Mentors: Can a little brother get a hand up?

8/28/2013, 8:28 a.m.
Can we get a Black man who gets up and works, takes care of his kids, has a bank account ...

Successful Black men in Cleveland, raise your hand.

Okay, now that you have your hand up we need you to reach down and lend it to a young Black male.

And when we say, “successful Black men in Cleveland,” we aren’t saying that you have to be an elected official, doctor, lawyer or architect, for right now we just need you to be a brother with a legal job.

Can we get a Black man who gets up and works, takes care of his kids, has a bank account and respects his woman? Yes, despite what is portrayed in mainstream media such a man does exist among us. What we need for this man to do is to reach out and “teach somebody.”

Young Black males are in disarray! Everything about the mentally, spiritually and morally disenfranchised young Black male screams for the need of a role model. Yes, they may look, talk and act a little different than young men of your day, but every boy is looking for a man to guide him, even if that boy doesn’t know it, himself.

Yes brother, you probably check homework, tell your kids not to play video games all day long and look a person in the eye when you talk to them, but we need you outside the box. We need you to spread your arms a little wider. Extend your ground. Be visible to the young brother to whom you seem invisible.

Volunteer to do something at your old high school, middle school or elementary school. We’re not asking you to be keynote at the assembly, just maybe tutor reading, writing or arithmetic – we’d be cool if you just showed up and taught some young man how to tie a tie.

Maybe you have “school-a-phobia.” Maybe all those saggy pants hurt your eyes and the effortless youthful usage of the N-word hurts your ears. This does not excuse you from the task at hand. Teach some kid who isn’t yours to hit a golf ball or base ball. So perhaps a fieldtrip to the museum is a bit clichéd, so how about the bank when you deposit your check, or the place you go to buy a work suit, hard bottom shoes and a barber shop full of other grown men.

The point is we need you to get this show on the road. Be the drop of water that started a flowing river and then pass it on to your poker buddies, your golf partners, your Browns backers and your Facebook friends.

Oh, and while your at it, you might as well tell those boys to pull up their pants. They might not do it, but it will be a start for you and the mentor-ish process.