanity. It makes me sick to my stomach how many educated and uneducated indiviuals consistently spend millions dancing around the concerns and rarely provide solutions. This nation needs to wake up from their Jim Crow points of view before they're out distance by emerging cultures whom do not focus on race differences.

Posted by: Carin Spotted Eagle the Oldest Butterfly Woman | June 8, 2006 10:13 AM

This article is needed especially now when so many young black men are not completing high school, however they are being jailed faster than they are attending college. The article should have more input from black men that are not classified as middle class. Colin Powell is not your everyday black man in America.

The reporters should go out in the streets and interview black men that want jobs to support their families, black men that are faced with poverty, and limited job opportunities. There are many good hard-working black men and they are faced with such negative images in this country.

As a black woman in America I feel the pain of black men in this country. My father is a World War II veteran, my oldest brother is a Viet Nam veteran, I have watched the men in my family struggle in a society that does not give them the respect that is deserve to them.

I have heard stories of how black men driving in the DC area are stopped only because of the color of their skin. I ask myself "what is it all about?" When is America going to stop seeing color? When is the hate going to stop, when is equality going to start?

Posted by: S. Barksdale | June 8, 2006 02:12 PM

Dear Washington Post:

So far your series and survey has a glaring ommission. It fails to consider the lives of Black gay men and other African-descendant men who practice same sex desire in their lives, their commitments, their activism, their way of being in the world.

This is a glaring ommission, especially in Washington, DC, with it's status as a cultural center for African Americans and as an epicenter for the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Are their future articles planned?

From a cursory review of your survey, as contained in the PDF file available online, the only questions asked regarding sexual orientation is whether respondents had a friend who was openly gay or lesbian.

Why did not the survey have this part of its many foci in regards to exploring identity and issues that exist among African American men?

I am an African American gay man, a research scientist by profession, who is also a contributor, from time to time, to Gay City News, a New York based newsweekly.

It would seem, at least to me, that there would be very little reason NOT to explore this aspect of African American men's lives.

Can you offer a reason?

Very truly yours,
Tony Glover

ANTHONY [Tony] GLOVER, MFA, MPH
The Bronx - NYC 10463
MPH | Biostatistics
MFA | Writing

RESEARCH CONSULTANT
Data/Document Mgmt, Survey Research, Public Health Policy, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Quality Assurance

WRITER
Public Health, Civil Rights

Posted by: Tony Glover | June 8, 2006 03:50 PM

The survey left many questions regarding the 4 groups and how statistic showed difference on the same questions. Most of us know why the Afro-Americans are last in the world of survival. So why keep going over the same issues without doing something to stop. I was told that the white world came to believe that the black was evil and he would become less than the black man/woman should the black achieve so therefor at all cost he must preserve his status be keeping the black race beneath him. How do you change the heart of a person who truly believe that he would be dishonoring himself to let another race of man become his equal or climb to his status. Much studies have been made on the ways of the black race of people. Much of what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. says is true that slavery (and slave mentality) has to die out. However is it remotely possible for the views to die out if they are continuously renewed?

Posted by: | June 8, 2006 04:52 PM

"Being a Black Man" project provides insight into the minds of black men as wells as other racial and ethnic groups who are contributors in polls and opinions about them. As a black man and taxpayer, I appreciate expressions shared. Gender perceptions are important as well. In addition, many reports on black men in the media really lacks balance and I appreciate the balance provide in the accounts in the project. Expression of the diversity of black men is essential to the rebirth of black men. I hope black men in the viewing and reading of the findings of the project help bring us together and demystify current images held of young black men. We need help from the social environment to provide economic, social and cultural capital to assist each black men in making contributions to society. Developmental investments are needed to create training, jobs and quality housing to help black men raise families and contribute to economic growth in the U.S. Schools have failed many and not addressing the issue will lead to further despair.

Posted by: P. Toney | June 8, 2006 06:34 PM

Poverty is the root of many of these issues. From my experience as an educator and someone who lives in a predominantly African-American neighborhood in Boston, I see many people who have no idea how poor that they are. They do not realize that they are spending money on clothes and material possessions instead of saving for college! I see a VIOLENT scene in a neighborhood with NO job opportunities and NO functional public transportation to get to a neighborhood with well paying jobs. It's a frightening place with seemingly no positive future.

Posted by: henry hague | June 9, 2006 12:36 AM

I think that this project is so overdue; however, it is a wonderful project. I really appreciate the variety of black men that this project features. It shows that our ethnic race is extremely diverse.

One thing that I would love to see happen is a discussion of how black men fit into our global society. I have heard some say that black people are treated better in many other places around the world than here. I have also heard that there is still quite a bit of racism in other countries against people of color (some part of Germany). I personally feel that since most nations are nations of color, blacks may be viewed in a better light.

What I would love to see is for African American men to become more involved in international relations and become very good at it. I feel that since African Americans in general have been viewed as slaves and/or second class citizens from other Americans, we have so much to offer when it comes to establishing positive global relations.

Posted by: Christi Pemberton | June 9, 2006 10:08 AM

I think it is a great step by the Washington Post first and foremost. I myself have experienced in my opinion every aspect of the black male experience.

Born in 1977 my generation has been through the crack epidemic (as a child), the whole G.I Bill when the army would run that commercial of that brother that just wanted to go to college...but the bus just kept passing him by..until he joined the army.

What I hope people black, white, hispanic, is that we are all people. That regardless of what continent you are on, or the religion you follow. The basic goal is to provide for your family, laugh, make your mother and father proud.

Being a black man..is very challenging. It requires the holder to have an extreme confidence in himself to surpass the hurdles that are "strategically" placed throughout his life some internal and some external. I think the main thing that our children lack in there youth is confidence in who they are.

Our Black history is regurgitated, what I learned in the 4th or 5th grade is what my younger brothers are learning now. Why hasn't our school systems embraced and integrated World History with black history? And if that is too complicated, why is it not a requirement of all students to be educated in "Black History?"

Why is it that we wait for our childrends minds to become warped with negativity from both races..that people want to infuse education? In other words we shouldn't wait for people to choose whether they will educate themselves about American History which is (black and white)..it should be American History.

Shout out to John Henrik Clark, and John McWhorter..keep education, and scholarly thinking alive for our race of men!!!!

Posted by: Adreamer | June 9, 2006 10:15 AM

I am a divorced Black father of two children. This series is a positive way for the world to see how Black men face the same life challenges and experiences as all others. I have been blessed to have a single mother who provided the loving atmosphere that enabled me to be as good a husband as I could even though I was not good enough to sustain my marriage. Yet, through my faith in God, the love of my kids and mother, and a host of good friends, I am blessed to have been a successful lawyer and university professor. There are many stories of Black men who are doing what is truly necessary to make a difference not only in their own lives, but also in the lives of others.

What I have learned is that while character and values are critical to success in life, what is most important is the love I have for myself. Without this we seek love from people and things that will fail us. But that which we have inside can sustain us so we can reach the heights that we see and climb and fulfill the dreams that we have. That has been my story in life and the story continues to unfold.

This series makes me proud to be a Black man, because it tells the stories of how so many of us are making a difference regardless of the circumstances of our lives.

Posted by: Brian Edmonds | June 9, 2006 10:27 AM

People of color have more advantages as to goverment employment, many programs, grants. It is easier to keep saying "under dog" than going after what you want in life. Role models are more plentiful, such as in sports, music, goverment. Anyone that wants to go after what they would like to have in live can become an acheiver.

Posted by: Dee | June 9, 2006 10:31 AM

People of color have more advantages as to goverment employment, many programs, grants. It is easier to keep saying "under dog" than going after what you want in life. Role models are more plentiful, such as in sports, music, goverment. Anyone that wants to go after what they would like to have in life can become an acheiver. Life is work for everyone.

Posted by: Dee | June 9, 2006 10:40 AM

Thank you for your efforts on exploring the "mysterious, misunderstood" black man. I was caught off guard by this project since I didn't know it existed. Now that I have been exposed to it, I will be one of its strongest advocates. Thank you for attempting to be my inner voice. At least now I won't think I'm crazy!

Peace

Posted by: Nathaniel | June 9, 2006 10:42 AM

I'm finding the series commendable; so far both for the examination of this topic and its coverage, as well as allowing commentary from as many black voices as are willing to participate in this dialogue. Thank you for giving these men the opportunity to address these issues themselves, in their own voices, as well as exposing the varying attitudes toward this subject.

Thus far, it appears that the writers are intentionally exploring disparate angles to capture the complexity of the experiences of black men. This is also commendable, but raises the question: is it possible to capture all of this complexity? So many brothers have important stories to share, that will color this piece. My fear is that the Post may not be able to capture the thoughts of those brothers lacking opportunity, lacking resources, lacking the awareness that their plight is even being considered. I hope that these men are not ignored in this process, as society has ignored them for far too long. It's impossible to tell every black man's story, but I hope they're given the chance to color this piece as well.

Posted by: Lynne Lucas, also @ http://sagaciously.net/blogs | June 9, 2006 10:52 AM

I'm loving this series and I can relate to most thing that are being written. in the articles. This is a well put together article just wish I could have taken part in it Keep them coming

Posted by: Eric | June 9, 2006 11:11 AM

This is a poignantly overdue series that you are executing in excellent style. As the mother of twin boys who are interracial, but who will always be identified as black, I am moved and inspired by your series.These are the stories that must be told -- attention must be paid.
Thank you for your efforts at calling national attention to the most pressing issue of our times.
I can only hope that the leaders in Washington are listening. But while bashing gay people and pursuing a frightening folly in Iraq, I suspect strongly that they are not.

Posted by: DPitts | June 9, 2006 11:13 AM

I really appreciate the article today about young Marcus. I don't know if there will be a future article that will address young boys that don't have the family, support and the options that Marcus has. There are so many other boys in situations or have backgrounds that don't afford them the chance that Marcus has in life. Will they be discounted. As a mother of two teenage black boys, I want them to be "wanted" as well.

Posted by: Rhonda Green | June 9, 2006 11:22 AM

It's great if you're also going to do series on "Being a Latin Man," "Being an Asian Man," "Being a White Man," "Being a Black Woman," "Being an Asian Woman," "Being a White Woman," "Being a Gay Man," "Being a Lesbian," "Being a Middle Eastern Man," "Being a Middle Eastern Woman," etc. etc.

Maybe I am misunderstanding the objective of the project.

Posted by: Matthew | June 9, 2006 11:28 AM

This is really need to be discuss. When I visit college campus, I'm shocked at the lack of African American males missing from the campus.

Growing up in the south in 70s and 80s the girls was told go college and become independent. There was a lot of guys in high school with so much potential that didn't finish college. I didn't realize this until I went to my 20th class reunion. These guys came from two parents in the household.

Growing up in single parent household, my brother and I both completed college because of the examples my mother gave us. As a teacher she inspired us to do our best. She believe in the public school because she taught in public school. There was some teacher that would make a lot of negative comments but my mother never shared those comments. She always inspired us to reach for the sky. When we went to college, she said that we have more opportunities for degrees then she was in college in 60s.

One of her example was taking computer programming course at HBCU for teaching certification. She said that computer was a good field to go in -- she was right. My brother and I majored in Computer Science for Bachelor and Master Degrees.

Posted by: KD | June 9, 2006 11:30 AM

I think WP's interest in the state of the Black man in America is extremely important and enlightening for all Americans. The daily issues of prejudice and discrimination that all black men endure must get better. The constant demonization of us black men on television, radio and in the news media has got to stop if we are ever going to heal from the scars of racism, which in my opinion is tantamount to modern day slavery. I applaud the WP's effort and I hope the project continues, its definately needed.

Posted by: C. Ingram | June 9, 2006 11:34 AM

I think the most important issue affecting African American men is the relationship they have with their family, most significant, the African American women in their lives. I find that they do not respect their marriage and treasure their family. When a man treasures his famiy he eliminates behaviour that would place his family in jeopardy. String families build great communities.

African American men shoul also listen to the advise of his ancestors- treasure education, know that you are worth as much as anybody else, live the life that God has intended for you. It is very simple to do those thing.

The American dream is achievable. This county is step up for success. We can achieve a lot of we follow the principle noted above.

Posted by: Jo | June 9, 2006 11:45 AM

I would like to command you for your courage and passion for taking the time to inform all Americans about the struggles and roadblocks that have hindered and continue to impair our success.
I have purchased all three articles and plan to share them with family, friends, and others.
Keep up the good work. We (black community) are encouraged and inspired for this project. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

Posted by: Daniel Capuia | June 9, 2006 12:15 PM

Being a father of two sons, I know it is hard out here.being a black man makes it harder. But not only is it hard for my boys it harder for my daughter.She will someday look for a man to live her life with and I pray that she looks for the qualities lets her know that the man she picks is the man she sees in her father.i work with young men at my church and in the MCCF in clarksburg and this project is great and will give us more to discuss with the younger men as they step into true manhood. For this I thank you for me and my children. I just wish I had this when I was growing up!!!!!! In Louisiana.

Posted by: D J. Brown | June 9, 2006 12:29 PM

This is an excellent series. It is required reading for my 15 year old son. It will help him understand who he is and will be.

Thanks to all the contributors.

Posted by: Evion Council | June 9, 2006 01:33 PM

I'm surprised that you're willing to explore the absurd notion that black men go to prison for any other reason than because they, meaning those who are in prison, choose of their own free will to commit crimes. If the police are focusing unfairly on them and, presumably, ignoring crimes by whites, then where are the bodies of all the victims of all the many white crimes that aren't getting investigated?

Posted by: Greg DePaul | June 9, 2006 01:56 PM

Wow. What a great article. I hope that white people like myself are reading this series, too, because our racial identities are bound up in those of people of color, and especially black men and women, in this country. The more aware I become of my internailzed racial identity issues, the more important it is for me, as a white person, to hear stories from people who live in the state of dual consciousness that you address in this article. It is precisely because "white" is the culturally dominant race that the Yarboros must raise their son with an awareness of the challenges he will undoubtedly face, and must work extra hard to instill in him a strong sense of his self-worth. I am glad that the Post is addressing these issues, and I would even like to see more in-depth covereage on the relationships between racial oppression and cultural dominance (that might help the "race card" naysayers understand why this matters).

Posted by: Jennifer Moore | June 9, 2006 02:41 PM

Unbelievable.........On the military's biggest day since the capture of Hussein, and we get "Being A Black Man" as the top story!
The NY Times had a huge spread, ad did the Washington Times, but the Post had to put that as the big story? Even your headline on the Zarqawi killing didn't even say what happened.
Is the newspaper that politically correct that it had to put a "black" story in the way of what should have been a massive headline about the killing of one of the biggest terrorists in the world?
Unbelievable!

Posted by: mike ginn | June 9, 2006 04:07 PM

Great job post ! The articles were informative , and certainly something that i can relate too. I can wait to read some more .

Posted by: Ben | June 9, 2006 04:09 PM

I am a Black Man Of Caribbean decent, I was Born in Brooklyn New York (the gettho) and grew up in Trinidad in the Town of maraval (Upper Middle class neighborhood). However I lived on both sides of the coin in the hood and surburbia and the bigest issue I see in both environments are the lack of personal responsibility by Black males.

In my personal opinion: If Parents (I dont care if they are single parents or not) instill the simple (very, very simple)fact that if you truly respect yourself, and treated everyone with that same respect you have a 100% chance of being successfull.

Ideiology of negativity is like a cancerous curse on young black men. Negativity penetrates thier very existence and in most cases it cannot be removed, only because of the self respect that was never instilled.

Posted by: Robin Thomas | June 9, 2006 04:09 PM

I think the project was done well. It is very difficult being black, it takes tremendous effort to be successful. The United States should be ashamed for its past and current treatment of blacks and minorities in general. I don't quite understand how politicians could be aware that the gap in the races is partly related to quality of education, but still refuse to improve the education provided to blacks & minorities. How can we be expected to rise from the ingrained low self worth/respect if those partly responsible for it don't help repair the damage done? We've been stripped of our truly great forefront motivators and I'm afraid that we don't have enough parents motivating/strengthening our children. We certainly can't count on the rappers and athletes. I'm not bitter but realistic I don't hate anyone but often times I do feel hated.

Posted by: Lauren P. Williams | June 9, 2006 04:18 PM

I applaud the Washington Post and all those involved with this series. The different perspectives and views are of great interest to me as a Black man. It is imperative to provide a balanced and fair snapshot of what it is to be a Black man, not only for Blacks but for the masses. News pieces such as these allow others that are not within the Black community to see, read and understand the real obstacles and fundamental differences many Black males' experience. In reading these views I saw the great divide of perceptions, feelings and experiences that allowed me to relate in many ways. The piece "Raising a Black Boy" is especially poignant to me as I pray to God that I too will be a father and a good one at that. Reading this made me realize the sacrifices and struggles my parents went through to ensure that I could be the productive and well-rounded person that I am today. Living in today's society, many misconceptions are created through the media and other outlets and it is refreshing to have this as the lead story on the Washington Post.

Posted by: Bernard C. Coleman III | June 9, 2006 05:19 PM

This is a fantastic series!!! I have read every bit of it and eagerly look forward to reading more over the coming year.

I am interested in knowing whether you will be writing about inter-racial couples, specifically Black men who choose to date and marry outside of their race. Issues such as how they are perceived, accepted, and why they are making this choice in growing numbers.

Posted by: EG Callahan | June 9, 2006 06:45 PM

Excellent! A well-designed and informative interactive website. Very well-rounded with varied opinions, classes, ages, and incomes.

I really enjoyed it. Kudos to the Post!

Posted by: Teresa Emerson | June 9, 2006 10:44 PM

Chris - 29, LA, CA
Honestly, as a black man, this series isnt telling me anything I dont already know. But i applaud the efforts being made, to help America better understand what its like to live life as a Black Man. There are alot of things being left out tho. To really break it down, you have to discuss history, and how black males are the negative image to the positive image of the caucasion male. its always been like this in media from the very beginning. started with the cowboys and indians, and moved on to the tribes vs the white man all covered in movies and tv shows. Its way too much to even be able to discuss on just one board. There are so many topics and issues that cover this subject that people dont even think about on a daily basis, and its rather unfortunate. hopefully this project can shed some light on a few of situations.

I do know that i have alot to offer, and i would love to participate in a project like this, getting my voice out to the world to let them understand just one black man's perspective.

Posted by: Quest | June 10, 2006 04:55 AM

p.s. it would be nice if you guys would make it so that the most current comments are at the top of the page, not the bottom.

thanks!

Posted by: Quest | June 10, 2006 05:08 AM

I see the problems in the black community,not stemming from the color of a person's skin, but from the culture of failure surrounding them.There is a huge difference between the black community, and those with dark skin.I employ several African immigrants and they are some of the most hard working, dedicated and goal orientated people I have met.They push their children to suceed and value their strong family cohesion.I have no doubt these people will succeedd in this country for generations to come.Anyone regardless of race can make a great life for themeselves if they are hard working,ambitious and are talented.It's not the color of a person's skin holding them back,its the ideals;the glorification of drugs, crime and violence(especially to women) in rap music and films and the lack of emphasis on strong family, education and career advancement.It's not the color of a person's skin in this country that will hold them back, but their attitude and view of the world.The self pity and "poor me" attitude over slavery also has to go.In the history of this world,man has always enslaved one another.The Roman's enslaved the Germans and British.The Jews were enslaved by The Egyptians.My relatives in Ireland have finally broken the yolk of the British.All people's were enslaved at one point or another in this world.It was the way of man,and it was terribly wrong.It just happens to be the African's were the last to be enslaved enmass.Get over it.Dwelling on it will not get anyone anywwhere.All people make their own luck and fortune in this country.I wish all of us the best.

Posted by: T.Bellair | June 10, 2006 06:34 AM

Being Black in America is a hell hole that i would not want to send anyone.

One would have to be Black to fully understand the pain and suffering Black people have experienced over the past three to four hundred years of slavery,oppression and it's deep rooted racist culture in our society. A perfect example of the racist and plantation culture is alive and well at the us department of agriculture....known as the "last plantation." This fact remains a topic of wide discussion because of the way they treat their Blacks employees (especially, Black males) and Black farmers of this Nation.

Posted by: lawrence lucas | June 10, 2006 07:20 AM

I am often very critical of the current state of traditional media for its neglect or distorting oversimplification of serious issues or unrelenting pursuit of the sensational. While TV and cable are guiltiest print media shares in the blame. That is why I strongly commend you for investing so much in this very important work. Very very well done, and thanks for rekindling my waning faith.

Posted by: alolabab ibulo | June 10, 2006 07:40 AM

While I do believe there is a dire need to alert the country to the plight of the Black man in America, more useless statistics, and cute stories are not the answer. As seen by your polls, whose answers I have to believe were submitted by a predominantly non-black audience, opinions mean very little when considering a solution to the overall problem. As a race, we live in a state of educational mediocrity, settling for what is given as opposed to what is needed. Our schools have failed us, our government has ignored us, our community has given up on us, and now we've become a "project". How degrading. Our issues can not, and will not be fixed through compiling data through polls, and publishing heartfelt stories for "others" to debate. "Have you ever been wrongfully arrested?" Does it matter? If the answer is yes, then what? The solution begins with educational reform. It must become a top priority. Our future as a race can not be left in the hands of high-school dropouts, ex-cons, entertainers, and athletes. We are so much more than that. I take offense to what you refer to as the "Being a Black Man" project. I am not, nor are my brothers in America, a project. I am a man, an American, and a responsible citizen, who realizes that as long as I am viewed as a project I, and my race, will face the same fate as our other great American projects ( mis-management, corruption, biased data, misleading statistics, and eventual termination. The Black man's contribution to this country deserves better than that. I love being a Black Man; I just think we need to teach our struggling brothers to do the same.

Posted by: Andre Curtis | June 10, 2006 08:38 AM

There is still something missing in this special feature. I commented earlier about the irresponsibility of the hip hop culture. I would still like to see this addressed. I am still trying to wrap my thoughts around something else: A county such as Prince Georges County in Maryland has the highest concentration of black property ownership and college educated back men and women in the entire country, yet still has a high crime rate in relation to other college educated and home owning areas around the world. I am still trying to grasp if it is the effects of the hip hop culture desensitizing our youth to violence and sexism. Is it the attitude of paranoia and rebellious behavior (both founded and unfounded) that black parents have been teaching their children for generations about white America? I am still trying to figure this out. So, along with an article about the influence of hip hop culture, I would like to see an article using Prince Georges County as a case study.

Posted by: E. Alonzo | June 10, 2006 10:08 AM

Many people have expressed satisfaction with this project. I am glad for them but have a different perspective.

To me, this well-intentioned series is the latest chapter in our continuing national obsession with race. It is an example of how we continue to balkanize ourselves by focusing on our racial identities to the exclusion of far more important things.

"What it means to be a black man" should be the same as "what it means to be a man": being a good husband, father, son, citizen, and many other things...none of which have anything to do with being black, white, yellow or red.

The day that we start focusing on the things that matter and and stop obsessing about our racial identities, we will be well on our way to judging people not on the basis of their skin but on the content of their character.

Sound familiar?

Posted by: MH | June 10, 2006 10:29 AM

What a nice idea. In an era in which many Americans would like to pretend that racism does not exist, that everyone is treated the same and that the same opportunities exist for everyone, your series should come as a breath of fresh air for anyone who wishes to be enlightened about the continuing impact of having black skin in this country. The most startling, almost terrifying component of this entire series is the number of brilliant, affluent, educated blacks to whom "job security" is a foreign concept, and who still feel as if they have to work ten times harder at work and school to be given a fifth of the respect and admiration of their white counterparts, regardless of those counterparts' actual skill and ability. America has long needed to take a good, hard, truthful look at its racial history so that we can begin to move past it. Only then will we live in a truly race-neutral society.

Posted by: Dana R | June 10, 2006 11:39 AM

CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THE YEAR-LONG SERIES ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS BEING A BLACK WOMAN.

Posted by: Anais Bertrand | June 10, 2006 11:49 AM

Thank you for your article! There will be some dis-tractors of what you have printed but I do believe that the majority of Black men and women alike will agree on your presentation. I am a 53 year old Black man from St. Louis, now living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I have a decent,well paying job but on a daily basis I still encounter prejudices from all ethnic groups, even our own. At first I ignored it but soon afterwards I began to let people know that they were wrong. I was not trying to impose my way of thinking but what I was trying to do, was to get them to see, if they were in my shoes, how would they feel? The world is a serious place, with a lot of serious things going on. We should all stop and evaluate "our world" and all that live in it. Remember, as parents, as individuals, no matter what your personal prefernces may be, our children, all children are a mirror image of all that we do.

Posted by: Kenneth Knox (Colorado Springs, Co.) | June 10, 2006 12:54 PM

I am trying to pull up the complete series of articles on "Being a Black Man", so far I am only getting the web page that shows Chuck Brown and several titles of videos. Are there written articles in addition to the apprentice? Please tell me how to obtain this info on line.
Thank you,

Posted by: Raye J. Montague | June 10, 2006 12:54 PM

"If you believe that the Devil is the Devil regardless of place and time, then you would have to accept that the children of the open enemy of black people are that same Devil. Looking to them for a solution is not the answer."

Why was the above comment (from an online discussion of the series) deemed "relevant" whereas a request for an explanation of the inclusion of such a hateful statement is ignored?

Posted by: Don Hobbs | June 10, 2006 02:10 PM

My name is Regine and I am a Parole/Probation Officer. The majority of the offenders on supervision that come through my office are African American. I can actually see how the system is not equal and fair when it comes to African Americans. I believe that aside from everything that was taken away from us as a people we can still succeed. But first, we have to teach our children who they are, where they came from, and all of the accomplishments that we as a people have made. I saw the slideshow about Marcus. His parents say that he will be attending a catholic school. I hope that this school is not like the catholic schools that I attended when I was growing up. Not that I did not receive a good education, but African American history was totally left out. And what we were taught, I later found out to be untrue (like Christopher Columbus discovered America). How come nothing was taught about the great African empires and how civilization in Africa declined after the Europeans went to Africa? or how African Americans are great scientists and inventors?
In order to have our children believe that they can accomplish any goal, we must teach them about their past history, where they came from, that their ancestors were Kings and Queens, and that we as a people are very intelligent. Further, we must show them examples that they can presently relate to such as: that the inventor of the stoplight, the search engine for the worldwide web, automatic transmission, and the cell phone were all created by Black men. Finally, we have to really evaluate who the people are that are teaching our children. Although they may not have bad intentions, do they really know about African American and African history to teach it to our children?
I learned by reading, with the help of the professors of the university that I attended, and by speaking and interviewing my elders. Unfortunately, some of us don't search for the truth, and because we don't have a sense of self-worth we may end up in the criminal justice system. I am not saying that Marcus will not grow up to be a fine and intelligent young man. I just want people to read about a different viewpoint coming from someone who attended catholic institutions from grade school to the 12th grade. I also want people to understand what happens to a people when they are stripped from at least knowing the truth about who they really are.

Posted by: G. R. Dukes | June 10, 2006 02:34 PM


First, thank you for having the courage to discuss the issues that black men face in America today. We as black men thinking about it all the time. However, we don't discuss it out loud with the rest of brothers.

Posted by: Delroy Walters | June 10, 2006 03:41 PM

I'm Chinese and i grow up in the 3rd world. My parent never spook english. Chinese didn't have the right to Citizenship and land ownership in America until or after World War 2. I still live in south Central Los Angeles today, have been there for 25 years. Too all and all America one of the top 3 countries for Minorites. I feel that you can be anything here. Education is free, and you have many social services. Blacks always look at the badside of America/American Society and there is a bad side, are but let me tell you there are many great things too. Look at other people that came from poor places around the world. How did they become middle class. Hardwork. If you don't want to work hard so be it. I make 80k a year. America is a great country,

Posted by: Bo Lim | June 10, 2006 03:56 PM

I found a new use for the Washington Post, picking up after my dog.

Posted by: C. Parker | June 10, 2006 06:18 PM

I think it is sepratist and unproductive. As a Black man I don't feel any different than any other man. I know that if I work hard, make good moral decisions, and practice the art of delayed gratification I can do, and become anything I want to. I just don't understand why we continue to portray as a different species. What I think is imporatent to note is the fact that for every action there is a reaction. As a Black man this means that if another Black man who looks like me, dresses like me, and lives in a similar community does something wrong, I know that people are going to believe I probably am up to the same thing. I understand that fact. I think once Black men understand that people generally judge people based on past incidence. So instead of cpomplaining to the police about you getting stopped, how about start chainging the crime and disorder in our neighborhoods. This is what it means to be a man. A man takes responsibiltiy for his environment and focuses on those things in which he has control.

Posted by: Rasheed | June 10, 2006 07:39 PM

I really love what you're doing with this series. As a young black man, it's not very hard to identify with the issues being raised in these articles. The spectre of racism is still something that everyone must face, in one form or another, and so far you've done a great job in profiling the diversity of the black experience in the context of the black identity.

It's all too important for everyone, regardless of race, to understand the challenges and issues a black man faces in today's America, and I'm proud of the Post for taking a meaningful step towards this goal.

Posted by: A. Lewis | June 11, 2006 01:19 AM

Bravo for taking a step and tackling this subject. As a mother I am thankful for this article. I think I have a little insight on what paths to sets my sons out on now that they are very young.

Posted by: Tiffany | June 11, 2006 03:56 AM

This is a fantastic series that finally will bring this issue to the forefront and, hopefully, encourage others to continue the discussion. I took the online poll and was shocked to discover the overwhelming negative thoughts blacks and whites have about black men. There is so much still that needs to be said, but I am grateful to hear from the mouths of a diverse group of black men on this subject.

Posted by: Taisha Rucker | June 11, 2006 07:57 AM

Thank you Washington Post. Impressive job. Pulitzer time!

I now live in Australia. When I was younger, I used to be nervous going onto university campuses (thoughts of do I belong here? kept crossing my mind). Now I have my Masters and I am just about done with my PhD, and lecture part time for a leading Australian uni (in the business school) and work full time for the Western Australian State Government as a project manager. I am fortunate to have travelled to many countries, including Kenya, Malaysia, Singapore, England and France. Although Australia is my base, no matter where I go, I am looked upon as a Black American. When I walk into a classrom, stroll to the podium at a conference, or into a meeting, I sense a touch of astonishment - curiosity, mainly positive, but tinged sterotypical thinking - as many have not talked to or worked with a black amaerican! So there is just a bit of extra pressure to do well. "How did you get here?" they often ask, interested in how a black american man escaped from a sterotypical dark world displayed in the media. I don't mean to be condencending, but people that asked these questions may not know the name of a single black american male executive outside the entertainment and sporting world. But they are aware of the voice of many black american men crossing the oceans in wave after wave of gansta-rap, images and stories of Katrina, and being overly portrayed as cool (not so bright) jocks or as criminals on TV and movies. I think things are getting better...we have more visible black men on the news (even though its Fox), in the Post, and even this Administration. Hey, we don't even get killed in the opening scenes of movies any more. But I still think my two bright, intelligent sons will be asked as they travel the world one day..."How did you get here?"

Posted by: Arthur Wilson | June 11, 2006 09:12 AM

I think the issue is great, great, great. It would be greate to share this with black males in churches and public schools. We need to show young black males that being black is not about sports or being a rapper. It's about being responsible and being a part of this great society of ours.

Posted by: Louis Byrd | June 11, 2006 09:18 AM

I have really been enjoying the series. The article about Eric Motley was very interesting. It certainly addresses how race continues to be an issue in our society and how no matter what heights Blacks feel they have risen to they are still judged in very sterotypical ways.

I found it interesting that the people that Eric Motley seems to want to align himself with still have one dimensional views of Blacks. What does it mean he doesn't dress black or talk black, or that he isn't interested in rap music? I find it ironic that these comments; obvious sterotypes are still measurements that some Whites use to judge what it means to be Black.

It proves to me and hopefully it will prove to Mr. Motley that no matter what heights you reach, you are still locked into the same old monolethic views others hold of what it means to be Black.

Posted by: W.Webb | June 11, 2006 09:19 AM

I'm of the opinion the information provided in these segments have been extremely enlightening and on target. This information should be exposed to our youger black males in the age range from 17-24, due to this demographics group being the next generation that will someday speak for us. I believe this will help them to understand the plites and fights we as a group had endured and having to endure daily as "Black Men" in America. I can identify with each argument addressed, even though my older syblling and father tried to buffer the younger syblling from this walk,it was not to be escaped. From the time I and younger syblling entered the segragated school system, you were reminded of where you stood daily, no matter if you ran faster or jumped higher, it still wasn't good enough to surpass your white counterpart. My father the late Attorney John H. Wrighten III and my mother Dorothy, who made sure that my sybllings and I had a sense of who you are, what you're made of, and where you come from. It takes a villege to raise a child. I used to have my Mom waiting at home for me when I got home from school, who directed my actvities, who I could share thoughts and ideas with, and who would put it in the right perspective for me if I was off target. Now-a-days, both parents have to be out there working. Working the swing shift and the children are left to maintain their own decorum in the evenings,...the old lady down the street who watch everybody is no longer,because the kids now would beat her up if she says anything to anybody. Understanding that so many count on you and wishing to see you do well, has kept me strong and continue to strive no matter the obstacle/s. I've tried to instill this in my four sons. Let's continue to move forward not as "Black Men" but just "Men". To get White America to this point is wishful thinking, I know, but I have hope!

Posted by: David E Wrighten | June 11, 2006 09:49 AM

I did not want this post to be long, but its hard not to express.

Great project, hats off to the Washington Post. I see a lot of comments here. Some good and some are one sided and closed minded as usual.

Unfortunately, I think this issue is bigger than one project and would need to run for a very longtime to cover every issue, if at all possible.

Whats interesting is that there are only two races of people in US history, that did not come her seeking the American Dream.

Native americans, whos population is not great, and Blacks. This makes the Black race and more specifically the Black male unique with unique problems, that wont go away because people want to forget why we are here in the first place.

I started out poor and did a lot of things wrong. I served this country via US Army. Ive had the executive jobs. I now own and operate my own company and im in my thirties.

I know that this resume is far better than some others who still have advatages over me because the are not Black.

However, I did these things despite all of the obstacles placed before me in the past, present and those awaiting me. As many others like me have as well.

We have to be accountable for ourselves first.

Posted by: Kyle Brown | June 11, 2006 11:07 AM

As a forty five year old Black man who has been blessed to adopt my son when he was 6 months old ( he is 9 now) I will share this series with him. Parents can only give their children wings and they must fly on their own. We as black Americas must make focus on providing wings for our children. I have shared this series we everyone I can and hope that they pass it on!!!!

Posted by: K Snell | June 11, 2006 12:30 PM

Words can not adqueately convey the pride, as a black woman, I felt while reading this piece. Thank you writing such a positive piece about our men.

Posted by: C. Darby | June 11, 2006 12:54 PM

This series is outstanding. I think that Black men are under seige. It seems that they all are looked at as thugs,gangsters and other unsavory individuals.

Well this weekend I attended a graduation at the University of Cincinnati where my nephew graduated an honors student and one of five students (only black student)that received a Presidential medal of Honor for leadership, scholarship and service but I like you Marcus's Yarboro's dad feel the anxiety of my nephew being stopped, questioned and unfairly treated because of his race.
More series like this will continue to educate your readers on the treasure we have in our black men. They are phenomenal human beings and if given a fair opportunity can be powerful partners in keeping the country free and econmically competitive.

Posted by: Sharon McCreary - Cincinnati,Ohio | June 11, 2006 03:13 PM

It was admitted in this article that black women over all are more successful than black men. This says alot in itself. Most black women work harder and are better educated. These two things bring success. I am white. I work for a black man which I admire and respect. I would give this man the shirt off my back if he asked for it. Why? Because he is a good man. There is nothing bad I can say about him. He is my boss and I have no problem working for him. If all black men would strive to be what this man is, they would all be successful.
Some black people complain about having so many blacks in jail. Well, why are they there. They obviously did something they shouldn't have done or they would not be in jail.
There was a statement made in this article "If you are a black man, you have to work harder than white's". Everyone that gets ahead of the other guy works harder, black or white.
Black people were abused in years past. We all know that but we cannot set on our butts with our hands out and be successful. You cannot just WANT to be successful. You have to work hard to be successful. Unless we are born with a silver spoon in your mouths, we all (black and white) have to educate ourselves and work hard to get ahead in life. We can no longer set on our butts and complain about how we have been mistreated, we have to get off our butts and show our worth.
I work for a company with about 15,000 employees and I can honestly tell you that people are being put in high profile jobs just because they are minorities. If there is a promotion available and you "are not a white male" you have a much greater chance of getting the job just because you are not a white male. We are now seeing people put into jobs that they cannot handle because of their color or gender and it is causing this company to falter.
I am a white male and I have supported myself since I was 13 years old. Any short comings I have, I blame on myself. If I have not attained the status I wanted, it is my fault. I must not have done everything I needed to do or I would have attained all of my goals. Although I have a good life, make pretty good money, I would like to have been more successful but I blame no one because I am not a millionaire. If I feel aneed to blame someone, I blame the person responsible. Myself.
My point is, we cannot just wish to be CEO of a big corporation and be one. We have to do "ALL" of the things required to be one. We all need to stop pointing fingers at each other and blaming our problems on each other. We all need to get off our butts and do what is required to be successful if we want to be successful. God created us all equal and we are all equal so lets all act equal, work equally hard and equally respect each other.

Posted by: Billy Richardson | June 11, 2006 05:26 PM

Here's a lie people need to stop repeating about racism:

"Black people are discriminated against simply because of the color of their skin."

That lame, tired refrain has been repeated my whole life. It's an intentional attempt to make people who have problems with blacks appear superficial.

No one cares AT ALL about the color of anyone's skin. The problem many people have with black people is their BEHAVIOR. People need to be honest and open about this. No one would feel scared of or hostile to black people if they changed their BEHAVIOR. The color of their skin has absolutely NOTHING to do with how people feel about them.

Posted by: Stegman | June 11, 2006 07:06 PM

While I applaud the Post for even having a series on Being A Black Man, with just a quick perusal of this section on your website, I see a blaring omission on the Chronicle of Black Men in America. The largest ever gathering of Black men in this county happened just 11 years ago and in DC at that, yet there is no reference to the 1995 Million Man March. This omission is so enormous it almost seems deliberate, which would make me question the validity of this entire series.

Posted by: David Muhammad | June 11, 2006 07:59 PM

This is a great series! I'm reading and watching the issues play out with fascination. A white man, I tend to agree with Cosby's statements on what ails black society, but I know that they, not I will decide these issues for themselves.
As a Sunday-only subscriber, I have yet to see any letters from readers. Have there been any? Enjoyed the Eric Motley piece today.

Posted by: Ed Russell | June 11, 2006 08:12 PM

I'm a Korean American and I have a few points:

1. Great series!
2. In response to some people who ask why there isn't a series on what it means to be a white man or latino or asian man in America, it's because there is something distinctly unique, urgent, tragic, & hopeful about the black man's experience that makes it worthy of singling out for discussion.
3. This being said, I think the theme of race needs to be discussed in a separate column EVERY DAY and not just in a special series. There are so many interesting topics that there would no dearth of topics. You could address:

a. Whites and their feelings of reverse racism
b. Race and homosexuality
c. Interracial dating
d. Demographic patterns in U.S. ethnicity
e. The low marriage rates of black women and Asian American men

In fact, as an Asian American man myself, I think we represent the polar opposites of black men -- we may succeed in our careers and academics but we are largely shut out in the entertainment industry and other social spheres. I think this sort of oppression represents an equally invidious type of discrimination.

Anyways, good job but let's open up this discussion to beyond the white-black dichotomy.

Posted by: J.K. | June 11, 2006 10:07 PM

This series has been wonderful! Eyeopening (for some) and an affirmation for others ... THANK YOU!

Posted by: Janet Elder | June 11, 2006 11:19 PM

Watching, listening and reading these stories is very inspiring. These stories help to knock down some barriers and myths, and also reduce the fears and confusion about us black men. I think we must always remember that decency must be the standard by whick all people are measured - not skin color. Take your responsibility, whatever the color of your skin, to live and promote decency. A good way to start is by understanding one another.

Posted by: C. M. M. (Africa) | June 11, 2006 11:33 PM

I feel the article is one sided and water down. To be honest white america already knows how it feel to be a black man in america. White america were the ones who put up the barriers for us to try to cross.
Not only try to cross but gave us hell all the way. And wants us to decribe how it feels, the torture, the racism and discrimination. Of our day to day lives. My question to white america is how does it feel Knowing that u control everything and wonder why we can't all come up. U write the tests and give out the loans and control the courtroom and make all the laws. Why don't we do a project on that.

Posted by: Munday Crowell | June 11, 2006 11:53 PM

I am from DC, but having lived in New York for the past three years I think that this question lost some of it's poignancy for me because I was in a place that has been very well integrated for some time. This weekend, while boating with some family, who are white like me, listening to some of their comments and viewpoints brought me to a position I had been long unfamiliar with, arguing against racism. It is special reports like "Being a Black Man," and the faces and stories of the real people featured within it that honorably seek to break such ignorant stereotypes. I have to wonder though, how many of those same relatives read the Washington Post?

Posted by: Matthias Martin | June 12, 2006 01:27 AM

I really appreciate this series and it is one that is gravely needed. Many Blacks are already aware of these issues, but to have it actually printed is awesome. I only hope that our counterparts (Whites) are paying close attention to the information in these writings. One topic that I hope this series tackles is the issue of homosexuality in the Black community, because it's an issue that simply isn't as accepted in our arena although it is HUGE. Also, the issue of the "down low." I think Black men get too much of a bad rep for this issue, and other races are ignored. Down Low men are present in each and every race...at least that's what J. L. King has addressed. The phenomenon didn't begin with Blacks, isn't unique to Blacks and won't end as affecting solely Blacks. I enjoyed the article entitled "The Young Apprentice," although I think it would have put things a little bit more in perspective if this privileged young man was compared/put against a young man in a similar situation that was not as privileged. You did allude to this with mention of some statistics and facts within the article that were, although subtle, very powerful. All in all, keep up the great work. I hope that a television news station or such could pick this issue up and run with it!

Posted by: Janell J. Lewis | June 12, 2006 06:26 AM

As an African-American woman I am tired of the constant bashing of African-American men. African-American men are constantly stereotyped and these stereotypes are perpetuated by the media. Finally, something is being done. I hope that this article grabs readers by the collar and African-American men will be perceived in a different light.

Posted by: Rachael Allen | June 12, 2006 06:50 AM

I think this is a wonderful project and only wish it could be seen/read by or communicated to many more of the black men accross the country. This is worthy of being made into a PBS special.

Younger black men and boys need to see the wide range of roles that black men uphold and not just that of entertainer, athlete, pimp, and thug. There are so many avenues available to us, but unfortunately many of our youth never see themselves as "people" first. Instead they see themselves as what the various media and pop-culture icons portray black men to be.

I wish that our youth and even some of our "grown folk" could see that we don't have to be limited to playing a character, that we all have the choice to pursue any dream we choose. Surely, some will have a tougher road than others, but the road of opportunity is available. It is a case of allowing others define or label us and inadequate or no systems of principles or values to guide and cultivate the internal fortitude needed to reject the degrading roles that others have reserved for the "Black Male".

Posted by: Byron Greene | June 12, 2006 08:07 AM

I think this is an interesting project and have forwarded to it other black men I know. My question or commnet is have you also talked with same gender attracted (gay) Black men regarding their thoughts about what it is to be Black Man, their ideas about manhood, masculinity, their ual identities and the relationship or interface of their sexual orientation with their rracial identity? As a same gender loving man of African descent I am interested in knowing if you have also included this variable in your survey?

Posted by: Minister Hank Millbourne | June 12, 2006 09:46 AM

While as a black man I appreciate the series and the attention, I do not feel that the articles and story show black men or people in a positive light. Each story seems to push the idea that if you are going to be a successful black man then you must remove yourself from "black culture" or black people". I feel more should have been done on black males who achieve in all black positive environments. There are so many positives stories at places like Howard or in the communities of Mitchellville, south bowie, and glendale of smart minded ambitious black boys surrouned by other ambitious black boys. I feel the large bastion of black middle class boys in the Washington, D.C. area has been ignored by this project.

Posted by: Jamaal Shelton | June 12, 2006 10:05 AM

The articles are excellent and reflective of the problems facing black men america. Kudos to the writers.

I would like to see a single mother raising one or more than one black boy in today's society - and the problem she and the boy's face in the world.

As a single mother of a black boy (14 years old), I have required him to read the hard copy and review the online versions of the article -- his comment -- "Wow - I did not know these statistics existed and it is quite scary." It is a good read and reality check for everyone.

Posted by: Jeanette C. Russell | June 12, 2006 11:34 AM

I believe your series has the potential to bring attention to the most distressing issue facing black men and the black community in general. It was most poignantly seen in the story about Eric Motley. The burden of "being black" is what I believe is the greatest obstacle to the black community, whether it Mr. Motley being condemned for selling out or it is our youth trying to live up to a stereotype that saps their energy to pursue their individual ambitions. Blackness is a cultural artifact that currently haunts the black community. This phenomenon distorts the way black people see reality. Its most striking problem is that it is impossible to define. Most that defend it existence always appear to me to be the most ignorant of American and Black history. Any phenomenon of blackness must be rooted in the cultural history of the people...and it didn't begin and end with slavery or civil rights.

It seems quite ironic that black men always being told that they must be successful for the "good of the race."
Unwittingly we condone racism as we desperately try to seek a better future for our poorest Americans. I support Mr. Motley and others like him in their pursuit to contribute their talents to our American society. I would tell our youth today to do it for themselves in order to live the most fulfilling lives they can. And to those who want to help our most disenfranchised, I would say focus on educating our poor to give them an opportunity to contribute to our great society and our world. In these times we need all hands on deck. There is a wealth of latent talent in our disaffected youth, regardless of what their color may be.

In open societies it is inevitable that ethnic distinctions will blur if not physically then culturally. Everyone must be aware of this reality and be prepared to find new ways to define themselves as well as subgroups within our communities. The sooner our "black men" do this, the better.

Posted by: Brent Dial | June 12, 2006 11:56 AM

I find it almost unbelievable that your HIS_STORY only saw 100,000 people at the 1963 March on Washington, until I noticed that the Million Man March was not even recorded.

Posted by: Keith Lexander | June 12, 2006 12:36 PM

This is the first time - and I am former reporter and editor - that I have seen a mainsteam media outlet take on this issue in such depth!!!

Posted by: charles | June 12, 2006 01:35 PM

This series certainly reflects the diversity of experiences and perspectives on "What it Means to Be A Black Man."

Fortunately, issues are not "problems." Issues cannot be solved, only addressed. And Black women certainly cannot "fix" Black men, although I appreciate their written commentary.

Some see the struggles and believe it should not be this difficult.
Some see the magnetism of sexual attraction for women of all ethnicities (one of the many benefits).
Some see the permanent obstacles to the illusion for full assimilation into the white dominant culture.
Some see the black male as an integral aspect of the "negro problem"(just as the Nazis referred to the Jewish problem).

We shall not be "solved" or fixed; we only need to be developed into our wholeness.
Fewer see the true gifts that we are to humanity and what we bring to the planet.
(few of my brothers have actually read Ellis Cose's book, "The Envy of the World: On Being a Black Man in America.")
Collectively, we have the intellect and all the resources needed to deal with our issues; however, we deny, avoid, and ignore them. We as a group may be refusing to take ownership of responsibility. As such, it only perpetuates the confusion, disassociation and misalignment.

I am a big proponent of Black Male Support groups. These groups bring us to consciousness about the truth of who we are and who we are not. It takes us out of the space of using white culture as our comparative reference.

Posted by: T. Marsh | June 12, 2006 02:06 PM

Mr. Landauer, Ms. Victoria Hicks suggested that I send my response to an
editorial in today's paper to you so here it is:

I agree that African American men are in a fight for their existence and
place in society today, but I disagree with the bleak picture that seems
to be constantly painted by the media regarding our imminent demise. I
am
the product of a single parent household and a poor neighborhood. I have
not been in prison or committed any heinous crimes and I am a very
responsible husband, father and citizen. I am not in the minority! My
son attends a predominately African American school in South Dallas and the
male presence there is very significant. The same can be said about the
church that I attend and the street that I live on (that happens to be in
the inner-city). I know and come in contact with African American men
everyday that are thriving in their roles as leaders in their families and
communities. I realize that there is a large number of us that have chosen
paths that ultimately lead to self-destruction, but we need to be careful
about giving credence to every poll or study that tells us we are on the
verge of extinction. Have you considered the possibility that the
individuals conducting these polls and formulating the statistics do so to
further perpetuate the negative stereotypes that African-American men are
faced with on a daily basis? We need some positive media attention for
the African American men that quietly go about the business of doing the
right thing and who have refused to believe the hype that we are some type
of modern day dinosaur. We are out here!

Posted by: Michael Hubbard | June 12, 2006 02:06 PM

Why is so much time spent attempting to marginalize Black People and specifically Black Males. I know this might come as a shock to the white population but you are not the only people in the world and those of us that are Black will be instrumental in shaping a "New World Order"
I grow weary of the tire efforts to make being Black a curse and to dismiss the legacy we've crafted as a people, a group and as human beings. Only in the ego driven madness of america has the issue of color become a madding pre-occupation.
Are you silly enough to belief I would entrust my future to a group as cruel and ruthless as you? This legacy we are crafting is still unfolding and the world is going to take notice of the "New Reality" our emergence in the world arena will bring to providing a vehicle to improve the entire family of man and woman.

Posted by: wmebane | June 12, 2006 04:02 PM


I think the project was racist, and I come to that conclusion because you refer to the "..Black Man" as if you're referring to some specimen distinguishable from other people. You would not undetake a project termed "Being a White Man".Thus, by hypothesis, the project regarding the black man is invidious discrimination.
There is nothing significant to learn from studying the "black man" that you don't already know, your having studied people generically. All people have the same experiences, whether they're Africans, North Americans, Europeans. Thus, what is to be learned from studying the so-called black man.
Are you going to study his color, his height, his eating habits,his dancing, or his this or that? Well, he eats what others eat. His color is that of others. His height is the same as others. He also dances as others.
Study people, on those distinctions they possess that make differences. For example, study those people who want to study the black man!

Posted by: James B. Miles | June 12, 2006 04:28 PM

I love the time and effort that has been taken to cover this story.
The black man is a much sought after person, but no one wanted to give him his time to shine. This was a much needed very inspirational piece.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart:)

Posted by: Aundria Mead | June 12, 2006 04:34 PM

I think the whole series is ridiculous and a waste of newspaper and online space. I hope the POST will do the same feature on White men in America, and everybody else. For the record, I'm a Black woman. This is why I don't regularly read the Post. You need to pick another group as your pet science project of the minute.

