It’s hard for young, Black boys in public schools who are identified as “other” or “different” because of their sexuality. It appears that advocacy doesn’t include those boys who fall victim to the worst cases of bullying, trauma and abuse; gay Black boys.
Black boys who choose to accept their sexuality aren’t supported and are often times allowed to be bullied in schools. In some cases, Black boys who have identified as being gay struggle with being bullied in school as early as elementary school.
Our silent advocacy is killing Black boys like Nigel Shelby!
The Root wrote a powerful article in April around the passing of Nigel Shelby. Not shocked but certainly disappointed in the late of advocacy and national media attention of this young man’s tragic death. Earlier this year NBC higlighted how suicide rates in LGBTQ youth is increasing. We must not let his death pass on without advocating for solutions. Bullying to any student, in any school cannot and should not be tolerated.
All public schools need resources that effectively reach children, parents and communities. I want educators and parents to understand that bullying truly doesn’t impact children. Black boys who are identified as LGBTQ are targets in schools and society. Sexual orientation is now added to the list of things that are used to push Black boys out of schools. We have to ask ourselves, do we want to fix this problem for Black boys. There are too many schools that don’t even acknowledge this as a problem and fail to support Black boys.
The reality is, public schools also don’t have enough Black male educators who could be supporting Black boys. Even beyond this, in the 2% of Black male educators there’s not a diverse representation of openly gay Black male teachers. Schools treat sexual orientation much like society. Many schools reinforce negative stereotypes of Black gay males or those who identify as LGBTQ. One problem with stereotypes in schools around sexuality is that like race children are taught that one is representation of all.
It’s even more difficult for Black boys who don’t align to the stereotypical “gay” Black male perception in media which is often depicted in the society as overly feminine or dressed as a female. Of course, that’s not all Black gay males. However, it’s extremely hard for young Black boys who do identify as being gay to find themselves.
Black boys who accept that they are attracted to the same sex need to be supported too. Organizations like Dignity in Schools advocate for students of color who identify as LGBTQ highlights how youth are kicked out of their homes because of their sexuality.
There are many ways that our silent advocacy impacts Black Boys!
Black boys also rank highest in homeless populations across the Nation. The streets are no safe place for children, yet we continue to put Black boys out of schools and homes forcing them into the streets. Our lack of support and inability to accept sexual differences in the Black community has also helped to the increase HIV in young Black boys.
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.