05-20-2018  7:16 am      •     
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Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

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Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

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Oregon State study says it's OK to eat placenta after all

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US arrest, raids in Seattle pot probe with China ties

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State sees need to reduce elk damage in the Skagit Valley

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Elk are easy to spot against the green backdrop of the Skagit Valley, where much of the resident North Cascades elk herd that has grown to an estimated 1,600 is found.For farmers in the area — especially those who grow grass for their cattle or to sell to...

Famed mini sub's control room to become future exhibit

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Naval Undersea Museum at Keyport has a new addition to its archives — the salvaged control room of the legendary, one-of-a-kind Cold War-era miniature submersible NR-1.Adm. Hyman G. Rickover, the father of the nuclear Navy, conceived the idea for the...


Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...


2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump.The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders...

Guess who's coming to Windsor? Royal ceremony weds cultures

BURLINGTON, New Jersey (AP) — With a gospel choir, black cellist and bishop, Oprah, Serena and Idris Elba in the audience and an African-American mother-of-the-bride, Saturday's wedding of Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle was a blend of the solemn and the soulful.Guess who's...

A royal wedding bridges the Atlantic and breaks old molds

WINDSOR, England (AP) — The son of British royalty and the daughter of middle-class Americans wed Saturday in a service that reflected Prince Harry's royal heritage, Meghan Markle's biracial roots and the pair's shared commitment to putting a more diverse, modern face on the monarchy.British...


Reggie Lucas, who worked with Miles Davis and Madonna, dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Reggie Lucas, the Grammy-winning musician who played with Miles Davis in the 1970s and produced the bulk of Madonna's debut album, has died. He was 65.The performer's daughter, Lisa Lucas, told The Associated Press that her father died from complications with his heart early...

Broadcast networks go for milk-and-cookies comfort this fall

NEW YORK (AP) — If provocative, psyche-jangling shows like "The Handmaid's Tale" are your taste, head directly to streaming or cable. But if you're feeling the urge for milk-and-cookies comfort, broadcast television wants to help.The upcoming TV season will bring more sitcom nostalgia in the...

Met says it has evidence Levine abused or harassed 7 people

NEW YORK (AP) — The Metropolitan Opera said in court documents Friday that it found credible evidence that conductor James Levine engaged in sexually abusive or harassing conduct with seven people that included inappropriate touching and demands for sex acts over a 25-year period.The Met...


Trump Jr. met with Mueller witness during campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump Jr. met during the 2016 campaign with a private military contractor and an...

The Latest: Venezuelans line up to vote in Sunday's election

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Latest on Sunday's presidential election in Venezuela (all times local):9:22...

2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a...

Love and fire: Text of Michael Curry's royal wedding address

WINDSOR, England (AP) — And now in the name of our loving, liberating and life-giving God, Father, Son and...

Episcopal bishop Curry gives royal wedding an American flair

WINDSOR, England (AP) — Nothing quite captured the trans-Atlantic nature of Saturday's royal wedding as...

Markle's bridal gown work of Givenchy's Clare Waight Keller

LONDON (AP) — Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy is the master British designer behind the sleek silk...

Mike Green, Skanner Breakfast Keynote Speaker 2012

 Whenever someone thinks they have few bullet points of supreme wisdom that can save the world, sane people instantly roll their eyes. The insanely curious will, of course, be unable to stop themselves from reading on. You decide which you are.

Here are three ways to save America's Black boys

  • Change their language
  • Invest in their creativity
  • Mentor them into the mainstream

That's it?

Well, no. But let's be honest. Most people don't care enough to read three suggestions, much less 30. So, let's start with three and see how you feel about them.

We Must Change the Language of America's Black Boys
On the surface, the notion of changing a child's language and changing their future sounds puzzling. Conventional wisdom tells us Black American boys learn English from birth and typically speak one language all their lives. Well, that's not true of Black boys or of most boys of any race in America.

Colloquialisms dominate the landscape of communications across Black America. Before most Black boys learn to speak the English language in its academically accepted form, they learn distorted variations of it. Since most Black American boys grow up in environments wherein they seldom practice any other form of the language than the accepted colloquialisms germane to their geographic and cultural identities, the synthetic ever-evolving academic version of English is often a back pocket piece of knowledge that turns into dust for lack of use, if it's not outright rejected.

The lack of mastery of the English language is a key problem that narrows the opportunities and interests of many of America's Black boys.

Consider that various professions in America require their own independent forms of coded language(s). Lawyers sprinkle their legal landscape with Latin. Doctors couldn't communicate well at all if they didn't keep up with the latest innovations in technology, discoveries, diseases, treatments, drugs, etc ... all with new terms to memorize and put into practice. Scientists, engineers, teachers and even clergy are all building upon a foundation of common communications, adding their professions' unique terminologies to a base of presumed common knowledge.