Posted by: Patt Reed | June 12, 2006 05:14 PM

I think that this is a wonderful series. I will be following on the web.
Here are my thoughts from an experience -- My brother and I graduated from college. Our Mom was a single Mom from Jamaica. The idea was to come here and do better than if we stayed in Jamaica. I didn't understand how hard it was for black men until the following happened. I met a brother, who was trying to get my attention back in graudate school. This brother kept talking about racism and the "man" holding folks down. Ok, racisim exists, but I still had a problem understanding him. From where I stood, you have more than others in foreign countries. What is he talking about! Needless to say, I was not showing any sympathy. At the time, my thoughts were, if my brother can come here and make it. Anyone can make it! My brother, bless his heart, sat me down and told me some of the things that he went through that he could not share with me at the time. He was stopped by cops and he was placed on the cold asphalt in November 90 until a complete search was done. This occured on I-95 from DC to New York. I was shocked, because when he came home, he looked so calm. I later understood that it was his way of coping. I cried knowing that such a wonderful human being went through such a humiliating ordeal and was unable to share it with the two main women in his life. This brings the question, how are men dealing psychologically with what is going on with them? He told me more of what he had gone through and that I should not tell Mom. Well, I haven't told a soul until now. I am still his sounding board and he is mine. I have new found respect for brothers who are doing it for themselves and defying the odds. It made me step back and take a look at myself and my attitude. Thank God that! The brother before, I could finally understand some of it.

Posted by: Ann | June 12, 2006 07:24 PM

WITH FEW EXCEPTIONS, BLACK MEN ARE THE DOWNFALL OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY.THIS WAS YET ANOTHER ARTICLE FOR THEM TO WHINE AND COME UP WITH EXCUSES FOR WHY THEY ARE THE ONLY MEN ON THE PLANET WHO WILL NOT ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR LOT IN LIFE. THEY ACT LIKE AND LOOK LIKE GIRLS. NO OTHER MEN FEEL THE NEED TO WEAR EARRINGS LIKE GIRLS WITH HAIR BRAIDS AND ALL. THEY WONT WORK, WONT GO TO SCHOOOL AND REFUSE TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR FAMILIES. IN FACT FEW OF THE MEN YOU PROFILED ARE MARRIED. WHY ISN'T LIGGINS AND OTHER BLACK MEN IN THEIR 30'S AND 40'S NOT MARRIED? AS I SEE IT, BLACK MEN NEED TO STOP ACTING LIKE GIRLY MEN AND GROW UP, GET MARRIED AND HAVE FAMILIES-- THAT IS WHAT REAL MEN DO. MAYBE THEY COULD LEARN A LOT ABOUT HOW TO BE A MAN BY LOOKING AT MEN OF OTHER RACES SINCE THEY SEEM TO KNOW HOW TO DO IT. I AM SICK OF THEM AND THEIR WHINING--

Posted by: Alease Thomas | June 12, 2006 08:35 PM

As an African American male I am particularly interested in these articles. They reinforce the notion that we are not monolithic, although there are many who would want us to think so. Generalizations are constantly made from a sample of 1, which all statisticians know is an incomplete sample.

I was particularly interested in yesterday's article on Eric Motley. While I do not subscribe to his views, he is to be commended for all that he has achieved. And, it is important to note that his supporters are both black and white individuals. This merely reinforces my position that, once talent is discovered, people become color-blind.

Despite all the positive things mentioned in yesterday's article, it was particularly disturbing to see stereotyping emerging from the highest levels of government. I noted with particular shock and disdain the comments of Clay Johnson who remarked "Eric does not dress black. He does not speak black." WOW!! As an academic who is constantly cautioning students about the stupidity of comments such as 'acting white' I am particularly appalled at the words that have emanated form this individual. What does it mean to dress black and talk black? I've never come across those concepts in any exposure to the english language or any other vernacular. More important, if these are the ideas espoused by those at the highest levels of government, then what are we to expect from the rest of society.

Mr. Johnson needs to issue a public apology for his statements. One cannot allow such idiotic and ignorant expressions to go unchecked. SHould we expect him to say that Gonzalez does not speak Hispanic and does not dress Hispanic? Given his academic qualifications, one would have expected more cogent arguments. But, I suppose it just goes to show that having a piece of paper and being sensible are not necessarily correlated.

If we cast our minds back to the 1980s, we can all remember Jesse Jackson's description of NY as a "Hymie Town." He never lived that down and, to this day, continues to be reminded of his statements.

My point is that what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Clay Johnson cannot expect a free pass which allows him to speak of African-Americans in such a derogatory fashion, while those that express sentiments similarly uninformed are continually ridiculed. Republicans wonder why African-Americans are not part of their 'big tent.' Well, here is a small piece of the answer -your willingness to see us in such derogatory terms. There are many of us in this country who are more interested in ideas rather than political affiliation. However, as long as those at the highest levels of a political party and a government show such disdain for those of other races, there can be no 'big tent.'

Posted by: Dr. Leyland M. Lucas | June 12, 2006 08:36 PM

First of all I am a black female. I was very impressed with all the articles and stories that ya'll printed.It was wonderful to finally see a blackmen in the paper not being potrayed in a negative light. I myself understand that i'ts very diffucult being a black male. They have it much woarst then the females. I see it everyday and I take notice of their struggle. They go to many places without being sterotyped.

Posted by: monique | June 12, 2006 10:07 PM

This is in response to Ann's June 12th post-

I can respect the negative feelings experienced by your brother upon his being searched by police. (Although you didn't mention why he was searched in the first place.)

My sense is that black men feel that the police "racially profile" them and pull them over simply because they are black, and because the White Man wants to keep the Black Man down. I have had countless conversations with black men who honestly feel that black men are harrassed by police in order to suppress their people.

What baffles me and frustrates me is the fact that black men will not concede that it is black men who are bringing this extra scrutiny upon themselves. Black men commit disproportionately high levels of crime, and if the police (and society) pretended otherwise it would be insane. It would be a waste of law enforcement resources. Asian women are a minority in this country, and you don't hear them complaining about being racially profiled by a racist white system. That's because it has nothing at all to do with race. Race is just a CORRELATING factor, not the CAUSE for the police attention, and high incarceration rates. Correlation does not necessarily equal causation.

Posted by: Jon M. | June 12, 2006 10:36 PM

REFRESHING AND CURRENT! I'M ENJOYING
THE DIFFERENT PROSPECTIVES OF BLACK
MEN FROM DIFFERENT GENERATIONS!

Posted by: BERYL CREAL | June 13, 2006 01:53 AM

In response to Jon M. June 12th post-------There have been several studies to show that black men ARE pulled over because they are black. Why? ...because a lot of police (and people in general) "believe" blacks are more likely to have drugs and because police know that blacks are less likely to formally complain about bad treatment by the police.

We all know that a lot of black men are in jail for drug related charges. However, if you look at self report studies done nationally, it's evident that drug possession/use is NOT disproportionately higher for blacks than it is for whites. This is just one misconception clarified through self report surveys as opposed to using arrest rates and prison demos to make the point that "Black men commit disproportionately high levels of crime."

In fact, arrest rates and prison demos alone would make anyone believe this stereotype--reinforcing these negative belief, which in a cyclical manner, have a lot to do with the fact that black men are more likely to be stopped and questioned by police, more likely to agree to a search, more likely to be arrested once stopped (police discretion), more likely to have a court appointed lawyer, more likely to be convicted by a judge/jury of "peers" (discretion), more likely to get a longer sentence...all for the same infraction that a white person may have gotten a warning for.

Posted by: J.B. | June 13, 2006 10:29 AM

The series is entirely too biased toward the position that racism has essentially been eliminated (for all practical purposes) from American life and that black men have the same opportunities as all men.

That just is NOT so.

Although I certainly place a tremendous amount of responsiblity on black men for the failure to advance in the society the liimiting and debilitating effects of racism still exist despite all the progress that has been made.

America has largely abandoned black men in favor of foreigners. This is especially true when it comes to labor. Both skilled and unskilled. Rather than educating and retraining black men (US Citizens) to fill essential roles the business community (for legitimate business-cost reasons) and government (to placate business) seeks to provide cheap labor via the foreign labor pool.

Temporary worker programs or HB-1 Visa status. Of course this effects all US workers but blacks will be particularly hard hit. In short the government is pandering to business rather than the citizenry.

That is an abdication of responsibility and an easy way of continuing to deny blacks opportunity and the obligation that this nation has for centuries, through force of law, immorally persecuted blacks.

Granted, tremendous strides have been made. But every day there is evidence of the racism that still lingers that black men in particular must deal with and overcome. Denying it serves no one well and just perpetuates the real barriers that black men face.

Posted by: JK Reed | June 13, 2006 11:17 AM

I would like to commend the Washington Post for a truly noteworthy subject: Being a Black Man. I have two sons that are 20 and 14 years of age. Very similar to the concerns raised in this series, I am consumed by the internal and external value systems they are developing as they relate to the world. Both of my sons are intelligent and responsible yet are often painted with a broad stroke until they do or say something that identifies them as an individual. I am certain that black men do indeed bear a far different and greater weight than many others in American society. For example, my 14 year old interviewed to volunteer at a local summer camp last year. At the end of the interview, the Volunteer Coordinator concluded that my son seemed mature enough to volunteer. Shortly after my son arrived at the camp to begin his volunteer duties, on of the white camp counselors commented to my son that they didn't think he would show up because alot of black counselors don't. They were even more suprised when my son completed his commitment of 54 hours and was punctual in doing so. Now, maybe this particular counselor didn't realize the weight of this comment, but my son surely did. And we discussed the significance of the comment as well as commitment. And I wanted my son to know that I was proud of him for his commitment to himself and the camp.

Eric Motley's stories appear to convey the existence of a struggle to be black but have more in common with other races and/or ethnicities. This is also a concern for me since my 14 year old is attending a predominantly white independant school. As he becomes more involved with academics and activities at his school, it minimizes his time for activities that he might participate in with black friends and/or family. Although his choices are not seriously criticized, there are times when some of his old acquaintances feel left out. As Eric Motley considers returning home and the sentiment was expressed that there was concern about what he would do when he returned home, I can certainly relate to that sentiment. Surely many are truly proud of his accomplishments. While it is essential to assess not only the value of the accomplishments, it is equally essential to assess the gaps that are perceived when black men transition from noteable/noteworthy accomplishments versus selling out. More importantly, deciphering the code that enables black men to gracefully co-exist in various environments and settings while remaining true to thine own self and being treated with respect. I feel that is the true struggle of being a black man.

I truly encourage each and every person that knows a black man to share this series with them. If you are the parent of a black man, this series should truly serve as a worthwhile conversation piece.

Black men -- continue to be encouraged.

Posted by: Kristal Wortham | June 13, 2006 05:22 PM

A quick response to JB's June 12th post:

I'm not limiting my statement that black men commit more crime than whites to drug possession (which, for the sake of argument I won't challenge).

I'm talking about big crimes: drug dealing, violent crime, robberies, etc.

I promise you this- if black men were to lower their crime rates to the levels of other ethnic groups, the "Man" wouldn't scrutinize them any more than other groups.

Posted by: Jon M. | June 13, 2006 06:53 PM

I'm speaking as an African American woman, who values and respect Black men. Black men have been invaluable to and in my life as a father, brother, friend, companion, and role model. I'm fortunate that I do not have the negative baggage regarding them.

First, I want to say that I'm pleased that the the Washington Post is doing this series--not just for Black History Month or Father's day, but for the remainder of the year. It presents another opportunity for dialogue, and hopefully, balance coverage...

Second, as Father's day is coming up, I want to wish all the brothers out there a very Happy Father's day. (smile)

With that said, I've had at least 2-3 conversations with brothers in the last couple of weeks regarding their importance as fathers. The ones I've spoken to seem to understand how important it is for their "sons" "young lions" etc. but they hadn't thought about how important they are to daughters...

And, often when the discussion of black fathers or the lack thereof in the households is brought up, it is often mentioned how it impacts boys. I want to add that Black fathers are equally important for girls as well.

I, personally, feel that the first man in a woman's life who loves them, tells them how beautiful, smart, precious they are should come from her father. He is the first man who she has an intimate (not sexual) relationship with.

When you take your daughter out, hold and open the doors for her. Treat her the way you would want a man to treat her when she becomes of age to date etc. You should be the first man who shows her respect and demand that all those around her does also. Be the yardstick by which she measures other potential husbands, boyfriends etc. (in fact you are--positive and negative)

When I shared the aforementioned with the brothers I was speaking to, they all replied: "I never thought about it like that"...

Those responses reinforced by belief that too many Black men don't see/understand their own importance in our lives. My life have been so positively shaped by my brothers, oddly enough, more so than the sisters...

I know there has been this constant focus on how badly brothers are doing and sisters are going to college, have jobs, are more successful than their counterpart, blah, blah, blah, ... In my opinion, however, that's just the outward appearance. And, to be fair, I'm sure many are doing well. But, if black men are doing as poorly as is always reported, then trust me Black women are affected as well.

In closing, I'd like to say to those women who feel it's unfair that the Post is focusing on the men and "what about the women"...to that I say that the Black man in America is the most maligned citizen in this country. I'm not saying many of them bear no responsibility for some of it, however, much of their image and the perceptions about them is "created".

I'm hoping that this year-long series will highlight what I've come to know, which is: Their successes, their integrity, their love, how they overcame the constant misperceptions, how their choices in life led them to manhood, the quandary they all face simply being a Black man in America--regardless of status or station in life.

To those who are succeeding--continued success. To those struggling to do so--keep doing so--it's not in vain.

Peace.

Posted by: Tadjata | June 13, 2006 07:24 PM

I think this is a wonderful series. I commend the Post for telling it like it is for better or for worse. In the long run, honesty will provide the spark needed for healing and effective coping. African american males and their white contempararies are different, and that is ok. Let's use those differences to craft a better society. It certainly does require a lot less energy. Life exacts a greater toll on the mean-spirited. Thanks to the journalistic staff for this contribution.

Posted by: Stephen H. | June 13, 2006 09:29 PM

As a non-black, non-American woman married to a black man with 2 teenage black sons, I can only appreciate the fact the we do not live in the United States. My husband and I moved from the US 18 years ago and it is the best thing we could have done for our sons. We live in Australia, and I believe the opportunities that are offered here for my husband and sons is something they may not have been offered in the US. My husband works in a government office, Lectures for a top University (including overseas) and is studying for a PHD. He is a smart man, and he and his knowledge is well respected by his peers. People sometimes seem surprised when they see this black man, walk up to a podium to speak or lecture in front of a class, but after a few minutes with him I don't believe his color is an issue. I am proud to be married to this Black man and proud of what he offers me and my 2 black sons. America should wake up, as they is so much talent in black men besides, sport or music. It is tragic to see what is happening to the blacks in America. The world is watching.

Posted by: Andre'a Wilson | June 13, 2006 10:21 PM

I was very taken aback by the article this past Sunday on Eric Motley. The writer's anti-Republican agenda took precedence over what could have been a highly introspective look at a unique and complicated person. He simply used events in Motley's life to present his own opinions. Everything from the photos and captions to most quotes of others aimed at painting him as a lonely, disconnected individual who had lost his way. Motley does not appear to have lost feelings for his people. He has grown as the saying goes -"How do you get them back on the farm, once they've seen the big city". This is a universal issue for anyone who has grown beyond their birth situation.

This depiction was as thoughtless as those who say that getting an education and getting ahead is "acting white". In a truly free, enlightened society, both blacks and whites can pursue their own interests, as they see fit, without having to tow the party line. In America, a black person shouldn't have to prefer rap and Motown, eat soul food, play sports or vote as a Democrat. They should also not be judged a sellout for learning and speaking proper English. Let's not forget,it was the slave-owner who prevented slaves from pursuing an education. Why should blacks continue the practice voluntarily?

Eric Motley is a citizen of the world. If his hometown does not accept him, if he chooses to return there, it will be their loss. He has shown that he can go whever he wants.

Posted by: Carol Lopez-Bethel | June 14, 2006 11:11 AM

all i can say is wow! in all my 31 years this is the first major publication that i can remember to ask the question and show the story of black americans for more than a couple articles. why all the sudden interest though? is the by far the most important question.

but do appreciate the thought even late is better than never.

as to say what it being black man.. its not easy in a since to put into words.. i would describe it as being like fire.. fire is beautiful, cleanzing, purifying, illuminating to darkness, defender against the wild/enemies, heat in the cold and older than old to all humanity. at the same time painful/hurtful when not treated with repect/care..thats only a small view of it but truely explain you would have to live this life there are no words to describe it only tears

Posted by: keje | June 14, 2006 11:12 AM

It's good to see articles about Black Men. However, in all of the articles I don't see any mention of Messenger Elijah Muhammad and the effect the Lost and Found Nation of Islam had and is having on the Blackman and community.

Yes, Messenger Elijah Muhamamd's views went against the grain but the information he gave Blackmen was and is very necessary for them to reach their full potential.

How sad that Elijah Muhammad's name is almost always associated with something negative in the (popular) media.

In the Chronology of Blackmen, there was no mention of Elijah Muhammad's death in 1975. Certainly that could have been said without too much controvesy.

Posted by: Shahidah Mustafa | June 14, 2006 01:45 PM

There are so many things I want to say in response to 'A Path All His Own' by Wil haygood of the Washington Post. I had to wait a couple days before I blogged on this piece. You can also read the live discussion readers had with the author of this article.

I applaud Motley's accomplishments. As a fellow public administrator it is refreshing to see other Black Americans in top level government positions. I also applaud him on his political affiliation. We are Americans regardless of color and we have the choice of which party if any at all re affiliate with. The problem that I have with Eric runs deeper then politics and policy approach.

Eric is one of the many examples of black republicans who are lost. He has opted to let his political affiliation alienate him from his culture. Most black republicans mean well but somewhere down the line fall off the wagon.

The article takes a look into his upbringing. He was raised in Montgomery, AL. His mother abandoned him soon after birth, and her adoptive parents raised him. His grandfather was a bus driver his grandmother worked very hard doing housework for black and white people so that they didn't have to go on welfare. This portion of the article is very important because it shows the plight and the willingness of my people to work hard no matter what. Contrary to popular belief, most black people who are working class are hard working and not on welfare.

Eric was an odd child growing up; he was quick to pull out Lysol to spray on his hands to chase away germs. In the 1980's he started associated himself more with white people because he seemed to have more in common then them. His grandmother recalled that:

"He really didn't have much to do with the black children."

There was only one other black child in the gifted program with him at school. In high school he avoided 'black cliques' because many of the black students were into sports and sports were of no interest to him. What annoyed me about this is most boys, no matter the color of their skin are interested in sports. But they also have other interest as well. It appears the Eric is implying that only the black boys at his high school were into sports and nothing else, which I will bet you was not the case at all. When I got to this part of the article it was quite clear that Erick Motley's childhood; a mother who gave him up and not knowing who his father was contributed to this "separation" of his own culture and made it difficult for him to fit in. (I'm no shrink or nothing...lol)

His story gets more depressing when he decides to defend Clarence Thomas when he had to write a report on him. He probably saw himself in Thomas because of his 'inability' to fit in with his own people. It was during this time where he decided that he would not think and form opinions based on his race, but how he thought as an individual. He then went on to say:

"I think it was also the first time I became truly illumined that I was expected to think a certain way, given my race. It was countering everything my grandparents taught me: Think for yourself. Use your own mind. Be your own person. All these retired black persons who had been tutoring me said: 'Stand on your own two feet!' I didn't need the Negro College Fund to tell me a mind is a terrible thing to waste."

If it wasn't for the unified front that our grandparents and great grandparents exhibited during the Civil Right's Movement we would not be as far along as we are today. These independent strong people came together as one to fight for all black people to have equal rights as their white counterparts. And how did the Negro College Fund get into the conversation? The fund was established for black students who did not have the economic means to pay for higher education. I am happy that Eric did not need the UNCF to tell him that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. But self hatred is a terrible thing, and it appears that most of his frustrations are of a result of self inflicted alienation, not because of his ability to fit in with is own people .

There is even one passage in the article where it is stated that Eric was never moved by the smooth tunes and artist of Motown, he preferred Bach. At this point in the article I began to shake my head. It is okay to have your own preferences, and I am not saying that every black person should like Motown or the same types of music for that matter, but why can't you like both? Motown was started because black musicians were not given the time of day at mainstream record companies. Everything we created or started in this country has been because of someone trying to stop us from obtaining our true potential. I love a variety of music from R&B to classical. I played classical music up until freshman year in undergrad. Just because I listen to Beethoven or Tchaikovsky doesn't mean I can't like Ne-Yo, Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige or other great R&B musicians. You don't have to choose one from the other; it is about being well rounded. In my opinion, Eric has gravitated to everything in life in which he thinks is "non black."

Now in 2006, it seems as if Eric has barley no interaction with other black people because he has chosen to isolate himself from his people and his culture. Just because you are a republican does not mean you can't have black friends and associates. Political affiliation should have nothing to do with his disconnect from his culture. The article claims that his phone barley rings in his Georgetown Condo. He can't seem to tap into black cultural life in D.C. This is strange, because D.C. has a huge population of professional, educated and upwardly mobile black men and women. His only interaction with his ethnicity is when he decides to ride his bike to look at architecture of black churches in South East D.C. Wow he actually crossed east of the river folks.....

My opinions and perceptions of Eric Motley are not based on his political affiliation. I am a democrat and have friends who are republicans. What bothers me is the perception that because he is interested in British literature gardening and classical music, he has been forced to choose sides (black or white). Look at Colin Powell and Condi Rice. They are black republicans and they have friends and associates form all walks of life. I may not agree with their view on policy, but I respect them as successful black people who are doing their thing.

In the article, it is stated that Motley believes that he is the example of how people should look at black men in America: that we should not be judged by our ideology, dating habits. Leisure activities, company he keeps or his political affiliation.

Well your ideology is a big part of who you are. It conveys you morals, values and views. It also defines who you are as a person. It is the reason why you choose a political affiliation. It determines the types of leisure activities you participate in doing, and your ideology helps mold your true self. The puzzling thing about his statement is that black people, have always wanted to be judged on our ideologies and not our skin color. Historically this country has had much difficulty in doing so. So if people don't judge Eric at least by his ideologies, then what other factor is left but the color of his skin.

Posted by: Marcus T. Brown | June 14, 2006 05:59 PM

Marcus's Parents Agonize Over How to Protect -- and Prepare -- Him is about an 8 y/o boy names Marcus (I love that name; mostly because that is my name too lol) who is the product of two loving, college educated black professionals. They reside in the suburbs of Stafford County.

I can relate to this family, because I am a product of a middle class family. My mother is a civil servant. My father was in the United States Air Force for over 30 years and was the first African American crew chief engineer on Air Force One. My dad served under Regan, Bush and the Clinton Administrations. I remember the stories my dad told me of discrimination he faced while in the air force. The most important lesson my parents taught me was no matter what type of discrimination my sister and I may face because of skin color can never hold you back from reaching your full potential. It may slow you down, or even throw you off course, but with knowledge of self and your ancestors will allow you to overcome.

I am glad that this piece shows a glimpse of the middle class professional family. Many times we only hear about one aspect of black people; those who are lower class and poor. Black people are on every economic level. But so much attention he played on equating all black people to poor, crime ridden and not educated, that main stream America has produced a negative stereotype or perception of all black people.

This article highlights the classic struggle of middle and upper middle class black people in this country. I want to applaud Marcus's parents for creating a well rounded environment and education. There are a few things that I am concerned with. According to the article, Marcus's mom, Kim doesn't want Marcus to dwell on racism:

She doesn't want Marcus to dwell on racism. She certainly doesn't.

Fat people, skinny people, poor people -- everyone has a social hurdle to clear, Kim said. She is concerned that Marcus not views himself as a victim or project that image.


"I want people to see Marcus and see that he's a well-rounded citizen in the United States," Kim said. "Not some castaway, you know, 'let's put him to the side.' People may try to do that, but he will have the equipment that won't allow them to. They'll want Marcus."

I understand her concern, but she must prepare him for racial incidents, because they will happen. No matter how educated we are, what are salaries are, there will always be at least one person in lives who will remind us that we are black. I call it getting your "negro wake up call" As a Black Man, no matter how many degrees you obtain, or how professional you are as a black man, there will always be 1 or 2 white people at your job who will think of you as a 'N-word with a Degree' On the surface it would appear innocent, but you as a black man will now. It's what they say, how they say it, and what is implied.

But overall I was very pleased with this piece. So far the coverage seems to be balanced and well thought out.

Posted by: Marcus T. Brown | June 14, 2006 06:02 PM

Thoughts of an angry Blackman

There are no words on earth that can express the anger that I feel' Because I live in a world where most people ain't real.Lies and deceit always surround the people that I meet. Wheather they are at my job, or out on the street. These worhless humans are always running a scam,That's why I've become such an angry black man" Ever since the 90s decade, I have learned to trust no one; whether they are holding a bible , or holding a gun.
Beware my fellow rigteous man, because I am here to warn ya; that when you travel the righteous path , your enemies will be at every corner. and since I live in a world where the strong oppress the weak then mental ahd physical strength is what I must seek. That's why in my free time I study, I write , and I exercise as a hobby.
Because I have no tolerance for anything or anybody . And eventhough I love my family , my friends and the outcasts who lack propriety,I have nothing but anger and contempt for the rest of society' Because when I tried to be everybody's friend, I got treated like trash. But if people treat me that way today, they will definately feel my wrath' These worhless humans are always running a scam,that's why I've become such an angry black man'
But I realize that God has put me in this pitful world for a reason . But since this world is corrup, I'm commiting treason. My attitudes and opinions are within my right to bear. Because I inhabit a world where nobody seems to care about anybody who is less fortunate than themself. People's only concern in life, is pursuing money and wealth. People kill each other over nickles and dimes, that's why so much anger and hatred is expressed in my rhymes'If society wasn't so corrupt, there would be no need for a jail. But since most humans are evil they are going straight to hell'This is hell on earth, because my dialect is filled with curses'
These worthless humans are always running a scam, that's why I've become such an angry black man'and that's why I've become such an angry black man'.

Posted by: Reality Drakes | June 14, 2006 09:43 PM

Being a black man means bearing a heavy burden and the utmost potential to me. As people we all encounter everyday struggle, but I feel as if the black man is the most targeted, copied, slain and sought out against man in the world today. These are not valid excuses to me still yet. We must do right, and lift the curses set upon us all throughout the scriptures, the lost children who continually disobey. So to be a black man is to have everything but currently (as a whole) not using anything. I also feel that to be a black man we must help one another, do what's right and continue praying with our high spirituality. Thank YOu for an opportunity to write an opinion. Love & Peace

Posted by: Chayil | June 15, 2006 02:28 AM

Thus far, I have found this series to be well written and thought provoking. Considering the current state of the black community, especially the growing disparity between the have and the have-nots, I definitely think this series is timely. I find it interesting that a number of white Americans ask why its (the series) is necessary or when will a similar series be featured on white men without even realizing that explaining the problems in the black community isn't as simple as blaming the "victim" (so to speak) or direct racism. Moreover, from my persepctive (as a black male), our society features white men everyday! Thanks for all of the work.

Posted by: Michael in DFW | June 15, 2006 03:39 PM

The website is large and time is at a premium so I will just enter my comments, and you can deciede.

I am concerned that so much information has been amassed about us Blacks and no one has told me that the studies of Black Folk in this country fits the statistical models. You know, small samples(Black Folk) when compared to large samples (white folk) must be adjusted for size. If we use the comparative data and do not use analysis of variance to make it fair, we have nothing. I really wonder if most of what we think we know about us is just white racism in quantative form?

Posted by: john mcghee | June 15, 2006 06:24 PM

Finally. Someone has asked the Black Man what he thinks and how he feels. I have been enjoying this series and find that it does reflect how I feel as a Black Man and deals with issues that I face. It is a great series. I hope that you one offer the entire series as something that can be purchased for review later. Thanks!

Posted by: Joe Blair | June 16, 2006 10:41 AM

I think the series about Black men is a good examination debunking the myth that all black men are monolithic in thought. However, I have to take exception to the staff writer interviewing Clay Johnson which he is describing your most recent subject matter regarding Eric Motley. Clay Johnson described Eric as not dressing black and speaking black. The staff writer did not asked Clay Johnson to clarify his statements.

These are the same types of stereotypes African Americans have had to endure for the past century. Clay Johnson appears to be out of touch with reality. Maybe his reality cannot deal with Black men that are different in thought and perspective than himself. However, that does not excuse the Washington Post staff writer for not having Clay Johnson address those statements.

If this is an article describing the plight of Black men, what better opportunity than to have Clay Johnson further expound on his thoughts. Better yet, have Eric Motley interpret what those statements mean...

Eric Motley appears not to be comfortable with himself as a Black man or his upbringing. This would have provided some additonal insight into his thoughts regarding those statements by Clay Johnson and what it means to be a Black man.

Clay Johnson gave you a gift!

Posted by: Timothy L. Alston Jr | June 16, 2006 11:16 AM

The topic is interesting and I have wondered this myself as I raise my son who is 15 yrs old. As an African American woman I want my son to be safe and successful. When I think of my son growing up and becoming a man I get scared. I know their are challenges he will have to face where some of them are just because of his skin color.

God is blessing me everyday and has graced me with the opportunity to have my son in private school from elementary -middle school. Currently he will be going to a catholic high school. I am a struggling parent in california and California I am told has the most jails/prisions throughout the state.

Being a Black Man is learning to appreciate your history, realizing your worth, never being ashamed for your nationality, working towards growth and self discovery. It's about standing firm in principle and loving GOD. Being a Black Man is having FAITH. ,

Posted by: Elsita Barnes | June 16, 2006 09:47 PM

Dear Post

While I am thoroughly impressed by the sensitivity and the commitment to diversity with which this special report examines African-American men in the DC area, I am troubled by the absence of some very key features in this analysis. I don't believe that one can accurately assess the lived experience of members of a specific racial/ethnic group with out also understanding how "social class" along with race has sculpted their lived experience.

Before there was the digital divide, there was the educational divide; a distinction that has always existed within the African-American community. Post integration and civil rights, the African Americans who were educated and groomed for more "white collar" opportunities - individuals who because of their education also assimilated into mainstream society with greater ease than their less educated African-American counterparts - accelerated well beyond, or at least away from, those who were not as prepared for the largely white collar opportunities, the major spoils of integration and civil rights. Generations later, what is most obvious within in the African-American community is the class divide - rather the presence or the absence of a generational inertia of education. Certainly, there were and still are very real, systemic, discriminations that exploit and oppress people of color. More of those exploited, however, are in many instances limited by a dearth of social class resources and they lack certain assimilation savvy that arms them with effective tactics and strategies for navigating this often racist and certainly "classist" society. To wit, the African-American son of a district Judge, who attends St. Albans, has a very different lived experience than a same aged boy from Montana Terrace, whose mother did not graduate high-school, whose father is doing some time for a drug charge, and who has never been engaged in school. I am not suggesting that there is no chance for the son from Montana Terrace to be a District Court judge in the future - those things happen in spite of the many probabilities that suggest they won't. However, I am asserting that the lived experience of both boys - the way they understand being young black men -will be very different and will violently resist reduction to general truths about "blackness." Social class completely informs their truths about race, and though they will talk about their racial experience with out qualifying their class position first, the two are inseparable, though one seems invisible.

I know this isn't an answer to the problem statistics for African-American men today. But perhaps the better question is "How do we address the needs, specifically educational needs, of poor and working class black men and prepare them mentally, socially, and spiritually for the painful and unfortunate reality of assimilation, the pre-requisite for middle class ascension that is the yard stick for American health and success?"

Posted by: Okorie Johnson | June 17, 2006 09:48 AM

As a Malaysian in Malaysia, I found this project extremely interesting as it opens up a new understanding on historical aspects of what have happened and what the future holds for the African-American. Racism exists everywhere, it is the tolerance and respect one needs to practice to ensure stability and unity.

My picture of Blacks are divided :- the average American, the very successful and the ones with MAJOR ATTITUDE eg, the US Olympic black runners who walked as if they were miming a rap show with studded tongue...SIGH

Posted by: ML.Grace | June 17, 2006 04:03 PM

Timely. Why are so many Black men and women not getting married a good area to analyze next. This whole subtle economic stranglehold on our efforts to become finanically independent another great area to analyze. Very hard to make it - I mean really make it and maintain true black power personalities. Too much assimilation required and it (expeltive deleted) up our souls horribly. Soo... if that's what the next level of racism is set-up to do it appears to be working too well.

Posted by: Adelia Isreal | June 18, 2006 01:46 AM

This is my third comment. I've taken the time to read some of these and the comments portray a wide spectrum of opinion, conjecture, truths, excuses and even some condemnation. Black men...this article began with them because the stigma of slavery and inequality seem to be an 'itching' wound. A wound that some feel is healing, but that this article/series causes me to think, may not be. There are others who know that how well a wound is treated will determine its level of recovery and how big the scar that remains will be.
Our young black men stand out, like throbbing sore thumbs (wounds) among today's population...in this region...and the majority don't have trustworthiness within a hundred miles of their personalities...except among their own family members who want to believe that they are good, conscientious young men, looking to make a positive mark on society and teach the children they've fathered to do the same...even though they don't go to school consistently...are more concerned about getting their hair braided than getting a good grade...are quick to want someone else to be the reason they didn't achieve...have parents who are too concerned about what they have instead of what they can achieve for themselves through knowledge and individual efforts. They may also be trusted by 'thay boyz'...their peers that can be described as 'friends' who have the same type of turmoil, or lack of substance in their backgrounds and upbringing. Our young black men are spiraling into non-existence faster than we will be able to save the majority of those between the ages of 15 and 26. Some younger and some older have already exited this life...some younger have already set out on the path of degradation, probably because of who influenced their lives, or didn't, and still more fill the institutions created for criminals. Lost...it seems forever.
I am aware though, of others, who don't fit the stereotype implied by this and some of the other posted comments. There may always be a 'scar' but it won't always be noticed...Asian men, Latin men, caucasions...each seem to have representative comments in this article and there are those among them who have the exact same conditions as black men, although not as visibly for us in this region. The question might be, "what do we do now, with what we know?"
All of these comments have some arguable measure of truth and each also has the potential to limitlessly grow "each" of us...those spoken of, those speaking and even those who are unaware...through those of us who are...into the "ONE" thing, and there is "ONE" that can change our lives to the greatest level of achievement, fellowship, brotherhood, humanitarianism...some other adjectives I can't think of now...that is LOVE. Love is patience, love is kindness, love does not envy or boast and is not proud. Love is not rude, self-seeking or easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, trusts, hopes and perserveres. Love NEVER fails...when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. We may not be able to achieve this Love that really is "perfection" but at the beginning of this comment I stated that the potential for our growth is "limitless". We are constrained "only" by our own inability to realize our individual potential, our individual contributions/relations to others "and" by how we influence those younger than us, including our own children, when we interact with our fellow man...our neighbors, whom we should love as ourselves. God's glory "WILL" be realized.

Posted by: Floyd | June 18, 2006 10:02 AM

Quick note to Carol Lopez-Bethel:

"In America, you say, a black man shouldn't have to perfer rap, eat soul food or vote Democratic.." Very true I couldn't agree with you more. However, in the article, a friend of Mr. Motley, Mr. Clay seems to think they do.

Mr. Clay said Eric doesn't talk black, doesn't dress black, doesn't like rap music!

White America still holds these sterotypical views of Blacks; and that is one of the main problems with this country, Blacks are still viewed as one dimensional caracutures; not necessarily by each other, but by other groups. You seem to say that other Blacks think this way, but I see it as an opinion with other members of our society.

Posted by: W Webb | June 18, 2006 01:57 PM

Your recent poll "Being a Black Man" was quite interesting reading. However
I have some major observations of my own that should have been considered during the formulation of the questions. Every
question should have been followed with
the question of "why" do you say that or what do you think is the "reason" for that? This has not simply happened over night but for the past 400 years. It's been a slow and deadly cancer eating away in the Black community for a long long time. There has been full participation from the Government, the media and especially White America in the very
deliberate and concerted mis education of the Negro in this society.It has been unrelenting and very methodic. We have been taught every moment of every day to beleive that we're worthless, not human, demonic, the major cause of crime and that we represent everything bad and evil in this society. The greatest tragedy is the fact that many Blacks share this ideology along with mainstream America. It indeed is "all about" the re education of America not just Black folk. History has not only been distorted but actually re created to give Europenas full credit for everything good that has happened in the course of history. I regret that I wasn't a part of this poll.What I really don't understand is why Europeans were even involved in this study (poll). There exists a
a generational curse in the European
community being they've been taught the 3/5th of a soul dogma, that we're demonic and illiterate. They have been taught the same propaganda by their religious leaders, the media and the government. Today this is the basis of them
elevating themselves to this false reality of being superior.
What a joke! The Black race has been denigrated,deemeaned and emotionally tortured for so long it's amazing that we've even survived. I'll give you an example as to one of your questions. The Black man knows full well that he'll only receive 2 promotions above the broom and mop patrol.That illusion ended a long time ago with us. Osei

Posted by: Kwame Osei Moyo | June 19, 2006 03:25 PM

I am a 41-year old african-american woman, divorced from a african-american man, raising our children with half of their Father's emotional and financial support.

I am NOT bitter about african-american men because of the many negative experiences through out my life with african american men to include my own Father.

We (as african-american women in some instances) look so much to the OUTER man (materialism and status) without examing the 'content of HIS character'. I conciously view each african-american man on a individual basis. Some have mature character and some DO not.

African-american men are in my opinion the most beautiful race of men in the world of multi-culturalism. I have never had the desire to be with a man of a different race.

The most valuable lesson I have learned in my journey with the black man is truly listening to what HE has to say. When you listen, they do talk and they do appreciate us as african-american women, remember, their mothers looked like us.

"Being a Black Man" project deserves a rousing round of applause. I believe this project will assist african-american women to clarify some baffling questions about the men they love, and need to love. I also think it will minimize some of the stereotypes often perpetuated by our ethnic counterparts, specifically white america. Perhaps this powerful project will bring peace in the hearts of many towards one another. Above all I pray that it will help to put an end to broken relationship woes (baby Daddys/baby Momma drama) for the sake of our precious children.

Thank you for presenting this project. "I have MAD love" for all involved.

Posted by: Monica D. Cannon | June 19, 2006 06:18 PM

Thank you for thinking enough about us to feature us. This is a wonderful series I'm sure will inspire some young men to open their eyes and think for themselves. Thank you to those who have paved the way in remarkable fashion for others to follow.

Posted by: R. Press | June 19, 2006 08:22 PM

I THINK THE PROJECT IS AN EYE OPENER, FOR MANY OF US THIS QUESTION HAVE BEEN ASKED, I KNOW I HAVE BEEN ASKED BY SEVERAL PEOPLE OVER THE COURSE OF MY LIFE. I HAVE EVEN ASKED MYSELF THE SAME QUESTION. I FEEL IF BLACK MEN REALLY WANTED TO CHANGE HOW WE ARE TREATED, CHANGE HOW WE ARE LOOKED UPON. THEN WE NEED TO CHANGE THAT NOT THE VIEWERS, NOT THE ONLOOKERS. AT ONE POINT IN HISTORY THE ODDS WERE ON THE TABLE PHYSICALLY AGAINST US. WHEN WE TRIED TO STAND UP FOR OURSELVES WE WERE SHOT DOWN. NOW THAT THE LAWS HAVE CHANGED, WE ARE STILL LEFT BEHIND. AT THIS POINT IT IS A MATTER OF CHOICE, SOME MAY NOT LIKE TO BELIEVE THIS BUT IT IS A MATTER OF CHOICE. FOR EXAMPLE WHO IS TO BLAME FOR RACIAL PROFILING, I ASKED THIS OF SEVERAL BLACK MEN SOME SAY THE WHITE COPS SOME SAY THE BLACK MOTORIST AND SOME SAY BOTH. CONSIDERING THE MIND IS VERY COMPLEX, PICTURE THIS SCENARIO. A WHITE COP REGARDLESS OF HOW LONG HE HAS BEEN ON THE FORCE, PULLS OVER A YOUNG DRIVER . ONE OF FOUR THINGS MAY BE OCCUR. THE YOUNG BLACK DRIVER MAY HAVE HAVE 1 EXPIRED DRIVERS LICENSE, 2 EXPIRED REGISTRATION 3 UNINSURED VEHICLE OR A WARRENT OUT FOR HIS ARREST. NOW IF A COP FINDS ONE OR MORE OF THESE EXISTING WITH THIS GUY. THEN THE SAME COP FINDS THE SAME WITH THE 3 PERSON MATCHING THE SAME DISCRIPTION( YOUNG BLACK MALE) AND HE FINDS THE SAME WITH THE 9TH PERSON AND THE SAME WITH THE 17TH PERSON, HIS MIND WILL SEE A PATTERN. WELL MY POINT IS WHY DO WE KEEP SETTING OURSELVES UP. I REFUSE TO HELP SOMEONE ELSE TO HURT ME, I AM NOT GOING TO HELP MY ENEMY TO HURT ME. NOR WILL I LET HIM. WE NEED TO DO THING TO HELP BETTER OURSELVES. I LAUGH AT SPOT CHECKS, WHY BECUASE MY PAPERS ARE IN ORDER AND THE COPS ARE SOMETIMES SURPRISED. AS BISHOP P.A. BROOKS ONCE SAID "WE NEED TO REGULATE THE THERMOSTAT" PLEASE BROTHERS WE NEED TO CONSIDER OUR WAYS. WHY DO WE WANT AMERICA TO VIEW US IN A BETTER LIGHT AND WE ARENT CHANGING HOW WE CONDUCT OURSELVES.

Posted by: KENNETH W. CATTENHEAD | June 20, 2006 09:02 AM

I am a 23-year old woman who is Caribbean black. I immigrated to the U.S. when I was 9 years old from the islands.

My question: so many of my friends/acquaintances are blacks from Latin America, Caribbean, Africa and Europe.

We cannot comprehend how we have achieved so much: undergraduate, master and professional degrees, study abroad, great internships, professional careers and excellent networks. BUT, we look at African-Americans and only see them struggle and complain about the white man.

Why can we still make it happen as black AND immigrants while African-Americans cannot even speak proper English with correct grammar and complete sentences? And they were born here, too???

I admit that we try as much as possible to distance ourselves from African-Americans because what we see on a daily basis it's so negative. You all need to get your acts together and be civilized and progress!!!

Posted by: Blacks From Other Countries--If we make it, why can't AAs too? | June 20, 2006 12:07 PM

Going beyond the what it means to be a black man, to be anyone born black in America is to be one whose God, Religion, Name, Language, and Culture was brutally and mercilessly and forever stipped from them in slavery, leaving them with a baseless point of existance; save for slavery.
It is this failure in knowledge of self that keeps the black man divided and from enjoying real freedom, justice and equality.
The black man is he who continues to cling to the enemy of their fathers and the enemy of all Black people upon the face of the earth because they cannot see any hope for a future for themselves in their own kind and self, due to the lack of knowledge of self.
He is the one who foolishly begs for the chief deceiver of this world to accept him as equals while knowing that evil is evil no matter place or time.
Being a black man is to be the dry bones.
Those of us who have managed to make something of a living in the country have not done so without still having living dependency on that same enemy. The same enemy that puts black woman against the black man, in an attempt to cement his mental elevation to the light of self and kind.

Posted by: X | June 20, 2006 01:54 PM

This is a great project and I would like to suggest another avenue that could be discussed as well. I understand that this topic might be on a different level then you would like to go.

I believe that there is a cutler out there that gets kind of lost in the shuffle. There are several black children who are adopted by families who are of other races. I would like to know how these boys are coping with this, are the families teaching them what it means to be a proud black man, do the families ignore the troubles that are prevalent in a black boys life?

I am a parent in such a family and I want to make sure that I don't rob my son of something that is so important. It would be nice to read a little about this subject and maybe some tips on how to be successful at raising a proud and well rounded son.

Posted by: Blake Dalton | June 21, 2006 09:53 AM

First of all I'd like to thank the Post for courageously addressing this issue. I am a wife/mother/daughter/sister to Black Men. I have loved, been loved by, frustrated by and also amazed and humbled by the Black Man in America. Ours is a special experience; very different from our immigrant brothers and sisters who wonder why we can't get our "...acts together and be civilized and progress!!!". The fact is the immigrant comes here by choice and sees in America the opportunities denied or unattainable in their home countries. Whereas, African Americans were brought here as free labor and have been systematically locked out of the American Dream. It has taken generations of blood, sweat, & tears to attain the broad opportunities now available to us. Even in your home countries no one told you--by deed or word--that you were less than; a being not worthy of respect. It is by the sheer will of our forebearers that we survive and rise today. Yes there is much work to do but I am encouraged by the lives of the majority of Black Men who value the sacrifices of our ancestors, and strive to make this country a better place for their families and communities.

Posted by: Linda J | June 21, 2006 10:57 AM

Interesting. when i went to research my family roots I found that newpapers of the day listed lamost nothing of "negro life". Ocassional cursory reference may have been made only ints relation to the percieved role of black folks as it related to the larger society, such that of a maid, porter, etc. Suprisingly things havent changed that much

Posted by: George | June 21, 2006 01:54 PM

After viewing your video, "What Does It Mean To Be A Black Man", I as a Black woman remain disheartened with our Brothas and the way they think. They first cite all of the disadvantages of being a Black man, then when asked the advantages of being a black man, the first thing out of two of the mens' mouths was "...the women love us...". How sad is it that Black men are so gung ho about the fact that women view them as persons whose only redeeming quality is that they are good in the sack? Why is it that when we date them, that's all they think they have to offer?
But most importantly, why is it that that is precisely ALL that they freely offer?

Jeez. Does it always have to be about sex?

Posted by: Alli | June 21, 2006 04:08 PM

I am enjoying the diversity of the articles on Black men. The articles are enlightening in that hopefully the phenomenon of "broad brush" painting sub cultures within the American culture will be dispelled by this series. However, I would be remiss if I did not draw attention to Clay Johnson's remarks about Eric Motley in the featured piece on Mr. Motley. His comments and I quote, "When you first meet Eric, his skin color, its's black, say Clay Johnson, sitting in his plush office next door to the White House. "He does not dress black, and his accent is not black. He's black, but he has been raised by blacks and whites. I think by the way he looks at the world, he feels colorless." I was with Clay Johnson until he got to the part about dressing black and the black accent. He must be way smarter than I am because I haven't the slightest idea about what dressing black and having a black accent is. Is there also something called dressing white and a white accent or is all of this simply what creeps into our psyche as victims of a society plagued with stereotypes and racism? You see when this stuff is consciously or unconsciously lying dormant it creeps out and sends an "ugly" message without the sender being even remotely aware of the offense.

Posted by: Dianna Tafazoli | June 22, 2006 11:42 AM

to quote sidney portnoy in " guess who is coming to dinner " " i do not think of myself as a black man . i think of myself as a man "

i feel that african americans would be more prosperous if they thought of themselves , as americans and people .

i think the story of the american indian . shows that no group of people in america can live outside of the mainstream and be prosperous .

i do not intend these remarks to be racist , though some people will feel they are .

Posted by: theodore m kumlander | June 22, 2006 11:45 AM

As I read through the posts its obvious that African Americans are not all alike and should never be sterotyped. I only wished that some of the contributers would quite referring to all white people as enemies and devils. Not one race of people can claim moral superiority over another. History has shown over and over again that people from all continents will find a reason,e.g. skin color, language, religion, etc, of conquering and enslaving others. It has happened in Africa and still does, it has happened europe and still does, and it happened in asia and still does. Lets face it, we have met the devil and he does not have a particular color. I believe there are many people from the Sudan that would beg to differ with what color their devil is and what religion he is. It just depends on your perspective.

Posted by: Mark | June 22, 2006 01:58 PM

HMMM I think as a whole we are so focusses on being "Black men" rather than just being men!!!! We have very different opinions on what being black is all about. Some people thinks it's how you dress or how you talk. Others seem to think its about "keeping it real" Some would say if a brutha can't play sports well "he aint black" Others think is about hating the white man! It's all BS!!!! The fact of the matter is if you were born black your black.....That's it....Even sellouts are can still be black.... Like Micheal Jackson like it or not is a black man regardless oh how crazy he has become. He can never bleach away his blackness. So shut up! Stop trying to be black and just be you, if so you will find people will figure it out on their own. You don't believe me? Take the biggest sellout wanna be anything other than black man to a klan rally, see if they are fooled?

Posted by: Black guy | June 22, 2006 02:26 PM

This may sound hypothetical and extreme.
It appears that you HAVE to be an athlete or a n entertainer to voice a concern or else you will be "lynched". America always fighting terrorism in diffferent nations BUT what about terrorism here against men of color. Does a brutha has to do what Brian Nichols and/or Muhammad/Malvo did to earn respect. Or better yet commit suicidal acts like the Iraqis.
Think about it!!!

Posted by: Al Davis | June 22, 2006 03:29 PM

Iam black man raised in metro area,over the years i seen how things change around me from the jr high to senior high school.
times are hard for the black man now our values have changed fron the way i was raised.
thru the riots of washington to 911 bombings . we dont respect one other, we shoot first ask questions later. we want top dallar with out proper education. thank you Pastor Martin

Posted by: Theodore R. Martin Pastor | June 23, 2006 05:53 AM

As a black woman under 40 years old, I can'y say I'm a fan of this series. Having watched black males destroy the communities, churches, citites, and families around me, I have little sympathy and I don't believe that taking care of them will make THEM return the favor. I also fear that black women and girls are being pushed down in order to level the playing field for black males. The stroy of 2 black boys in Ballou High School ( a hell hole I had to attend in the late 80's after going to that snake oit Hart Junior High) was an example of progress with black males being judged by the increase of black males AND the decrease of black females. No one cared that the overall number of students in certain classes did not increase. They only cared that the seats were being filled by more black males. I'm tired of being told that what little I have is because I somehow took it from a black male. How do black females have black males' jobs, scholarships, salaries, but white, asian and latin women don't? I know in my heart that black females are declining rapidly after years of wading thru the extreme filth and mess that black males have left around us. I'm even more sure that these new successful black males (the "super dads" who now seem to be the only ones qualified to raise them) will not find undereducated, downtrodden black females good enough to associate with. Ballou is a crap hole for the girls too. They graduate with A's and B's ,but can't read or write as well as a white , suburban kid with a C average. How does that make black girl better off? Can't black males pull themselves up without bringing us down? Once black females are down, will black males feel better?I wish the Ballou boys well. Theyre fathers did a good job. I just don't think the plight of the black male can be solved by creating and increasing the plight of the black female. Especially when black males will not make the sacrifices to save us the way we tried to save them.

Posted by: Lee | June 23, 2006 06:36 AM

Being a Black means rising above the stigma
to accomplish his goals, Being patient with his black woman, because she does not realize what it is to be a black man in this society, She wants what she wants, because society says so. Dealing with individual racisms and stigmas with the determination to continue. It seems no one is concious of our plight, but its been obvious for some time. now. Anyone that comes to this country is taught the black man is a negative being and automatically is the last on the totem pole, even after years of contributions to this country.

Posted by: R. A. Williams | June 23, 2006 07:56 AM

I would like to applaud the Washington Post for writing this article. The fact that it made front page is just the most exciting thing. So often, we are only hearing and seeing the young black men of DC in a negative way. It's such a joy to see young black men who are about something being highlighted in the news paper in suc a positive way. These two young men are truly a blessing to their families, friends, peers, and other communities. To Jack and Wayne, keep up the good work and may God continue to bless you as shinning lights!!!

