Teaching Black Boys to Be Kings Is Easier than Teaching Them to Be Thugs

Black male educator, Dr. Marc McMillan, is sharing with his Black boys. “We are Kings”, a phrase often used by Dr. McMillan as an affirmation for his Black male students. 

We are kings! 

We don’t have to wear pants below our waist, be unable to express our emotions, continue vicious cycles and end up in prison or dead. I want our young Black kings to know that they are worthy of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

We can be mentally healthy, smart, intelligent, articulate, wealthy, possess high morals and integrity, walk in authority and purpose and be amazing fathers to our next generations. 

We are KINGS!

Dr.McMillan’s story is a testament to the powerful work male educators of color are doing in and out of classrooms across the Nation.  As a Dean of Students in the D.C. area., he not only helps to influence social and emotional growth but also the academic successes of his students. 

He shares his reflections as a part of the Profound Gentlemen series that is elevating the voices and experiences of male educators of color.

Why did you start teaching?

I have always wanted to be a teacher. Ever since I was a little boy, I would play school at home even after a long day of school. I cannot really begin to pinpoint the beginning of my love for teaching because it goes as far back as I can remember. When I got older, I entered the teaching profession because I really wanted to see my people get out of poverty. 

My mother was working on her college degree while I was in elementary school. She would take me to the library with her while she studied. As I watched her read and study, it had a profound impact on me. A couple of years later, I saw how her education helped to pull our family out of poverty and into a better position in life. Since that moment, my purpose was solidified and I realized how important education was and still is today for helping people to become more free and dismantling poverty. 

Many of our youth need role models in and out of the classroom. As a male educator of color, when your students look back on their K-12 experience, what’s something you want them to remember of you that may potentially inspire them to be a teacher? 

I want them to look back at the impact that I had on them as a teacher and as a dean of students. There have been many students who come back to tell me about how I helped to shape their life trajectories in positive ways. This is not to boast. I am humbled by life experiences and how I got here. This is why I teach and lead my students the way that I do. I always kept and still keep it real with them. You inspire people by making education personal and relatable. We can’t just teach content to pass tests and to get a grade.

Organizations such as PG, are advocating for more male educators of color in classrooms. What impact do we have in public schools?

When I was a teacher, I taught my students as if their lives depended on it. For the many students that I was entrusted in my care as teacher and today as a dean, I hope they remember our many real-life lessons conversations and how I took my time to help each of them find out their purpose in life. It could be me helping them with a college application, scholarships, military entry exams or preparing them for the workforce. I want them to remember how much I care for them. It is my moral duty when I took the oath to become a teacher. 

Black boys want to not just dream, but live to accomplish those dreams. Dr. McMillan was once in their shoes of the students he teaches and leads. It’s important to empower, support and protect Black male educators who are focused on doing the social justice work in public education.

We strive to dispel the belief that Black boys who come from certain neighborhoods, raised in poverty by their single-parent and other lack of support can’t be successful and are thugs.

We are Kings, and Black male educators empowering Black boys to be successful and defy the negative images of how we are heavily portrayed and depicted in society.  


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