If America's Black boys can't read the New York Times and Wall Street Journal with full comprehension, that's a core problem. If their parents' can't, that compounds the problem.

America's Disparate Dispensation of Knowledge

A few generations ago, it was against the law to teach Blacks to read. That morphed into Whites tolerating the subpar education of Blacks in separate facilities. That evolved into forced integration resulting in the dispensation of the quality of education along economic boundaries, which limited the numbers of Black children exposed to the same quality level of education as the majority of their White counterparts.

Today, education data continues to show a consistent disparity in academic achievement between high-poverty and low-poverty public schools. Within the same schools, some students are channeled into "Advanced" while the vast majority appear to be ushered into a cattle drive to nowhere land.

We're not adequately investing in equipping economically poor students of any race to effectively participate in America's 21st century economy. And the high-poverty schools are primarily populated with Black and Hispanic students.

The American Dream: Entrepreneurship

When some Americans think of the American Dream, they think of a good job and owning a home. When citizens of other nations think of America, many think of the freedom of opportunity to build businesses that create jobs and wealth. What do America's Black boys dreams of?

Consider that America is fundamentally a capitalist society. Education is part of the toolbox that equips citizens to participate and compete in a capitalist society. As the economic giant on the planet, America attracts immigrants from all over the world, some seeking jobs while many also seek the American Dream: Entrepreneurship.

Yet, despite the fact that people all over the world learn this language of money and power, and immigrants come to America with the dream of entrepreneurship, we fail to teach such knowledge to most of America's Black boys. Most Black boys grow up seeking low-paying jobs and a 30-year mortgage liability. Too many aspire to reach such low-level goals. One possible reason is most of America's Black adults, both males and females, lack understanding of the language of American entrepreneurship and risk capital investing well enough to ensure their children can speak it.

We don't talk about these matters, possibly because it doesn't exist in our history ... which we did not control. It's embarrassing for Black America. It's guilt-ridden for White America. You will never overhear anyone, Black or White, chatting away about the fact that all of America's Black-owned businesses produced revenues totaling less than 1 percent GDP ... in 2007 ... at the height of Black entrepreneurship. That's the sum total of the progress we like to speak of in anecdotal terms while pointing to a Black president as prime example. The sheer lack of investment in the economic empowerment of America's Black boys is embarrassing for everyone. We don't like to talk about it. But the data speak on our behalf.

A total contribution of less than 1 percent of GDP to America's economy is quite a telling statistic. 1.9 million entrepreneurs struggling to reach such a paltry plateau is indicative of Black Americans making a monumental effort against the tide of a nation's historical apathy and general ignorance followed by insults.

America's Innovation Economy

Entrepreneurs are risk-taking job creators who deserve support, wraparound resources, access to capital and incentives. We see such elements in entrepreneurial ecosystems around the country. But we don't see those ecosystems and infrastructure shoring up the holes in economically disconnected sectors of urban America ... where Black boys live.

Black Americans are part of America's economic talent pool, and if the nation is to compete globally, it will need to invest in cultivating all of its talent.
How are we ensuring America's Black boys can participate in the 21st century Innovation Economy?
What are we expecting from our Black boys when we fail to teach them the language of American innovation?

I argue we must change the language taught to America's Black boys.

Today, America's Innovation Economy rolls along with investments in Small Business Innovation Research, Technology Transfer, Commercialization of R&D, Venture Capital, Angel investing, business incubators and accelerators, Internet hardware and software, biotechnology, energy, telecommunications, advanced manufacturing and the list goes on ... while Black America's boys remain oblivious to the fact they aren't being prepared to understand the processes of job growth and wealth creation in today's Innovation Economy, much less participate, contribute and compete in it.

It seems unconscionable that we would deliberately ignore generations of American children growing up in a society in which they will not be prepared to survive, much less pursue their dreams. Then we stigmatize them. These Black boys are America's children. And we are failing them.

Some of us will point a finger at the social conditions and community environment in which these boys live. And certainly that's a problem that has historical context as well. But the larger problem is the finger should be pointing in a direction leading toward investing in a solution.

I say the first step is change the language. Let's teach Black boys the language of innovation. Let's offer them a Big Picture perspective and unlock their passions and creativity. That process must be initiated from the outside because the language of innovation isn't known in the homes of too many Black boys, regardless of household income. It's time for a helpful intervention.

Next post: Investing in the creativity of America's Black Boys. The language of innovation supports creative problem-solving. Let's chat about it in my next post.

MORE: Black America Needs a Wealth Creation Plan

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