Posted by: | June 23, 2006 08:49 AM

It is with great interest that I have been reading the articles and features on being a Black male. My name is Helanius J. Wilkins, founder and artistic director of EDGEWORKS Dance Theater (www.hjwEDGEWORKS.org), DC's first ever contemporary all-male dance company, predominantly of African-American descent. EDGEWORKS' mission is rooted in masculinity and how men exist in contemporary America--aiming to break down stereotypes through dance, utilizing a spectrum of performance, choreographic and teaching styles, reflecting the diversity of experiences and perspectives of both its members and guest artists. My work delves into the same subjects as the words in the articles and the actions of its inspiration.

In September 2005 we kicked-off our 5th Anniversary Season with the launching of my dream project--The Negro Dance Theatre Project (NDTP). Through this groundbreaking project,I will revisit history and make a link to the contemporary.

Reserach components for our project mirror the investigations of the articles - discussion groups, information gatherings and projecting powerful messages about the current and future of the black man.

The first installment of this project is Cold Case, a brand new work commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts through their Local Commissioning Project Program that is inspired by NDT, and reflective of a continuing exploration of Black masculinity and image, identity, and representation in contemporary America.

The process through which Cold Case is being created involves bringing together diverse Black men from the metro DC area and Baltimore through participation in discussion groups focused on hopes and dreams, viewpoints on the history of Black men in America, and their personal experiences as a means to explore and discuss image, identity, and representation. Cold Case will world premiere at The Kennedy Center on September 21 and 22, 2006.

Posted by: Helanius J. Wilkins | June 23, 2006 08:52 AM

I am just curious as to when the "Being a White Man" project is going to begin?

Posted by: Marc | June 23, 2006 08:53 AM

As a black woman it makes me upset when black men (people) that I know persue everything with a passion, but when they make mistakes they reach back to "when I was little", or "that's how my father dealt with it".

Being an individual means you do and set your own happenings/occurrences in life in stone not your forefathers.

Posted by: | June 23, 2006 10:28 AM

The only comment I can make concerning this series is "Why are you so focused on presenting Black People in America as some mystery of nature." We are no different than the vast majority of people living in this country. Our experience and the relationship to this country is what makes us different. I can't embrace a country or a cultural that has been so counter-productive or unfair to my kind for no apparent reason.
You are no model for the world or its people and I think we as a group have an obligation to expose the "Great American Lie"

Posted by: WMebane | June 23, 2006 10:50 AM

These two young men warmed my heart with their story of achievement. I woke up this morning and got onto the internet, thinking that I would do some surfing when I came across this story... Let me just say that I thank the editor for allow this betrayal of what is really surrounding our youth, especially these young black men, and it into existence through this article. At first, when reading this story...I thought I was going to experience what Hill Harper's(actor) story that is advocating similiar experience through his new book. Surprisely, these two young men had already put into action in modeling themselves as model student and it has collectively been accomplished. To refer back to the media attention about the strife at Ballou...I immediately found myself praying for these high school pupils that had been murdered and oddly enough I wonder what was behind this violence. Today, my question was answered when they explained how they came their with a purpose to elevate the community through setting examples. The misfortunate of the two or three football players dieing was a direct effect of how the opposite forces tries to interfere with something good trying to happen. I'm so glad to hear that these young men continue to be steadfast and make it happen no matter what the obstacles presented and it has paid off. I can relate to Wayne's father about praying over his child and I would advocate for each parent to pray over your children on a day to day basis...because prayer is the only answer. Lastly, it is so refreshing to hear of a positive outcome for these young black men and I believe the future is bright because they have learn some important lesson about not giving up (trial and tribulations). Much success to you both and stay positive and keep your head above every circumstance.

Sincerely,
Columbia-MD reader

Posted by: Charlene Moon | June 23, 2006 11:44 AM

I found the article interesting and informative and have been emailing portions to my son, a young black male that is the the product of DC public schools and is doing very well, I really liked the story on the two young mean from Ballou, and I am very proud of them without knowing them personally! We need more postive images of our young men in the news media.

Posted by: Jacqueline Hall | June 23, 2006 12:11 PM

Love it. Very inspiring.

Posted by: Sabrena | June 23, 2006 12:35 PM

Based on my life experiences on what it means being a black man is that a positive personality, behavior, higher education as well as most general characteristics of just being a human being requires a higher expectancy. One of that's much greater than what's expected from other races of men. Why I say this (again this is only from my personal life experiences) is because most people look for
any negative common character defects based on black
exploited negative images that America has imposed on blacks, (in this case black men), since the days of slavery. It's like being guilty of being a human being until proven innocent
of being a common man. That proof will be determined by your level of characteristics prior to the black man being accepted as a common man.

Posted by: Marvin Eugene McCants Sr. | June 23, 2006 12:51 PM

Wow, what a series! This is a great and necessary documentary of how an important, yet often overlooked, segment of our society feels. Thank you very much!!!

Posted by: | June 23, 2006 12:54 PM

First, the article in today's paper about Wayne Nesbit and Jachin Leatherman was uplifting and inspiring, in addition to being very well-written! I also think that the assertions made in the article about black men in all-white/private schools are completely true. As someone who attends a primarily white private school in the DC area, I know that the black kids at my school tend to isolate themselves, and many seem unhappy in an environment where they are so concious of their race. Though my school is supposedly "accepting" of all races, some of the black kids (mainly black guys) at our school are generally not as well-integrated or involved as kids of other races. That's why these articles are so great, because they draw attention to the conditions of schools in primarily black neighborhoods (like Ballou) and how much they can and should be improved. Their (Leatherman's and Nesbit's) parents' decisions to send their sons to Ballou over a private school was definitely a good idea, and they had the foresight to see what a positive impact the two would be able to make on Ballou and how going to Ballou would help them develop a positive self-image. This article promotes a positive image of black men and encourages them to strive for academic excellence with the example of these two young men.

Posted by: Becca | June 23, 2006 01:17 PM

I have enjoyed some of your effort on Being a Black Man, but please remember that all young black boys and men are not from "da hood" and play basketball. Where are our young soccer players, skateboarders, tennis players, classical musicians, jazz musicians, artists, golfers, pro poker players, and college scholars? My son was just interviewed by our local paper in Charleston, WV for being a straight A student and an exceptional skateboarder. His parents are both educated professionals and he's as black as the young men you speak to in "da hood." My son's reality is just as black an experience as any other. I would argue more so. Black men have always been smart, gentlemanly, and accomplished. This is nothing new, unusual, or foreign to black men. We simply need to take back our true image.

Posted by: James A. Muhammad | June 23, 2006 02:09 PM

Thanks goes out to all the men and women who helped this project come into fruition. This was well written and thought out. Although I am saddened by some of the comments made on this piece.

Why do carribeans differentiate themselves from African-Americans makes no sense to me. We all came from the same place(Africa), you may have just been dropped off the boat earlier.


Why do u have a piece on black men instead of white men, asian men, etc. Maybe because they do not come from the same history of building america for free. Or because it's just not there time.

Why are we not talking about black women and their achievements because we just aren't. Black women are not being wrongly put in special eduation,etc. To empower our men is to empower us as well.

To all my black men who are reading this wonderful piece on black men, stay encouraged, stay blessed and stay empowered. Learn your history so that you can strive to be better and take care of you fellow brother. You are beautiful beyond measure. If this piece was about any other race I would support it as well. Thanks again Washington Post!

Posted by: M.Spann | June 23, 2006 02:20 PM

"Being a Black Man" is excellent. Its makes me proud to read about my brothers in a positive light. When discussing black men the old adage "Ignorance is louder that Intelligence" often rains supreme. The media is often so negative to our black me; wanting only to print stories about shooting and drugs. However this is not the case in the seris. I love it...What an encouragement for black men. Inspite of the societal blocks that have been placed in there way, black men are succeeding.

Stay if loud...YOUR BLACK AND YOUR PROUD!

Posted by: Talisa N. Sutton | June 23, 2006 02:27 PM

Great. I will be sharing this with my 14year old son .

Posted by: a | June 23, 2006 03:10 PM

Jachin and Wayne are truly inspirational. The article make you want to meet them.

Posted by: Karen Stewart | June 23, 2006 03:33 PM

I would like to know where you are getting the statistics from about black men. You have indicated only 45% of young black men graduate with their classes. What are you basing that on?

I am a black woman and I must say if the statistics you are giving are accurate I am really scared. It just doesn't seem right to me.

Please Respond

Posted by: Danik Washington | June 23, 2006 04:19 PM

I truly was touched by this article, it shows to people can make different in others life. I hope that this article will encourage other black males to be all they can be thur all of the obstacles that they face daily.

Posted by: Michelle | June 23, 2006 04:24 PM

I will admit that I have glanced at the articles related to the series "Being a Black Man", but it was not until today's issue on the two young men who recently graduated from Ballou that I became an interested reader.

The story of these two young men brought tears to my eyes. I attended Ballou in the 1970s when it was a school to be reckoned with and I have been saddened by its recent setbacks. Yet, the story of these two young men inspire hope for those that will come after them.

As a person who reads voraciously, I have often seen written that our Black men are becoming extinct. I counter these statements by providing a long list of Black men that survive in this country everyday because they owe it to themselves and they owe it to the brothers that will walk that path after these brothers have worn it down to the bare earth.

I salute the series and will read the back articles as well as the future articles.

If you hear from the two young men, tell them that a Sister who made a difference too, wishes them well.

Posted by: DeLores Lucas | June 23, 2006 05:50 PM

I THINK THE ARTICLE WAS REALLY NICE AND TO SEE TWO SCHOLAR ATHLETES COME OUT OF SOUTHEAST ESPECIALLY OUT OF BALLOU SHS AND REALLY SUCCEED IT WAS AN BLESSING AND I WANT WAYNE AND JACHIN TO KNOW THAT I WAS A BALLOU ATHLETE AND I AM REALLY PROUD OF THEM. AND I ALSO WANT THEM TO KNOW THAT THERE IS NOTHING THAT COULD STOP THEM ON THEIR JOURNEY TO CONTINUE THEIR SUCCESS....KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK GUYS

Posted by: SHENEKIA "LIL BITS" WHITAKER | June 23, 2006 11:21 PM

As an educator of predominatly black students in Baltimore City Public School System, it is insightful to hear the foretelling of the experiences of black males in an ever challenging inner city. The duo perspectives reveal more accomplishments rather than challenges, which suppresses the remote thought of pessimism due to the cyplical nature of inner city life among blacks. I applaud your efforts in the sharing of their stories. I challenge you to continue to P.R. such good work by collaborating with public school systems, so that students experiencing similar dilemnas could also visualize hope as a possibility in the midst of their plight towards success.

Posted by: T Lawrence | June 24, 2006 08:56 AM

There is no doubt that we as Black Men are at a disadvantage in many corners of this country and world. Even with this disadvantage, we cannot be deterred. To many have come and gone before us to allow the color of our skin to be used as an excuse.
We must speak up and out along with the necesary action to see that whomever the individual or individuals are trying to deny us, know that it's just not going to happen.
We have to be committed and remain focused and conscious to negate those with ill will.

Posted by: Dennis H. Hinson | June 24, 2006 06:20 PM

All of the people who can be identified in the chain of this aberration should be arrested for false imprionment: those in PG and in Atlanta, especially the witch in the Atlanta jail.

Posted by: Brian Boru | June 25, 2006 01:32 AM

06/24/06 I thought the "Being a Black Man Project was very good. But, what amazes me is some of the negative responses. This shows the hypocrisy of the people in this country. This nation invaded another country on the notion of "democratic issues" and the ablity for it's people to attain "freedom". The real problem is most people especially European American forget that the Africa people brought here help build, created many things that were credited to the slaveowners because the slaves were considered property and of course in their written histories the slaveowners do not reflect this fact. But, when laws were written they were never reflected the true intentions of how these laws would be carried out. The people wrote these laws simply like the sound of beautiful words and this gave them a sense or "righteousness" and a "God-like" feeling. But, history has shown how the so-called "Fathers" of this country led their private lives. Even today, we have a President who professes to be a Christian but, orders 500lb bombs on people who were also created by God. What I know is all Afican people need to take time learn our own histories, and learn to communicate with each other and we can begin the healing.

Posted by: P Mitchell | June 25, 2006 02:08 AM

What a wonderful thing you have done!
I hope that more then black people become interested in this project!

It will promote a better understanding of what it means to be BLACK!

TAKE A WALK IN MY SHOES!

Man Oh Man!

With heartfelt gratitude!

Posted by: RONALD F. ARDRON | June 25, 2006 03:37 AM

I was heart broken by this article. to think of a human beings life, so interupted, so ruined, by us and our government. When I was a law student in court in Washington D.C. in the 1980's, I used to think how terrible it could be to get stuck into the system, and how difficult it was to get out. I pray that the innocent guy that was the subject of this beautifully written piece got his life back.

Posted by: Julie Potiker | June 25, 2006 04:08 AM

This is a great series and I take my hat off to the Post for running it. I will read every posting on this topic, but having ust discovered it, it will take me some time. Being a black man in the US means talking to other black men constantly, always, to share info on the opportunities we can take advantage of because of our naturally endowed rights as US citizens and human beings. For many, it also unfortunately means educating our younger brethren about the pitfalls that can trip them up because of the remnants of racism that sadly will always be out there.. As we move on with our lives, upward or onward, it is easy to forget what we have come through or what others have done for us. But I want to say, being a black man means using what you have learned to try to help other brothers to handle the situations that you have dealt with. The older folks have done this for many of us. in my case, I have been fortunate to have come from a previous generation of teachers. This has meant living a sometimes boring life of many books, missed parties, and punishment when I came home with anything less than B's. But what it has instilled in me (years later b/c I'm now 46) is the need for all of us who have achieved anything we consider success to give back through tutoring. I would say mentoring but I am no one's model. But I can teach and I find that most (yes, most) of our youth want to equip themselves academically, even if it's only to get nice things. Being a black man in America means doing your part to help the generation younger than you are to succeed in school. Major employers, paying big dollars are competing to recruit black men -- women too but there's 10 black women to every black man at least in my company -- so we should be taking advantage. The marketplace is changing, they need us, and we have to prepare our youth to seize the day.

Posted by: George | June 25, 2006 05:25 AM

Last post for tonight, don't want to go overboard, but just saw the audio feature on the Ballou Duo and they represent what we are striving for for our youth, am I right? I mean, it shows that it doesn't matter what the schhol is, if the values are instilled in the kid, the kid will take over and decide for him/herself what they want out of school and go get it. Am I being too idealistic? Kudos to the parents and teachers of these two.

Posted by: George | June 25, 2006 06:10 AM

I am a young African American male professor at a local university. I just wanted to say THANK YOU to the Washington Post for doing this series. In particular, I am grateful for the pieces which show a very diverse perspectives on being a black man. At once, they demonstrate the breadth of our community while also showing our commonality. The articles so far have been very well done. I have recommended them all to family and friends far afield from Washington. Thank you!

Posted by: Reuben Brigety | June 25, 2006 07:40 AM

Thank you so much for publishing this series - and not during Black History Month! The stories and information are truly compelling. -Patrice Davenport

Posted by: Patrice Davenport | June 25, 2006 09:02 AM

The story on Elias Fishburne, 25 June 06 is incomplete. We, as a community, need closure. As an Afrian American, husband, father, son, and soldier of 23 years I find the story grossly appalling. The entire scenario displays incompetence, and racism at its worse. What are the repercussions of these actions, and who deserve's punishment and corrective action? How and when will this citizen be compensated for true pain and suffering. Mr. Fishburne's fear is the valid and justified fear of every blackman (or citizen). This reality is a form of terrorism that put's all (but primarily men of color) at risk. The statistics are telling and support the premise that this is a black problem first and a national problem second. We need a fix today. Where does the NAACP and ACLU fit in this scenario? "Life, liberty and justice in the pursuit of happiness..." it's my right as an American yet the very system responsible for its protection clouds its existence for all.

Posted by: COL Vic John | June 25, 2006 10:47 AM

I think that this is outrageous and I am very upset for Mr. Fishburne. He is due an immediate apology for the failure of our Judicial system to properly perform the functions of ensuring that they did indeed have under arrest the correct man.

This is unacceptable in the United States of America- but not surprising. He is, after all, a black man.

As a white woman I cannot imagine what it truly means to be black in America. But, I can understand what it means to admit when one was wrong and to apologize swiftly, and with heartfelt empathy.

Mr. Fishburne is due, from the state and government, to be made whole and to have restored that which was taken from him.

This must happen immediately.

Posted by: Deborah Berg | June 25, 2006 10:54 AM

I read the Washington Post each morning. Via e-mail,I get Washington Post Headlines and Highlights: it's a list of the day's most pressing, promising and political stories.It bothers me that the series was never mentioned. This possibly points to the Post's true assessment and value of the stories in this series. Or, it's an oversight - perhaps even an oversight on my part.

However, as a working journalist, I know how hard it can be to bring purposeful, in-depth stories of worth and integrity on minorities to print. They're often ridiculed and belittled as "having no news value" outside of black history month.
Then, once it's brought to the page, it doesn't get the promotion online and elsewhere it deserves because editors still don't deem it newsworthy.

Hopefully, that's not the case here.

This is an incredibly well-written, thought-provoking series that touches many - black and other.

Thank you for the consideration it's been given. Thank you for doing the series: the writers and photographers are applaudable as are the chosen subject matters so far.

Again, my only concern is that the series be brought to the masses via the daily Headline and Highlights section.

It deserves the consideration and inspection of the masses.

Posted by: LDG | June 25, 2006 10:55 AM

Oh boy, here we go again with the same old, tired theme: the black man is being opressed by a society that is racist. Guess what? There is something called Affirmative Action that has been in place for decades that gives preferential treatment to all blacks, and they have benefitted greatly because of it.

The real problem facing black people in general and black men in particular has nothing at all to do with the color of their skin. It has to do with BEHAVIOR PATTERNS. When adult black men quit wearing baseball hats sideways and acting like they're 9 years old, then they would have made some progress. Until then the other races in this country are simply going to sit back and watch the black man oppress himself by his daily actions.

Posted by: James | June 25, 2006 11:10 AM

The video about black gay men is intriguing and is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, the length of the video is so short that it only whets the intellectual apetite for more of the conversation. Is the entire video available for purchase?

Posted by: Ted DeLaney | June 25, 2006 12:08 PM

I found the "Wrong Man" piece about Elias Fishburne particularly disturbing, since it seems that no one has been held accountable for failure to make the required fingerprint verification which is in place to prevent miscarriages of justice like the one which befell him. I hope that an appropriate organization will step forward to assist this man in recovering damages for what he went through, especially since he came within inches of dying on a bus trip from Hell.

Making it costly in both political and financial terms for governments to trample on the rights of individuals is the best way to keep this from happening to other black men in the future.

Posted by: J. Stern | June 25, 2006 12:48 PM

I have enjoyed these series of articles in Being a Black Man. I have recommended my family and friends to read these articles. They are great. I am getting another black man opinion in the DC area. Keep up with the good work. Thanks.

Posted by: T. Clements | June 25, 2006 03:56 PM

I applaud the Washington Post for tackling this very sensitive subject.
However,it would have been nice to see a few more personal interviews with different types of black men,as a black gay man living in Washington,DC,I know black men in general have a lot to say.

Posted by: David Barnes | June 25, 2006 04:48 PM

Beautiful, poignant, timely. Thank you for the information. Thank you to all the black men who shared their lives and stories with us.

Posted by: mary | June 25, 2006 06:59 PM

I was moved by Mr. Fishburne's story. It brings home the point that I am reminded of on a daily basis which is the poor live on the edge and are at the mercy of the "powers that be". just like Mr. Fishburne, one' s life can be interupted by others and not even be given an apology. I thank the Washington Post for the article but alas I suspect that it will be like the Minister preaching to the choir, it will escape the eyes and heart of the sinners.

Posted by: Chester Morris | June 25, 2006 08:57 PM

According to the revised U.S. Constituiton, all people are created equal. I believe the wording has been revised to correct inequities. However, they are just words. I believe there are social, political, and economic opportunities available for all citizens who want to improve their conditions.

I also believe there are individuals and organizations who capitalize on the race / ethnic card. They advance themselves by advocating for citizens who do not avail themselves of the opportunities that are available. In other words, there are people who will seldom / never take advantage of the opportunities that are available. They lack will or motivation. The aforementioned social charlatans will pretend they are advocating for the unmotivated; but in fact, they are using them to promote their social and economic well-being.

The race / ethnic card sells nowadays: It seems as though anything that remotely implies racial / ethnic inequality is an issue. However, Caucasians are supposedly exempt from racial, social, ethnic inequalities? Research the history of the United States? Research the hardships endured by Europeans who immigated to the United States.

I believe there are millions of African Americans who have succeeded. I applaud them. I believe there are millions of unskilled, impoverished Caucasians who have not succeeded. I believe we should give them opportunities too.

I hope the Washington Post will publish an article about poor, working class Caucasians who are interesting, inspirational, socially, politically, and economically suffering like everyone else.

Posted by: William J. Malatesta | June 25, 2006 10:37 PM

I am a white woman, and this series has kept me riveted from the start. The stories are so well told, and I find myself riding a wave of emotion as I read each one. I hope this series sparks the desperately needed discussions, both within and between communities, that we must have if we have any hope of moving forward as a just society. Awesome series. Awesome.

Posted by: Laila Hirschfeld | June 25, 2006 11:37 PM

I read my first "Being a Black Man" article on Sunday, "Wrongly jailed". I was floored, to see a black man locked up for more than 30 days on a mistake identity charge. The article was excellent. I'm glad you are making the public aware of the problems, a black man faces. I plan to go back and read all the articles. Please keep up the good work...

Posted by: Young Black Male | June 26, 2006 10:51 AM

I am rather proud of the post for even addressing this issue. I think it is time to have everyone hear the black male voive and not just from the characters that are on tv or from the few that have become famous. Real average black men.

Posted by: Loree Williams | June 26, 2006 11:19 AM

To be a black man is to recognize what's good and what's bad not only inside of you, but also ouside of you and around you. A true black man places every ounce of his faith in Christ Jesus as the one and only one who will delivery him from all that's oppressive, negative, and detrimental to his existence. God brings a Life of complete and total perfection. Once you recognize, accept, and practice that there is nothing you cannot accomplish. God will strengthen your weaknesses, place you in all the right places, and give you His Spirit to be a success in life. Studies have shown that black christian men are more successsful than non-christian black men. The evidence is clear, God is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Posted by: Jim | June 26, 2006 12:57 PM

A very great essay. Well reported and incredibly relevant.

...and here our leaders are, stirring up trouble around the world instead of trying to fix the ones that have been brewing here since the very beginning.

Posted by: Wayne | June 26, 2006 01:01 PM

PSA: This series is about BLACK MEN!!! Period!
Deal with it people....
It's not meant to about anything else. Not about Black Women, not about White Men, not about White Women, not about Muslims, not about aliens, it's a series about BLACK MEN!!

Posted by: | June 26, 2006 01:31 PM

Finally...a project that is long overdue! It is so tragic that the non-Black members of our community and our nation, as well as the international communities around the world, are only exposed to the media's impression of what it is like to be a black man. This usually means that black men and boys are only shown to be criminals or indigents or trouble makers running from responsibility. Where are the stories and articles highlighting the accomplishments and the beauty of the black man?? We need to celebrate them! Cherish them and love them! Show the world that they ARE wonderful husbands and fathers - not the other way around! Without our support, black men will becoome extinct!

--Wife and mother of two beautiful black men

Posted by: Melanie Mfume | June 26, 2006 02:03 PM

This story is nothing new if you are of African desent. It's sad and upsetting that USA is a racial country and our government has done nothing to change it. The authorities and people in general need to stop viewing ALL people of color the same. Thank you for enlighening us but we need to fix, educate, and solve our problems, especially racism in this country on ALL levels

Posted by: Leslie Oliver Casillo | June 26, 2006 02:13 PM

The two young men profiled in "For the Love of Nallou" are inspiring. I hope their legacy at the high school will evolve, a call to other students to acheive in all aspects of their lives. In addition, Jachin and Wayne are at odds with the statistics: Their Fathers are not ghosts ----they're powerful role models in their homes. All kids -- black, white, yellow, whatever as much. Please continue to update your're readers on the Jachim and Wayne during their tenure at Holy Cross, as well as the expected academic growth of the Ballou student body --- including the football team. It would be a profound disservice to Jachim, Wayne, Ballou, and the community at large, not to continue such reporting.

Posted by: paula firestone | June 26, 2006 04:25 PM

I think this has been a very informative and elightening series. One of the things I like the most about the series is seeing the variety of opinions and experiences from all spectrums of black life, young, old, lower class, upper class, gay, straight, liberal, conservative, moderate, etc. It provides a look into a world I may have only gleemed small snatches of.

The series has made to rethink (or better yet refocus) my time and effort on some of the things I want to do for my community. Helping to raise a young man and now raising a daughter, I'd like to use this series to show them the diversity of black life, outside of their homes and immediate neighborhoods.

Thanks for the series and I look forward to following its future courses.

Posted by: Edward Moore | June 26, 2006 04:38 PM

Has anybody considered the ultimate reason Mr. Fishburne was arrested? None of this would have happened had Jarvis Tucker not committed a crime, used a false name, or become a fugitive. Had this black man obeyed the law or accepted resonsibility for his actions, none of this would have happened. It appears you have conveniently skipped over his role and choose to focus on the police not being perfect in their attempt to serve justice.

Posted by: Tom | June 26, 2006 05:29 PM

A very interesting article. As an Australian reader (living in Melbourne, Australia) I found the racial focus to be interesting and challenging. I have worked a number of years in Correctional Facilities as a psychiatric nurse and if the Correctional staff here are anything to go by, racial slurs and inconsistancy in care are the 'norm'. The racial taunts and the obvious distaste a number (NOT ALL!) Correctional staff have for their charges is disgraceful but for a brother to have to experience this from another brother is heartbreaking. Not only do black men experience such prejudice from society at large - to experience it from one of their own is doubly humiliating. My sincerest heart felt wishes to Elias, may God bless you. I wish you everything.

Posted by: Melbourne, Australia | June 26, 2006 08:49 PM

Thanks so much for the series. I hope its the first of many in exploring the lives and experiences of black men in this country. Your features definitely provides insight into many of the plights affecting black men today. Again, thank you for initiating this very important dialogue. I look forward to the remaining features of the series.

Posted by: John Baker | June 26, 2006 09:14 PM

why is this question being asked in one of the nations top newspaper. I know why but GO Figure anyway! Then I said why isn't the same question being asked "Being White Man in America"

Posted by: Belindia Scott | June 27, 2006 12:20 AM

I have really enjoyed this series, I think it is very informative and I hope it helps. I have grown up in Detroit and lived in LA and seen a lot of different perspectives. With a large or seemingly large black immigrant population, I think DC offers the most unique perspective. Is different living/experience/or perspective (not sure of the right word) as an African immigrant vice being a African American?

Posted by: Joshua Reyher | June 27, 2006 09:31 AM

I like this series. I hope that something about black women can be made like this in the future. We have it even harder than blackmen in my opinion. Although we support our brothers they often do no support us. I personally think many black men suffer from low self-esteem and self hate. Many are bitter. Hopefully this will change overtime.

Posted by: Free | June 27, 2006 10:41 AM

This series of articles are very interesting. I hope that I will be able to read someone of whom shares in my views of society as a follower of the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, under the leadership of the Honorable Louis Farrakhan. Particularly as it relates to being a Blackman from southeast Washington D.C.

Posted by: Shawn Muhammad | June 27, 2006 10:44 AM

The Washington Post
Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

As a middle school civics teacher in Virginia, I am deeply disturbed by the story of Mr. Elias Fishburne, the African American gentleman in Maryland who was wrongly jailed and hauled off to Georgia after his identity was stolen by a wanted criminal.
Where does his experience with the American system of justice fit in among all the textbook charts and the lists of fundamental principles of our government?
I always tell my students that no system is perfect. But Mr. Fishburne's story represents an absolute meltdown of the rules of law that even King John recognized in the Magna Carta in 1215: "To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice."
At every step of Mr. Fishburne's contact with police and judicial officials, justice was denied and delayed, not once, but over and over in the most callous and demeaning ways. I recognize that police, court, and jail employees have a tough and often thankless job. But this goes way beyond the pale, and ought to be the subject of a public, systematic review and revision of police procedures by the State of Maryland and Prince George's County.
In addition, Mr. Fishburne is due a formal apology from any number of officials connected with this outrageous breach of citizens' rights. I can only hope that he has not lost all faith in the judicial system, and will pursue a civil case in the name of justice against each and every person who contributed to this unconscionable assault on a law-abiding citizen.

Sincerely,


David Burns


(This letter is submitted for publication, both online and in the newspaper if you wish.

6215 Lavell Court
Springfield, VA 22152
Phone: 703 644 4251)

Posted by: David Burns | June 27, 2006 02:02 PM

Bravo. Very well done. Insightful and informative. These are the type of features I come to expect from a newspaper of this quality and status. Pease keep up the good work. Surely your paper won't suffer from lack of readers with such displays of journalism and meaningful topics of interest.

Posted by: Kenneth Gross | June 27, 2006 02:07 PM

Siler Spring, MD I was outraged to read the article concerning Mr. Fishburne. Why did not anyone do their job? Why did he have to endure three weeks of jail? Something has to be done about this. I am outraged and want to know what I can do. Mr. Fishburne needs to sue them. Please tell him to make the time to pursue this so this will not happen to another Black African American. To those comments that said Mr. Fishburne's arrest had nothing to do with him being black, I say stop being so naive to think that Black African Americans are equal to you. This article and others you do not know of are experiencing these unnecessary acts of racial discrimination. We need to wake up and know that racial discrimination is alive and thriving in the land of the free, America

Posted by: Vanessa Cox | June 27, 2006 02:35 PM

This is a terrible incident and mistake that cost Mr Fishburne several weeks of his life and an incredible personal pain. I am a police officer in MD, and I can tell you that the information that is provided on an out of state warrant is minimal. It is very possible for the arresting officer to do everything right and this mistake still can happen and Mr Fishburne could still get arrested. I am amazed that he was not fingerprinted within hours, and his prints confirmed against the fingerprints of the wanted person. In this case, those records were available and weeks later proved his innocence. I am further amazed that the judge at his arraignment in MD did not fully explain the process and Mr Fishburne's options and their consequences. The legal system is full of checks and balances meant to protect people from exactly this type of scenario. Someone, somewhere in MD is ultimately responsible for this mixup.

Posted by: M. P. | June 27, 2006 04:26 PM

What do you all expect. I am a middle aged man and I don't like to call myself anything but American. That is because we all come from Africa, and I'm tired of the adversary winning the battle of seperatism. And we let him by allowing ourselves to delve into the "define me war". Anyway, I read the comments about black men communicating more so in jail than out. What do we expect? Look at how we stereotpye ourselves through the videos, the movies and sports. I can remember being young and taught through actions that "men are silent, strong, can handle pain and sickness and don't speak with another man about such things as feelings, without retribution and alienation from family, and friends. If you did you were considered "weak". You were ostricized. This basically has been passed down. It has been underscored even more in todays society, with todays youth. You are perceived to be weak if you show sympathy, or you show your feelings in such a way, like crying or daydreaming about things that aren't part of that "hood stigma". These youngsters place dying in a shootout an "manly thing". Demeaning your lady a "manly thing". Disrespecting others a "manly thing", and the solutions are that the men that can be role models are either down with it, that gansta' life style. They are petrified of the youth, thereby effectively removing any influence on them. Or they seperate themselves through economic means, and don't look back. This death walk perpetuates more defiance from young men to live and ultimately die the lie. There's simply not enough of the real soldiers who care or want to change the lie. That's what it will take, the "real soldiers", those who have been there and done that to want to help. The kids listen to anyone who comes from a place of strength, not weakness. You have to know their jargon, know what they are going through to get them to open up. They have to see the death march in your eyes, the way you walk. The way you move. You can't possibly understand unless you've been there, in the trenches, and one can tell if you were the one being "punked" or you were respected. It's all in the face and the eyes. Yet you have to have changed your life. You cannot be in that life anymore, or they can't respect you. That's what has to happen. But I don't think it ever will, because there are really to few soldiers left, who understand that, and are willing to give it back. 'Cause to really change things, means that you've got to go into the rage again. I know that's really hard. Once you get out, you don't ever want to see that life again. That's the issue about blacks not speaking to blacks, about things that really matter. To do so means trouble.......shame, but that the way it is!!!

Posted by: reggie | June 27, 2006 04:50 PM

Without the proper knowledge of Self, God and your enemy, no people Black, white, Brown or otherwise can ever reach their desired potential as productive members of society.
Now regarding Blacks, our former slave-masters never taught us anything of our selves nor of the true and living God. We were taught heaven awaits us once we die while our former slave-masters enjoyed heaven here on earth.
Therefore, if this project doesn't address the knowledge of self, God and our open enemies which are the root causes of our suffering, then it is all for naught.

Posted by: da Brova | June 28, 2006 07:16 AM

I am a 37 yr. old black single mother, and have read the article on Mr. Fishburne.
I would have to say that it was more of a stereotype than racism, and the fact that the personel of the facility do not really care about how a man's life is affected just by being in the system, if only for a short period of time.
It seems that even the employee who fingerprinted noticed a discrepancy but did not step out of the "normal procedure" of doing things, SHE COULD HAVE BEEN HIS VOICE. I think black men has/have/is surrounded by negative things all around them, but they need to find that road to lead to the positive outlook on life, and that will assist them in making better decisions when involved in a negative situations.

Posted by: Tosha Woods | June 28, 2006 09:09 AM

As a mother of two black males this topic is significant for me because our youth are turning more arrogant and cocky every day. Having grown up during the 90's crack epidemic I know first hand what is out there. Our children are failing on all fronts. The treatment of the men in this article shows me how far we have failed to progress and how little many of us have evolved on the subject when we get a few resources that may give us better options.

If I had of been in Mr. Fishburne's position I would have thought the same things about the situation and more than likely had the same outcome as he. As a member of the Prepaid Legal plan I was shock to read that when he needed the plan the most they wanted money! Legal representation could have solved so much, but when you receive wrong information and indifference when you are trying to plead your case...who knows how many more people will get caught in these types of situations before law enforcement step up and do their jobs!
I still remember the face of Jeffrey Gilbert after he was savagely stumped and beaten by police after he was wrongly accussed of killing a cop. If we cannot depend on the cops to do their job when it is on the screen in front of them then regardless of race situations like these are going to happen...our black males are just subject to be detained longer because as black men they will be forever "guilty until proven innocent"!

Posted by: Regina | June 28, 2006 09:51 AM

While profiling, racism and bigotry play a large part in the world of law enforcement everywhere in the world, it can only be eliminated by the peers and leaders of that community. It is the "bad apples" of their respective community that needs to be evaluated and controlled in hopes of ridding of the wrong perceptions of the people by the people.

I cannot submit my email address as it contains my full name. I, like other Americans, like to speak freely without reprocussions.

Posted by: Bruce | June 28, 2006 11:09 AM

I think that the "Being a Black Man" Project is a wonderful series. I feel that it opens the door for what black men feel and think on a regular basis. It also opens the door to what is out there for the accomplishing, and reveals what avenues are offered. I am the type of person though, that believes you make your own destiny, we make out own decisions, and out own way. In my book, no one has the power to hold us back. We as black men; black people in general are the most resourceful people in society. We are natural entrepreneurs, inventors, and as well as farmers, that we do not need anyone to rely own, but ourselves. But we have gotten caught up in the hype of being like the Rockefellers', and the Wellington's', that we have forgotten about the Kings' and the Carvers', as well as the Douglas's' and the Johnson's'. I just do not by into all the "White Man holding me down" thing

Posted by: Darrell L. Fletcher | June 28, 2006 11:37 AM

these opinion, or survey results are oviously no good. the folks who took them are either blind or very white or so corporatedly black, they still can't see the facts.

Posted by: cynthia higgins | June 28, 2006 11:38 AM

The deeply ingrained psychosis of racism is not a "card". I often wonder why no one ever mentions the "sexist card" when it comes to white women discussing their rights or disparities in salary and opportunity compared to white males. The media usually gives a generous boost to the hysteria of the culture at large by perpetually showing photographs, whether the arrest is valid or not, of black males being let away by police for alleged crimes. When it's found to be incorrect, for example in the famous "Central Park jogger" case, in New York, there is never enough media attention focused on correcting the error.
It's okay for black males to be included when it comes to paying taxes, fighting in the Iraq war, but this society doesn't recognize us as their own. Otherwise, the crisis in education, the huge number of males brought into the prison complex and the ridiculous Rockefeller drug laws would have become a cause of change.

Posted by: Devan | June 28, 2006 12:10 PM

I have always believed that there is a very big difference between "history" [fact] and "his-story" [fiction or {very} partial fact]. In your section of the history of Blacks in the USA, so much was not mentioned; that i consider the work to be a work of shame. It is said that the total is equal to the sum of "all" its parts; not a very small portion of.
Respectfully. R.F.F.

Posted by: R. FORD | June 28, 2006 12:37 PM

First, I love the technology aspect of this series. Secondly, I am glad I can do this from my state of residence, California. Beyond these two aspects of this series I was suprised by some of the percentages in the polls on certain questions. I think that some people think black men are making up stories about our lives and experiences when comes to law enforcement and the legal system. I was shocked--still to this day-- when the law enforcement of a notorious department in California swooped down on my person just because I was a black man in a black neigborhood which had a bad reputation known by everyone. Before this incident, I had little reason to dislike law enforcement. I wanted to believe that law enforcement was there to protect until I was on ground for being black, being in my neighborhood and thought to have drugs on my person at during a crack down in my neighborhood. This was my wake up call: I am a black man in America. I was extremely angry. I am still angry. This incident propelled me into reading and I also needed enroll myself in school to earn my undergraduate degree so that I could learn how to try to protect myself in this place. I did it. I want to attend graduate school but it is out of reach at this point. Right now, I think it is extremely important that I reach out and cultivate relationships with black men in the Afican diaspora; where ever in the world they might be. It is about my self esteem. It is about how I see other black men because I see myself in them. It is about what I know about myself. It is about what I know about my ancestors. It is what I know and learn about this country and this country's history in relation to black men. It is far more than the images of black men I see in and on the media. I know good black men; and I hope to become one of those good black men I know.

Posted by: Bobby Wade | June 28, 2006 12:42 PM

This whole series is amazing and incredibly well done. Thank you so much for making such good quality journalism available to all.

Posted by: A. Wilkerson | June 28, 2006 12:52 PM

Thank you for shedding some light on the issues that affect our men. We are still in the struggle and more awareness is badly needed. To all the Beautiful Black Brothers, We Love & Support You!

Posted by: C.P. Anderson | June 28, 2006 01:52 PM

This is a necessity! People of all races need to know about this situation. My heart was so full after reading this story. My eyes filled with tears. I felt my brother hurting. I felt my brother's fear. I needed to know this.
Sometimes we get so caught up in our own web, we tend to forget that there are other people who need us, if for nothing else but an ear. Mr. Fishburne, you were heard loud and clear. I heard you today and I know that your voice will be forever imbedded in my mind and my heart.
You are my brother and I love you. We have never met, but we share the same blood. Ask God for the 'Holy Spirit of Discernment'. You will have your answer to your question. God continue to be with you and your family.

Posted by: Letha Green | June 28, 2006 03:19 PM

I found this project very interesting and informative. I liked the stories some were very inspirational, inspiring enlightening and interesting to say the least. I wish there was some way I could print and distribute this to a lot of black men and women. Something this enlightning and interesting should be seen and read! I often tell people I learn a lot when I hear men speak honestly and openly about themselves it sometimes helps me to understand men and women relationships a whole lot more than what I think a man thinks!

Posted by: Michele | June 28, 2006 05:11 PM

I belive black men are still under the clouds of mental slavery. Black men must take responsibility for the selfish materielism that is destroying our culture and our community and stop looking to white people to save us from ourselves.When you see black men helping each other then and only then you will know that we are free at last.
I am authur and publisher of many books on this issue. See my website ashersbooks.com
352-241-9401

Posted by: Asher Ledwidge | June 29, 2006 05:26 AM

Since I am a white man, a teacher, and a father, I can say that the "Black Man" article has shown the human side of the story of being a black man in the USA. I would rather work for a black man as a Principal of a school than a typical white woman who has no cultural backround and who has not struggled in society. I have been a teacher in the Lorton Correctional System and was influenced so much by inmates and their stories of struggle, that I looked at the whole picture of what is wrong with our judicial system and how it deals with black men. There seems to be a double standard in how they treat a white man compared to a black men.

Posted by: Peter A Mirones | June 29, 2006 08:41 AM

I had hope to open this page and read about how positive and wonderful it is to be black but our people just keep crying about the same old stuff. Its really time for us to let it go and focus on the future of blacks. If we live life with a strong and healthily mind set on a daily basis then we will reflect to the world that we are strong and beautiful and powerful people. Do not let the past hold us back from our future. Remember that we use to be kings and queens in the beginning of man kind and still now in parts of Africa. Lets focus on getting our status back...no more racial stories and anger. LET IT GO MY PEOPLE...LET IT GO! We have a bigger battle to fight with global diseases and infections, children with out parents in our communities, under educated people who need help to getting jobs, food and other resources, the list goes on...

America is turning into the home of many new races and cultures. Lets strengthen our black community now so we can prepare for these new changes and be one of the leaders within the minorities groups. We need as many people as possible working hard at all levels in and out of the community so we can support the effort to hire more blacks in powerful positions again at all levels: teachers, police, banks, government, housing, health, stores, all over.

Do not let new opportunities past as we have many new comers in this country who are searching desperately for opportunities and I believe that those who are currently in power now will be more willing to give a job or some other benefits to someone who seems more humble and willing to work without drama and for lower pay. These are some of the things that we need to focus on. Don't not let the black community fade out completely because of old school racism. Take a stand and be a leader in your family and community. Spread this news to everyone. Join and unite now before it is too late. One day minorities will be running the United States...lets try our best to make sure the black community is in this new partnership!!!

God bless~
NAP, Maryland

Posted by: NAP, Maryland | June 29, 2006 01:23 PM

This is one of the most sad injustices I have ever heard of. But what is more sad is that Mr. Fishbourne is not fighting to be compensated in any way. This is not about money, but more right and wrong. PG County has one of the most corrupt law enforcement systems ever! They need to be held accountable for the simple administrative errors then end up effecting innocent peoples lives. We need to do more then just read the story and shake our heads about how unfortunate it is. I will forward this story on to everyone I know in hopes that someone will be able to help Mr. Fishbourne. His incident does not have to be in vain.Maybe it can prevent someone else from going through the same nightmare. Thank you for exposing this sad sad story.

Posted by: Kristyn Johnson | June 29, 2006 01:49 PM

As the single mother of an African-American male -- he is 14 years old -- I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your articles have been an eye opener. After reading the on-line copy, I required my son to read each series, to provide a summary of the article, and to tell me how the articles related to his life and/or future. This past weekend -- I finally realized how much your articles impacted my son -- I did NOT have to ask him to read the article, he simply picked it up himself and the rest is history.

Thank you for taking the time to think through the selected individuals -- it really is a cross section of the black man in the United States.

We look forward to reading more and hope there is a focus on the black man in the military, a black man in a professional field -- and even more importantly - a black man from another country, re. Jamaica, Africa, England, etc. Their views on the black man will be quite different than what has been written in your articles and on your website.

Posted by: The African-American Mother | June 29, 2006 01:52 PM

I think that this program promotes segregation in society. I feel as if there is too much focus on blaming the reasons why something is done on color whether it is black, white, purple or green. I believe that if we continue to live in a society that allows one to base a program, music station, newspaper column on a specific racial class, then we are segregating ourselves from one another. Everyone is different, but we are all "Americans". So lets stop basing the reasons that things happen on skin color and the past.

Posted by: KB | June 29, 2006 03:54 PM

To the WaPo: thanks for this series!!!

To the 23-year old Caribbean black woman -- who immigrated to the U.S. when she was 9 years old from the islands -- who denigrated African-Americans on here:

Your response on this board was woefully ignorant about a population of people and since no one else responded to it, I couldn't let it stand.

Please don't forget your history. Your success would not have been possible in the U.S. if AFRICAN-AMERICANS had not demanded social change and that's the truth. We not only cleared a path for ourselves but for all others who wished to attempt to strive for the "American Dream."

Do not paint all of us with one brush. African-Americans do have problems like other folks (like Caribbeans!) but we are also very successful. Do I really have to name names of top blacks in America in EVERY field??? Surely, you are not that clueless?

You and your black friends from other countries are not the only ones who have "achieved so much: undergraduate, master and professional degrees, study abroad, great internships, professional careers and excellent networks."

African-Americans were doing this BEFORE you were born and moved here and we still are. I'm 29 and a professional career woman and can probably outmatch you degree for degree and then some!!!

As you revel in your snobbery, please don't forget that there are a host of terribly negative stereotypes about people from the islands as well as Africa and Latin America, etc.

Lastly, take your own advice and get YOUR act together and be civilized and progress!!! You and your friends should use your college educations to understand how to accurately comprehend and discuss ideas without making blanket statements not based in reality.

When you have contributed to society as African-Americans have, then maybe we can talk, til then....

Peace..

To the folks who keep asking, "Where is the white man in America series?" Are you kidding me?!!!! Stories about white men and women are written every single day in the newspaper! Duh!

If there's an article profiling Bill Gates..guess what that is? A story about a white man making it in America!!! Why can't you recognize that as being the same thing? Get off your high horse and just enjoy the series for goodness sake!!! Step out of your comfort zone! There's nothing to fear!

Note: Please excuse any typos, etc.

Posted by: A Spelman grad | June 29, 2006 07:13 PM

Morally and religiously I do not concur with homeosexual males/females of any ethnic background.

Posted by: David Taylor | June 29, 2006 10:12 PM

WOW!! I am stunned. Not only on the articles themselves but the respones as well. First, I would like to say to Mr. Fishbourne, my heart and prayers go out to you and your family. What readers did not highlight is that this man survived the Gulf War. This alone is a miracle. Defending the rights and liberites of the prosecutor and the law enforcement personnel that incarcerated him wrongly without due process, while they are able to go home at night. I am sure while Mr. Fishbourne was in the Mid-East, he maintained vigilence and sanity in the hopes of just being able to return home in one piece. I am truly amazed and speechless. With all that said I truly commend his composure.
I too, experience that same sort of negativity at times. I will leave you all with a real live situation;
In the Rockville, MD area. Once when mowing my own lawn, I approached by a volunteer Firefighter looking for donations. As he approached, I brought the lawn tractor mower to a stop. He looked at me and said "I can see you are busy, I will wait for the owners of the house to come back". Why could he not believe this was my house.. Need I say more.

Posted by: DTaylor@hotmail.com | June 29, 2006 10:41 PM

Wow, such a vivid yet horrific account of Elias Fishburne's experience. However horrific it is not surprising. This is one of many memoirs of the life of black men. I remember my mother telling me and my siblings of a similar account experienced by my father. Police officers had pulled us over because they were looking for a black male. That's it, the only criteria used to confirm my father as a suspect. My mother says they pulled my father out out of the car roughly and rudely searched him, pushing him violently against the car. When my mother got out of the car to find out what was going on, the officers threatened to shoot her if she didnt get back into the vehicle. This all while we children sat in the back of the car. Compared to Elias' account, I'd say we were lucky, no, blessed. I'm glad I was too small at the time to remember. I attribute this story to the beginning of my ambivalence and distrust for law enforcement and entities who often usurp unquestioned authority in society. Howbeit naivete it also has fueled my desire and interest in the law, not necessarily to change it because I have to admit that I do have faith in the ideals of the system itself; true justice is blind. Its the morality of people I do not trust. As the good book says, "...the law is for the lawless." In this case I guess that would ironically apply to the law enforcement.

Posted by: Karima Giles | June 30, 2006 12:11 AM

Being a black man means overcoming what America has taught you--that you are nothing, that your woman is nothing, that you are not worthy. We must unlearn. It just takes time.

Posted by: Justin | June 30, 2006 05:45 PM

This is in response to : Blacks From Other Countries--If we make it, why can't AAs too? I am a 23-year old woman who is Caribbean black. I immigrated to the U.S. when I was 9 years old from the islands.
My Response: Which means, that you came here in 1992, let me share some history with you...Although I do see many African Americans not taking the initative to explore the options that will culturally and socially advance themselves and their careers, I understand the basis of this behavior and where it comes from. I UNDERSTAND the history of this country, and how certain things have been structured to not only destroy people of color, but also, especially within the last 25 years, also mentally break down the stability of White America as well. Try watching a documentary on the Crack/Cocaine wars of the 80's and you will see how the destruction of the black family - particularly the Black Males has gone from being a social problem to a damm near catastrophic call for intervention within the black community. While you are at it, watch "Sankofa", "Roots" "Shaka Zulu" and a rare movie called "Slaves" to understand how this madness came to be.

My question: so many of my friends/acquaintances are blacks from Latin America, Caribbean, Africa and Europe. We cannot comprehend how we have achieved so much: undergraduate, master and professional degrees, study abroad, great internships, professional careers and excellent networks. BUT, we look at African-Americans and only see them struggle and complain about the white man.

My Response: I'm sorry, if everything is so great back home, why are you hear, in the US? Tell me, are you for immigration, or are you against it? Since many African Americans fought for the rights of people of color in the US, do you think that was all in vain? How do you think you have benefitted from this country for your education and scholarships and internships if it was not for BLACK AMERICANS! (Forget African, my birth certificate says Black, circa 1965)...

I have heard Africans call Black Americans "Cotton Pickers", I have heard Carribean people talk horribly about us, I have heard Dominican people talk horribly about Hatians, all of it is ignorance. YOU HAVE JUST PROVEN HOW IGNORANCE IS STILL RUNNING ALIVE WITHIN OUR RACE!!
Unless you understand everything about the United States of America, I suggest you and your friends be very careful as to how you interpet Black Americans. I do not make assumptions about Carribean/Latin American people and their culture, I try to understand it and understand the silmiarities. What I also find interesting is that while black males are so dispised, all over the world, black american males influence talk, walk, style as to what is the trend (good and bad -- and when you see the bad part of it, just who is broadcasting that image? While I am no fan of BET, they are just a small entity of what is known as an entertainment conglomorate.) Unfortunately, many of our kids (like your young, inexpierenced, naive, foolish self)do not understand that the negative has been pushed to the forefront to destroy the unity within the black family/community.

"Why can we still make it happen as black AND immigrants while African-Americans cannot even speak proper English with correct grammar and complete sentences? And they were born here, too???"

My Response: First of all, other countries mostly speak the Kings English...with the exception of the highest private schools in this country, most North Americans do not speak Kings English. Try listening to other races at a local mall and you will understand that, so do not abel black Americans.. that is ignorance. Another thing: I live in New York City, so I hear various languages on a daily basis. I have listened to Jamaican Patois, Creole, Bajans, Dominicans, Equadorians, everyone has their own lingo. Everyone has their own way of dress, their own explict way of dancing (Go to the West Indian Parade in Brooklyn Labor Day Weekend)...AGAIN, that is their culture, who am I to judge? And AGAIN who are you to judge black americans? Perhaps you are trying to assimilate into being a White European instead of what you really are?

I admit that we try as much as possible to distance ourselves from African-Americans because what we see on a daily basis it's so negative. You all need to get your acts together and be civilized and progress!!!

My Response: ****************************************
THIS IS WHY THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY UNITY WITHIN THE BLACK RACE!!! I CANNOT BELIEVE THE IGNORANT STATEMENT YOU PUT IN PRINT!Just as you feel that black Americans are so negative, Some black Americans (esp here in New York City) view Carribean people (women in particualr) as modern day mammies and for lack of a better word, Uncle Toms (which is a term I do not believe in giving black individuals, but that's another story at another time). In NYC there are MANY CARRIBEAN women who are pushing strollers and taking care of someone else's children. I however, see that as something that many of them do, so that they can provide for their families back home. Many of them do not have their husbands around (so what's the explanation for this?) For the last time: I DO NOT JUDGE!! You know, I once heard someone say - Blacks, no matter where they are from cannot unite nor trust one another, it is easy to cause problems between them. You have just shown the world how we treat one another when we feel we are superior. Thank you for doing such a great job...

On that note, I wish to say "Thank You" to the Washington Post. It is enlightening to have a series as this cause people to open up and show the world how they can discuss intelligent issues or show just how incredibly stupid they are when discussing issues pertaining to society.

Posted by: Fed--up with people who are just senseless.... | July 1, 2006 04:55 PM

The statistics provided in your survey was interesting and in some areas surprising. In general I suspect, "black male" readers of the post are well educated and experienced, yet there is some disparity in the responses given. Does this mean black are realizing and correcting their faults while taking advantage of opportunity? From an "educated and experienced" sect this would seem to be the case. However until you (the post) somehow include that uneducated, inexperienced sect of black men in your survey, we will never grasp the big picture.
Thanks for writing on this topic.

Posted by: R. DUNCAN III | July 1, 2006 09:36 PM

i love the series on gay black man. i so happy that the post has decided to do a series on Black men from all backgrounds it's so important that this is being done and i'm so thankful. so thankful

Posted by: becky AKinyode | July 3, 2006 02:18 AM

On the piece, "Being a Black Man", I felt it was truthful yet Painful while at the same time insigntful, moving and optomistic. Thank you I enjoyed it throughly.
G.M.

Posted by: Gavla Morris | July 3, 2006 03:27 PM

As a caucasian couple in a small, rural mid-western town, my husband and I have always tried to fill our children's lives with people from all walks of life. It has always been our hope that doing so would give them the tools they will need help to make America more about the contributions we all make to society and less about any perceived racial or ethnic costs to society. When we see the world from another's vantage point, it is easier to understand our own point of view.
This series offers a range of perspectives that we could never possess. I will be sharing it with my family.
Thank you.

Posted by: K Okins | July 3, 2006 03:53 PM

I want to say Thank you. I am a single mother of a soon to be man (he will be 18 is a few months). It is refreshing to be able to provide him with this smart, realistic, multi layered look at black men today. I was lucky to have positive male role models in his life as he grew up to help him form his ideals and thoughts. Now that he is embarking on a new chapter in his life, information like this is a blessing. There is so much negative press out there for young black men to read, it is unreal!
So thank you for your great work!

Posted by: Vanessa Collins | July 4, 2006 08:43 PM

The Post deserves high marks for treading into an area that needs much more attention, not only the Black community, but all of us of all races and cultures need to step out of our ethnic boxes to begin to see the broader picture of the cultural dynamics at work that impede the progress of some to the advantage of others.

I'm a white guy who found myself strangely drawn into a remarkable interracial journey following the death of my wife to cancer. It has led me to a Black church which, in turn, led me to graduate studies at a Black university, teaching in inner city schools and joining a Black singles website where, in addition to its prime interest, also has several discussion boards that I frequently engage in some serious discussions of black and white issues, politics, faith, you name it.

I agree with one lady here who felt The Post series shouldn't be limited to just Black males, and seemed put off by that. I know that other newspapers and other media make occasional journeys into these areas. Yet it should be ongoing because racism still exists, as your story of Elias Fishburne illustrates as one lone example out of how many only God knows.

One thing for sure, I have been challenged by my presence on that site. It is, after all, a BLACK site. Why, I was frequently asked? Always hard to explain, but I try. It is my own journey, one that has given me both a level of understanding and enrichment I could never hope to get in the confines of my white culure and traditions. That was a box I knew I needed to step out of, and very glad I have.

Posted by: Jon Shafer, Indianapolis, IN | July 4, 2006 10:15 PM

This is a wonderful display. I enjoyed to interview with Chuck Brown the most. He has given the world plenty through his music. I live in Indiana and remember the basement parties where Go-Go music was played. This was back in the 80's before I was a teenager. All through the years since I have enjoyed the music. It is apart of me as a black man. I love being a black man. Just like I love being American. Nothing is perfect but few things are so close to perfect as the two are for me.

Posted by: Marc | July 4, 2006 11:32 PM

I enjoyed the series enough to print all of them and make the articles required reading for my 18-year old son, Nkosi. When he completes a pre-college program at Bowie State U on August 4th, we will discuss the articles and how they are relevant to him.

I am requiring this reading and the follow up discussion of these articles because he needs to be prepared for the hostile world that is particularly harsh to Black men. Though harsh, he can still be successful and what he will go through is nothing compared to what his great grandfathers went through.

"The Wrong Man" article is especially relevant because my son lost his wallet a year ago, because is now legally a man, and the same things could happen to him if he didn't know what to do. I'll have a indepth discussion about the importance of not waiving extradition, not signing documents - especially those that don't have your name on them, only giving information to the police that is required by law ... nothing more ... requesting a lawyer immediately and contacting his family.

I would only request that the Washington Post put in print some of the information in the videos for those of us who cannot what the videos online. I would like to read and print the Chuck Brown and teachers' lawsuit information.

The article on the two Ballou students was magnificent!!! Wash. Post - keep up the good work.

Posted by: Regina A. Smith | July 5, 2006 10:05 AM

A total waste of good ink. Why does the popular media insist on bending over backwards to help one segment of society that is "using you" to promote their own agenda? There are other men out here that get the shaft everyday and nothing is written about that. Is it guilt? Is it money? Is it political correctness? These black men seem to whine 24 hours a day about how "tough" they have it. They should grow up, suck it up, and realize that they are not the only ones. That will be the day. They claim to have disdain for the "stereotype" but, everyday, in every way, they seem content to live (gangsta's) the stereotype, get rich (rappers) from the stereotype, but whine at the same time. Ugh. They so do not have ME confused, but they sure have you bamboozled. Have fun with it.

Posted by: Steven Alexander | July 5, 2006 11:14 AM

Thank you so much for the articles on this subject. It is disheartening to know that "black men" in our society still have a tough life to live. Hopefully this will inspire and enlightened and I pray for a better tomorrow four our black men.

Posted by: VK | July 5, 2006 03:55 PM

I am dissapointed with this project and the questions asked in the survey. Though I feel some of the questions had relevance, it is inconsiderate to ask questions such as should a black father tell his children that white men are not to be trusted. There is a problem that has remained consistent with black community (especially male) that hasn't seemed to be getting much better. However considering aid in these lower class communities are is only declining and the schools receiving less and less funding you cannot expect the situation to get any better. Important also to understand is that this isn't a trend only in black men, it's a trend of all lower class citizens. The emphasis is on black men because in the public eye black men glorify their situations. As a black men you are taught to be proud of who you are no matter what however our social standards state we don't have much to be proud of. Slavery was abolished in 1862 and didn't take full affect until 01/01/1963 it wasn't an ammendment until 1865. Blacks were not allowed to vote at all until 1869, and were not granted equal rights until 1875 which was apposed by the south with laws being passed justifying segregation. In 1964 the civil rights act was approved. It wasnt until 1969 that blacks were allowed to share schools with white citezens. On June 22, 1983 the last racial classifiaction law in Loisiana that states anyone having 1/32 or more "negro" blood was considered black. We are to quick to forget it's getting better but not fast and the odds are not in a black man's favor. Do not be to quick to judge just because we have some wealthy public icons, that we as black americans are in any position to compete or to stand up to societies request for us to think equally when it so long for us to convince them we are. Sincerely, Anthony Booth

Posted by: Anthony Booth | July 5, 2006 06:49 PM

I am a mother of a young black man. I raised him alone with the support of my family and friends. His father pops in and out of his life as when he can fit it into his schedule. My son has graduated high school this year. It was indeed an experience getting him to this point. He never gave me any trouble other than getting his homework or classwork done. I did what I could to instill values in him, but I could not teach him how to be a man. How a man feels about things, how a man talks about things, how a man resolves the issues he encounters in life being a Black man, how a man shaves himself, how he ties a tie,how he walks with pride,how he prays, praise and show honor to his God. So as a Black Divorced Single mother I just want to say to all Black men, take some time out of your busy schedule and help some Single Black mother with her sons. Talk to them and tell them what growing to be a Man is all about. To the Black fathers who have left their sons to be raised by their Mamas, look at the blood our young men shed by killing each other in the streets, look at how many drop out of high school,look at how disrepectful some of them are, look in a young black boys face and see how angry he is and the only way he knows to express his anger is how he has seen Mama rant and rave, so that's what he does (with a gun in his hand) because he doesn't know how men handle anger. The price of the fallout of our Black men in the family has been a great one. Don't get me wrong all black men are not bad, there are some positive ones out there. I just pray they grow in numbers soon... I like your article.

Respectfully submitted

Posted by: La Anthia M. Washington | July 6, 2006 01:06 PM

Being Male and in america is the real part of being. For me, the term "Black" is a context of past groupings of persons with African origins but no one asked or wanted to know anything about those males-other than that they were "so-called-Black"-Negro. I know you had to term the project something and for the fact that the POST did something to be shown and done at all is good. Also the fact that you did NOT do it during the month of FEB. is a gain. African-American history and that of males of this culture cannot be told in one month. I have origins from other ethnic cultures, Euro-native and african american, so I think of my self as a male with an XY chromosomal paring. What I would like to check in those RACE boxes on forms is H- for human, African american for ethnic and my passport says the USA on the cover.Please continue to do more on these issues and expand what you have done to do more and more often. My dear father was a member of the US Army Air Corps during WW2, it was this group that would become the Tuskegee Airmen. During WW2 no one was called a "Tuskegee airman" you were of african-american origin and "COLORED" to be in those groups of separate troops. Did he want to go to war in a diffrent army?, NO, who would want to based upon something as little as a gene and a culture that was a part of the whole yet from the Euro-amrican troops was lesser at the time. Thank you, keep doing more. WE need it in this nation and world.

Posted by: P.A. Tibbs | July 6, 2006 05:54 PM

You call this journalism? Gimme a break!! What's next?..."Being a Woman" followed by "Being an Asian" then rounding out the series with "Being Gay"?? Are you going to subject your readers to this series for an entire year?? TOTAL RUBBISH!!! YOU SHOULD BE EMBARRASSED!!

Posted by: Mike | July 7, 2006 08:55 AM

Though it's good to take an interest in 'our men', the POST is full of it!!! Why is Chuck the first and largest person we see upon entering the site? While I know his history and love Chuck and his music, they could have put him along with an architect, businessman, clergy, councilmember or some other black man in a suit, a PEPCO worker, fireman, bus driver, doctor, ER tech or some of those people they interviewed in the video at the entry of the site. It's that subliminal seduction (and sometimes no so subliminal) that makes me soooooo upset with the media!!! That's why: "black men often feel caught between individual achievements and collective failures, defined more by their images in popular culture than their lived experiences"-- Chuck does NOT represent the average, hardworking, loving, just-want-to-do-better-for-my-family and community black man!

Thanks again...going to pass this on.

Posted by: Brenda Batts | July 7, 2006 11:48 AM

After reading some articles in the post today, I don'tknow what it means to be a Black man. Robin Givhan thinks we all drink Cristal until we can't see straight.

Being a black man means that if i die, the post will only report it if I worked with the NY Times.

Being a black man means having to listen to white kids use unnecessary slang that they pick up from Bet.

Being black means people hear you but they don't listen!

Posted by: RJ | July 7, 2006 12:32 PM

This poll answers are completely full of it!

Posted by: | July 10, 2006 08:47 AM

Everyone should live life today, not about yesterday. If you want to reminise the life of slavery, then people will treat you like a slave. If you work, pay your bills, teach your family to respect everyone, then it doesnt matter if you are black or white, people will treat you and view you as a person and not an image of a group or ethnic background. If you act defensive, then be prepared to defend yourself. Don't act like you did something wrong!

Posted by: David Brady | July 10, 2006 03:26 PM

This is an excellent website! It should be maintained and updated so that the black and african american community can stay aware of issues facing its most crucial and vulnerable asset: black men. As a black female graduate student who is interested in the outcomes of black men, more people need to be exposed to the thoughts and feelings of this seemingly invisible group so that their developmental trajectories can be shifted into a positive direction.

Posted by: Bes S. | July 11, 2006 11:50 AM

To A Spelman grad:

Where in the article about Bill Gates do you see the words "white man" spelled out, or where in the newspaper everyday that you read, that talks about white people do you see the words, "white". YOU DON'T!!! my point exactly, stop putting race into everything. Who cares if you grew up in the projects, alot of white, mexican and asian people grew up in the projects. Stop blaming things on what it is not.....it just makes you look stupid, and even though you claim you have all those degrees, if you were really that educated you would know that you don't need to use your race as an advancement.

Posted by: KB | July 11, 2006 12:10 PM

I will preface it with this I am a black male who is a recent grad up in Ohio.

Some people may take offense to this but African American culture is probably one of the only cultures in the the world that is actually regressing. Sure, there may be some cultures in the Congo who still live in huts, but at least they arent going backwards like us. We are the only people who refer to ourselves with a racial slur. The most depressing thing is we didnt used to be like this. Go look at old footage of the Civil Rights movement, the black males dressed in shirts and ties and seemed to have manners. Today is a damn near adventure trying to walk past a group of black males on the street. Whats even more depressing is that culture takes generations to change.

Posted by: a black man | July 11, 2006 12:56 PM

Can only answer with 2 personal events. I am white. I was visiting baltimore to see a ballgame. On a morning I walked through a grocery store getting breakfast. I noticed people were looking strangely at me. When I checked out I was trying to make small talk with the cashier. I wished him a good day. He looked at me and said what? I said have a good day. He didn't seem sure, but said thanks. Later on I realized I was the only white person in the store.
I worked in a store in an area with a high percentage of african americans. When I first went there I was treated with much suspicion and apprehension. When they realized I valued them as customers and people they treated me wonderfully. These two events lead to a similar conclusion.
African americans expect realistically to be treated in a particular fashion...negatively. But they are people with the same hopes as the rest of us and if treated with the respect all humans deserve are the same as the rest of us. Some good, some not, some angels, some not, but people with the right to be treated with respect until they prove otherwise.

Posted by: george | July 11, 2006 03:40 PM

Some people, groups of people seem to form some opinion of what a Black Man is and some media had gone down the same path.
I personaly do not think much of it. A Black Man is just another man like other. For whatever reason, if someone one, a group of people think of 'Black Man' otherwise, that is simply THEIR problem, these are issues they ought to deal with individually. I personaly will live my live and will fulfil my destiny just like ANYONE else. I can't let someone else problem be mine. I can't bring myself to the same level as those with perverse, negative opinion of 'blackness' and let myself down. That will be the worse injustice I can do to myself. I love who I am today.
There are far greater problems and issues in life than 'Black and White'.
Anyone or any group of indivuals who at any given time dare to think of themselves as lesser or greater than any other human being suffer from 'inferiority and/ or superiority complex' that no treatment can cure.

Posted by: Pierre | July 12, 2006 02:31 PM

I am a black woman married for 25 years to the best black man in the world. He has been loving and loyal to me, to our family and extended family he has been a patriarch. My husband served our country in Vietnam, returned and served our Federal Government with honor and distinction for 36 years. As of now he is retired and serves the community that we live in in the Metro area with dedication.
I am so proud of him, he has been such a dedicated husband, father, federal worker, war hero, and community worker. If you only knew. However, he is so quiet about his accomplishments that he never touts them he is just a consistent, persistant doer who lets his actions speak for him.
I LOVE him, his family loves him. He is the consumate Black Man. Enough said!

Josephine S. Lawson

Posted by: Josephine S. Lawson | July 12, 2006 08:45 PM

To KB:

Sigh....you've missed the point completely. You don't have to describe Bill Gates as a white man because whiteness is the natural/every day standard that is rarely described as such. It's the rest of us, people of color, who tend to be "raced" and categorized.

Do a quick internet search on race and media literacy and you should get some good basic information to help you understand what I mean.

As to the rest of your response, please reread what I posted because I think you are confused. I don't know what you're talking about because I have never said anything about the projects and I haven't blamed anyone for anything, etc. The rest of your post has nothing to do with me and what I posted on here.

Maybe you're projecting some "issues" you have with people of color (and/or highly educated people) on to me since I'm a combination of both. I don't know.

Either way it's probably a good idea for you to do a doublecheck next time and make sure you are addressing your posts accordingly.

Peace

Posted by: A Spelman grad | July 13, 2006 12:09 AM

This is a very good series. However, I find it important to point out that we as a black community often blame others (whites) for our failures and many, many problems.
We have no one to blame but ourselves. We don't stick together. Our children run the streets, cut school, don't graduate, refuse to work and sell drugs, and we kill each other off.
Although the "white man" made us slaves 100 years ago, it's not that way today. Some of us still have that slave mentality. We've got to let it go and grown and learn.
The longer we hold onto to that slave mentality the further behind we are going to fall. Just because they call us niggers, we steal, and don't work... we don't have to accept that we can do better and rise above it.
Don't blame them if you choose not to work because you feel like you won't get ahead anyway. Work anyway and try to make a difference for yourself and for the community around you. Sometimes, all it takes is one positive person to make a HUGE difference!
Many slaves tried to escape and some were caught, killed, and beaten but those who managed to stay alive, and wanted a different life, they got it. They didn't give up and we cannot give up on ourselves.
I am a relative of William Still (Underground Railroad). I'm a 23 year old black female. I work every day with a lot of unpleasant white people. I always try to remind myself to rise above them, no matter what they say or do and no matter what their opinion of me may be.
It doesn't seem right that we have to work a lot harder to get ahead but we do. The minute one of us gives up (and many have given up) we're giving in to the slave mentality. Physically, we're not slaves but mentally, as a whole we are slaves. We haven't been able to let go of the pain they caused us so many years ago.
They way to move toward the future is to let go of the past. Many blacks (men and woman alike) haven't been able to and that's why we're stuck where we are today.
One thing that really angers me is the lack of respect we have for ourselves and our elders.
We don't think about or appreciate what people like William Still, Harriet Tubman, Phyllis Wheatley, Sojourner Truth, and Frederick Douglas have done for us.
They fought hard so we can have the freedom that we have and what have we done? Think about that.
We don't respect each other. When we see a peer driving a nice car, good job, a positive outlook on life, we don't congratulate them and keep them uplifted... we get jealous and "hate" on them. Why?
If we did that our communities would be so much better. We'd save a lot of children, families... there's be a more hope.
Gun violence, rape....it's tearing down our communities! We're dropping like flies people! We're killing each other off!
In short, it's hard out here for black men and woman and children because we still have that slave mentality. As I've said let go of the past, and you will be able to create a much better future.

Posted by: Tamara Still | July 13, 2006 12:45 PM

I thank American Black Men and Women for contribution to the United States. I am a man of yellow skin and I respect black men and black women.

Posted by: Huaichun Jiang | July 14, 2006 06:09 AM

I took the poll and would say I was kind of suprised by the some of the responses given by the majority of black male respondents. Then again it reinforces my belief that there is and always has been a silent majority of us who are not what has been depicted by the media. Either that or the poll only captured a specific black male demographic.

Posted by: Horace Simon | July 14, 2006 10:13 AM

Your questionaire gives simplistic options for complex issues. Like the country as a whole, African American men have become a diverse group. I would expect writers for the Post to deal with the issues of race in a more sofistocated manner than your survey allows.

Posted by: Rob Robinson | July 15, 2006 04:39 AM

Being a Black Man project make me wonder about many things like the theory of IQ. Here is what the Wikipedia Encyclopedia tells us: "While IQ scores of individual members of different racial or ethnic groups are distributed across the IQ scale, groups vary in where their members cluster along the IQ scale. Ashkenazi Jews and East Asians cluster higher than Europeans, while "Hispanics" and Sub-Saharan Africans cluster lower."
Not seing the usefulness, the accuracy and the scientific value of IQ theory what I can say is: "Give me a break."

Posted by: Bazeyi Hategekimana | July 15, 2006 03:21 PM

Real truth of the I have a dream era, it fail to address the fact that it never really gave blacks the true facts once a slave you will be a slave till you are in the grave.Most blacks can not see the dream. We are still slaves waiting our turn to live in the big house. We have done nothing to rebuild our grass root cash businesses, telling our children if they go to college they will succeed, dollar wise they are poorer then their parents. Blacks are after the White Man's jobs, only group of people taking that route, most do not and succeed.

Black America needs new blood lines, we need to reach out to blacks all over the world, most of our people need to return to Africa, the best country is South Africa. We need over free passage to those who want to escape this country, Marcus Gravey had it right.

Posted by: Charles Morgan | July 16, 2006 12:58 PM

I have really enjoyed these series and I'm glad it's opened up race discussions. I'm also hoping it is used to force positive change among the AA culture. Because, quite honestly, I'm getting tired of paying lip service to a race that really just needs to get their act together. And no one can do that by yourself.

Posted by: ilc | July 17, 2006 07:12 AM

This was a good project that helped to enlighten Post readers on challenges and perceptions of black males today. All Americans are facing more complex challenges these days. Preceptions are manipulated by repeating any message over and over again. For the public good and for balanced journalism, the Post should conduct an equally enlightening project "Being a White Man" to compare and contrast challenges and perceptions and to help our society advance into a truly colorblind society.

Posted by: P. Jochum | July 17, 2006 01:13 PM

Excellent series! Long overdue. I especially liked the article "The Young Apprentice". I would like to see Mr. Robert Pierre and the photographer Mr. Michel Du Cille nominated for the Pulizer Prize.

Posted by: Rhonda Lyle | July 17, 2006 08:05 PM

I'm the Mother of a 11 year old African American male and I love this work. This series of articles are the beginnings of much needed research that complied can facilitate substantive discussions regarding race, gender, and the economic impacts of ethnicity among all Americans. And, hopefully, it will inspire social change.

Continued Success...
Concerned Mom for the future of our youth...

Posted by: Artlisia Bibbs | July 18, 2006 11:52 AM

I believe that all whites should pause and think about the the immeasurable contributions that black men have made in this country in spite of legal and illegal obstacles. And black women need to be recognized as well for the support they have given to their "men" over many decades of oppression and denial of basic human rights.

Posted by: william coleman | July 19, 2006 03:11 PM

when growing up i had it hard, then i was blessed with steparents. they where very religous people. so we spend most of our time in church learning about the bible, which the name stood for basic instruction before leaving earth. which was important growing up.also teaching me morals and values of life. teaching me no matter what race or color we were, we are God's children and he created us in his own image .i feel very blessed, the problem with our blacks family is the female are playing both roles. i beleive u can accomplish anything in life, not matter what color u are, of course the blackman& women do have to work five times as harder then the white man& women. but If the black man set his goals and keep focus, he will succesful. and take the role of a blackman being repsosibile helping his blackwoman raise their children the right way. no matter we encounter in life.keep in mind The almightly God holds the key to all our lives. remember he created us from dust that's why adam and eve was created. and we will return back to dust . this is not our finally rest place, if we accept the lord and beleive that he sent his son down here on earth, that we make be saved from this sinful whole, one day we will live life to the fullness, we are not different then other people God send down here before us, the suffer even worse. in closing i try live like this if i can help someone along life highway no matter what race, creed or color, then my living would no be in vain. I believe God have already plan our future, but he gives us choices, the rest is up to us to decide which way to go.

Posted by: terry d. minnick | July 20, 2006 12:17 AM

The "Being a Black Man" Project is a superb idea! It provides a conduit by which otherwise unheard experiences and opinions would never be expessed. It is a window by which to view the minds and hearts of the misunderstood, the abused, and the neglected. It's a means for a young generation to know and learn of African American success and failure, joy and sadness, peace and calamity. Greatest of all, it is an educational tool to enlighten the curious and the ignorant about the life of black men in America!

Posted by: Andrew Barnes | July 20, 2006 06:35 AM

Meg Smith - You forgot the date that the first black slave was sold in the US.

Posted by: David | July 20, 2006 01:45 PM

Although I extremely love the series and diversity of opinions and knowledge, I think must of people reading this are already somewhat in tuned. My fear is the ones that need to know and grow - still don't know and grow because this isn't the time of thing they would read. So how do we reach and teach them. How do you explain to them the images they are putting out and feeding into are killing their spirit?
Rise up my people, rise up
Wise up my people, wise up

Posted by: Rick | July 20, 2006 03:00 PM

Kudo's to the Washington Post for highlighting the dire need of attention to Black Males. Reading over everyone's comments on the articles, I have noticed several intransitive gaps. To begin with, Whites don't understand our plight. Also, Carribean and African immigrants seem to place themselves above African-Americans, which retrospectively is not helping us find solutions. The problems Black Males face are complex in this country. A capitalist system only feeds the problem yet it's the only system that produce the most effective results. We need new leaders. The old guard..i.e. Jesse Jackson are hapless at best and are influence by the capitalist world. Rarely does Jesse offer practical solutions to problems. Instead he conveys a sense of dogma that is wholely ineffectual. We should have forums because the only way to find a solution to the "anemic" black males is to find our identity and then discuss it with other races/ethnicities. So to my black men, I say that you have to work hard and give back. The government should only be used as a boost and not as a dependent. We must work hard to succeed because nothing we be given to you. And for all of those who say "why isn't the Post doing a special report on other ethnicities?" I say to them that being a black man in America requires special attention due to the history that prevades us.

Posted by: Rasha Harvey | July 20, 2006 05:09 PM

I like your project, and kudos to the Post execs for their openness to your fantastic idea! Naturally, as a black woman...i can't help asking: so, would they let you (or someone else) do one on black women? That would be interesting too. Plus, it will expand your readership even more!

Posted by: | July 21, 2006 09:22 AM

When I first saw the Washington Post was embarking on this project I was somewhat anxious that it will degenerate into editorials about black men as victims of society. I am sad to report that this entire series so far has done just that.
As a black woman, I am deeply saddened by the status of black men in this country. As a group of people they have systematically failed in every positive aspect of life and have chosen to hold dear all negative behaviors. Instead of focusing on academics they place their hopes in entertainment and sports in hopes of making quick money. They seem incapable of taking responsibility for anything whether it be their own future, their children or even the current state of their communities. With a statistically shocking number of black children born fatherless and the AIDS epidemic in the black community black men have done nothing. Instead they have sat ideally while their women die and their children are orphaned. They have made themselves the constant victims of society seeking the pity of all who chose to listen to their never ending piteous tale.
What confounds me is that while they claim that the world is against them their women are making great strides in academics and corporate America.
But you see my dear friends it is not their fault. Our so called black male, the various Black athletes and entertainers, with multiple children out of wedlock, and the like are nothing more than morally bankrupt venture capitalist seeking to enrich themselves at the expense of the black community. These men are poor role models and as a result have produced a legion of men who justify their bad behavior by looking up to these so called role models.
I believe that the only way the black community will move forward is if we publicly denounce and reject bad behavior exhibited by our leaders and those in our communities. Let us stop shrouding everything in racism and start demanding more accountability. Yes, racism and discrimination do exist but personal accountability is one the most important pillars of a society. If a man cannot take responsibility for his actions how can he rectify them?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2006 03:43 PM

I'm a little dissapointed that there is not as much diversity as I expected on the types of black men one could be. Even stopping with just the imagery of black men on this site, I see black men on the corner and black men as musicians as the most projected images. What happened to the black men in suits or lab coats or in the Ivy League and other top tier schools? I'm sure their perspectives are added in the details of the series, but in terms of the packaging of this website, it seems like they are marginalized as if they are anomolies.

Also it just seems like a lot of the commentary about what it's like to be a black man comes from a standpoint of victimization and overcoming and not from one of objective empowerment. It just seems like the strong black men in my life are strong because they view themselves as strong men. They see their success not as beating the odds but as being the odds. Black man and victim should not be synonymous and their success should not be in terms of survival.

Posted by: U. Okasi | July 21, 2006 04:25 PM

I was instantly attracted to the article becasue of the name of the title. I am a African American Woman living in St.Croix, USVI, but I am from Washington,D.C.. I've always had concerns about Black Youth not only in Washington but in America.
I think this websit is awsome and the presentation was excillent. I would like to see a documentary on TV capturing the lives of the Black Man in America.

The two young graduates from Ballou are to be commeded for thier achievements and initative to stand up and make a difference.

Please keep writing positive news about our youth in D.C. they can and they do make a difference. We rather read something about Black Men that reflects the true nature of who they really are. Great Leaders Great Thinkers Great Lovers
Great Fathers Great Friends Great Achievers ETC...ETC...

Posted by: Diane Hampton | July 22, 2006 10:46 AM

Finally, we are addressing an issue that spans greater then black men killing, being murdered, robbing, raping, etc.

I truly thought the Ballou story was a fantastic read!!!!

Keep up the good work...

Next year do a series on the black woman.

Posted by: Shawn | July 24, 2006 01:44 PM

I learned that being a black man, meant to over come the self hate we were taught, and passed on to each other. I learned that being a black man from a prodominately white suburbs, not speaking slang, not grabbing my crouch, & other stereo-typical behavior made me a reject and an odd-ball in the black community. In other words, I wasn't black enough to be down, and surely not white enough to be in. Fitting in nowhere, but being very self aware.

Posted by: Keith A. Robinson | July 24, 2006 03:01 PM

Would someone please help me understand why it is so easy for blacks to kill each other? Do we hate ourselves & each other that much? Why don't we value life? Why do we trip off the smallest of all things, things that don't even really matter?

Why aren't the churches tackling the issues of self-hate, morals, and values? Why won't anyone admit that glamourizing gangster rap, bad behavior, material things & fast money has been catastrophic to our communities.

The sad fact of the matter is that I have a better chance in coming out alive with the KKK, then I do with my own people. I'm sure if you tally up the numbers of killing between Hate Groups and Blacks in their own communities, guess who would come out with the most killings.

Who are we to pass on this hate from one generation to the next, or from one person to another? Who are we to judge and hate anyone who different or from another country. What is the answer? How can this madness be stopped? All we seem to do is hurt one another. Whats up with that?

Why are people so petty and small minded. This person is too light skin, that person is too dark, this has good hair, this person has bad hair, this person has, this person don't, this person is gay, this person is a woe, this person is this, this person is that and so on. The real questions is what are you? Are you part of the problem or the solution?

Thank you Post for doing this series, but it needs more main stream attention. BET, JET, and Oparah needs to be in on this. Peace to all my brothers and sisters out there. Find peace, in Jesus' name.

Posted by: Al | July 24, 2006 04:48 PM

America is multiracial and multicultural. The difficulties blacks face isn't primarily due to race, but to culture. Condie Rice, Colin Powell, and other blacks who have attained power and wealth did so by taking the same road whites, asians, and hispanics have taken to achieve success. Education, hard work, dedication to a career, and adopting the dominant culture resulted in their successes and the successes of the Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Mexicans, and the dozens of other races who live in this country. Blacks have opted, as a group, to separate themselves from the dominant culture. They don't "fit in". They view hard work and a good education as "acting white". They are their own worst enemies. As a businessman, I've had the opportunity to hire blacks and to work with them extensively. When I am dealing with a black, or asian or hispanic, who is my cultural equal, his color is not a consideration. When I am faced with hiring a black, or any race, who speaks street slang, slouches, acts like a punk, or who advertises his "separateness", I pass. Funny thing! They know and understand this but continue down that lonesome road anyway.

Posted by: Ronald Stasch | July 25, 2006 01:04 AM

What is evident with substantial ambiguity is the fact that Black Men want the same opportuntites and rewards from life as any other man on the planet. It is also clear, that the Black Man is succeeding through perseverance, tenacity and unbridled determination dispite continued intentional impediment presented by American society. However, external challenges notwithstanding, this series present sterling examples of our human spirit and natural aptitude for excellence in whatever Black Men endeavor to achieve.
Thank you so very much.

Posted by: Raymond R. White, Sr. | July 25, 2006 03:42 PM

I can't tell you what it's like being a "black man", but as a new grandmother I am really concerned about the future of my grandson who was born on July 5th. To be totally honest, I am little frighten for his future. I am concerned become I do not fill that my daughter is ready to take on the responsibility of raising a black manchild in today society. She is 23 years old, not married, no job, living with her boy friend in his mother's house. This is not a good beginning. But I know that my faith must be in God for this child's parents and his future. When I see and read about the current event surrounding today's youth I am troubled but I know that in the mist of it all I have to take action and be a positive influence in my grandson's life. This is a tremendous responsibility and I must raise to the occasion for the sake of my grandson. I am concerned but I must believe that "all things do work together." Each day I look for definition and hope.

Sincerely,

Concerned Grandmother

Posted by: | July 26, 2006 06:43 AM

Dear Washington Post,

I was thrilled to see this series. I am a parent of a wonderful 5 yr old boy, who is black, I am native american. I am constantly looking for insight on how to best help my little boy with any issues he may face in the future and to be a proud, amazing, strong black man. These articles offer that. My son and I thank you.

Posted by: Jen | July 26, 2006 08:16 AM

Being a Black man in America is to be a member of the most set upon ethnic group in this country. The experiences of Black men and Black women are as different as the difference between lightning and lightning bugs. Black men have 6 times the suicide rate as Black women. They are unemployed at 3 times the rate as Black women.
Historically, Black men have represented a serious social/economic threat to their white controllers. Black women, no so. Black women were accepted into the main white household and cared for the white children, almost as a member of the family so to speak. They therefore are more acceptable to the white establishment. I describe this as the Mammy factor. Everyone loved Mammy. They wrote songs about her: "I'd walk a million miles for one of those smiles from Maaaaammeeee" Remember? None of those endearments have ever been ascribed to Black men. Uncle Remus, and Uncle Ben's rice, to the contrary notwithstanding. Lynchees were almost always Black men.
Black men are unemployed at twice the rate as white men. When unemployed, they remained unemployed for three times as long (The current average, 49 weeks compared to 11 weeks for white men.
As if that were not bad enough, the historical explanation of why Black men have those disproportionate number is because they are lazy, shiftless and irresponsible. Black men's imagery has always had those characteristics: ridicule. Remember Steppin' fetchit; Mantan Moreland, Amos & Andy, Calhoun; George Jefferson and "Kid Dynamite".
Black men will continue to have this negative experience so long as they are perceived by the image makers as clowns, gangsters and incompetent, none of which deserved.
Black men built this country. They have died in disproportionate numbers to defend this country. They want what other men want, an equal chance at life; a family, a steady job, fun. To date, America has denied them that. It brings about bitterness.

Posted by: Henry William Sands, Esq. | July 26, 2006 02:03 PM

I'm an African American male. A retired US Marine. Chairman of the Marine Corps Black History Month Committee. Father of five children. Married for almost 20 years. Civilian Government employee for over 3 years.

After watching the video on the young African American man being falsely arrested and being held for more than a week before they released him. It has changed my life.....FOREVER. And I thought I was well connected and well grounded in the life of an African American family/community.

There is a world out there that apparently I have been disconnected from for too long and its time to get reconnected.

Thank you Washington Post.

Posted by: William "Bill" Jones, US Marine Corps (retired) | July 26, 2006 06:03 PM

About Dyson's article on the July 21st. I think that he is missing a few valuable points about the Cosby crusade. Most importantly, poverty is always going to exist. African Americans have a much better chance of changing the commercial look of black america than disrupting the momentum of capitalism. Therefore there will always be poor blacks, but we don't have to always be exploited. What Cosby wants and what I want is for African Americans to give themselves the opportunity to gain the wealth and social standing that they desire, and to rise above exploitation. This is where personal responsibility takes precedence. Do poor blacks face the brunt of social injustice? Yes. But it will be difficult for them to articulate this injustice if they lack education. Dyson is right in his assessment that at some point we will have to fix the social injustice. But I extend this question, "When was the last time in this country that a social injustice was corrected by an act of congress or a local government?" Considering the various types of social injustice that we deal with today, the answer to that question is absurdly dissapointing. So lets applaud Cosby for trying to take a step in the most logical direction.

Posted by: J. Russell | July 27, 2006 10:53 AM

First i would like to say that this series on the state of Black in America is what we need and just wanted to say thanks. As a recent college graduate and now pursuing my masters degree i feel that this is a great time to be a black man in America. For those black men who have been prvilaged to attain B.A.degrees, M.S. degrees, and Phd's we need to go back and make other brothers and sisters aware that you can achieve your goals in this society but you have to work to get it. Nobody is going to give us anything. The resources are available but we are not taking advantage of them. Most of all we need to stop making excuses and look at ourselves. At the same time I feel that we should address the issue of institutionalized racism that African American men and women face today in society...for those who dont know institutionalized racism is an invisible form of racism...Its discrimination on the job, entertainment, sports, and within the media itslelf. A good example of institutionalized racism would be: The great presentation that was made about the two friends from ballou who graduated at the top of their class...i applaud whoever produced that...I thought that should have been on the news.....If it was, my bad i have been away at school. The other day i turn on the tv and the first thing i hear is "someone steals bleachers from Ballou High school." This event was on the news all day. My point is within the media negative events within the African American community are given more media time than the positive. This is all because of institutionalized racism. Keeping negative images of black men in the media keeps the race down. If you show positive images of black men in the media it will strengthen the race and many people dont want to see that but I do...Just wanted to leave everyone with something to think about....Washingtonpost keep up the good work..Thanks

Posted by: Brandon Buckner | July 28, 2006 04:03 PM

Very well written articles and series. This is a topic that affects not just Blacks but all Americans!

Posted by: Chris | July 29, 2006 01:25 PM

I enjoyed hearing Kevin and Steve's interview on NPR. In May 2006 I completed my thesis "African American Men:
Perceptions of Risk and Opportunity
In American Society". The research alone share's almost identical responses from the polls of "Being a Black Man". As a researcher and employee I've worked with California's most dangerous youth offenders (18-25). A high percentage of them were African American men. These wards have been convicted of burglary, robbery, rape, child molestation, drug trafficking and homicide, as well as a myriad of other offences. They have victimized our society in horrifying ways.
There was a time in my life when I would ask myself repeatedly: "why is it that so many innocent African American boys have committed some of the nation most notorious crimes?" After years of training and research, I've discovered that African American boys are not dangerous, they're endangered. As a researcher I believe that African American men are an endangered species in danger of self-destructing. For my information and results from my research, my thesis will be available in the California State University, Sacramento library in the fall of 2006.

Thank you,
A. McDaniel

Posted by: Arrickia McDaniel | July 29, 2006 10:55 PM

I'm not surprised that there has been little mention on the influence of media and the images they portray of people in this country. When media present such a limited and restricted image of Black men, it is to be expected that Black men as a whole iwll gravitate toward the type of behavior representative of the image they like best. The fallacy in all this is that most of those images are created for entertainment. Even so-called news media don't present the news so much as they present an image of people. Who creates this image? Certainly not the consumer, but instead the few people, mostly white, who dominate the editorial pages, the newsrooms, and the corporate offices of this country. If we're so concerned about Black men, then begin to present a well-rounded, non-sensationalized image of Black men, rather than supporting the false idea that you are presenting the image that consumers want to see. Do the right and moral thing as editors, producers, and the like.

Posted by: Ron | July 31, 2006 07:33 AM

As you can imagine, being pregnant at 16 is no picnic. I made bad decisions that only a 16 year old girl can make, blindly and ignorantly. I assumed I would figure it all out, go to school, get a job and provide anything my child could need. I worked my way through college with help from my parents but no financial support from my son's father. All the hard work paid off and with a Master's Degree and high paying IT job in the DC area, I'm able to take care of my son and help my parents as they age. So you are saying, that's marvelous for you, but I believe you are posting to the wrong blog. Believe me, I'm not. I read all of these articles with great intensity. I soak it up and wonder how I'm going to form this young man. Not only am I responsible for shaping my son into a man......I am responsible for shaping my son into a Black Man. You are probably thinking, well you love him and you steer him in the right direction. But 1) I'm not a man, so how can I teach a boy to be a man and 2) I'm white, so I have no idea the struggles he will face. I'm not blind to the stares, from whites as well as blacks, some more prevalent than others. To the world, he is a black man. They don't care that his mother is white. As he gets older, he's 14 now, he towers over me. I get comments like I'm dating some young teenage boy. And then total disbelief when they find out he is my son. Those things, in my opinion, are just things we deal with and inconsequential as far as I'm concerned, but I know it affects him differently. I find that he is starting to feel "embarrassed" by his "white" family that has raised and nurtured him. Not in a mean spirited or condemning way, but more in a I'm the different kind of way. My son was raised mostly in Arlington, where there are all ethnicities. Until this year, there was NO emphasis on race. They are now entering high school, and there are definitely racial acceptances. Although he deals with these things extremely well, how do I know I'm doing the right thing the right way? I know I overcompensate with material things but I believe most parents do that. I know he is obsessed with the Hip Hop world and Basketball but he has so many other talents. How do I teach him that race does not matter when I know there may be a time he gets harassed for being a young black man in new car in the "wrong" part of town, even though he lives up the street? How do I teach him that he can do anything he sets his mind to when the whole world just shows him videos and basketball games? How can I, as a white woman, raise a good Black Man? A man that is proud to be black. A man that is proud of where he came from. A man, that even though his father is not in his life, can forgive that, and let go of that anger, hurt and resentment. A man that realizes that material things aren't everything. But most of all, a Black Man that loves himself and won't settle for anything less than being the best that he can be regardless of the obstacles he must overcome. I read the articles and I have mixed emotions. Mostly, because I feel like he will be embraced by the Black community only if I'm NOT there. And he will only be accepted in the white community if I AM there. So I come back to my original question, how do I, as a white woman, raise a Black Man?

Posted by: TJ | August 1, 2006 11:27 AM

As a Black man from the civil rights movement, a Viet Nam vet,and baby boomer (60 years old this year), I believe we failed the next generation of our sons. We were so concern that they had it better than we did, that we missed teaching them the essentials of life.

We allowed the hype of Hip Hop Lifestyle to shape the dreams of our sons. The juice of masculinity has nothing to do with how much drugs one sell, the number of women one has sex with, or the number of crimes one does.
The male is created to conquer and we older men have failed to give our sons a cause. We had the civil right movement, but what do they have? This generation needs an international focus. Our sons should have combined our struggles with those of our Black brothers and sisters around the world, but we all are worst off than we were 25 years ago.

Posted by: Ronald Chancey | August 1, 2006 01:56 PM

I am white and single. My son's father is black and single. My son will be identified by some as Black. We live in an overwhelmingly white area. There aren't as many young black men in this situation - but we can't be the only ones. What kind of black man will my son be? Who knows? And how did your survey and story deal with the issue of being biracial?

Thank you

Posted by: Jennifer | August 2, 2006 04:37 PM

You try to present a well balanced discussion, and that's what you do. There is fairness and there is injustice. Just how much injustice can injustice can one individual tolerate, black, white, or any color? Mean spritedness, regardless of the target, is a human characteristic, and it has to be dealt with as a human thing, rather than a racial problem.

Posted by: Nick Polimeni | August 3, 2006 10:30 AM

Wonderful, as i young black man the biggest thing i see wrong with our communities is a lack of proper education. Not really schools, but education from the parents. Most brothers i speak to today think that some crimes are ok, some think calling a woman a "B.tch" is ok, most are paying child support, most see not purpose in marriage or either hate thier wives, we need a good moral education from our parents. its not the white man, its not the cops neither is it poverty. Remember, weve been poor before (60's) and we werent killing each other. Parents wake up and feed your children. They are crying for real food that lasts!!
Peace

Posted by: Tyrone | August 4, 2006 05:49 AM

Thank you for your article from Dr Dyson I enjoyed his responses to the questions. this brother knows what he's talking about as a black man.

Posted by: | August 4, 2006 07:42 AM

This article is refreshing showing the problems as well as the acheivements of black men in todays world. This has also made me reflect on my life growing up as a blackman in the United States and the changes that have occured during my lifetime. I have been blessed as a black man growing up in this period of time (born 1962)D.C. area. It has been hard at times trying to prove yourself as being good enough. But I had the opprortunity to be in a diverse community that had many role models for me to emulate. They told me that I could accomplished anything and that no matter where I ended up in life I should always hold my head up if I am doing right by God and my family(Which includes my community.I looked to my father , uncles and Grandfathers as my primary guides on being a blackman. My great grandfather was born a slave in virginia but he worked hard to provide a better life for his children. Both of my grandfathers never completed high school but stressed education and hard work to their children and grandchildren. I went to Green Valley elementry school in Hillcrest Heights near the Southern and Naylor road subway stations when that area was still predominately white and I remembered two black male teachers(Mr. Williams and Mr Smallwood ) who encouraged all of their students to acheive. The models I have had the chance to see growing up forged my ideals and goals. I Hope that these articles force us as black men to continue to stress responsibility, education, hard work and the need to go forward regardless of the hardships the world has put before them,to our sons and daughters. We honor our heritage by being role models for all we meet regardless of our background or chosen field of endeavour.

Posted by: Richard A. Greene M.D. | August 4, 2006 02:55 PM

Wonderful idea and I appreciate that the series is presented from the Black standpoint. I'm a PhD student who is involved in multiculutural studies and discussions in classes with people from many ethnicities and nationalities. In these discussions I carefully observe the participation, body language, and attitudes of Whites in the class. Many times they are NOT at ease in these discussions.

I say all of that to ask:

What is the target audience for this series? Are you tracking? Are you reaching it?

Hopefully you're not just "preaching to choir"!

Posted by: Shelton K. Jewette | August 4, 2006 04:59 PM

Being blackman:Some of the youth of today are like my son was.He couldnot learn,was calledlazy.He would lay around cause he didnot know what he could do.He didnot know how to work until we found a teacher who was able to teach him that if it was to be it was up to me.Today He has a wife a son and daughter,buying a home has ajob with benefits. His wife is teaching thier childen and they have a relationship with chirst. with christ they will make it!!!!

Posted by: Jack Smith | August 4, 2006 10:01 PM

I have read these articles repeatedly and what I dont agree with is why a black man is commended /rewarded /recognized for doing the normal things and good behaviors that many that men (and women) of other groups do as a matter of everyday good common sense ,drive,ethics,morals and judgement. Others do and struggle every day and have perservered. You can point to a variety of minorities in this country who came here throughout our US history. Many came here penniless, didnt know the language, didnt have the agencies or special programs to assist them,and also lived in extreme poverty. They faced prejudices and extreme hardships. Yet they overcame and continue to overcome. When I was young no one in my family or circle of friends,or schools pushed a racist belief or negative attitude towards blacks.I am now mid life and my observations over time have caused me to have opinions about black males. Not all blacks, and I am fully aware that there are many sucessful black men and black women and families throughout America. What I have observed or read continually is an incarceration rate of black men that is completely disproportionate to the total number of blacks and other groups who are living in this country.Do you really think they were incarcerated at their first or second episode of breaking the law? I have observed and read of black students who cant get to their school on time (or at all) and then everyone wonders why the test scores are so low and drop out rates that are so alarming.There is a disproportionate rate of young black men getting underage females pregnant and then who walk away,girls who then have their lives ruined by their pregnancies and babies, and are ill equipped with the capacity to succeed or even survive on their own.There is use of a variety of drugs, there is an attitude that the law dosent apply to them and that they will get away with it until the law does catch up to them ,and have attitudes that the only way they will succeed is through sports, entertainment,or by illegal means.I observe or read of black parents who cry when their child is met with a terrible demise yet are missing in action when the time for parenting was important. I have observed and read how fast the race card is brought into a conversation instead of taking responsibility for ones own actions. "African Americans"? Worry more and focus less on your own self importance of race and focus on being an American who just happens to be black. What matters are the pervasive negative behaviors that afflict many black males. What matters is taking responsibility for ones own actions.Look within at what you do before you look to blame others for your own shortcomings and failures. It is so much easier to blame someone ....than to say to yourself that it is up to me and me alone to succeed or fail in life and that there are reprecussions for the actions you take.

Posted by: | August 6, 2006 01:38 PM

I'm absolutely appalled at some of the respondents answers particularly black men and women on some of the issues. The biggest one being the question about whether or not the schools have failed black men. The schools and our education system have not only failed Black men but women as well. When you refuse to teach children about their historic greatness and true history and leave the impression that we were sent here on a ship to serve whites it has a devastating effect over the decades and centuries. There's what is known as the "polyglot" factor that simply means that the black child is unlike any other child on the face of the earth and must be taught and handled by those who "understand" and care for him. These children have a collective and historical memory of the vicious and brutal deaths their ancestors had to faceand the hatred they receive from society especially law enforcement on a daily basis. They are exposed to a system that dis enfranchises and alienates them every day of their lives. They are being taught by people who neither understands them nor like them. These people had no intention whatsoever of them attending schools with their so called precious white children.I'm sure that most of these respondents are those who were educated in European schools and subscribes to the European school of thought. Remember that Dr.Carter G Woodson once wrote that in moct cases those Negroes who attended and graduated with good grades from these European Institutions are the ones of least value to their own people and in most cases are those most useless to the struggle. Their thinking is a result of four yaers or more of advanced indocrination and thinking as a white. There absolutely "must be" a re education of America black and White.

Posted by: Kwame Osei Moyo | August 7, 2006 05:13 PM

I am a black female and have enjoyed reading the articles and discussions featured in this series. One piece which had a particularly strong impact on me was the discussion on interracial dating. I have had relationships with men of other races and respect anyone's right to find love with whomever they choose. I was dismayed, however, by the number of black participants who made some of the same generalizations about blacks of the opposite sex that many of "us" criticize people of other races for making. How can blacks deride non-blacks for making ignorant comments that are based on stereotypes when some of us seem all too eager to engage in the same practice? The truth is that positive, motivated individuals exist in all races. The same can also be said for those who are unpleasant and apathetic. Our impression of those individuals is driven by which traits we choose to acknowledge or disregard. It is unfair to speak ill of millions of people simply because someone has chosen to focus on the negative attributes of a select few.

Posted by: JEN | August 8, 2006 12:28 PM

This comment is in response to 'TJ' (who posted on 8/1)-

I would like to commend you for taking such an interest in your son's development and for placing such a strong emphasis on your role as a parent. I strongly believe that children as a whole would be better adjusted if more parents were as proactive and involved as you are. As a matter of fact, it sounds as though you already have some great ideas on how to raise a teenage boy to become a good man (regardless of his race). While I can't give you a tried and true method for "raising a good Black man", I can stress the need for young people to avoid letting societal and peer pressures dictate the kind of adults they will become. Unfortunately, many of the images of blacks in the media (which, sadly, far too many of us perpetuate and embrace) do not champion the notion of setting goals and devising a plan for achieving them. Your son (as well as the rest of us) must be true to ourselves and strive to make good choices regardless of what the rest of the world thinks. I wish you the best of luck. Your son is lucky to have a mother who is as thoughtful and concerned as you are.

Posted by: Mrs. N. | August 8, 2006 03:53 PM

This was a wonderful series. I found it to be very educational and often found myself emotionally connected to the people and places. We understand that there are many obstacles facing the black man and much ground has been lost due to crime, drugs and prejudices. However, there are still millions of black men such as my husband who have overcome the pitfalls by being deteremined not to become a statistic. I would like to thank you for taking the time to share a rich and proud people with the Post's readers.

Posted by: Reba Jones | August 9, 2006 06:51 AM

I have truly fallen in love with this series. It's great to see African-Americans represented fully. I think American tends to lump us together but the fact is we are as diverse as a people as anybody. I hope this series continues to shed light on the trials, and tribulations of our community. What we've needed was a forum to open the lines of communication and attempt to heal our wounds as a people.The journey is far from over but with similar ventures such as this I feel we are beginning to make progresss.Thank You!!!

Posted by: Ms. Anderson | August 10, 2006 01:16 PM

I live in south Florida and I am concerned about how few blacks actually served on Jury duty. I have been called to serve twice in the past 4 years. I was not selected on either time that I appeared. Each time I observed a very small percentage of blacks in the pool. We made up less than 5% of the pool. This percentage is obviously not representative of the population. The second time that I was called to serve I met an older black gentleman and we had lunch together at a nearby restaurant. I made it a point to ask him if it was his first time being called and how he felt about jury service. He was originally from Jamaica, and in his heavy accent he said that he was called two other times and did not show up. He said that he only came this time because he was afraid they would prosecute him for refusing to serve. He basically was there to go through the motions. I tried to encourage him about the importance of serving, but at the same time it was quite alarming, because I thought about how many other blacks might feel the way he does. I also, realized that I used to feel the same as he does about jury service. If the prosecution wants an all white jury, they don't have to work real hard to eliminate a few blacks in the pool.

On that same day, it happens to be "juror appreciation day" and we were asked to wear a "Juror appreciation button". Both of us wore our buttons at lunch and I observed that many people, "mostly whites" were staring at us. I wondered if it was because of the buttons. One guy was brave enough to say, "Did they make you wear those badges?" I proudly replied, "No, I don't mind wearing it." I then thought to myself that as a juror I could potentially have the power of determining that (white) man's fate in my hands some day. At that point I was reminded again of how important it is to serve, because just I had the power to convict and I also had the power to set free. I would never vote to convict someone unless the evidence says so. I would give that white man the benefit of the doubt, that he is innocent first. I believe that in most cases black defendants are viewed first as "guilty" by white jurors and are given an uphill battle to prove their innocence. I know that proving one's innocent is not always easy. On the other hand I would not have a problem convicting white or black if the evidence says they are guilty according to the law. I have never been arrested before, but have been stopped more than once for "dwb" (driving while black). I don't know any black man who has not. Most of my white coworkers don't realize that this is common. We know that racism is still very much alive in America and the ratio of blacks in prison is disproportionate to the population. I believe that some are innocent and many did not receive fair trials. I would venture to say that most of the jury's that render verdicts don't look nothing like the accused. My theory is that we (blacks) don't commit more crime; we are just convicted more often. I believe that we need to realize how important it is to be apart of these institutions liking jury service, that we have been given rights to by the people before our time. As a people we need to change the way we think about juror service. We need to realize the important of it and think about the possibility of being on the other side and walking into a room of potential jurors that don't look nothing like you.

Posted by: james smith | August 10, 2006 04:15 PM


It disturbs me that this dialogue is necessary. It disturbing because every black man in America, the United States to be geopolitically correct, knows what it means to be a black man in America. Is this project some type of survey to assure white Americans know that their white privilege still prevails? Is this project another attempt to create another stereotype of Black Males? Is this another attempt to define and classify Black Males for another perverse sociological study?

To express my opinion about the "Being a Black Man" project, I had to follow the "discussion guidelines." These guidelines specified that I am not to do any of the following:

"You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence will not be tolerated."

These guidelines are ironic because as a 'Black Man', in the United States, these very basic principles are violated, in one way or another, on a daily basis.

So based on my experience, and an informed historical experience of Black Men in the United States, to be a 'Black Man' means constant subjugation and humiliation. To be a 'Black Man' in the United States is to be denied the right to fulfill our potential. It is the denial to the human right of 'life' beyond the most basic physical functions. Although some black men will argue otherwise, especially those who stand to gain from their brother's misfortune, the much relied on statistics stands as scientific evidence of this denial.

Derrick Bell informed the world in, "Faces at the Bottom of the Well," about the necessity of the 'isms' that Black men in the United States are subjected too. This is something that most Black men know from the time they become aware of their environment.

If the aim of your project is to change the lot of 'Black Man' in the United States, you should focus on how to destroy white privilege and the negative portrayal of 'Black Men' by the media.

Posted by: Harrison Shelton | August 10, 2006 06:29 PM

BLACK AND WHITE,INDIAN AND CHINEESE,METT EACH OTHER ,THEY ALL CREATE US GOD.THEY ARE LIKE WE ARE,THEY ARE THE SAME BODY THE SAME FEELING AS WE ARE,THE ONLY DEFERENT IS THE OUTER SKIN COLOR, INSIDE THIER BODY ,OR INSIDE MY BODY IS THE SAME COLLOR AS GOD CREATE US . JERRY.08/10/06

Posted by: JERRY | August 10, 2006 06:53 PM

I am a white man, so, obviously, I cannot understand fully what it is like to be a black man. However, I did grow up in Illinois with a large percentage of my community being black, had many black friends, and had no problem with any of them. Since moving from IL and growing up a little, I have noticed that not just black men, but many minorities, seem to feel like they are owed something because they are in a minority class. This translates into many issues that I view as racism towards myself...an average, middle-aged, white man. When I was in college as a young newly married man with very little income, I looked frantically for scholarship opportunities and found many that I was qualified for, if I had been a minority (American Indian, Black, etc.). However, because I am white, I could only find scholarships wherein you had to have almost impossible characteristics to be considered (very high GPA, relative in a war, Russian ancestors, etc.). Also, in the work environment, I feel that I may be discriminated against because an employer needs a certain number of minorities on their payroll legally. How are these two examples fair to me, an average white man in America? I have worked hard to get an education, and am still working hard to put food on our table. I struggle, I stress, I worry just like anybody else. I think that we need to work on our views from both a minority and majority side. Maybe minorities are treated badly overall...maybe majorities are as well. One more quick story: I was doing some church work in a part of town that I was not all too comfortable with when I came upon 2 young men, 1 white and 1 black. I was uncomfortable with them because of the area that I was in...not because of race. In an attempt to get more comfortable, I asked if they played basketball (I was going to invite them to play at our church). The young black man then said, "Do I look like I play basketball?" and got in my face. Obviously, trying to get into a racial battle. I agree that minorities may not always get a fair shake in this world, but I also believe that majorities attitudes would drastically change if, for lack of a better way to say it, the "race card" wasn't forced on us in every situation of our lives, be it innocent or not.

Posted by: Mike B. | August 14, 2006 02:06 PM

In Response to Jennifer Aug2


My son and nephews are biracial, and you have to raise as if their just black because that's how the world and society will view them & treat them. Yes, surely acknowledge their white heritage as well, but prepare and strengthen them to deal with what the world may throw at them. Remember that blacks have been brain washed from the time of slavery until now to hate them-selves, and not have self esteem or pride. Only the mental and spiritually strong can get pass the direct, indirect, and subliminal attacks that bombard the black male child or man day after day.

Those who are not strong and can not cope turn to drugs, crime, and violence. The black community and the kids in it have been taught that it is not cool to be smart and get an education. They focus on living for the moment and in the moment, and have no thought of their future. They live up to every negative stereo-type they have seen portrayed on the street and television. They are proud of it, without the least amount of shame. Negativity, destructiveness, disrespect, and crime has been glamorized on TV, Video Games, Movies and Music. To the kids of today, this is a way of life and how to be. You have parents nowadays that are not parents, but want to be cool and be the child's friend instead of teaching and mentoring them. Parents nowadays smoke, party, curse, and hang out with their children. They do not teach them morals and values. Kids today do not value them-selves, so they will not value you or your life.

It seems as though no one in the black community, schools, or churches will address the fact that over all, black do not like them-selves; that they drown daily in self-hate. This is why it is so easy for them to kill one another. They don't feel good about them-selves or who they are, and they project this self-hate on to each other daily. They constantly verbally put each other down, or they are just straight out violent, lashing out. Jealousy, envy, hates, and negativity rules the black community. I found it hard being a black man especially when I got the worst treatment from my own people. My worst experiences were with my own kind. Thank God that I was strong and over come, but it was not easy, it was a process that did not happen over night.

I learned that when you accept and like yourself, you can get along better with others without all the conflict and confusion. You are able to accept and like others with compassion when you like, understand, and accept yourself. For blacks to mistreat anyone, or be racist is beyond me. I have seen my people be cruel and down right nasty to each others as well as others for no justified reason. I would think that slavery and having to fight for equal civil rights would have made us a better people, but not so. We've forgotten the struggle and its true meaning. After being hunted, hung, killed, denied, injustice, slavery, beat, left out, spit-on, passed-over; I would think that we as blacks would not treat anyone else like that, but that is not so. We have no right to be racist, hateful or mistreat Hispanics, gays, and women. We should be better than that, above all that with understanding and compassion. We did not like it when it was done to us, why turn around and treat others the same way when we did not like it.? It does not make sense.

Remember that love has no color. We all are Gods Children whether we are black, white, or biracial. People stop hating. Stop the spread of hate that kills us all everyday. Stop hating on biracial children, stop hating Tiger Woods because he is with a woman not of color, stop hating on gays, stop hating on Hispanics, stop disrespecting our women and each other. Stop preaching and teaching hate in the churches and schools. If you are preaching against biracial marriage & children in church, then you are preaching and teaching hate. Pushing hate in the pulpit, how shameful. You can not be a true man of God preaching and teaching hate. God's love has no color, just because it is something you don't prefer or like personally doesn't mean you preach against it and claim that it is God's word when it is not. If you don't like interracial couples, dating, & children that is your personal issue, not everyone else. Go to God with your issue and let God deal with it and not you. You are not perfect, nor do you have the power to take anyone's free will to live & choose. Stop forcing your personal preferences and beliefs off on everyone else as if it were the true gospel. You have a bunch of hateful, prejudice, hypocrite, bigots in our churches and neighborhoods. STOP THE HATE, STOP KILLING, STOP THE VIOLENCE, STOP THE CRIME. Wake up my people and get a clue. Listen to Non-Chalant's Five O'Clock , there is a mesaage there. We need to get back to raising our children and being a community.

My brothers, whether the world wants to admit it or not; it is true we are the most covet object on the planet, but that does not mean we abuse and misuse it, which a lot of you have done and it has given us all a bad rap. Stop exploiting women and everyone else that desire us, and be real men of honor, integrity, truth, and protectors and not violators.

The black on black crime is way too high and must stop. Seek peace that you may know it, and not material objects. Teach our black boys that to be a strong protector of our women and communities is a good and manly thing. True men are protectors, not violators. True men stand up for something, and don't fall for anything. True men have nothing to prove to anyone and have self-assurance of & in them-selves and can be-friend a gay person who maybe a productive member of the community. Most of them usually are. True men stand up to thugs, rapist, and drug dealers to protect their home and community. True men teach and give guidance. True men chastise in love and compassion. True men give of them-selves and their time, especially to the fatherless. Ask you self are you a true man, and what do you stand for? Are you part of the problem or the solution? Leave the judging up to God and lets get busy people. Our kids are dying out here. We should love all children whether they be black, white, yellow, fat, skinny, gay, straight, rich, or poor. Just because you don't know a person doesn't mean that they are not loved by others. Don't hurt other's love ones, you would not want anyone to hurt your loved ones. Teach your children that my people. Peace to you all.

K. A. Robinson

Posted by: K. A. Robinson | August 14, 2006 04:59 PM

I never had any problems with black people before, then one day I went to the U.S. and saw the situation there. People told me to stay away from blacks. I know you can never ever change some people but please let them know that there are also white people on this planet, loving black people and white people in whose history there was no slavery for black people. Skin color, religion or countries may differ but civilization is one and united. I may not be a Christian but I am civilized and that way I understand other people. I hope one day everyone thinks this way, so we can find a solution to all this suffering.

Posted by: Onesomeone | August 14, 2006 05:09 PM

One of the young men in the video made a comment that some people say that God doesn't love them as much because they are Gay. That's not true at all. I'm not condoning Homosexuality but I am not one to judge that choice. God doesn't hate homosexuals, he hates the sin and yes it is a sin; just as lying, fornicating, adultery, murder and stealing. He doesn't hate the people who commits those sins either, He hates the sin. Stop feeling sorry for yourselves and live your life because we all have to answer to a Higher Authority.

Posted by: Michelle White | August 15, 2006 04:00 PM

It is the worlds greatest blessing. What we as Black Men lack is a self awareness with a strong consciousness, we are confused within and have been dealing with this post traumatic issues. We have tried many things to release the demons of those who have committed the greatest crime in record history.Our plot and condition is really not that hard to resolve and figure out. We just have to cast away all that we have been taught by those who kidnap. Once we do that the blackman with the black woman can begin to build for we are not without one another that is what nationhood is all about. Doing for self
Any blackman or men wish to build or collaborate feel free to share my email address and name.

Posted by: King Charles E. Jones | August 17, 2006 03:12 AM

It is very difficult being a "black" man today, having to "act black" to fit in and be accepted by others in the black community. However intelligent we are, we are forced by our own race to take an anti-intellectual stand, or be labeled as "acting too white". This is sad for many of us are much brighter than we are allowed to be. Unfortunately, it is US rather than THE MAN keeping us down.

Posted by: You'll Call Me Uncle Tom But It's The Truth Anyhow! | August 17, 2006 11:15 AM

Growing up a black male in US was bittersweet. Bitter because of the heterosexual Christian bigoted culture. Sweet in that despite all the odds you're faced with, I achieved my professional and educational goals thanks to a good educated parents.

10 years ago,I decided to leave America behind and move to Europe . The question now is Being a Black man in Europe. One thing for certain though it isn't glamourous, it is a less stressed social environment. Living here and becoming a EU citizen, I've been able to shed "the chip off the shoulder syndrome" that all discriminated persons have to live with. I live a better healthly life mentally in Europe than we black men in America.

Ed in The Netherlands

Posted by: Ed Vince | August 20, 2006 08:12 AM

I am white and once had an Afro-American friend, single mother with a child. I was playing with her daughter, holding her on my laps, giving her little gifts sometimes. Once I asked her, "why don't you say 'thank you' for the gift? The little girl answered: "my mother told me never thanks to a white man". I do not think the girl can be happy in her future life, living with the complex.

Posted by: Friendly | August 22, 2006 11:05 AM

I am just curious if there will be a second part of this dedicated to black women? I thought this special was well done. It was interesting hearing black mens' opionions in such a well done manner.

Posted by: B. Hickman | August 22, 2006 12:56 PM

Great series!! I am a black woman in Corporate America, struggling, (and I mean STRUGGLING) to make it. By "make it", I mean, to be successful, to have my contributions acknowledged, and be valued.

I just wanted to share a great tool that I think at least some readers may find useful. I encourage you to read "How to Connect in Business in 90 seconds or less" by Nicholas Boothman.

Now don't tell me you're not going to read it because you aren't into business or because the author is not black or because you think I personally I have something to gain. This book is full of practical skills I found I lacked partly because of my upbringing in the Black community. I am sharing it with you because I believe a lot of young black men and women will find as much encouragement, inspiration and practical advice for navigating Today's America, corporate and otherwise, with confidence, as I am finding.

A. Sweeney

Posted by: A.M. Sweeney | August 22, 2006 04:37 PM

Sigh...

The most interesting responses are those that believe
1. all black men prepetuate gangsta life
I think the fact the ppl still believe this is a sign of how racism and ignorance still exist. I grew up in a small town and moved to a city and had my eyes open to see all the wonderful hardworking black men, owning businesses and being productive - and then I found out that that is infact most black men - statistically. Though we have some problems to deal with - a maor one is the media's lack of focus on most, normal everyday black men. Yeah we got some crazies, but most are not. And the media's disproportionate coverage is what allows ppl to beleive that most black men are out to get their purses, and that's sad.

2. are disgusted by the subject of what it means to be black in America

I think why not do a study on what it means to be a woman in America, or an Asian (japanese, korean, phillipino, etc.) why not? why do so many ppl have so much resistance to trying to understand someone besides themselves?

Posted by: Rebecca | August 22, 2006 05:40 PM

Being a black male myself, I have mixed feelings about this hold thing. What I am trying to say, is that black men (young and old) must share some of the blame for some of our foolishness (example: black on black crime). I watch my own, time after time look for someone or somebody of another race to save us. We must save ourselves. And the gifted black financial moguls and athletes, yeah they must give back. But they are also entitled to feel safe or appreciated when they do.

I am a 37 yr old man living in NYC. I lost my parents when I was 6 yrs old. I got emancipated by the state of Va. at the age of 16. I managed to graduate high school on time and go into the Navy, just to support myself. After service I knew I needed to make a descent enough salary to support myself and possibly a family someday. Not having enough money, going to school was not a option. But getting locked up wasn't one neither.

I started looking at men and women that had a model life style that I wanted (white, black or whatever). I also knew t.v. was not real(know fantasy from reality). I also battled stereo types of a black man by having versatility (speak proper on the job and ghetto in the streets and stop spending money on gear). No I was not a sell out. I just knew how to survive. I also went for target jobs that was in demand and also paid a descent salary (what we want isn't always what we need). No I didn't use the military as a reference neither. I sold myself and my skills like a hustler selling that good stuff on the corner. And I always made sure my product was better than the rest or average (my product = ME, MY WORK

Now I have 3 beatiful healthy children a beautiful wife and we both drive a LEXUS (not old ones). And we are about to purchase our own house and I have started my own business. All this with a high school diploma.

And sista's stop using your children as a tool against the fathers. Because if you are, you are now apart of the problem.

God Bless Us All!

Posted by: Stephen Witcher | August 23, 2006 01:06 PM

"Being a Black Man" must be sub-divided into two categories: The new Black immigrant population and their descendants (from West Africa, the Carribean and South and Central America,) and the African American black men that are direct descendants of the earliest African Americans to inhabit North America (through slavery and early immigration.)

This distinction is necessary if we are going to change the catastrophic and awful status quo of Black men in America. From the rising prison population to rising high school drop outs, the state of African American men is not good.

But take a visit to America's halls of higher leaning, science laboratories, law school faculties, medical colleges, why is it that the few African Americans we see hold foreign sounding names, and many not even native born?

Why do black immigrants from Trinidad and Tobago and Ethiopia and Kenya do so much better than our native born blacks?

Why do immigrants who come with nothing, end up with everything and our native born population still wallow in persistent poverty?

My opinion, as a black immigrant, is that our native born population have been taught, pampered, nannied, spoilt - to be life-long victims. They always have their eyes on "The White Man" and all the injustices he represents.

We have failed to realize that in an increasingly shrinking world, competition amongst nations has left zero room for crocodile tears, or atonement of past sins. There's no time for that anymore, for our competition is no longer our neighbors, but the chinese and Indians as well. no time to wait for anyone to "catch-up".

The lessons of the civil rigths movement has been mis-interpreted, over-interpreted and taken in the wrong context. Those who've interpreted the lessons correctly are enjoying its purpose. Those who interpret it to mean everlasting penance for the White Man, and everlasting victimhood for the black Man remain blind to the opportunities before them.

Fresh black immigrants come in with a fresh zeal to go to college, get good grades, have a decent families and live happier lives. They don't need to be bribed to go to high school, they go because they know this is an opportunity thay may not have had in their home countries.

So I implore all native born African Americans to stop looking to blame governments, or white people or slave traders of centuries past, but to take a close introspective look at the success or your immigrant brothers.

Watch, learn, emulate.

It is difficult to dispose this trans-generational virus that keeps our native black population tied up. Merging with the immigrant black population will provide the much needed energy to break this virus, and set you free. This is the best way to change the status quo.

Posted by: P. | August 23, 2006 02:33 PM

The video just reminds us, African Americans', how far we have come as a people and far we have to go to have the same respect as any other race. To be a Black Man in America takes, love, pride, honesty, trust, patience, time to help build on the path of succes that our grandparents and great-grandparents built for us. It's is already hard being Black in America but to be a Black Man is twice as hard. Being A Black Man other races expect for you to be a star athlete, or great with fixing things "trade workers" or a Rapper. I have been in many situations where people of other races assumed I could rap, dance, or an athlete. Also, being a Black man you always feel the need to satisfy not only "your boys" but everyone else too. I personally feel that we as a people are settling for what is given, i.e. a job. We need to want careers and own our own buisness to build up the Black community. Black men are still plagued by Wille Lynch, Cointelpro "Partiot Act", and other things that will not allow Black People rise. When will the hate end!

Posted by: Born In a Time of Struggle! | August 26, 2006 12:25 AM

While I respect your efforts, I don't think it's possible to sum up the life, experiences, beliefs, feelings, etc., of any human being or group of human beings in articles.

If anything, I believe that this series may promote more stereotypes because people will believe that the studies' findings are fact.

Also, I'm sure many of the people who responded to the questions posed by your surveys aren't even black men. Therefore, the findings would be quite pointless.

Posted by: Candice | August 28, 2006 11:39 AM

Congratulations on a brilliantly executed special section on a very important topic, one that is often hard to bring into focus. Your web-based presence had strong content as well as form--I especially appreciated the interactive poll--and I've e-mailed it to several folks, starting with my own son who's a sophomore at a HBCU.

Posted by: Tony Cox | August 28, 2006 04:12 PM

I think being a black person or black man we should be treated the same way is white people.We might be a diferent color but must of us are justthe same.And the president should be ashame of himself.

Posted by: Brenay Goss | August 29, 2006 12:02 PM

I am a Canadian school teacher. I see and deal with many problems in my middle school students, but the underlying source of almost all problems is the parents of these students. Parents who are stressed to the brink of depression and parents who in many cases came from equally distressed families. The problem of racisim in North America is perpetuated by parents who bring their children up to judge and condem others. And as long as this continues, racism will never die. As a school teacher, I know I could do far more for this world if I could have the parents of my students come to school for a year. As a teacher and as a parent, I have always instilled in children a sense of self worth for their openess to others regardless of race. Parents need to accept Dr. Martin Luther King's dream, which can only come true if the very young know and understand.

Posted by: Mark Driscoll | August 29, 2006 01:16 PM

Priority is the key, do right. Also,
become financilly stable, the race as a
whole should stop buying things that we
cannot afford, this will help stabilize
the home. Additionally, marry the right
person, stopped being taken in by money,
looks, and serviance. Most important, stop
have more children than one can afford,
especially in multi-family situtations.

Posted by: | August 29, 2006 02:38 PM

To respond to the comment "quit blaming everyone else... the race card is getting old in America". I agree, the race card is old because racism has been around a long time. So yes, it's very old! You commented in your response "Now ask Black women in America their opinions about Black men and the reasons and nuances behind their failure... Well, I am a Black woman and my response to you is that one does not fail when one is not allowed to try. When a man is judged by the color of his skin instead of the quality of his intellect, the measure of his strength, the sweetness of his soul, or the content of his character he can not succeed. This term "the race card" is just the newest attempt to discourage Black people from speaking out when racism rears it's ugly head.

Posted by: A. Finley | August 31, 2006 12:36 AM

I am a 45 years young African American King. I am printing out every comment made to this point to assess the different views on this issue. I do know that for Afrikan men of the world to regain their proper place and respect in the world community, humility, unity and unconditional love must be cornerstones of direct and focused action. We are our brothers keeper. Yes, much oppression has been placed on our backs and minds of men however the Creator's will will prevail.

Posted by: Warren Green | August 31, 2006 04:24 PM

This was and is one of the best presentations of what is in the hearts of every black man, young or old, in America, and should be available to every school in the country.

Posted by: Jerry Clark | September 1, 2006 11:40 PM

Hello,

I am a black woman married to a beautiful, hard-working and inspiring black man.

I have shared this website with my husband, and I am sure that he will respond, but there were some points that I wanted to share as the wife of a black man.

The black man that I married is my rock. He gets up every day and goes out into the world to make a living for his family. He tells his sons that he loves them every day. He is a thoughtful man, who in our 14 years of marraige, has never spoken out of anger or called me out of my name. He is the person whom I admire the most because of his depth of character and the deep and abiding love that we share. Sincerely, Mrs. Warren

Posted by: Mrs. Jamie Warren | September 2, 2006 07:38 PM

I think that it is good for people to up front about thier sexual prefences. Be up front with the women, if any that many DL, men mislead. There are plenty of women that would still get their "thang on" with a bi-man. But just don't lie about it. But what I do have issuses with is the gay communty and the church.Bottom line is that God is not at all pleased with this life style. Straight up, I don't care how you try to spin it to fit you and how you feel. God dosen't like it, it says so many times in his word (bible). But now don't get ne wrong God loves you yes, this is true indeed. Because you are his creation, he knew you before you were formed in your mothers womb. But God desire for your life and what you do with it is some thing different. Thank-you for sharing your life stories and opionions with the world. For myself, a straight women, it has answered some questiones that I had.

Posted by: Michelle | September 3, 2006 09:05 PM

When i was growing up as a youngter in the south all i wanted to do was come up north to live that was a goal of mine to get away from the the k.k.k. and hate and after high school thats what i did ,but only god knows as a black man and i would find out later is you can never run away from who you are if your are a black man living anywhere.you are not treated the same its a doubled standerd i have a lot of personal run in with the law and you 're talked to like a dog and not respected so being a black man project was in one word AWESOME you can never say you know how i feel unless you walked in a black man shoes and if you do the blood from your heart will drip out of your heart on the sidewalk from your bootprint thats how low they make you feel sometimes that the heart bleeds for every step that you take as a young man the elders would say young buck keep your head up and dont walk with your back bent over stand up a look them right in the eye when you talk to them and to this day not only do i carry that with me ,now i see my Son and Daugthers doing that when they speak one thing i told my kids is you have to STAND FOR SOMETHING OR YOUR FALL FOR ANYTHING IM PROUD TO BE A STRONG BLACK MAN

Posted by: jeremiah sutton | September 5, 2006 09:30 AM

As an HR person for a nonprofit organization in Jax, Florida, I often hear from so many young men who are trying to get themselves back on track after either too much partying during freshman year of college or fathering a child and feeling that they need to drop out of college to provide support. I know, of course that there are many who are not even trying. But I believe that if mommas could just harness the energy of their young sons early in life, teach them that there is a time and place for everything,to use family planning (condoms, abstinence), to think before acting on impulse, and no sports until homework/studying is complege, our lives could be better- our outlook would be brighter.

Posted by: B. Hamilton | September 5, 2006 01:51 PM

I have a very, very difficult time with this series. Perhaps 30 years ago, "Being a Black Man" would have really represented being a "black man". To label a man with a group means that he is not just a part of that group, but as a man, he is the strength of that group. I don't see in men that happen to have black skin today any strength towards their communities unless you are speaking of America in general and their success or failure at assimilating into white culture/society. Let's be honest and use the right terminology.

Black men of today seem to want to be thought of as just men. Not "black" men. The connotation of being a black man suggests responsibility towards the "black community" which includes black women and children. In case you masterminds of this series didn't notice, these men seem to do their best to disassociate from black communities at the moment of a sense of success. I'm not talking about writing checks to the NAACP. I'm talking about raising black children in the home, with a black family (black wife). God forbid I've insinuated marriage and connection to a woman black like them. I know that offends some and I apologize.

However, the fact that such mentality exists suggests to me strongly embedded internalized racism where they don't even see their "black group" or ethnicity as relevant to who they are--complete disassociation and apathy towards the "others" in the group. The rise above them in an almost boyish way.

These men seem to see no purpose or need to identify themselves with "black women" because as racism (hierarchies by the majority) have taught them being white is prime and therefore of course gaining success and gaining status means living ideally white thus having white or non-black mates is prime when success and ambition fit him--a show of status and achievement. For someone with brown skin anything without brown skin fills that billet and this stems from racism.

Why is this relevant? Well how do you talk about black men without talking about black families?? A man heads the home.

My point is that looking at the psychology of racism and its affects on "black men" that created the black men of today goes beyond the ability to obtain material goods. That is just surface. Deeper issues are how you come to see yourself in comparison to the racist (which is the dominant) group whose ideals are the ones you are subjected to daily in all ways. In reality seeing oneself as a man with no group identity as a "black man" is much easier than being a man to a disadvantaged group. That requires selflessness, risk for more racism, hard work, and a high self-esteem to affect healing and change in a community broken by racism and poverty.

These are men bent on assimilation not on unity for their communities or uplifting them. They say it very clearly themselves. History is irrelevant because there is no pride or connection with it. Historically, who they are now is derived from of course where they and their ancestors have been, but now they have freedom and choices and the choices these men are making are clear.

Yet even then when you look at the history: black men during slavery (being broken from family), then after slavery (not being able to support ones family and abandoning the responsibility--many of today's black men were and are solely raised by black women), and now a time of opportunity (choosing assimilation and disassociation from the black group)--this series doesn't really reach the complexity of what has happened and is happening with black men. Black men are in jail. Men that happen to be black predominate what's in society. It is a nice notion but dishonest in really analyzing and reviewing where he's been, where he's at and where he is CHOOSING to go and why. You can not analyze being a black man without analyzing the black group and the portrayal of everything that makes up his manhood since being taken from Africa and that includes the role, or lack of, he has played with the women and children (male and female) of his own community.

Posted by: Angel | September 5, 2006 04:00 PM

I posted a previous comment without really reading enough of what has actually been observed in this series. I feel bad because there is a definite effort to be honest here about the problems facing black men--putting the responsibility on the choices of black men and not blaming others. I thought the transcript from the "Being a Black Man -- The Poll" was really well thought out. It was a great way to get people talking and to see how people really view them.

It is just such a sad thing because it is true that what black men need starts in the home--a structured family with a mother and a father teaching them values. Not homes with just a mother who is ultimately broken down under the pressure of raising kids alone in a society where she is a minority and faces many of the same challenges without the option to quit on her kids or go off and find herself leaving such responsibilities behind.

So sad it is because there is a genuine erosion of values and concern for the black community amongst black men. It is like dealing with a blank slate. If the best thing a young black man has to say about himself is "all kinds of women love us--white, asian, other" than we are beyond in trouble. People don't love what they don't know. Who is there to teach these boys a sense of community and what it means to be a real man with a real purpose in life that goes beyond a fantasy image of virility created by the rap industry and music videos. Those women don't love black men. They love the fantasy of the over exaggerated sexuality of black men that is a part of the problem with the black male psyche. Black men have real problems that command real love and respect for oneself and ones community to solve or else they really are a dying group. We can make it sound pretty if we want (acting like Cosby was wrong), but if it was this series wouldn't be needed.

Posted by: Angel | September 5, 2006 08:22 PM

I feel this is great topic for all our schools(mid-schools)this kids can start creating good social skills that they can have a better understanding about differences about cultures and social problems between cultures.that our future society can be can better and all this problems like druds ,killing,gans. can be erradicated to a minor problem for our society. lest poors and more educated people better justments.Better opportunities for all.

Posted by: Ernesto | September 5, 2006 08:26 PM

I´ll like to tell my experience about Black Man in Detroit.
I visited my relatives in Chicago area, and told them I´ll like to go by train from Chicago to Detroit, they asked me: "What do you do in Detroit, there are only negrous and car factories". However I went by train to Detroit, the bartender in the train was a Black Man, and the most kind and friendly and told what to do in Detroit. The buss driver in Detroit was a Black Man, and he was the most kind and friendly and told me how to get to Museum and which buss I have to take. I`m from Finland, and if I ever go again to USA, I´ll visit Detroit again.

Posted by: M. Konimaki | September 6, 2006 01:58 PM

An excellent presentation. I learned much. I will send it to members of my black caucus. Perhaps we will be able to use the study at our meeting in August of 2007 at the national convention of Black and White Men Together to be held in Cleveland Ohio

Posted by: John E. Bush | September 8, 2006 12:20 PM

Peace and Blessings to all who conceived, developed and presented (and participated in)this piece. It as a good beginning. As an American African AND Muslim I overcome double discrimination every day purely on a racist and or prejudiced basis. As an architect, especially in the south, I am an oddity that often does not sink in on people, especially American Europeans, until there has been a little conversational exchange. The point is that the expectation by both American Africans and American Europeans of Africans in America is so low that many achieve that low expectation.

That leads to what I think more discussion needs to be focused on. Individual American African success has not lifted the whole community and therefor cannot be a reference for success. Humans are collectively oriented and American Africans are actively thwarted from collective success( passively by being made to think we cannot work and stay together and actively by being stopped 'nipped in the bud' or being bought out if successful in spite of the obstacles ie BET,Essence,Stay Soft Fro). There are racial codes that are still enforced by (some)Europeans and fearfully honored by (some)Africans. No American Africans are allowed to create and maintain sustained business success(examples cited above), more than three Africans at the water cooler, coffee maker or on the corner evokes the 'riot code', and being productively silent at work is taken by Europeans with the severity of a 'slave contemplating his/her escape'. We American Africans must discuss the continuing effects of slavery......we were never debriefed after over two centuries of inhuman torture, abuse , rape and degradation that makes war experience pale by comparison. So we still are living and passing on to succeeding genrations the seeds of 200 years of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. It is by God's mercy we have not yet destroyed ourselves and this country.

So as we look at our current situation and opin on why, let us take a scientific look at cause and effect. In this case the Effects of Slavery on American Africans AND on American Europeans. American Africans can be accountable for what we need to reclaim......we come from a Continent that made major world contributions in culture, science and education...and call to account that which is owed by our own reckoning. In 'owning' our situation and problems we can take the initiative collectively and use this new experience to teach our next generation how to grow ourselves up out of the present condition.

I find guidance in the Holy Quran in which God ALWAYS speaks to the Believers collectively with the clear invocation of individual responsibilty as the balance in the duality of our consciousness - the community and the personal. In other words God's relationship to his people is both social and individual. In that I see the principle of seeds of success such that when explored regardless of spiritual bearing the principle works just like gravity, it is available to all. How do we who accept accountability for solving our own problems explore the guiding principle for success.

Communicate,communicate,communicate, just as this piece on the Black Man has, with like minded people and have discussion, focus and production groups springing up like an evolution of cultural enlightenment all over the USA and the rest of the Diaspora. Thank you for the article. In it is the power (with God's help) of free ranging liberating thought and action that can free a people, a nation, a world.

Posted by: Yahya Hassan, AIA | September 10, 2006 01:34 AM

My post is in response to the following comment made by Mike B. on 8/14:

"When I was in college as a young newly married man with very little income, I looked frantically for scholarship opportunities and found many that I was qualified for, if I had been a minority (American Indian, Black, etc.). However, because I am white, I could only find scholarships wherein you had to have almost impossible characteristics to be considered (very high GPA, relative in a war, Russian ancestors, etc.)."

Most people are unaware of this, but many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) offer those same types of scholarships to non-blacks. The trouble is that many non-blacks don't apply to HBCUs (whether it's because they wish to attend a specific, non-HBCU school, don't feel that an HBCU could possibly provide them with a quality education, or don't feel comfortable with being placed in a situation where they could possibly be in the minority) so they don't afford themselves the chance to take advantage of these opportunities. I don't want to minimize the frustration you felt, but I do want to make you and others aware that all schools try to attract "minorities" (and the groups who fall into that category vary depending upon the school in question) that might not otherwise consider applying for whatever reason. If someone doesn't want to seek out an HBCU and benefit from these scholarships, that is their decision. They cannot, however, complain that these opportunities do not exist.

By the way, one of my white college roommates received a letter from Morgan (an HBCU in Maryland for those who don't know) indicating that not only would they accept her, but they will give her full tuition. This is especially interesting because she DID NOT even apply to Morgan! Just a little anecdote to let those who have an issue with "racial preferences" for minorities know that 'Preference Street' runs both ways. I just wonder if people get as upset about scholarships set aside for people belonging to specific European ethnic groups as they do about those for racial minorities. One would think that they should (after all, exclusion is exclusion, right?), but somehow, I'm thinking people have an easier time dealing with a scholarship for 2nd generation *insert European ethnicity here* American than they would one set aside for members of a racial minority group.

Posted by: Nick E. | September 14, 2006 11:23 AM

To the anonymous reader from June 5 who said

"If I had as many incentives as a middle-class white girl that a single black (unwed) mother or father receives, I'd be living the high life and not struggling. And yes, I have a college degree. Where in the hell has it gotten me? Now, if I was black with/or without children, I'd be actively recruited for jobs, internships, etc, etc. etc. The worst thing you can be in today's world is white and middle class. You will not get anywhere!"

Funny, when I graduated from college, I remember sending out resumes and going to job fairs. I don't recall being "actively recruited for jobs, internships, etc, etc, etc" even though I handed out dozens of resumes. But guess what, instead of blaming other people for the job offers I wasn't getting, I continued applying. When last I checked, sending out resumes resulted in more job offers than sulking ever did. Even though this reader is tired of "pity parties from black Americans", it sounds like they are sending out invitations for the "white and middle class" pity party. Whining is whining no matter what race you are.

By the way, when white people whose families have been in this country for hundreds of years and have personally never "set foot" in a country other than the U.S. of A. stop identifying themselves as Irish, German, Scottish, Greek, etc. maybe blacks will also stop referring to themselves as hyphenated Americans.

Posted by: Angelina M. Deveraux | September 14, 2006 01:10 PM

It's just hard being a Human Being in this World. Being a Man is hard, being a Black man is even harder, think about all the road blocks that Society throughs in a Blacks Mans face. Don't let me talk about the obvious Racism.

Posted by: Ernest Moore | September 14, 2006 02:20 PM

American is more of a salad bowl than a melting pot. The fact that people of all races and ethnicities choose to highlight their heritage is a reflection of this. Instead of being threatened or offended, see it as an opportunity to learn about those who are different. I refer to myself black (not African-American) , but I enjoy learning about the cultures and traditions of my Latin-, Asian-, Italian-, and Irish-American friends!

Posted by: Jen | September 14, 2006 06:31 PM

Nice work, I enjoyed this project thouroughly.

Posted by: Jim | September 17, 2006 03:09 PM

The dreary and crowded site transported me to the days of my youth growing up in a New York City housing project. The dark colors and proximity of story links and pictures were reminiscent of the crowded and dirty streets of the city, with its tall buildings and bleak and bustling streets. However, I didn't need to feel as though I were living the life of a black man in order to appreciate their saga. The men's stories were compelling enough.
Though the affect was constructive, I wonder whether every black man would like to be thought of as having come from the 'hood or ghetto.

Posted by: ba genese | September 19, 2006 10:14 PM

I Believe the solutions for black men in amaerica lies with separating ourselves from this godforsaken country and develop our own institutions. I am Machveliian in my political thought and actions, because for the most part, Human being are evil people and in this case America wishes the vast majority of Black American Men total harm. and I think it's time we consider all americans (even black conservatives) our enemy.

Black American Men have to realize that black

1. africans
2. carribeans
3 asians

Are our enemies because they are taking advantage of racial gains we fought and died for and are ungrateful people and I think it is time to call them out fully and without apology as far as I am concerned for all the blacks who call us inferior, take your lame non-speaking smelly butss back to the countries whence you came from and don't file for grants that are truly for Black Americans. To our white, hispanic, and arab enemies it is time for black men to face the music with these people.

Black American Men face a Public Relations problem in the media and how people percieve us. and I don't think that is going to change very soon or ever, according to the posters of this site, so they say stop complaining, I say it's time to stop the racial 'cold' war and do what Senator Ernie Chambers has done, use the laws that conservatives have created in the last 30 years to make Plessy v. Ferguson a reality. I say there has been too much upotian rheotric wasted on people (most of the american public) to make them realize God's vision for humanity.

Like Harold Cruse wrote nearly 40 years ago in "Crisis of the Negro Intellectual it is every racial and ethnic group for itself. stable neighborhoods, schools, department stores, and lives. Black Liberals tried but these people are inhumane and inferior forms human waste, I say save ourselves and let God sort out the majority society's (and their black allies) immoral acts, hopefully they will choke on their own feces or the Arabs will kill them off.

Posted by: Newsoul | September 20, 2006 04:24 AM

Thank God we've made it this far. and still we struggle like no other race of men on the face of this earth to be accepted by first each other and the world. I'm a 46yr old black man and in my life i've witnessed some of the most horrible atrocities persecuted upon a people aimed at the black race. we've taken americas best and worst and still manage to pursue our lifes goal to be free to live, and do as we please . being a black man in america is serious business and we need to start teaching our young sons and daughters what it means to be a part of this curse-blessing that the black man has been born into, because they are and forever will be the backbone and suppliers of the soldiers or casulties of this war. we are a people still under siege fighting for our lives, our race, our future and our freedom.

Posted by: Eric nicholas Bowman | September 21, 2006 12:10 AM

Thanks Washington Post for recognizes us. As a black man living in the District for nearly 5 years, I encountered more self-hatred, discrimination, Jim Crowism, Willie Lynchism not only from Caucasians and Asians but from OUR kind. I love myself and my race but it appears that we don't share enough information and love due to fear of change in society. There are times which a black man have to commit a homicide and/or suicide to validate their pain and frustration. Then our stories are finally told.

Posted by: Al Davis | September 22, 2006 09:40 AM

Why should color preceed gender?
What does it means to be a human being
Who happens to be a male who happens
To be black!
Defying the upfront labels
Of color or sex or place on a map
In another's order of importance
Perhaps the courage it takes
To be a human of the first order.
How you see yourself is how
You are seen!
In the mirror world of being
Part of the human race---

I met a human being once who after
a lengthy spirited conversation
turned out to be a human being.

Posted by: L. Cote' | September 26, 2006 02:44 PM

POWERFUL, INSIGHTFUL, INSPIRING, AWESOME. NEEDLESS TO SAY I ENJOYED IT IMMENSELY.

Posted by: Donnie Perry | September 27, 2006 10:14 AM

Number one I am a mother of thwo africn american males. eing a black man has been a sterotypical thing since our forefathers.

A black man can have the same education as a white male and apply for a job and not get it or if he gets it he has to work thress times harder than his counter partner.

They need to take a look at the men in the judicial system. Just because a person is in the system a lot of these men are not criminals. You have non violent criminals get sentences as if they are murderers.

A lot of these guys need help you give drug addicts help help these guys get some type of professional help.

These guys are human beings and need a second chance. Anyone who commits a crime and a first time offender should at least be allowed out on bail. Someone needs to look at these situations

Posted by: Lynette Jackson | September 28, 2006 09:00 AM

I think it is important for us as Black people to up-lift each other. We have lost our sense of family and forgotten that it takes a community to raise a child. Parents have to take responsibility but people in the community have to take a stand and help guide our children in the right direction. We cannot depend on schools and the system to raise our children because it has gotten us nowhere. For the many advances that we as black people have made ie. the Oprahs etc, there are so many of us who are left behind. Fathers need to step up because there are too many single-parent black mothers out here, children need fathers to be a positive influence in their lives. Many of us grew up without fathers let's not do the same thing to our children. We also need to show our children that black people have all the potential in the world not only to be great athletes but great doctors, teachers, lawyers, astronauts etc.

Posted by: Anderson | September 28, 2006 09:10 PM

I'm currently reading "Slaves in the Family" by Edward Ball. He's talking about his family and their various roles as plantation owners, slave traders, slave owners and share cropper landlord starting in 1698 and ending in the early 1920's. He is also recounting the lives of the family's slaves and what happened to them and their descendants.

By reading this book one can truly have a sense of race relations in this country, why things are the way they are, why the effects of slavery are still with us today , why there's suspicion amongst the black community, why white superiority exists, etc, etc...

As a person of African descent from the Caribbean who has lived here nearly all my life, I've sometimes felt that African-Americans must let the issue of slavery go b/c it was so long ago. But I realize that one cannot expect 40 years of relative freedom to overcome all the effects of 300 years of bondage.

For example, when folks talk about the 'decimation' of the Black family unit, don't they realize that for 3/4 of U.S. history, even before the U.S. existed, that Black families were torn apart? There isn't that much of a legacy to build upon. I'm not excusing people's behaviors but I try to understand them to see how to address the problems

Posted by: Onz | September 30, 2006 01:44 AM

I like the project. I found it very informative. It makes me think and realize that even though I may struggle, my struggles and nothing compared to what my peoples before me had. Being a black man I have had my share of experiences. And unfortunately I will have to teach my boys the hard truth about growing up a black man.

Posted by: Craig Addison | October 1, 2006 12:23 AM

When this series began, I was excited over the possiblity of reading journalism that did not focus on the easy "blackman stories" (ie. the gangbanger gives up crime; the truth about homosexual behavior among black men; how the church influences black values, etc).

Could you please explore:
- how ameican black men are participating in the global economy;
- how the black men faired in the housing boom of the past 6 years (did home ownership among black males increase or decrease and what factors contributed to current outcomes).
- what the future (2010 and beyond)looks like for blacks males who live in urban areas with declining neighborhoods that have a concentration of blacks (the outcome of integrated neighborhoods)
- how can black men with weaker math and science skills, who are older than 25 years of age, improve these skills to better compete in current and future American work force.

The progessive decision by Washington Post editors to take on the "Being a Black Man" project is very encouraging. Please continue to set the high jouranlism standards for which the Washington Post is known, then break the mass media habit of stereotyping Black men.

Posted by: S. Lyles | October 1, 2006 03:57 PM

On being a "Black Man"; Within us, lay the very seeds of mankind. No road to long, no fate to dark because when truth is told, we can achieve any thing we want.

Posted by: Daryl Smith | October 1, 2006 04:50 PM

A very informative and well written series of articles. There is a fine line, however, between giving credit where it's due (and often denied) and giving someone praise for something they SHOULD BE doing. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot obstacles facing black men today. However, there is nothing to stop them from making the personal choices (i.e. not getting involved in a life of crime, not fathering children they don't want and can't afford, pursuing employment and an education) that will improve their lives. No one is saying that these choices are always easy. This still does not take the decision making power and accountability away from the individual. We all should strive to view successful black men (and expectations for their success) as the rule, NOT the exception.

Posted by: Nicole | October 2, 2006 03:12 PM

This is something that should be broadcast and filmed at every HBCU and every university and college where a good number of Black Men are located. I see this as being motivation that someone is willing to tell the story that needs to be told.

Posted by: Joshua Maye | October 2, 2006 06:41 PM

This project provides the opportunity for blacks to speak the truth as to how we feel about where we are today, as well as what the future holds for us.

I took the poll/survey and it was very interesting to see what blacks thought about certain topics and whites too. It was really interesting to see that white women felt that they were doing "just okay" in the job market or in life versus "doing very well." In my opinion, not only do white women have husbands who have good paying jobs, they have great careers and make decent salaries. Many of them can afford to stay home and raise their children, quite comfortably, if that is what they choose.

Since the topic is about black men, I hope that they can properly digest the information and make the necessary changes in their behavior as it relates to education, showing respect for the black woman, as well as being responsible for taking care of their children. One question that was not presented is, "Why do you think the black man disrespects the black women?" In the Essence Magazine (October 2006) there is an article about how black women are being abused by their mates in PG County. I personally feel that much of the dissention falls around lack of education, which is why a lot of black woman make higher salaries than the black man.

Posted by: B Chandran | October 2, 2006 10:51 PM

it's tough to be just a man let alone a black man in this culture. you just might as well ask what is the role of any man. there can be no doubt the cultural and historical forces have dealt certain groups of men i.e. blacks and native american a rough go of it. it's not clear to me and many of my contemporaries what functions men can do that aren't being done as well or better by women. this appears especially in the black community where the women seem to be doing alright without the presence of men.

Posted by: Paul Roese | October 3, 2006 10:14 AM

Thanks for the opportunity to participate. As a "bleeding heart Liberal" Black male of 67 years old who does not blame whites for the plight of Black men is the US, I would like to have had some in-between choices. The either-or belief is not real for progressive thinkers.

I am fortunate to have lived in a very improvished environment, took two masters degrees, had a very successful corporate career and have own a consulting firm for over 20 years. I cn identify with many of the questions in your survey.

All four groups in the survey have some onership in the current state of young Black men. Progress is being made even though a small step is overlooked when giant steps are needed. And, contrary to some beliefs, themedia play differing roles in how society sees young Black men today. Then, add to the mix the fact that many mixed race males who are doing well are classifying themselves as "other" or "non-Black" dilutes the statistics.

Good wording to your questions. Hope to see follow-up in the future.


Posted by: Richard E Jones Jr | October 3, 2006 05:18 PM

Hi My name is Cholet Josue

Let me first give a little about my background. I was born in the Bahamas (of course) of Black Haitian parents who eventually moved to the U.S. when I was in my preteen. I grew up in South Florida, went to school there, eventualy graduated from medical school. I am 10 months away from becoming a fully liscensed physician(last year in residency).

I have been following with obessive interest your series about the state of Black man in America. I applaud you guys for putting out those issues at the forefront of the public media. I cannot count how many times that I meet some of my Black men patients in desperate search of accessible healthcare and better well-being. Most of times, I feel whatever little I do, with whatever little resources that are being provided at the clinic, is way too inadequate.

Having said all that; I must admit that I sometimes have and have been having some sleepless nights about the survival of our race.

Here are some of things that keep up me at night. I think that it is now a strong possibility that we will suffer the same fate as the American Indians; yet no one seems to be talking about that. If one could measure the vital pulse of our society; the evidence is clear that our current trends are irreversible.

I would like to hear you expand on what the consequences for us,

Here are some of the lists:

Half of our young men are in jails
The rest are trying to make something out of themselves, barely.

I myself went to medical school at an HBCU, this was one of the worse experiences of my life; we have tradeschools that are equal to any other schools in the U.S.; meaning that I got the best medical education; nonetheless, I almost left when confronted with the way we treat our schools, the level of corruption; our educational system is abysmal(HBCUs). There is no way that we as Blacks, will be able to compete in this modern world


30- 40 yrs from now we will not have people that will represent because: the young black professionals that have resources to raise children, are no longer having children. Black professional women are disproportianetly without children.

To have a strong community, there must also be a decent family unit; where children are being raised with proper values and instructions that will enable them to live a functional and competent adut life. OUR SITUATION IS DIRE WHEN 60-70% OF BLACK HOUSEHOLD ARE HEADED BY A SINGLE PARENT.

MY POINT IS ABOUT THE CATASTROPHIC DAYS AHEAD; our condition and future are directly tied to the well-being of the black men and also the black family unit.


Can you please discuss the almost inevitable fate of the Blackmen in America because we have not been able to maintain and keep our neighborhoods, our households, our schools, and our family?


HERE IS MY THEORY: when as a people, your theology, your sociology, your history, and mythology have been obsolete for almost 50-100 yrs; and you do not seem capable of creating other instutions to save yourself. I sadly think that our situation is irreversible. It does not look like that we can get ourselves out of this bottomless pit, and it does not look we are going to.

I would like for you comment and ask some of the learders, including the ones that were on C-SPAN some months ago. DO THEY KNOW THAT OUR BEST DAYS ARE BEHIND US, some 60 yrs ago? Can we at least start being honest about finding out about the issues?

PLEASE TELL ME THAT I AM WRONG. I HOPING THAT I AM WRONG.

Posted by: CHOLET JOSUE | October 3, 2006 07:25 PM

I feel that this project is evoking some of the most honest statements and topics
that can be discussed. I have not felt
any trememdous loneliness as a single woman
having endured a violent marriage that I
still suffer from in my thoughts. I just
know often that we are called to overcome often a created trauma that can divide the spirit. I have endured illness but I keep
a daily dose of human doubt that I have to
ignore everyday. Jo Dawkins

Posted by: Jo Dawkins | October 28, 2006 04:48 PM

Being a Black Man in this country means that you will be threatened on many diferent levels. It means that you will be pre-judged everday of your life, it means that you will be denied resources, for living your life and caring for your families. it means you will be part of the statistical game that so many of us trapped into. So if this is what it means to be a Black Man in this Country then why? are we. We are because we are warriors by nature, because we will never give-up, because we intutively love oneanother, we just have been taught not to. We are because the individual strength that each one of us carries is the interlocking cord that travels though all of us, if we can only see beyond. We are because we would not have it anyother way. Lets not talk about being a BlackMan, lets be about being BLACKMEN, and all that we can be together. Love , Respect, Teach and most of all CARE!!! about each other, and then we can accomplish what we are here to do. That is how our fore Fathers did it. So why are we not Today?

Posted by: Gregory Johnson | October 30, 2006 04:53 PM

Excellent! The interactive site of this feature made it so much clearer to grasb and to relate. As a black woman, born and raised in the DC area, I must congratulate the post's staff for a job well done. I espicially enjoyed the article "Singled Out" the women's responses, extremely interesting was the video clips of elder black men speaking on their history, the poll was mind opening and the touching tribute to activist Damu Smith was wonderful. I'm an avid reader of the post and I must say job well done! I'm proud to be a Washingtonian!

Posted by: Katherine Carter | October 30, 2006 10:06 PM

I guess it is a good idea.

Posted by: LaVerne Paul | November 1, 2006 12:34 PM

Here is a challenge: how about a follow-up of this series after investing just as much resources to perhaps provide an avenue for your participants to meet some of your audience in hopes of exploring the possibilities mentioned in their responses? It would be interesting to hear firsthand if perception, reality, hopes and reflection all falls in alignment. I'm up for the challenge. Are you/Washington Post?

Posted by: Andre | November 1, 2006 07:09 PM

Thanks so much for the mindfulness with which this project was developed. The contribution of voices from the elite to the everyman lends incalculable balance and credence to this debate. I am a single/black/educated/finacially secure/homeowner/mindful/peace loving/black man loving mother of two wonderful black men and a daughter who just happens to be single too...And I am hopeful that I will experience the richness of a conscious, healthy, and loving relationship with a black man in this life time.

Posted by: Trina Perry | November 2, 2006 01:39 PM

What does it mean to be a Black Man in America? It means you have to be on the top of your game in every aspect of your life. From home, work,school, and where ever. As black men we are scrutinized and second guessed every where we go so we have to be on point all the time particularly the professional arena. Just because we make it to a certain level doesn't mean we are not viewed the same as those who haven't made it there. Being from Baltimore (now living in Seattle) it humbles me think of things I could have gotten into if I choose the wrong path. I commend the Washington Post for this excellent series of stories and profiles which is long over due. John Greene, Seattle ,Washington

Posted by: John Greene | November 2, 2006 03:25 PM

This is AMAZING!!! Is there consideration to sell this series as a book/DVD set? I've spent days telling as many as I know about it, but I'd really like to own this as would many of my family and friends. Please tell me that eventually this will be possible.

Posted by: Mildred Pennington | November 3, 2006 05:26 PM

Thank you!...you showed more than one view of the Black Man. It is rare to see media outlets taking the time, resourses, or energy to do so.
Thank you!
Tipp Harris
Boston, MA

Posted by: Tipp Harris | November 4, 2006 08:53 AM

I think "Being a Black Man" is a good beginning but not only should it appear on the World Wide Web, it's needed on prime-time television to educate our nation regarding the inequality of life for black men.

My seven year old son and I watched this clip together. Because presently he is learning want it means to be a black boy growing into Black Manhood in elementary school. As a mother it's a hurting feeling to hear your child tell how he is made to leave his classroom to speak with counselors that I have asked on more than one occasion not to. Or each time I as a mother try to protect my son from this unfair treatment is disrespected, disregared and subjected to social services simply because administrators and teacher have authority to do so.

So I ask. Now since society has begun to recognized the position, problems of Black Men and Boys want solutions will be offered?

Sincerely,

A Concerned/Discouraged
Mother

Posted by: Denise | November 5, 2006 08:59 PM

To me Being a Black Man tends to relegate us as "men" to a kind second class status. I say that because our society has so many innate societal barriers that we, as black men, are struggling just to get respect in the workplace, homebuying, and other facets of our everyday lives that make it hard. But we should never give up.

Posted by: James Miles | November 6, 2006 04:01 PM

I read your articled and attended the PGCC forum last night. I was so impressed that so many black men/women showed up. There could have been more time for all the many questions to be answered. I'm writing a one page summary for my English classs about this forum. I hope to be able to attend the forum on Dec 2nd at Me3tropolitan Church. Thanks for putting serious issues in prospective.

Posted by: Dorothy A. Hunter | November 9, 2006 09:39 AM

The plight of the Black Man in America has been covered all too often in the media. It is thoughtful of the Washington Post create website to discuss this issue. The plight of the Black Man has been talked about time and time again but where are we going? There was the Million Man march for example, what were the political, moral or social gains from that event. All I have noticed is the photographs and other memorabilia that were sold as a result of the glorious event. What I think that would be an excellent follow up to this Washington Post effort would be a grass roots collective effort on behalf of all Americans to set aside our hidden agendas to do something about the debate and level the playing field, if at all possible. If they will not listen, Black Men I call upon you to make a concerted effort to put the Criminal Justice System out of business immediately. Just think if the numbers were reduced and we just stopped getting caught up in the "hype". Dealt with our issues and make every attempt to correct the wrong internally and did not allow the "System" create social programs and institutions for jobs that we can not be qualified for.

From what I have noticed the Criminal Justice industrial complex is the only business that we seem to support wheater we like it or not indirectly or directly. The sad thing about it is that we are killing and stepping on each other to get the "Man's" dollars. It does not belong to us it is apart of the system, a means of exchange for goods or services. We have made it into a way of life that compromises our existence and morals. Let's end the madness and wake up before we become extinct and our diverse gene pool becomes something other than what God had intended. It is time for us to roll up our sleeves as a collective and turn our condition around for good and not destruction. Within the past two decades there has not been one leader to examine what we can do make a difference. The gains of the past are lost and we are becoming caught up in the media. Can we set our differences aside at this critical moment for our children's sake so they can have a better tomorrow? Let's keep Martin Luther King's dream within our vision and don't allow it to become a nightmare! I will be the first volunteer in that effort.

Posted by: Theodore Shorter, Jr. | November 10, 2006 01:30 AM

Why is it when you are a black man, and you speak proper english and correctly, that other blacks want to label you as gay? Why is it that if you do not speak street slang, and have your pants hanging off your behind, that our culture labels you as less than a man, or less than masculine? Whats up with that? Those rules and labels don't apply to White-Men. The privileged and power that comes with being a whiteman is amazing. They still get respect no matter how they dress, talk, and even if their gay.

I work to obtain that same respect, no matter what. I'm not going to let small minded, ignorant people in my own culture hold me back because of their own personal issues and insecurities.

I'm glad you have done this series. Perhaps now others will start to understand why so many black men are unhappy, and angry.

Posted by: K. A. Robinson | November 13, 2006 08:30 AM

That was a pleasant surprise for a DC bred art student like myself. Driskell, whose stain glass windows illustrations add an uncompromising beauty to my late grandmother's church is an indirect influence of mine in that he has been very successful and yet his drive to create is not hardly diminished. I am proud to see the Post shining the spotlight on him, this is one of the reasons the newspaper will be the only one for me no matter where I am in the country. Thanx

Posted by: Jonathan Botts | November 17, 2006 10:34 AM

This is very interesting at the strive of success for our race as a whole. At times we rarther not believe that there are race issues but it's still a reality. Here we have a team of our own that now have others as part of their team to create balance towards the path of success. We must realize that we all are needed to succeed. The one thing that we have as an advantage is that even though we must work harder to achieve our goals, "NO ONE" can take what we have rightfully earned.

Posted by: Marc A. Johnson Sr. | November 17, 2006 01:48 PM

I think that the series is excellent and should but put into a book, CD, and DVD for both young and old brothers to have as a reference. The lastest passage on Enlightened's struggle to establish a foot-hold as a quality I.T. firm was excellent. I think that there is a way of thinking that needs to change amongst black men and our community as a whole. One that doesn't frown on being smart, well-spoken, and being model citizens. We too often get caught up in this "keep it real" way of thinking and it is holding us back in ways that we often times don't realize.

I would just like to know where it is written or said that we have to speak a bunch of slang, treat our women and children like crap, and have an overall disregard for the law and what's right? We are way past "the man holding me down" faze. Nobody is holding us back but ourselves. If way as black men, women and children lift our standards of living and become more educated and driven, and take corporate america by storm, then they have no choice but to let us in. But if we continue to feed into all of the stereotypes that america has placed on us, then we will always get what we have always gotten.....

Posted by: Troy | November 17, 2006 05:28 PM

Washington Post,
Interesting series. I am white. I have no issues with a black owned business doing well. Professionally, I would work for a black business owner.

That being said, people of color, please do not assume all of the white people hold you in a different light. For me, follow good business practice, hold the customer dear, actually say "Hi" to people outside of your race and be honest.
I look forward to do business with you as the Japanese do ..... as a friend and a partner for life.

Posted by: M. Arnold | November 17, 2006 07:31 PM

Dear Washington Post-

I think you have done a good job with your articles on Being a Black Male. I find it interesting that even my father, an accomplished Ph.D who grew up in 1950's D.C., will call me, excited and upbeat, after reading one of your articles from his new home of NY. In short: this attention itself has filled a void that many blacks (male and female) have felt in their lives.

One quick suggestion: after reading the interesting piece on Enlightened Inc., I can't help but notice a sneaking suspicion I have: most participants in this series can be attacked on the grounds that they are 'paranoid' or 'overly sensitive' about being racially discriminated against. And certainly many of us are in that category. But I would welcome a piece on a black man that was more nuanced. That did not in ANY WAY add ammunition to those who would believe all Black Men are simply complaining about discrimination for no reason. I think the problem faced here is that the more sucessful any black man becomes, and the more well-known, the more afraid he will be to talk about 'race' at all and thus might be missed by this series of articles: it might cost him the loyalty of many. The old rich white males who groomed/supported him along the way to the top. Perhaps he has a non-black wife? Or mostly non-black clients? Trouble might lurk behind every corner for him.

My opinion is that no one ever knows for sure what's in another person's mind or heart, or what exact intention lies behind their (subtle or overt) actions. I would like to hear from more successful (and unsuccessful) black men who are comfortable living in this true "grey area", as opposed to always falling victim to one extreme ("Everything is racism!") or another ("Blacks always complain about race for no reason!") by virtue of the mind's desire for simplicity. And no: I myself do not ask or desire to be in this series. Though I can think of some good names for you if you need.

And one last thing: always fear the backlash. You should probably include more black women, even in this series specifically dedicated to Black Men. I can't imagine Black Women will appreciate being excluded for very long, even if the exclusion serves to inspire and uplift the very group that could most help black women to achieve freater personal happiness in the first place: successful marriage quality black men. But that's just not how the human ego works, unfortunately. The key is to build up one group without making any others insecure. Difficult tasks. Maybe impossible? Because we're all insecure...

Thanks and best wishes! ~Haynes C., JD, LLM

Posted by: Haynes C. | November 18, 2006 06:30 AM

This has been a great series.

One thing that stands out in my mind is how difficult it can be, psychologically, for Black men to "mainstream" themselves in society.

All ethnic groups, including my own Hillbilly caucasian lineage, have to drop our ethnic qualities, our slang, our dress, our social tendencies, and go "mainstream", become much more generic, talk without an accent, learn to speak more clearly ("fixin to..." got my busted in West L.A.), dress for business, etc.

It can be humiliating and gut wrenching to think you have to "improve" yourself to belong in mainstream society where you can find success, wealth and happiness.

It was tough, but I can't even imagine how tough it must be to also have skin color to deal with on top of that in light of America's history with racism and slavery.

The good news is that here in the mainstream I work with people of all colors who are doing it, mainstreaming and succeeding.

Drawing from my own experiences, the average white person out there has worked with people of color who were their intellectual or professional superior and this helps break down prejudices in the work place.

I see people of color succeeding and getting the jobs and promotions they deserve (for the most part), and Affirmative Action never comes to mind anymore.

The feeling of being in a society where the cream really can rise to the top regardless of race and ethnic background makes us all feel good. It makes us feel we're all working on an equal playing field.

I'm not naive, I know it's not anywhere near that utopian perfection yet. However, I can see and feel the forces at work leading us toward that standard and it's very inspiring.

I'm just thankful that this part of society, young people of color, feel inspired that they have a shot at the American Dream now, but there are still too many people out there where this tide has not yet taken them for a good ride on the surf.

But as more and more people see others from similar backgrounds finding success in the mainstream world, they will find their way into the surf too.

Posted by: Steve Lindsey | November 18, 2006 01:43 PM

Articles such as described here do nothing but support the "lets give ourselves a pat on the back" ,self pity and race card blaming game predominant in the Black male community.My observation is that the dominant news channels of Channel 4 and 5 and the WP go well out of their way to promote Blacks in a positive limelight. I do not see ANY other minority group in the DC metro area garner as much positive attention as do Blacks.Yet I also dont see any one group cause as much crime and discord in the DC community as I observe black males do.If I were an Asian,Middle Eastern,Hispanic,or other minority in this area I would be outraged since I dont see these groups represented any where near as much... even if you combined them all together. The hypocrisy that exists among black males is appalling. Is any other group forcing them to kill others including fellow blacks? drop out of school? Perpetuate an attitude of distain and disregard for the law until the law catches up and incarcerates? Articles in the WP a few years ago mentioned how 50% of the black male age group from 13 -35 were on probation,parole,or in jail. Although black males make up about 5% of the entire US population they make up 50% of those incarcerated men in jail. This is all one big plot right? Are all black men a problem?No,certainly not. Have black men succeeded in the US ? Absolutely ...and those that have should be commended for perservering....but they are also doing nothing more than most men (and women) across the US are doing day in and day out and have been doing for decades. Many minorities throughout our US history have overcome tremendous hardships of language,lack of money,ridicule,distain,stigmas,prejudice..
and they have succeeded.Over my lifetime I continually observe black men refusing to accept responsibility for their own actions,blame whites,blame the US government,act like cartoon characters,have little respect for others including black women as well as little for themselves. As one other writer mentioned ..its your negative behaviors and attitudes that are your problem...not the color of your skin. Just worry about being a man...not an African American man.

Posted by: | November 18, 2006 03:38 PM

Ever talked to a competent and articulate black man who slipped into homelessness but couldn't get any help because he was so competent and articulate?

In my 47 years of experience I have learned all too well that practically no one appears willing to help a strong black man get back on his feet unless/until he grows to be broken and alone. Because it is at just such a phase that a messiah complex kicks in for many people; and the desire for a 'feather in the cap' bears an irresistable appeal.

Posted by: N.V.Byrd | November 18, 2006 08:23 PM


This is an admirable series and it obviously resonates with the 27% of your readers who are African American. 27% of any readership
is worth serving.

Yet, this series also exposes why your paper is losing ground in it's circulation efforts. If this would have lasted a month, then no issue, but you have resources deployed here that could be redirected elsehwhere on other stories. Stories that other segments of your readership are interested in.

At the end of the day the bargin in journalism is that you do the news that sells papers and then you do projects like this. This series reverses the bargin. And when they come or heads in
newsroom, it is this series that is in part responsible.

And I know a fair bit about newspapers.

mark simon

Posted by: mark simon | November 18, 2006 08:44 PM

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU, for finally showing the face of professional black men. Speaking as a professional black man, it is so refreshing to see and to hear the troubles and triumps of other black men across America. No sports figures, no criminals, no pathological rappers, just educated, inspired and confident black men carving their own niche in American society. I particularly enjoyed the oral history of black men whose formitive years came before the Civil Rights Movement, and how they sought to overcome despite of the obstacles placed in their way. There is a lesson here for many contemporary black men; you must "keep on keepin' on" in order realize your goals and dreams.

Posted by: J. Turner | November 18, 2006 09:37 PM

Your story about Chris Dansby just makes me want to cry.... for Chris, and for our country, still confronting this 400-year-old legacy of slavery and racism.

Posted by: J. Acton | November 19, 2006 01:31 AM

First, I'd like to thank Chris Dansby for putting himself out there. It was very courageous. I have a modest proposal. If it's already been done, I apologize.

The author cites the dilemma: Is black American men's unemployment a behavioral or a "cultural" problem? It seems to me that for an individual like Mr. Dansby the cause is less important than the solution; the solution is behavioral.

Can we agree that the cause of Mr. Dansby's unemployment is inappropriate quitting? That is quitting before thinking "I need the money so I'll look for another job while I work this one." or "How will it look on my resume that I don't have a job?" or "Does it look like I have a tendency to job hop?". Can we agree that Mr. Dansby needs support not only in getting a job, but in keeping one until it's appropriate to quit? If so, how can he be helped. I don't think it will work to have motivational sessionss wheere he is exhorted to have these thoughts. I think it would help to have more immediate, constant, one-on-one and group help to assist him in thinking through his options when the situations arise. Sort of on the 12-step model, where group meetings are available in which to become honest. Where regular association with a sponsor who models appropriate behavior helps one to be honest and think through options.

Sure, it would be nice to learn appropriate behaviors at our mother's (and father's) knees, but that doesn't always happen. Lots of people who have different inappropriate behaviors (drinking, eating, gambling, etc.) profit from such behavioral approaches. Why not try it for this behavior? I wish Mr. Dansby well. His plight and his confusion are deeply moving.

Posted by: I'd rather remain anonymous. | November 19, 2006 10:20 AM

Kudos to the Washington Post editors and Mr. Finkel on a thoughtful, well-reported piece that took a glance of young Chris Dansby and showed it as a snapshot of the lives of so many black men in America.

As a (relatively) young black man myself, I can definitely relate to what Chris is going through because I went through it myself and at times still find myself struggling.

One of the more significant things that I noticed in the article was that, no matter what circumstance befell Chris, he felt that everything was his responsibility.

That goes contrary to the popular notion in society that blacks only play the victim role, shunning responsibility. Meanwhile the truth is many of the brothers I've known always understand the roles they play in their station in life.

There are no statistics that show exactly how lazy blacks are compared to whites or other groups. But the very statistics in the article show that other groups get a shot before black men, and that defines institutionalized racism.

Now has Chris been a slacker much of his youth? Yes, has he made mistakes? Definitely. But the difference is society simply will not forgive Chris, from Ward 8 in the same way it will forgive a peer from Ward 3 for the same things.

Why is that?

Posted by: M. Gray | November 19, 2006 01:04 PM


I'm a white male 50yo grew up in northern virginia moved to north carolina in 1981. due to 2 illness's i constantly went from one job to another. at least 100 different places many professional many blue collar.
No matter what we say in public and in private you would have to be an idiot not to see the huge amount of injustice the black men and women face.
all but maybe 10 of the places i worked were very,very unfair to the black population. it was 100 times harder for the black employee to either get hired or promoted. this is nothing but the 100% truth.

Posted by: john Doe | November 19, 2006 01:34 PM

Ithink the project is a very positive one. There are so many young black men who have potential,but fall victim to the meaningless fashion of rap and the glorification of those who perform it.I was involved with a young black man who has great potential through his art,but refuses to do so because of unimportant issues. I as a black woman try to encourage any black men,regardless of age that he has a purpose in this world and its not the one they are stereotyped by. So keep up the good work,and I do hope that we can pull our black men back into the work force,in a positive way. Thanks,Teena.

Posted by: Ernestine Leech | November 19, 2006 01:54 PM

I have been following these series with keen interest. I believe this is one of the best series I have read in years since the another wonderful Post series Black/White in America some few years back. I am not sure the articles is getting to the targeted readers bcos I don't get the impression most of black friends (other than those with gradute degrees) have been following the articles. I will think this should be standard reading material for most black high school and undergraduate students bcos the topics addressed goes to the very core of the challenges out there. I hope a teacher out there has assigned it as a semester assignment for his students to follow the article.
Are there plans to publish the whole collection at end of the series?

Posted by: Emmanuel Cofie, Ph.D , P.E | November 19, 2006 03:22 PM

Thank you for your series on Black man.
I'm a forty one year old black woman who adores black man, because they have always treated me with respect and kindness. They have been my champions and my best friends. It is disheartening to see so many of our men still struggling. Thank you for shedding some light on us and unlike so many others showing our humanity.
Colette Williams November 19th 8:10 P.M.

Posted by: Colette Williams | November 19, 2006 08:12 PM

as a black woman, this article left me with a variety of emotions. from anger, to frustration, to sadness. in spite of those feelings, i am extremely happy that the washington post has decided to run this series. the writing and story telling are excellent.

i hope chris will eventually be able to love himself and understand that this world owes him nothing. he will have to pay in blood, sweat and tears for eveything he wants and needs in this life, and i hope he makes it. i'm pulling for you chris!!

Posted by: stillroyalty | November 19, 2006 09:51 PM

Your presentation, Being a Black Man, was inspiring. It was encouraging to read and view positive stories in the midst of grim circumstances. As a black man in his 40's, I'm encouraged to focus on learning life's lessons, giving back to the community, and maintaining close relationships. I'm looking forward to future projects.

Posted by: R.D. Lee | November 19, 2006 10:50 PM

I did not realize this series was so long running, and I now hope and wish it would never end. For me, the stories are about inspiration and self-validation, but also about how different things could be if not for certaain events that are mere happenstance occurrences: born in America or the third world, born Black, white or otherwise, raised poor, middle-class or other wise, east or west of the Anacostia, parents who instilled education or a work ethic, not giving up, etc etc. I know how thankful I am for each boring hour I was forced to read before watching TV. The themes must not be overlooked, we have to keep our youth in school and teach them to never give up. There is a place in this country for them, because our culture is admired, our beauty revered, our perseverance respected. But we have to Read, Speak, Write and Learn. Some of us will never have the guts or opportunity to start or operate our own business, but those who want to participate in the marketplace will find plenty of options if they just study hard.

Posted by: George Barnwell | November 19, 2006 10:51 PM

I find this article/interview to be most interesting, enlightening and certainly an educational opportunity to better understand Dr. Driskell's journey as a visual artist!

I am very familiar with Dr. Driskell's work as an historian but have had a limited amount of understanding of his studio work!

I often wonder about artists who cross over from a position where they actually administrate the arts, (curators, art directors, historians, art dealers etc.). as opposed to artists who set out from the beginning and pursue a career as a visual artist..

They are 2 clearly different journeys!

Dr. Driskell represents a well-traveled, well-earned journey, which we are just beginning to reap the true benefits.

Dr. Driskell not only represents an individual who has gone the extra yard to better himself and his culture, he represents America as an individual who has gone the extra yard to elevate the ideals and appreciation of a culture ultimately elevating the appreciation for each other as humans beings!

In your series you have found an incredible person in Dr. Driskell where the makeup of his skin is only secondary to the makeup of his drive and the offering he leaves with us !

Being A Black Man!
Thank you for the article!


Stevens Jay Carter, artist www.stevensjaycarter.com

Posted by: Stevens Jay Carter | November 20, 2006 01:31 AM

As a mother of three young black men, two who are still teens, I find these articles disturbing yet thought provoking. I have long since known that regardless of what society said racism is still alive and well. Those who do discriminate have just found ways of doing it covertly. My heart aches for the black man because of all the people on the earth, they are the most disliked. Why? Job opportunities for them are far harder to come by then for their white counterparts even with a college education. Although, most whites believe that the struggles are not real. Sure a few of them have broken through, but the overwhelming majority won't especially if they are not college educated. A black man with a high school education will not go one-fourth as far as a white man with the same education. But regardless of how hated they are for me there is no greater man on earth then them! I commend the Washington Post for having the guts to publish these articles.

Posted by: Catherine Brown | November 20, 2006 09:43 AM

I have known Chris Dansby ever since he was born. And he was encourage a lot from not only his mother, but from a lot of people who lived at 800 Barnaby st.A lot of the women was single , but we try to raise our children to understand that even though you are black you can raise above the life you living in because the opportunities or out there for you.I knew everyone in the building, and there were 3 to 4 men that was drinking and playing cards, but they did not represent the majority. Most of the children they grew up at 800 Barnaby st.did graduate , 1 went to college, and some have nice jobs, and raising their children to do even better. And, my son went to Ballou, he graduated. And although he had to climb many mountains, he now has a job in the Federal goverment. My daughter finished high school, went to college now is a teachers aide. My other daughter finished high school.With the right motivation and the will and the determination, a BLACK MAN can become more that an unemployed man waddling in self pity, and holding on to the past instead of reaching to a better future, but this must come within . You can't take one or two and judge the many.There are many young men that was brought up in unfavorable conditions, but they have gone on to be able to hold their heads up, and said I have overcome the worst diversities of life being a BLACKMAN

Posted by: | November 20, 2006 12:23 PM

Dear Washington Post,
I applaud the Washington Post project "Being a Black Man". I believe meaningful and impactful projects such as your project are long overdue. As a black woman, married 26 years to a black man; raising 5 children - 3 of them black males; in the DC area, I have encountered hard institutional racist concepts, from the white and the black community. I've come to expect provisions needed by our family will be met within our household. Although my husband and I are gainfully employed, we've not found meaningful assistance from our church, public school system, mental health community,or any other institution. We've experienced the heartbreak of sons committing crimes and subsequent incarceration and also the moments when our sons have excelled. Your articles cover some of the most interesting discussions that I've read in a long time. In short, I believe the Black community must embrace and value black men - the way the white community values white men; otherwise, we will not see vital and needed changes for our sons and consequently for our families. This is not easy - but it is simple. (I am guilty also of falling into frustration regarding my husband and sons progress in society.)
The black community as a whole, must change their spirtual and family values- then the black community can demand a change in the community and nation around them. Sorry, to be preachy, but, there is no short term solution. I pray to see these changes within my life time, but most importantly, I pray that God will bring them about.

Posted by: Natalie | November 20, 2006 02:12 PM

My only comment to this story is there were some people was not a shame who had lived in 800 Barnaby Street. And there were some who did made it, and the lesson to learn from that life-hood, was to get out of that life-hood. Also we did learn alot from the people there in 800 Barnaby,no matter what they did or became and also been encourage from adult and the young children too. My mother have 4 kids and work the grave-yard-shift's ( and still maintanning ) manage to guide us in the right direction and 3 of her children graduate already and doing very well in life and the youngest one about to graduate out of high school next year. My advise to all black males : Keep your head,stay focus, and be positive always life is to short to be a quiter!!

Posted by: Clarence Richardson | November 20, 2006 02:34 PM

I really enjoyed the series and felt that the series implicate Blackmen as having more problems then the general population of men in the U.S. I am a middle age black male who identify with young Chis's life struggles. I grew up in SE and NE Washington but was able to earn a degree from Howuard U, a CPA, and is working on a second Masters in Computer Science from Catholic University.

In this whole series, you do not discuss how historic structural racism has crippled the black family where men like Chris and I are produced.

I am not a social science expert, but I can tell you from experience that the White employment market is very uncompromising to Blackmen who unfortunately are the lest prepared.
White men do not have to tackle the race issue when they seek employment. There demeanor of acceptance is confirmed by their White employor.

You have written this series as though the Blackman is the victimizer and the general majority (White) group are innocent and have contributed the required resources to correct past injustices. What planet did you grow up on. Why is it that the victims are made to feel that they are the victimizer. What I have learned about this system is that it know how to co opt a few (Black persons) for the purpose of defending itself against the other Blackpersons.

I think you should do a series on White men and discuss how they have benefited from institutioner racism and how they continue to benefit from the good old boy system in the job market, bank loans, housing,and all other aspects of life in the U.S.



Posted by: E White | November 20, 2006 03:23 PM

After reading all of this, I just find it completely crazy. Come on people we live in the years 2006, give it up!!!! People say thank you for the washington post for recognizing us......don't we do that every year with black history month. Isn't it a fact that regardless of my wishes my children will be forced to have to pick someone in history that they will have to study that is "BLACK" why do we have to focus everything on color. Why do you still have to blame everything on the white man? I tell you one thing. I because of the color of my skin (white) will have to work that much harder to get a better job because I don't get the preference points recieved by minorities. Now you want to talk about equal opportunities. I look around a hear, individuals that are black fill there childrens heads with information about how the white man has always tried to keep the black man down. Well, wake up people we are in America and this is the land of opportunity and everyone is different, by the time 2050 gets here there will be no white man or black man and then who will you blame? Give it up!!!! Do your jobs, go to collge just like everyone else (working hard to pay for it) and stop being cheap.

Posted by: Cee | November 20, 2006 04:41 PM

As a black woman who listens to and is aware of what is going on in the larger world, I see an even worse emergency approaching African American men. Although the problems and issues faced by Black Men are in many ways valid...the world is changing so rapidly where we are becoming a "global society". This society is bringing up superpowers that is challenging the strength of America. It is coming to a point where America, probably in our lifetime, will fall behind countries such as China, India, the European Union, etc. I have heard worry come from aware white people about this event, we should be even more worried. Basically, we are already behind white, asian, and even hispanic when it comes to employment, and behind white and asian in education and economics. So, if America is falling behind other superpowers...we are going to be in even more hot water. So, although we have issues via race...the world basically isn't going to care anymore. If we are not on that train, it will leave us behind in the dust. My suggestion is to think of some creative ideas to survive and rise to the top, in spite of the issues we face here at home.
I firmly believe that if we can begin to get to know and talk to others of various nationalities, obtain education (through workshops, local organizations, college, etc.) where we are being taught management, entrepreneurial skills, international cultures, etc... then we can start to develop business ideas and skills that will allow us to compete. The world may be more willing to work with us, especially if some of the superpowers are brown skinned based on our ability instead of disliking us due to our color.

Posted by: C. Pembeton | November 20, 2006 05:17 PM

I think that the Being a Black Man project is a brave attempt to highlight the complex and diverse perspectives that shape the lives of African American males.
However, in the recent article (The Meaning of Work, 11-19-06)I was shock to find the unemployment rate comparison used between the 8th and 3rd wards. This comparison is used to show the juxtaposition of unemployment rates between African American Males and their white counterparts. The fallacy that concerns me is that the 8th ward suffers from a low median income and a lack of quality education, while the 3rd ward has high median incomes, affluent, and well educated residents. How can a comparison be made between the two wards if the demographics are complete opposites? What happened to "all other things equal" or Ceteris Paribus? The result is that the comparison serves as misleading supporting evidence and makes it seem as though empoverished poorly educated black men are being campared to empoverished poorly educated white men. When was the last time anyone has seen a trailor park in Friendship Heights????

Posted by: India Crawley | November 21, 2006 02:28 AM

We need to step up our game to a level that's scary. Take where we are right now, even as "professional" men as myself, and multiply it ten fold. Otherwise, get lost in the shuffle. Your ACTIONS will determine your fate.

Good Luck.

Posted by: C.M. Kiadii - Atlanta, GA | November 21, 2006 06:10 PM

I have found this series to be very enlightening, and yet, discouraging because I am the sister of four black men and the mother of two black sons. When will the black men of America truly have freedom? Freedome to choose to live a full and productive life without the systemic racism that they must face on a daily basis. Having to be black in a white man's world. To be respected the same as men of other races without prejudice. Freedom to receive quality not inferior educations; to become gainfully employed rather then the last hired and first fired; and, be given fair opportunities to provide for their families? The rush to imprison black men for minor infractions has had a devastating affect on their morals, the ability to receive employment, and the entire black race. Black men in America have taxation without representation even when they have served prison time for unfair sentencing. They are not even allowed to vote on issues that concerns them. Something must be done...now.

Posted by: Estella A. Simpkins | November 21, 2006 10:00 PM

The Brotha Michael Kenner is right... When given the opportunity we must make the very best of it. I believe we must start creating employment for ourselves... Not depending on someone to give what can be created by anyone.

Posted by: Andre L. Haynes (Stockton) | November 25, 2006 01:28 AM

THIS IS IT ---END OF STORY --
YES! YES!! YES!!!

Posted by: Nezer Porter | November 25, 2006 08:35 AM

This series is long overdue. I have shared this site with my teenage grandsons and it seem to suddenly make them think about themselves, their actions etc. We as seasoned black men KNOW what we deal with each and everyday to keep our heads above water. The problem seems to be our younger black men who cannot see the forest for the trees. Because of this, we (seansoned black men) need to reach out to our youth, teach them, guide them and show them, they can be what they wish to be in life, such as productive citizens, and strive to get a better education. Thank you for your series. I look forward to your site being a stepping stone to a better unity within our black communities.

Posted by: John Hawkins Sr. | November 27, 2006 08:51 AM

It must be something special and unique about us as blackmen. So special that we're the only ones to have more books writin about us. Maybe it deeper and far greater than any of us can imagine. One day we will all no the truth and truth will make us free. Stay strong blackmen and encourage in the one who wakes us up each and every morning.

Posted by: Brian Dunmore | November 29, 2006 10:07 AM

I think the article printed on Sunday showed the struggle of employment for some black men...but did not depict the struggles of those with degrees (or more highly educated men having problems in professional settings)...and trying hard to support families...but not finding anything because of "over qualified" status nor did it give a statistical account of men who have not found any work...the story was the struggle of only one man...and could have given the impression that Black men are not accepting employment...while some are hardly being offerend any possibilities. I know it is hard too capture it all...but give more of an account of the true picture...not just "someone's" story! Your depecition was appreciated because it did give one man's voice....and shed some light (very dim and disheartening)...and I am so proud of him for getting his GED now...he may has to step out in search of more job training, education, and career counseling to get over the hump....to start a career instead of having a job--especially if he wants more than what is offered...next step...make another good decision, keep the faith, and be adapt to change while staying realistic. (What he prpared for five years ago is met with changes in the workplace...and he has to stay ready and willing to grow and adapt and make choices for the future).


Posted by: LC | November 29, 2006 04:22 PM

AS YOUR SERIES CONTINUES,WHICH IS A VERY GOOD THING, I SEE NOTHING BUT POSITIVE RESPONSE FROM MOST THAT POST THEIR THOUGHTS, OPININONS, ETC., TO ADD TO MY LAST COMMENT, IT WOULD BE VERY EDUCATIONAL TO ADD YOUR SERIES AS A MUST READ STUDY IN HIGH SCHOOLS ACROSS THE NATION FOR OUR YOUNG BLACK MEN. THIS IDEA CAME ABOUT AS ONE EVENING MY WIFE PRINTED A COPY AND LAID IT ON THE DINNING TABLE FOR OUR TEENAGE GRAND SONS TO READ. MUCH TO MY AMAZEMENT, THEY BECAME SO INTERESTED IN YOUR ARTICLES, THEY BEGAN ASKING QUESTIONS, OF WHICH MY WIFE AND I ANSWERED WITH BIG GRINS ON OUR FACES. THANK GOD THEY DO PAY ATTENTION.

Posted by: John Hawkins Sr. | November 30, 2006 10:05 AM


Being a Black man in American means that you must avoid all criminal actities and get an education.

You will have to be tops in your class, and in every activity that you do.

You must marry the women you desire to have childen with. Educating your children to understand what he is up against in this land is required early in their lives.

The legacy of slavery is still with us. The civil rights struggle of Martin Luther King, et.al, is still being fought in every niche you choose for yourself.

Now with immigration bringing additional competion in the market place, you will have to struggle for a place in employment as you have never struggled before.

Hang in.

Posted by: Manny from New York | December 2, 2006 03:17 AM

I loved the articles and faithfully read each one. As a black woman and mother of three young people it is very important to me to have pride in our black men and culture although it's been hard at times to do so.

This series made me realize just as it's difficult being a single black woman/parent it's even moreso for a black man. I believe their are circumstances that also give them challenges in our society but many black men also place some of those challenges in their lives themselves by the way they act or by what they do....to their families and friends.

I've been blessed to love a few black men in my life personally and I'm leaving one of them now not because I don't fully love him still but because I love myself more. I'm not going to point a finger as most of us do, because their are two players in every scene but I will say this...Black Men walk away from the children and the women they supposedly love more than any culture I know. Is it pride? emulating what they endured? I don't have the answer but I love my Black Men and I watch with pride when I see them in a group at times giving one another love and devotion the way they sometimes miss giving their own mother's, sister's, and wives or significant others and daughter's.

John Mayer has a song called "Daughter's" I suggest all the black brothers out here listen to the words/lyrics and watch their little girl's turn into the women they sometimes forget to lean on or allow to lean on them. God Bless Our Black Men.

Posted by: Kim Parker | December 2, 2006 06:05 PM

Nice survey; I would like to know the percentage as to the ethnicity of the people who answered. also, "the colour of fear" is a good educational tool.

Posted by: Gilda Seelke | December 3, 2006 11:25 AM

I am a black women living in Baltimore City, Maryland. Raised in a predominately white society in Gloucester, Virginia. I have found that since I grew up with mostly white folks, I was afforded more opportunities and resources than those living in predominately black cities. There are a lot of factors in the equation of why black men have a harder life and find it harder to obtain and keep a job, as well as black women. Mostly because they have a lot against them and very little working for them. It is sad to say that in this day in age but it still raines true. I don't say this as an excuse for black men, but I am saying this because black men need to come to the realization that they have to take control of there lives. Stop looking for the quick way out, gain patients, self-respect, and learn to love yourself. Find something to believe in starting with themselves, God is always a good source as well. I LOVE my BLACK MEN!! We as black people have come a long way. As a single black mother, raising a strong black man to release into society, I ask that our black men stop taking us black women as being over barring. We say and do what we can because we see the potential in you that you don't see in yourselves. Stop selling yourself short!!!

Posted by: Dorothy Ward | December 5, 2006 04:51 PM

I think that this project was needed and hopefully we can get htis message out to our youth . I am veteran of Iraq and seeing this project has helped me get myself back integrated into society. I came back a different person and I feel as a black man i have a lot to offer to society and my iwn people from my experiences in life . I am currently enrolled in school and doing this I think will help take my live to a next level. Thank you for putting this information out to us .

Posted by: Daniel R. Hanks | December 7, 2006 10:46 AM

As a African American woman I found it appalling that you would put a front cover story about a young, African American man trying to find a job. My husband who is African American works full time and provides for our family. Please feature African American men who are working and doing good for society. When you focus on the negative of our race then other races will think that we're lazy and looking for a handout.
As a society we should do everything that we can to stress the importance of obtaining a good education. It cost more to incarcerate someone than it is to provide a quality education. There's two sides so please show the world the positive side. Thanks.

Posted by: Betty | December 7, 2006 09:46 PM

I have enjoyed your series and appreciate how difficult it is to capture the total experience of a complex category of people in a single newspaper series. With the articles and the comments on this website it is clear how broad and wide this topic is spanning individuals and communities, organization and institutions, and over time and space. The problems of contemporary black males cannot be considered without tracing the day-by-day, month-by-month, year-by-year, and generational paths trod by individuals,families, and communities. Understanding this we can narrow certain psychological and sociological conditions down when considering individual and community problems.

A few years ago I authored an award-winning book on the subject of African American males, "I Will Wear No Chain!": A Social History of African American Males published by Praeger in 2000 that contended that the problem of criminalization has dogged black males throughout American history.

Label a criminal even when enslaved the black male has been subjected to a conscious, semi-conscious and calculated assault by segments of society who profited from his exploitation and feared his emergence. It is a fact that from America's origins, the most feared "enemy" of the American establishment, and as it has evolved over the decades, was the collective black man. This fact persists to exert a powerful influence on the present. It is related to an idealized image of black males that causes great public fear among all segment of society, even black males themselves.

Sincerely, Chris Booker

Posted by: Christopher B. Booker | December 8, 2006 07:59 AM

Black Men and Black Women in America have learned the old Master's ways well. Willie Lynch still alive. 2012 will make 400 years strong.

Black Men and Black Women in America have become fools following images that lead to nowhere. Go back 40 years, to 1965, to Malcolm X and 1968, to Martin L. King Jr. There we will find the last great Black war-lords defending the greatness of the Black American Family Foundation. They taught Black Americans how to live and die for Black Power which is Black Love.
The Black Souls of today seek the Golden Calf, for-saking their friut's of tomorrow. We as a Black race, still have not learned, that our greatness is in our children. We have allowed New Jack City drugs, Nasty as you wanna be music, BET's video's degrading our Black Queens, and the spirit of Willie Lynch
Now go back to 1612, when Willie Lynch taught White men,to teach their Black Slaves, how to destory each other. Willie Lynch taught Black Souls how to hate each other for 400 years. 384 years later we as a Black Race are still hating each other and the proof is in the behavior of our children. Black Souls without hope, seeking no dreams other than what they see on T.V. or what they hear in music.
If every able Black soul in America (30,000,000) would give 120.00 a year,just 10 dollars a month that would be 3.600,000,000 dollars. With this kind of money we could send our children to college or a trade school. We must give our children, Dreams and Hope and keep Black Power alive with Black love. Start in your city, your state, our nation. Only we can make the change happen.

Posted by: L. Mc Nair | December 10, 2006 06:51 AM

With so many black children living in dysfunctional homes, it is no wonder that we have so many kids killing each other, dropping out of school, having babies they don't take care of. The young black boy on the corner is detached from society, and at the same time, begging for attention. They just want to be loved, to be part of a family, to be part of the mainstream. Until we repair the black family structure, we will continue to beqar the brunt of an ebonic plague. Zip it, don't dip it.

Posted by: Joe Gorman | December 10, 2006 08:48 PM

l think being a black men ls no different then being white, asian or any other race . l have 2 look past what has happen . so l can help someone else why let something pull us down when u need 2 move forward "Open Mic " by micheal Eric Dyson . that book tell me that that there r some good in everybody and the only way ls u gonna be able 2 forgive those have hurt us ltz to forgive ourselves . Thankyou Jesus!

Posted by: Tony Rogers Kinston, nc | December 12, 2006 01:08 PM

Talking about this issue is very important and thank you for writing this story. I'm sad to say that the biggest problem young black men have today is the influence of music with no substance; whether it be rap, hip hop, or something else. Not all of the music is bad, but the only rap that is played is filthy. I personally know teen who imitates the rappers but came from a good home. Some of these children end up in jail because they want to be Snoop or the Ying Yang Twins. Acting like Snoop can land you in jail or shot. Living the lifestyle of the Ying Yang Twins can expose you to AIDS.
"You are what you eat, and you can become who you listen to."

Posted by: Julius Hammond | December 14, 2006 01:18 AM

Please leave me alone. Really. Yes, I know...very interesting stuff, but--thanks, but "No, Thanks." I will be fine, really. Just actually try leaving me alone. I don't want to be prodded and I don't want to be poked, my sides are pretty sore. I am tired of the intrusion into my privacy. Don't study me; don't dissect me. Yes, I'm sure, now move along. Nothing to see here. See, this never works out for me. The facts are never quite right, the motives never quite just. Now, the conclusions? Always predictable. If you want to help, give to charity. Just don't tell me about it or ask me what I think because I have grown deaf from your volume. But, I digress. You have other subjects over there. Try them. They're fine and they're fit--50 or so years strong. Or maybe even about a 100 plus years strong. But me, I am weary and weak--about 400 or so years old. So please be mindful of my brittle ribs. I assure you I'll be fine. You continue to poke, please stop. I really have no interest. I know this thing that I do...living my life, seems like a unique art, but trust me I actually just get up and go. You have never confessed it, but I strongly suspect you to get up and go in much the same way too. So stop your poking, will you? Whether I am in Harvard or jail, you poke. Yes, I know, you didn't realize I was the attorney not the inmate. It's just as well, I suppose. But now you are poking for my ID just to be certain. Flying in space or rapping in space, you poke. In Senegal, you poke. In Jamaica, you poke. Secretary of State or Secretary, you poke. It's all the same to you. It really is all the same to you and you know no better. Shame. I was not always sure if you could help this odd oversight of yours but now I just don't care. Once, and for all time, just stop your studying and your surveying. I'm tired of "being," now just let me be.

Posted by: The "Black Man" himself | December 14, 2006 08:49 PM

This is an incredible project. I would like to see it this type of film in and hour or 90 minute format . This will become a requirement to watch for our neighborhood tutoring program in Montgomery, Alabama .

Posted by: Greg Rob | December 15, 2006 11:07 AM

Proofs in the pudding, not this hyperboli of wonderful they are.

If you see someone mugged in your neighbourhood, stop the mugger.
If you see broken glass, and paper in your neighbourhood, you clean it up. Do not expect to have some other saviour to come do it.
If you see an old lady with grocery bags, offer to help her.
If you see kids playing, offer to set up a footballl team or basketball team to play on
If you see kids loitering, walk them to school and ask why they were not there in the first place.
If you see a young lady walk by, do not leer and make cat calls.
If you are the only black in the claas, make sure you are the best student there - because the Africans will beat you to that as well.
Than come and talk to me about how wonderful you are

Posted by: bd | December 15, 2006 11:59 AM

Excellent Article!
Personally, I believe that many information groups should be recognized as being many different groups as possible. Regardless of their skin or hair color. Though I'm white, I've spent a lot of time in various colored comunities and have generally found the group to be polite and often willing to share their thoughts about being a colored person. "Being a Black Man" helps many to get a rare yet important glimse of an important culture.

Posted by: Camille Pierce | December 16, 2006 09:01 PM

Every response given in the video "Being a Black Man" revealed a true statement. What was most accurate for me was Marion Barry's statement, "...You can't teach what you don't". For black men to be more empowering and take control of their future and responsibilities, they have to know, be taught, the history of blacks in order to do the things necessary for a better future.

I am a 45 years old black woman, who when attending elementary and high school was taught American History and State History. Mind you, my history books did not talk about blacks, not even about slavery. But, because I grew up doing segration, then integration, I lived the history. Also, my parents did not try to hide from me the struggles and accomplishments of blacks, which inspired me. Today, we need to educate our children. Teach them their history, so their can know where and what their want out of life. Every other ethnic group teaches their children about their heritage, the struggles and accomplishment. Why don't blacks. We must know where we came from, in order to know where we are going. Otherwise, we will walk around in circles, going no where.

Posted by: Earnestine O | December 17, 2006 03:06 AM

"Being a White Man" is this paper's counterpoint article next week. He is the target of racism: he is bypassed for promotion and contracts for the betterment of "minorities". His group is the most heavily taxed, supporting those who can't or won't work. He pays for the whimsical fancies of his elected officials such as a multi million dollar tribute in downtown DC to a cause that has nothing to do with him. The majority of this country are descendants of Europeans that need be recognized by this publication for the risks they took to build this country.

Posted by: Mario Pandesnetti | December 17, 2006 06:24 AM

In criminology, there is a term called "secondary deviance", which ultimately means if you label someone a criminal, then they internalize that they are a criminal, and they chose to become or remain a criminal. While I was pleasantly surprised by the reaction of other African Americans postings on here and applaud WP for having the guts to tackle such a topic, I find the whole matter to be as disingenuous as the genesis of these problems. The lack of personal responsibility, the ease at which "the man" is blamed, and the African American leaders who would rather "Walk the company line" (blame someone else) for fear of being labeled as an Uncle Tom, is the root of all the problems. African Americans need leaders who are Frank! Leaders who speak up and say, "get an education, and create your own destiny", rather then leaders that seize every chance to blame "someone else". You CAN succeed in America no matter what color, ethnicity, gender, whatever! AA's need leaders who tell them THAT, not leaders who say "Don't worry, its not your fault". It is an INDIVIDUAL who succeeds or fails in America, not a race.

Posted by: Marc | December 17, 2006 09:15 AM

I think being a black men project was excellent peice. But as Black person myself, we have to learn to broke the cycle. We have alot of opporturity then of parents did. Black people like fast and high pay job without an education. I work hard to get we I am at now. My Father was not in my live. But tell myself someone have to broke the cycle.

Posted by: black female | December 17, 2006 11:03 AM

Hi, I'm making sure that EVERYONE I know (even friends out of the DC area) read this article and discuss it. I put it on a message board that I frequent as this is a CONSTANT discussion which usually results in a good 30 page thread where women are BASHED mercilessly for having these children out of wedlock. I took the poll on here and have noticed that there are a lot of excuses when it comes to WHY black men aren't excelling. It bothers me. One of the options were that schools are failing blacks. NO, blacks are failing themselves. It's crazy how many disruptions were caused by young black men thinking of their "rep" around the way and not whether they were going to make it to college for something other than their skills in basketball or football. What are we, as parents, teaching our children? We should be teaching out kids that color doesn't determine your success in this world, YOU DO. I am a single mother of a little girl whose father is, according to himself and his family "damn near perfect" but he doesn't even have the decency to see her because he wants to do it in a "hands off" manner. I don't like him and he doesn't like me BUT the child shouldn't suffer because of this. She's already here and didn't ask to be put on this earth. I would like to commend the young man in the article who still makes it a goal to see and help with his child regardless of his financial and educational situation. My daughter's father, unfortuantely, is in a much better place in both aspects but chooses NOT to see his daughter because of his own selfishness and arrogance. "Men" like that can learn from the young man in this article.

Posted by: None | December 17, 2006 11:22 AM

Being a black man is to sit on a mountain of profound and infinte potential without being aware of it. It is the instinctive perception of this quality by the non black man and his fear of it's realization that has led to the black man's woes.

Posted by: Chinedu Okonkwo | December 17, 2006 11:35 AM

This is a wonderful series. I am a single black man raising my daughter who is 16 years old and I instill in her all the time that it is the responsibility of the woman to choose the man who is in her life. I think that if more woman made more responsible decisions in choosing the men in thier lives brothers would step up thier game, but as long as black woman define the man they choose by his outside characteristics without getting to know his true character then they will always make bad decisions and the cycle of dead beat dads will continue.

Posted by: | December 17, 2006 08:13 PM

This is a much needed survey and its statistical analysis should provide valid and reliable data to the citizens of our country. The questions were excellent and will assist you in gathering specific data about this tremendous socio-economic and demographic problem of inequality in our society. Behaviors and attitudes will not be changed by a survey; however, the survey results, when made public, can increase our awareness. We are aware of the issues questioned in the survey because we live it daily! My question is "What are your readers willing to do to help change this tremendous burden on our society?" Since The Washington Post is one the most respected newspapers in the USA, I expect the analysis data will be fairly and correctly assessed. By the way, I don't think that your target group will include the voices of the lower middle and lower class citizens of this country, as they don't read the Washington Post. Also, with the current events surrounding racism in our country, it might also be interesting to consider what whites and hispanics think about this issue. Gather the data, do a comparative analysis, and report the findings to the people. Thanks.

Posted by: Calvin Collins | December 18, 2006 06:28 AM

This series is very sad, yet very important in focusing the nation's attention on a cultural epidemic that has plagued black America for too long: Fatherlessness. This - not racism, not discrimination, not "the white man" - is the most pressing problem facing black Americans today, especially the black underclass, over 40 years after the civil rights movement. Furthermore, it's going to require that blacks themselves - not whites, not the Federal government, not black "leaders" - take responsibility in actively and agressively dealing with this crisis. The time for us to collectively get our own house in order is long overdue.

Posted by: Dutch Martin | December 18, 2006 06:34 AM

I believe the plight of the Black Man, has been misunderstood by other cultures. This helps others who really cares about intercultural communication understands Black Men and their challenges.
This series also reminds us that Black Men are responsible for our overall mental health.
I just pray that we can finally come together and share our resources so we can overcome our plight.

Posted by: Carlton | December 18, 2006 11:28 AM

Brother Mark ( and I use that loosely) let me remind you that every opportunity that you and your Carribean friends and family have been afforded have been due to the blood, sweat and tears of the same "African Americans" that you claim to stay away from. Please remove yourself from our "group" because we do not want dead weight. See, what wears me down is that black skin people would rather waste precious time separating THEMSELVES and feeding into stereotypes from BET instead of becoming mentors. BET does not define millions of hardworking, Christian, decent black Americans. Where have you been, brotha? So do you think you got your opportunity because you can an "accent" or because of Affirmative Action bought on by the fight of "African Americans". Black Carribeans are a joke to us and have yet to accomplish even a small portion of the things that Blacks in America have accomplished. When I see your people rise to greatness then we will see your response as valid.

Posted by: Macy | December 18, 2006 11:34 AM

This is a good series to shed light on the black male experience, and the amount of time, etc. that's put into it needs to be commended.

But let me say this: I am African American and I personally feel that the more we deal with race in this country will put us back even further. We are about 4 decades past the civil rights movement, which has afforded us many liberties and freedoms that we otherwise wouldn't have had. We should NEVER forget where we come from, but we must move on.

Relatedly, mainstream society just will not own up or face the fact that we have different struggles and experiences than they do. So we as a people must stick together and deal with our issues together, but let's not put it out there and force them (whites) to deal with it because they simply won't. And never will.

Posted by: | December 18, 2006 11:41 AM

I am sad to say that this latest article on Dad, Redefined is too similiar to that of my son, now 19 and his 1 year old son. His son's mother is 16. My son has struggled with taking responsibility. He may have held a job for 4 months at one time. He did eventually earn his GED after dropping out of High School two years ago. He continues to live on the streets and with various relatives that will take him in. I am saving this article to show him in hopes that it will forcast what can happen in the next five years and perhaps spark a change now.

Posted by: Duane DeVance | December 18, 2006 02:21 PM

I grew up in Pittsburgh and really never thought about race as a white male. I lived in DC from 1999-2005 and saw a vibrant city that is leaps and bounds above most midwestern cities.

My Father always would say if you think Mississippi is racist spend a week in Pittsburgh.

In DC, I was the minority at many places and events and I never once felt out of place. I think DC is an excepting place and is where most cities would strive to get reguarding race. Every place in America has a long way to go, concerning race, but DC is triving to move the issue in the right direction!

Posted by: Greg Kelmeckis | December 18, 2006 02:25 PM

I am 34 year old single Black male living in NE DC(Brookland area) since 2001. I was born and raised up in PA.
I am one of the fortunate brothers alive that was raised by single male parents and male role model figures.
My experience wasn't an easy task and I don't take this too lightly and for granted.
I have recently lost my grandfather on Sunday December 17 at 1:30AM to natural causes at age 88.
He was not only my grandfather but a role model, mentor, caregiver, and an excellent provider all of life.
He taught me work ethic, moral principles, how to drive, how to cook, and to stay out of trouble.
I wouldn't have become a man that I am now had he and my father provided TOUGH parental love and discipline.
I simply don't want his huge impact on my entire life to go in vain.
His living was not vain and I will work aggressively to ensure that it will not.

Posted by: Alfonso Davis | December 19, 2006 07:01 AM

Could this series focus on the more positive aspects of African American men? Most of the features I've seen covered have to do with the mainstream stereotypical views of black men as prisoners, deadbeat dads, thugs and unemployed bums.

I grew up with my father, grandfather, uncles and male cousins all acting as responsible, accountable adults. This series does not reflect their experiences--and the fact that they made good life decisions that ultimately made family life normal and enjoyable.

All in all, I am very disappointed that the stereotype is being perpetuated again and again. Not the way to go, Washington Post.

Posted by: | December 19, 2006 09:29 AM

Overkill! Enough is enough. This series is not going to win you any awards. Let's move on.

Posted by: Marshall Pople | December 19, 2006 10:09 AM

Sir - This is a fascinating report and addresses a crucial issue in America. However, you haven't sought to address the root cause of the disadvantages suffered by Black males. The reason they are so likely to undervalue education and to feel powerless to change their lives is that they have been told that they are powerless to change their lives by a generation of short-sighted Black leaders. Black leaders have sought to place the locus of power in Black lives in the hands of Whites. While that is very convient for justifying racially based government programs, it is deadly to Black men. There is nothing as disempowering in this world as being told by your leaders that you have no power.

Posted by: Jonathan Brookshire | December 19, 2006 10:24 AM

it should be remembered that african american men in prison are not political prisoners . being held against their will because of their beliefs.

african american men in jail are they because they can not live by the laws that civlized people live by , so that we can all live . without having to be afraid that these thugs will take away the only thing which is truly ours . our life .

Posted by: theodore m kumlander | December 19, 2006 10:33 AM

There's, in itself, absolutely nothing wrong with being a black man. This is what God made him to be. However,what is wrong is being black man and poor. Once a black man is rich, his black coulor desappears in the eyes of a white pesron, and so is the discriminataion. Discrimination is a manifestation of superior eonomic status and all what goes with it.

Posted by: Mateus Mahumane | December 19, 2006 10:59 AM

This is journalism...tackling issues that are uncomfortable and make us ALL think. I am impressed with this entire series and applaud the audacity of the Post to run it in such a thorough and provocative manner. I am a Black divorced mother of two, one of whom is an eleven year old male. His success in a world where everything appears to be stacked against him is one of my greatest concerns. Hearing the thoughts and perspectives of a variety of Black men has provided me with a great deal of insight. One idea: Interview Black women (a variety) and ask them what they'd like to say "from their hearts" to Black men. I think you'd be surprised at how we want to encourage and support our men while honoring them as leaders. Again, thank you for being so bold in your efforts to bring visibility to the plight of my brothers.

Posted by: Nikki | December 19, 2006 12:03 PM

Being a young black woman, I try to be supportive of my young black male friends. A friend of mine experienced racial profiling just two weeks ago by a DC cop while he was on his way home. The amount of anger and embarrassment he felt can not be put into words, and I think these kinds of experiences is what fuels the crime and rebellion so many of our black men commit. It is our job as young women to support them and uplift them, not encourage the negative behavior. "Being a Black Man" shines light on some of these negative issues as well as made me realize that these are real people with real issues, and everyone does not grow up with both a father and mother. At the same time, there are people who come from good families who commit the same crimes. Bottom line, we just need to sit down and think of a way to stop this endless circle of crime and prison, so that we as a race can exceed the nations expectations of us.

Posted by: J. Sapp | December 19, 2006 12:15 PM

I recommend it to others; what more can I say about it?

Posted by: cornelius sheppard | December 19, 2006 12:23 PM

One man who you should for insight is John Ogbu. He is a Nigerian born American anthropologist who researched deeply into the racial disparity of blacks in America. When viewing your video commmentary, there is often insights into the counter culture that has formed in opposition to "white" institutions, and John Ogbu shows that it is this counter culture which is a major factor keeping blacks from statistically succeeding as well as caucasians. Success is viewed as turning one's back on the "black" culture, and successful blacks are viewed as fronts for "white" institutions. Change agents, like the men shown on your video and people from the "white" organizations are needed to bridge the gap.

Posted by: sangjmoon | December 19, 2006 01:55 PM

I appreciated your story regarding prisons and black men. However, I felt that you overlooked a huge element of the story: the incredible boom in our prison system, growing from roughly 200,000 inmates in 1970 to over 2,000,000 today, which gives us the highest rate of incarceration in the world. This required huges sums of money, which have been taken away from other areas such as education.

This to me is of the utmost importance, considering that our school systems are vastly unequal, with poor people and especially poor blacks and Latinos having the worst schools. It seems rather unsurprising that African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans--the groups historically the most oppressed in our history--now suffer the highest rates of poverty and unemployment, and are incarcerated at rates several times that of whites.

Lastly, I would have liked a deeper look at why these men end up in prison. In fact, over half are in for drug offenses, yet the "war on drugs" has always been very classist and racist, targeting for example crack use by poor blacks while largely ignoring powder cocaine use in college dorms and business suites.

Steve Schnaar,

Santa Cruz, CA

Posted by: Steve Schnaar | December 19, 2006 01:57 PM

One of the more interesting current sociological issues is that of the relationship and conflict between African Americans who were descendants of slaves, and recent African immigrants to this country. It is here where we see how historical and cultural psychic baggage accrue into social and personal pathology.

Posted by: Steve | December 19, 2006 02:41 PM

I think this project is a very very important project! A friend of mine was shot and killed at the age of 28 (2004). Funny thing is, he thought that he had actually survied the age in which he had feared he was going to die. But before he died, he often times questioned me about our purpose (black people) and wanted to know what our values as a people are today. What happened after the civil rights movement. Why black families are so dismantled. why don't we stand for anything but fall for everything.

I have the same questions, and in his loving memory will continue to seek to find answers. I believe in our/my black men. I love them, support and will continue to be the biggest noise maker when it comes to us. As a single mother of 2 boys, my main concerns are instilling the value of an education. An education is worth more than a dollar. It can't be spent, stolen, or devalued. It can only make you a better you and a better person to your culture and community.

So many things are a threat to black america, but an education and firm grounding in our rich heritage is something NOBODY can take away, impede on, or mislead us in. Thanks again for highlighting this topic. This is something i will be sure to share with my oldest son (9 years) to help ground him in pride!

Posted by: Marcia A. Sandifer | December 19, 2006 02:51 PM

I respect the fact that as a white American man, I will never know what it is like to be a black American man. I'll just never know. But as a young man (about 30), just man to man, I do know that there seems to be a kind of missing perspective with many of the black men who were interviewed for the series. The missing insight, I would express as a reluctance to admit that being young, for most of us, black or white, is a struggle and can involve some humbling experiences; it entails a lot of exploitation and gruntwork and years of training at relatively low pay or at great educational expense - and moreover, that's *legitimate*, to a degree. Maybe this seems as unacceptable as quasi-slavery to some black men? There seems to be a pervasive unwillingness, in the film shorts, to see the big picture and travel the long road of responsibility, and instead a tendency (to varying degrees) to seek a kind of short-term glory in the power of a gun, the easy money of petty crime and victimization of the innocent, the arrogance of brutality, and the comfort of self-pity and blaming others. I understand why people do things that are wrong for personal advantage, but I can't wrap my mind around why this kind of life, with its erosion of the soul and severe risk of incarceration through empty bravado, would be preferable to the straight path of deep dignity, because it's really to tremendous disadvantage regardless of the temporary, illusory gain. The loss of dignity endured by those who end up incarcerated must be crushingly severe - but that forfeiture of dignity didn't begin with the arrest. It pains me that men who are otherwise like me and who come of age in the same country would find their path so troubled and rocky when even the straight path can be difficult enough.

Posted by: B.E. | December 19, 2006 03:12 PM

It would be interesting if the Post interviewed black immigrants to the US, particularly from Africa and the Caribbean, to see how they feel about black Americans. Does merely having black skin make life difficult? Or is it something unique to black Americans? Or maybe it's limited to the inner-city environment? I'm not black, but I do wish we could figure out how to stop these problems.

Posted by: My name | December 19, 2006 03:51 PM

Thank you for an excellent article. As a black professional in the field of workforce development in the rural South, I am constantly faced with young black men who are unable to qualify for jobs. The reasons range from lack of education (the dropout rate is staggering), criminal records - both major and minor, failed drug tests, the inability to present themselves in a manner to be hired, etc. The totality of what we face seems overwhelming at times, and there seems to be no clear answer, but a real start has to be with those who proclaim themselves as leaders within the Black community. At the first incident that could be considered newsworthy, I see them taking the white community/police/goverment, to task. Where is that indignation within our own community? Our young girls are producing children at a younger age every year, often by much older men...which contributes to the cycle of single mothers having to be both comfort and cop as they struggle to raise kids by themselves. Why is this not a high profile issue championed by these "leaders"? Many of our leadership lashed out at Bill Cosby for his recent comments, but I challenge any of them to publicly debate him on the issue. No one will because how our young men act (yes we do have some exceptions thank God) is visible for all of us to see. Yet, why haven't they called for forums within every Black community where the ones who really care can be heard? WE have to fix this problem, and it could be done, but it would take our leaders to have a common voice. We don't need to condemn our youth and the hip-hop culture, we just need to educate our young men on the danger of living in it all the time....we have to train our young men at an early age to be able to move in both worlds. Is that fair? probably not, but life is not fair. As I tell our young men all the time, those folks who have the jobs or the ability to deny access to those jobs do not understand the hip-hop world, nor do they need to in their opinion. So unless we start teaching our young men at a young age how to acquire cultural competencies beyond just our culture, we'll continue to see the numbers in prison, and unemployed/under employed, etc. This is the call we need our leaders to make.

Posted by: V. Rodgers | December 19, 2006 04:04 PM

While I believe it is admirable and enlightening to look into todays'world of the Black Man, I find it disheartening that you are not seeking more successful stories to share. As an African American woman rearing three sons, I want them to open the Washington Post and view a front page story about someone who has made it to Harvard,Cornell or Morehouse without the need to be successful on the court
or football field. My sons were taught in their school setting how to read and comprehend the stock market. Yet there do not seem to be articles written about African American males being successful there; so then, how do I continue to encourage my sons in this arena when there seems to be no vision that he could get to that place and not be seen as "weird, nerd", or an "uh oh oreo", a term used for Black males who are academically bright and articulate. This explanation from my own son who recently scored 1360 on his first SAT sitting. How did he get there? Because I come from a family that values education and I was determined that my sons would not become a negative statistic.
Thank you for the opportunity to share.
Tawanda Turner Brown, LCSW
Child, Adolescent & Adult Therapist
703-474-3844

Posted by: Tawanda Turner Brown | December 19, 2006 04:07 PM

Instead of absentee fathers, my concern is for the number of black women who have babies by men who they know have no jobs or education. Much less exposing themselves to aid. As a nurse I see time and time our women delivering children by men who already had children they didn't support. The two problems with this young man that he waited until he was 27 befopre he realized that he needed a high school diploma, and his low level of tolerance for frustration in the work place. I see my own brother who never finished school belly aching about working for "kibbles and bits". And why was 19 year old dating a 27 year old in the first place? To the black women out there protect yourself with birth control and condoms, protect your future by completing your education, and protect your emotional health by realizing that marriage is not a white thang! Black women stop loving your sons and raising your daughters or the black man and black family will continue to decline

Posted by: shirley | December 19, 2006 06:47 PM

I have truly enjoyed the work put into getting into the bare bones of this issue, and the wizardry of technology has made it an even easier platform to interact.

From my window, what I see is the loss of family values, period. Second to that, I see the loss of "community". The world is just as responsible for the condition of the black man as is his family. I see the youth being misguided by the media's marketing ploys, and I also see the parents who are not acknowledging what is the truth concerning them. I see black men being featured in Lincoln, Tanquerey, and Lotto commercials; but, you don't see them in Schwab, American Express, or ING Financial Services commercials. We've shown them the benefits of financial gain, but have failed to show them how to manage themselves and their funds to truly enjoy those benefits. When a man thinks that having an SUV financed at a 21% interest rate is more important than taking care of his future, "houston we have a problem". Yet, this is what society shoves in their faces through the media. Even when a black man reaches his educational and financial goals, rarely do you see them go back into the community to raise up another. He is now concerned with being lauded for his acheivements and looking down in disdain at those who have not.

I could write a novel regarding this matter; yet, what are words with no plan of action? What we need is to restore family and community values. We need those churches that rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars each week to put it back into the communities in which they collect it; and, we need to be honest about the causes of the ill-effects.

Posted by: Elle Dee | December 19, 2006 06:54 PM

I do not know what it fully means to be a Black man in America, because I am a Black woman. I do know this from having all brothers and a family that is predominately male, it is a struggle, it is beautiful and it is a beautiful struggle if one chooses the right path to follow. Black men must know that they are going to struggle but they msut commit themselves to the road of positive progess, they must know that there will be set backs and road blocks and haters. I would say, just do not give in to self hatred and negativity. Society expects you to fail from the moment you are created in the womb, but you do not have to buy into that expectation. It is hard just to be Black but we must stop feeding into our own negative abyss and allowing our young men and men and boys to be consummed by the false sense of what it is to be a black male in today's society, the thug and drug and bling lifestyles. Sports and music are in my opinion in so many ways the new slave system, your masters are still your masters, if you understand what I mean. I want to comment on something that I read in the high school section of today's Post. A young white athlete, Pat Leazer was sentenced to 10 days, 10 DAYS!!!! for his role in an armed robbery, we must ask ourselves, if he were a young black athlete would his sentence have been the same and so lenient?
If you are a black man in America you know the answer to that without my having to tell you.
Black men must stay strong and fulfill their true destiny and that is to be great and serve God.

Posted by: Kim P. | December 19, 2006 07:02 PM

To be a Black Man is to be a man who has to make a decision. An uncompromising decision to be a moral leader in the world and promote right conduct and chivalry in honor of your nation.

Posted by: Michael Knight | December 19, 2006 07:30 PM

My Father, James D. Lipscomb, died a month ago on November 20, 2006. Daddy, which my sisters and I called him affectionately, was 83 years old, so his life was one of many stories to be told regarding "Being a Black Man". He was born in Marion, Alabama, where my grandparents owned land and ran a business. My father was gifted with a tenor voice that would put all your opera tenor stars to shame. He sang when he was in the Navy in 1943. But he was denied his rightful place in music, because of his color. Although he sang in the Chicago Symphony Orchrestra Choir long after his prime for a brief moment in time and also sang with choirs throughout the city of Chicago as a solist. He was a long standing member of NABM, National Association of Black Musicians. He attended Earlham College for a few years then married my motherin 1949. He raised us working at the Post Office, for 40 years,where he retired in 1989. Two of us have college degrees, one with a doctoric. Love of God, family and education were first in our household. He was denied, but he stood strong as a man till the end.

Posted by: Dr. Pamela S. Pearce | December 20, 2006 09:42 AM

This happens to be some thing that I researched and considered when the Son Let's Renovate program has recognized that aspect of a male growing up with a father structure, implemented can bring up many questions in related fields such as the one's you have chosen.
I am here to say that, The Son Let's Renovate, mentoring programs main focus is the aspect of answering the questions that males have in regards on how they are suppose to function in such a society, where, the life blood of this country is the man and his role in society, and it effects all nationality's, more importantly the black male ; and the main reason for the Son Let's Renovate project. We need to have this program up and running by Christmas of this year 2006.The estimated budget is $ 275 Million. This is under an existing 501(C)3 So all donations are tax deductible. The American PEOPLE need to Know about this noble cause in order to receive the funds. PLEASE MAKE THIS A MAJOR NEWS BREIF AND WATCH GREAT THINGS HAPPEN!

Posted by: E Craig Jackson | December 20, 2006 11:01 AM

THE ARTICLE ABOUT WHAT DADDY'S DO IS ONE THAT SHOULD BE RATED #1 . I TAKE MY HAT OFF TO HIM BECAUSE IM A 30 YR OLD SINGLE MOTHER OF TWO AND IF THE FATHER OF MY CHILD TO THE RESPONSIBILITY SUCH AS THAT YOUNG MAN IT WOULD BE EAISER ON ME. IF YOUNG MEN IN GENERAL TOOK MORE RESPONSIBLITY THEN IT WOULD BE EASIER ON THE WELFARE SYSTEM. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

Posted by: NAKISHA | December 20, 2006 12:16 PM

I watched the videos 'What Does It Mean to be a Black Man?' and 'Why Are So Many Black Men in Prison?' I was greatly moved by their content, particularly the latter. Living as I do in Johannesburg, South Africa, there are clear parallels and resonances. Thanks for really engaging content; I am so glad I came across this site. I sincerely hope the dialogue continues and even more films are made.

Posted by: Catherine Muller | December 20, 2006 01:17 PM

I think it's awesome to here about "normal" people that had a great life and succes. It a chance for them to be recognized and show a good example to others. It's way better then earing about who got shot today on the news.

Those creative lifes gives us concrete stuff to implent into our own to make it better.

The persons who worked to make that happends did a very honourobla action in doing so.

Posted by: Dominique Dupont | December 20, 2006 05:21 PM

The words (AFRICAN AMERICAN) were did that come from,I was never born in africa,maybe my great,great grandmother's mother was born there who really knows.I have a problem with setro type,can't we be call men and women or by our names and not black, white,red,latio or any other words that people think fit's us.We as people also need to raises our kids and not let them raises us, don't be your childs friend be his/her, mother or father show them that education is the key to life as well as success.Thank you washington post for the wonderful artical

Posted by: k.m | December 21, 2006 11:16 AM

Everything is different for black men. My perception of the justice system was recently scattered. Justice does not include us. White America can only find value in their children. For example: a community here in Richmond, VA spent a whole summer experiencing what was described as seismic booms. After a summer filled w/news storys and investigations, they found that several teenaged white boys were exploding pipe bombs. Those young men where given community service. Had the crime been committed by black teens, they would have spent time in detention. America places little or no value on the life of a black man. My brother recently endured two trials for a crime the government knows he didn't committ. The first trial was 11-1 in favor of not guilty. On the governments 2nd crack at my brother, they came from a completely different angle. The 2nd jury of mostly whites (2 blacks) born in 1932 & 1945 found this big black man guilty. White people believe that there are no innocent men behind bars. Furthermore, they don't care. Our correctional system is about capitalism....nothing more. It's definitely not about rehabilitation. Everything this government does is about capitalism. Don't be fooled, we're not in Iraq because of human rights violations or democracy.....it's about capitalism. My brother was gamefully employed by the same company for 10 years, responsible father....but he made a mistake.....taking in a room mate!! Be careful black men....you have no room for mistakes. They are building prisons all over the country to house more men, employ more people and make lots of money.

Posted by: K.C. Thorpe | December 21, 2006 12:51 PM

I think that it is imperative that society also view the positive contributions that African American males have made in this country. Too often it is easy for the white majority in this country to blame black men for all of the social ills that take place in this society. Instead each individual non black American who has a conscious mind and have the ability to discern right from wrong need to hold accountable thier negative behavior and steriotypical attitudes that contribute to the legacy of racism that thwarts the many strides and contributions that we have made to make this the great nation that it is.

It has to be remembered that with forced free labor of my ancestors many in this country wouldn't have the many priviligges and sense of intitlement that they seem to hold so dearly.

Posted by: Mark Eubanks | December 21, 2006 01:22 PM

I think it shows what it's like to be a black man,and it shows how we came from slavery to freedom. BLACK MEN NEED TO LEARN HOW TO RESPECT THEIR WOMEN, GET THEIR EDUCATION, AND STAY OUT OF PRISON, AND STOP DEALING DRUGS.

Posted by: Jessica Tanner | December 21, 2006 02:06 PM

WHAT I THINK IS THAT IT'S HARD TO BE A MAN OF "COLORED" IN GENERAL THEIR REASON WHY IS BECAUSE OF RACISM, ITS WHAT THEY SEE ON TV THAT THEY GENERALIZE COLOR MAN. BUT I BELIEVE ITS A SHAME THAT AMERICA , A SUPER POWER , WE A HAVE A CAPITOL WITH SOMEMANY CRIMES AND POVERTY. WHILE ARE POLITICIANS AND POLITICAL LEADERS ARE MAKING MONEY . THE POLITICIANS IN THE BENZ THEY DRIVE BY SEEING A MAN OF COLORED JUST LIKE HIM, THE SAME BLOOD AND EVERY THING, A HEART, AND SEEING TAKE FOOD FROM YOUR TRASH AND OTHER PEOPLE TRASH AND SAY NOTHING. BUT IT ALSO GO BOTH WAYS WE ARE PUTTING OURSELVES IN THIS TOO. WHAT ARE THE RESOLUTES AFTER THE I HAVE DREAM SPEECH??

Posted by: ROD NOUIZ ST.PAUL | December 21, 2006 02:08 PM

Great article. I would like to see more highlights on the positive role models in the black community. We have made history this year. A 35 year old Black Mayor of Washington,DC(the youngest ever elected) Black County Exec in Montgomery County, Md and two Black Astronauts now in space.

Posted by: Tia | December 21, 2006 04:02 PM

I really enjoyed the diversity of your documentaries; it is truly wonderful to see that all is not bad. Your focus on the black men in America continues to be an enigma to most. However, just with any other ethnic group, it will take time to eradicate the seed that was planted in the minds of our ancestors who were constantly being told that they were never going to amount to anything. One has to remember that this was passed on from generation to generation. This negative way of thinking can take century to wipe out. If we "African Americans" do not collectively change our thought process and stop blaming others for our situations we will continue to perpetuate failure. We cannot and should not look for others to guide us; we are responsible for our own destiny period. Hopefully, your expose on black men will encourage young African American to choose a different path in life.

Posted by: | December 22, 2006 02:32 PM

After two years of studying and working with educational and social systems, in both Hartford, Connecticut, and in Washington, D.C. i see that the problems faced by black men are not only of regional concern, but have a national agenda. This online data bank, and the publihsed articles serve well to educate the general populace of the trials and tribulations faced by black men in America, and i commend the creators for their work.

However, I want to see more support and answers to the problems which individuals face in todas world. For those caught in teh catch-22 of being black, and male in this world, how are they able to combate their social curcumstances in a beneficial way? What organizations are working to aide these men? What can we, as a comunity do, to encourage the support of the men who are essential in created a familial culture that is esential to right the surplus of single-parent families?

Please provide more information on these topics, as perpetuating the speading of information on this topic is one facet. We need all sides, issues, and proposed solutions.

Posted by: an observer in D.C. | December 22, 2006 05:24 PM

The press and America at large have a habit of "lumping" all blacks into one category. This is not the case for whites. The truth of the matter is that if you were to study all the statistics that white America loves to quote ("more blacks in jail then college", "black men are not marrying their women", "black men are failing on the education front", "black men only care about sex", "black men negative", negative...and so on) but apply them to black immigrants from the islands and Africa i.e. non African-Americans (which is a ridiculous racist term in on of itself for a people whom have been in America for 400 years) You would see that those statistics would go out the window! The troubles of black AMERICANS are not a black thing. It is a deep rooted fear, and hatred of the black man that is deep in the white American Psyche. Add onto that the self fulfilling prophecy if you will of the black AMERICAN, then it becomes crystal clear why the problems persist. The solution: Stop looking to white America and look within. There is one thing that Americans love more then they hate black men. The almighty dollar! If black men as a WHOLE become successful at producing those dollar bills, all those other issues will solve themselves. Take a look at the Jewish community for an example. Those white American southerners hate(d) the Jews almost as much as the blacks. But the Jews as a group are very successful economically. The result: A gigantic Menorah larger than the Xmas tree and closer to the people right now on the White House lawn!

Posted by: | December 24, 2006 05:28 AM

Thank you for the wonderful article about Mr. Mason. This is the first time I've read a portion of your series. Keep it up!

A satisfied read from Sacramento, CA

Jon

Posted by: Jon Taber | December 24, 2006 08:48 AM

First and Foremost, I am an African-American and my blood has been in this country since the late 17th century. Secondly, I believe almost all black-men and black-women who are in prison today brought it upon themselves, period!!

Black Americans are the luckiest black people in the world. We as black people worldwide are considered the bottom of the barrel, yet we black American are the luckiest of the bunch, (our crumbs are bigger than all other black people in the world, but few of us take advantage of these opportunities). Instead all we do is complain, join gangs, have babies as teenagers, sell drugs, spent beyond our means, poo-poo education and when it all falls apart, we blame the whiteman. Of course not all black people are like this, but a large, large number of us are, (disproportionably so).

OH, oh here it comes!!!-----The cat-calls and people calling me Uncle Tom and making excuses for these punks and punkette's failures. (Excuses like, their education systems were poor, they were abused as children, or their mommy didn't love them--please!!). Tell that to the Sudanese, Ethiopians or Vietnamese who come here and make a life, after seeing their love ones murdered "point blank" in cold blood because of a political disagreement.

So, the truth is the truth and all the cat-calls and name-calling won't change the situation; because the only thing that will change the situation is WE and WE alone. Only when we stop killing each other and start respecting each other, take education serious, stop spending beyond our means, stop the drugs, be the best at all that we do, rebuilt the family and start investing in our community will things change.

Peace out my people.

Posted by: bhb | December 24, 2006 08:50 AM

One last comment.

While I agree that the race card thing is over-played, conservatives now use the phrase to try to silence the issue.

My advise is be careful when you use it because much of what happens to you is just people being people. Meaning many people are mean, selfish, hateful, racist whatever, (no matter the color). So again my message is the same; no one but yourself can do it for you and to expect anything from people different in color or creed from you is foolish, dumb and simply never worked and never will. At the end of the day its not about color, it about people. Consider yourself lucky to be an American and take the few crumbs, (its more than most get in the world) that you get and do something with them.

Peace out.

Posted by: bhb | December 24, 2006 09:03 AM

This has been a very informative article, however, this information should be read by every black man in the U.S. I have been reading this on the web. I live in Savannah and the black man is in crisis here, due a lack of leadership on every level. No fathers, no male role models, to help with this social problem of having young black men to guide these young black boy in the right direction. Unlike your major metropolitan area where young can they can at lease see black successful men working and taking care of their families. This article needs to be share on a national level so that the awareness of this issues of the black man and where he's been and where he's at and where he's going. This article needs to be shared about being a black man.

Posted by: Kevin Flournoy | December 24, 2006 09:33 AM

I believe that the only reason we as a black race have to continually revisit the racism, and genoocide that a black man faces is because of the continual absence of the black father. The FBI official still does not know the extreme adversity that a black man would face because of the absence of a black wife. It would be interesting to see how far he would of gotten with his education and skill if he had a black wife. There are many black men that have skill, and education, but still are not judged by their skills because the powers that promote and hire are'nt spiritually evolved enough to acknowledge that he is a man first. I have nothing against interacial couples but if you marry someone who is different than your mother or father, the small minded powers that be; view this as self hate, therefore you are no threat to the system.

Posted by: Stephanie Garrison | December 25, 2006 12:59 PM

While I expect to see racist stereotypes of "white" people and others promoted by Washington Post columnists, I was quite surprised to see the most blatant of stereotypes on the first past of the "A" section on December 24, in the latest installment of the "Being A Black Man" series. I am both offended and disappointed in the post for disseminating racial stereotypes on the front page of the paper.

The article says that, as then FBI Agent Mike Mason's hands were cuffed and he lay on the ground while playing the role of a drug dealer in an FBI undercover operation, he "saw a crowd of white shoppers gathering and staring at him. He knew what they were thinking....Just another lowlife black guy dealing drugs. Good riddance to bad rubbish."

Whether these speculative assumptions about what the white spectators were thinking truly came from Mason or from the article's authors, such obvious, blanket stereotypes have no place in one of the world's premier newspapers.

I would think the editors and other staff would apply some standards as to the information in the publication -- at least the information on the front page of the major news section, but I am dissapointed to find that isn't the case. I will be cancelling my subscription, as I don't pay for the promotion of crude racial or religious stereotypes if I can help it.

Posted by: Jeff Bloom | December 25, 2006 02:28 PM

I think the issue of being a black man is a prevalent discussion we as black's we need to dialogue on consistently, Being a Black Man is tough in a white dominated society, however we live in a time where we can be all we can be. The key is black men coming together collectively and drop egos so we can deal with the issue of Being a Black Man.

Posted by: James Andre Smith | December 27, 2006 12:36 AM

really it is the bitter facts.i do not what come next oh my god i am scared about the future because there is a lot of tendency that increases those facts


"some medias" they makes me mad

Posted by: deju | December 27, 2006 03:14 PM

hello
hope you can help me, i am from mexico, i write valentina kibuyaga, and this page apears in her name, if you know her can you please send her this email so that she know s i am looking for her, thanks a lot, hope i can get to reach her.
thank you
sofia

Posted by: sofia aguilar | December 27, 2006 06:12 PM

This is awesome!!! Thank You!

Posted by: Desiree Reid | December 28, 2006 01:49 PM

This is a brilliant series. It's the kind of journalism that takes your breath away. As I read the articles in your "Being a Black Man" project I wonder why newspapers are dying, and are not considered relevant. The series does what only newspapers can do -- it tells us what is happening in our towns, cities and neighborhoods in a compelling, thoughtful, considered and balanced manner grounded in empirical fact-finding. I hope it is packaged and distributed widely -- to schools, community organziations and boys and girls clubs. Congratulations.

Posted by: Mario Possamai | December 29, 2006 08:52 AM

There are a few factors I can see that fuel the criminal factor. First and foremost, all that alcohol prohibition ever did is promoted the growth of gangs and violence. The same thing applies to drugs. The majority of prisoners are there on drug charges when the money for them should be used for youth programs and drug and alcohol treatment.

Second is the hip-hop/rap idols and the expensive clothing lines they promote. Some young men pay $200 for just one pair of 'designer' jeans! How can a kid afford this when they only are working a service job? You guessed it.

Posted by: T Gee | December 29, 2006 09:15 AM

I'd first like to say, Ms. Parker really captured the essence of the bowling alley experience. The friendships, level of debate, and the camaradrie that exist there, was painted the way it really is. Kudos to her knowledge and ability to get it right.

The Bowling Alley is not just about the strikes and spares. It's a place where you can be a part of something that is a lot like life.....you roll it everyday, sometimes you strike, sometimes you spare, and sometimes you don't come through. But then there's the next frame, game, etc....kinda like life.

This series has done a credible job in raising the discourse of "being" a black man. Folks that don't live as one or know a black man close enough to have these types of discussions have a glimpse to read "one man's verision" of how "being" a black man affects him.

Hats off to your willingness to put it out there for folks to discuss. Go to a barber shop or the gym, and the discussion is pretty much the same, broken down by age and range of experiences. It's certainly good to see us getting some positive "play".

All of the articles are universally well written/researched and little of "realness" seems to have been lost.

This shouldn't be a one time shot, it's an important topic well worth the effort and time spent. You've done well!

Posted by: Leon Foster Jr. | December 29, 2006 09:22 AM

It seems like being a black man in today's America means you don't even have to try for better or take care of your own. That's all I see in DC.

Posted by: Kristy Faust | December 29, 2006 10:04 AM

Long overdue!

Posted by: Robert Surface | December 29, 2006 02:19 PM

I think this series was well overdue. Today, there are so many criticisms of "Black Men." I think it is very important to recognize what they have been through and are currently going through. I hope to see the pride in "Black Men," like that which I saw when I was growing up. I think if the men can recognize what a valuable resource they are to the community and the United States as a whole, than maybe, they will help the women and children accept their place in this world. I learned something's from this series and I hope many others did as well.

I am an educated African-American women and this article helped me have more empathy for my "brothers." I think I started reading this series of articles to see if it would help me understand why my father was not a part of my life. It did not. However, it helped me see men in a different light.

Posted by: Davina | December 29, 2006 07:37 PM

Interesting outcomes for a survey of 'what does it mean to be a black man".

Race is an intersubjective issue.

The next survey should examine'

What 'what does it mean to be a white man".

This will prove to be much more interesting because many white men never have to think about 'what it means to be white'.


Posted by: Victor Hart | December 29, 2006 11:56 PM

It's interesting to note that many Afro Americans never mention Native Americans in their analysis of racism and its historical records.

After all, black or white, you all stand on the stolen grounds of native peoples, their blood fell onto that ground fighting for their families and sovereignty.

Or is this historical and national amnesia too hard for all to talk about? Is it easier (more convenient) just to confine discussions of racism and race between 'black and white'.

Perhaps the question of the survey should have read "What does it mean to be a black or a white man standing on stolen ground and mystifying it as though it never happened?

If this survey is about identity, then it's also about the identities that were genocide[d] to create contemporary identities.


Posted by: Greg Hart | December 30, 2006 12:08 AM

This series has been a blessing. I'm most pleased that it is so "diverse" and that it's still going on. Black men, and Black folks, have never been monolithic & this series seems to be trying very hard to capture the " full esssence" of Black men.

Bravo! (so far...)

Posted by: LaTanya Wright | December 30, 2006 10:07 AM

I am a black man, lived in the east and the west and my experiences have shown me that we are a terribly confused population while exhibiting fantastic accomplishments and battling racism and genocidal practices at the same time. But somehow it appears that we expect a system that enslaved us to embrace us and our humaness while forgetting the fabric of this society in america is laced with chains, shackles, ropes for hanging and our incredible willingness to forget. The Black and Red man gained so little while providing so much economic health to this nation. Our net gain is a loss. We were defined by this government as 2/5 animal in the Dred Scott Decision and for being strong enough to physically survive the millions of injustices we have faced in the past and present, we, oursleves, hate ourselves.
We cloak our confusion and self hated by becoming supermen. We either hit it big financially by running and jumping or dancing and singing and we are too often of little value to one another. We are either handsome and well drapped in european fashion or we are looked over and ignored by one another. If we are not successful in european terms we are considered failures by the churches I have been a member of. We allow pimps to pimp our women and preacher pimps to pimp everyone else.
Black men die in Africa mining diamonds for pennies while whites make huge profits selling them to blacks in america so they can put them in their grills and brag about all the junk they got while so many of us still struggle to survive? And why is it that so many super successful blacks support and surround themselves with white folk? And when did our mother's daughters become bitches and hos? And why and how did black men start bragging and singing about killing other black men?
As a black man I struggle with these issues daily as subtle genocidal practices gradually but undeniably confront us with our past and present. The things we failed to do yesterday to keep our famiies together and support ourselves business wise, we do even less of today. We will support any other race in being sucessful, especially in our own communities while being treated poorly by the shop keepers. At the same time we will refuse to support any similar store owned by a black man.
We treat each other so bad it's a shame and it makes hipocrates out of each of us for complaining about racism but doing so little to combat it. If one of us identifies a racist act others are the first to discount it and say, 'perhaps it's your own fault'.
And perhaps it is but maybe it's not! (Being black in america is my fault, I can leave!). I have had the experience of a fellow black man (high yellow) put me down and tell me it was my fault when told him about racism on my job. "I should just quit if I didn't like it", is what he said before changing the subject. And who do you think he came running to when his company realized he was actually black and not just a non-black minority? He had the audacity to tell me what it was like to be discriminated against. Somehow the lightness of his skin clouded his mind and prevented him from realizing he was talking to a dark skin black man well experienced. Pass for white then, now you want to holla black!
We have some issues and I don't think there is enough will within our population of black men in america to change the tide any time soon, at least not at the rate we chase others women and ignor our own people.
And as we continue to fill the jails and die america's wars, why won't we do something to help ourselves as a people?

Posted by: Tyrone Hines | December 30, 2006 04:30 PM

I am a 21 year old Black woman at one of the best public universities in America. I am blessed to have two wonderfully supportive parents, and they pushed me to become the woman that I am. However, I also have a little brother who has just turned 13. My parents are trying to raise him the same way that they did with me, but even I notice that it is much harder. It's not because my brother is particularly rambunctious. In fact, he would much prefer to watch something on the Discovery Channel than on BET. My parents push him to achieve, but at school, he is highly ridiculed. The White kids shun him because we live in a rather racist, rural area, and the Black kids shun him because to them, it seems as if he is trying to "act white." I haven't read through all the articles in this piece, but I would love to know if that is something that is ever addressed. How are we supposed to teach young Black men to be the best they can be, when from ALL directions, they are receiving mixed messages about what that exactly means? I certainly faced similar criticisms as a youngster, but I think that it is a little easier as a woman- perhaps because there are more role models? In any case, I thank you for this piece, and I look forward to reading more.

Posted by: V. Brooks | December 30, 2006 08:53 PM

Thank you. I grew up in DC as a black male in the 70's. I did the things I see and read the other young brothers did. My biggest fear was going to jail,yet it didn't stop me from stealing, selling drugs or doing whatever hustle I could do to put money in my pocket. I came from a good working class family, but the pull of the streets was too strong. I never went to school or did anything legit. Lucky for me I had an older brother who talked me to enlisting in the army. Today at 46 I live in Long Island & make a six figure salary. I look at those I left behind and I know I made the the right choice. Thank you for highligthing the bullshit these young brothers go through. When I was young I was called a thug, a hood ,a burden on society. Why couldn't people see that I was just a young man looking for direction or guidance ?

Posted by: Mark from NW 14th street | December 30, 2006 09:50 PM

Being a Black Man at 60 years old, I can relate and share some of the experiences of growing up as a black man, no one can deny that any situation that arise, it is always a twist to it by being black, for example: as a Disabled Veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) when I returned from Vietnam, unlike my white counterpart, our war was not over by a long shot we still had to pick back up where we left off before the war, trying to prove that we were first class citizens, it has taken most of my life to come to the realization that in order to grow, is to let the anger that I have been carrying around over the years, is to forgive. I say this because if I can get some young black man to understand that holding on to anger, they can let a whole life time pass them by.

Thanks for keeping the awareness alive

Posted by: Wilbur Morrison | December 30, 2006 09:52 PM

As black man I have been drawn to the very well written portraits in the WP. I would like to see a more broad and diverse spectrum of men profiled. Many black men are not "hustlers", marginally employed absentee fathers, and conversly many are not successful entrepreneurs or at the top of thier chosen profession. I would like to see profiles of men who are gainfully employed truck drivers, barbers, or low ranking federal employees. I think it would be interesting for the readers to see what such men share in common with thier high achieving and struggling counterparts.

Posted by: J.R. Murray | December 31, 2006 09:46 AM

As a black man and a native Washingtonian, I find the series to be of great value with the exception of it only covres one extreme (highly accomplished brothers) to the other extreme (the "thug-life" brothers). There are a multitude of problems that plague black men on both sides of the spectrum (i.e., being passed over for promotions, being slandered by other blacks who are in charge, not being recognized for your contributions (at work and home), etc.). As one reader has stated, "you have to be five steps better in everything you do", I find that in some instances, you have to not only be five steps better, you are expected to "Uncle Tom" and be made to feel that "you are lucky" to have anything. Why don't you find some of the brothers who are experiencing these sort of problems and write about their problems also.

Keith E. Peterson

Posted by: Keith E. Peterson | December 31, 2006 09:58 AM

This series is fascinating and I'm grateful for it. However, it would be just as fascinating, if not more, to do the same sort of series on black women, who are left the brunt of the burden of raising children and generating incomes alone to sustain families in the absence of many black men. Isn't being a black woman harder than being a black man?

Posted by: | December 31, 2006 11:00 AM

Comments on "Being a Black Man".
As a Black reader, and I'm sure I speak for many other Blacks, when I state we do not get your point in printing such degrading articles about Black men and their criminal activities. To us, this is not news worthy, I would invite you to write about the horrible conditions this society has created where many Blacks cannot find work and see as the only solution a career of criminal activities. Blacks do not have the control or the money to eliminate such problems, it is up to those who forced Blacks to create these communities of crime to take responsibility. Why not use your talent to address such issues? I am certain your researcher can find many reasons based on the decisions of the country's power brokers over the years to address this subject in a more balanced way.

Posted by: Ward D. Morrow | December 31, 2006 11:59 AM

slavery scar
gaping limit
age and memory distance
strength potential...
blood
carves a history
blues people
tied overlapping
in survival structure.
i am... my father's hope
and sorrow in flesh
his mirror does (not) see me.
only his father.

my mother
and daughter's
magic
pulses in drum noose
myth in box,
song in void.
her dance,
in blank cycle of pain
templelizes the ground
in secret.
she has forgotten
the science
in her rhythm will
teach her child
the infinity of thought
and power
of action.

through need
sacred beauty
is made control machine.
a money hole...
she buries her spirit in it
and never returns
to see
the tree it grew.
she hasn't heard
that she
is omnipotent force.

young fists drum
on clear wall
screaming:
...we
are quantum train
gospel heat glory light...!
they are phantoms
to you.
ideas and equations.
demanding
to be solid motions.
explosions
they pound in silence.
to you
they are phantoms.
cold whispers.
ghost signals,
they never reach
the outside, the air.
burning stars
they have not died.
they are sleeping.
glowing, even in sleep.

Past and Future
in shining metabody
meet,
merge
and pass without focus.
the muscles keep grinding
the same wheel.
blood
writes red stories
on our dreams.
each senseless grave
stacked against another.
the seeds inside them
only echo
while they dry.
my heart
is their immortality.

This is my reaction. This series of articles, while true and obviously in need of being unearthed, do not, show me as a whole. They are fragments, my identity in a cropped frame. We, thee Blues People Diaspora must learn to control our image by destroying the image.The generation gap must be closed. I am a 30 year old male from DC and member of huge cirle family of thinkers and doers . I have seen the pains and the joys of being a product of the American Business System.


Posted by: John Moon | December 31, 2006 02:16 PM

The Post series was well researched and documented, hats off for providing insight to complex human life pathways. Common themes, in the article, abound that cut across all races, and countries alike. To break the cycle of despair and for societies to be successful there needs to be education, sacrifice,determination and hope. In America these ideals are easily achievable if they are followed. For most of us the "quick-hit" lottery win simply doesn't exist. What we observe on television or hear on the radio are actually the result of sacrifice and determination, however some of the messages provided to young people are skewed and promote wrongful ideas on what life is. Life, for the majority, is initially studying hard, achieving good grades, completing goals and objectives that prepare us for life's work and leisure. Life is accepting the low paying job (sacrifice), performing at 100% everyday (determination), hoping and planning for a successful future. Life is repetition and the context of repetition needs to be understood, then carried out for America to be successful. All races of American people must contribute to this goal to be succcessful and content. Your article could have easily been titled "Being a Hispanic or Indian, or Asian, or Russian Man." There need be no differences between the races in America, we are ALL human beings capable of being educated, making sacrifices,and determined, with hope, for making our lives and futures prosperous. Instead of listening to the radio or television spewing unrealistic or hurtful messages, listen to the visionaries give us insight on where the job market is headed, then prepare yourself to take advantage of opportunities that will open up. This is America's foundation for all of us.

Posted by: Rich | January 1, 2007 10:18 AM

I have throughly enjoyed this series because it provided me with richer understanding of the multiple levels of being a blackman in America. Being Black and I know that no matter no significant my accomplishments have been in my 53 years of life. They pale in comparison to numerous hardships that were placed before me by this society. You see no matter what you have or what status you gained you in America you are viewed first as Black and then you must overcome all the negative societal connotations that are linked to your skin color by the majority race. I know how it is to be a Black Man because I am a Black Man each and everyday I live. It is my hope that this series and others like it will continue to break down barriers of racism that exist in this country. I am not optimistic about that happening in my lifetime if you look at the recent Tennessee Senatorial Campaign where racism was introduced by the majority race to influence that election and how the majority race is now working to teardown Obama's influence by linking him to Saddam Hussein by using his complete name. These acts while not being overt in nature are indeed acts of racism nevertheless yet they occur with acceptance by those who have a deep resentment to a fully equal society. I can only hope that maybe one day my grandchildren will see a colorblind society but I am not hopeful.

Posted by: Joe Hall | January 1, 2007 03:31 PM

There are many stories of black men that are neglected; some which are never seen. But what seems to be the same story from most corners is the role Christ has played in so many of our lives. The way that Christianity has shaped a politically liberal tradition in black communities is a story never told. When we look for new agendas in American political life, we neglect the story that so many black men have to tell of the power Christ has had in shaping a political force that empowers women to have mastery over their bodies, offers health care to all rather than the privileged, and helps put the needy on their feet. If we would but tell the story of black men's contributions to our republic we might be able to see the future of our democracy.

Posted by: erik c. wimbley-brodnax | January 1, 2007 05:32 PM


Dear Sir or Madam:

I have been following the "Being a Black Man Series" since the first publication, but this topic on Cool has moved me to respond.

I read with rapt attention Donna Britt's article on "The Hard Core of Cool" because it articulates and validates some beliefs I have had for years. From my own personal experience and from observing my father, brothers uncles and other black men in my life, if there was one thing they all had in common, from the lawyers to the blue collar workers in my family, it was a sense of cool. Cool was not just what you wore; it was also a number of other things that came together by design - the walk with a deliberate rhythm to it; a tilt to the left or right of the omni-present hat (not cap) slightly touching the ear; a slight backward lean while standing and checking out a scene or a fine sister as she walked by; and even the gentle contemplative stroking of the chin for no particular reason than it seemed to be the right thing to do at the time.
Of course the choice of apparel was important because it was what everything else revolved about; but a good looking suit with the wrong hat or shoes or unshined shoes; pants that did not hit the tops of the shoes just right or a suit jacket worn with a pair of slacks as if it were a sports jacket; man these stylistic missteps could get you dubbed "lame" or "country".
I have just completed a the manuscript of my childhood memoir and as I read Ms. Britt's piece, I thought about one scene in which I describe how I dressed to go to a party to meet a special girl. I was fifteen. The text is excerpted below:

I was wearing a double breasted, belted, beige trench coat - though lined, it was still not warm enough for the weather, but it was the coat of choice for the hip; and it was worth being cold if it meant you could be cool. I wore my best black wool pants and black shoes I had polished with liquid Esquire. I fortified myself against the bitter cold with a white turtle neck sweater over which I wore a black cardigan sweater of the style Sam Snead, the golfer, made popular; and wool, burgundy scarf. I covered my head with a black beret, pulled to the right, so it covered the upper part of my ear the way I had seen in photographs of Dizzy Gillespie and other jazz musicians. To complete the ensemble, I wore a pair of black fur-lined leather gloves. I wanted to be the hippest looking thing at the party; more importantly I wanted to impress Ernie.
Regrettably, as the word cool has been picked up by the mainstream, its meaning has strayed far from what Ms. Britt describes and my own experience. In its mainstream usage, things - cars, food, video games, a hat or shoe - are cool. But to the cool black man this would be impossible because the right word for these things would be bad as in good or nice.
I don't think that Ms. Britt's article will change any of this but I am pleased that her last piece of the year was one that struck such an emotional cord with me and I am sure a lot of men like me. By the way, at age 63 I think I still have it.
Happy New Year.

David H. Barrett
5638 Stevens Forest Road
#222
Columbia, MD 21045
410-997-8231 (home)
410-961-2745 (cell)

Posted by: David H. Barrett | January 1, 2007 09:35 PM

I would like to see the same type of series about what it's like to be a latino in the United States. what would be even nicer is if you could cover such a story without giving in to the stereotypes.

Posted by: henry duarte | January 2, 2007 09:24 AM

I once worked for a consulting firm at a federal agency. there were a few of us from different nationalities. the african male came in late and from my viewpoint did little, yet as all thing go in goverment, he was made the leader, mostly because he was black. I resigned soon after.

Posted by: howard collins | January 2, 2007 09:28 AM

This series is an awesome educational tool. I am amazed at how the different segments come together to capture the essence of the struggle of many African Americans who don't have a vehicle to make their plight known. I am grateful to all who contributed on such a wonderful compilation.

Posted by: KB | January 2, 2007 11:17 AM

After reading the article titled, "The Meaning of Work", my heart went out to Chris and his mother Brenda. Chris really tried to get a job and keep and most importantly he wanted and kept trying to get an education. Most of what Chris mentioned in the article is what a lot of our young black men go through, they rather get a job making money at home instead of joining the military who seems to not regard the black man at all. To men like Chris, it may seem he doesn't have many options, but Chris I want to tell you if you're reading this article, "keep your head up". "Don't be distracted or worry about the office workers who are sitting at their computers, on the phone, writing analyses, etc". "You may feel like you're on the outside looking in, but keep you head up and have a strong vision, because it could be you one day". "Have faith and good luck to both you and your mom".

Posted by: Marcerto Barr | January 4, 2007 10:45 AM

One suggestion, have you thought about posing this subject to Michael Baisden on 96.3 WHUR, it'll be interesting to see how the rest of the country (not just DC) views our Black Men. This may be an opportunity to not just read what others have to say, but to hear their voices as well-and not just from the black community, but other races too. That's truly a worthwhile topic. Think about it.

Posted by: Marcerto Barr | January 4, 2007 10:49 AM

THANK YOU!! We need to drawn more attention to what may be happening to some of our black men. We need to help find a solution to help us recognize the struggles we are up against whether it is due to lack of knowledge or discrimination or any other reason. The more attention given the more "everyone" can attempt to help. I applaude the black men that are successful (not necessarily financially) and urge them to keep pushing forward despite the challenges. I also applaude and appreciate others that are willing to help bring this issue to the forefront in an effort to make a change.

Posted by: DCW | January 5, 2007 03:25 PM

Thank you for initiating an often avoided and feared discourse. The videos were honest and touching; it was nice for a change to see black men have a voice in the way they're represented throughout society. I really look forward to an expansion of this series, into the lives of black women (as many readers have already mentioned), as well as the issues effecting young black children--particularly education.

Posted by: M.M. | January 7, 2007 12:33 AM

The article that appeared Sunday, December 31, 2006, entitled 'In or Out of the Game'? should have been more accurately entitled 'Being A Damn Fool', black, white, red or brown. The article is a sad reality for some inner-city young men, however, Mr. James appears to actively pursue his desired 'ghetto fabulous' going nowhere life-style. I see the article for what it really is, i.e. cementing Mr. James awaiting prison cell door permanently shut based on his own words and misdeeds. Sadly, Mr. Anthony James is a legend in his own distorted mind. Our newly elected mayor, Adrian Fenty, at age 35, is the personification of what Being A Black Man is about in the year 2007 and beyond. Please stop glorifying this insanity of ignorant individuals such as Mr. Anthony James, or in the very least, articulate it for what it is. Damn fools come in all shapes and colors.

Posted by: Lawrence Coleman | January 7, 2007 10:39 AM

I'm glad that a series ran in the post in regards to our men. As a black women it saddens me when I hear about a senseless killing. I grew up in the 70',my parents were married, and my mom didn't work for many yrs. There was always someone home to monitor, and my parents were very responsible. They were in their 20's and had 3 kids. That was the norm back then, one parent stayed home , and the other worked. The community was very close, and we were not allowed to be disrespectful to adults, and were held accountable for our actions. Even when we entered the school system: we knew our colors, numbers, spelled well, knew our addresses, as well as telephone #'s. It was no place but up. Now it is just the opposite, our kids aren't equipped for school, we have alot of immature parents who don't give a care. So this attitude trickles down to our children. Little do we know our children are being set up for the system. Like Jawanza Kunjufu said "You lost your man in Kindergarten". Then we have people who are teaching our children who have their own perception, and don't encourage our care about our children. Just working in urban areas to pay off student loans or receiving bonuses or incentives. I think all children should have the opportunity to attend a diverse school, the world is not all black, nor white. So when our children go into the working world we know how to interact with other groups. Our children are far from being dumb,some act dumb so they won't call attention to themselves,some act dumb so they don't have to participate, and some just don't care. Things have to get better because the black race has made so many contributions, some recognized, some not,others trying to take the credit. We always hear the negative. What about the positive that goes on? I know a young lady who attended Sidwell from Southeast, went to Harvard on a full scholarship...There is a lot of positive going on that we don't know about.

Posted by: Michelle l | January 7, 2007 12:01 PM

Being a certain color or from a certain ethnic background has always played a factor in what people see as the basis for not making it or getting what they want. What we must realize is that we attract what we most think about and are responsible for everything that occurs in our life.

I am black and proud of it. I say what I said comming from a different perspective. I am well versed in Eastern thought about karma and dharma and the law of attraction. Opening ourselves to those truths will enlighten a lot of people as to the reason why are they way they are in their lives.

One note to ponder on: the more you think and focus on something (good or bad), the more you attract it into your life. Most of us focus on the race aspect and come from that point of view---and get what they get. Others just focus on the good or what they want in their life and get that as well. So, focus on what you want and NOT on what you don't want.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Please post on my blog--http://creatorfactor.com/blog

Posted by: Reginald | January 8, 2007 10:17 PM

I wanted to share a story about black children in this country because it plays into why black men as well as women might grow up the way they do: http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=2748469

This video shows a study about what a lot of black children think about themselves as well as others around them.

I think this video shows what a lot of us already know. Our young black youth need more positive role models. They do not need to see rappers, sport figures, and street hustlers as the cool or exciting. They need to look at their parents (yes both parents) and see that hard work and education as well as self-respect is paramount. These children grow up in a society now where children are raising children so how hard is it for them to get these qualities installed into their minds and hearts. The "parents" hardly know what is is to be grown and adult; what can they pass on but what they know. I just hope that somewhere someone realizes that what and how a child thinks is more important then what he or she wears and how they dance or how cool they are. I think this is one of the root causes on how black men or women can get onto the wrong path and stay there.

Posted by: Khary from MD | January 9, 2007 09:20 AM

Soon we'll be marching and singing in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Since his death, my birth in 1970, and throughtout my life I've observed:

1) we need a new model to address the condition of the African American male. A model that engages the courage to integrate the slave experience in the healing of this festering pychosis we all suffer from, but he especially. MLK helped open the window and we most remember him for giving us beautiful window dressing to boot. I benefited while it was still open the later part of the century, not realizing my generation would be expected to rebuild the entire house. how?

2) this new model must include Self-Determination as it's primary end, not just "Kujichagulia" a KWANZAA principle affectionately considered once a year. He's got to want to do the work and ask for help. All of us who care and are trying to build without him are waiting.

3) Whole, healthy people connect authentically and sincerely with others in the world based on an effort to contribute something to it. The superficiality of singular entertainment aspirations cheapen them, and we're all less for it, less whole. Everybody knows AfAm men are the bomb! Ultimately, they've got to embrace and live this for themselves...for us all.

Tammy Taylor - radio host WTAN Tampa, FL

Posted by: Tammy | January 9, 2007 04:43 PM

Soon we'll be marching and singing in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Since his death, my birth in 1970, and throughtout my life I've observed:

1) we need a new model to address the condition of the African American male. A model that engages the courage to integrate the slave experience in the healing of this festering pychosis we all suffer from, but he especially. MLK helped open the window and we most remember him for giving us beautiful window dressing to boot. I benefited while it was still open the later part of the century, not realizing my generation would be expected to rebuild the entire house. how?

2) this new model must include Self-Determination as it's primary end, not just "Kujichagulia" a KWANZAA principle affectionately considered once a year. He's got to want to do the work and ask for help. All of us who care and are trying to build without him are waiting.

3) Whole, healthy people connect authentically and sincerely with others in the world based on an effort to contribute something to it. The superficiality of singular entertainment aspirations cheapen them, and we're all less for it, less whole. Everybody knows AfAm men are the bomb! Ultimately, they've got to embrace and live this for themselves...for us all.

Tammy Taylor - radio host WTAN Tampa, FL

Posted by: Tammy | January 9, 2007 04:43 PM

I think if one is not "negro centered" they are all but dead in America. However the irony is that negros are psychologically dead already. They have no sense of "liberation," only "freedom." In America negros asks, "When will I be free?", The White systems answers, "You are already free!" And it goes on like this, forever...as so many blacks self destruct in this trap.

Posted by: Shabaka Tecumseh | January 10, 2007 10:29 AM

great job. well presented and interesting.

Posted by: donald j. senna | January 10, 2007 11:32 PM

First and foremost, I want to applaud your
courageous efforts to enlightening others
to a critical ongoing social issue. The root of our dilemma is one of human nature. It starts with personal responsibility. Secondly, without positive family, and community support and resources, even the most determined will
succumb to some degree. However, these entities are fruitless unless there is a spiritual foundation. Your reports/videos gives us a solid beginning to create growth by honestly and sincerely addressing these experiences. Keep up the great works.

Posted by: Henry Mallory | January 13, 2007 02:08 AM

I am a black man living overseas, I have lived in america for 33 years. I have been outside america for the past 10 years and I have achived more sucess in the past 10 years outside of america than I have while living in america. I love America but I feel as a Black man that America has let us down we are public enemy number one. Dont get me wrong there are alot of Black people in america doing very very well. I have friends who make millions, but as a whole they are very small number of very luck people. I grew up in a all white area, we were the only black family around for many years. I was the punch line of so many jokes by many white kids growing up aswell as alot of other bad thing that I dont care to mention. I was acused of crimes like so many other black men that I had nothing to do with. At that time in history as well as today it is very easy to blame it on the black guy and your average American believes everything they are told and see on the news and half of that is not ture as we all know. In my experence traveling around the world, in many countries not all but many countries people see you as a man aswell as being black. With that it give you the opertunity like Martin Luther King once said. To be judged Not by the color of your skin but of the content of your character,If people can learn to judge Black Men by who they are not by what you see on TV or read in the news paper we would be able to move mountains. and the single biggest thing that will help Black people In America is to stick together socialy and Most important economicly. put your money together and become a economic power and change the directions on Black people in america so we can enjoy the same liberties that every other American enjoys today. Thank you very much A. Morgan A Proud American Black Man

Posted by: A. Morgan | January 14, 2007 07:50 AM

In my opinion, the article is unbalanced. There are a large number of black men who are excellent fathers and husbands. Despite the negative press, the faulty conditions of our society that attempt to hold them back - they excel. We never hear of these fine young men. To hear these stories is the type of encouragement that the ones that are struggling need to hear. They need to have live example of those that are making a difference in spite of the odds against them. I live in a wonderful community full of young black men that are doing well. I have a son who is a model father, husband and son. He has several friends that also fit the mold. They are young men. My grandsons, brothers, father, grandfather are and were also fine men. The majority of black men that I know are fine men. If you are going to tell the story tell the whole story. I am willing to help you to write it.

Posted by: Patricia Duncan | January 15, 2007 07:12 AM

I think the issues in the series are very interesting, thought provoking, and conscienciously thought out, though limited in their identification, because they approach the reality of life's endeavors that Black Men are confronted and faced with. The series appear to focus on the negative liaison that African American men continue to have with this nation, and the laws that govern this nation as well as the impact of trying to sustain yourself and family in a society where you are constantly denied, denigrated, and denounced as a citizen. Overall though, it seems to be a good series, particularly for the Washington, D.C. community which is predominantly African American. The truth remains in a question...Why are the prisons in this nations filled with an entire generation of African American men, and why are other groups of ethnic people treated with greater respect and dignity without even being citizens? I wonder if color really does have something to do with it?

Posted by: Donald Williams | January 17, 2007 12:13 AM

Understanding of Self

self-
pref.
1. Oneself; itself: self-control.
2. Automatic; automatically: self-loading.
[Middle English, from Old English, from self, self. See self.]

Self P Pronunciation Key (s lf)
n. pl. selves (s lvz)
1. The total, essential, or particular being of a person; the individual: "An actor's instrument is the self" (Joan Juliet Buck).
2. The essential qualities distinguishing one person from another; individuality: "He would walk a little first along the southern walls, shed his European self, fully enter this world" (Howard Kaplan).
3. One's consciousness of one's own being or identity; the ego: "For some of us, the self's natural doubts are given in mesmerizing amplification by way of critics' negative assessments of our writing" (Joyce Carol Oates).
4. One's own interests, welfare, or advantage: thinking of self-alone.
Immunology. That which the immune system identifies as belonging to the body: tissues no longer recognized as self.

pron.
Yourself, himself, herself, or myself: a living wage for self and family.
adj.
1. Of the same character throughout.
2. Of the same material as the article with which it is used: a dress with a self-belt.
3. Obsolete. Same or identical.
[Middle English, selfsame, from Old English. See s(w)e- in Indo-European Roots.]
Self
\Self\, n.; pl. Selves. 1. The individual as the object of his own reflective consciousness; the man viewed by his own cognition as the subject of all his mental phenomena, the agent in his own activities, the subject of his own feelings, and the possessor of capacities and character; a person as a distinct individual; a being regarded as having personality. ``Those who liked their real selves.'' --Addison.

A man's self may be the worst fellow to converse with in the world. --Pope.

The self, the I, is recognized in every act of intelligence as the subject to which that act belongs. It is I that perceive, I that imagine, I that remember, I that attend, I that compare,
I. That feel, I that will, I that am conscious. --Sir W. Hamilton.

2. Hence, personal interest, or love of private interest; selfishness; as, self is his whole aim.

3. Personification; embodiment. [Poetic.]

She was beauty's self. --Thomson
Self
\Self\, a. Having its own or a single nature or character, as in color, composition, etc., without addition or change; unmixed; as, a self bow, one made from a single piece of wood; self flower or plant, one which is wholly of one color; self-colored.
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.
Self
adj 1: combining form; oneself or itself; "self-control" 2: used as a combining form; relating to--of or by or to or from or for--the self; "self-knowledge"; "self-proclaimed"; "self-induced" n 1: your consciousness of your own identity [syn: ego] 2: a person considered as a unique individual; "one's own self"
The most important element of human's survival is "to know thyself". To truly know that self is power, regardless of the negative or positive experiences you have had in your life. Where you go from here, right now, this moment makes all the difference in the world. Knowing your true self-set you free to live, no matter how long or short because you're always living in the present. Where you are right now does not have to stay the same, good or bad, positive or negative. You have the power to change your life, your destiny, your friends, career, and the world.
We must understand that true power come from self-knowledge. We have a history deeper than the abyss itself. A rich African history full of Kings, Queens, African Tribal leaders, Discovers, Medical Pioneers, World trader before the Greek, Political and Family Pride. We as African Americans have evolved from the beginning of time to lead. We possess a power like no other human being on earth. The African males have walked and conquered this earth from the beginning of time.
The African community in Africa and in America must connect through commerce and education. As long as African Americans separate ourselves from the motherland, we will continue to be a dying breed of people in America and the motherland. Until we learn who we are we will never has equality in America or in the World.
We can continue to blame the 'man' for our problems. That's a fool excuse to use for a lazy mind. That is the spirit of 90 percent of African American adults in this country. Who believe that homeownership, a car and career is the America dream? The America dream is having an everlasting legacy of life. To have everlasting legacy of life, consist of family survival, controlling wealth, knowledge and property.
We as African Americans cannot see ourselves because of the self imposed blinders on our faces. We have let strangers into our homes to raise our children. We have allowed laws to be passed that separate our fathers from their homes. Black males have allowed negative forces to keep them from their true destiny. True destiny for black males is to be leaders, fathers, husbands, and powerbrokers in America and throughout the world. We are not living up to this destiny.
The majority of the problem in the community rest on the shoulder of the black male. Instead of shouldering our burden, we have allowed our women to carry the torch. How can you get respect and equality when you are not a man in your own neighborhood?
The only way African Americans will ever have equality in America is for African American males to take responsibility for our own mistakes for the last twenty-five years. Once we understand our mistakes and accept them, we can sit down with other African American male leaders and develop a network for education, power and wealth in America and the world. A good starting point would be to develop a five-year plan with African American female leaders to raise and educate our family, control wealth and develop property in our neighborhood

Posted by: Doc Scott | January 18, 2007 02:08 PM

With the exception of the post by Don Scott, I find the responses by people here to be both disturbing and confusing. White, black, male, female...all seem to be driven to "overthinking", oversimplifying, or oversympathizing. The discussion of race in America (which has really become just a discussion of BLACK MALES)seems to be making everybody crazy.
I am a black woman. I say this despite being irritated by the many folks who felt the need to state their race/gender as if it automatically meant something. You can always lie about your race on posts and there will always be someone -suddenly and suspiciously- posting exactly the OPPOSITE opinion as you after announcing the same race/gender. But.. who cares..my opinion is this.

END THIS SERIES!!!Black males are not deserving of this sort of special attention. While they do face racism (so do black women and others) much of their troubles are their own fault. By giving them this special attention we are partly rewarding them for the bad behavior that makes their situation far worse.
I tried to gain some insight from this series, but my REAL LIFE experience growing up in the poorest parts of DC (while my father lived a middle class life in BUPPIE Maryland) and my contact with all sorts of black men (jobless to making 5 and 6 figures working for the government,foreign born to born in the USA) has shown me the PROFOUND and common lackings of black men.
Everytime I read a new segment from this series, I made sure to take a look at the rest of the paper and note who black men had shot, raped, killed, racial/gender/sexually slurred, and otherwise "beat down" that day. I am not convinced that black men are being misrepresented by the media or that the enormous suffering they cause others is a reflection of what they have been put thru. Why are they not capable of just being bad men?
This country does not suggest that white men are racist because their fathers left or their mommas did a bad job of raising them. No one has an explanation for white male cruelity and inhumanity. We don't even give black women an excuse for not working or not caring for their kids, or having kids out of wedlock. Despite having the same or worse history of oppression, slavery, brutality at the hands of white and BLACK men! Black women are told "get a job, raise your kids, find a GOOD man ( or be blamed for your bad family life), don't drink, do drugs, go crazy". Black women are not even entitled to have an "attitude" or be angry with whites or black men-no matter what has been done to them.[The black mothers of murdered teenage girls can not be angry at black men. They must blame themselves, the police, the gun makers,the nite club ect..]
Only black men are entitled to "lash out" at the world and the world is obligated to apologize to THEM for making them do it! Crazy! Black men feel no obligation to anyone but themsleves. This is the center of their problem. SELFISHNESS! SELF CENTEREDNESS!And a series like this can only increase this problem and make more peopel angry and confused.
Black males are too small a population to warrant causing the amount of pain and confusion they do. People, politicians,film makers, racists, liberals, conservatives, black women, and black men have become obssesed with black males and their so called plight. It's not healthy or deserved.
If this series continues in any form, I will not read it. There are other "blacks", minorities, fatherless boys and girls...other PEOPLE who are suffering. They deserve some attention.
Be brave WASHINGTON POST. Print a list of names or profiles of those raped, killed, beaten, robbed, otherwise traumatized..by black men this year. I bet the number would easily surpass that of the war in IRAQ. Imagine if we ignored the injured and dead, in that case, to focus on how we can "understand" and apologize to the American idiot politicians and Muslim Extremists who caused all this misery.
NO ONE IS ENTITLED TO TERRORIZE AND DESTROY!! And they certainly shouldn't give such people a year's worth of guaranteed sympathetic press.
PS- to the wacky white guy who hates black history month. There will still be black and white in the year 2050. Look at Brazil. Race is about skin color, money,and politics. As long as someone is slightly lighter ( in skin , hair, eyes) that another- someine will called "black" and another white and they will be treated differntly. Even if they are related by blood.
Black men are working harder than any other group (aside from asian women) to "intermingle" racially- despite their endless harping about what whites, asians, and hispanics are doing to hurt them. This conflict between sleeping with those you occasionally call your enemy- will make sure that "black" and "white" division will continue- even as America gets "browner"

Posted by: NONO | January 21, 2007 10:19 PM

By the way- I do have to disagree with some of Don Scott's post because it is a mistake alot of people make when trying to convince black men to take responsiblity.
BLACK MEN ARE NOT DESTINED TO BE KINGS AND LEADERS OF ANYTHING!!!
Very few people are leaders of anything (even bowling leagues). And KINGS are a teeny tiny few. Part of the problem with black males is that they strut about thinking they should be telling others what to do and wieldng power and influence. They are offended at having to follow orders, be reprimanded, or do thankless work (like supporting a family and hearing your wife complain about a faucet not being fixed or having kids who think money grows on trees). Kings don't fix faucets. Leaders don't dole out money to winey, demamding teens. But fathers/ husbands sometimes do.
WHITE MEN do!! The vast majority of them will never be a king or the leader of any major political, religious, social group. Yet they manage. It is dangerous to lure black men back into the home and church with promises of kingships and near absolute authority over women and children. It's unrealistic.
When little girls call themselves "princesses" and black women call themsleves "queens" - it is a tad obnoxious, but NOT LITERAL. Most princesses will still have to go to school and clean their room. Most "queens" will have to work and be told (by whites and others) what to do. Most Black "queens" change dirty diapers, pay bills and wash their own clothes. The title of "Queen" is their way of rewarding themselves for their work or to compensate for insults against them. And while some black women are getting out of hand with it and not backing it up with work or achievements- it is based in SOMETHING.
Black men don't understand the work, burden, misery, and thanklessness involved in being "the head", the leader, the king. I mean.. do white men seem happy to you?!!

Posted by: NONO | January 21, 2007 10:48 PM

I think the idea for this series is fantastic, but the way these topics are generally presented does more to reinforce stereotypes.

Statistics and numbers presented alone, or questions such as "do black men pay too much or too little attention to education," lead to conclusions that may be too weighty.

Take education: I would say black men put too little focus on education. I would say the same for white men. And any other category of men. It may be different for people who spend their leisure time reading in-depth articles in the newspaper, but MOST people do not place a high value on education.

According to NCES, a theres a little over a 10-percent difference in college attendance rates between blacks and whites. A real difference? Yes. One that comes close to implying an ingrained, cultural divide in attitudes? Hardly. But to let one figure stand alone (Just under 20% of black high school grads go to college vs. 30% for whites) sounds pretty bad.

I applaud the work that has obviously gone into this project, but I wish there were a better way to do it.

Posted by: Maxine | January 22, 2007 03:04 AM

Interesting article. I am a Black female and do understand the value of children growing up with their fathers. It is very, very important. A father can give a child something that a Mom cannot. I am married and have three grown sons. My husband and I raised our children to the best of our abilities. I honestly have to say without him, I don't believe, my sons would have turned out the way that they did! He provided them love and discipline and made men out of them!! I have my neice living with me now (she just turned 17) and she lived with her Mother and two brothers. No father in the picture. I can truly say it has affected her. I realize folks believe its just the 'boys' but it is not. Girls appear to have less self esteem and are always looking for 'love' in the wrong places. I hope that young black men and women realize and learn that having a child is both responsibilities. Mothers need to realize that because they don't get along with their childs father is not a license to keep them from their children. Believe me, there would not be so many black men in prison and so many young black girls having babies. Black men most realize that it is not about them. It doesn't make you a man --- having babies -- by different women. I really believe, we are in a state of crises!!!! We need to reach out and try and teach these young folks and show them something else and introduce them to something else. It is not easy and can truly attest to that. As a matter of fact so many times, I want to give up on my neice. She is a 'challenge'. I sometimes sit and look at her and wonder why she thinks and acts the way she does. I don't know if my husband and I are making a difference in her life but we try each day. Children need structure and boundaries. Black men need self respect, confidence and a sense of belonging.

Posted by: Bettie Maultsby | January 23, 2007 12:02 PM

A good series, but please have a series that focus on a black man and black women happily married. Your series is not balanced.

One of the first stories was about a black man and black woman divorcing, which is all well and good.

Now you print a series on a black man who just happened to have a white wife. That is only one story and it gives the subliminal effect that a black man is successful because of his white spouse.

Please show more positive stories on black men who have black wives and happy home lives.

Posted by: Patricia Ina kelly | January 23, 2007 01:35 PM

This series has been WONDERFUL! Are you going to Publish it?
BTW, I am a 46 year old African American woman who has been married to the same wonderful black man for the past 19 years. It has been so profoundly uplifting and encouraging to see the struggles and challenges faced by our black men int his series. He (and others) have felt such a sense of vindication and cohesiveness in reading this series. Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU! Please publish iti in book format!

Posted by: Janet Elder | January 23, 2007 05:06 PM

I wish I saw the impact of the Ganster culture on African American culture mentioned into this poll.

Posted by: Af Am Sister | January 23, 2007 06:01 PM

addendum:

It was refreshing to see an article on African American men.

Thank you

Posted by: Af Am Sister | January 23, 2007 06:03 PM

This is a very good issue. I enjoy the videos. Well my black brothers it's time for us to wake up. I was born in New Orleans, well you know the story. I grew up with out a man in the house, but there were men in the house you brothers know what I mean. Poor on welfare and living in the projects. Drug, fights and the Killing. I seen 20 dead bodies by the time I was 13 teen... It's hard to get out, But you must our race is counting on us. I now work for a fortieth 500 company with only a high school education... The key is when you get out of the project "Go back." I coach sports, buy school supplies, feed kids, buy shoes do what ever I can in my old neighborhood. "I'm there role model"
I MIGHT NOT SAVE THE ALL, BUT IF I DON'T TRY I WANT SAVE ANY.
" Strong black man "

Posted by: Mr. Willie Lee Brown Jr, | January 25, 2007 03:23 PM

why don't u do one on blackwomen? blackmen are not the only people in the black race! it angers me as a sista that are problems and concerns are constantly ignored . Not saying blackmen don't have any thing to say but that is always been know . Black women have always been an invisible force our communities. I am not playa HATING , I WOULD APPRESIATE IT IF you would run a series on blackwomen in the future.

Posted by: Caramel89 | January 25, 2007 07:00 PM

I think that it is shameful for black leadership and people to be screaming and shooting racism when they are literally aiding and abiding the prejudices thereof within - meaning the most prejudice I as a Dark Black male have faced is within the black race. It is a shame.

George
gfdkingston@yahoo.com

Posted by: George | January 30, 2007 03:59 PM

What is the completion of a black man? Is it dark, brown, clear (pink, yellow etc)? Are all of these colors considered black or is there a difference? If black, then, why bleach?

Posted by: George | January 30, 2007 05:53 PM

The great frontiers of the west are gone, but there is much left to explore. I believe that the exploration of humanity, the inner journey of our people is the next great frontier. Publishing these explorations is important; for then it spreads these discoveries to those who may never have a chance to embark on such a journey themselves. It makes a difference. These kind of explorations should delve into every corner of humanity. It gives a voice to all. I enjoyed listening to Professor Driskell piece. It is important to shatter the misconceptions, the results foster a more egalitarian society ultimately.

Posted by: ALR | February 4, 2007 05:04 PM

What a wonderful experience to see such great coverage of black men in America. I am only sorry I didn't discover this series sooner. It is about time these issues are openly discussed and your paper did an excellent and thorough job. It's so nice to see a multimedia package that actually is representative of the people in its community. I applaud you.

Posted by: S. Bruce | February 5, 2007 10:15 PM

I really enjoyed the content on this site. It is visually appealling and full of great video on diverse people in the African American community. It is a rare find in the world of journalism today. Thanks for putting all this information together in one nice neat place

Posted by: Greg Rank | February 7, 2007 01:30 PM

This series has educated me a lot on black men. Although I am black women, I have gained and now understand the other side as I have never realized or heard of before. I truly love this series and will share this series with my teenage son. And hats off to the editor.

thanks a bunch,

Posted by: Joanne | February 7, 2007 02:53 PM

Iam an ex-ofender who happens to be black living in this great country of ours like many young men I grew up the the tough chicago englewood neihborhood Ibelonged to one of the most notorious street gangs on the south side of chicago.the gangster deciples my father raised me along with six brothers and sisters in one the cities many housing projects my mother has been in a mental instatution for most of my life like many young men I comitted petty crimes at an early age because most of the times there was nothing to eat in my home my father was an alcoholic and most of the time he was on the corner drinking wine with many of my friends fathers to me it was just the norm growing up in the slums of chicago the older black men around me became my roalmodels and father figures.thinking back to my youth the thing I remember most is being hungry most of the time and going threw the trash looking for clouthes because I was so ashamed of the ragged clouthes that I had to wear to school.i remember some of the older guys takeing me with them to steal bread from the local bakery Inever liked to steal because I was afraid if i got cought what my father would do to me but my hunger pains and the fact that I Wanted new clouthes made me press on with my planes.as I grew older it became much easier all my life I only thought of how to escape those evil streets that had came to claim me I began to dream of it night and day with this came different and more profittable crimes,I Knew thatit was wrong yet I sold drugs because it was achance to get out of that miserible exsistance of a life I lived for many years but after many years I was eventualy caught and convicted.I served a two year prison sentence upon my release I began to ponder my future after many attemps to find a job I found it very diffecult to become employed because most companies arent willing to hire ex-offenders because I knew in my heart I was rehabilitated slowly in my heart I became bitter I went back to school and I recived some carpentry skills but was only able to find menial jobs paying cash and no benifits working these seasonal jobs didnt pay the bills so I serched again temp agencies what ever was availible to no avail.soon I began to go back to selling drugs and life was good again until Iwas caught again,upon my second release with two xxs on my back Idecided no more it has been tweenty something odd years now since I have gotten into any trouble but its sad that not many companies are willing to give us ex-offenders asecond chance if only we as a society were willing to give second chances most of us are christians in this country prclaiming to belive in christ who teaches forgiveness but yet we do not forgive like many ex-offenders all I ever asked for was a nother chance will you give me another chance........

Posted by: david | February 9, 2007 04:49 PM

The Being a Black Man series is a beautiful thing. I wish the videos and clips could be played for a wider audience. Black men in America deserve this recognition and people trying to get an understanding of where he is coming from. As a young, black female I am so warmed by the fact that someone take the time out to present in quality the views of the men who will always mean the most to me. Thank You.

Posted by: Kyosha Johnson | February 10, 2007 03:13 PM

I call them Little Murders. Maybe, I should call them accessories to Little Murders. Either way, they are the things that people say that diminish or degrade other people. We hear them all of the time. Senator Joe Biden made such remarks recently and although he is probably not a racist, his remarks did indeed, remind us of the fact that bigotry and racism can be a very subtle thing. In fact, it is the subtle that can be the most damaging.

I happen to have had an Irish father and a Jewish mother, therefore I am as much Jew as Gentile. Because my last name is Irish folks think they can make a remark like "I Jewed him down" and it will fall on ears, if not sympathetic, at least uncaring. For the purpose of this piece I will only call out the names that have referred to my nationalities. Everyone knows the derogatory names that Afro Americans are called, gay folks are called, Latinos are called and to a lesser extent these days what others are called that diminish and degrade them. In the old days my Irish ancestors were called "fish eaters, mackerel snappers, and pope worshippers." But it is my Jewish side that has been the most vilified---Jew Boy, Christ killers, the chosen people and Kikes. And then there is the "catch all" for all of the above and is mentioned in the context of a conversation----"those people." It can be Blacks, Jews, Italians, Latinos, Muslims, or whatever fits the situation and the conversation. I call them "little murders."

You see, it has always been that "little murders" preceded the real murders. The holocaust could never have happened if the awful remarks had not proceeded it. A young black man in Mississippi would not have been beaten to death for whistling at a white woman if the awful words had not been used first. I cannot even bring myself to even write the "n" word but how many times have you heard it said. A gay man would not have been tied to a fence and beaten to death if there had not been first the awful words---fagot, queer, homo, etc. And then there is the "wink, wink, nod, nod," comments that say it all about those that we want to set apart. I read now that the hate groups are using the immigration issue to recruit for their hateful purposes. Will we always find a way to hate somebody? Will it ever end?

Are we being an accessory to a "little murder" if we listen to these remarks and say nothing? I think so. Is it too embarrassing to call someone out that says these things? I think not. Is it worth a moment of embarrassment to do so. You tell me. Bigotry, prejudice, racism, anti Semitism, and homophobia, are set ablaze by the hate mongers but they are fueled by the indifferent. Where do you stand?

That is the bad news. But, there is also the good news. I sat in the stands at a high school wrestling match last weekend. I watched as Afro-Americans and white kids wrestled each other, horsed around on the mats together between matches, and laughed and joked together. I watched as white female wrestlers (still somewhat of a shock to an old timer) did the same, wrestling young black men, horsing around together, and laughing and joking together. Could this be? Forty years ago when I was a civil rights activist in the South, those young men would have been beaten, lynched, and thrown in the river for even whistling at the young ladies. Now, here they were doing what wrestlers do to each other when they wrestle and to them it was the most natural thing in the world. My gosh, I thought, things really have changed. There is an Afro American that is running for President and has a very good chance of making it. Borack Obama is a US Senator from Illinois. He was elected in a state that south of Chicago is not exactly a liberal bastion. The young people in particular don't give a darn if he is Black or White. They like him, his message and because he is close to their age they feel a kinship. Not all to be sure, but enough to make a difference.

I think back forty years and the days in Alabama and Georgia. Maybe, someday, "little murders" will be as much a thing of the past as the crimes that they preceded.

I realize that yes, things have changed -- not yet what it should be and hopefully not what it will be, but by gosh, not what it use to be! Free at last? Not quite, but a heck of a lot closer!

Posted by: Ken McGee | February 12, 2007 08:46 AM

Self-Hate, frustration, and anger continues to destroy us. Lets confront the real problems at hand my people. I am going to keep on saying it until someone starts to listen and change comes about.

Less judging, less criticism, less separating ourselves from one another. We need to be re-taught, re-educated, and re-learn alot of things before it is too late. We have an entire generation undoing the hard work of Martin Luther King, and other Civil Rights Fighters. This generation grew up in a society that promoted being a thug, gangster, player-pimp, inconsiderate, and disrespectful. All of this along with SELF-HATE is killing us my people. We are dying out here. The insecurities and self-hate that ones feel about him or herself is projected onto those around them, leading to more drama, frustration, voiolence, and killing.

When will my people confront the real problems at hand. We need to learn and re-learn to be considerate, respectful, to have more compassion, and love ourselves, to feel good about ourselves; and it will make a difference; you'll see, it will. We can over come. We are beautiful people, the entire world always watching us and trys to be like us in so many ways, let us use this to our advantage for a change my people.

Posted by: K.A. Robinson | February 12, 2007 01:02 PM

hmmmm... I wonder when WP will do a series on "what it means to be a Jew"?

No, better yet, "what it means to be a Moslem (in America)"...

THX

howard_NYC@yahoo.com

Posted by: howard_NYC@yahoo.com | February 12, 2007 08:45 PM

I'm so appreciative for the series. It has been like a breath of fresh air. Kudos to those responsible for it. I have read and watch every piece and it has given me a better perspective of the power of my people. Keep up the good work and don't stop feeding us brothers... We need it like soul food.

Posted by: Pastor G.W. Hawkins | February 17, 2007 10:07 AM

This project is an important step in improving race relations in America. Thank you.

Posted by: Sarah Smith | February 17, 2007 03:33 PM

To whom It May Concern:

I'm a black male age 33 with a felony on my record. I served time at the Herman L. Toulson Boot Camp in Jessup, Md. I gave my all to the program , changing my entire thought process and really becoming a man. I was a model inmate, in fact while there I was granted permission to attend AA Community College, where I studies Fiber Optic Telecommunications. After completing the course I was given the opportunity to take the state exam. I 'm currently a certified Fiber Optic Tech. and with this certification I'm still unable to get a chance with a company. I realize the errors of my past and I know that the choices that I made were stupid. I can't change my past I can just look forward. I wish that there was a place for X offenders to look for employment. I do Know for sure that me turning to the streets and the fast money is NOT an option.

Posted by: Being a Black X Convict | March 8, 2007 12:39 PM

I AM 67 YEARS OLD, AND THE CHANGES IN RESPECT FOR US, OLDER MEN AMONG OUR YOUTH HAS SHOCKED ME, AS I AM SURE IT HAS DONE SO WTIH MANY OF MY BROTHERS. THE ROADS WE HAVE TRAVELED, THE UPS AND DOWNS OF EVERY DAY LIVING CANNOT BE LOOKED UPON AS A LIFE OF COMFORT, YET OUR YOUTH DON'T SEE THE POSITIVE RESULTS OF THE PATH WE HAVE CUT FOR THEM TO HAVE A BETTER LIFE FOR THEM I ONCE SAT AT THE FEET OF AN OLDER MAN, WHERE I RECEIVED MY BEST INSITE AS TO HOW TO BE A BETTER MAN, FATHER, HUSBAND, AND FRIEND TOO OTHERS. I HAVE FOUND THAT BEING BLACK CAN BE POSITVE IN EVERYWAY GOD INTENDED IT TO BE. WHAT MOST DISTURBES ME IS THE FACT THAT SOME BLACK MEN AND YOUTH FORGET THE REAL STRENGTH OF US AS BLACK MEN, COME FROM OUT BLACK WOMEN. LOOK BACT AT HISTORY, ALL THE SUPPORT, LOVE, COMFORT, GUIDANCE, CAME FROM OUR MOTHER, GRANDMOTHERS, SISTERS AND EVEN THE LADY NEXT DOOR. WE NEED TO UNITE AS BLACK MEN, LET THE YOUTH OF TODAY SEE US IN A POSITIVE LIGHT, AND JUST MAYBE THEY TOO WILL GROW UP TO BE THE KIND OF MEN THEIR MOTHER, FATHERS, SISTERS, BROTHERS AND CHILD ARE PROUD OF..

Posted by: JOHN HAWKINS | April 27, 2007 08:12 AM

The economic and political dilemmas facing black male's today arises from and educational system that marginalizes their ability and destroys their sense of self worth.

As a former teacher of predominantly black boys identified as emotionally and behaviorally disorder, the problems akin to these young men were minor in comparison to a school system that is fearful of their rambunctious spirits and unable address their cultural needs. Unfortunately in the eyes of Eurocentric culture there is a mystique about being young, black, and male that stigmatizes these young men as being academically inferior, cognitively deficient, socially aberrant, and threatening to the school staff that according to statistical data are 80 percent of the time white females.

As a result of this fear, these young men are socially promoted despite the fact that their academic skills were woefully below grade level. I taught fourteen year old black boys who were reading at a second grade level and performing basic addition by counting on their fingers. I thought to myself in two years they will be eligible for driver's license and eligible to enter the work force. In four years they are voter eligible, and no longer a responsibility of their parents.

In my experience, I have observed that the educational system is primarily interested in controlling black males rather than educating and preparing these young men to live productive livelihoods. Black males cultural expressions are suppressed as they fail to adhere to standards of Eurocentric culture, they are overwhelmingly identified as emotionally and behaviorally disorder and remanded to self contained special education classes where they are isolated from non-disabled peers, and they are victims of a disproportionate number of disciplinary actions that lead to suspensions and eventual expulsions. The attitude of the educational system is that if we can control and confine they can remain, if not extricate. Extrication leads young black males to become statistics of the juvenile justice system and according to national data any black male born in the 1990's has a one in four chance of spending time in adult prison.


Despite concentrated efforts to change school cultures realistically this will not happen anytime soon. Diversifying the teacher population, culturally changing curriculum and instruction, and assessments practices are systemic and will take years to implement effectively. Time is not on the side of young black males. I advocate mentoring as an intervention to provide these young men with the skills necessary to achieve academic success in spite of the school system that quite frankly sets them up for failure. I believe that mentoring can keep these young men academically engaged by being frank about the school systems intentions regarding their education and fostering academic resiliency in the face of aversive environments. These young men must see the connection between their present academic efforts and their future economic and political levels of attainment.

Mentoring efforts must inform these young men that the school system may or may not have their best interest at heart, but that they must preserve regardless of the institution and its practices. The success of the mentoring effort must begin in pre-school and continue through twelfth grade. Research shows that young black boys show signs of regression in school by as early as second grade and become completely disinterested by fourth grade. They become academically disengaged and develop counter culture social coping mechanisms that lead to further isolation and become victims of zero tolerance policies. Mentoring can be used to supplement the school's curriculum and instructional practices that albeit unfair are the hand that young black boys are dealt. Similar to our work environments- we cannot change them to be culturally friendly and equitable, we simply learn to adapt. This same message must be conveyed to young, black males in effectively mitigating the school system as it attempts to correct it's shortcomings.

Posted by: D | May 20, 2007 12:46 PM

Being black is hard no matter what gender. As a black male I've found myself in a position where I have to constantly prove myself not only to America as a whole, but to the very people that go through the same struggle. Other black people. There is so much division amongst us(blacks). Fats hate skinnies, darks hate lights, females hate males, etc. I used to blame this on America. Not anymore. Look at Africa right now. Always the same story blacks killing blacks. That's just touching the violent aspect.
This generation now is an embarrasment. I read a study that showed blacks are the least likely to get married, but have the highest divorce rate among those, ( whites and hispanics)that do. Plus, within the same groups studied more blacks felt premarital sex was wrong, yet we have the highest number of never been wed mothers and fathers. Have we turned into a race of sex crazed greedy unscrupulous hypocrites. Or, have we always been this way and the trials of American history put a bigger issue in our paths to focus on until now? Many would have us belive racism is an old relic as impossible to imagine exsisting as dinosaurs! That would be good, but our history of pain garnered respect for the next man's strength for standing tall while still trying to do what's right. Today, alot of blacks would say, "That's good, but how much money does he make?"
I think we (black men) forget one day our daughters will be women too. How many times have you or someone you've heard say to their daughter(s) "I'm gonna make sure she know all of the tricks". Moms, you're not off the hook either. "Make sure you find you a good man who can take care of you". Take care how exactly? Who do you think your fourteen year old daughter will gravitate to with that type of advice? The boy on the honor roll who one day wants to be a lawyer, or the boy on dubs (now) who one day wants to need a lawyer?
We also have to be positive roll models to our sons. Sadly, as un-wed fathers we don't get as much of a chance to do this since mothers hold onto their son's tighter. So when any opportunity comes about that we can be a positive influence we have to be ready. Our sons are growing up with only half the tools they need to have healthy long lasting relationships.
Fellas, If when you call her for the first time she doesn't remember your name, but remembers your car, the color, and the size of your wheels (and you didn't tell her the size of your wheels). Tell cupid and the stork false alarm!
These are just a few of the problems we're facing as a whole. I haven't touched our health crisis, education or disproportionate incarceration demographics but those issues are real. They're not just going to go away without us putting to work some type of countermeasure. It's up to us.

Posted by: Damien Sullivan | July 4, 2007 03:24 AM

Start with the Great A.You will never find a comparison in American Politics.The great president still remains in fond memory.His death shows the tragic end of fairness in American Politics.

Posted by: mahendra kumar Dash | August 7, 2007 01:20 PM

Treatment is not unfair as a whole.If you quote exception,there may be few,but it can not be many.There are number of people who contradicts the opinion.The democracy had chosen it's firt black president Lincoln.Lots of people are there in helms of affairs and people are many with name and fame though they are black.
My posting is late because of certain personal reasons.

Posted by: mahendra kumar Dash | August 7, 2007 01:34 PM

I feel as if the actual issue is both the articles, and the use of concepts and words, are part of the struggle against the insideous aspect of distinction. I almost said 'racial' distinction, which would be of course another perfect example of what Im refering to. We have no such thing as 'race', as defined by science and the bible.
It is part of an old semantic system of heirarchy which flourishs in the language, while people try instinctivly to escape it. The
operative word in black man is man. We all know that we have to accept that there is an onus on being 'black', but dwelling on that issue does nothing to dispell or remove it. Once again we are blindsided by circumstance. The black population is GENERATIONS behind the other 'racially' identified groups, -Jews, Italians, Irish, groups in being assimilated. Even still the distinction holds power above the heads of the american public, on two levels. Somehow, we suffer under the lingering opinion
given off like putrid gas, that the anglo pursuasion is somehow
'better' Wat it has gotten us is serious fouled and twisted, since a generation of our youth has alienated themselves from the minstream and created their own culture, opposed to the
business as usual one, and the distinction is eroding the value
of our society as a whole. We also export these hateful emotions to other countries. This does nothing to unite the human family to heal the planet. Our species has the potential to soar in harmony yet chooses to grovel in ignorant fear because of thinking in the middle-age mindset. Now that the
planet has said enough to pollution and greed, we need to find
alternative, comprehensive approaches to repair our thinking on the global level,which cannot happen until we remove the petty obsticles of color coding and emotional triggers.

Posted by: nzo | August 25, 2007 02:42 AM

Well,Back in the days,we fighted for our civil- yet equal rights.Now,what are we really fighting for? I see decades of work going down the drain,and it's not the "White Man's' fault! ,It's ours,and it seems like we're not getting the whole pitcure of our choas factor. We Selling drugs to one another,killing one another,direspect our beautiful black woman.Malcolm X,Martin Luther King,Jessie Jackson,and many of our civic heros, would tell us to stop sleeping with our eyes open, and wake up to the progress of self-inprovement. This is the time to take our charge of our proud tradition of Black Pride.

Posted by: John F. Thornton | September 13, 2007 07:02 PM

When do we get the "Being a White Man" series? White men are complex individuals. They control most of the free world but often do not express themselves freely due to political correctness. Let's dive inside of their minds for a change. There has been more than enough research and articles about black people. Let's start a well thought out discussion on white men.

Posted by: Rahman Henderson | September 24, 2007 01:28 AM

i think the system is design that way to
keep blacks down!

Posted by: robert johnson | November 6, 2007 03:59 AM

this is a well done series. i enjoyed every one of the series that i reviewed. i would encourage that newspaper todistribute the series to all schools. younger black need to know and appreciate this series and their importance.

we are all connected and owe a debt to those before us. we should not forgetour oblibgation to those come after.

Posted by: djsenna | November 16, 2007 09:15 PM

I've been reading the book. The situation of the guy who died from colon cancer was familiar to me. Two summers ago, I'd broken my engagement from my girlfriend, had to find a new apartment so my daughter could come visit for the summer. I started experiences stinging sharp hot flashes through my whole body. I wrote it off to stress and after I got settled, they subsided. Then I started noticing a fluttering wave in my heart, which I don't know what that was. All the ailments are gone now and even though I have health coverage through my job, I still have not went to the doctor. My reasoning is that I would like a Black doctor to treat me, for I feel he may better understand my health legacy and history of high blood pressure and Diabetes, none of which I have been diagnosed with.

I also wanted to comment about the 27 yr old guy with a new born son, living with his mom. I know a guy just like that living next door to me in Brooklyn. He's actually a nice guy, even though I know he had a ruff past which he never discusses in detail with me. He has a knack for carrying on casual conversation and even though we are on total ends of the educational and income ladder, as a black man I understand his situation. BUT, living with your parent, not keeping a steady job because you feel you deserve to be paid more and want more material things; without owning a bachelor degree or your own business, more likely than not, once the guy gets his GED, his situation will not improve much unless he is really humble and dedicated to changing it. It is sad that is the situation for many handsome young black men who undervalued education and a belief they could persevere and work within mainstream corporate american to try and attain a piece of the American Dream. I work within that system and black men are few and far between, which ultimately means if we don't start a black nationalist movement to take care of ourselves, black men are going to become virtually extinct in this country. The lowest on the totem poll. I feel like black women run from me in New York even though I am clean cut, dress grown and sexy. I feel they think I am broke, live with my mom, do not own a car, when it is just the opposite.

Posted by: Michael Walker | November 29, 2007 04:07 PM

I am a white man of Irish orgin. The Irish were descriminated against, and so has many groups in America. Still, with black people it is understandable that it is harder to settle into society. I am a future educator, and I am going to try and do my part to level the playing field. As a white southerner, I am from Nashville, TN I see a lot of racial tension and biased. I think we are doing a lot better than we have in the past, but we are all slowly but steadily growing more equal. We might think that it should be a quick thing, and happen suddenly, but it won't. This generation, my generation also are some of the most color blined people alive, but we were raised by people that judged on color. My father is racist, but my mother is married to a black man. I have no problem with it, and would never descriminate on who I date, but it does bother me somtimes the looks we get. I will be happy when we all live happily together, but I think personal responsibility is also called for. We live in a highly sexual time, and in a place where the media shows us the worst of all culture. We must rise above this and be Americans together.

Posted by: J. Davis | December 1, 2007 01:40 AM

I think that the series is very well done and some of the stories are very moving. At the same time I must say that it hurts to see that after all these years there is very little respect and very little justice for the American Black Man. Some of the people have excelled above the general standards for white males and are still not equal. The Black Men show an unbelievable amount of patience and courage and still believe in America. This story has reinforced my belief that leaving the USA was the best decision of my life. I do not believe that there will be equality or acceptance for the Black Man or for Black People. Saying this, knowing that I will never be able to come home.

Posted by: Coatesmoe | December 3, 2007 05:30 PM

I'm a black male, 38 years old, father of four and a husband. I feel black men don't get enough credit for the good things they do. So many times every body is putting down black men (including black women) down for not being this or that. I think everybody needs to take the time and research the black family's history. They'll find that black men have been broken down so far that we are still playing catch up to black women, white women, and white men. Even when we follow the "right roads" there are still persons waiting for us to slip and fall. Often times those people are our black women. We just catch it from all directions but that doesn't mean we should stop being good fathers, husbands, family members, and overall good people. Someday we'll truely be free.

Posted by: Charles Hamlett | December 12, 2007 12:25 PM

I'm currently reading the book and I find it so accurate and correct about the disparities between the middle class blacks and those living in poverty. I am a college graduate from a poor neighborhood and I am now living back in a worse neighborhood than where I was bought up because the living in NYC is so frustrating. The problems my generation-I'm a 27yr. old sister is that marijuana has replaced God and sex, drugs, fast money and rap music has replaced hard work. The older generation has failed my generation. Their failures have produced a nation full of degenerates. The cycle of poverty and undereducation continues in our community because hard work is not a virtue. There are so many man and woman children. They are grown in age but children in the mind. They don't know how to encourage the young people and because of their failures they have become disenfranchised and don't really care about what happens to their children or anyone. Black people need to change their confrontational attitudes and replace it with love and compassion for each other. What ever happened to turn the other cheek? Black children need teachers that truly want to teach and truly care about what happens to their students, not just their paychecks. Their needs to be an emphasis on hard work and patience. Black men need to be uplifted. Their needs to be more self-love among black men. Their needs to be less excuses given and more action. The projects need to be replaced with co-ops and oondos. Hundreds of people living on top of each other is enough to make anyone in any culture go crazy and become hopeless. When positivity is glorified then we will rise and reach the potential that we can.

Posted by: S. Graham | January 8, 2008 10:07 PM

I think it is ridiculous that we are trying to define what being a Black man is. When was the last time you every saw a white man write a whole series to unveil the "white male identity". We should all be seen as human beings, as individuals trying to make a life for ourselves and our families.

Posted by: Bianca Denis | January 20, 2008 04:18 PM

Not very insightful to say the least, but a start. better to have it than not I suppose.

Posted by: W | January 31, 2008 11:57 AM

 
 

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